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July 2017 / More

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It's all about "ladder work" – helping and being helped

Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire:

"You don't know anything until you know Everything...."

Mister Rose is an intimate look at a West Virginia native many people called a Zen Master because of the depth of his wisdom and the spiritual system he conveyed to his students. Profound and profane, Richard Rose was not the kind of man most people picture when they think of mystics or spiritual teachers. Yet, he was the truest of teachers, one who had "been there," one who had the cataclysmic experience of spiritual enlightenment.

Filmed in the spring of 1991, the extraordinary documentary follows Mr. Rose from a radio interview, to a university lecture and back to his farm, as he talks about his experience, his philosophy and the details of his life.

Whether you find him charming or offensive, fatherly or fearsome, you will not forget him, and never again will you think about yourself, reality, or life after death in quite the same way.

3+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.

1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
A discussion of the varied ways we can use in order to hear the voice of our inner ocean, the heart of our true desires.

3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
Notes on assumptions, beliefs, and perspectives that bind and free us.

4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
An intriguing look into a feeling-oriented approach to life.

5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

Return to the main page of the July 2017 TAT Forum.


Founder's Wisdom

Richard Rose (1917-2005) established the TAT Foundation
in 1973 to encourage people to work together on what
he considered to be the "grand project" of spiritual work.

Miami Theosophical Society Talk – 1985

The first public talk that Richard Rose gave was by invitation of the Pittsburgh Theosophical Society, in 1973. It was at that talk where two college students got inspired by what they heard and became instrumental in setting up self-inquiry groups at colleges primarily in the northeastern U.S. In 1985, one of Rose's students had moved to Miami, Florida, and Rose traveled down to help in starting a local group there. Several members of the Miami Theosophical Society had heard about Rose and were enthusiastic about inviting him to give a talk there. Part 2 of the transcript follows (continued from the June 2017 TAT Forum):


Most of the gurus when they come over here don't go contrary to the immorality of the American youth.1 They just pat them on the back and say, "Go ahead. You just keep on chanting this mantra and you'll go straight to payday. Do what you please. Just chant the mantra and don't worry about anything else." Well, I've never believed that. Consequently, when these gurus show up, I don't have to waste any time with them.

I don't want to rush you on this, but I do believe that you do not learn the truth. Nobody learns the truth; you have to become it. And to become it, you have to go through maybe certain privations, distortions, inhibitions or whatever. You can't just live like a pig—or worse than a pig, actually, being that the pigs and the animals have a certain code that they follow automatically. We don't. We're supposedly given our freedom to do as we please, while the animal runs according to a schedule. And so in many respects we get worse than animals. And then on top of that there is this pretense, that these people are going to be transformed into this maximum spiritual being, or join this spiritual heaven together.

Some of you may get an inkling that you'd like to look into this a little more deeply. We're not going to get too deep here in an hour. I'm used to talking all night long. I used to get around these universities and we'd go down to McDonald's hamburger joint and the second session would begin there. But you can only scratch the surface in an hour here. Later, some of us are going over to where I'm staying, and if anybody's interested in asking questions and we can't get to them here, you'll be welcome to come over. Because I feel that there will be a lot left to say.

I'll mention this briefly, that I did have an experience when I was thirty years of age, in Seattle, Washington. And tonight I'm going to run through some more of the things I have encountered.

Lecture of questions

I've got some questions I want to read here. I hope that the purpose of them will become clear as we go along. It starts out with:

What do you know for sure?

And I'll tell you one thing I know for sure: I can't see without glasses.

Does a man own a house, or does the house own him?

Does a man have power, or is he overpowered?

Does a man enjoy, or is he consumed?

Does a man really reason, or is it all a complex rationalization?

These are serious questions. You can think of some of your conclusions and say, "Well, I've logically figured them out." But a lot of the stuff we later realize that we rationalized. Like the fellow meets the woman of his choice, and logically he says, "Oh, everything points that this is it," Then a few years later in divorce court he realizes that it was all rationalization. Or maybe he blames someone for it.

Or is he so programmed?

Can he help himself? Does a man have any logic, or is he just programmed? Is it possible he's programmed to go through this thing just like sheep going over the fence. They don't hesitate; they take the same steps as everybody else

Can a man learn? Or can he become, by his own efforts?

Why build anthills before knowing what an ant is?

Why do we build conceptual towers of Babel about human thinking, before we know what thought is?

How many people have given a thought about thought?

How can you dare define thought before knowing the source-cause of thought?

Or the essence of thought—what is the essence of thought?

When you describe bouncing, do you describe the striking object, or that which is struck?

That's saying a little bit about karma.

Can you stop thinking?

Can you start thinking?

We believe that we think—try stopping it. Try stopping it. Or say to yourself, "When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'm going to start thinking about calculus." Or about American history, or about going to work.

But we don't start thinking—it's started, before we can get fully conscious. The game has caught up with us before we can even stop it from closing in.

Is thought something we receive, or something projected?

When you read van der Leeuw [The Conquest of Illusion] you'll realize that he understood this years ago, that you see one thing and you project another. And somewhere in that book you'll find a little dot that looks like a star; and he said very possibly that that's all a human being could really look like, but we have projected the rest onto him.

Is thought a sort of somatic effluvium?

In other words, are we a coil that exudes electricity, which in turn is thought?

Do we think, or are we forced to think?

Is "negative" thinking negative to man or negative to nature?

You hear a lot about this: "Oh, you're a negative thinker." In other words, a lot of the accusations of negative thinking are from people who are negative to nature, and they are accusing someone else of being negative to man, meaning they're negative to social mores or political thinking.

Does a tree create wind by waving its branches?

Can theological facts be established by voting?

There aren't a lot of people here, you know. But does that mean that the people here don't know as much as the people who go down to the big Woodstock affairs? Because there's more of them, are they right and we wrong by virtue of the normal curve of psychology, based on what the most people do?

Is Mary the mother of God, or is humanity the mother of God?

You hear both stories. Or is it neither?

Is God determined by victorious armies?

In World War II, the Capuchins had priests on both sides, praying to kill the others.

Is virtue established by psychological edict?

The psychologists say that the virtue of yesterday is not virtue today.

By ecclesiastical vote?

Or by the requisites of our ultimate essence?

In other words, by what we consider that our ultimate essence is.

What is sin? An offense against yourself? An offense against your fellow man?

Or an offense against God?

It's amazing that God could be capable of being sinned against.

Is an offense against God recognized by divine outcry, earthquake, or cosmic catastrophe?

This was believed at one time. You better sacrifice somebody because a volcano erupted.

Is it a sin to eat meat?

Are the animals our brothers?

Are they possessed of intelligence and soul?

Do animals sin when they eat other animals?

Or are such sinning animals pardoned for keeping ecology in balance?

We gave them a pardon.

Is it wrong to kill except for food?

Why do we not eat the people we kill?

Why not, after the battle's over, round them up?

What we're saying is that these great, massive rationalisms just don't match up when you compare one with the other.

Who is knowledgeable about good?

Our whole system, our whole civilization, depends upon good and bad. If you're good, okay, you'll be Mayor—we'll put you in jail later. If you're bad, well, kill him, get rid of him. And you have to have definitions for that stuff before you can pick up that fellow and throw him in jail or throw him out of society, for whatever he's done.

Is good that which we desire, or that which is in itself good?

What is this condition called "in itself good"?

I think you know what we mean by that.

Is evil the child of good, or is it a twin?

In other words, is this just a relative part of a unity? That the good and bad are two parts of a Unity, capital "U"?

If a man drives a horse through a plate glass window, should we prosecute the man or the horse?

The horse is the one that went through.

If a man robs to feed his children, should we prosecute the man or that which drove him, the children?

If a man rapes a girl, should we prosecute a) the man, b) the girl who tempted him, c) his ancestors, for his genetic inheritance or glandular inclinations, or d) the force that designed mankind?

Now don't get the idea that I'm in favor of rape. But these questions are necessary to give a little idea of the blame. One of the things I've said all my life is, "I'm too ignorant to commit a sin." I don't know what a sin is. I've lived according to a certain code, and I've lived within that code because I found it better for myself and my spiritual future. But I don't say that I condemn anybody—I don't know what a sin is.

What is our purpose?

We'd like to define ourself. What's our purpose on earth? Now somebody will open up the catechism on page so-and-so and say, "We're here to sing eternal praises," or to do this-or-that. But ultimately—that becomes a little shallow.

What is our apparent purpose?

I really would like for you to think about that one, and remind me to get back to it—what our apparent purpose is. I was raised on a farm.

Can we identify ourselves?

Are we that which we think we are?

We went through that before; the idea that a ten year old boy thinks he's something, and that's his total being. And then he finds out ten years later that wasn't his total being.

In other words, we project something onto ourselves; we look into the mirror and we project it. If you've still got hair you might part it, comb it, and say, "Oh, boy, this guy could cause a lot of trouble with the opposite sex. He's the tops." You go out with that foolish idea and maybe somebody will believe it. Well, by the same token, you'll also project with other people, and you project things they don't have. And in our identity with the human being, we're tangling, we're tripping over projections. We're tripping over something inside of us, twisting our vision and our senses and everything else to a certain aim.

Can we know about God if we can't tell a whore or a pimp from a saint?

I'm not talking about something far beyond that, the acme of all spirituality. If we're going to project upon people and find out later that we fooled ourselves, how are we going to know the truth if we ever saw it?

I'm going to tell you a little story. This little question was brought up in a holy-roller church back in West Virginia—that's the particular cul-de-sac I'm from. This preacher was saying to his congregation, "You people wouldn't know Jesus Christ if he came through the door." Of course, he was right, and they couldn't argue with him. But some kids outside were playing, and of course they thought religion was a big joke and they were continually playing pranks on the preacher. So one time they got up in a tree above this old cabin that the service was being held in, and they dropped a rock on the roof just as the preacher said that. So everybody immediately fell down on the floor and went to kneeling and praying and praising the Lord, because when that rock hit the roof it shook the whole building, and they thought God was conveying a message. It's amazing the effect that children could have on their theological beliefs.

He was saying it at every meeting, and the next time he did that the kids pushed open the church door and shoved a little donkey through it. The preacher said, "If Christ walked down that aisle you wouldn't know him." And when the donkey walked down the aisle, they got up and said, "Praise the Lord, welcome Jesus." And they accepted the fact that he came in a disguised form to test them.

But this is true, we have preconceptions. On the television show the other day the man wanted me to define truth.2 And I said, "It's like defining God; once we use that word I have to take your definition." I don't know how many were listening on that TV channel—there may be thousand people listening and you may have 999 different definitions; each person has a different idea. Consequently, you're going to harmonize with one of them and 998 will disagree with you and say you're wrong. To define the findings, if you really find something, you'd better use some other terms—because that word is taken. All young people grow up with it, with a certain ingrained meaning. And when you're looking for the truth you have to abolish beforehand all previous things which may be misconceptions.

It's alright to start out with tentative beliefs, because you have to do that to a certain degree. But if you start off with what they call statements of worth, with absolute convictions, you have already stopped. You're saying, "This is what it has to be or I won't proceed any further, because I will not let it conflict with what I already believe." And the reason is that you've got a big ball of wax built up, and if it comes apart, then maybe your personality will come apart too; because too much time was put in on it.

Who are we?

Now this seems like an idle question, but….

What is the self? Is it the body?

To the behavioral psychologist, the self is the body; there's nothing else. What you see is what you get, as what's his name says. There's no soul; there's no spirit. Now what about the mind? Well, they say that's the somatic mind.

Is there a self beyond the mind?

Can you know the mind or the self adequately if you are unable to communicate that knowledge?

We all know that we think. But somebody could stand up and argue that you only react. There's still a better argument, and that is that you don't even react, that your reactions just bounce off you. You're just part of the machinery and the reaction pattern is going on. That's what it amounts to maybe If you believe in behaviorism; you're just a cog in a perpetual motion machine that keeps on moving.


End of part 2; to be continued.


1. Unlike the Radha-Soami, who advocate an abstentious lifestyle.

2. Public TV interview, WPBT in Miami. 11 minutes. See http://direct-mind.org/index.php5?title=1985-1015-Public-TV-Interview-Miami.

~ Thanks to Steve Harnish for the transcription. for information on the transcription project.

Return to the main page of the July 2017 TAT Forum.

Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book! Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.

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