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September 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 September 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 4 (the final part) of the transcript follows (continued from the June 2017 TAT Forum, the July 2017 TAT Forum, and the August 2017 TAT Forum):

Q and A begins

Q. I'm more than a little interested in what happened to you in Seattle, Washington. Would you tell us?

R. Well, let's get some other questions, because that might be the last one of the night.

Joseph Chilton Pearce

Q. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to too many people about this, but I think that what most human beings do, or probably all, is to process life based on what we know – not considering that what we know is really nothing that we know, but what we believe.

R. Right, right.

Q. So what I do is try to un-process life, and by un-processing life it gets down to what I actually know. I've been working on this for awhile now, and I think that's how you get to the foundation of what's happening.

R. Did you ever read Joseph Chilton Pearce?1 He's got a couple books out, one of them is The Crack in the Cosmic Egg. Chilton Pearce's wife was dying of cancer, and it occurred to him that the reason she was dying was because of a paradigm. In other words, we agree to it, somewhere along the line. I said earlier that this world is an illusion, but it's a very well-constructed illusion, down to every ion and proton and electron there is. So if it's an illusion, it's an extremely well organized illusion. And it's just like everything else – we've got to live with it before we transcend it – so don't try to get too far outside of it. Because everybody believes it.

And the best analogy I could give you is, they say that faith will move mountains. I believe this is true, but it will only move mountains if there are no people on the other side of that mountain who refuse to accept it. In other words, you can't get enough people. You might be able to get enough people to believe that a man is going to have an ulcer on his leg healed, and the ulcer will become healed. But to get a healing session where everybody's going to sit down and force an amputated leg to be replaced – I have no historical evidence of that ever happening.

So this is the limit – we have to go along with this paradigm. The only thing is, what you can do is not get involved too deeply. You may wake up some day and be surprised – especially if you're on your way to the electric chair – it will happen real quick, and you'll say, "I've been kidding myself."

Apparent purpose

Q. Would you care to go over your understanding of why we are here?

R. [laughs] You are a rascal.

Q. You asked for it.

R. I have said this before – I'm talking about the apparent reason – we don't know the real reason. If we all knew the real reason we're here, we'd get at it right away; you wouldn't need me up here telling you, or trying to tell you about what approximately it might be.

But the apparent reason – going back to what I asked – what are we, basically? We're animals. We're basically animals, with divine pretenses. Okay, so we'll start with facts; let's say the old behavioristic fact that these are bodies in front of me.

I was giving a lecture in Pittsburgh, and I went around the room one by one and said, "What are you here for?" And a lot of them said they didn't know. But I came to one lady who said, very naively, "Oh, I'm just here to help God." And I said, "What the hell makes you think he needs your help?" So just who are these conceited egotists, to think that they're that important?

What are we, basically? Do you want to find the truth? You start with basics: a naked body. The biggest lie, one of the first lies we tell, is that we go out and get clothes and we put them on. Now I'm not a nudist and I'd never be a nudist, because I figure those are prurient shops – possibly, but I'm not going to run the risk of finding out. But regardless, we should face the fact that we're an animal. And when you pull your clothes off you'll see the apparatus there. The big point in life is the same thing as the seed of corn that grows in the ground. When that corn grain grows and the silk on the tassel is fresh, the pollination occurs; then the kernels becomes ripened and the leaves start to dry. And the same thing with the human being. When the pollination starts, the hair falls off of the head and the leaves start to dry. That's your purpose on earth.

Okay – when you accept that, then you're an honest person and you can do more. You can say, "Hey, I would like to see if I can't keep this thing going. Because according to the schedules in the old animal kingdom, the corn falls to the ground and rots, and so do we." So we start examining the potential for possibly surviving this death that follows everybody. And this is the origination of all religions – basically, trying to survive death.

But if we go into it with some other pretense beforehand, that we are innately divine – and a lot of people tell you this, that they're innately divine – then I don't know what they're talking about. All I know is that they're going to start off with some doctrine or some book that will take up thirty or forty years of their time, and if they're lucky enough not to get run over by a Mack truck, they're going to scream before they die – that they have missed the boat. Or that they could have found a better approach, perhaps. But they sure have wasted a lot of time.

Man number 1, 2, 3, 4

But basically we're an instinctive man. Gurdjieff wrote this up pretty well.2 He classified man in seven categories – I could only find five, so I'll give you them; I don't know what he meant by six and seven. The first man is an instinctive man; he lives to live, he goes out and he fights, he's a warrior, he hunts and he kills and he feeds his family. He protects the kids and he's a good man. But he has sex for the sake of his body, he doesn't know anything else, and he lives for what he can grab. And of course, if he isn't exposed to somebody who's got theological ideas, he'll die as that.

But somewhere along the line, he meets a woman and he falls in love. I'm speaking of a man, but if you feel you have to bring in both, you can bring them in yourself. The woman is the same way; the woman is also instinctive. And you can draw good parallels between the hen and the rooster, the cow and the bull, and the woman and the man. We see these things in human life. So when that man falls in love with the woman, invariably, he forgets himself. And he puts himself secondary to his children – if he's a man. Now if he's a low-order dog he can walk away and leave them and not think a thing about it; he remains on the instinctive plane.

Now the things that that man does for his wife – and he'll sacrifice his life for her; if somebody bothers his family, if he's a man he'll give his life for them. But this raises him above the instinctive man. He's not thinking about his pleasure anymore. He may be indulging in the necessary sex to reproduce, but he has made that institution sacred. Or if he falls in love with Jesus, or if she falls in love with Jesus – they're removed from their physical self, and there's an elevation, an automatic elevation. They have become something better; they're no longer just an animal, a naked animal. And so this of course becomes what people consider the top, the acme in life; they've reached the point where they're working unselfishly for other people.

Okay, but there's another step after so many years of this. I have talked to ministers, who had been in love with Jesus, and then one day they say, "Hey, something's wrong here." And they'd change and they'd go into something else. At first they wouldn't know where to go. When a person gives up whatever he feels is inadequate, he doesn't know where to go. So you start looking. Sometimes it's the Kabbalah; the fundamentalists will go into the Kabbalah and they'll study Hebrew and see what they can find out. Or they'll study astrology, numerology, God knows what.

They're trying to apply logic now. This is what Gurdjieff calls the emotional man – man number two – but now through logic he'll try to analyze the scriptures instead of just reading them. And they labor with that until they have what I call the eureka experience.3 In Japan it's called the satori experience4 and in algebra it's called the realization of what "x" means. These are all eureka experiences. There's an illumination – the power of the intellect comes over a man, and he realizes he's capable of doing tremendous things with that intellect. He's capable of solving tremendous mathematical problems, building battleships or rocket ships or whatever.

And that exaltation will last awhile, until he has applied it diligently over a long period of time, and he finds that there are holes in it – that it's no longer the answer. And if he spends twenty years in that and he's got twenty more years left, then he may get into a philosophic search. And again he doesn't know where to go; the path is a vast expanse of confusion. I used to call it "looking under every rock"; you go back to the drawing board and start looking under every rock. And sometimes you discover something.


And there's an exaltation or experience that comes out of that, which is called cosmic consciousness. He becomes one with the evenness and the constancy of the creation which he sees: the cosmos, the physical world – where everything becomes beautiful. He wants to write poetry, and he realizes that whatever is out there, it's in good hands.

That incidentally in Hindu terminology is known as kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. And then there's a stage beyond that, of course, which is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Ramana Maharshi describes this more aptly than anybody else I ever read.5 Kevala samadhi is cosmic consciousness; you lower the bucket into the well, and when you draw it back up it's the same old bucket. But down in that well is the experience, the well of experience.

In sahaja samadhi, the drop of water falls into the river, and it enters the ocean, and you never see it again.6 That's symbolic of the personality, and death.

Isis Unveiled

Q. You mentioned the book Isis Unveiled, then you brushed it off. What about it?

R. There's an enormous amount of it.

Q. Yes, I know. Do you want to touch on it a little bit?

R. Oh my God, where would I start? It's an encyclopedia of knowledge. We have a book service and we carry it. I don't find that it's dogmatic. All books get criticized. The more you say, the more you leave things out, the more you get criticized. So there's a lot said in there, and I don't know that it's wise to discuss it.

Q. If you wanted to leave a message to the President, something that he could take away that would be useful to him, what would you say?

R. Ohhhh – burn your house, shoot your wife, and sink the ship. [laughs]


Q. I'm very curious, with all of the research you have done throughout your life, all the reading and everything else, are you a believer in reincarnation?

R. No, I'm not. I'm not a disbeliever either. I was asked that on one of the shows. I'm not a disbeliever. In fact I had a dream of a place one time – generally you forget a dream but this one haunted me. And maybe twenty years later I had children and I took the family for a drive. There was an old Rose farm, owned by people by the name of Rose, on Ten Mile Creek, in Pennsylvania.7 And I went because there was some hint that it might have been a distant relative. And when I went there I saw the place that was in the dream. And I don't say that there's any proof of reincarnation. But as soon as I walked up there I said to my wife, "This is it. Right here is where the two old buildings stood." There was a road that went up along Ten Mile Creek.

But I'll tell you, one of the reasons that I avoid even trying to answer the question is that I feel that too many people would use reincarnation as a delaying technique. If you're guaranteed that you're going to come back, even in a suffering form, people will say, "Oh, well, I'll eventually get around to this." I had a fellow write to me, a Rosicrucian, and he said, "Oh Rose, take it easy. You've got plenty of lives ahead of you." But let's deal with facts. What do we know for sure? We know today, not tomorrow.

But I'd say as far as the theories are concerned, as far as justice is concerned, the Christian system doesn't have any justice in it – of course, if we gauge justice according human standards. You know, God might like to eat us – maybe we're just being fattened up for a meal, a few million to a bite.


Q. You said the world is an illusion, but if you walked up and hit me, you'd have a hard time convincing me it wasn't real.

R. Well, it isn't too hard to see it. Because sooner or later in life, if you haven't already had one, you'll have a dream that is stronger than life. And you'll have to reconnoiter to see which is which. The reality of that dream will be so great that you will doubt that you're going to wake up, in daily life. So it's possible for the human mind to conceive of something more real than this objective existence.

I had a brother who got killed in the war; in fact he was killed off the coast of Florida here. And about a year later he started to show up. He'd show up at night and I'd say, "Why do you come at night? Why don't you come and talk to me in the daytime." And he reassured me that where he was, it was the same as where he had been – with the family. And I could accept that reality he lived in to such an extent that I had to get rid of him, because otherwise I would have joined him. That's the way the human mind works. This was day after day after day. And I said, "Hey, I love you, but I've got to play on this spot a little longer."

Q. Why is it that some dreams are more real? There's more color, more light, the people's voices are prettier, and everything is better, more alive.

R. Well, I don't think you're talking about everybody. Some people have nightmares.

Q. Or the reverse.

R. Yeah, they're glad they wake up. In fact, this objective life – this planet or play and the beings all around them – is basically a point of reference for them. And it's a good place to come in a nightmare, to get back here, to get back to this nightmare.

A. [announcement by Theosophical Society officer] Mr. Rose will be speaking at the Florida Society for Psychical Research8 on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in Hollywood. And Saturday night we're having a Round Table meeting,9 which is already announced.

R. Art has the phone number and if any of you people want to get together, it's not that difficult. I'll be here through this week and I'm not going to be that busy. I'm not enamored with the town enough to be hitting the high spots. And of course tonight we're going to get together.

Q. I'd like to get your view on what you think lies ahead of us, from this plane on. You have this very large overview. What is ahead for humanity?

R. Well, number one, I believe that all people are immortal – automatically immortal. But I do not believe that we go to the same place.

Q. What do you mean by our being immortal?

R. Well, I believe that the awareness doesn't terminate. But you can't expect to advance into a dimension that you're mentally not prepared for, that you haven't vaccinated yourself to beforehand. If the mind with certain convictions and limitations lands in a certain place, it would consider it either oblivion or hell, or something of that sort.

And I base this upon a lot of evidence coming up today, solid physical evidence, in books by people who have explored life after death in the hospitals, the deathbed experiences: Raymond Moody,10 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,11 Karlis Osis,12 and Erlendur Haraldsson.13 Amazing accounts. But they point to certain things; that there are different experiences after death. They come in clusters: there are clusters of people who meet their relatives; there are clusters of people who don't meet their relatives.


End of the Miami Theosophical Society talk transcript.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Chilton_Pearce

2. P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous. Full text: http://selfdefinition.org/gurdjieff/.

3. Marking the transition from emotional to intellectual man. Rose also calls this the "wow!" experience. Rose doesn't give a concrete illustration of what is actually realized (what facts are observed) in the "eureka" experience other than the discovery of intellectual capacity. I.e., he doesn't state the philosophic equivalent of "how to solve for x" in algebra.

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satori. A currently accepted definition of satori (or kensho) is "seeing into one's nature," that is, the discovery of awareness (the fact of awareness). Satori in this sense would mark a transition from the intellectual man to what Rose calls the philosophic man, although Rose states that cosmic consciousness marks this transition.

5. See Ramana's descriptive chart at http://www.albigen.com/uarelove/sahaja.aspx.

6. As a drop.

7. South of Pittsburgh.

8. Sunday is Nov. 3, 1985. No recording of the talk is available.

9. Saturday is Nov. 2, 1985. See http://direct-mind.org/index.php5?title=1985-1102-What-Do-You-Know-For-Sure-Miami.

10. Life After Life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Moody.

11. On Death and Dying. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Kubler-Ross.

12. At the Hour of Death.

13. I Saw A Light And Came Here: Children's Experiences of Reincarnation See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlendur_Haraldsson. Co-authored At the Hour of Death with Karliss Osis.

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

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

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