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October 2017 / More

TAT Foundation News

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/.

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Inspiration & Irritation

Irritation moves us; inspiration provides a direction

Guru's Satisfaction
Alfred Pulyan quote

The instructor (I wish there were a better word than this one or than master, guru, etc! Maybe "friend" would do) does not get these satisfactions to his ego.  His only satisfaction is when the student attains realization of the one Self and tries haltingly to express his infinite gratitude and then when such a student, in his turn, continues the "Work" with others. ~ From "Awakening Therapy" (found in a folder of Pulyan's work titled "Book Notes" by TAT member Nick G.)

Excerpt from a Letter to Peter Geshell
Franklin Merrell-Wolff

…I do not find anything like a specific and detailed technique for this which may be applied infallibly. I have found it to be mainly a matter of self-analysis in which the element of original self-discovery is an essential part.

Thus, while general principles may be formulated objectively and illustrative procedure suggested, yet the individual must do the work himself with an alert mind and ready to modify method as may be suggested intuitively.

First of all, the problem may be viewed as a search for the permanent, in the impermanent or for the invariant element in the midst of change. It is analogous to the basic problem of mathematical analysis wherein we first determine a fixed base of reference—such as the common system of Cartesian co-ordinates—with respect to which we analyze the movement of variables. Now, in the beginning, one might possibly seek for the permanent or invariant in the objectively given. It is, indeed, possible that success might be achieved by this line of approach. In a sense, it is the course followed by Gautama Buddha and, in the end, the ultimate Goal is the same as that achieved by the subjective route. However, it is not the method which I employed and it seems to me to be the more difficult way. In any case, one soon finds that no sensible content of consciousness is permanent. In the end, objective permanency will prove to be very subtle. But whether we go by the subjective road or by the objective road we may well begin with the objective.

Now it is natural to begin at the point where the seeker is. In fact, there is no other place to begin. But where is it that I am? First it might appear to be the particular point on, in or above the earth I might happen to be—a place defined by latitude, longitude, and altitude, the three coordinates of three-dimensional space. But, at once, it is clear that this place changes. Generally, I find myself moving about so the values of the three co-ordinates change. It then may occur to one that the real base is the combination of the meridian through Greenwich, the equator and the mean level of the sea. But further thought shows this is not fixed since the earth itself is a moving body with respect to other stellar and planetary bodies. I think that you will see the regression this leads towards. Well, then, let us turn about and look in the other direction. Perhaps my body is the permanent base. But this leads to difficulty because the body is clearly subject to change. There is birth, growth, decay, and death.

Now, here is an important point. I see that my body is subject to change. Does that mean that I am subject to change? Superficially one might say "yes," but further analysis reveals that since I can witness and know the fact of body-change I must actually have some base other than the body. That which merely changes could never know that it changes. There must be some invariant base in order to know the fact of change. But what is it? Perhaps my thought. But again, I find myself able to perceive my thought. It flows into quite variable patterns, and while it certainly does color my valuations and judgments, there is clearly much change in it and I find that I know what I am thinking so I am not the same thing as the thinking. We have not yet found the permanent.

Well, ultimately, I find that anything whatsoever, no matter how subtle, which can be a content of my consciousness, is not final and permanent. The course of self-analysis here involves a good deal of progressively more and more subtle discrimination, but, in the end, I reach this conclusion. Sooner or later I come to the conclusion that that which I call "I" or the "Witness" is the permanent element. At this point the seeker is getting "warm," as the saying goes, but there still are difficulties.

Instinctively we seem to view the "I" as an object of our consciousness, and it may be some time before we realize that so long as the "I" seems to be an object it is being perceived by something else. Well, presently, it dawns that this something else is really "I," and not the "I" which has become a subtle object. Perhaps I may repeat the process and go after the new "I" in the same way as before, but the results are as before. There is no end to this game. I simply am never there before myself as an object, however subtle. I always stand behind the viewing. Now, this that I can never reduce to an object of consciousness is the subjective moment of the manifold of consciousness of which all content is one part. Ordinarily it is only content which has concerned me, but it becomes clear that if there were no subjective moment or pole there could be no content. The subjective moment is not thought nor is it the coloring of consciousness which feeling may produce. I find that I can perceive the coloring produced by feeling. Depression and exaltation, etc., can be observed and studied. Thus I find that I really stand apart from these qualities. Ultimately I find that I am the bare power of awareness which is quite colorless since it can differentiate the various colorings. The pure power of awareness is unaffected by pain or pleasure, good or evil or any of the other contrasting pairs of opposites. It is always the same. But to be always the same is to be outside time, since "time" is merely another name for change. Here it dawns upon me that since I am timeless, "mortality" is a valid predication of only that which is in time and an object of consciousness, and this includes my body and all my distinguishable qualities, but not I myself, in the ultimate sense. At last, I have found a true invariant.

The analysis so far has carried us to a valid intellectual recognition that is sound. But, so far, it is not yet the mystical "breakthrough." This involves more, part of which is not under the control of the candidate. The mystical awakening may be thought of as the arousal to activity of a new organ or function. Such has been recognized and variously named by the mystics down through history. In Sanskrit it is called "Samadhindriya." But this is not to be regarded as a sensuous organ. We might call it the "transcendental organ" which is both super-sensuous and super-conceptual. It gives a consciousness which differs from conceptual consciousness in a manner somewhat analogous to the way in which the latter differs from sensual consciousness. The concept may mean the super-conceptual value, but is not identical with it.

The difference may be illustrated by an event in the history of astronomy. You may remember that the planet Neptune was predetermined both as to its actuality and location by mathematical calculation from the perturbations of other planets. Subsequently, by telescopic observation in the pre-determined part of [the sky] the planet was seen and the calculation verified. Now, the calculation is like the conceptual knowledge and, as far as it could go, was perfectly correct. But the perception of the planet through the telescope gave [a new] kind of knowledge of the planet. The telescope corresponds to Samadhindriya, save that it was built objectively, whereas the organ built subjectively. A large part of the life discipline of the Way is related to the building of this organ. It may, indeed, be the fruit of several incarnations of effort. But when it is ready and the mind is prepared, its functioning is sometime started in a way which is quite spontaneous so far as the candidate is concerned. Actually, it is very likely that the Master has had a very definite hand in this, though in a way not known to the candidate.

It is the arousal of the so-called organ that is equivalent to the "New Birth." Self-identity is established upon a new base of reference. The one really valid religious end is achieved. The conceptual preparation is valuable in two respects. 1) It helps to achieve proper alignment for the objective or personal consciousness, and, 2) it renders possible collaboration between the new consciousness and the intellect. It is this combination that distinguishes master from simple mysticism.

The transcendental organ gives certain knowledge, but this certainty and even omniscient quality applies to the pure knowledge, not to the intellectual interpretation. The latter is subject to being more or less correct and must be prepared to face criticism. In one sense, the Awakening is extremely simple. The Awakened One is at once more at home in the new world than he was in the old, and everything is perfectly obvious until he tries to talk about it. Then he finds he has a very complex problem in his hands. Metapsychology and transcendental philosophy takes the best that one has of intellectual resource. Even in the ordinary sense, an infant can see, but, it would require a very able scientist and philosopher to understand what seeing means. But understanding seeing is not much use unless one can see, so there is a sense in which the most infantile mystic has an advantage over the greatest intellectual who is only an intellectual. So, the combination is necessary for command.


~ Thanks to TAT member Beau B. for recommending this letter from Merrell-Wolff. See www.franklinmerrell-wolff.com for a biographical sketch and information on his teaching.

The letter comes from The Franklin Merrell-Wolff Fellowship. Except where otherwise noted, content on the Franklin Merrell-Wolff Fellowship website by the Editors and Authors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-Share-A-Like 4.0 International License.

Merrell-Wolff wrote the letter in 1944, eight years after his fundamental realization and the same year he published Pathways Through to Space: An Experiential Journal.

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Jim Carrey Philosophizing at Fashion Week

We're a bunch of ideas cobbled together to look like a form. There's a body and there's a mind, but the body is part of the field of consciousness, just dancing for itself and it's no different than a plant or a chair or your phone—it's all one thing. Because we are sentient, there's a consciousness, and we have to deal with this thing we create, like a fortress of ideas around it. So we say, "This is my name and this is my heritage and this is my nationality and here's my hockey team and these are all of the things that I am." That's the mistake.

The only way to it is to step into the river of tears and the sorrows of your life. The things that everyone is avoiding with everything from drugs to drink to sex and gadgets and whatever else you can distract yourself with, all of it is designed for you to never stop going and moving and, for god sakes, not feel the abyss. Don't allow yourself to feel the abandonment and pain that you've suffered. And I've done it; I'm through it. I'm sure there will be things that happen again, but I realized that by letting myself fall into it completely, that it's not to be feared. Death is not to be feared.


~ https://www.wmagazine.com/story/jim-carrey-explains-existential-fashion-week-interview. Thanks to TAT member Benjy H. for pointing out this material.

Excerpt from Walking to Listen

I'd been walking for about six months when my mom decided it was finally time to see her oldest son again. Since I wasn't finished walking yet, she flew out to meet me. Her plane landed in Austin, so she and her friend Leslie had to drive out and pick me up off the highway. The sight of a car pulling over on the shoulder in front of me wasn't unusual; people often stopped to see what I was doing, or to make sure I wasn't pushing a baby in Bob [a baby stroller he finally bought to hold his backpack]. It was strange, however, to see my mom get out. She ran to give me a big hug, laughing at the sight of her son pushing a baby stroller on the side of the highway. We looked at each other as if for the first time.

"Are you still here?" she seemed to be saying with her eyes. "Who have you become? Who is my son now?"

We drove two hours to Austin—a three day walk—and we spent a week catching up, resting. We were at a café one afternoon when she told me she thought I had indeed changed.

"You seem more yourself," she said, "like you're at home with yourself. You've been calling me less, you know."

"I know," I said. "I'm sorry."

"No, no, it's okay. At the beginning I could tell you were calling me because you needed it. It was for you. But now when you call me, it's more for me. You've just really settled into this walk."

I felt that way much of the time. Not always, but often. More and more, the walking was like a well-trodden path back into a kind of sanctuary, where no one else could come with me, even if I wished they could. I was realizing that the aloneness wasn't going to kill me after all, kind of like an astronaut taking off her helmet on an alien planet only to find that she didn't need it, she could breathe there just fine, the atmosphere was made to support her, and she was made to thrive in it. Sometimes the aloneness was nothing short of wondrous, just abiding in it, regardless of where I happened to be in the outside world—under a bridge, or on the side of the interstate, or tucked away in the mesquite trees. I was learning to trust it.

Even as a toddler, the alien planet of solitude had a gravitational pull on me. I would seek it out, even at the cost of occasional loneliness. When I was two or three years old, I disappeared behind the Christmas tree for hours, sending my parents into a panic. A few years later, I started climbing trees to get there, finding quiet nooks in the air where there was nothing but bark and the wind and the birds. I took to the trees again in college, at night in the farm fields and the forests, in stands of pine on top of hills glowing with snow and moon, on a mountaintop nestled snugly in a crook of an evergreen's crown, I could find whatever I'd lost that day.

But solitude had always just been an alien planet I'd go to visit once in a while. When I started walking, it was as if I'd chosen to accept that planet as my home. Hearing Mom's words made me remember just how unbearably lonely and frayed I'd often felt in the early months of my walk and, in some ways, for years. In Texas, even though I felt more at home in myself, that loneliness hadn't disappeared. Perhaps it was an effect of the lingering longing to love someone in a way that would dissolve me, merge my planet with theirs. But this was an impossible wish. Each one of us was stuck on our own planet—we each were our own planet—and any attempt to squash two planets together would result not in a new planet, but in a catastrophic collision in the cosmos.


~ From Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time by Andrew Forsthoefel.

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