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March 2018 / 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 March 2018 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.

Nostalgia and Dreams

Part 3 of a talk given at Case Western Reserve University in 1978 (continued from the January 2018 TAT Forum and the February 2018 TAT Forum):

Q & A continues

Q. I notice that in the seductive and the fear dreams, there's a lot of material to worry about – what the motivation of other people is, stuff like that.

R. Yes, but not in the nostalgic dreams. In the seductive dream you become aggressive. You may want to rape somebody, and you may in your dream rape somebody. That ego is manifesting there; that's your acquisition. But not in the nostalgic moods.

This is the reason I thought there was a possibility that sometime the nostalgic mood could get so strong – that you would pledge your life to a certain peacefulness on earth, as opposed to finding the answer out for yourself. Trying to find this common denominator of behavior, which would be so beneficial to everybody that we'd all live in this nostalgic mood – and in that respect lose our spiritual directive, and it might be detrimental to you. That's the possible bad aspect of it. But the good part is, that it sure isn't going to give you any harm; you're not going to get into trouble with your fellowman by listening to it.

Q. Does that imply that that the nostalgic mood is directly opposed to a spiritual drive you might have?

R. No, I don't think so. Because of the simple fact that the nostalgia or the eternality of a home life, especially a non-turbulent home life, parallels the spiritual direction. The spiritual direction also, is aimed at social life. I'd say that seventy-five percent of all spiritual direction today is social.

Q. What is the point of being aware of your dreaming?

R. Well, of course, like I said, there are dreams that aren't nostalgic. I think that this is a goal that a lot of people reach for, to be able to be aware of their dreaming. And I know myself that I've been in situations where I became aware that I was dreaming in order to wake up – because I couldn't get away from the nightmare I was having.

Q. I've read a few people who say they can wake themselves up during a dream – not actually physically waking up: they say they actually wake up within the dream. And they say they really learned a lot from doing that, following their dream more consciously. Have you ever done that? Is there a benefit of it?

R. Yes. This is basically the reason I'm talking, that I don't think we pay enough attention to this side of our dreams. A lot of people are looking into the prophecy of dreams – trying to prophesize or find out what's going to make money on the stock market tomorrow, to dream the right dream. But I think that as far as psychology is concerned, it's legitimate to be able to live somewhat in this state of mind.

I think that it's very similar to the state of mind you'll have after death, for one thing. It's very similar. Because you're going to lose most of your senses, in a certain order. Almost any doctor will tell you that after the sight goes, the hearing is the last to go. So those two senses are the last contact with this dimension, so to speak.

I believe that there's not enough known. The trouble we have had in our group – several psychologists have come in, talking about dreams at the Chautauquas. And I notice that the public interest is always, "If I dream of a seven should I go bet on horse number seven?" Or, "Does this dream mean I'll meet the man I'm going to marry?" That there's a very shallow, pragmatic study of dreams. And even all the books are written on this shallow idea – getting what you want. And unfortunately, getting what you want isn't what you want. That's only temporary, what you want.

Q. You said that generally our perception is colored by different moods. Do you believe that in a higher state of consciousness there are moods also?

R. What do you mean by a higher state of consciousness?

Q. Well, when you generally are less controlled by your environment and your senses.

R. I thought maybe you were going to give me another answer [Laughs.] Well, the states they talk about are cosmic consciousness, which is kevala samadhi, and then sahaja samadhi. Now, if you mean where you're actually leaving the physical dimension, with your consciousness, I agree that there are moods – until you've reached the final one, and then there are no moods. I'm talking from personal experience. Because in the state of cosmic consciousness there's still a nostalgia for the earth, and a tremendous longing for the people you leave behind, especially when you know that you're leaving them incomplete. So I believe there are moods associated with that, until you pass clear through to what they call the sahaja samadhi state – that's the highest known level, the realization of the absolute.

Q. A lot of meditation stuff that I have read tries to cultivate a certain betweenness, such as not to think of things, or to get rid of objects in your perception. Do you think that's feasible at all?

R. I think if your intuition tells you that, then yes. Now, there are different forms of meditation going around the marketplace, and I think a lot of them are good for the people who are practicing them. I don't prescribe some of the things that are practiced. But I maintain that people are drawn to something that heals them.

And people will avoid stuff that will cause them too much trauma. And naturally, the system that I advise is one of trauma – causing trauma. But I'll say that for people who already have trauma – don't touch this. Don't touch it. You've got enough trouble. It's like the Zen koan – don't give a koan to a man who's already got a koan. One koan at a time.

And you don't have to give people koans, because some of them have more than they can carry. Consequently, for a person with a lot of trouble, I'd say that the idea of possibly making his mind vacuous may be a good exercise. It will take away the trauma. And then when he has the trauma taken away – then go to trauma. Then start digging at yourself, looking at yourself, worrying a bit with your thinking processes.

Q. We dream several hours every night, according to scientists who study this, and yet we only seem to remember a few minutes of it. I've often wondered whether we remember just the more prosaic dreams, that are closely related to our normal life, where there's some relation that we can understand. And then we might have very wild dreams that we just can't relate to during the day.

R. Yes. Not only that, but I sometimes think that what you get into in dreams is again what you're capable of getting into. I don't know how they gauge this. I do know that a person's able to time a dream: say if he wakes up and goes back to sleep, and maybe the alarm rings in ten minutes – and he had a dream in which he may have fought a whole battle. And he knows it had to happen in less than ten minutes.

And by putting electroencephalograms on a person's head, they can pretty much find corresponding waves that show that his mind is agitated. Now if you're going by that – I don't know whether you could actually say whether he was dreaming or not. But I don't think the mind is dead in sleep; this is the point.1 I don't know what gives the idea of oblivion in sleep, unless this is what we want. We're so tired, or we're so fed up that we want to check out completely, and nature checks us out.

And the reason I say this is I've seen children do it; they'll do it in the daytime. The kid gets to be two years old and when life becomes too much for him – they can get into something they call eclampsia, and the kid will just blank out. And if he keeps it up he goes into epilepsy; he can become an epileptic from just checking out. A lot of epilepsy in children I think is self-induced, the first few trips around. And then after a while they can't escape from it. It becomes a habit they can't escape from, and they become more or less incurable epileptics.

Back to dreams – there are people who have studied them, who have spent maybe ten years of their life doing nothing but trying to get inside their dreams. And strangely enough, I haven't encountered any of their books. I met a fellow in Columbus when I was about twenty-three years of age – he considered himself a yogi – and this is what he did. I expected a yogi to stand on his head or chant OM. Instead of this, this fellow was doing nothing but observing his dreams; he became dream-conscious.

Now I tried that at the time, and I didn't get the same results that he did. I got in touch with dead people and I had to quit [Laughs.] Whether they were real or not, I don't know. A brother who got killed, and that sort of thing.

Q. What did you say was the significance of a color, when you see color?

R. I don't know. All I'm saying is that I thought this deserves some study. But I know that there are certain things that are adductive to nostalgic dreams, and the gray dreams seem to be more nostalgic. And in advertising or the movies, or any of this television seduction, they use colors very artfully, and they use musical tones, to induce moods. And we're never aware of this. We're aware of somebody going out to buy a certain type of super-suds, some soap powder, but there's a subliminal music in the background. Or there's something done in the social interaction between the people that implies good neighbors and so on, to inspire a sort of nostalgic mood. Because I maintain that if you watch these commercials, all of them will employ the nostalgic mood, if not the seductive mood.

Q. I don't usually remember my dreams, but recently I had one that I couldn't forget. I even told maybe five people over the day, because I remembered it. And it had color in it; I couldn't ever remember having color in a dream before.

R. Right. This is the reason I asked everybody to put their hand up. I had a dream of a girl in a colored dress, a red dress – I was seventeen or eighteen years of age – and it struck my mind so forcefully that I never forgot it. I saw the girl's face and it was imprinted in my mind. It was out on the farm – this girl was coming down the road toward my farm. And I married her about twenty years later. She wasn't born at the time of the dream. But I met that same girl twenty years later and married her.2

Q. You mention contacting dead people when you studied your dreams.

R. Oh, this was my brother, when I was in Columbus. What I was doing was deliberately encouraging dreams. Like I said, you watch them. What you do incidentally, Tim, is you get a tablet and place it alongside your bed. Everybody dreams every night – that's the way you start into it. You were asking about getting into the deeper studies to see what goes on all night. Well, you might have more than you can record, I think, once you start doing this. It becomes a real story.

But if you keep recording them, you'll get more every night. And you'll get all kinds of stuff too. I used to keep a book for something like twenty years on dreams. I'd keep it close to the bed and I'd write them down. And it got so I'd write it down rather briefly because I didn't think much of it: "Oh, so what, I dreamt of an orange" Ok, so I'd write "orange."

But maybe I found out later that the orange meant something. I had a date in my dream book – 1957 I think it was – where I dreamt of a man planting an American flag on the moon. And I was leafing through this just a couple years ago and I wondered what significance that had to the real thing. Because this is what they were doing. They were sticking this flag in the dirt, and this is what happened several years later.

So that was precognitive, or – what? Now, we say that possibly everything exists in the space-time continuum. You've got to take this into account when you're dealing with dreams. There's nothing precognitive if we live in a space-time continuum. Everything is now. We have a sort of a mix-up in our consciousness, caused by living in a solar system with a body that seems to age and grow older and die. We seem to have a passing of time. But according to certain people like Einstein and Ouspensky, there is no passing of time. Time stands still and we pass.

Consequently, this so-called precognitive dream would just be looking into the room next door, that's all. Maybe it's ten years, twenty years away, but it would be just like looking into what's happening next door. Or down the line of film – the film is passing through the shutter, and if you turn your attention to someplace else on the film, you may see what's coming up to the shutter.

So I believe a lot of that should be taken into consideration when you're observing dreams. That it might explain a lot of the real strange stuff that comes in the line of precognition. And the same with stuff that happens in the past. Why recall something? Nearly everyone has had a dream of somebody they haven't talked to for years and years, and they say, "Why did I dream of that guy?" And you check the day before and the week before, and there's no reason. But if you write that dream down, I'm sure that sometime you'll read it and realize the reason why you dreamt it. There's some message.

Q. In other words, you're saying that there are specific moods that get us into the states of mind, and they are triggered in. It's almost as if some intelligence knows what will get us into these moods, so these are the things it uses.

R. Right, right. There's something that's trying to communicate, that's what I said. I used the word oversoul. Because I would rather believe that we have a higher consciousness. Or let's say the memory bank of the computer if nothing else – and it's able to communicate with us better if it isn't loused up with ten thousand factors bombarding the data room, the memory bank. So then you get a better rendition. But I also believe it's very possible that there may be a departed relative, or a guide, or somebody who's interested in your future – who can't get through to you in the daytime.

Q. I could just imagine that if somebody had control of all these different things, how they could cause a person to do about anything.

R. Well they do. We find people who are very skillful at that. And they can control, and they can sell a million dollars of merchandise – but can't control their own lives. So as far as they're concerned, it doesn't do them any good.

That's what I say. I believe, for instance, that if a person is dedicated to really getting to themselves and being honest with themselves, they will reject television advertising. They will just start and learn to reject it. Because they'll know it's coming to them not from a scientific truth as to the value of the product, as much as that they're creating a mood – or it follows a moody play on TV. After Little House on the Prairie, why, hit the guys with the commercials and see what happens. The advertisers demand certain spots because they know the effects.

Q. A friend of mine was involved in the study of colors, and they came to the conclusion that red and orange are passionate colors, and if the restaurants use them as part of their decor, they would sell more hamburgers. And so Burger King and McDonalds both went that way, and the volume of sales increased at such a rate that they changed all their stores.

R. Yes. Speaking of colors, there was a fellow from India who was healing people with colors about fifty years ago. I found this in a magazine section of an old newspaper in the attic. I used to keep these outstanding phenomena from papers like the National Enquirer, only this was a big colored magazine section in the paper. And they threw this fellow in the penitentiary for practicing medicine without a license. But today the hospitals use it.

He prescribed certain colors for certain ailments, and he said that green was the healthy color. And now they find that if you want to paint the walls of a hospital room for the best effect upon your patients, paint them green. If you paint them red you'll have trouble. And in a mental institution you don't paint any walls red, that is, blood red or flaming red, or you'll have trouble.

So the poor fellow went to the penitentiary – but he was trying to tell them something. Of course, I don't know what the effect his exposing them to these colors would have been. He just put the color on the wall – say a slide of green – with a little home projector. You could put a light bulb behind it and put that slide in, and it was supposed to put them in a certain mood.

A lot of you are acquainted with the fact that people can actually die from moods; people get into moods and they die. It's not just a trifling thing of a fellow getting happy or unhappy for a few moments and it passes. No. People literally get into moods and they come to the conclusion that they're going to die, and they die.

I knew a lady about thirty-three years of age who got into an argument with her brother; he slapped one of her kids and she tried to stop him. And he said to her, "They're living in my house (she had left her husband) and they're eating my food, and I'll discipline them if they get out of line." So she said, "I can't take the food out of their mouth, but I won't eat any of your food." And she starved herself to death. She died right in his house.

Now that was a mood. There wasn't anything logical about it. There are different ways of doing it. She could have left; there were places she could have gone. But she preferred to die and put him through that. That was her machine gun, that was her retaliation. So she used the mood. That happened in Moundsville. In fact, I visited her and tried to talk her out of it, but I couldn't. I went down to the house and she was a cadaver, just a skeleton. She was a beautiful woman; when she was younger she looked like Alice Faye, the blond-haired woman.

The relatives didn't want anybody to see her, but I went in. She said, "Can you talk to me in French?" And I said, "Yes." And we had a half-hearted conversation in French – I had a limited vocabulary. And she told me the story. I said, "You can get up out of here whenever you want to." And she said, "I know I can." And she said, "I won't. I don't intend to." She was sunk into it that deep.

And you read about this stuff all the time. I think in fact that a lot of the irreversible trends of dope and alcohol are moods; they're caused by moods. When an alcoholic person gets into an alcoholic mood, you can't touch him or her until it's over – if they get over it. It may take months. But they get into a self-destructive mood and stay with it.

Q. Do moods imply a conviction state about the nature of whether life is worth living?

R. Oh, yes. That's what I'm telling you. Like the guy who stabbed himself. For a few moments the affection of this girl was life to him, and life wasn't worth living unless he had it. And so he stayed in that mood until he hurt himself.

Q. Do you think any mood is the correct mood, or are all moods in a sense wrong?

R. None of them are correct. I don't think any of them are. I said they lead us. For instance the fear mood – delirium is insanity. Seduction is insanity. Seduction is programming, possibly for reproduction. In other words, we've got to grab something to eat, and maybe you've got to grab it from the fellow next door. So that's seduction; that isn't correct in the final analysis.

Again we get to the definition: What is real sanity? I wouldn't try to define it exactly, but I do believe it would be some condition where there wouldn't be any regret from the action that resulted from it.

And there's not too much regret from the nostalgic moods. The least amount of regret is from the nostalgic mood – because we don't harm anybody; it's one of inoffensiveness. But the nostalgic mood can put us into situations where we can harm ourselves, if you aren't wise to it. You can buy a carload of merchandise from the TV advertisement because they appeal to you in a nostalgic mood. Or you can follow a philosophy or an ism, and write a check out for half your bank account in a moody moment – and regret it two or three months later. So in that respect it isn't something we want to do, so it wouldn't be correct in the long range analysis.

Q. If I understood you right, you said that our moods are pretty much determined by our dreams?

R. No, no. This is where they are seen more plainly; you can study them more plainly through your dreams. I brought up the dream angle because we don't pay much attention to our moods. We know we have highs and lows during the daytime, and we just say they're highs and lows. But when you have a dream, you know that you're moved then, and you're seeing something entirely different – a new perspective on life. And I call it a state of perception – a new perceiving of life through that dream, which we don't ordinarily recognize on walking down the street.

Q. Well, since moods are so much of our life, then the critical thing is how to change them when they're not so good.

R. Right, right.

Q. How do you go about changing your moods?

R. Well, you can only change them after they happen and after you're able to understand them – to identify them, so to speak. And say, "This happened as a result of three shots of whiskey and a cigarette or a reefer." And then you say, "Well, I don't want to get into that mood again, so I'm going to stay away from booze."

So in that respect you can stop your moods. Because I believe that chemicals in the bloodstream will cause moods – a new kaleidoscope to look through. Hormones in the bloodstream will cause moods. Hormones burnt out of the bloodstream seem to change us into another mood [after sex, e.g.]. So knowing these things, you watch yourself as you go through every day of your life.

And I don't believe you can alter every mood. I said this coming up here, in Cuyahoga Falls, earlier in the day – that we are not free agents. And just to find our center – not freedom, just to find a center that is somewhat un-traumatic – takes practically a lifetime of consistent effort.

If you can find that center, I think you avoid a tremendous lot of stuff that will cause real mayhem. And it's pretty hard to get this across to people. I have a son: you people shouldn't listen to me at all – he doesn't. [Laughs.] He gets into one mood after another. He cures himself of drinking by taking dope, and then he cures himself of dope by falling in love. And then he goes back to booze.

He's got a philosophy all of his own which you can't correct. But the thing is that he hasn't found a center. Everything he does, he thinks he's doing it. But he doesn't realize that stuff is being done to him. He doesn't realize that forces are working on him. Man is like a cow with its milk – and unless he gets wise to that, he'll never be able to jump the fence and get away from it.

Q. You were saying that everyone has dreams, as a nightly occurrence. Yet I have friends who say they never dream or only have an occasional dream. Is it that they dream and just don't remember them?

R. I think everybody dreams. I don't know the mechanism of the human brain in relation to consciousness. I wish I did. But I think that they neglect to be conscious of it, or they've trained themselves to forget, and they're glad to forget. Maybe they had a few nightmares and just said, "That's it. None of that is going to come through to the conscious level." I don't know. But I think if they tried this, if they'd sit down to write, then they'd remember. Of course then an argument would come up: did they provoke the dream by having the pencil and paper at the side of the bed to write it down when they woke up?

Q. I think that's what Ouspensky says; that the problem of studying dreams is you get involved with it, and then it complicates itself.

R. Yes – I think that whenever you get into any bit of self-analysis you go through a phase of real complication. But then, by observing – not becoming involved in the labyrinth, but observing the labyrinth – I think it starts to level out, and you start to see a pattern then, a sensible pattern.


To be continued….


1. See the chart from Ramana Maharshi at https://albigen.com/uarelove/sahaja.htm.

2. Rose married in 1950, approximately age 33, so the math is a little off.

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

Return to the main page of the March 2018 TAT Forum.

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