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November 2018 / 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/.

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


Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends

The question we asked readers for this month's Reader Commentary: What is the biggest problem, difficulty, or concern in your spiritual search?

The complete response from Michael C. follows:

Well that's as good a question as ever been asked of anybody who claims to be looking for the Truth. There's a lot of "stock" answers I could give that would sound right. Like "believing I was an independently existing self," or "not realizing my sense of 'me' was only just another thought," or "thinking the big 'IT' might happen for others but not for me," or "Who am I to think I can achieve what so few ever have?" Surely it's got to be one of these, that's my greatest concern, but I don't think so.

What bothers me most was how eager I was to be a part of something, a member of a group of people, and to simply be liked by others. Now that sure doesn't sound like much of a spiritual issue, more like a psychological issue, and I guess it was (and I hope like hell it's not that way today!). Underneath it all lay the belief that I wasn't good enough, wasn't man enough, wasn't enough in all the significant ways that allow a person to blend, merge, and just to be in simple honest relationship with other people. Of course I didn't know this at the time. Nope, I was clueless as to just how needy this character really was, on a moment-by-moment basis. And, in that neediness, I needed help, a type or kind of help that wasn't really part of the program. What did healing the wounds of my childhood have to do with finding Absolute Truth? Especially if I was unaware of those needs, and simultaneously operating in response to them? It was a classic case of "what everybody knew except me." I simply was not a "normal" person, but one who lived in a world of his own, maybe not of his making, but one surely supported and believed in by the chap in question, as painful as it might have been.

So how does that answer the original question, about the identity of that which is the biggest problem, difficulty, or concern in my (so-called) spiritual search? I'm not sure it does. Or maybe it depends on which "I" is answering the question. Looked at from the position of the egoic I or me, my spiritual search involved doing what my teacher said we should do, and following his instructions to the letter best I could. Behind all of which was probably the thought "If I do this just right, I'll be normal, I'll be good enough, I'll be (finally) sufficient, and the gang, the group, will accept me." I suppose too that the thought might have occurred at least once, that I was actually trying to get my parents' love throughout the whole thing, but if it did I don't remember it. Or have chosen to forget or overlook it as too simple, to juvenile, too mundane, too damn psychological and needy to be part of a real spiritual search. And really now, how can an adult get love from parents long deceased? Impossible. And furthermore, how can anyone else, friends, family, business associates, randomly met people in the course of life, and especially fellow spiritual seekers, supply parental love to such a needy soul? They can't. I'm not sure what a zero sum game is, but it seems to me that might be one of them. And I always was on the zero side of the equation. Always.

But now we get into the meat of it all, what really was the biggest problem, difficulty, or concern in my spiritual search? Not accepting myself, failing to surrender to the way things were, or in even simpler terms, not wanting to play the hand I was dealt in the big game of life. Not wanting to be me. Hating the fellow who stared back at me in the morning mirror. And then too, in the hating, betraying an overarching love or attachment to the same character, while simultaneously wishing he would disappear, and become someone else, anybody else but who he thought he was.

Now if this sounds like a circular reasoning, if it could be called reasoning, it sure as hell is just that, a lifetime of non-productive thinking loops, all centered around a fellow who in the final analysis didn't exist, but was only a cherished thought in a disenfranchised mind. Ho ho ho, the joke was really on "me," wasn't it? Believing all those years that any of it actually mattered! What a fool I was to fight that dragon, that phantom windmill. Why did I wait so long to give it all up? Maybe I loved the misery of it all, or maybe I did not really understand (the value of) true surrender. Maybe I was too damn proud to look beyond the end of my nose at just how I was screwing myself every moment I continued to play the game of "me." Yep, I think that's the biggest issue right there. Years of insistence that I was something, or could be something, and that "something" would be accepted and valued by others. If only that would happen, then I'd have made it, or have it made. Funny thing, though, "it" never happened. Like I said, the joke was on (that) me. The only good thing to come of it is that these days I don't care much at all. Nope, I just don't care anymore. And if that's not how you spell r-e-l-i-e-f, I don't know what is.

Thanks for asking that question, by the way. I like to correspond with people; it's one of my greatest pleasures, really. That and chocolate ice cream. I hope what I wrote makes some kind of sense and might even be helpful to somebody else.

Return to the main page of the November 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.

States of Mind

From The Albigen Papers, Chapter 5: "Obstacles to Transcendental Efforts":

States of mind are like massive gestalts. Psychologically, they have never been given the proper consideration. Most people are not aware of the existence of a state of mind, other than one similar to their own. When they encounter another state of mind, they may reject it as aberrated or abnormal. Normality is always that which we are, not that which the other fellow is. And because of this lack of understanding, friction and even violence results.

Psychologists try to create a sort of universal state of mind, by promoting legislation in regards to conduct and behavior. They have recently gone a step further and imposed "sensitivity sessions" upon some of the students of the country to force a precipitation of tensions, and to bring about a homogeneity of reaction-patterns.

The psychologists and psychiatrists will fail because, again, they do not know all the factors, and specifically, because they can at best be responsible for creating newer states of mind that shall conceal more deadly resentments than the possessor had before.

Some of us are aware that we have different states of mind. However, most of us are unaware of the many states of mind that exist among different people, nor are we aware of the tremendous role that these states of mind play in religion, politics and war. Some states of mind are easy to see. For instance, similar states of mind are found in close families and among people of restricted social contact, such as the inmates of monasteries and prisons. Inmates of such institutions or families have several other states of mind, besides the one which is common to all of the other members or inmates.

Let us not confuse the term "state of mind" with mood. The mood is transitory and lacking in conviction, and could be better explained as a state of perception, a clouded glass.

We are lucky if we only have two or three states of mind. We are still more lucky if we know that they are there, within us. A state of mind is invariably a fairly composite thinking pattern, which has as its chief characteristic one of the basic desires of the individual in question. A more dominant state of mind may result from the synthesis of two or more desires, and the synthesis of their corresponding philosophic rationalizations.

It is easier to describe states of mind, and the manner in which they are altered, than it is to define them. We may take the case of two men, Mr. A. and Mr. B., meeting at a bar. Mr. A. uses a perfectly harmless word, the word penguin. Within a few moments, and with little or no explanation, Mr. B. has knocked him to the floor. Mr. A. leaves, and within the hour is robbed by Mr. C., and finally, in another hour, Mr. A. may encounter Mr. D. and kill the latter when Mr. D. places his hand in his pocket, thus reminding Mr. A. of the robbery of an hour before.

And yet, three hours before. Mr. A. may have been a benevolent extrovert. An analyst might ascribe the violent action of Mr. B. to paranoid foundations, or might say that Mr. C. was a robber because his mother tried to abort him. Paranoia is not a state of mind, but a singular example of a state of perception in which we can see the difference between the two—a state of mind and a state of perception. With paranoia as a qualification of perception, or as a manner of looking at incoming impressions through bruised sensitivities, there is no doubt that some of our states of mind will be affected, but not all.

Any creature that has been repeatedly injured becomes paranoid. In Hubbard's Dianetics, such repeated injury leaves a mental scar, which is called an engram. This scar or engram must be reckoned with in all future experiences related in any way to the experience that caused the engram or scar.

If the being were not paranoid, it could be more easily killed or crippled as an individual, and eliminated as a species. Paranoia says to the body—people are going to hurt you as they did before. You must adjust and train your personality to either frighten them, or train yourself to be more aggressive.

States of mind are various massive concept-structures, which usually come about over a period of years of evaluation and increasing conviction. However, it is important to remember that they can be brought about very quickly as a result of an extreme physical or mental experience. The case of Mr. A. is given to show roughly how this may happen.

We take Mr. A. and suppose that he was a young ministerial student. He has led a rather sheltered life, but there have been times when he was insulted or in some manner afflicted for his gentle ways. His gentle ways were part of a passive state of mind, and his reactions to a life of mysticism helped form his passive attitude. And he may have also developed an additional, tangential philosophy, which saw God's will in his work—and God's protection.

The man who knocked him to the floor was a Catholic. Mr. B. thought that Mr. A. was poking ridicule at the Catholic nuns by his reference to the penguin, and Mr. B. also thought that he was doing God's will.

The violence suffered by Mr. A. caused an abrupt change of mind. And when the threat of continued violence aids the paranoid element in his thinking, he feels quite justified in taking quick and violent action.

The man subject to an abrupt change of mind-state need not be timid. Strong, brave men have suddenly been reduced to tears, and bullies have suddenly become cowards under brutal treatment, or in an incident of terror. Drugs inflict a similar sort of punishment upon the addict, but the metamorphosis is so subtle and gradual that only after the victim is hopelessly addicted will there be any intense suffering.

It might be said that a traumatic experience or incident of intense suffering are about the only things that will actually bring about a change in the state of mind.

The congestion of population has brought our attention to a sharper awareness of many different states of mind in different people, and the need to understand such states is also felt. Of course, understanding them is better than trying to alter them before understanding them. And understanding them in ourselves is of greater priority—even in the search to understand others.

I think that the study of states of mind is far more important than the focusing of attention on incidental reactions or behavior patterns. Such a study can come about only by direct experience, and the faculty for having direct experience can come about by particular systems of developing sensitivity, or by a change in the being or nature of the observer that will facilitate his rapport with another mind.

States of mind are not easily supplanted, and a person capable of switching quickly to an alternate or opposite state of mind could well be labeled schizophrenic. We are all schizoid to a degree, but not as obsessed as Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. We do have such obsessions, and they do change us for a period of time. We can examine the act of sexual intercourse and note that most people (if not all) have states of mind that vary or change with the act. The person who begins is not the same person who finishes. This has baffled people for ages. It can be blamed on abrupt chemical changes brought on by intense physical activity (endocrine influence), or it may be an automatic governor, which is part of the human structure to alter the pleasure-drive, once nature has attained it goal … so that the potential parent will not endanger his or her health in pursuit of more pleasure, since nature is interested in the children.

It is because the sex-act has such a pronounced ability to change the state of mind, that we find so many violent and bizarre murders connected with sex. Sometimes the partner, who acts as a devastating catalyst, is resented.

Different ethnic groups have different states of mind, and there is no crime in this difference. The crime lays with the psychologist who thinks that he can banish it by denying it. The Negroes are aware of this wall of difference, and protest (this is the admission of the knowledge of the difference) that the Whites do not "think black." And of course, the standard reply is that the Blacks do not "think white."

It would be laborious, if not impossible, to go into all the factors that trigger conflict between states of mind. Some may be genetic, and some may be acquired. For instance, the mouse has a state of mind quite different from that of the cat. And the cat's is different from that of the dog, unless the cat is a lion. The cat has no respect for the mouse. There is no rapport. The mouse is geared for terror. It is numbed or hypnotized by terror and does not utilize any proper degree of resourcefulness when confronted by the cat. Perhaps, like the Christian martyrs, the mouse is also geared to enjoy his own immolation.

The same occurs with people. Those who have been raised for generations to have a contempt for fear will also have a contempt for those whose chief feature is fear. Or an ethnic group that practices sex-control may have difficulty in having rapport with another ethnic group that believes in no sexual restraints.

The effect of those states of mind on political levels is not our concern here. We are concerned with those states of mind that stand like towers of Babel between religious, philosophical, and transcendental minds. We only need to pick up some of the books that are being printed today on psychology, sociology, and theology to witness with amazement the many approaches to a common central point. If Aldous Huxley seemed to test our flexibility in reaching out for new understanding, he could not hold a candle to such artists of confusion as [Norman O.?]Brown and [Theodore] Rossak. And perhaps this writing will come to many as a hodge-podge of emptiness or a surfeiting of deliberated complexity.

Let us examine the drug-state of mind … if it is possible to find rapport with addicts without smoking from their pipe or drinking from their needle. Or let us observe the mental state of the alcoholic. Then let us begin to study religion. We may be attracted to a spiritual teacher who is "hooked" on drugs, and despise the teacher who is addicted to alcohol. We may never know that the alcoholic had as much or more to offer. And what's more, we may wind up with an aura of injected needles instead of a halo.

We can take a step further, and presume that men of the four major paths—the fakir, the yogi, the monk and the philosopher—have divested themselves of all obsessions, such as sex, drugs, or alcohol. And we will still be confounded by their distinct states of mind.

The monk, on a lesser level, is a person who thinks he is fully evolved spiritually. His conviction marks his state of mind. He eats, works and sleeps the part of the monk. And he finds peace of mind, which he identifies as God.

The fakir works on a lower level than the monk. He feels that he will find spirituality by controlling the body and its sensations. He does not understand the monk. The monk may understand him, but will be unable to get through to him long enough to convince the fakir concerning the efficacy of a milder form of asceticism.

The yogi occupies a rung above the monk, but the monk does not always understand him. The yogi understands the monk because he has transcended the way of the monk. He sees the monk wrapped in the confusion of sublimated sex, and in autohypnotic techniques, which seem to be crude. The monk is begging the answer, rather than seeking it. The raj-yogi is looking for the true state of consciousness, and is aware that others only think they have it.

Still more free, and advanced, is the Fourth Way Traveler. This is the sly man, or the philosopher. It is apparent to those on the fourth step, that they themselves, while they were on the lower rungs, could not comprehend or tolerate those who were later discovered to be on more advanced steps. And now, viewing those who, in turn, cannot tolerate them, the Fourth Way Travelers are amazed that sincere, dynamic individuals dedicated to finding the Truth can have so much lack of understanding and rapport.

So that the thing to observe (for each level), is the level upon which you stand. The pursuit of Truth necessarily involves the understanding of present states of mind, first. Then there follows the automatic shedding of nonsense-components of these states of mind, from which comes an evolution of mental purity, approaching all the while that state which is called satori or cosmic consciousness. And by whatever name, we can be sure that it is the only true state of mind.

It follows then that this writing is not intended to be an attempt to change human conduct, except in the individual, by the individual. We must first be aware that we are the victims of our states of mind, not proud possessors of them. And we can be aware of them, (to take a page from Ouspensky) by self-observation.

Self-observation, meditation, or self-remembering generally have an automatic self-correcting result. It is almost as though we were operating on a cybernetic law. The circuit is apt to clear itself, once the trouble is located and admitted.

Strangely enough, this automatic clearing of circuits through the application of energy inward, may be the first realization for the individual of free will. This process involves the slave knowing the degree of his enslavement, and utilizing mechanical processes to put an end to his present state of mechanicalness.

When we embark upon a course of self-change in order to purify our consciousness, the first nice thing that happens to us is that we develop a new compassion for our fellow man, and tolerance for his moody moments. We realize that he, too, if laboring beneath circumstances that are not of his making. And his states of mind have been imposed upon him by his environment and by his colored perception apparatus.

But what is more important and more wonderful is that we realize that we are at last on our way to becoming a vector of Truth. We also learn that there are ways to change our dominant state of mind that do not involve the use of drugs. We find, if we look hard enough, that there are helpers, or teachers, even if such are only books.

There is somehow an urge within each man that wishes for him to be whole. The designer of our computers did not program us to be totally responsive to the hypnoses of nature. It is possible that we are, in fact, programmed to periodically resist any dominant state of mind, so that we will be prevented from destroying ourselves in dissipation—thus destroying nature's most valuable herd in the process. This concept finds more meaning if we observe the innocence and conscience of children. And all of this implies that the designer of the computer had no other choice than to let us get a glimpse of those things which obsess us.

To observe these states of mind we need only to sit quietly and observe the present troubles that we have. It is best done when we are troubled, because then we have a high incentive-impetus to use for energy.

We should also do a little remembering and go back to the days when we were able to think more clearly, when our thinking bore convictions by which we risked our lives and our fortunes. Those convictions may have changed, but it is not appropriate that we look back upon those years as being foolish just because we were young. We must remember the factors which made us think clearly then, if we wish to think clearly today. And it is in this fashion that we must become as a little child.

There can be no successful, scientific study of psychology, nor can there be any promising individual search for Truth, without a better understanding of these phases called states of mind….


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

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