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February 2019 / 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/.

Local Group News

Update from the Central Ohio Non-Duality Group:
The Columbus group operated under the name OSU Self-Inquiry Group and met for many years in a church next to The Ohio State University. After attendance dropped off, the venue was changed to a local Panera restaurant, and the name changed to Central Ohio Non-Duality Group. The group has exposure to seekers through Meetup, but has only occasional visitors outside a core group of 4 people.
     Due to schedules, we have met infrequently the past semester, and in deference to an effort to try to do other things, like rapport sittings, in private meetings.
     Meeting format is a discussion format on topics of interest to seekers, and often bridges from the concerns, questions and interests of the core members in attendance into the topic which we intend to discuss.
     Unlike the public meetings, we are able to sit in rapport in the private meetings.
     One recent topic included a discussion of Invisible Forces: Physical (gravity, electomagnetic waves, light, laws of nature as exhibited by physical reactions like wind, rain, erosion, stresss, strain, chemical reactions, nuclear reactions, ect), Mental (intelligence in living organisms, thought, memory, belief, emotion, desires/drives) and Spiritual (rapport, creation, life, love, awareness), with the questions/prompts:
- Did man create any of these?
- Does man control any of these?
- Does man possess any of these? If so, how is man defined?
- Which of these do we observe as "outside" the mind and are witnessed by others?
- Which of these do we experience "internally" that cannot be shared by others?
- Which of these is understood by becoming?
     Another was a series of rather over-used questions, but with some additional prompts:
- Are you what you eat? Then are you a chicken, cow, lamb, pig, leafy plant, vegetable or the proteins, molecules or minerals resulting from digestion, or the atoms, electrons, protons and subatomic particles conceived by man as the ever smaller and smaller units of matter?
- Are you what you feel? Then are you as ephemeral as a feeling which changes as quickly as the songs on a radio, first a madman, a hater, then a lover, and in turn a reflective person…?
- Are you a thought? Then are you the insanity of your thoughts, wildly changing your form throughout the day and night, changing the paradigm in which you exist?
- Are you what you believe yourself to be? Then are you the creature of your imagination? Are you an entrepreneur, a father, a grandfather, a seeker, a savior, a story-teller if you believe yourself to be so? Are you defined by your own insistence on self-affirmation? Are you the beautiful baby your parents loved, or a grizzled animal you see in the mirror? Have others affirmed you to be either or neither?
- What proves itself to be real? The physical body? Feelings? Thoughts? Beliefs? Reflections? Is the power of observation found in the mind? Is the mind found in a location in space and time? If time and space are concepts, and what is real is beyond the mind, what finds? What realizes?
     Some of the added prompts were targeted to stir the core members.
     We continue to meet on Monday evenings at Panera across from The Ohio State University. ~ For further information, contact or . We're also on Facebook.

Return to the main page of the February 2019 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.

Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations

Part 2 of a talk given at Ohio State University in 1974 (continued from the January 2019 TAT Forum):

Intuition and Becoming

…And it was then that I realized that man would not find it by logic alone, and man would not find it by faith alone—because these things by themselves were inadequate. But, if anything, the first thing you needed was a combination of the two, which I call intuition. That you have to somehow develop your intuition—because you're dealing in a subjective matter, an abstract subject, a subject of intangibles; and logic barely applies to the things that are tangible. Faith is a sort of feeling thing, without any reasonableness at all; there's no reason to faith—you just believe for the sake of believing.

So these two things are extremes and you have to find somewhere in between—a faith in yourself and a faith that is tempered. By faith I mean persistence and determination. This determination has to be rooted in some sort of faith that you're going to succeed, or you'll drop it. So you have to have a faith, but it has to be rooted in common sense. You have to have logic, but it has to be tempered with intuition and inspiration. Logic by itself is a vanity; faith by itself is a fanaticism.

The next thing I discovered was that you don't find anything on the wisdom path, that wisdom will never bring you anyplace. Science is a typical example of where wisdom takes you: that you can split the atom, and you'll find out there's still something to be split. But you're not going to find pure essence by splitting matter. And the logical processes just produce more tangential fields of learning, rather than going directly to essence.

So I realized when I was 21 years of age that you had to become, you couldn't learn; you would never learn what the secret of the absolute is; you had to become it. And this came strictly as a form of intuition.

Now, of course that leaves you rather high and dry; because where do you find systems of becoming? There are systems of becoming in evidence—you have to kind of search around for them. And when I realized this—as I told you, I was born and raised in the Catholic church, and one of the tenants of theology at that time was, "Don't try to understand God, because the finite mind will never perceive the infinite."

And a lot of people said, "That's good enough for me." And of course that sounds like a brick wall, and they're not going to try to go over that. We accept the knowledge that our mind is finite, and there's no sense in trying to get over the infinite field that we have to cover.

In other words, we are relative creatures, and that which we expect to discover, we expect to be absolute; and the very knowledge that we're going to do this with the relative mind means that you're not going to do it. You're not going to take that relative mind with you.

After studying it awhile, this gives you a new perspective of the work ahead of you, that you have to become, you cannot learn. And the next step is to look around for systems that will help you become less finite. This is the secret: How do you become less finite?

And let's say for years the average person in that pursuit struggles and stumbles—and unfortunately gets into too many movements that are easy: little physical things like waving your arms around or dancing on one foot or chanting a certain thing. They pick an easy little what I call a gimmick and satisfy themselves with that for years. It goes well with pot.

Like I said, the philosophic paths of many people today are directly rooted in LSD. That's no criticism—without it they would never have had this interest, this ability to see new dimensions for the first time, and then get curious enough to want to explore those new dimensions. But by the same token, the destruction of many, I'd say a million at least, of those people, who got a glimpse and were forced then into being destroyed by virtue of not being able to handle what they had, or to see it and not become drowned in what they had.

So we had an enormous benefit and an enormous disappointment for some people in this. But regardless, this seemed to be a door that opened; the fact that there was another dimension, meaning that there were other planes, if you want to call them that; that there could be another world besides this so-called one that we hang onto with our medical materialism.1

Change-of-Being Systems

Now there are different ways, getting into this business of becoming—what do they advise you? As I said, you have two systems: You have the mentally objective systems and mentally subjective systems; they always remain somewhat objective and somewhat subjective.

And I've got a chart here if any of you are interested in looking at it. It starts from the beginning in faith and logic and goes up. Inexorably it has to go up. We have to search; people are curious and they have to be satisfied. There's nothing more miserable than for an intellectual mind to be denied the right to search. That curiosity will always gnaw at you once you've made a step; you have to keep looking for the second step.

But these change-of-being systems, once you become involved in them, again go back; and some of them advise you to do it with blind faith—in a guru for instance. Some of them encourage you to relinquish. [Hubert] Benoit even uses the term "let go"; don't struggle.

And there's another school of thought, and I find even in the seeds of both of these, the passivity and the aggressiveness—there are those who believe in being extremely passive and there are those who believe in storming the gates of heaven—that is, the active approach.

And I don't say you have to be passive or you have to be aggressive, but the particular path that I followed was aggressive; it became a fight with me, and that's the one I teach. So if you consider that objectionable, well then of course it's your choice of a path, that's all.

There are a number of things that I discovered along the way, in this business of looking into a method of becoming, and I made a note of them. I wrote a book about them. I put it down so that it could somehow help someone else.

If you're doing a simultaneous philosophic approach to it while doing say a meditational thing, then you'll encounter some of these laws. It becomes a science as well; you encounter laws as you go along in the search. And you'll encounter let's say guideposts along the trail, advisability: don't walk too close to the edge of the cliff; these things are dangerous and these things produce insanity. The fellow who's lucky enough to get to the edge of the cliff and see it warns other people.

Some of the laws I discovered, you're acquainted with. I avoid using oriental terms, because I think it can all be said in English. I use some, like I used the word nirvikalpa samadhi because this is a word that there's no English word for. The word enlightenment—a lot of people think it's the equivalent of being struck on the head with a hammer, or where the lights light up. I had a fellow tell me he was enlightened from taking LSD. He considered that the enlightenment which resulted from flashing lights or vibrating lights, or stuff that occurred inside his head—is enlightenment.

So the word is poorly used; it's almost as poorly used as the word God. So when you want to use something that has real meaning, you have to start choosing other words, something that is more exact. And I find that the words kevala samadhi2 and sahaja samadhi are more exact than cosmic consciousness and the word enlightenment.

The Laws

But here are some of the laws. One of them is the law of equilibrium, which the Hindus refer to as karma. But it's strictly the law of equilibrium: it says that if you strike the anvil with a hammer, the anvil will strike the hammer with equal force. If you strike your social environment, the social environment will return the blow. And it's set up automatically; there's nobody, not necessarily a guardian angel standing there saying I've got so many demerits, you've got so many bad things coming to you.

The law of proportional returns: This means that if you throw enough mud at the ceiling, some of it will stick. That's an old door-to-door salesman's adage: when they pound the doors, they say, "We find that if you pound fifty doors, out of every fifty doors we'll make one $400 sale." So that's the way their livelihood is figured, that their results are proportional to energy applied.

That's the law of physics; the spiritual laws are pretty much the same as physical laws. Economic laws are pretty much the same as physical and spiritual laws, and vice versa. These things apply to both. So that if you put a lot of energy into the spiritual path, you'll have results; if you put haphazard attention to it you'll get a haphazard result.

Then there's the law of extra-proportional returns. This is where the idea of group work enters in. If it were not for extra-proportional returns as a result of group work, there would be no point in fooling around with other people. But we find that in the laws of business, economics and such, a man can build a house in say 90 days. But if he gets a helper and the two build one house first and then go and build the other fellow's house, they may build two houses in say 85 days, by virtue of them being able to hand each other heavy materials or lift heavy materials, or save a man a few hundred steps and that sort of thing.

So that law is in effect in the multiple workings with men, with manpower, whether it's on a spiritual level or whatnot. To give you an example, I belonged to a group that was started up in Akron thirty years ago; and there's only one or two members of the group still living. But one of the things we did when we were in our twenties—we had no particular path to follow, we had no teacher—we each went out and joined a separate cult, assuming almost that none of them are proven and none would take us anyplace; but these were things we had to explore to be sure.

So one went out and joined Subud,3 another went out and joined SRF.4 I joined the Radha Soami sect,5 and went as far as to be initiated into two Radha Soami sects, from which Kirpal Singh6 and Eckankar7 splintered, years ago.

And we came back to the center and reported, as the years went by, what we had found, and compared notes. And from this, the results of three, four, five, six men—we were able to reap the knowledge from six groups simultaneously—which we couldn't have done except in perhaps six lifetimes. Some of us were even into two groups at once—just to find out what they were doing. We even joined groups that were doing the same thing we were doing—the Universal Brotherhood8 was one of them.

With this, in the business of research alone, a group of people can do research much more quickly than the individuals, and you can cover a broader field and keep a broader perspective going all the time. So this is what is known as the law of extra-proportional returns; and that's the reason that I encourage people at these different colleges and universities to form groups and to function together.

It also serves as a reminder. I call it Ignoramuses Anonymous. Instead of Alcoholics Anonymous pulling the guy out by his coattails all the time, we pull each other out by the coattails from lethargy, forgetfulness, slipping away, back into other forms of living, which we would ordinarily preclude as being foolish before and after we do them.

So there are advantages to a group, or we wouldn't encourage it. In fact, there's a lot of extra work in it for me, and I prefer to deal with individuals, not with groups. But I see the value of it, so I encourage it.

The law of the paradox says that there's a paradox in immanence, that's in everything relative. Whenever you reach a decision you'll find out that the opposite may well be true; that good and bad are somehow different sides of the same coin. That which seems good in one instance is bad in another.

And all the way down through the spiritual path you'll see this paradox. I can't go into each detail, they're not in my head just now, but you'll find out that when you're doing something, strangely enough, you'll find that paradoxically something else sets in. And as soon as you start to define something, you'll find someone else with a similar definition for something entirely opposite.

This is what confuses you with a lot of the movements that are going around today. Because they'll say, "Oh, yes, we're for that too." And you say, "What are you for?" And they say, "Well, we're for the absolute,"—one outfit says. But they have no definition of the absolute, naturally; they're just for it. And some of them will come up with a pretty good definition. They'll prove the definition—but no proof that they're following it.

The law of the ladder is basically the law of brotherhood also, which says that you have to help people on the rung below you, and you have to be helped by the man above you. And unless you follow this, you will not be helped.

This is again the function of the group; in the group you find somebody to help and someone to help you. And then your progress goes smoothly. You can't just sit alone; no man is spiritually an island; we're all related in our essence. No man is more important than anyone else. I am not any more important than you are. The only thing is that I have had experiences you have not had. But there are other people who have had them, so I am not unique.

The law of the ladder goes a little further than that, though. It says that it's not advisable to help people on too many rungs below you. It's hardly possible for you to be helped by people on the rung too far above you—because you don't understand them. You're lucky to understand the man above you. The man two rungs above you—you look at him and you say he's crazy, his postulations are so strange to you. Or you reject him by virtue of emotion. Like you're accepting certain levels of your life that sound good to you, that please what you want to hear.

For the hunter, heaven has to be a happy hunting ground; for the guy who's a hedonist it has to be full of beautiful women. So unless he hears that incorporated in his philosophy, he rejects it, and he'll accept something similar to what he wants to hear. So this makes his level. If you have somebody too many rungs down, history says they crucify you. There are people who will just rise up and destroy someone who helps them, because they weren't ready.

The law of the vector—this is an engineering term which means that you must become; and you must not only become, you must become a vector—a vector aimed by a unique process. Again, the process is not postulating a direction and aiming, but aiming away from that which is erroneous. And incidentally, this vector gains momentum; as you follow this system, you'll witness the momentum that you gain.

The law of change—everything seems to be, but everything is changing; the ionic patterns of the universe are changing.

The law of relativity—it's not Einstein's law of relativity or Ouspensky's understanding of relativity—but this law of relativity specifies that all definitions are related; that you cannot utter a word without incorporating in it all other meaning, so that all meaning is relative. And likewise, all human effort is relative, but it's very difficult to do anything without affecting the entire pattern of belief.

In other words, we exist in an aquarium of belief, and this belief exists only because everyone is related with the same belief; there is a relationship between us. And we cannot find our difference until we extricate ourselves from this aquarium of belief. I'm referring now of course to the fact that this world is an illusion.

The law of complexity—there was another law, I don't know whether it was named after some man, Burke9 or somebody. There was also the principle of cybernetics,10 that complexity breeds life: given so many components, robots seem to think, computers seem to act, to shunt around errors and stuff,11 and almost show individual volition. The law of complexity shows that things become almost vital or alive by virtue of their complexity.

The law of faith—now we must also recognize that things can happen by faith, but they’re not necessarily good things; as I said, you can create yourself a tulpa.

The law of the pyramid is basically the law of three. It’s on the front of the book; the Pyramid Zen Society was named for that. Benoit uses a little pyramid form in his book: the two base points of the pyramid are positive-negative; the central point is what he calls the point of compensation, neutrality, so that all human endeavor is a relative world, consisting of pro, con and compromise.12

And in the law of the pyramid, this compromising point is also expressed in the Albigen System in the law of betweenness—that there’s a whole science in this business of betweenness. It can be said very simply—I’ve heard fellows talk about "running between the raindrops"—this is saying it rather crudely but it’s true: it is neither right nor left; it is neither good nor bad; it is neither here nor there. It is neither nothing nor everything. It is both, but it’s neither.


But anyhow—some little items—there are some things I’ve found that I can pass onto you, for what they’re worth; you don’t have to accept them. Again, they may help you a bit.

I have found, as I’ve been down this old trail, number one, that you have to find yardsticks; you can’t just examine every cult, every movement that comes along. You have to find some way of gauging these things so that you can sift them and throw some out—I call it the most ridiculous: we keep the less ridiculous and throw out the most ridiculous, and by this path, that’s the reverse vector.

So what do you throw out? What are the yardsticks? The ones, again, that are commercial. I refused from the time I was a boy….

[break in tape]

To be continued….


1. Term coined by William James; see Varieties of Religious Experience.

2. Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi.

3. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subud.

4. Self Realization Fellowship (Yogananda).

5. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radha_Soami.

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirpal_Singh.

7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckankar.

8. Link needed. May be defunct.

9. "The objects of society are of the greatest possible complexity." -Edmund Burke, 1790

10. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics.

11. They shunt around errors in testing but in production they go directly to the bad code. – editor

12. The Supreme Doctrine. See http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/bzrecap.htm for a recap of Benoit’s Ideas.

13. For an alternative presentation, see https://tatfoundation.org/forum2006-01.htm#1.

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

Return to the main page of the February 2019 TAT Forum.


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