The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, 
poems and humor.

April 2020 / 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 April 2020 TAT Forum.


Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends

The Reader Commentary composite question for the April Forum:

A question regarding the following quote from January's "Founder's Wisdom" item Developing the Intuition and Reason:

"The seeker gradually grows indifferent to the objects of his appetites, continues to move, even though those objects are the only motivation for other people." ~ The Albigen Papers

As a seeker, should I develop some other appetite instead, or must I replace "appetites" with something else? If not, why don't I need to fill the void that appetites once occupied?

Thanks to a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.

The complete response from Rob-in Leeds:
Recent conversations and dialogue with TAT friends around seeking and the search led me to articulate in writing the following on Monday 23 March:

Tonight after M. left A. and I continued to ramble about the search being part of Life and I now realise I missed the point of "Coming to Fruition"in Tess Hughes's article on "The Game" ... I know I don't understand the mystery, but I have glimpsed the light (awareness) beyond the light we see and within which light as form arises ... As A. and B. pointed at on Saturday I have been woken up ... the on-going work is to keep clearing the debris (illusions, delusions) from the screen and be present and notice ... not-I-C-ing ... "Aming" among the "Selfing" ... There have been some wonderful new posts, especially by Dr Jud and Micky Singer, that have added to this clarity ... While Tess as in her talks has spoken of moving from psychological development to spiritual development at step 4/7 (After Bernadette Roberts) ... For me now ... and I feel A. guided me to an insight that earlier during the call I said that the spiritual goal (home) had been revealed as ever present ... and the remaining task was psychological work ... A. got me to consider the role of my experience with Kindness and Anger and sense their complementarity, their dance ... it is NOW clear to me that the "work" is living, allowing, surrendering resting in Life instead of Wrestling with Life as if I weren't Life ... The judging, critiquing, striving can be all-owed, in the mode of being curious as to "what did I gain from that behaviour."

It seems synchronistic to me that the January 2020 Forum Founders Wisdom article on "Developing Intuition and Reason" contains the quote upon which the question references should also contain a definition of a seeker: "His uniqueness comes from the particular game that he plays. He allows himself to become addicted or to become a vector, -- once the idea of being a vector makes sense to him." This is synchronous to me because of the wonderful alignment this had for me with Tess Hughes's article in the March 2020 Forum "The Greater or the Lesser Game of Life – Which Choose You?" If I am not careful, I will quote all of Tess's article it seemed so relevant and pertinent to me. She asks "What can be more engrossing than the search for Self?"

My response to this month's question can only address the later part: ["As a seeker, should I develop some other appetite instead, or must I replace "appetites" with something else? If not,] why don't I need to fill the void that appetites once occupied?" As Rose says of a seeker, "He allows himself to become addicted or to become a vector." I have found ways of coming home, of going and being within the moment, all appetites and objects arise within the Void (Awareness, Presence, Being, Source etc.) and the Still, Silent Source remains undisturbed; the disturbances all arise from delusions and illusions of mind.

I write this as my wife and I are self-isolating at home. Part of me wants to go out and help, volunteer; my pride is blunted as I fall into the vulnerable 70+ group. I want to stay calm and carry on. But our home, planet Earth, is defending herself from its primary parasite, the human virus, which is being defended against by Coronavirus.

So … Why don't I need to fill the void that appetites once occupied?

Because of what I know for certain!

Three years ago at a TAT-related session in Dublin run by Art T. and Tess H., I was able to share with them my then answer: There is a part of me, inside of me, that knows it is me and that has never grown any older. I would add now it is timeless and eternal. The first time I spoke that out loud I drew an image, and while eternal it felt like a pin prick in space through which light was forcing a way in … https://lifebeinglife.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/ageless-light-inside/.

Now three years later if feels like a field within me and within which I am within … rather than a point in space. I tried to express it in words and got this, have been drawing this:

.... AS

which is as close to my truth as another old image from a shamanic teacher my wife worked with for a number if years in the 1990s A spherical mirror … https://images.app.goo.gl/VvQ9tQcNY4tUtY4R9.

... there would be reflections without and within .... If the sphere were the form of the Higher Self ...

"WI(WITH)TH" in for me links with an eighth direction in a multi-dimemsional 3D+ medicine wheel we imagined ... "Within" ... I always struggled with "Within" ... but for me the paradoxical position of the WITH* within WI(...)TH

Today this now hints at the possible coincidences = equivalence of Atman and Brahman ...

And Jung's point at the junction interface on, in, of the infinity symbol ...

The above needs more work, but "I sense", for the want of a better word, the spiral I am within, in the Archetype of Development and the spiral archetype of development within my psyche ... biting each other's tails ... in a dance I can either observe and flow within and grow (fruit) or resist and be overwhelmed and decay on the vine, both inwardly and outwardly ...

Yes much of my searching/seeking seems paradoxical ...

I feel like I have been in a sort of limbo for a few years now since I retired from full time work in 2010, stopped part-time work in 2015 ...

I appear to be going with the flow ... I have a calm, comfortable life and loving family and loyal friends ... but the sense of wanting to "Find and know Truth" to find my way home persists ...

While I have realised my intellect cannot help ... my intuition/feelings are adequate but have been dormant for some time ... although I do document and note coincidences and glimpses of things being more than mere appearances ... I seem caught up in both curiosity and impatience ...

I know I have to find the answer / resolution within myself and cannot expect others to do the work for me ...

Conscious and Unconscious appear as two sides of the same coin? ... In western systems "waking consciousness" is most valued, whereas in Eastern scripture deep sleep is reported as the ultimate ground of being and most valued ...

Alpha, beta, delta, theta states again imply a hierarchy, but Advaita keeps repeating "not two" ...

So me thinks conscious and unconscious may be One, maybe :)

Yeah, that's when the penny dropped recently and "I got my three buckets"

A = known; B = unknown (but can become known, conscious and C = Unknowable

Three years ago I would have said that, as a scientist (chemist), eventually Bucket A (The Known) was becoming filled, and Bucket B (The Unknown) was being emptied, and naively, even after all these years of knowing, the more we fill bucket A with knowledge the bigger bucket B grows, the more we know, the more we realised there is to know and how little we really know.

BUT it came as a real shock within the last 6-9 months for it to dawn on me and finally to get the mystery ... that there is a third bucket C.

Where C is the UnKnowable, beyond my human capacity to understand ... grasp ... perceive ...

A+B constitute the finite, visible, manifest world/universe, what's measurable, imaginable, thinkable ... while C is the Invisible/unmanifest/the infinity beyond ... unimaginable

... unknowable ... mystery

I read the Tao te Ching a long time ago, and I have been re-reading it and casting hexagrams to connect with and explore, not for prophecy but pertinence NOW ...... that has become vital of late, asking the inner guide, self, teacher for explanation ... and direction.

The work is observing what arises in the void, my view, in awareness, and allowing it as best I can to judge it less and allow it more

The continuum idea also keeps cropping up, hence all one, mind manufactures opposites, Mind, Presence, Spirit, Being, Consciousness, Awareness is Beyond

Words are only fingers pointing at the moon; as Alan Watts said, "You can't get wet from the word 'water.'" ... hence knowing the book/folk definition meaning of a dream is not as valuable as engaging with it either during sleep or waking ...

Inner <<>> Outer, and Atman <<>> Brahman in Dynamic Equilibrium symbol ? = <<>>

Yes, resolving the mystery, there is just "The Way", Tao, "coming home" ... the resolution is paradoxical to the one who has not yet seen it's "not two" and obvious to those who know but cannot explain ...

Rumi says:

As salt dissolve in ocean,
I was swallowed up in you,
beyond doubt or being sure.

Suddenly here in my chest
a star came out so clear,
it drew all stars into it.

The void is not empty but full of awareness, in which the world arises and presents Life's Koans that appear to hide the mystery – which has been hiding in plain sight all along.

Return to the main page of the April 2020 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.

Relative and Absolute

Part 2 of a talk given at Ohio State University in 1978 (continued from the March 2020 TAT Forum):

Q & A

Now this has been a skeletal talk and from here we can open it up for dialog. The last lecture I gave here was what I call the Psychology of the Observer – which is a method of finding your interior self, and we can go into that if you wish. It's a psychological system. It has nothing to do with mantras or prayers or incense. It's just a simple way of looking at your thoughts, and it will bring you to the final point if you can stay with it long enough. So I'd like to stop and have some of you ask questions, and we'll pick it up from there.

Self and no-self

Q. This "self" you talk about – as I understand it, Zen believes in no-self.

R. These are words. You see, half the people who get into Zen1 are running around trying to pretend to have a state of no-mind. This is nonsense. You can't simulate no-mind. You can't remove your mind. There is no exercise that you can do to remove your mind. The koan called life will remove it for you. Now everything is and is not. And when you describe anything related to what I consider the real, philosophic approach, this always has to be added, that the final experience brings you the knowledge of nothing and of everything. This is the best way to express it.

[break in tape]

So when somebody starts talking about no-self, or no self existing – this world exists. This is all you know until you know something else; this is your only world. But when you know something else, then this doesn't matter, it's a picture show. But it's real now, and after you come out of the experience and go back to Kroger's to get your groceries, it's just as real as it was before, except that you don't care quite as much.

Q. What about the concept of dualism? As I understand it, dualism is a source of the illusion.

R. Right. But you can't escape from that. You can only talk in dualistic terms, because we are not monistic. And this is the reason that when you reach oneness you can't talk about it. As soon as you start to use words, you describe. But what is down the middle is what counts, which is neither.

Now when I'm writing, I use either a small letter or a capital letter "s" [for self]. The small one is false; the big one is absolute. Now the small-s self changes. What the instinctive man conceives of as small-s self is sex organs hanging on a body. And maybe that's all he wants. Maybe he also drinks booze and he's got a belly. But to him, that's his "self." I've heard some of them say, "When I can't do that, I want to die." He defines that as all he is. But he rises above that when he finds his emotional self, when he finds that there is something mental or emotional that is love. And then he says, "Hey, the body doesn't matter, what matters is love." He's now on an emotional plane. So his self changes, but it is still small-s self. When he's a philosopher it is still small-s self. This is what people fail to see: the man's perspective changes but still he has not reached oneness. So there are difficulties in the definition, let's put it that way.

Q. So when you say self you mean small-s self.

R. Well, I'll specify if you ask me. It's pretty cumbersome to say small-s or large-s all the time. But generally I'm talking about small-s self unless I'm talking about the absolute, the absolute self, the non-observable self. Somebody back there said it earlier, that these things can only be experienced. The higher realizations of the mind are not discussable, they're only experienceable. And that's because it's the small-s self who is doing the talking.

Q. Am I correct when I understand you to mean that dualism is transcended in one step, but that's not the ultimate step?

R. It's transcended, not in one step alone, but each step pulls you away from let's say the grosser misunderstanding. If you're acquainted with Joseph Chilton Pearce,2 who wrote The Crack in the Cosmic Egg,3 his feeling was that we were trapped in a language, and somehow this language is nothing more than agreement, belief by agreement. For example, when I was in college we had a table of elements in chemistry, and they told us flatly that there were only ninety-two elements possible; that even meteorites had fallen out of the sky, they'd analyze them, and there were only a certain number of elements. And there couldn't be any more because of some harmony in this atomic chart.

And so every student just accepts. This is one of the dangers of education. It's what some of the philosophers call a paradigm: a limitation is immediately set. And you're so burdened in college with getting the lessons in that you don't have time to go back and ask, "Hey, is this defined properly?" When I was studying chemistry, I had this haunting thing all the time. They were saying that oxygen has a valence of so-and-so, and I'd say, "Wait, wait, let's get into this valence thing. What's going on?" I never had it explained properly. They said, "If you're going to take time to worry about that, you're never going to get these problems solved. You're going to flunk because you've got to turn in a lesson every day." So the student goes about it like the private in the army in relation to the sergeant. He thinks, "Well, don't buck that teacher; he's got to be right and we've got to believe him." And this is what happens generation after generation, reinforcing it.


And one of the worst things is, not in science, because there we eventually find the truth – we finally found that there were over a hundred elements – but in psychology. All psychology is based on propaganda. Well, I can't say all, there are some sincere psychologists. But a person finds a rather clever little explanation for behavior, and he calls it psychoanalysis, and he becomes popular, and he tries to set up a whole string of clinics all over Europe. It explains something, with a certain theme, and people think, "Oh, boy, this man had the courage to buck the peddlers of guilt." And he did; he brought us out of the smoke a little bit. But now we had a new religion.

Psychoanalysis of course was rooted in sex and dreams – that man basically does everything as the result of sex – but then psychotherapy came out, the new name, which was Adler,4 and this was a slightly different theme. But none of these people gets into a real investigation of the true nature of man. I just picked up a book by a fellow by the name of Ludwig von Bertalanffy,5 and instead of anthropomorphism, he's talking about the trend of zoomorphism, where we're trying to learn everything by studying rats. And in the process of studying rats we debase the human society to what he calls ratomorphism.6 So what we have is a Skinnerian ratomorphism: you watch a certain set of reactions in a rat and predict what the human will do. Well sure, it's protoplasm. But what is the rat thinking about?

And we're subjected to rat, or let's say mass programming, and this is what's going on; they're programming people to behave in a certain manner. They're starting with the sociologists, who want to create a culture, and the psychologists are going to create an atmosphere where there won't be any riots,7 by masturbating the lions.8 Consequently, we get a whole perverse thing by virtue of propagandizing, with the help of the government, with the help of the powers that be. And on the other hand, the psychologists who want to be funded don't dare deviate. They have to serve as a public function, as a smoother of trouble, not as a student of the truth about the human mind. So we're lost as far as using psychology, except for psychological introspection or group analysis – by people who know what they're doing, not people who are all just trying to get into bed together.


Q. You talk about the observer a lot – do you think that the overall idea is to become aware of everything you're doing? For instance, I notice that when I talk, I become less aware of the things around me. Is the idea to increase your overall level of awareness about everything?

R. Well, no. Sometimes there are misconceptions – as I said, I advise people to read Gurdjieff, that is, his system as described by Ouspensky.9 Some of Gurdjieff's own writings are pretty dense, what I've read of them. Meetings With Remarkable Men is a very interesting storybook, a book of biographical sketches. All and Everything to me is just absolutely too confusing – the truth doesn't need to be hidden that completely. Consequently I lean to the Gurdjieffian philosophy through Ouspensky [In Search of the Miraculous]. Ouspensky put out a system called The Fourth Way; this is good. Any system is good if it causes you to think about yourself or encourages self-observation.10

But their concept of self-observation and mine are different. They wanted to be conscious of themselves totally, at all times. Now this may make you a very alert person, but sometimes it's better if you daydream a bit, if it takes that to go back inside and watch your past traumas and get the answer for them. But, for instance, Ouspensky ran around London before he died, trying to remember everything that ever happened to him in his lifetime, every place he'd ever been, to be able to remember this at the moment of death, so that he would be there forever. Who wants to live in London forever?11

But this seemed to be the trend behind it. And that was what gave me the feeling that neither one of these people had ever reached the final step. They talked about man number seven,12 but I don't even know of man number five or six. When you transcend the philosophical [which is what Rose calls man number four] the next step would seem to be man number five. But in my view, when you transcend the philosophical, you're there.


Now to say what type of consciousness you should have, I'm reluctant to advise. Because I think the type of consciousness everybody should have, preparatory to having a breakthrough, is trauma. Now this is diametrically different from the advice of all the gurus who say you're going to bliss your way into eternity, which is sheer nonsense. When you find out what the score really is, you're not going to be whistling Dixie. You're going to have a sad experience. Not the experience itself – the final thing is not sad – but what you leave behind only goes of trauma. When you bid your children goodbye as you're taken to the electric chair, that's not going to be a joyous occasion.

Q. Is that a relative experience too, because it's based on sadness?

R. Right. But that isn't the final experience. Earlier I was talking about the book, and in the book I describe the onset of the experience,13 and I mentioned not to pay attention to this as being the final experience. The final experience is nothing. The only thing I can do is to describe what happened on the way up, and when I woke up again on the way back down – those are both miserable experiences.


Q. Is it both theistic and non-theistic?

R. Well – there are no gods but yourself. I don't know if you can say that's both theistic and nontheistic. Man discovers that he is God.

Q. What do you mean by that?

R. You find God. I'm using that word loosely. This is something that's within everyone. In other words, I can't tell you which way to look, but most people look outside. Most people build altars and put statues on them, to meditate on, to concentrate on, external mantras, prayers to say. And if they're fortunate, they'll find that it's not out there.

I remember one time I was in a car wreck with a very devout person; we were coming down the hill and the thing was on fire, and I could see he was praying. He was looking up through the windshield – because he thought he was going to go up there. He wasn't going to be up there, unless there was a bardo14 up there. I don't know what was up there. But instinctively you look up. I don't think this occurs much in the Orient, that you look up, except in what they call kriya yoga,15 and that's the third eye. But I think in most Christian practices it was designed to be auto-hypnotic. Looking up puts you in an auto-hypnotic state; it doesn't show you heaven. But I'm saying that what you find is not out there.

Q. Would you say that nothing exists but God?

R. I would say nothing exists, and I wouldn't add the latter. I should say nothingness exists. Now everythingness also exists. And this is what you encounter, everythingness. Here we're getting into definitions, and if you can pick this up, okay. You experience that you are God. But before you experience that, you know that you are nothing; you have to go through the experience of nothingness.

Spiritual business

Q. What is the goal of all of this? What do people expect to gain from all of this self-searching? Where do you come down on this?

R. Pure foolishness. No goal.

Q. Then why put yourself through this?

R. It won't get you a nickel.

Q. No powers?

R. No powers.

Q. Happiness?

R. Happiness – what is that? It may get you the knowledge that there's no such thing.

Q. Then who needs it?

R. Right.

Q. I came across some articles trying to correlate Zen philosophy with the Western framework. One is called "Zen Perspective in Social Casework",16 another is "Zen in Management." It seems like spurious uses of Zen. And I hear you saying that this is somehow fraudulent

R. How about motorcycle maintenance? They've got one on that too.17

I've never been in any monasteries in Japan, but I've heard that a lot of military people sent their children to Zen schools in order to train them; they seemed to make better statesmen and soldiers after they came out of it. Of course, I figure they had a safety valve to keep them from getting enlightened, because if they ever got enlightened, they wouldn't make good statesmen. But nevertheless it was like an encounter group of sorts: the koan thing was like a massive encounter which shakes up a man's head and makes him think.

But whenever anybody asks about this being useful – "What good will it do me?" – that's the end of the conversation for me. Because if that's your game, what do you want out of it? If you're after philosophy you're not going to be concerned with money. If you're after the truth, that's what you're after; you're not after converting it to cash.

Unfortunately this has become big business in Asia. For instance, they have almost like a university in different parts of India where they teach people how to zap,18 how to perform tricks. Some of these are considered miracles, maybe even the equivalent of miracles that Christ supposedly performed. But these are basically manipulations; these people do not know who they are. It's like a chemist who produces a new plastic, a new sensational fabric. He doesn't know what the essence of the fabric is; all he knows is that if he puts certain chemicals together, something else comes out of that tube.

And it's the same with this. This is done because they don't export much steel from India – they don't export much of anything except gurus. These people are experts; the British conquered the country but the gurus have infected the British thinking for the last hundred years with their very clever concepts. So this is utilitarian. They go to study under some guru in the hopes that they'll learn to focus their attention, to drive a car blindfolded, or to zap somebody. And if they can come over here, it's worth a million bucks. All they have to do is hit the right person, the right pocketbook. And then they take an airplane load of junk back to the ashram in India.

So I deplore this type of thinking, and I think if you're sincere, you'll reject this. When I was young I went to every cult I could meet in the country, out to the west coast and other places, and wherever I found dollar signs I came out just as fast as I went in. Because I knew that these people would be concentrating on their bank account, and they wouldn't be concentrating on philosophy – so they had nothing. Because if a man has true values, he doesn't have money values; he can't have – they would be in conflict with each other. Money, ambition is obsessive; too obsessive. And in terms of utilitarian value, tell me what I want. I don't want anything. What would you want that wouldn't get you into trouble or cause more trauma?


So there were a number of yardsticks I used.19 First, no money. And any group that had regimentation or pomp, ritual, degrees – the Maharaj Ji and the Maharaj Joe – these don't mean anything. Titles do not bring you knowledge or essence. Also extreme organization. Organizations become enormous white elephants in which the people become so busy keeping the thing alive that they don't have time to do anything; plus jockeying for position for who's in charge of the checkbook.

Another thing was secrecy: There were a lot of groups I got into when I was young that said, "Hey, this is the truth – don't tell anybody." Because if they get me for ten thousand and I keep my mouth shut, no one will ever know, and they can get somebody else for ten thousand. That was my suspicion and some of it was corroborated; I found that some of them were strictly on the clip.

So there's no need for secrecy. The only thing is, that if I talk to you and you're not ready to hear, you won't hear. Maybe you'll be thinking, "I could convert this into dollars." Okay, that's your level. Secrecy perhaps was needed back in the Middle Ages when they tortured you for opening the wrong book. But we aren't obsessed with that type of thinking today, and we can get away with a bit of investigation. I think the biggest trouble we have today with esoteric investigation is not from the so-called Christian establishment, it's from the anger that's been built up from the oriental movements that came over here and ripped people off. I don't think we would have had the friction without the rip-offs.


Q. What does Albigen mean?

R. It's short for Albigensian. Bring raised a Catholic, when I found out what happened to the Albigensians, I resented it. So I more or less dedicated the book to them without saying so. I consider the Albigensians to be a pure element in the Christian Church which was destroyed. They were massacred down to the man, woman and child, in France, in the province of Toulouse I think it was. So that's the reason.20

"Are you sure?"

Q. Is there anything whatsoever, personally, of which you are absolutely and totally sure?

R. Yes.

Q. What might that be?

R. Well, I can't tell you [laughs]. But except for this one thing, I'm sure that everything else is unsure. I know what you're getting at. Generally the thought in the back of a person's head when they ask that is, "How do you know you're there? Are you sure, once you see this?" For instance we list these various exaltations and people ask, "You mentioned the four steps: the salvationistic, the wow experience, the comic consciousness and then finally the sahaja samadhi. Why aren't there sixteen more?" But you know. Now of course if I say I'm sure, I'm sure. But how can I tell you I'm sure? How can I demonstrate this? I can't. But I know that everything else is unsure.

Scientific tests

Q. Do you think any factor of the Zen experience can be subjected to western scientific tests?

R. They've done it. They wired up some yogis to these alpha wave, these biofeedback machines, and they find that they have a different vibration. They were doing these tests in Pittsburgh and one of the boys in the group was involved it, and he said, "Why don't you go over there and let them test you?" And I said, "Sure, set it up. It's alright with me, I don't care." I didn't even care if they didn't find anything. They never got around to it. But there's no point in it. It wouldn't matter if they put the wires on me and the machine blew up; that wouldn't prove I knew anything.

What you're implying of course is tangible proof. They tell a story about the fellow who approached Buddha and said,"If you can prove to me you're authentic, I'll follow you all the days of my life." And Buddha answered, "The proof is in the following." So it's the trip, not sitting and debating. Now that sounds like a long shot, to put your whole life into something with no guarantee. But you're going to put your whole life in anyhow. And it doesn't take that big a piece out of it; your life still goes on. You don't have to shut life down. It's just a choice of a way of living. Sometimes it's no more than a simple thing, that when you see foolishness or when you see yourself kidding yourself or lying to yourself – just quit. Change abruptly, change your lifestyle. Don't continue to lie to yourself.

I consider this the most scientific approach. It's like when you run a qualitative analysis, and what you want to know is the truth. You don't want to have two chemists where one says, "I think this is sodium," and the other says, "I think it's potassium," and each tries to prove it. No, science says we'll take it for what it is. The truth is what we want.


My conception of the approach to the final experience, the final knowledge, is the same thing: no baloney. If you're a liar, you can't perceive the truth. We have no other vehicle except the mental vehicle that we witness. So what we do is we become. Christ didn't say, "I know the truth, and I'm going to sell it." He said, "I am the truth." I read that and for years it didn't mean a thing to me: Why did they write it that way? Why didn't he say, "I have the truth"? It seemed to be superlative – until I had my experience. Then I realized what this man was saying, or what they were saying, putting words in his mouth. I don't know. He's been dead for a long time.

But regardless, this makes sense to me. You become the truth, you don't learn it. And the only way you can become the truth is by being truthful on basic, elementary steps, until you can become truthful on massive gestalts or philosophic steps. Then you become one with it. Then your computer is trained, not for wishful thinking. The computers today are being trained to be deceptive. We're being trained to act like animals and pretend that we're super. And that's not going to work. We're living a lie. This Skinnerian trip is basically a lie.


Q. I notice that when I'm lying to myself, it always seems to happen because of something I want or desire. How do you get around that?

R. You said something that immediately gave the key, that you want something – but who is it who wants? It isn't you who wants. You think you want. The human being is controlled largely by his appetites,21 and sometimes an appetite runs away with him. Now in the process of finding the individual, or the self that approaches the capital-s Self, there is something I call the observer. If you're watching something in yourself and saying, "Hey, this thing is destroying me; this is a feature I don't want," you're not talking about yourself. In this psychological process, the view is never the viewer. The viewer approaches the absolute self. The view is the objective thing, the mundane, the materialistic pretense, the belief structure. Humanity collectively agrees that we have two legs, two arms, two eyes, etc., and certain legal habits, propensities, which are us. As I said, the guy thinks, "I'm a sex organ; when I can't have sex I want to die." That's what he thinks he is. But when he's saying the word "I" he's mistaken. Because someday he might have an accident and find out that that's not him at all. Eventually he may see that these appetites are not him. They're only one part of his reasoning.


Now I maintain that there's a thing in the human being I call the umpire.22 Some people call it conscience. But I think it's nothing more than the somatic mind at work, deciding for the ultimate life of the vehicle. With the aid of what I call little witnesses – DNA molecules, genes and stuff, experience recorded in the computer, all this goes in – the umpire sits in court and says something like, "Hey, you're gaining weight. When you get that fat up around your heart, you're going to croak."23 But the guy might be a compulsive eater and he says, "I want to eat." But he is not wanting to eat – a voice, an appetite wants to eat. Or he says he wants to drink, to get drunk, or that he wants power. Again, he doesn't want power; that's just one facet. Now when he sees these things going on within himself, he becomes an observer; he begins to observe himself, and as soon as he does that, this umpire becomes external, as not him, not us. And then we go still further back.

I'm giving you the process of meditation I mentioned earlier, and if you can pick it up, this is a correct procedure if you want to go inside yourself. You observe your physical drives which are not necessarily you. They're identified as not being you because they're observable. We know we're watching.

Process observer

In the next step, stepping back behind the umpire, we watch our processes of thinking. We go into meditation and say, "What is going on inside here? What is the motivation? Why am I created this way?" Or, "What happens after death?" All of these philosophic problems enter into our head, and we watch our head working.

And in doing this we also notice other little things. For instance, I read in the paper that each person is subjected to 1,400 advertisements every day. It's amazing, but maybe that's possible. And some of these advertisements are swaying our head. So we stop and think, "What's happening in this computer while 1,400 signals are going by?" Naked women, booze advertisements – whatever they are, they're counting up and they're encouraging a whole philosophy of thought. Two days out of the week the guy's a bishop, but the next thing you know he goes down to the porno shops and then he's no longer a bishop. His whole philosophy changes; he says, "Well, maybe this isn't so bad."

Anyway, now we're watching the mind. And only when you do this do you realize that the mind is not you. We were talking before about Zen and no-mind. You can't approach this by simulating what you think the symptoms might be. Some people try to go blah, keep their mind flat, nothing. This will get you nowhere except maybe the nuthouse. You read a book and the guy says, "A real saint folds his hands, he looks up here and pretty soon he'll see something." Maybe he will, but this is simulation. The real saint, you can't tell anything about him. He doesn't look in any direction particularly, because it's basically inside himself.

So when you observe the mind and wrestle with these gestalts, these processes, this is what I call the process observer. We're watching the mind at work – and one day it blows up. This is what happens; the mind literally comes to a dead stop. You're able to watch everything. I think Gurdjieff hints at this in some of his writings, that there's so much confusion that occurs, and when the mind stops, the door opens, and there's only oneness.

Now, of course, when you first start meditating you'll think, "This could go on forever: I'm going to see myself acting and then rise above it, I'm going to see myself emoting and rise above that, and then I'll see myself thinking and I'll rise above the thinking – but my thinking will just get more and more complex and I'll have an infinite number of anterior selves."24 But this is not true. The process observer is the last self, the last self to go. And incidentally, one of the reasons you can't simulate an experience, is that what happens in the final experience is the dissolution of ego. The dissolution of ego cannot be voluntary.

Proper order of egos

This is another mistake made by a lot of people going into esoteric work, that they try to relinquish, to become unattached, and then they try to have experience at the same time. They say, "Well, it doesn't matter, I've risen above my body, I don't pay any attention to it. So I take dope." They relinquish their so-called pride, and they go down the street filthy dirty, and pretty soon their mind starts to become closer to the ground, let's put it that way. And this becomes manifestly noble to them; they think that they're getting someplace because they're detached from trying to look pretty, and that's a virtue. So they get hepatitis from being in filth, and the next thing is they're in the hospital and overdosed or dead. So this is not a path to spirituality; this will take you no place except the cemetery.

You have to hang onto your pride, you have to hang on to your morality. You have to hold every ounce of energy and use it for the maximum advantage. Don't get the idea that you can throw everything away and come up with a superb answer. You have to guard your energy all the way down the line. And then what happens – it's taken away. The head explodes. You don't pretend to have no-mind, the head blows up. A big hole blows in it. And then you're there.

Q. As I understand it, you're saying that good and evil are useful concepts to keep in mind in the struggle for enlightenment, but once you're enlightened you see it's dualism.

R. There's no such thing as good and evil – in this dimension or the next. Now that's not for everybody to believe. It's important that children believe in good and evil until they come to a different philosophy, but there's no such thing as good and evil. This is one of the hangups you get over very quickly. But you have to hang onto that if it's your only safeguard. Man has to be disciplined until he can discipline himself. And it's better to cling to a blind faith than it is to run around loose through eternity like something that went wild.

We do have these egos. We have the personal ego of keeping your body healthy, keeping yourself looking neat, feeling good, energetic. This is one of the things people think about in spirituality, because they've read it in the old Christian books – they say, "I'm going to be a spiritual person; I've got to find a dunghill like Job and be real crummy."25 The result is that if you get enough parasites in you, you're dead, that's all. Or you're tortured to death and you won't be able to think.

There has to be a certain amount of peace in your head. There has to be trauma, too. But you have to build a healthy body and a healthy mind so that you can tear it apart. You have to fatten up your head so you can cut it off. This is the way it goes. And it's only at the last moment the time comes for the physical ego to drop. They all go down like dominos. You lose respect for yourself and your physical body, you lose the hope of physical immortality, you lose the hope of mental survival or mental ability. You realize that all you've ever been is just a kind of a soggy pad that impressions have been made on, and that you've been putting out wild reactions to.

Then you lose your spiritual ego. You know that you were never really sure that you ever had a soul, that this was just a concept. A man who tells himself the truth doesn't say, "I have a soul." He doesn't use the word God. He doesn't know. Consequently, as that ego goes down, going in the proper sequence, then you die. You actually go through a death. But if you were to drop those egos prematurely or in the wrong order, then you destroy your path, and there's no way to reach the goal. But this will happen, and all you have to do is pursue this investigation, meaning you try to eliminate ignorance.

After death

Q. Are you're saying most people really aren't looking for truth, they just like to think they are?

R. Most people are looking for truth as they define it. I ask people sometimes, "Did you ever stop to think that you may not go to heaven?" Maybe they will – they're called bardos. "But maybe you'll arrive someplace where grandpa's not there and your parents are not there. What makes you think they're going to be there? What proof do you have about all this comfort? What are you going to do for the next two billion years?" They never stop to think about this. But don't tell them that they're robots, don't tell them that they're automatons. They just say, "Hey, that's enough; I don't want to hear that." So what you're experiencing with this person is a bag that will hold only two pounds, and you're trying to put four pounds into it. So you move away.

Buddha nature

Q. Don't all people have the Buddha nature and are capable of enlightenment?

R. No. They all have the Buddha nature, all before God, but they don't have the vehicle or the timing or the destiny – or whatever the factors are, I don't know. They talk about future incarnations, perhaps, but what are future incarnations if there is no future? I think that every living creature that has sentience has this same thing, this same ray. It's seemingly the projection of – I don't want to use the word divine, this is a connotation we give. What does divine mean? What is is-ness? Is-ness is not divine, is-ness is. That which is, is. But I think every being is.

Now, why is it that some are aware of stuff before they die and others are only aware of it when they die? I think a tremendous lot of people break through at the moment of death. If you get case histories you'll see that there are a tremendous number of illuminations at the point of death. So how many of them reach that? Then again, some of them come back and their testimonies are different, as in Kübler-Ross's and Raymond Moody's books.26 These accounts of after-death experiences show that what the Tibetans call bardos is where these people went, back to more of the same. So how long are they in this, and when would they be conscious in their so-called Buddha nature? Again, these are words.

The Buddha nature to me is nothing more than the vein of the absolute that's in every human being. But what will it take for it to be conscious, for the person to be conscious of it? What it amounts to basically, I maintain, is that everybody is unconscious; and when a person realizes the Buddha nature then the small-s self and the large-s Self are both conscious of each other for the first time.

... To be continued.


1. Applies as well to non-dualists with their no-self philosophy these days.

6. An article in The Academy of Management Journal by Mark Hammer, 1971, attributes the term "zoomorphic fallacy" to Bertalanffy and "ratomorphic fallacy" to Arthur Koestler. In Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine, he calls behaviorism a pseudo-science. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Koestler.

7. An advertisement from the Archives of General Psychiatry, in the era of the 1960s-1970s, pictures a race-rioter, with the caption "Assaultive and Belligerent? Cooperation often begins with Haldol." See the image at https://selfdefinition.org/psychology/images/protest-psychosis-haldol-ad.png. The source for the image is an article from 2011 on racism, "The Racialization of Mental Illness" by Arturo Baiocchi. However, the author misses the wider implications.

8. B.F. Skinner's term, quoting the Goncourt brothers, in Beyond Freedom and Dignity, page 39. Beyond Freedom and Dignity notorious quote by B.F. Skinner.

11. Ouspensky believed in recurrence and wanted to die consciously, remember this life, and possibly make better choices next time around. See In Search of P.D. Ouspensky: The Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff, page 266, by Gary Lachman. Lachman describes the trips in London and elsewhere, drawing on Rodney Collin's letters, reproduced in "The Theory of Conscious Harmony" page 187.

19. See "Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations," a talk by Richard Rose serialized beginning with the January 2019 TAT Forum.

20. Cathars in Languedoc were known as Albigensians, after the city of Albi (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism). A 45-year crusade (1209-1255) was waged against them by the church, including the Inquisition (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade). The massacre at Béziers in 1209 was the start of the Albigensian Crusade. Toulouse was the capital of the province of Languedoc. The holdouts at Montségur were wiped out in 1244.

21. In Rose's view the automaton is motivated by desire and curiosity, which he calls implants.

24. "Anterior" in the sense of "prior to."

25. Job 2:8 - dunghill in some versions, ashes in others.

26. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross's On Death and Dying and Raymond Moody's Life After Life.

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

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