The cycle of desire and fulfillment may seem a trap of monumental proportions, but as all traps built in the framework of the mind, it has no inherent reality. Let’s take a look at this cycle of desire, fear, and fulfillment, and how an ache of the heart turned within is our release.
We see that if we want something and then get it, we feel better. After years of this cycle, we fall for the trick of believing that getting what we want is what life is about. And what would make us happy would be getting what we want, when we want it, all the time. We fail to look closer and see what has really taken place. Fulfilling desire simply puts it to sleep, and leaves us in the state of no-desire. It causes no fundamental change, and sows the seeds for our future discontent. If we saw behind the circumstance, we would see that the state of no desire, or pre-desire, is what we long for, and would no longer move from it out into the dual dimension of pleasure and pain, the so-called reality of life. This state of peace has been there all along as our true nature, lying much closer than any pleasure object of the world. But this peace is not peace of mind. The mind is motion, and does not manifest in stillness. This state of no-desire is stillness itself, beneath and primal to mind, and is our rest.
This trap of desire and its fulfillment also involves forgetting. We forget we are fulfilled as we really are, within, and thus move away through temptation and trickery. Not from being pushed, but from being fooled. We have become mesmerized by the world and its sensations, and have forgotten the peace that lies within. A potent cocktail, equal parts faulty memory and a profound propensity towards fantasy and projection, mixed with fear of unfulfilled desire and death, topped off with a passion for grabbing onto everything that feels good, keeps us on the endless loop of turning our attention out into the world for fulfillment, coming back into ourselves to rest, and then going back out again. We have become identified with the world and it’s dual nature, and have forgotten we are complete and forever in the state of fulfillment within, our true home. We are not an animal at heart, though we have come to believe this.
This leads to the longing of nostalgia and how we confuse the circumstances of our childhood events with a purer state within that was also present at the time. It is innocence and lack of guilt that we truly long for, a state before temptation and the chasms of the mind led us out into duality. We long for our childhood or nostalgic scenes, not because these props and times can provide peace, but because our inner state at the time was one of peace. We paint this inner state onto the scenery and confuse the two, fooled again. We mistake the event for the feeling, much as we do the act of fulfillment of desire with the state of no-desire. Nostalgia in its pure spiritual state is not the desire to live in a root-beer commercial, which might be nice, but the longing of our heart for its true state of oneness. Our inherent inner peace passeth all understanding, for to ego and mind, it’s completely unbelievable.
“Man is the Frankenstein of God.” – Richard Rose
Meditation is the destruction of the sense of ‘self.’ This self has been created by the mind through ignorance, a sort of learned hypnosis, and can be destroyed by the very act of staring it in the face. This is better described as the act of observing ourselves. Thinking we observe ourselves already, we must somehow first become convinced that what we are doing is no such thing, but instead we are blindly creating our own version of the Frankenstein monster, then stepping inside our creation and taking it to be us. This created act of the imagination is never questioned until disaster strikes and the peasants with their torches are banging at the door.
We may actually begin to observe ourselves and find we are a stranger. If we are still intrigued and the intuition awakened, we may be tricked into looking for the problem inside our own head. This revelation that something might be amiss in our own interior, coupled with a bit of intuition and grace, may lead to an interior questioning. Awareness breeds more awareness and soon we may find we have reversed our direction. The creating mind with its compensating imagination may be glimpsed just enough. We may find we are hooked on this self-observation thing. But watch out. The ego and animal nature won’t like this one bit, and will do everything to bring back the good old days of dissipation, drama, and self-created misery. If we are still a tad lucky, we will see through this and have discovered another layer of that which is not us. We place meaning and value on the continual act of observing, the inward listening with attention.
Meditation also involves finding a stable point within. The body/mind is in constant flux; happiness or pleasure are fleeting at best. By sorting through and retreating from this, we eventually go beyond body/mind and find a Place of No Concern, a deep stillness. Thus we find meditation to be a changing process, different at every stage, but final in its result. Eventually we look at the looker, and even look at looking itself.
- Bob Fergeson
The Gnostic’s tale of the Demiurge, the arrogant ruler of the material world, gives us a clue as to the nature of our own prison, and how to escape it. Being himself created, a creature, the Demiurge’s belief in his own infallibility is a lie in basis, and so must be continually bolstered. To accept the true nature of his existence would be un-thinkable, for it would mean his demotion from absolute ruler to mere manager, a caretaker of sorts, rather than the True God. This he sees as death, and rightly so. Let us take a look at how we as ego, a reaction-pattern created from thought, make the same mistake, and how we can become free of this prison of projection and delusion.
When we lose contact with our true Self and become identified, we do not become identified with the world or the body. We actually fall asleep to the world or body as well as our true nature, and become identified with the mind; meaning we are identified with thought and feeling. We may believe we are seeing things as they are, for we have never bothered to take a look at how we see, or what we are really seeing. The self-reflecting consciousness sees just that: a projected reflection of its own experienced consciousness. This inner mind-world is a superimposed projection, built of thought and feeling formed throughout a person’s life, the process of which he is completely unaware. We do not see this projecting process, for it is instantaneous and automatic. We only see the end result; a world made of thought, removed from the eternal Now through a gap of time. (see footnote 1.)
This split-second from when we receive a percept and then react to it with thought and feeling is this gap of time. This gap, though it be only a split-second, is a chasm wide enough to separate us from our very Self or Source. It is also wide enough to allow us to live in a world of reaction; a world of judging, thinking, and assumption. This dualistic realm is never stable, ever changing, and ruled by a tyrant whose very existence is after-the-fact. This tyrant is called ego, and is the very thing we have come to be. Our very sense of self has become identified with a reaction-pattern, removed from the present through time. This sad state of affairs is not only unreal, but patently dangerous. All of the world’s ills spring from this illusion.
This illusion can also be called mind, or the inner drama. We live in this self-created drama, and must continually re-create it to keep our false sense of self somehow stable in an unstable world. Now, in our struggle for self-survival, our first reaction to hearing this is to dig in, to insist more than ever that we are in charge by deciding to take immediate action and remedy the situation with our new knowledge. We may decide to root out this egoic ruler who has deluded us for so long, and never again make the same mistake. Or, if our pattern is based in fear, we may decide to run farther into distraction and thought, hoping to be safe in sleep with the covers pulled tightly over our heads. Both of these reactions would be laughable if they weren’t so common. Through our very effort to free ourselves, we trap ourselves even more. Through the arrogance of ‘deciding’, the Demiurge has simply affirmed its self-declared infallibility. We have made the same old mistake, again. As the reaction-pattern, we have only reacted. Nothing has changed; the dream goes on. (see footnote 2.)
How then, can we escape this prison of thought and time? Our very effort to escape binds us more tightly, and even the world of distraction and sleep provides no rest, being subject to drastic change through ever-reacting thought. The answer lies not in affirming our ignorance through thinking we now know what to do, but in our admission of the problem itself. Through the simple admitting that we do not know, we begin the homeward journey to freedom. If we start with this surrender; then our attention has the possibility of freeing itself from the drama of the mind in time.
This surrender is a not a passive giving in to our identification with the world or thought, but an acceptance of the facts. We realize that we do not know ourselves. We do not know how we see, much less what, and are thus freed to start looking. This admission frees our attention from the hypnotic trap of conceptual thought, stabilizes it in silence, and returns the mystery to awareness. To find the possibility of moving this attention within to find out who we really are, as the True Self, means that we must free this wandering attention from identification with thought and knowing, and allow its gaze to be turned back within, across the chasm of time and projection.
When we can actually view the world without association, meaning we are finally capable of admitting we know not what we see, we have found a valuable clue. We have now become an observer, capable of turning our gaze within. No longer lost in time and the projection of the associative mental world, there is now the capacity to move within. We have this new freedom because we are no longer locked in the after-the-fact reaction-dimension of thought and feeling. This is how honest self-observation gives us possibility to become, to become a real Observer. In the world of thought, there is none. We step out of our own way, and are freed from our personal demiurge as we allow the True Consciousness, the mystery of our being, to come forth. – Bob Fergeson
1. “In The Nature of Consciousness, you can read of an experiment conducted in 1985 by Benjamin Libet. Electrodes of an EEG machine were placed on the scalps of subjects to detect the onset of mental activity. The subjects were then instructed to spontaneously flex their hand, and to note the time of perceiving the urge to do so according to a clock. The results of the data collected showed that the brain began action, referred to as mental potential, about half a second before the subjects experienced the urge to flex, and three quarters of a second before the flex occurred. I have heard of similar experiments which produced the same result. What subjects experience as a conscious urge to act was shown to be an after the fact product of previous, usually unconscious, mental activity. Who is the actor?”
- Mike Connors, Effortless Meditation: Starting with the Goal, http://tatfoundation.org/forum2005-12.htm#5
For more information:
Benjamin Libet, Mind time: The temporal factor in consciousness, Perspectives in Cognitive Neuroscience. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01320-4.
The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Consciousness-Philosophical-Debates/dp/0262522101
Ned Block, Editor
2. Why do we seem to have a hard time incorporating Douglas Harding’s experiments or Tolle’s Power of Now into a lasting awareness? If we have an early success with one of Harding’s experiments or realizing the power of the moment, it could be the worst thing that could happen to us, because we can turn these realizations into a fabricated memory, later used in projection. At any point from the moment the realization is turned into a memory, when we think we’re in the power of now or remembering a Harding experiment, we will be referencing that created and stored memory, and fabricating it into a projected ’moment’. That’s our mechanical mind’s way; it’s easier and we’re used to it. Trying to go back into the power of now or the moment, looking at who you really are, is very antagonistic to the ego to say the least. We have to realize this trick; otherwise we just go on looking for the next guru, the next teaching, the next level, since we’ve got that merit badge, and are feeling once again the need to assert our feeling of knowing. The mind is geared to find another problem, and solve that, ad infinitum. No change in being is possible if we do not realize how our mind creates and projects images, and then fools us into thinking they are somehow in real time, rather than after the fact. But the actual seeing of how we create our lives and our moments every moment as we go, this takes being new each moment, rather than an act of projected memory and agreement all taking place unconsciously. It’s hard work, a mystery, to stay a step ahead of our mind. Not only do we create what we’re looking at, objects and things, through this process of creation and projection and then only seeing the finished product, but this created projection is what we are, as individual personalities. Our initial percepts and our reactions to them create a fabricated memory, and eventually a fabricated projection, which is us, as well as our world. – Bob Fergeson
“The path to Truth begins with the self. We cannot properly isolate, identify, or analyze the self, because it is the subject about which we know the least.” – Richard Rose
The conscious attention, or ego, sits on the doorstep between two worlds: that of the outer country of our senses commonly called reality, and the world of the mind, our inner realm, the undiscovered country. While much can be said of the outer world of the senses, little is known by most of us of our inner country, a world of automatic responses and unquestioned beliefs, hidden in darkness, projected onto our hapless neighbors.
Even those of us on the spiritual path, professed seekers of truth, rarely enough venture into the unknown country behind our eyelids. We tend to avoid this inner space, side stepping it in favor of imagination. We create a conceptual idea of ourselves in our head, one which fits our needs and fears, and then believe in it. The true state of our mind and emotions is avoided and exiled, an active but unconscious shadow in the darkness within.
This refusal to look at our inner state is not only because we are cowards, ignorant, and/or blind. It is necessary. The mind could not go on about its business in day-to-day affairs in the hustle of modern life if it questioned itself. Things could come to a halt.
One of the ways we avoid the inner realm is through what I call the game of ‘stay away’. We refuse to look at anything about ourselves that doesn’t fit the script. An extreme example of this is found today in neo-advaita types, while a generation or two ago it was seen in the radical side of Hare Krishna’s, and even earlier with ‘Jesus freaks’. The game is played by having a tight 5-10 minute circle of unbreakable logic which is repeated over and over, both to oneself as well as others. This is a very effective form of self-hypnosis which enables it’s practitioner to stay away from all consciousness of any inner emotional turmoil.
Another trick is that of placing the ego in an intangible form so that it cannot be attacked. These folks have no practical ego to speak of, meaning they have no real skills, no career, no interest which is actually carried out in the world. But to function the ego has to have an object, so if they are unwilling or incapable of identifying with a practical aspect of life, they find a concept, an archetype, or an image with which to identify. These images are invisible and intangible, so there is no risk of failure or success associated with believing in them. The trap is almost fool proof and extremely hard to break free of. Examples are seen often in New Age archetypes, such as the ‘goddess’, the ‘warrior’, the ‘sage’, etc. Even political and religious concepts can be effective shields against our personal truth, such as being politically correct or morally self-righteous. The common thread is an inability to handle tension or resistance. There can be no failure or questioning of an inner goddess, it can’t be seen or corroborated, so the person has an excuse not to face themselves, no matter what.
The trick of transference is seen in those who avoid their inner country by projecting it onto others. They have nothing to work on in themselves (being perfect, the ego’s main characteristic) so they spend their time helping others less fortunate (the rest of us). In this manner, they never have to see themselves as they are, for all imperfection surely lies in others, out there. They feel they are fortunate to be able to spend their time in helping, while their victims, their unlucky friends and acquaintances, must bear the burden of the ‘helpers’ unresolved inner conflicts.
An example of this was driven home to me when I worked at a ski resort. A group of blind cross country skiers came for a week, from the wonderful organization Ski for Light. There were over a hundred of the blind skiers, along with their guides and coaches. I assumed that the skiers, being blind, would be in need of much help, and their guides must be selfless saints to volunteer for such an undertaking. I had it exactly backwards. The skiers were the ones with the greater being, and needed no help traveling freely about their inner country. The guides on the other hand, while sighted in the outer world, were, perhaps unknowingly, being taught humility, faith, patience and wisdom by their unsighted charges.
I’ll never forget this surprising contrast: the guide bragging at dinner how she had been blessed not to have to work so she could give her time to ‘helping’ the less fortunate. The resort staff soon became fully aware of who was helping who. Her blind student was easy to wait on, not at all demanding, while the guide required constant attention, everything had to be prepared to her individual specifications, running us ragged for no real reason other than her inability to act in any way other than self-centered. The blind skier (the true guide) spent the week in infinite patience, a shining example of courage and wisdom, expecting nothing in return.
While these examples may illustrate our ignorance of our own psychology, it also serves to show how our values are reversed by life and its demands. The inner country, the basis for our character, is undiscovered and lacking in meaning, while our outer life of body and ego is given first priority and the highest value. The soul, with its connection to our inner self, is discarded in favor of saving face and ego. Only when the inner atmosphere is clear and quiet can we hear the true message from our Self. A long and hard journey within to clear the air and underbrush may be arduous, but in the long run, worth any price.
In the morn of my soul the track was smooth,
freely would I glide, skis on nothing flew.
I had come from Still and Quiet,
I knew just what to do.
Come the afternoon of mind, so came the Spindrift,
blown by the winds of mind, of experience,
to slow my feet, even to stumble.
Stale clouds darkened the path, Spindrift rumbled.
I became obsessed with the track itself,
obsessed with skis, with motion.
Feel of flying, of gliding free, gone, only
trudging, the means itself, the notion.
I no longer felt of flying, no longer the morn of my soul.
It was afternoon, and things had slowed.
From what and how did spindrift-knees-stiff
The fine granules catch my skis, sandpaper,
holds me back, turns the glide to waver.
Is it Spindrift, my mind to slow, my soul to feel anguish?
or attachment to the exact circumstances of the track,
which now leads me nowhere from nothing.
I find the pattern Spindrift, has caused a pattern smothering.
It accuses: ‘you created me’.
I’ve surely now become thee.
Now when skis catch, I catch.
When feet stick, mind sticks.
The pattern evokes a pattern prick,
the pattern’s pattern, anger.
For these reactions happen still, even when the trail is smooth.
It’s echo haunts my mind,
Spindrift, not there, yet binds.
The pattern begets pattern, I became the pattern fine.
Through blowing lines of
Spindrift, floating dreams of mind,
my soul in the floating haze doth see,
a steady distant sign.
Nostalgia speaks of earlymorn,
to ski and trudge no more,
of Home, peace and faith instilled,
Still and Quiet, as before…
The Sad Child of Maddening Dreams
and hid awhile.
The Mad Child of Saddened Dreams
’til he went wild.
The Naive Child, moody dreams,
The trap to spring
The Serious Child, dangerous dreams,
The trap awaits
the path ahead,
as the way leads up and up,
From his burning bed
the child then flees
to Love’s deep comforting cup.
from beyond the blood-stained scene,
And Grace in Light
returns to the Child
the Peace he had foreseen.
Poetry in Motions spiritual film,
Closer Than Close,
is now available for download, or rental!
See this inspiring video instantly:
Scanning the index of TAT Forum issues going back to November 2000, there are three articles written by TAT members or friends with personality, personhood or person featured in their titles. And here’s a peek at what they had to say:
I’m convinced that self-observation, when done correctly (without getting sucked into analysis), is a technique which “maneuvers” the awareness away from identification with the ego, so that in an instant ALL of ego becomes the view—the dreary details just aren’t important then…. You could reject the argument you know so well and instead of giving it form in words, look at how you FEEL, and give expression to that. I wonder what thoughts would then arise is you, and what verbal form they would take…. Before you observe clearly, or perhaps just at the moment when you do, reaction immediately sets in: defense, rejection, yes, no, good, bad, aversion, attraction. Analysis results. The ego-based arguments get verbalized and you are sucked right back into identification with the fictional you. — On Personality, Analysis & Going Within, by Bob Cergol
Somewhere along the line we read or heard someone say to us, this self you think is you, is not you, it is an elaborate production—it is a trick. Or maybe, if we were lucky, we got a peek behind the scenes via an experience of trauma, or maybe even some sort of spiritual or satori experience. Whatever the case, however it happened, we got attuned to the notion that person we took ourselves to be was not as solid, continuous, and consistent as we once thought. Indeed, we noticed that we were, to one degree or another, being tricked. — … But it Feels Like Me!: Discerning the Fabric of Personhood, by Alex Danilowicz
Ramana Maharshi stated his view succinctly: “‘I am a man’ is not natural. You are neither this nor that.” Nisargadatta Maharaj put it even more forcefully: “You have squeezed yourself into the space of a lifetime and the volume of a body, and thus created the innumerable conflicts of life and death. Have your being outside this body of birth and death, and all your problems will be solved. They exist because you believe yourself born to die. Undeceive yourself and be free. You are not a person!”
Are you a person? Then you will be alternately happy and unhappy. The fun prospects of life are ruined by death waiting in the wings. Of course death may eventually seem appealing. You will never be fully satisfied. An individual (a separate thing) is never going to be whole. — Are You a Person? by Art Ticknor
TAT’s fourth and final gathering for the year presents an opportunity to come together on the “grand work” for which Richard Rose founded the TAT Society:
“After all, are we not all working for the same goal, which is Truth, which is God if God is found through the search for Truth, or for the Absolute, if the Absolute is found through a search for Truth?” — Richard Rose
The registration deadline for the November Gathering is Friday, November 2nd.
What follows is a series of letters from Richard Rose to L. written in early 1990.
* * *
Your letter of Dec. 18th has been sticking on top of my typewriter until now… in fact I was surprised at the date when I saw it.
I am glad to hear that your business is maintaining good momentum. I am always concerned about the stasis, or stagnation of business ventures by people in the group. Because it is the red light of trauma for the individual.
The cause of such trauma is difficult to assess or correct because it can be from a lack of attention by the individual… or it can be entirely from an opposite direction — it can be the take-over of some internal spiritual hunger or attending HGA coming with a shell-bursting Koan. And there is yet a third factor, or possible cause.
The third cause comes from entities… parasites (of a spiritual energy addiction) which throw blocks into any spiritual endeavor that might threaten their food supply.
What do we do about it? We must cover all three possibilities. If adversity is reflected in what seems to be our actual, physical survival, we must double our efforts and attention… and never give into blaming it on the times or on persecution.
If we think it might be a spiritual Koan we plug along with an eye to any possible gains from such a Koan.
If it is a negative attack, we must eliminate all action or habits that would feed the power of a physical attack that threatens the mental energy, so that we don’t surrender like a falling house of cards, all the while babbling to one’s self about the many possible diagnoses that might have caused the dead-end state of mind.
Just this morning I ran across a bookmark. I cannot remember the exact message… or its author… I thought it might have been placed in the mail by some well-meaning Christian sect. It said in effect — Do all things for the sake of a higher power, and it will correctly guide your every step.
Amazing! I thought. For this I have always believed since I was in my early twenties. The advice covers all three possibilities to problems of adversity.
There is a god within every man… that finds his contact with the chief Engineer of this scenario… the Absolute God that has everything planned or is able to at least enable us to see that everything is for the best. And the best includes eternal contentment at the cost of momentary inconvenience.
What follows is the follow-up letter from Rose to L., from the preceding letter, above. It defines some of the abbreviated terms used in the preceding letter and is not dated. It was handwritten by Rose and signed with an uppercase “R” with no period.
* * *
Finally getting a chance to catch up on the mail. As you probably know I was hit by a car in December. Did not require hospitalization but it played hob with my vertebrae and the nerves.
In answer to your question of the front of this page HGA is a Holy Guardian Angel. The “HGA” is used by esotericists and some alchemists who feel it is like the word JHVH. HGA is a humanoid or angelic messenger. JHVH is the eternal Absolute or Essence.
KOAN is a Zen word for a puzzle or catalytic limerick that will bring about better insight.
About moods. Nostalgic Moods are never seductive or acquisitive.
Hang in There
* * *
* * *
I received your letter last Saturday. We are like ships at sea. The man at the wheel has to be firmly in control of the ship or body.
I can see that you have been hit by a hurricane.
We are attacked if we momentarily are exposed to parasitical forces or divine forces. (either)
If your course is straight and selfless – all will [turn] out well.
Be careful about publicizing and great windfalls of opportunity. The bats in the belfry and rats in the cellar mount an attack – to provoke an action that will feed the entities, that want you to be poor and weak.
If you have been attacked by the divine forces, – all will be well.
May the light within guide your course.
R. (Richard Rose)
” I’d come to realize that if a man is ever going to grasp anything it won’t be by learning. His being has to change. You are what you do, not what you know. A man never learns, he becomes. To become, you must find ways and means to change your entire state-of-mind. This in turn will lead to a change of being.” - Richard Rose
Take meditation into the world of action, rather than just imagination. It will then lead to a change of being, rather than just new patterns of isolated thoughts. For meditation to help us, to bring about a change in being, we need more than just thought. We need to put our lives on the line. We need energy as well as concept, transmutation as much as conviction.
Does this scare you? It should. Do you still feel a longing? Good, you’re not just in your head.
If a fear of death, and a longing/remembrance for something better are within you, you’re heading in the right direction. If not, for you think you’ve solved the problem and are at Heaven’s doorstep, you’ve become too clever. Are you heading farther into the head and the imagination, playing it safe, sleeping in the superior position of your dream?
On the other hand, are you wallowing in your fear and self-pity? The inferior position of the dreaming ego isn’t the right direction either, is it?
Sensitivity and cleverness can become enablers to our self-love, just as much as laziness and self-complacency. This can happen when we ignore our guts, not realizing that transmutation, and the resultant change in being, depends on generating and saving energy. Meditation shouldn’t happen just in the imagination. We transmute energy through exercise, from doing what we say, not being afraid to sweat and be uncomfortable, from facing our faults and mistakes: going against ourselves. Action as well as thought. This can’t happen if we remain soft and secure, yet collapse like a house of cards when push comes to shove. If every time things get rough, we copout to distraction and escape instead of standing tall and clear, we’ll never generate and save enough energy for real change.
Transmutation through meditation also needs a vector, a direction. It needs applied wisdom, a will, to direct the saved energy. Saving and directing our generated energy can transmute our cleverness into insight, our sensitivity into self-awareness, our self-indulgence into strength. This is the result of a change in the direction of our love, from love of self to a new found love for our higher potential. A faith in things unseen but felt, insight and intuition: allowed, carefully reasoned, and acted upon.
- Bob Fergeson