Tag Archives: Richard Rose

Subtraction

Fellow TAT member and friend Shawn Nevins has written a clear, personal account of his search, along with tips for seekers of all types, well worth a read:

This story of friendship, love, and the darkest nights of the soul, follows a young spiritual seeker who drops out of graduate school and spends the next decade in a spiritual search that leads from a Zen master in the wilds of West Virginia, to an iconoclastic Christian mystic in the heart of Los Angeles, and an architect-turned-sage in England. Entertaining storytelling combined with practical tips and lessons from the path of spiritual awakening make this a must-have edition for those both curious and passionate about the mysteries of life, death, and enlightenment.

TAT Foundation conscious.tv interviews

Four members of the TAT Foundation have now been interviewed by conscious.tv. These interviews are an open invitation to the wisdom these folks have become.  Thanks to interviewers Ian and Renate McNay, the lives, tribulations and paths of each of these members is available on youtube under one play list.

Tess Hughes: Fear of death through an experience when she was only eight, set Tess off on a journey to find the meaning of life. After 30 years of inquiry into her mind and experience she woke up to find there was NO SELF. From reading the work of Saint Teresa of Avila and through her personal experience, Tess has come to see that the most difficult obstacle on one’s own path is the overcoming of self-esteem. She also believes that taking full responsibility for your own Awakening will set us free.

 

Bob Fergeson: Bob is author of the book ‘The Listening Attention. He talks about his life and awakening: ‘I was taken beyond myself into the place of no concern. The years of wondering, of alternating between pleasure and misery came to an end along with the searching and longing it generated. I saw that in all that time I had never really moved; rather I simply woke up.’

 

Art Ticknor: Author of the book ‘ ‘Solid Ground Of Being’ Art talks about his search for The Truth as his life, though perfect in one way, lacked purpose and meaning. After many years working with Richard Rose’s TAT groups and many individual retreats and Douglas Harding’s work a breakthrough occurred, ‘Art Ticknor was never alive, something broke the identification with the observer, there was no regret in seeing the sense of separate self go.’

 

Shawn Nevins: ‘The Way Of Subtraction’ Interview by Iain McNay Shawn is author of four books including ‘Subtraction: The Simple Math Of Enlightenment.‘ In the foreword he says, ‘This book answers the question of how to find out the answer to who and what you are beyond any shadow of a doubt.’ His spiritual search ended on December 28th 1999 having started 7 years earlier. During that time he meditated for thousands of hours, fasted, prayed, retreated, met spiritual teachers, and never gave up. His primary teacher was Richard Rose but he also spent time with Bernadette Roberts, Douglas Harding and others. His breakthrough came when he read through a transcript of a talk by Franklin Merrell-Wolff. Shawn’s story has many ups and downs. His sincerity during his search shines through and his many realizations on his path are tangible.

 

 

Transcendence and Ego1-Ego2

Transcendence of thought is not transcendence of self. Shifting the focus of attention away from thought and onto breath or body is a useful prelude to a meditation of self-inquiry, but as an entire meditative technique it is an exercise in self-forgetfulness. It may lead to a wonderful experience but the mind is simply resting on the I-thought, and that I-self is having a very pleasant experience while remaining safely hidden behind the cloak of mental quietude and physical ease. The notion of “coming into the body” is a form of engaging in what Alfred Pulyan describes as Ego1-Ego2.* The experience generated from this meditative technique is not the absolute realization that Rose, Nisargadatta, Maharshi, and others speak about. There is always a desire and a need for experiences to be extended in duration and intensity in order to satisfy the ego’s need for affirmation, progress, and the nagging, deep sense of lacking a final answer to the question of ultimate self-definition.

*Pulyan wrote about the Ego dichotomizing itself in order to set up a dynamic of protecting and reinforcing a “boss” ego with the need created by having a subservient ego hard at supposed spiritual work of creating experiences and thoughts that affirmed ego-self.
~ Bob Cergol, 2014 Labor Day TAT presentation
* Alfred Pulyan, a mid-1900’s Zen Master who engaged with students through the mail, in one such letter wrote about the Ego dichotomizing itself in order to set up a dynamic of protecting and reinforcing a “boss” ego … by having a subservient ego hard at supposed spiritual work of creating experiences and thoughts that affirmed ego-self. ~ Bob Cergol

Alfred Pulyan, Ego1-Ego2 Incursus
(Devices to preserve Egocentricity)

We do not pull flowers up to see how they are growing, but Ego (Self!) cannot endure being out of the driver’s seat and so even in the “work” he tries to be both objective & subjective. To be specific, Ego1 wants to watch the progress of the work with an occasional criticism or pat on the back for the Master.

“How shall we handle Ego2?” is asked by Ego1. Or – “I don’t think I (who is “I”? – why Ego1) would have handled me (Ego2!!) quite that way.” Or: “Fine,” says Ego1, “that’s showing him (Ego2).”

This schizoidal device preserves Ego at the expense of a fictitious Ego2!! You have already started this process.

Sometimes Ego1 will say he is “seeking” & does not DESIRE TO FIND. What is this? A pleasure merely in the action of the reason? Apparently. In any case, Ego2 is not even necessary here. Ego is asserting the utmost “doubt even of doubt” & refusal to go even as far as the word “the” without definition. It is a sound & invulnerable position. So is advanced psychosis, but that seems more restful – at times! Such a position (like solipsism) is fine when one is healthy, happy, young & immortal. It gets an awful kick later.

Ego1, for all that, sometimes feels that his constant observation of Ego2 (“self-consciousness”) is unsatisfactory. He may feel that his division is a faked device. In love, he may for a time forget himself (which means – become spontaneous) & the experience is delightful, unaccustomed & turns out often to be most unwise. It occurs often when young & when judgment would be desirable (for a change!), especially if the girl is not so spontaneous! If they both are, it is wonderful, but again the claims of the everyday come in, & the magic fades away. Everything in Japan used to be a “way.” There was a “way” of sword-play, of wrestling, of flower arrangement, of drinking tea, of commerce even, of drawing & painting – and the characteristic of each was spontaneity. Even archery (incredible results even in semi-darkness, splitting one arrow with another) – & such spontaneity daunts us. We are system-minded. Zen may seem to be a “system” of mass-production, but the essence of the work is individual. I have no “system” whatever for the same reason – no two people are alike. Certainly egocentricity is always the devil to be conquered, but from that central point he (ego or self) diverges in innumerable ways & uses every imaginable device, some very snide, others really subtle. He may know it too – and still throw up a smoke-screen! He resists the means to release – to the point of murder even (fortunately, since he is free to withdraw at any time, he usually withdraws under a confusion of self-justification. But if he were trapped – as I was – oh boy!!! In the Reichian technique for example the room is often a shambles).

So we DO “protect” something. And how! What? Ego? Oh no – while we live we are of course “we” & always that remains – but the “boss conception,” the “ultimate decider,” the “second line of defense,” these he INSISTS on at all costs. So Jung & others know the truth but sit in the audience (behind their desk for example) and are never part of the play. It is ludicrous to think I could help Jung – he is heavily armed. I could get ONE letter from almost everybody by promising “a new technique” but to get involved in it. Oh dear no! Most certainly not! Utterly fantastic! – who knows what –    Thus Jesus was correct. It is the treasure of the humble & for this goodly pearl a merchant sold all he had – and bought it. I can persuade almost anybody to say “O.K. Go ahead! What do I have to lose?” It is a Pyrrhic victory, it is unreal. In that way one sells toothpaste. They must come to me and really want it. Since they can easily push God away, how can I succeed where God does not? This is not a mystery I can solve. But the truly accessible, as Jesus said, are FEW. Up to you –    And so many words!
~ Correspondence with Richard Rose

material taken from July 2016 TAT Forum, http://tatfoundation.org/forum2016-07.htm#4 –Thanks to Art Ticknor, Editor

Awakening Together Interview

This past Sunday, March the 20th, I was privileged to talk with Regina Dawn Akers from Awakening Together. We discussed many topics relevant to the spiritual search, a good evening that I hope will be informative to those longing to look within.

The audio of the interview is available on their web site through this link:

Audio from March Satsang with Bob Fergeson

Freedom from the Teenager Ego

To enhance our probability of real spiritual growth, we need to get all the centers in our body/machine, the instinctive and moving mind, the emotional center, and the intellectual mind, all lit up and in working order. This brings us to maturity, or what’s known as good householder, so that we can stop living in the imagination and instead start dealing with what’s real. It’s easy in this day and age to get stuck in the teenager ego and refuse to accept responsibility or acknowledge the part of work in accomplishment. It’s necessary to learn to be capable of dealing with life head on, before we start thinking too much about enlightenment and a life with no resistance.

magical ship
magical ship

Richard Rose taught that we need to let go of the egos in the right order or else we risk becoming a functional idiot, useless in life, and to other people. If we remain immature too long, we risk having our minds become crystallized, fixed in an unreal belief system. It’s very painful to have to then break them up and start over to regain some resilience, a functional mind in good working order. It’s better to go through the pain of growing up and becoming an adult as an integral part of our spiritual path, rather than living in fantasy, waiting for our mythical spiritual ship to come in.

It’s the one thing that we can work on regardless; we can work on growing up into a mature man or woman, and therefore get used to the idea, in a practical manner, of what working on ourselves in a spiritual sense really entails.

This process of beginning work at our current level also takes us farther within, because we back out of the body, the hormones, and teenager dreams; and become older. Rose also said that he was trying to age a few young people. We can try and age ourselves; become wiser, more capable, more mature.

magical lights
magical lights

While we can’t force ourselves to surrender, or to be enlightened, we can work in terms of becoming more mature: at having a better mind, a wiser emotional center, and certainly we can get in shape physically. These are tasks which will develop a pattern of heading in the right direction, of not being afraid to work, of knowing what that really means rather than living in our head, imagining lights and magical powers and how everything will be handed to us because we’re special. This way, the way of the good householder, we’ve got something we can actually do; we can work on ourselves, every day.

Bob Fergeson

Holding a Straight Line

“Zen is walk, don’t wobble.” – Richard Rose

People think they’re going against themselves, but what they’re going against is a made-up fantasy, a ‘self’ they keep handy in a box in their head. They say “I’m going against my ‘self’ “. They then pick some meaningless personality facet out of the box to work on, but they never work against themselves. That’s too close, and they’re too hooked into it; they are ‘it’. Separating from this ‘self’ is a tricky, painful business, and nothing to be taken lightly.

Say we have an insight and see a goal we would like to achieve, such as not being negative. As soon as we start to work towards it, resistance naturally comes up. This resistance, or second force, may start us second-guessing ourselves because we’re under the illusion that if we were truly on the path there will be no resistance; everything will be bliss and perfection. So as soon as resistance pops up, we say ‘oh my god, I’m going in the wrong direction, I need to turn and go around, this can’t be right!’. Thus, we get blocked, sidetracked. Then we start to second-guess the second-guessing and end up in a muddle. This is wobbling. Second-guessing and avoiding resistance keeps us from walking a straight line. It comes from a profound misunderstanding of the world and how things work. There’s resistance towards anything that involves changing; especially working against ourselves. The self that you’re trying to work against is you, and it will defend itself. It will defend itself because it doesn’t want to die, just as you don’t want to die. We will defend this ‘self’, for we have taken it to be us. This is the human dilemma.

Fog Lifting
Fog Lifting

So when you want to try spiritual work, and hear you need to go against the self, the ego, it will be difficult. At first it’s going to be hell. The only way to get to the other side, is to go through it, not to second-guess yourself and take the easy way out every time there’s resistance. The resistance means you’re headed in the right direction and need to hold a straight line.

Now this goes for the intuition too, you have to see where you’re fooling yourself. The path is not all bliss and ease, that’s not a good indicator. Ease and pleasure are indicators that you’re not going against yourself, that you just coasting, not moving. We have to go through what we fear and what’s hard for us. To work against our ‘selves’, that’s the point. Not to take it easy and go towards the magic, the rainbows, the imaginary bliss, dreaming everything’s going to be wonderful. Nothing changes then, it’s happening only in our heads.

Clearing View
Clearing View

Change is hard, change is death, death to the little ‘self’. To get to a higher place or state, you have to climb. You can’t keep turning back downhill simply because you’re out of breath and your legs hurt, and your ego isn’t being pumped up. You’ve got to keep going up. You may need to use switch backs and rest stops in order to keep from burning out too soon, but that doesn’t mean you stop and roll downhill, and then wonder what happened, why nothing has changed, why the view is still cloudy and close.

– rant by Bob Fergeson

Pain as an Anchor

Anything is better than facing ourselves as we really are. Take pain. Why do we deliberately hurt ourselves and others by our actions, such as obsessions, addictions, self-centered behavior, if we didn’t need the distraction and identity that pain gives us?

I remember vividly the thought that would run through my head in the depths of alcoholism: that even if nothing was meaningful or important, that if no one cared or noticed, there was always pain.

This piece from R. M. Drake further illustrates this:

pain
pain

And the poem of Oscar Wilde, written while in prison, telling how we would rather kill that which we love , than turn and face the inner life within:

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.”

Why are we so afraid of facing ourselves, as we really are? Is it a feeling of fear? Are we that afraid of the unknown, that we would trade the discovery of ourselves, for familiarity in the form of pain?

The fear of  facing the unknown was described by a friend as the fear of falling into the black hole, and willing to do anything to stay orbiting on the event horizon, even if it means being anchored to a life of pain or distraction. This anchor holds us from the release of finding our True Self, which lies beyond the fear, beyond the opposites of pain and  pleasure.

Richard Rose wrote this wonderful poem to help us release the anchors, to give us a bit of hope in the face of our clinging. That beneath the event horizon, in the seeming nothingness, there is something: the home of the soul.

I come to you as a man selling air,
And you will think twice at the offer and price,
And you will argue that nothing is there,
Although we know that it is – everywhere.

I bring a formula largely untold, –
Of forces mixed with between and betwixt.
And only seen when allowed to unfold.
And better felt when the body is cold.

I have a map to the home of the soul,
Beyond the mind is a golden find, –The Golden Find
The paradox is a guide to the goal, –
Though doubt is sacred, each man is the Whole.

(from Profound Writings, East & West)

 

–  Bob Fergeson

Tips on Meditation

Confrontation is not meditation. It is a technique used to provoke meditation, to get the mind off dead center.

Preparation for Meditation

  1. Find a place that will allow you to be quiet.
  2. Reduce body-turbulence.
  3. Do not fight Nature, but take a holiday from the whole Nature-game.
  4. Provide synthetic irritation to keep the mind working.
  5. Be aware of all obstacles, and Laws
     

    Unless we examine the thought process simultaneously with intense psychological analysis, there is a chance that we may be sidetracked for long periods of time, meaning years

    Levels of Meditation

    1. Remembering incidents of traumatic or reactive nature.
    2. Finding the final self among the many selves of voices.
    3. Analyzation of thought-processes.
    4. Going within. Employ whatever necessary.
    5. Transmission

from Richard Rose’s Meditation Papers

Intuition and Reason by Richard Rose

By meditation men have improved their Intuition,
By suffering and adversity, men have improved Intuition,
By abstinence from food, or from certain foods men have improved their Intuition.
By abstinence from sex action men have improved their Intuition.
By the establishment of a system of shocks, or alternation between abstinence and indulgence, between suffering, and happiness, or even ecstasy, men have improved their Intuition.
By various mental exercises men have improved their Intuition.
By the practice of concentration on one thing, then on many things, and then on nothing, men have improved their Intuition.
By the practice of remembering the self, men have improved.
By the practice of concentration on various nerve centers, men have improved their Intuition.

 

Reason may be improved by the coordination of similarities and opposites in nature.
Reason may be improved by qualifying all statements with their relative nature.
Reason may be improved by exploring the “possible opposite” of that which seems to be final.
Reason may be improved by listening to the words of those who firmly believe in opposition to ourselves.
Reason may be improved by the study of mathematics.
Reason may be improved by the study of symbols, words numbers or figures, or by the juggling of these, or by exchanging or interpolating symbols of one system for those of another system, and by the resulting effect of all this upon memory and imagination.
Reason may be improved by desire, or fear.
Reason may be improved by the determination to reason.

 

Copyright Reserved – 2003 by Richard Rose

Bart Marshall – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Bart Marshall
Bart Marshall

Bart Marshall describes his spiritual path as “self-guided eclectic.” It began with a death experience in Vietnam in 1968 and ended in 2004 on an airplane at 30,000 feet over the Atlantic as he returned from a workshop with Douglas Harding. In those intervening years he “turned over every rock” in his quest for a final answer, but counts three teachers as the most influential: Richard Rose, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Douglas Harding.

He founded Self Inquiry Group (SIG) in Raleigh, North Carolina (www.selfinquiry.org), and for many years held weekly meetings before stepping back in 2013. Sometimes called “the reluctant guru” by those who know him, Bart nevertheless travels widely to speak when asked, and teaches retreats and intensives with Deborah Westmoreland (Conscious TV interview) events that have proven to be highly transformative for participants.

Bart is the author of The Perennial Way: New English Versions of Yoga Sutras, Dhammapada, Heart Sutra, Ashtavakra Gita, Faith Mind Sutra, and Tao Te Ching, and an upcoming book, Christ Sutras (Fall 2014), which contains the complete sayings of Jesus from all sources arranged as topical sermons. He is currently completing a book of essays on spiritual matters, Becoming Vulnerable to Grace.

Interview recorded 11/8/2014