Tag Archives: Richard Rose

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

Mountain High – Touching the Void with Bob Fergeson

“When the thought and the mind goes away, all you are left with is the real part of yourself…. In the quiet, there is a sense of eternality and unconditional love.”
~ Bob Fergeson

The sense of eternality marks the work of photographer, mountaineer, and spiritual teacher Bob Fergeson. Set among the Rocky Mountains, Bob’s story weaves the passions of the creative life and a love for the outdoors into a compelling narrative of a spiritual search. From his childhood attempts to capture moments of ethereal, quiet beauty with a Brownie box camera, Bob’s life careened towards a crushing encounter with alcoholism, then flowered in a time of self exploration through painting, drawing, and dreamwork, led to years of spiritual disciplines, and culminated in a final encounter with Truth that left him weeping on a Colorado mountainside.

Whether you frame your quest as a search for God, truth, enlightenment, awakening, certainty, or an aching longing to fill a void inside, you will find this feature-length documentary is more than just a film, it is a resource that you will mine for inspiration and advice again and again.

Stream Or Download The Movie:

If you want High Definition, the digital version is for you. It’s also great for avoiding postage costs.

For the $9.95 budget version: mountainhigh.vhx.tv/buy/mountain-high-budget-edition
For the $19.95 supporting version (includes bonus footage): mountainhigh.vhx.tv/buy/mountain-high-supporting-price

Questions about streaming and downloading? See this FAQ.

for more info: http://www.poetryinmotionfilms.com/mountain-high.htm

 

Going Within – by Bob Cergol

Richard Rose writes in his booklet on meditation:
“The ultimate aim of meditation is to go within. Going within means to find Reality by finding the Real part of ourselves. It does not mean merely playing around inside the head with random observations which we have discussed as being important to understanding the natural mechanism of man’s mind.”
“When we begin to meditate in the attempt to go within we should simply observe our self. We cannot really do it simply. It is a very profound task or attempt.”
He also writes in that booklet of the levels of meditation, of which “Going Within” is the 4th level. The instruction given is: “Employ whatever necessary.”

 

What does it mean to “go within”?
It’s not a place, and you don’t really “go” anywhere. It refers to the direction of one’s attention.

 

What is it that you do to “go within”?
Life is basically an experience. Experience is a continuous stream. We can categorize our experience as “inner” and “outer.” Inner experience refers to the totality of our individual reaction to outer experience — and on another level to inner experience itself in a spiraling, even “tail-chasing” process so the line between inner and outer is blurred — and ultimately may prove to be a false distinction, i.e. all experience is external….
Going within means a shift in the object of seeing or listening, of one’s attention from the perceptions and events swirling around us to the seeing or listening to our reactions to life’s experiences.

 

What determines those reactions?
We engage ceaselessly in evaluating whether our sense of self is affirmed or diminished. The former is pleasure. The latter is pain.

 

Which reaction is dominant for you? What is its source?
What fills your attention most of the time?
I believe that fear of death develops in concert with the development of identity, for the simple reason that intellectually we know that the body is mortal and therefore cannot be the vehicle that will ensure survival of that identity. The escape mechanism is to disassociate from the body, place oneself anterior to it and take possession of it, as it were. But since there is no hard proof, there is this core knowledge of the lie, and our lives become an incessant, doomed-to-fail effort at proving the independent existence of that identity by attempting to magnify it through experience.

 

What is the motivation for shifting your attention away from external experience to look at inner experience? Or said another way, what motivates you to examine what is occupying your attention?
The primary motivation is whenever experience diminishes the sense of self. It is not really motivation since the shift is a reaction. If looking at the internal experience of reaction is painful, the automatic reaction is to shift the attention away either by engaging in rationalizing analysis or by engaging in alternative mental or physical activity.

 

What result do you expect from “going within” as you conceive it?

 

Consciousness versus Awareness: definitions
The dictionary defines the words “consciousness” and “awareness” as synonyms, and each word is used in the definition for the other. The definition for both words depends on there being an object to which consciousness or awareness applies. This implies that there must be a subject who possesses the attribute of consciousness. One is either conscious of something or not. In this sense the words are verbs and denote action by an individual being — even if that action is itself either automatic — or an unconscious action!
Students of the esoteric have this concept that “God” or the “Source” is pure “awareness.” They conceive this awareness to be a possession or attribute of God’s, just as they perceive it to be an attribute or possession of their own self — or one that can be acquired. Realization is conceived as adding god-like awareness or consciousness to this same personal self. This all stems from an egocentric point of reference that places their ego anterior to everything else. Seekers of enlightenment have this idea that they will become god-like, or one with god, or attain this god-like awareness, and so there is the presumption of personal immortality and eternal ego consciousness.

 

Let’s see how this would apply to God, Supreme Being or Transcendental Awareness:
What is the object of this consciousness or awareness? What is God aware of?
If God’s awareness is without object then, how is God alive according to our concept of being? Does God know that he’s alive?
Does the knowledge of “being alive” require an identity? Would you be alive without your identity? — Without your body? Without your mind? Without — YOU!?
If God is all-knowing, what does he think about?
If God is beyond all thought, what occupies his attention?
If God is the object of his own attention, how long is God’s attention span?
If God is beyond time and exists eternally, then how could God not be eternally bored with himself?
If you believe in your own immortality, or even the possibility, what will the object of your attention be for eternity?
Can you imagine yourself, your identity with all its history, as the object of your consciousness for eternity — with no ability to alter that history? Is that realization? — Or the definition of Hell?

 

*
I distinguish between the two words consciousness and awareness.
For me, consciousness is personal and temporary; awareness is impersonal and timeless. Consciousness is the experience of individuality, and awareness is that which powers it. The “experience of individuality” is motion on a background of immobility — a whisper that cannot alter or penetrate the silence. Consciousness is a point. Consciousness is the point at which the un-manifested intersects the manifested. Awareness is boundless.
Awareness is consciousness without an object, unless you wish to say that awareness is its own object.
How then does an individual become aware of that which is anterior to that individual? The question seems a contradiction — indeed a Koan!
The short answer is by “abandoning the ego-centric position” — another paradox. The verb abandon implies action by the ego, which action itself would reinforce the supremacy of the ego’s position. Therefore it is said that the ego is taken from you or dropped. When one “gives up” or “expires” it is not a voluntary action but a spontaneous acceptance or natural consequence….
The process is negative or subtractive. The end result is not created by the process.
  *
– Bob Cergol
*