“Thank-you very much for the reply...I have read all of Richard's books and they have definitely helped to lighten the path for me... Richard still lives through his books and teachings and for that I am grateful!”
“Meeting Richard Rose and knowing him, not to mention his writings and teachings, has had a most profound impact upon me and my life. He was the first person I ever met, who told me I could change – change in ways I could not imagine were even possible – and he encouraged me to try to do so and stay the course. That advice of his quite frankly saved my life and has facilitated healing and change in every aspect of my being: the spiritual, psychological and emotional, as well as the physical.
“We met for the first time in early April of 1985. In that first meeting, I knew instantly that I had found a friend – a true friend, an unconditional friend, a faithful friend – who truly cared for and about me. It was as if we had always known one another. This might sound vain, but, now, I even wonder if in meeting Richard Rose that first time that he knew that he had just met the ‘priest’ who would bury him. He certainly had a fondness for me, which I treasure; and he was and is the best friend I’ve ever had.
“Right after that first meeting, Richard Rose told David Gold (who had introduced me to him) that I was an ‘Emotional/Devotional’ man. I sometimes wonder if that is why he talked to me so much about The Bible and encouraged me to pick it up and start reading it, again. It might, also, have been his reasoning in telling me that if I ever needed help or just some peace of mind, to go find a church and just sit there in the back row and take my mind off of all things and dwell in the peace, there.
“In an undated letter, he advised me, ‘Do all things for the sake of a higher power, and it will correctly guide your every step.’ In similar fashion, in a letter dated 13 January 1992, he said, ‘If your course is straight and selfless – all will (come) out well…If you have been attacked by the divine forces – all will be well.’
“On one occasion, when I first told Richard Rose that I had begun to work in Christian youth ministry at my church, he said that I was doing what it would take to heal myself. He said, ‘Giving is healing.’
“Now, as I continue on the path of healing and change in my own life and in my walk with Christ, a day does not go by that I do not think of, remember and offer to others, including in Christian ministry and counseling, as well as in the secular world, the wisdom and advice imparted to me by my dear friend, confidant and teacher, Richard Rose. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving, and I shall forever be grateful to him for it, his friendship and his stewardship and for having met him on that opportune day in April 1985.”
Lee O. Warfield, III
(Written on August 8, 2005): “Your books (referring to Mr. Rose’s writings), CDs, and video tapes inspired me to search for the Unknowable/Truth/God. You inspired me to go within and find a Teacher to help me realize that which Is. We have not met in person, nor have I written you a mail (a thing which I regret), but your legacy remains in my heart.
Through my Teacher’s blessing, through your teachings, and through the help of my spiritual friends, me and my wife have had the experience (May and July 2005) that I think you have pointed to. This experience was like dying while alive.
Peace and Blessings,
Pleasant Hill, CA.
P.S. One of the things that helped me See the Perfection of All That Is was Mr. Rose’s lecture about contemplating on ‘Nothingness and Everythingness’. The mind makes things too complicated....It is so simple yet often overlooked.”
|“I don't have to tell you of all people that for me - having read the words of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramana Maharshi, etc. - the beauty is that Mr. Rose more or less did it all; experienced it all. And he did it and explained it honestly and in plain English.”
--Philip W., Ontario, Canada
|“It is rare that a few book excerpts can make me realize that 99% of everything I’ve read before is pablum. Looking forward to the read.”
--Tom F., Bend, Oregon
Testimonial: A statement, often a letter, recommending the character, value, etc. of a person or thing. An act, statement, event, etc. that gives public acknowledgement of esteem or appreciation. (Webster’s Concise Dictionary of the English Language 2003)
Dear Unknown Reader,
I have been asked to write a testimonial for Richard Rose, and I am both honored and humbled do so, hoping that my words may move others to investigate his life and writings, and knowing that words will never touch the Spirit that he contained and expressed so simply and so eloquently throughout his life. I believe Richard Rose may well be the most astute philosophical thinker the Western hemisphere ever produced. I will make no attempt to reduce the scope of this inclusion, since after two decades of spiritual and philosophical research; my conclusion is that no attempt is necessary.
Richard Rose, from the humblest beginnings imaginable in a tiny West Virginia town, rose to the pinnacle of achievement in life’s most valuable field—the study of human mental experience. As a child he read Plato and Socrates, Descartes, Aquinas, the Christian Bible, and other renowned historical texts. Unsatisfied and unfulfilled, he ventured into Science, both mainstream and “pseudo”, discovering in those fields that the end result of all knowledge was not the certainty of experience that he sought. “I made a vow to look under every rock,” he said; a vow which he kept diligently until his death in 2005. Rose’s practical philosophical perspective, which he called The Albigen System, developed over the course of fifty years of active investigation into what many recognize as life’s big questions: “Who are we? Where did we come from?, and Where are we going?
Mr. Rose wrote seven books in his lifetime, and delivered hundreds of lectures at colleges and universities across the United States. He labored long for Truth, and in this labor took no rest or compensation, which fact alone set him above 99.9% of all others in the field. He believed in equal application of logic and intuition to solving the problem of life’s great mystery, and he consistently managed to balance those two mental capacities to an almost unimaginably subtle degree. His books on meditation, energy transmutation, psychology, and particularly his poetry, weave a multi-dimensional tapestry of astutely objective observations and insightful mystical impressions that often stun the reader into a state of direct perception that abridges years of ordinary mental work. In this aspect alone his writing is invaluable, and unparalleled.
I knew Richard Rose for over thirty years, and found him to be of incredibly sound mind, stout heart, and honest integrity beyond the bounds of which men have rarely ventured. He was a man who lived to think and to discover what lies beyond all thought, without preconception, wishful thinking, or false belief. He often said he saw no value in life, unless one KNEW who was living, and he backed up his words with action by living a life solely dedicated to what he called Self-definition. He subordinated all other efforts and endeavors to this single purpose, and as in all human enterprises, his results were proportional to the amount of energy applied. In our modern age of quick fixes, global enterprise, redundant psychology, concentric philosophy, and smorgasbord spirituality, Richard Rose’s voice rings loud and clear with simple unadorned common-sense logic, and with an undeniable aura of Truth, comprehensible to anyone willing to spend ample time and energy in serious self-investigation and honest appraisal.
I feel privileged to have associated with Richard Rose for those many years as a student and as a friend. His teaching covered all life’s lessons, from the most mundane to the most sublime. To him I honestly owe my life, and certainly my psychological, philosophical, and spiritual achievements, for it was under his tutelage that the groundwork was laid in these areas. Throughout his tenure, never once did he accept any gratuity from me, other than my energy put forth to further the Work, which might have meant splitting firewood, putting up posters, or working to secure a lecture or meeting hall. There is no question that I was repaid a thousand-fold for my time and labor.
In conclusion, to those who are looking for answers to psychological and philosophical questions, I heartily and sincerely recommend reading Richard Rose’s books. Perhaps more importantly, listen to his lecture tapes, since it was in his personal presence that one most easily could feel and experience the intensity of the man. From the time of his own Enlightenment experience in 1947, he worked tirelessly to convey to others in any way he could, that they too could find the Answer to life’s great riddle. He offers a distinct systematic approach that calls for nothing less than complete honesty with one’s self, in all aspects of one’s life, every moment of every day, yet it includes the understanding and compassion so necessary to offset the many failings of the human spirit, with which we are all too familiar. In my opinion, no man could have done more for his fellow man. I am quite certain that those with a sincere interest in psychology, philosophy of mind, mysticism, and esoteric thought, who include Richard Rose in their investigations, will be more than amply rewarded for their efforts.
The Direct Mind Experience — Richard Rose
An Essay in Eight Parts by John Rose:
Richard Rose devoted his life to teaching, writing, lecturing, and making himself available to sincere seekers of Truth and Self Awakening following an experience that may have been the culmination of years of committed searching for Self Definition. "The Direct Mind Experience" contains transcriptions of some of those lectures and teachings gleaned from his profound experience.
Rose points out immediately that this ultimate realization is only for a small minority of people willing to maintain a commitment to a path of Self Realization. His honest, often caustic approach often drives away all but the most sincere seeker. He presents his concepts directly and honestly in everyday layman language. This is one of the qualities that make Richard Rose's writings so valuable: no wasting precious time trying to convert the masses, or ego building with flowery chatter.
Interview -- WKSU Rafio -- Kent State University -- Kent, Ohio -- 1974
The group was formed as a brotherhood of sorts aimed at Self Definition. The Zen approach was taken as a practical psychological method, rather than for its dogma or ceremony.
There is a discussion of how most religious approaches are devotional, or emotional. They are based on belief, and are disenchanting for someone who seeks a more active evidential approach. There are however, esoteric teachings imbedded within these otherwise belief based doctrines.
Some people have no choice but to follow an emotional sort of religion. There are different types of people, some instinctive, some philosophic, etc. (see the writings of G.I. Gurdjieff).
Rose uses no gimmicks, beads, robes, etc., in his approach. Only the most direct approach possible to truly Become.
Using a pyramid analogy, we see that the vast majority of humanity is at the base of the pyramid where instinctive man resides. Instinctive people are concerned with the physical world alone: pleasure, pain, the senses, career and material wealth. Such a person may run the course of this life in this manner and never move on unless some shock or catastrophe pushes him to an emotional salvation such as being "saved", or some other sort of religious experience or exaltation. The problem here lies in the flaw of dogmatic belief systems. In mainstream religion, the primary objective isn't Truth seeking, but following a set of beliefs and rules, and otherwise "riding the tide of humanity into heaven", never questioning authority, or truly thinking for oneself.
A question and answer session with Rose starts off with a bit of information on the formation of the group and the aim toward Enlightenment.
Using Zen as a Psychological system rather than an Asiatic religion allows one to extract all the practical elements while leaving behind dogma or ritual that may obscure one’s direction. It was following an intensive search throughout the religions of the world that Rose settled on Zen. "Zen approaches the mind directly with the mind, rather than approaching spiritual values through emotional reading or emotional living."
There is discussion of the inadequacy of emotional and devotional approaches. Such an approach was designed for a less educated society than we have today so there is a natural dissatisfaction with the way one is told it should be. People are turning to other belief systems. "Now unfortunately, some of these new directions that they turn to are also emotional and devotional movements." In the earlier stages of religions, it seems that while there were a few deep thinkers, there was little hope held for the masses, and they were essentially kept pacified by religious doctrine. Their only hope may have been to be shaken out of their current state.
As Gurdjieff pointed out, there are different types of people, and they had little choice in where they were in their stage of development. He listed four categories of man, instinctive, emotional, intellectual, and philosophical.
It appears the spiritual evolution of man is like a pyramid. The base, and greatest area comprise people of an instinctive nature. People living the pleasure-pain life. "We are our bodies", they would say. This may evolve to an emotional level by turning to Christ, or some religion that still caters to the senses for the most part, but it pulls one’s center slightly away from themselves, focusing on a parental or spouse figure that instructs them on what to do. Disillusionment with the emotional may lead to an intellectual epiphany, and a more abstract look at the workings of the body, mind, thought, society, etc. A very few may even have this world shattered and end up in a philosophical state at the top of the pyramid. This realm, full of abstraction and paradox is for those able to operate independently of outside instruction. Even so, a guide who has made the whole trip is a valuable asset, and if that is not available, at least a group of like minded seekers. This was why the TAT Society and Pyramid Zen Society was originally formed by Rose. It began as a group striving toward direct experience rather than mere reading and discussion. All gimmicks, beads, special attire, ritual, etc., are stripped away to make way for a direct approach to Truth. As in Zen, the aim is to bypass individual concepts and ask the thinker questions as to why, who, how and what they are. To Question everything. These questions should encompass all facets of one's being and beyond.
It is all a matter of seeing how to think clearly. You don't have to be a holy man. This is available to anyone willing to make efforts to lift themselves out of the mire of confusion. No theology or dogma is necessary to find the Truth. Healthy doubt is in fact, encouraged.
Try to avoid limitations as they only create blocks that may not be overcome. It is quite simple. Face yourself and then follow up with honest appraisal. This can be done with meditation, or confrontation, for example. A person may, through such a process as this, see that he has deluded himself for his whole life. Most people neglect to see until so late in life that it may be too late do anything about it. Most people just get by on their self-centered egotistical position until something knocks the world out from under them.
One of the most prevalent obstacles in society is control of the masses by religion as exhibited, for example, by the Christian church in insisting on a set of rules to be followed or you might face hell and damnation.
The church moved into quite a position of power. They built cathedrals, became a social institution, and lost their primary objective toward the pursuit of Truth. When members rebelled, it grew into little more than a social or political organization. Despite this move away from spirituality and toward dogma, there is evidence of a few pockets of real Truth-seekers amid the masses awaiting an old man on his throne in a heavenly kingdom.
"When we talk about enlightenment, we are talking about the knowledge of the ultimate, the knowledge of the absolute state of being. This involves nearly everything in the line of knowledge, and yet it doesn't really involve knowledge, because when you get to the absolute state of being, you are dealing with absolutes, not relative things which we define as knowledge." For this reason, we must realize that if we do reach Enlightenment, we may have no way to describe it. Enlightenment has no denominational boundaries, and can come to anyone of any religion, or no religion at all for that matter. We must realize that a full experience of the Absolute may not be describable as our language is of a dual nature.
Realization comes not out of peaceful meditation, but rather may be brought about as a result of trauma and despair. The average person isn't willing to go this far and settles into church, and the social life. Most make the error of humanizing heaven and are content keeping their worldly affairs in order. These people reside at the base of the pyramid of humanity. Richard Bucke states in his book, Cosmic Consciousness that one in a million are able to reach the top of the pyramid.
One might ask, what about reincarnation? A good answer to this might be, "If we told you that you had another chance, you wouldn't even try this time.…You should answer your own questions." As is spoken throughout these writings, retreat from untruth is one of the fundamental tools for arriving at Truth. Be careful with emotional, belief-based systems as they too easily bring one into a state of wishful thinking. Often in an attempt to humanize, or put into verbal terms, a spiritual condition, we create imagery that opens the door for wishful thinking as well as locking one into dogmatic structure. Often a well-meaning healer or writer will present ideas that can block real progress with techniques and images (see Rose’s Meditation). It may be that the founder of a movement may have something, but a teaching will be of little value beyond that. Then we have wild stories of lost civilizations, UFO's, etc. that may be good stories, but are of no real value on the path to Truth, even if they are true. We can get distracted from our aim. The main value in the studies of these phenomena is looking for common denominators that may offer some small clue of something, but one can waste a lot of time sifting through information and history. "If you want to get to the core of Zen teaching, or the culmination of the Zen training, which would be an experience, you have a certain conviction that this entire physical world is a projection, not a reality.…When you find out that the whole thing is a projection, it makes you more or less lose enthusiasm about the significance or glamour of this projection."
There is always a difficulty with language barriers so you have to do the best you can with this language just to get through to a point of clear thinking. It is important to keep in mind that a person at a more developed stage will not be understood by those two rungs below on the ladder of development so to speak.
People often enter the work expecting joy and pleasure, but get disillusioned when their senses aren't heightened on a physical level. They look for reactions, and this is the basis of the instructive level. These people go through their lives never moving beyond the level of reaction. These are the people who think they are most alive. Until they move beyond this phase, they will have no exaltation. Eventually they may get tired and let go of sensuality long enough to lose themselves and a bit of this ego and have some sort of exaltation. This usually results from having an emotionally based religious experience. This is where religious fanaticism is born. As they continue, they may tire of this or begin to see through it and move into an intellectual phase where they begin to question the concepts of a personal God.
There is still further to go, however. The intellect may grow weary, and abandon the whole thing yet again. These transitional phases are critical moments. "I believe that the only thing that anybody does, anyone who has a genuine spiritual message for any segment of mankind-the only thing he can do-is to be there when someone is ready." It is foolish to seek out converts. That is just an ego in itself. Just keep quiet and offer help if you are capable, when needed. There is however, a paradox to this, because if you do have something real to offer then there is an obligation to help others at the right moment if you can. "I believe that there is an esoteric law involved in this, that we have to help someone.…I believe that the whole spiritual evolution of man depends upon people going out of their way to be available."
Rose's aim isn't to bring peace of mind. "We state quite bluntly that we are not desirous of bringing anyone peace of mind. We want to bring you trouble. We want to stir you, to shake you, because protoplasm tends to inertia. You have to keep irritating it, to keep it alive so to speak. It has to be continually stimulated. So complacency for a person who wants to progress in his mental capacities, is negative." The paradoxical side of this however, is for people who are so burned out that they need something soothing to recover from some psychic battle, or some such thing. "But, if you are interested in finding your self-definition, then you want to abandon any system that quiets you down." We have to continually question. We have no evidence of the many worlds presented us in so many religious systems. We must always be on guard against kidding ourselves.
Before we can say much about our "S" Self, we have to come to know our "s" self, or mundane self. This is a process of looking directly within yourself.
"First know thyself."
Continue to keep in mind, "You should never go out and try to let the masses hear this knowledge, because it has an effect of irritating them, and they will attack you.…There is an esoteric maxim that you'll come across if you get into esoteric reading: "To know, to dare, to do, and to be silent."
There is evidence that some people had the door slightly opened for them through drug experiences, but it wasn't lasting. It didn't actually open the door, it merely gave a glimpse of other possible dimensions. One must be careful as there is a lot of room for disillusionment. "I found fraud and trickery at every turn, and I found that the people who were telling us that they had God in their hip pocket really had money in their hip pocket, and I became very discouraged. But as a result of this intense effort-I think as a result of this intense effort-when I was around thirty years of age I had an experience. And this experience answered my questions for me. And it has not diminished. I have not outgrown it,-I don't think you could ever outgrow it when you have that type of experience."
"One thing I'd say as far as its effects upon me,-I never had any desire to own the world, or to really make history."
Temptations are always there, but you've got to keep pressing on toward your aims.
The Direct Mind Experience — Richard Rose
An Essay in Eight Parts by John Rose:
Lecture on Moods – Columbus, Ohio 1979
"One of the things which contributes strongly to a state of mind is the mood." A state of mind may solidify out
of long periods of convictions inspired by what may have been non-logical moods.
It is important to continually take new approaches to how we view ourselves and the world. We need to keep in mind that "Psychology should be a study of the mind, not the body. We should constantly observe through introspection, our mental states and their origins rather than their effects on society. Study cause, not just effect." Methods for doing so may have no grounds in current scientific terms, since science is based on observation of the physical. Prime examples of this are found in the Zen practices employing direct mind techniques for communicating with others and viewing the inner self directly. The concepts of homeopathy and gestalt psychology are mentioned here. These two things have in common a holistic approach which takes into account the total organism, or the totality of symptoms. Along this line of thinking, when looking at the common denominators of a whole group of healers, it was found that the majority were celibate. or sexually conserving. Looking more closely. "Gestalt psychology favors placing or fixing the diagnostic attention on patterns of thinking, or gestalten, rather than on individual reflexes." It is important to note here the great value of knowing the influence of a state of mind. "A state of mind is a gestalt. And if you want to understand states of mind, you must observe moods. Moods are important. They can lift us to the highest human experience or reduce us to murder and suicide... The greatest enemy that man has, is his own mind." It is worth paying close attention to detail here.
In observing our moods, we benefit most by viewing them from a detached position. This way, we are not devastated by our darker moods. "Pleasant moods indicate correct direction... Unpleasant moods are signals to review our aims." A very important point here that can evade comprehension is: "even unpleasant moods may be the result of tremendously pleasant experiences, wherein the depression results from an intuitive recognition that the sensuosity is a sliding board that sweeps us irrevocably into a mental trap in which the sensuosity is blunted or jaded, and in which the vision of simple serenity is never attainable."
We can only study a mood after it has passed. Its analysis has to involve some image of its origin accompanied by a plan for avoiding it in the future. Moods themselves don't cause an event, but they trigger a state of mind which in turn brings a return to the mood. "In the search for sources of states of mind, I think there are factors that transcend mere environment and heredity." You can look at family members raised in the same environment, with the same heredity, and yet they will be entirely different from one another. You may have two siblings, one a priest, the other a convict.
Psychology still has a limited understanding of behavior. Even though family members may be vastly different from one another, their behavior is still more predictable because of close familiarity. There may be a better understanding of states of mind and even some shared states of mind. This also holds true in close community settings where common behavior and values separate them from outsiders or other communities.
"If you really want to know a person, you have to step inside his head. You cannot do it mechanically." Everyone is different, and there are many intricate layers to a person; so the intuitive approach is best for knowing someone with any depth. This process is known as rapport, a direct mind-to -mind communication.
Regarding moods, there are things that might be helpful in grasping this largely intangible source. A study of ones dreams is a good starting point. "The subject matter of a dream is not as important as the feel of a dream." Although you can only really study your own dreams, you can look at and compare characteristics to the dreams of others. "Some dreams bring us memories from the past. Some may be prophetic. Some may involve conversations with living or deceased people." It is a good practice to keep a record of our dreams for comparison and reference. Much of what we record will be feelings even though it may be difficult to put them into words. "It is difficult to record feelings. Feelings must be felt." As you practice this you will see patterns emerge along with categories of words.
There seem to be three dominant moods in dreams. They are fear, seduction, and nostalgia which are ingrained or programmed into all people. "The understanding of the effects of moods and combinations of moods will bring us closer to an understanding of the non-somatic mind, and affects...seriously...the life of the body."
Formal psychology is a rather young science, little more than a hundred years old, and while it has excelled in biochemistry, still cannot define sanity or the mind. "I think that it may be a good idea to look for our understanding of the mind in the mind itself. We cannot choke it out of the body." There are conditions within our mind generated by moods, some of which are day to day things, and some are at the base of a pathological condition. Moods can also manifest themselves in dreams. It is here that moods can be examined through the studies of our dreams. Often moods will combine themselves to create various scenarios. Delirium for example is a fear mood, and guilt is a combination of fear and nostalgia. Studying our dreams and associative moods can be a very valuable means of learning facets of the often subtle workings of our mind. "I maintain that the nostalgic mood becomes the language of the soul. It is the inner man trying to get through the earth-man's paradigm, to communicate with him."
Modern psychology is largely based on sensory information, but how then can we explain hallucinations or suggestion as a result of hypnosis? A little research and observation will show that "we perceive with the mind not the senses." The senses do come into play as we have physical organs or receptors. Next the mind takes over and interprets sensory data. That is, the mind projects the images back on our environment. It is important to remember that "the mind is capable of projecting a false image before our physical eyes." There are two types of visions worth noting here. True inner vision as opposed to erratic sensory vision. J. J. Van Der Leuw's CONQUEST OF ILLUSION, and Plato's story of the man in the cave from his REPUBLIC are two good resources for further study of the nature of our perception. Hypnosis also proves that our somatic, or brain mind can be fooled just as our senses can misinterpret incoming sensory data. "The key to understanding this is the understanding of moods. The hypnotist creates a mood, and amplifies it until the subject acts." The hypnotic conditioners are rarely the stage hypnotists one envisions. "There are people and organizations, whose main purpose is to condition people on a massive scale...the clergy, the politicians, the field of behavior-psychologists,...and a sea of bumbling counselors... Just turn on the television... Watch for the process of first creating a mood...or all three at once, nostalgia,fear, and acquisitiveness."
The process of illusion incorporates three stages of perception. First, the percept is perceived by one of the sensory organs, then the somatic mind projects the suggested vision on our sensory world. "We would never know this third trick, projection, if we did not possess an anterior faculty,-anterior and superior to the somatic mind. This faculty or mind, I call the Process Observer." Not all moods stem from the above mentioned sources. "There are basic moods for all mankind...it is possible that even animals manifest moods...We have many moods in common with animals...It seems that the mood that results from a beautiful day is common to all life forms capable of showing expression...We dread the darkness of oblivion and the smothering blackness of the grave." At some point along the way we may come to realize that this day to day life is illusory and rather dark and drab. On the other hand, dreams present an entirely different realm, and if they are not nightmares may offer profound revelations while we are free of our day to day activities. "Nature or some mechanism or some programming of the mind causes us to forget our dreams more quickly than our daytime mental experiences."
Moods can bring us exaltation, or they can go so far as to kill us. Where drugs are involved, moods can be greatly distorted which is very dangerous. "Moods are easy to enter, but difficult to get rid of...You cannot talk yourself out of a deep depression which is the same as a state of mind...Some people try to drink themselves out of it, or knock it out with pills, but when the alcohol or drug wears off, they return to a still deeper depression. You cannot divest yourself of a mood while you are in it...Once you are caught in a mood that persists, it is like being abandoned in the middle of the ocean and knowing that you have to swim."
Rose examines the nostalgic mood. "It can be a very pleasant mood, or somewhat lethal when it is found in combination with a black mood of fear." This sort of mood can be influenced by such things as music, colors, smells, or any number of sensory memories. The media is quite aware of this and uses nostalgia to sell products, seducing us and preying on our vulnerability while in a nostalgic mood. "The nostalgic mood is unreal, and yet it grips us relentlessly. Whether it is a dream or a moving picture that instigates it. We see nostalgic dreams, and say to ourselves, why cannot we live that way?... Life, however is never that way because the drama only shows one fractional side of life. The crude elements of life are left out of the drama. Our childhood as reviewed thirty years later seems to have been idyllic. After a while, miserable memories associated with that same period of childhood will resurrect themselves, and then we may realize that we long for a chance to turn back the clock more than anything else." We can only be fooled by the nostalgic mood for so long as we maintain our awareness of the passing of time and growing older.
"Through our nostalgic mood it is possible that something in our inner mind is trying to communicate something to us." It is only when nostalgia is used against us by the media, society, etc... that we rebel against an otherwise pleasant mood. Our intuition still has an idea that nostalgia opens us to another layer of our being, and may not be altogether illusory. We are often attracted to novels or movies because of nostalgia and the attributes they represent: traits we find desirable in our own lives. "Down deep inside ourselves we yearn for permanent peace, enviable virginity, and love without lust or penalty... I am sure that nostalgia is responsible for ninety five percent of all human behavior. The other five percent is split up between reactions to fear and seduction." A small percentage of the population are able to abuse the nostalgic mood to seduce masses of people to sacrifice themselves in war, among other things, leading them to believe it is for a noble good. "The sad part of this civilization is that the majority of the people are trying to live like pollyanna, but it does not work." Most everyone would like a life free of conflict. "The whole archetypal memory of man is strained with centuries of slaughter." Nostalgia gives us a world of peace, and its attributes are found in most every religion, but at the same time are written off as unrealistic.
Rose returns to the subject of dreams at this point, and how people in our dreams, whether living or deceased, often appear quite different than in waking life: especially those who are deceased, and communication more often than not is of a direct mind sort. There may occasionally be a direct statement made, but it is rare. We may come to understand someone we never understood before in a whole new light as the result of a dream. "It is the possibility that nostalgic dreams are a vehicle wherein we apprehend spiritual or absolute verities."
He makes an important note that not all that is valid is logical. "Man longs for peace, permanence, and freedom from change. But these conclusions or any moods that speak for them are blown away by the daily exigencies of the nightmare of life. The ideal is wonderful, but we had better be pragmatic... it may never materialize." Even so, we are deluded by all, from the government to the media, and led to believe that all must be lovable harmless creatures except for the carefully chosen bad guy. In reality it is not all that simple. The policeman isn't always the upstanding citizen he is portrayed as on the television. We let so many things come to pass, and do nothing because of our nostalgic wishful thinking. On another note, a man may build an honest empire and in a fearful mood put a bullet through his head. "A perfectly happy man or woman may become a victim of a mood and a resulting state of mind which in turn is fatal. In fact it may be the happy people who are plunged the most deeply into depression, because they have not become accustomed to living an unhappy life." People often end up in situations where their environment leads to their demise or a fear state of mind. "A caged animal must develop a reflex to kill."
Regarding the fear mood, Rose states. "We have to look for a less than lethal solution. First we have to become an observer of our self. This will enable us to get something besides a selfish or self-sympathetic view of reactions... The step to take now is to summon a degree of anger against fear,... but all the while knowing that the anger is your message to the fear-mood that threatens to become an entity more deadly than a virus, - you can conserve your sanity, and be on the alert for other moods which in combination with fear may be suicidal... The same method of introspection should be applied to the seduction-mood... And when we become the Observer instead of the actor, we will be less likely to generate a seduction state of mind which in time may kill us."
It is good to study dreams and daydreams, but do not get wrapped up in them. As the Observer, we must remain detached and not afraid to be critical. Even this method will not always be accurate, as we may not always recognize all the facets of the mood we are dealing with. Some influences may be glandular, others environmental or hereditary, even archetypal memory or body chemistry. It is easy to get caught up in infatuation which can confuse us to the point of making destructive decisions, squandering our energy through sex, etc. This is why we have to maintain a third party Observer point of view.
At this point Rose presents a summary of some of the moods and their functions. "Moods are subtle mental patterns which lead to states of mind. Moods are also a form of language for communicating about experiences, wisdom, or feelings. They are the language of two people deep in rapport. They are also the language for communicating nonverbal psychic experiences." Spoken language fails to communicate things that fall outside the domain of the relative mundane world, so moods may open the door for direct mind communication, just as a painting may convey a message, but there may be no words to describe it. Many of the arts are a vessel for conveying the otherwise inexpressible. "The artist or creator never becomes involved in psychological analysis. He goes directly to your mind with his magic. The moods created by art and music are generally nostalgic moods."
We have seen how one way projection of moods takes place. How can we accomplish a two way communication? Perhaps it can happen by accident in dreams and visions, but in order to work with some sort of control in this realm, "we must study the nature of moods more deeply." We may need to alter our state of being, "which means we must become less body-oriented, and function more from impersonal intelligence." This is difficult though, as our personality tends to get in our way, and color the outcome. It may be necessary to change even our mundane state of being in order to establish a more direct form of communication. "We must be realistic if we are to find the Real. Our earth-language may well be the pit talk of vipers. By earth-language I mean all of our theological and social understandings."
The lecture moves on to a question and answer section between Rose and the audience. Here are a few highlights. The questioner asks, Why can't you just remove a mood or just change the environment and change the mood? The answer is that you can't change it while you are in it. It has to work itself through. "You can't remove that man's mood by any type of argument, he will have to run through it...He can change after he wakes up and can watch it enough to diffuse it enough that its influence is lessened. You can change a mood but not while it is on you. This is a heavily emphasized point. You also have to learn not to get back into the situation again. If a mood is misread, then one easily slips back into an old mood and old patterns...A majority of people who get themselves into deep moods, require somebody else to pull them out...It is very important for you to be aware...that the states of mind are the most profound influences on man...A mood is a profound feeling with conviction...There is the difference between a perception and a mood. The perception is the billboard." The billboard acting as a catalyst that triggers a mood. "The mood is a whole state of mind that is awakened by the billboard."
Regarding a question about intuition, Rose responds: "Intuition is present in the very young, but it is lost to seduction...This is one of the reasons why I make a loud noise for morality, especially in regard to little children...What some consider education may even be destruction...The child, when it is first born, and for a period of time, (provided it hasn't been born into too rude an atmosphere), lives in a different plane,- has a direct mind perception, and as the child gets older it drops this by virtue of seduction." After awhile the child is seduced into this world, first by parents, then school, society, etc... and he loses the direct mind ability to relative language. Some cultures allow children to maintain this inborn wisdom, but it is rare and often impossible without completely shutting the child off to the outside world, which has repercussions as well.
A questioner asks the difference between waking moods and moods in the dream state. Rose doesn't separate them too much as they tend to overlap with each other. "The mood is subject to the influence of the setting and the physical position. When a man is walking, he is more logical, he becomes pragmatic. When he is sitting down he becomes receptive, and when he is in the yogi posture he may even have visions, he may even have great mental revelations. But it is when he is horizontal that the ordinary layman has contact with the direct mind...I maintain that when the person leans too far, something in the soul brings it back, and the only language that the soul can do it through is through a mood."
At this point there is some discussion of the soul of man. Some valid questions are asked, and Rose responds. "I believe that the soul of man is God...We are not the soul of man. We are the shadows in the cave of Plato...I know I haven't argued or played games with myself. Very reluctantly,- I do not use the word God because I am afraid that my definition will lead people to believe a certain thing...Also about when I talk about the soul of man."
It seems that moods are the way of touching the eternal. People can have totally different experiences and yet be of one mind. You can know something beyond a shadow of a doubt, but you can't force it. "We have a little exercise that we do in the esoteric group, to facilitate this. It is called a rapport session, in which you sit down and read the mind of the other person. And the more you do this, the more of a brotherhood that you attain, because there are no arguments, you understand. This is the whole thing."
In the mundane life, there must be a certain degree of prejudice, otherwise we would starve. We would not be able to kill to eat if we didn't have this. "We cannot control that which is part of the plan."
Getting back to analysis of Realization, Rose remarks. "There is no realization of God by verbal, logical analysis,-that the only way you are going to realize it is through the mind itself...Don't look at the pictures on the wall. Try to turn around and go back through the projector. There is where the creation came from...Everything that is in front of us...are shadows in the cave of Plato. But when you go back through yourself and find the common language then you also find that there is nobody out there but you." You soon realize that there is no way to verbalize the Absolute. How can you describe that which both does and doesn't exist, including you the describer? Logical explanation only takes you as far as the grave. "Now, if there is something else, how do you find it, and if you find it, how do you define it? In terms of the body which doesn't exist?"
It is important, as stated often in this lecture, to look at dreams. We may find the language of nostalgia there that may give us clues about us that current psychology is missing. There is a beauty and eternality in Nostalgia. "You don't go back and recapture, for all eternity, the beauty that existed between any two people-you can't have it twenty four hours a day, but at the same time unselfish union with a beautiful friend is there forever. Even though you follow it up by bad memories, or destruction of the relationship."
"There is a mood that you go through that occurs shortly before you reach your Realization…and that mood is of...something deep in your own nature with possibly some outside help...Some people call it spiritual help, people from the other side or God...meaning the universal spirit of man...and then there is an internal urge and this outside help helps to bring about this realization and it occurs through a mood, the mood is one of hopelessness and death, despair. This is logic,-logic says that you are nothing but mud and you face that, you face it with your whole being, you know that this is it, and you go through the death experience."
A questioner returns the topic to nostalgia and the media. Rose responds: "I don't mind the nostalgia-element, but I don't want them to use it selling cigarettes and other things...and this I resist because it is not the universal language, it is an imitation of the universal language." We are led to believe something to be true when it is not, and yet we still want to believe. We become confused as we fall back time and time again into these imitations of reality. "Most young people-until they are clear out of college, spend the better part of their time guessing what to do to be in conformity with the rest of society because the moods of society change so rapidly. So if you watch people's actions you will see them going through this, especially young people pretending."
Back to the subject of dreams. "A lot of dreams are prophetic dreams or reactionary dreams. Prophetic dreams are neither fearful nor seductive, they just seem to be...maybe an intelligence is trying to communicate with us."
Although it may seem like there are multiple thoughts going on in our mind at once, there can only be one at a time, like the shutter of a camera taking a string of pictures in rapid succession. This may be the case in dreams as well, and may even spill over into waking life where a dream image may linger upon waking. It could be dreams are as real as daily life. "Later you realize, after a bit of introspection, that the biggest part of what happens to you during the day is unreal. It is created, it is colored, to a point where our little reality is endangered...I am inclined to believe that when you meet a person in a dream, the thing that attracts you about that person is that person's Self, that is their real Self, despite their external personality." In daily life there are a lot of superimposed factors but, "in a dream you are going directly to a person."
In closing the final statements in this lecture on moods, in particular, the nostalgic mood, Rose says, "there are certain things as I said that I named the different things that are conducive to nostalgia, certain colors, certain musical instruments, words, certain pictures." Even archetypal memory may be nostalgic. Times have changed and we have moved from nostalgia into seduction. "There is a new theme out, it is seduction, and acquisition.
Closing this lecture a questioner asks a question relating not to the topic of moods, but to enlightenment: A question that although not related to moods directly, is a key statement to those on a path to Self Realization. "First of all there is no knowledge, there is no knowledge. The second thing is when you are everything there is nowhere to go, there is no expansion. See this is one of the misnomers of course. The theory of mind-expansion is valid up to this point,-up to the point of final death or final realization."
The following review covers the book, Psychology of the Observer, by Richard Rose, and includes comments about the audio lecture of the same title given in 1979. John Rose, though well-known as a composer of ambient music, also maintains an Albigen Study Group that meets regularly in his hometown of Lexington, KY.
Psychology of the Observer, an essay
Much like Rose’s book the Albigen Papers, Psychology of the Observer begins with a deconstruction process of current psychological trends, and a look at those pioneers who may have had something valid to say, but were not taken seriously by the “professional” academic and political community. These treasures, often buried, are unveiled in this book in down to earth layman’s terms.
The book is laid out in three basic sections. First is “Psychological Objectives”. In this section a scientific analysis takes the reader step by step through the workings of the mind and its associative mechanisms in the field of psychology paying little regard to current trends other than to address them for what they are, be they truth seeking or mere pontification for the sake of self-aggrandizement. We take a look at those individuals who view things from a sociopolitical standpoint, more concerned with having their current theories expounded upon than actually looking at the truth and reality of things, so psychology is reduced to a bantering about of undefined concepts and ideas, while those interested in true discoveries in the realm of psychology are swept under the carpet, or labeled as cranks, or unprofessional because their approaches don’t yield immediate proof within the paradigm of the accepted system of the time.
You cannot tailor Truth to the masses, you must present Truth as it is and the masses will either yield or not.
Recurring themes in this book are that our senses are inadequate, our senses being the tools of measurement that we have for finding a psychological direction. The second thing is that we may fall into a collective trap of an accepted belief system rather than setting out on a personal investigation of measurement by checking systems with the senses alone, which are flawed.
Another fundamental element is the division, and interrelationship of the small ‘s’ self also known as the mundane or somatic self which is observable, and relates to our reactions and immediate environment, and the capital ‘S’ Self which is the Final Observer, or the real Self, as relates to Truth.
As we observe this small ‘s’ self we can watch our appetites, desires, and patterns of everyday living. If we do this long enough we begin to see how they battle one another, and the toll they take on our lives. We learn that they are external and observable and therefore not our real Selves.
We are introduced to the many layers of the mind, and the thinking and observing processes as they relate to Self-discovery and understanding. These approaches, while reaching deeply into uncharted and unexplained territories of our being, maintain a scientific integrity without the constricting rigidity imposed by the academic and sociopolitical world.
Man has three principal mental faculties. He perceives, records, and reacts.
We are presented with the possibility that our world may very well be a projection, or a hologram of sorts rather than the solid tangible world we perceive. This concept is among the core elements of J. J. Van der Leeuw’s book The Conquest of Illusion.
We should be methodical in our approach, and not rely on wishful thinking.
“Psychology is the observation of the behavior and responses of man. It would like to be a science but in its analysis it ignores some of those factors. It is in itself not pure, but is part business and part politics….Such a psychology is only pretensively scientific….The pursuit of psychology along behaviorist lines is similar to that of a geologist taking soil samples in order to determine the essence at the core of the earth….Most modern psychology as taught in universities does no more than try to anticipate herd desires or instincts…Current psychology is little more than a paradigm…. Behavior of the mind cannot be discovered, cataloged, and categorized by studying the body alone.”
In order to study and understand the true nature of psychology and the mind, we have to go beyond that which is professionally presented to us, and Rose does this well. He approaches psychology from a holistic standpoint, incorporating body, mind, inside and outside influences on the mind. The thinking processes, actions, and reactions take place within the framework of the paradigm of thought and psychology.
There is a tremendous degree of uncharted territory in the realm of thought and the mind, and Rose provides many tools for understanding and unraveling the mysteries of our being, hopefully charting a workable map to find our way along the Path. He gives us a framework and a number of experiments to work with that help us gain understanding of ourselves. Phenomena such as ESP, deja vu, telepathy, and possession hold no less importance than more visible and practical psychological factors. He writes without fear of criticism from peers or his reading audience. He is not afraid to present the Truth or ideas that may not suit the temperament of the times.
Rose states in no uncertain terms, the dangers of relying on drugs, or artificial means so often utilized in behaviorism, or other fads to treat conditions of the mind, and instead outlines ways of understanding its conditions.
Even though we are taking an essentially scientific approach, we have to realize that science itself is not infallible. “A science should have a defined language, and should begin with a point of reference. If we accept as being sane that which is occurring now or within a particular society then we are certainly not being scientific or searching for a true answer.”
This book lays the groundwork for questioning the nature of oneself without getting bogged down with lofty terms and definitions.
Among the more dominant quotes from this book is “we are not the view, we are the viewer.” That is to say, we are not that which is seen. We are essentially the observer. “The mind must be viewed from outside the mind.”
On defining the self, it is stated that we must first understand, or define the small ‘s’ self before moving on to any understanding of how the rest of the mind works.
Rose has a term he refers to as the Umpire -- something akin to the conscience or the somatic mind. It is a sort of protector of the species. The Umpire is an observer of the self, and even with its desires and appetites, serves to preserve the species and assure its survival. The Umpire may give us warnings that we may be threatening our own survival through unhealthy pursuits; it may also block the realization of something beyond this mundane world because its job is to protect our material existence. It is not infallible, however, and may be corrupted by outside forces such as alcohol, drugs, or sexual entities as Rose has pointed out in some of his lectures and writings.
The Process Observer, being another anterior observer, observes the Umpire. There is yet another Observer beyond the Process Observer. This is our Real Self and cannot be observed. This will be discussed further in this paper.
Why do all of us see the same thing? Taking terminology from Theosophy, I offer this quote from the book: “The master plan is controlled or contained in the mind dimension from which we and the physical universe emanate. The mind dimension is like a universal agreement of pre-incarnate man. It is the ‘Universal Mind’ of Mary Baker Eddy, (the founder of Christian Science), and the Oversoul of Paul Brunton (who introduced many Hindu and Eastern concepts to the Western world). I prefer to call it the Manifested or Manifesting mind. The Manifested Mind emanates from the Unmanifested Mind. The Unmanifested Mind might be likened to the Logos, and the Absolute to the Parabrahm from which the Logos and the Unmanifested Mind emanate. I do not imply that these comparisons are exactly synonymous.”
I would like to recommend that one read the Albigen Papers. It gives a more detailed perspective of some of these views. It also lays the groundwork for the Albigen System and presents much material pertinent to the contents of the Psychology of the Observer.
“We cannot play the desire games of life and expect that procedure to lead us to the Truth. Humanity is not God, nor is democratic agreement among psychologists the final Truth.” As we continue our search, we eventually learn that all relative knowledge is circular. We must break this circular pattern of thinking and begin a process of retreating from untruth. A method of this is laid out in this book by helping us understand how and why we think the way we do.
One approach to understanding is triangulation, a natural approach to Truth as well as many other concepts in thinking. It is the way our mind works anyway to understand the relative world and maybe even dimensions unknown to our immediate senses. Many of Rose's writings are presented in this manner. It works as a Polarity of opposites from the two ends of the base line, with the apex being the conciliatory or superior principle.
The 2nd section “University Lectures 1977/78” restates the first section of the book in many ways, but with the advantage of a slightly different vantage point. It is as though you are examining an object from a different point of view that in my experience furthered my grasp of the material. A compact disc of “Psychology of the Observer” is due for release soon which makes a wonderful companion to the book as it mirrors rather closely this section, and is a recording of Rose himself giving the lecture. The wording is close enough to follow along in the book, but different enough to give yet another slightly different perspective. I find the cd to be a wonderful addition to a walking meditation. Just listen as you walk.
We are presented now with one of the core principles of a Spiritual path -- Celibacy, in body, mind, spirit, and action. This requires true commitment and discipline. It isn't merely refraining from intercourse, but total abstinence for a period necessary for one’s Spiritual journey. Celibacy is a topic that requires a whole essay of its own, but I will attest to its validity from my own periods of abstinence. It need not be a life long practice, but does need to be carried out for as long as one is committed to their search. Some people have families and are married, so there are commitments there to be considered as well. Also, it may be that some people are not able to take on a celibate path, but it should at least be given a chance for at least a month or so. These are only a few reasons for a more extensive study of this priceless gem so often overlooked by "spiritual" groups often more concerned with membership than the pursuit of Truth.
Rose has the courage to discuss the value of a moral code that recommends periods of celibacy, a practice that has maintained validity since the very dawn of genuine mystical searching. This practice allows one to build the energy vital for a successful journey while keeping the intuition clear for discernment. As Rose suggests, a person willing to follow and document this will, as I have personally experienced, see the real beauty and wealth hidden within. We can take a break from Nature, and gain deeper insight into ourselves through this practice.
We are given here a detailed roadmap of the observer. We see more clearly how thought works, and are given a method of approaching, and if we are fortunate, attaining Enlightenment. We are given a paradigm to work from.
With the dawning of new fads and ideas often comes a degree of propaganda. Rose shows us how to expose this for ourselves. We do ourselves no favors when we adopt our pursuit of Truth to the flavor of the times. We are far better off endeavoring to find and maintain Truth that withstands the test of time.
We must learn to differentiate inside from outside knowledge.
Our sensual, or worldly understanding of reality stemming from external knowledge is flawed, and we must keep this in mind.
We are able to delude ourselves so strongly as to imagine ourselves into a self-created reality of fantasy and hallucinations. This can be very dangerous and can lead to delusions that we know ourselves when we may have quite far to go. We must constantly ask ourselves who is doing the thinking. Come to know your desires and appetites as they may further lead you off the Path.
This book has helped me to separate erroneous elements of my own being that I may once have identified with, from those that may be Real aspects of my being, things that I now find external and even trivial. I am by no means at the end of my Journey, but I have been given a tool for seeing through so many veils, fantasies, and time wasters. I feel a freedom I may have never known otherwise.
I learned to see the workings of what Rose refers to as the Umpire which looks after the small ‘s’ self, or mundane self, or physical body. It is a sort of protector that keeps us from harming ourselves. There is yet another aspect that observes the Umpire, but it is still not our Real Self. It is not us. This second observer is known as the Process Observer.
While the Umpire watches over the body or small ‘s’ self, the Process Observer watches over the mind and its thinking patterns. It is subjective, whereas the Umpire is objective in its observational process. This, in my understanding, is the seat of meditation. In this realm, we are also introduced to the paradoxical nature of our being. We may come upon an awareness of perhaps more permanent dimension than this physical plane. Out of this may come a glimpse of our possible immortality.
The Process Observer is the mind at its deepest, and is the result of relentless meditation on mental patterns, a dynamic study of the mind with the mind.
There is yet another observer, the only one Real observer. The Process Observer also becomes an observation, and not the Real Self. We now approach our Real Self by removing ourselves from all patterns of thinking.
We begin to see the mind as a bridge to cross. We look for patterns. We look for common denominators in our comparison of systems. Remember, belief may have sprung from a desire that is not provable. Keep conscious that you don’t slip into projection as a result of desires. It is important to realize that in our comparison we see how things must be viewed by other things outside itself in order to establish its uniqueness. The relative mind demands a comparison of something that it is not. In this sense we see that the mind cannot know the mind with the mind.
At this point we may have studied the works and experiences of others but at this stage, we must learn to view things directly, not through what another person knows, and even though we may be delving deeper into our study, it is still the mind studying the mind in an endless spiral that leads nowhere. Even so, this process is still essential, and we must eventually reach a point of observing the mind from outside the mind from an Absolute perspective that cannot observe itself.
Regarding method. Your method of observing the Anterior self must be self-discovered. No one can take you there. You must go without postulations or preconceived notions. We can look at examples that will take us so far in the relative world, but then we must strike out on our own.
“When we get outside the mind, we get inside the Self.”
“We have to start with nothing.”
“We know nothing for sure.”
“Much of our thinking is forced upon us.”
I will mention here what Rose calls the "Reverse Vector", a process of retreating from error. An exhaustive whittling away at all things that are false. Retreat from error is stated over and over in this book, and is of fundamental importance.
We may think that it is only us asking the questions, or we are the physical or mental body. “Thoughts are obsessions and we are unable to control them until we understand them.” This search to understand must become our new obsession. Question the origin and nature of thought. It is most important to differentiate between the sources and direction of thoughts directed toward us from those that are projected from us. We compare ourselves with others. We reach collective agreements as to the attributes of the world around us. All this must be taken into consideration. To know another person, you must walk in their shoes.
Here is an overview of some of the points presented in the recorded lecture. There are three primary qualities of the mind -- Perception, Retention, and Reaction. We should remember that self-observation is one type of perception, but a lot of things enter our mind from the outside such as ESP phenomena etc. The mind does have the ability to see without the senses. Reaction is automatic, albeit complex. We develop patterns of reaction.
All perceptions may be translated into five main types.
1) Sensory perception
2) Memory, or mental perception (visualization). The mind projecting on the mind.
3) Reaction perception, such as ghosts. Things projected on the physical world rather than the mind itself.
4) Mental perceptions. True revelations from an unknown environment acting upon the mind such as introspection, which is again mind reacting upon the mind.
5) Deliberate perception. ESP, telepathy, creation of Tulpas, etc. This is a deliberate manifesting of a phenomena. These sorts of things are generally not recognized by the mainstream scientific community.
Included is a brief question and answer session from the lecture section. Here are a few comments:
“While studying the Umpire, a balance of that Umpire starts to occur. A person takes charge of their appetites and desires and gradually retreats from their errors. We learn to observe the observer, and then to understand. Once we begin to see this Umpire, then another Observer takes over, and the Umpire is no longer in charge. You must watch out for other forces speaking to us through our desires and appetites. Confusion may occur, but you must continue to press on through paradox, confusion, and the unknown. You eventually realize you are not your desires or senses, and therefore become unaffected by them on this level.”
The third section of the book, "The Practical Approach", gives yet another viewpoint of the concepts covered in other sections of the book, but here tied together with practical applications. We have a limited time for our search for Self, or True Enlightenment, and it must be while we are young enough to withstand the journey. Rose briefly explains stages of life from infancy to the indoctrination into identity. This trend to greater and greater identity with the world may follow us to our grave unless some event, often catastrophic, shocks us onto the Path of Self Realization. It is this critical point, somewhere between youth and old age, that a self-investigative system need be devised with the hope of finding who or what we are. This third and final section of the book provides a clearer look into a way of understanding. It includes observations, methods, and experiments that help us on the Path.
At some point on this Path, we need to experience death, and come out the other side so as to return with an understanding. This experience can occur through some medical revival following a near death experience where a person is pronounced dead and is brought back, or it can be through some sort of mystical awakening. The genuine mystical path is hard to verbalize, but is an annihilation of the individual self as is often described by genuine mystics the world over. The genuine experience means being willing to give up everything. This may include career, security, sex, sanity, even life itself if need be. To die as it were. We must find out who is searching. Artificial means involving drugs or other substances seldom yield any lasting valid results. One may get a glimpse, but lack the vitality to make the ultimate trip, as a life of energy dissipation may have stolen the vital force necessary to be strong enough to break through.
We learn that the small ‘s’ self must be discovered before the capital ‘S’ Self or True Self. By examining the lifestyles of others, we can get a good appraisal of what may best serve our own lifestyles. We often see that the Umpire, or somatic monitor fails as a result of genetic predisposition. Knowing this helps us perhaps to be self-observant enough to thwart self-destruction. We must also factor in basic Nature programming.
If our thoughts aren’t our own, where do they come from? Are all our actions programmed, or are we free agents? You may be confronted with such questions as, Who is living? Who is asking the questions? etc. Whatever adversity presents itself, just keep observing. Observe all the way until Realization occurs. Do not ignore the forces of adversity, but observe them, keeping in mind that the answers may well be paradoxical, thereby ignoring, yet not ignoring these elements. Keep simple things in mind such as having an undisturbed place to meditate.
We finally come to controlling the mind. First, the body has to come under control. A series of steps are laid out to assist in this process. Our habits and patterns interfere with our meditation and searching. The mind resists delving into abstract concepts. We have to find a way by making habits out of our pursuits along these lines. You cannot wait for the mind to tire of fantasy, or worldly pursuits on its own. Things should be done with a sense of order and clear preparation. There is a proper sequence of events. We must struggle with often unknown or insurmountable odds. We must maintain a single-minded vector no matter what, toward Self Awareness.
As I study this book over and over again I continue to gain further perspective on self-observation. It has provoked me to look more deeply into characteristics of my life no matter how unsettling.
As I continue to glean further wisdom, the close examination of its pages in the writing of this review has brought me to even greater depths of observing my being and the universe around me along with new and fascinating revelations.
Rose's unique approach in the writing of this book allows the reader to encounter a few fundamental, priceless concepts presented with slight variations in the wording. I liken it to many facets of a gemstone where the light striking each facet focuses individual beams to a center point of brilliance, and in this case clarity of understanding can occur.
Included here is a short list of writings that may offer supporting food for thought along the lines of this work.
Meditation by Richard Rose
The Conquest of Illusion by J.J.Van Der Leeuw
The Light of Zen in the West incorporating The Supreme Doctrine and The Realization of the Self by Hubert Benoit
Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D.
The Albigen Papers by Richard Rose
“The Wisdom of Franz Hartmann”
A Review with Excerpts from Magic, White & Black
Many titles were recommended reading by Richard Rose to his students and lecture attendees, but nearest the top of the reading list, if not at the top, was Franz Hartmann’s Magic, White & Black, or The Science of Finite and Infinite Life. And there was always encouragement given by Mr. Rose to look beyond the title, which can be misleading, and crack open the book at just about any point to see that this is truly a spiritual treatise of a most profound nature. So we have chosen to print excerpts from the introduction along with chapters one, two and ten, so that those of you who have not read this book can experience firsthand a bit of the wisdom of a remarkable 19th century doctor, Franz Hartmann, M.D.
A man whose thinking parallels that of Richard Rose, “this author courageously lays down certain truths without compromise and without any appeal to the reader for the reader’s agreement. The reader soon perceives that the author possesses a great mental quantum, or else might mistakenly judge the author to be a fanatic. The reader who has previously understood the concept of an illusory life and world, will eagerly read on, waiting for the real magic of additional revelations.”
Excerpt from the Introduction
We are born into a world in which we find ourselves surrounded by physical objects. There seems to be still another—a subjective—world within us, capable of receiving and retaining impressions from the outside world. Each one is a world of its own with a relation to space different from that of the other. Each has its days of sunshine and its nights of darkness, which are not regulated by the days and nights of the other, each has its clouds and its storms, and shapes and forms of its own.
As we grow up we listen to the teachings of science to try to find out the true nature of these worlds and the laws that govern them, but physical science deals only with forms, and forms are continually changing. She gives only a partial solution of the problems of the objective world, and leaves us in regard to the subjective world almost entirely in the dark. Modern science classifies phenomena and describes events, but to describe how an event takes place is not sufficient to explain why it takes place. To discover causes, which are in themselves the effects of unknown primal causes, is only to evade one difficulty by substituting another. Science describes some of the attributes of things, but the first causes which brought these attributes into existence are unknown to her, and will remain so, until her powers of perception will penetrate into the unseen.
Besides scientific observation there seems to be still another way to obtain knowledge of the mysterious side of nature. The religious teachers of the world claim to have sounded the depths which the scientists cannot reach. Their doctrines are supposed by many to have been received through certain divine or angelic revelations, proceeding from a supreme, infinite omnipresent, and yet personal, and therefore limited external Being, the existence of which has never been proved. Although the existence of such a being is--to say the least--exceedingly doubtful, yet men in all countries have bowed down in terror before its supposed dictates; ready to tear each other’s throats at a sign of its supposed command, and willing to lay down their money, their lives, and even their honour at the feet of those who are looked upon as the confidants or deputies of a god. Men and women are willing to make themselves miserable and unhappy in life for the purpose of obtaining some reward after they live no more. Some waste their life in the anticipation of joys in a life of which they do not know whether or not it exists; some die for fear of losing that which they do not possess. Thousands are engaged in teaching others that which they themselves do not know, and in spite of a very great number of religious systems there is comparatively little religion at present upon the Earth.
The term Religion is derived from the Latin world religere, which may be properly translated “to bind back,” or to “relate.” Religion, in the true sense of the term, implies that science which examines the link which exists between man and the cause from which he originated, or in other words, which deals with the relation which exists between man and God, for the true meaning of the term “God” is Supreme First Cause, and Nature is the effect of its manifestation. True religion is therefore a science far higher than a science based upon mere sensual perception, but it cannot be in conflict with what is true in science. Only what is false in science must necessarily be in conflict with what is true in religion, and what is false in religion is in conflict with what is true in science. True religion and true science are ultimately one and the same thing, and therefore equally true; a religion that clings to illusions, and an illusory science, are equally false, and the greater the obstinacy with which they cling to their illusions the more pernicious is their effect.
A distinction should be made between “religion” and “religionism”; between “science” and “scientism”; between “mystic science” and “mysticism.”
The highest aspect of Religion is practically the union of man with the Supreme First Cause, from which his essence emanated in the beginning.
Its second aspect teaches theoretically the relations existing between that Great First Cause and Man; in other words, the relations existing between the Macrocosm and Microcosm.
In its lowest aspect religionism consists of the adulation of dead forms, of the worshipping of fetiches, of fruitless attempts to wheedle oneself into the favour of some imaginary deity, to persuade “God” to change his mind, and to try to obtain some favours which are not in accordance with justice.
Science in her highest aspect is the real knowledge of the fundamental laws of Nature, and is therefore a spiritual science, based upon the knowledge of the spirit within one’s own self.
In its lowest aspect it is a knowledge of external phenomena, and the secondary or superficial causes which produce the latter, and which our modern scientism mistakes for the final cause.
In its lowest aspect it is a knowledge of external phenomena, and the secondary or superficial causes which produce the latter, and which our modern scientism mistakes for the final cause.
In its lowest aspect scientism is a system of observation and classification of external appearances, of the causes of which we know nothing.
Religionism and Scientism are continually subject to changes. They have been created by illusions, and die when the illusions are over. True Science and true Religion are one, and if realized by Practice, they form with the truth which they contain, the three-lateral pyramid, whose foundations are upon the earth, and whose point reaches into the kingdom of heaven.
Mystic science in its true meaning is spiritual knowledge; that is to say, the soul knowledge of spiritual and “super-sensual” things, perceived by the spiritual powers of the soul. These powers are germinally contained in every human organization, but only few have developed them sufficiently to be of any practical use.
Mysticism belongs to the vapoury speculations of the brain. It is a hankering after illusions, a desire to pry into divine mysteries which the material mind cannot comprehend, a craving to satisfy curiosity in regard to what an animal ought not to know. It is the realm of fancies, of dreams, the paradise of ghost-seers, and of spiritistic tomfooleries of all kinds.
But which is the true religion and the true science? There is no doubt that a definite relationship exists between Man and the cause that called humanity into existence, and a true religion or a true science must be the one which teaches the true terms of that relation. If we take a superficial view of the various religious systems of the world, we find them all apparently contradicting each other. We find a great mass of apparent superstitions and absurdities heaped upon a grain of something that may be true. We admire the ethics and moral doctrines of our favourite religious system, and we take its theological rubbish in our bargain, forgetting that the ethics of nearly all religions are essentially the same, and that the rubbish which surrounds them is not real religion. It is evidently an absurdity to believe that any system could be true, unless it contained the truth. But it is equally evident that a thing cannot be true and false at the same time.
The truth can only be one. The truth never changes; but we ourselves change, and as we change so changes our aspect of the truth. The various religious systems of the world cannot be unnatural products. They are all the natural outgrowth of man’s spiritual evolution upon this globe, and they differ only in so far as the conditions under which they came into existence differed at the time when they began to exist; while his science has been artificially built by facts collected from external observation. Each intellectual human being, except one blinded by prejudice, recognizes the fact that each of the great religious systems of the world contains certain truths, which we intuitively know to be true; and as there can be only one fundamental truth, so all these religions are branches of the same tree, even if the forms in which the truth manifests itself are not alike. The sunshine is everywhere the same, only its intensity differs in different localities. In one place it induces the growth of palms, in another of mushrooms; but there is only one Sun in our system. The processes going on on the physical plane have their analogies in the spiritual realm, for there is only one Nature, one Law.
If one person quarrels with another about religious opinions, he cannot have the true religion, nor can he have any true knowledge; because true religion is the realization of truth. The only true religion is the religion of universal Love; this love is the recognition of one’s own divine universal self. Love is an element of divine Wisdom, and there can be no wisdom without love. Each species of birds in the woods sings a different tune; but the principle which causes them to sing is the same in each. They do not quarrel with each other, because one can sing better than the rest. Moreover, religious disputation, with their resulting animosities, are the most useless things in the world; for no one can combat the darkness by fighting it with a stick; the only way to remove darkness is to kindle a light, the only way to dispel spiritual ignorance is to let the light of knowledge that comes from the center of love shine into every heart.
All religions are based upon internal truth, all have an outside ornamentation which varies in character in the different systems, but all have the same foundation of truth, and if we compare the various systems with one another, looking below the surface of exterior forms, we find that this truth is in all religious systems one and the same. In all this, truth has been hidden beneath a more or less allegorical language, impersonal and invisible powers have been personified and represented in images carved in stones or wood, and the formless and real has been pictured in illusive forms. These forms in letters, and pictures, and images are the means by which truths may be brought to the attention of the unripe Mind. They are to the grown-up children of all nations what picture-books are to small children who are not yet able to read, and it would be as unreasonable to deprive grown-up children of their images before they are able to read in their own hearts, as it would be to take away the picture-books from little children and to ask them to read printed books, which they cannot yet understand.
Excerpt from Chapter 1, “The Ideal”
“God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” –John iv. 24.
The highest desire any reasonable man can cherish and the highest right he may possibly claim, is to become perfect. To know everything, to love all and be known and beloved by all, to possess and command everything that exists, such is a condition of being that, to a certain extent, may be felt intuitively, but whose possibility cannot be grasped by the intellect of mortal man. A foretaste of such a blissful condition may be experienced by a person who—even for a short period of time—is perfectly happy. He who is not oppressed by sorrow, not excited by selfish desires, and who is conscious of his own strength and liberty, may feel as if he were the master of worlds and the king of creation; and, in fact, during such moments he is their ruler, as far as he himself is concerned, although his subjects may not seem to be aware of his existence.
But when he awakes from his dream and looks through the windows of his senses into the exterior world, and begins to reason about his surroundings, his vision fades away; he beholds himself a child of the Earth, a mortal form, bound with many chains to a speck of dust in the Universe, on a ball of matter called a planet that floats in the infinity of space. The ideal world, that perhaps a moment before appeared to him as a glorious reality, may now seem to him the baseless fabric of a dream, in which there is nothing real, and physical existence, with all its imperfections, is now to him the only unquestionable reality, and its most dear illusions the only things worthy of his attention. He sees himself surrounded by material forms, and he seeks to discover among these forms that which corresponds to his highest ideal.
The highest desire of mortal is to attain fully that which exists in himself as his highest ideal. A person without an ideal is unthinkable. To be conscious is to realize the existence of some ideal, to relinquish the ideal world would be death. A person without any desire for some ideal would be useless in the economy of nature, a person having all his desires satisfied needs to live no longer, for life can be of no further use to him. Each one is bound to his own ideal; he whose ideal is mortal must die when his ideal dies, he whose ideal is immortal must become immortal himself to attain it.
Each man’s highest ideal should be his own higher spiritual self. Man’s semi-animal self, which we see expressed in his physical form, is not the whole of man. Man may be regarded as an invisible power or ray extending from the (spiritual) Sun to the Earth. Only the lower end of that ray is visible, where it has evolved an organized material body; by means of which the invisible ray draws strength from the earth below. If all the life and thought-force evolved by the contact with matter are spent within the material plane, the higher spiritual self will gain nothing by it. Such a person resembles a plant developing nothing but its root. When death breaks the communication between the higher and lower, the lower self will perish, and the ray will remain what it was, before it evolved a mortal inhabitant of the material world.
Man lives in two worlds, in his interior and in the exterior world. Each of these worlds exists under conditions peculiar to itself, and that world in which he lives is for the time being the most real to him. When he enters into his interior world during deep sleep or in moments of perfect abstraction, the forms perceived in the exterior world fade away; but when he awakes in the exterior world the impressions received in his interior state are forgotten, or leave only their uncertain shadows on the sky. To live simultaneously in both worlds is only possible to him who succeeds in harmoniously blending his internal and external worlds into one.
The so-called Real seldom corresponds with the Ideal, and often it happens that man, after many unsuccessful attempts to realize his ideals in the exterior world, returns to his interior world with disappointment, and resolves to give up his search; but if he succeeds in the realization of his ideal, then arises for him a moment of happiness, during which time, as we know it, exists for him no more, the exterior world is then blended with his interior world, his consciousness is absorbed in the enjoyment of both, and yet he remains a man.
Artists and poets may be familiar with such states. An inventor who sees his invention accepted, a soldier coming victorious out of the struggle for victory, a lover united with the object of his desire, forgets his own personality and is lost in the contemplation of his ideal. The extatic saint, seeing the Redeemer before him, floats in an ocean of rapture, and his consciousness is centred in the ideal that he himself has created out of his own mind, but which is as real to him as if it were a living form of flesh. Shakespeare’s Juliet finds her mortal ideal realized in Romeo’s youthful form. United with him, she forgets the rush of time, night disappears, and she is not conscious of it; the lark heralds the dawn and she mistakes its song for the singing of the nightingale. Happiness measures no time and knows no danger. But Juliet’s ideal is mortal and dies; having lost her ideal Juliet must die; but the immortal ideals of both become again one as they enter the immortal realm through the door of physical death.
But as the sun rose too early for Juliet, so all evanescent ideals that have been realized in the external world vanish soon. An ideal that has been realized ceases to be an ideal; the ethereal forms of the interior world, if grasped by the rude hand of mortals and embodied in matter, must die. To grasp an immortal ideal, man’s mortal nature must die before he can grasp it.
Low ideals may be killed, but their death calls similar ones into existence. From the blood of a vampire that has been slain a swarm of vampires arises. A selfish desire fulfilled makes room for similar desires, a gratified passion is chased away by other similar passions, a sensual craving that has been stilled gives rise to new cravings. Earthly happiness is short-lived and often dies in disgust; the love of the immortal alone is immortal. Material acquisitions perish, because forms are evanescent and die. Intellectual accomplishments vanish, for the products of the imagination, opinions, and theories, are subject to change. Desires and passions change and memories fade away. He who clings to old memories, clings to that which is dead. A child becomes a man, a man an old man, an old man a child; the playthings of childhood give way to intellectual playthings, but when the latter have served their purpose, they appear as useless as did the former, only spiritual realities are everlasting and true. In the ever-revolving kaleidoscope of nature the aspect of illusions continually changes its form. What is laughed at as a superstition by one century is often accepted as the basis of science for the next, and what appears as wisdom to-day may be looked upon as an absurdity in the great to-morrow. Nothing is permanent but the truth.
But where can man find the truth? If he seeks deep enough in himself he will find it revealed, each man may know his own heart. He may let a ray of the light of intelligence into the depths of his soul and search its bottom, he will find it to be as infinitely deep as the sky above his head. He may find corals and pearls, or watch the monsters of the deep. If his thought is steady and unwavering, he may enter the innermost sanctuary of his own temple and see the goddess unveiled. Not everyone can penetrate into such depths, because the thought is easily led astray; but the strong and persisting searcher will penetrate veil after veil, until at the innermost center he discovers the germ of truth, which, awakened to self-consciousness, will grow in him into a sun that illuminates the whole of his interior world.
Such an interior meditation and elevation of thought in the innermost center of the soul, is the only true prayer. The adulation of an external form, whether living or dead, whether existing objectively or merely subjectively in the imagination, is useless, and serves only to deceive. It is very easy to attend to forms of external worship, but the true worship of the living God within requires a great effort of will and a power of thought, and is in fact the exercise of a spiritual power received from God. God in us prays to himself. Our business consists in continual guarding of the door of the sacred lodge, so that no illegitimate thoughts may enter the mind to disturb the holy assembly whose deliberations are presided over by the spirit of wisdom.
How shall we know the truth? It can be known only if it becomes revealed within the soul. Truth, having awakened to consciousness, knows that it is; it is the god-principle in man, which is infallible and cannot be misled by illusions. If the surface of the soul is not lashed by the storms of passion, if no selfish desires exist to disturb its tranquility, if its waters are not darkened by reflections of the past, we will see the image of eternal truth mirrored in the deep. To know the truth in its fullness is to become alive and immortal, to lose the power of recognizing the truth is to perish in death. The voice of truth in a person that has not yet awakened to spiritual life, is the “still small voice” that may be heard in the heart, listened to by the soul, as a half-conscious dreamer listens to the ringing of bells in the distance,* but in those that have become conscious of life, having received the baptism of the first initiation administered by the spirit of God, the voice heard by the new-born ego has no uncertain sound, but becomes the powerful Word of the Master. The awakened truth is self-conscious and self-sufficient, it knows that it exists. It stands higher than all theories and creeds and higher than science, it does not need to be corroborated by “recognized authorities,” it cares not for the opinion of others, and its decisions suffer no appeal. It knows neither doubt nor fear, but reposes in the tranquility of its own supreme majesty. It can neither be altered nor changed, it always was and ever remains the same, whether mortal man perceives it or not. It may be compared to the light of the earthly sun, that cannot be excluded from the world, but from which man may exclude himself. We may blind ourselves to the perception of the truth, but the truth itself is not thereby changed. It illuminates the minds of those who have awakened to immortal life. A small room requires a little flame, a large room a great light for its illumination, but in either room the light shines equally clear in each; in the same manner the light of truth shines into the hearts of the illumined with equal clearness, but with a power differing according to their individual capacity.
It would be perfectly useless to attempt to describe this interior illumination. Only that which exists relatively to ourselves has a real existence for us, that of which we know nothing does not exist for us. No real knowledge of the existence of light can be furnished to the blind, no experience of transcendental knowledge can be given to those whose capacity to know does not transcend the realm of external appearances.
*See H.P. Blavatsky: “The voice of the silence.”
Excerpts from Chapter 10, “Creation”
Man in his youth longs for the material pleasures of earth, for the gratification of his physical body. As he advances, he throws away the playthings of his childhood and reaches out for something higher. He enters into intellectual pursuits, and after years of labour he may find that he has been wasting his time by running after a shadow. Perhaps love steps in and he thinks himself the most fortunate of mortals, only to find out, sooner or later, that ideals can only be found in the ideal world. He becomes convinced of the emptiness of the shadows he has been pursuing, and, like the winged butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, he stretches out his feelers into the realm of infinite spirit, and is astonished to find a radiant sun where he only expected to find darkness and death. Some arrive at this light sooner; others arrive later, and many are lured away by some illusive light and perish, and like insects that mistake the flame of a candle for the light of the sun, scorch their wings in its fire.
Life is a continual battle between error and truth; between man’s spiritual aspirations and the demands of his animal instincts. There are two gigantic obstacles in the way of progress: his misconception of the nature of God and of Man. As long as man believes in an extracosmic personal God distributing favours to some and punishing others at pleasure, a God that can be reasoned with, persuaded, and pacified by ignorant man, he will keep himself within the narrow confines of his ignorance, and his mind cannot expand. To think of some place of personal enjoyment or heaven, does not assist man’s progression. If such a person desists from doing a wicked act, or denies himself a material pleasure, he does not do so from any innate love of good; but either because he expects a reward from God for his “sacrifice,” or because his fear of God makes him a coward. We must do good, not on account of any personal consideration, but because to do good is our duty. To be good is to be wise, the fool expects rewards; the wise expects nothing. The wise knows that by benefiting the world he benefits himself, and that by injuring others he becomes his own executioner.
What are the powers of Man, by which he may benefit the world? Man has no powers belonging to himself. Even the substance of which his organization is made up, does not belong but is only lent to him by Nature, and he must return it. He cannot make any use of it, except through that universal power, which is active within his organization, which is called the Will, and which itself is a function of an universal principle, the Spirit.
Man as a personal and limited being is merely a manifestation of this universal principle in an individual form, and all the spiritual powers he seems to possess belong to the Spirit. Like all other forms in nature he receives life, light, and energy from the universal fountain of Life, and enjoys their possession for a short span of time; he has no powers whatever which he may properly call his own.
Thus the sunshine and rain, the air and earth, does not belong to a plant. They are universal elements belonging to nature. They come and help to build up the plant, they assist in the growth of the rosebush as well as the thistle; their business is to develop the seed, and when their work is done, the organism in which they were active returns again to its mother, the Earth. There is then nothing which properly belongs to the plant; but the seed continues to exist without the parental organism after having attained maturity, and in it is contained the character of the species to which it belongs.
Life, sensation, and consciousness are not the property of personal man; neither does he produce them. They are functions of the Spirit and belong originally to God. The One Life furnishes the principles which go to build up the organism called Man, the forms of the good as well as those of the wicked. They help to develop the germ of Intelligence in man, and when their work is done they return again to the universal fountain. The germ of Divinity is all there is of the real man, and all that is able to continue to exist as an individual, and it is not a man, but a Spirit, one and identical in its essence with the Universal God, and one of his children. How many persons exist in whom this divine germ reaches maturity during their earthly life? How many die before it begins to sprout? How many do not even know that such a germ exists?
To this Universal Principle belong the functions which we call Will and Life and Light; its foundation is Love. To it belong all the fundamental powers which produced the universe and man, and only when man has become one and identical with God or to speak more correctly, when he has come to realize his oneness with God, can he claim to have powers of his own.
But the Will of this Universal Power is identical with universal Law, and man who acts against the Law acts against the Will of God, and as God is man’s only real eternal Self, he who acts against that Law destroys himself.
The first and most important object of man’s existence is, therefore, that he should learn the law of God and of Nature, so that he may obey it and thereby become one with the law and live in God. A man who knows the Law knows himself, and a man who knows his divine Self knows God.
The only power which man may rightfully claim his own is his Self-knowledge; it belongs to him because he has required it by the employment of the powers lent to him by God. Not the “knowledge” of the illusions of life, for such knowledge is illusive, and will end with those illusions, not mere intellectual learning, for that treasure will be exhausted in time; but the spiritual self-knowledge of the heart, which means the power to grasp the truth which exists in ourselves.
What has been said about the Will is equally applicable to the Imagination. If man lets his own thoughts rest, and rises up to the sphere of the highest ideal, his mind becomes a mirror wherein the thoughts of God will be reflected, and in which he may see the past, the present, and future; but if he begins to speculate within the realm of illusions, he will see the truth distorted and behold his own hallucinations.
The knowledge of God and the knowledge of man are ultimately identical, and he who knows himself knows God. If we understand the nature of the divine attributes within us, we will know the Law. It will then not be difficult to unite our Will with the supreme Will or the cosmos; and we shall be no longer subject to the influences of the astral plane, but be their masters. Then will the Titans be conquered by the gods; the serpent in us will have its head crushed by Divine Wisdom; the devils within our own hells will be conquered, and instead of being ruled by illusions, we shall be ruled by Wisdom.
It is sometimes said that it does not make any difference what a man believes so long as he acts rightly; but a person cannot be certain to act rightly, unless he knows what is right. The belief of the majority is not always the correct belief, and the voice of reason is often drowned in the clamour of a superstition based upon erroneous theological doctrine. An erroneous belief is detrimental to progress in proportion as it is universal; such belief rests on illusion, knowledge is based on truth. The greatest of all religious teachers therefore recommended Right Belief as being the first step on the Noble Eightfold Path.*
Perhaps it will be useful to keep in mind the following rules—
1. Do not believe that there is anything higher in the universe than your own divine self, and know that you are exactly what you permit yourself to become. The true religion is the recognition of divine truth; idols are playthings for children.
2. Learn that man is essentially a component and integral part of universal humanity, and that what is done by one individual acts and reacts on all.
3. Realise that man’s nature is an embodiment of ideas, and his physical body an instrument which enables him to come into contact with matter; and that this instrument should not be used for unworthy purposes. It should neither be worshipped nor neglected.
4. Let nothing that affects your physical body, its comfort, or the circumstances in which you are placed, disturb the equilibrium of your mind. Crave for nothing on the material plane, live about it without losing control over it. Matter forms the steps upon which we may ascend to the kingdom of heaven.
5. Never expect anything from anybody, but be always ready to assist others to the extent of your ability, and according to the requirements of justice. Never fear anything but to offend the moral law and you will not suffer. Never hope for any reward and you will not be disappointed. Never ask for love, sympathy, or gratitude from anybody, but be always ready to bestow them on others. Such things come only when they are not desired.
6. Learn to distinguish and to discriminate between the true and the false, and act up to your highest ideal. Grieve not if you fall, but rise and proceed on your way.
7. Learn to appreciate everything (yourself included) at its true value in all the various planes. A person who attempts to look down upon one who is his superior is a fool, and a person who looks up to one who is inferior is mentally blind. It is not sufficient to believe in the value of a thing, its value must be realistd, otherwise it resembles a treasure hidden in the vaults of a miser.
*The eight stages on the Noble Eightfold Path to find the truth are, according to the doctrine of Gautama Buddha, the following—
1. Right Belief.
2. Right Thought.
3. Right Speech.
4. Right Doctrine.
5. Right Means of Livelihood.
6. Right Endeavour.
7. Right Memory.
8. Right Meditation.
The man who keeps these augas in mind and follows them will be free from sorrow, and may become safe from future rebirths with their consequent miseries.
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