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Feb 1

Written by: selfdef
2/1/2009 5:31 PM

Early Recollections of TAT

Back in early 1974 I used to occasionally hitchhike from Kent State to visit Mr. Rose in Benwood, W.VA. There would usually be a crowd of people visiting and we’d all gather in his kitchen. We would spend hours listening to Rose tell us stories about people he met and experiences he had in his life and there was usually a good dose of philosophy thrown into the mix. It was always a very entertaining, thought provoking and insightful experience.

One Friday evening when I arrived, there was a different atmosphere was in the kitchen. There were only a few people in the Kitchen, several women, but Mr. Rose was nowhere in sight. I asked one of the women where Rose was she said that Rose was using that evening to meet with people who wanted to talk to him on an individual basis. She said that all the guys had already met with Rose and left the house, which was why only the women remained. Then I asked myself “Do I want to take the chance and wait to ask Rose for advice or do I want to forget about it and go try to find out where the guys went to?” I decided to stand up to my fear and stay to ask him for advice.

Soon after that Mr. Rose came into the kitchen from one of the front rooms and one of the women sitting left with him. Eventually all the women met with him. By that time many of the guys had returned and it was getting pretty crowded in the kitchen. Finally Rose met with last woman and sat down in the kitchen. He said that he was exhausted and that those meetings had taken a lot out of him. So here I was trying to keep my courage up to have this private meeting with him and he was exhausted. But fearing that I wouldn’t be able to summon the courage the next time, I decided to ask to meet with him anyway. So ignoring what he had just said, I asked to meet with him. I immediately felt the daggers being thrown at me out of the eyes of everyone in the room. and somehow managed to ignore the pain. He agreed to meet with me. So I went into the room with him and asked him “what I should do on my path?” He took a minute before he answered and said “be celibate and meditate for an hour a day.” We then left the room. I sat down and thought to myself. “Rose must not think much about my chances for enlightenment because he could have said that to anyone in the room.”

Rose’s advise had always stuck with me but I never really took it seriously until fairly recently. A few months back, Art wanted to start a temporary online group focusing on meditation and I decided to join thinking that maybe I can now give his advice a try. During that online meditation group I managed to be able to get to the point where I can sit and meditate for an hour. So now, during my final year of celibacy, I’m able to take up Rose’s advice.


4 comments so far...

Re: Early Recollections of TAT

I remember a lot of those Kitchen sessions, Burns first visit where he went on for about 8 hours of what R. called "pure wisdom," Thanksgiving meals for the guys or women who didn't go "home", the stove burner going full blast which R did out of habit for heat in the winter, and people packed in so there was hardly any room to stand. 'Lots of good sessions and a few uncomfortable ones - like, about in '83 I think, when after the Chataquas and TAT Journal and other projects weren't going so well we were brainstorming about what new project we could try. R said he "didn't know if he could make himself get interested again in another project." He was irritated about the failure of some project, and said "What people have to learn is how to OBEY!", which made me gulp!, and was a turning point for me, as I knew I wasn't going to "obey" anyone.

- jake j.

By jake j on   2/5/2009 7:19 PM

Re: Early Recollections of TAT

Oh yeah, the stove burners going full blast… Sorry I missed the Burns visit and didn’t make any of the Thanksgiving meals or the New years eve parties which I heard were really good. Right, there were a lot of good sessions and plenty of uncomfortable ones.
I remember one where Rose was ragging on and on about something or another what people weren't doing, then he left the room. When he came back he said that there were some people in the room who wanted to see him dead.
I knew of one person who had some thoughts along those lines... Besides the feeling of deep shame, there also came feelings of wonder and amazement about Rose's ability to pick up on peoples thoughts.
It's wasn't like Rose to make statements about obeying him. Makes me wonder if he said it just to see what peoples reactions would be.

By selfdef on   2/6/2009 5:20 AM

Re: Early Recollections of TAT

I think the stress of the years affected him after 65 or so, running TAT was a big load, and he had serious stroke years before he started the group. Probably a few people who hung around his group ocassionally did want him dead. People have funny motivations, and some get attracted to something because they have a subconscious drive to destroy it, as being the opposite of their own strongest nature or basic complex, I think - a lot of couples get married on this basis! 'A lot more fond memories than uncomfortable ones in the kitchen sessions.

By jake j on   2/7/2009 5:37 PM

Re: Early Recollections of TAT

Definitely, a lot more fond memories!

By selfdef on   2/7/2009 5:41 PM

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