Dick Rauscher Life Story
Raised in a working-class family in upstate New York, I delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, and picked corn at a local farm every summer. I shoveled snow winters. Started a small radio repair business when I was 13: Read a lot of science fiction: and dreamed about who I would be when I turned 21.
My goal was to be a millionaire by the time I was thirty. In the late 1950’s that meant I would need an engineering degree. So I rolled up my sleeves, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University, and went to work looking for meaning and financial “success” in the corporate world.
Of course, like most of my great life plans, the universe had a different story for me to live. I worked in the corporate world as an engineer and later in engineering management for a few years, but I wasn’t happy.
Disillusioned with the treadmill corporate life, I dropped out, opened a Pizza shop, and wrote as a stringer/ photographer for a local newspaper. By the time I was thirty, I was married with three children, homesteading on 27 acres in upstate New York, milking goats, living in a twelve by twenty foot cabin, building fieldstone walls, and living off the land.
To support my family, I designed silver and gold jewelry which I sold at craft shows. When we referred to ourselves as dirt poor financially, it was an understatement. We worked from dawn to dark most days planting and harvesting the food we ate. We cut, split, and stacked upwards of 12 cords of wood each year for the wood stove, built a home, a rough-cut oak/fieldstone barn, and maintained four hives of honey bees. Horses, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, milking goats and pigs filled the barnyard.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the “good old days” of our ancestors were exhausting, never-ending days of hard work focused on survival. But they were also days filled with the gifts that come with a life so intimately connected to the land. Thanksgivings were a time of great pride for us knowing that everything on the table, except the cranberries, came from the land and our hard work.
It took time for me to understand and unpack the insights and wisdom learned from those homesteading days, but today I deeply value the experience as a time of spiritual birthing for me.
The Rest Of My Life
It was a warm summer evening in the late-1970’s when the universe introduced me to the “rest of my life.” An innocent philosophic question was about to change my life. My day’s milking goats, building stone walls and racing my dirt bike in cross country races were about to become a fond memory.
Like most Saturday evenings in the summer, we were sitting around a campfire drinking beer and making music with five or six neighboring families. The kids were playing kick the can in the field down near the pond.
The musical instruments were back in their cases, and we had settled into quiet conversations about life and philosophy. Talking about philosophy after a few beers around the campfire is a lot like getting into a taxi and impulsively telling the driver “just drive.” You have absolutely no idea where you’re going to end up.
The guitar player picked up his beer, looked slowly around the campfire, and asked the philosophic question “So what would you do with your life if you could do anything you wanted to do with it”.
When it came to my turn to answer the question, I impulsively responded: “I would be a Pastor”. Talk about a show stopper! The only sound for the next thirty seconds was the crackling of the burning campfire. To this day, I have no idea where those words came from, but over the next few months, I couldn’t get them out of my head.
The following spring I signed up for some courses at Colgate-Rochester Seminary thinking I would become a Pastor. I tried hard to fit in theologically, but my degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics made it hard for me to accept much of what I was being taught.
It wasn’t long before the conservative students made it a point to avoid me in the cafeteria. Their fear, I think, was the possibility that my questions and theological doubts might be contagious. I began to have serious doubts about my decision to enter the ministry.
I loved the sense of community, the idea of adding value to the world……but I struggled with Christian theology. The traditional, conservative religious beliefs that embraced scientifically illiterate first-century worldviews lacked the wisdom and insights I hungered for, but the call to grow and “become” was an inner impulse I couldn’t ignore.
I didn’t want to live a life that simply happened to me. I didn’t want to live a life that others had chosen for me. I wanted to discover the truth for myself. I wanted to discover for myself why I was here; what my soul had come here to do. What it was that I was meant to contribute to the world. I knew I wanted to add value to the world; not just take up space.
These were the questions I found myself wrestling with as I walked into my first class in Pastoral Counseling 101 with Professor James Ashbrook… and knew I had finally discovered the path I was born to walk. I fell in love with psychology and mental health counseling. Learning how our minds work has been my passion ever since that fateful day.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
I eventually earned my M. Div. Degree, was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church, worked four years as Chaplain and Mental Health Counselor at Keuka College in upstate New York and was certified a Fellow in Analytic Object Relations Psychotherapy by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. I went on from Keuka College to open my private practice where I worked for over two decades in private practice as a Mental Health Counselor and writer of my Stony-Hill Newsletter blog helping people find meaning in their lives, helping them discover their life purpose, and helping them embrace their goals and dreams. Over time, the practice expanded to include Life Coaching.
I write about and fully embrace, the life wisdom, ego-emptiness, and non-dual teaching of all of humanity’s great spiritual teachers. They are the teachers that taught me the importance of growth in self-awareness. Success, happiness, and meaning in life all require the ability to become intentionally self-aware. Until we have learned to tame the primitive (immature) ego of childhood, a successful life is all but impossible to achieve. Until we have learned to tame our primitive ego (let go of the unhealthy importance of our own ego), the harder we try to create the life we dream about living, the more depressed and discouraged we will become.
The people I write for are those who dream about living a life of meaning and purpose … those who long to embrace their authentic “self”; the person they were meant to “become”.
I provide Life Coaching for people who long to live more successful, happy, authentic lives. Those who are seeking to grow and evolve into a more conscious, compassionate person that adds value to the world and the lives of others.
I believe that a meaningful life is not possible until we have learned to embrace:
- the humility and emptiness of ego reflected in the taming of our childhood primitive ego,
- the importance of intentional self-awareness (carefully examining the beliefs and conditioning from childhood that attempt to force reality to conform to our own beliefs) on the journey toward the creation of an authentic life,
- the skills and practices required to for us to empty our ego and let go of the dualistic “false self” of childhood … the primitive ego that thinks it knows how the universe “should” function … what I call “pushing the river”, and most importantly,
- the intentional evolution of a mature non-dual human consciousness… evolving from an “i” focus on what’s in it for me, to a “we” focus on what’s in it for us.
Until we awaken to the presence of our unconscious inner-child’s primitive ego and its dualistic “us” vs. “them” thinking, and learn to embrace a true non-dual unity consciousness….. creating an authentic, meaningful life of adding value to the world and others will remain just beyond our grasp.
“We achieve authentic growth in human consciousness through……..
- intentional growth in self-awareness,
- learning the mental skills and practices needed to tame the primitive ego of early
- letting go of our primitive ego’s unhealthy sense of its own “self-importance”.