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The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, poems and humor.


TAT Forum

July 2016


Fall Gathering details

Contents

 

Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Short Path/Long Path:
Teachings of Paul Brunton

TAT Founder Richard Rose recommended Paul Brunton's books Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (1941) and Wisdom of the Overself (1943) to seekers. Mark Scorelle, a student of one of Brunton's students, met Brunton (1898-1981) on perhaps his last visit to the U.S. He presented quotes from Brunton's work along with a sparkling resume of his own spiritual path at the June 2016 TAT gathering. Excerpts from his notes follow.

Just a mention that Paul Brunton coined the term Overself, and it is a key word; he uses it a lot. It is like a mathematical variable in a formula. It can mean different things depending on the context. Sometimes it's dualistic, such as the object of devotion, communications, sometimes Nondualistic such as Consciousness, Pure Mind, sometimes as Soul overseeing and educating through incarnations and reincarnations, sometimes as mystical experiences, revelations and glimpses. Generally it's meant as the goal of spiritual life, enlightenment, self-realization.

Most people who start the short path have usually had a glimpse of the Overself, because otherwise they find it too difficult to understand what the short path is about. The long path, through its studies and practices, is the period of preparation for the advanced quest. It is called the long path because there is much work to be done on it and much development of character and emotions to go through.

After some measure of this preparation, the aspirants enter the short path to complete this work. This takes a comparatively much shorter time and, as it has the possibility of yielding the full self-enlightenment at any moment, it ends suddenly. What they are trying to do on the long path continues by itself once they have entered fully on the short path. On the long path they are concerned with the personal ego and as a result give the negative thoughts their attention.

On the short path they refuse to accept these negatives and instead look to the Overself. Thus the struggles will disappear. This change of attitude is called "voiding" them. The moment such negative ideas and feelings appear, then instead of using the long path method of concentrating on the opposite kind of thought, such as calmness instead of anger, the short path way simply drops the negative idea into the Void, the Nothingness, and forgets it. Now such a change can only be brought about by doing it quickly and firmly and turning to the Overself.

Constant remembrance of the Overself has to be done all the way through the short path. The long path works on the ego; but the short path uses the result of that work, which prepared them to come into communion with the Overself and become receptive to its presence, which includes its grace.

In order to understand the short path, it might be helpful to compare it to the long path, which consists of a series of exercises and efforts that gradually develops concentration and character and knowledge. But the long path does not lead to the goal. On the long path you often measure your own progress. It is an endless path because there will always be new circumstances which bring new temptations and trials and confront the aspirant with new challenges. No matter how spiritual the ego becomes it does not enter the whitest light, but remains in the greyish light. On the long path you must deal with the urges of interference arising from the lower self and the negativity which enters from the surrounding environment. But the efforts on the long path will at last invoke the grace, which opens the perspective of the short path.

The short path is not an exercise but an inner standpoint to invoke, a state of consciousness where one comes closer or finds peace in the Overself. There are, however, two exercises which can be of help to lead to the short path, but they have quite a different character than the exercises on the long path. The short path takes less time because the aspirant turns around and faces the goal directly. The short path means that you begin to try to remember to live in the rarefied atmosphere of the Overself instead of worrying about the ego and measuring its spiritual development. You learn to trust more and more in the Higher Power. On the short path you ignore negativity and turn around 180 degrees, from the ego to the Overself. The visitations of the Overself are heralded through devotional feeling, but also through intuitive thought and action. Often the two paths can be treaded simultaneously, but not necessarily equally.

Often the aspirant is not ready to start these two exercises until after one or several glimpses of the Overself.

Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons. From A Search in Secret India (1933).

The "remembrance exercise" consists of trying to recall the glimpse of the Overself, not only during the set meditation periods but also in each moment during the whole working span of the day – in the same way as a mother who has lost her child can not let go of the thought of it no matter what she is doing outwardly, or as a lover who constantly holds the vivid image of the beloved in the back of his mind. In a similar way, you keep the memory of the Overself alive during this exercise and let it shine in the background while you go about your daily work. But the spirit of the exercise is not to be lost. It must not be mechanical and cold. The time may come later when the remembrance will cease as a consciously and deliberately willed exercise and pass by itself into a state which will be maintained without the help of the ego's will.

The remembrance is a necessary preparation for the second exercise (as-if), in which you try to obtain an immediate identification with the Overself. Just as an actor identifies with the role he plays on the stage, you act think and live during the daily life "as if" you were the Overself. This exercise is not merely intellectual but also includes feeling and intuitive action. It is an act of creative imagination in which by turning directly to playing the part of the Overself you make it possible for its grace to come more and more into your life. - Notebooks Category 23: Advanced Contemplation > Chapter 5: Balancing the Paths > #2

The complete presentation

 

TAT Foundation News

It's all about "ladder work" – helping and being helped


Looking for reviews....

Cover of This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery by Tess Hughes TAT Press's release of Tess Hughes's first book, This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery, is now available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.

"I learned that enlightenment isn't just for an exotic person from by-gone eras. This potential is in everyone, and this is what all seekers are seeking." - from the back cover

Willing to share your impressions of This Above All with other readers? Please add your review to the Amazon listing & it to the TAT Forum.

2016 TAT Meeting Calendar

April 15-17, 2016 (Claymont)
June 17-19, 2016 (Claymont)
* September 2-4, 2016 (Claymont) *
November 18-20, 2016 (Claymont)

Register for the TAT fall gathering, Who Am I?, which takes place Friday-Sunday, September 2-4, 2016.


Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire (details).


An Amazon Challenge: Funds raised for our Homing Ground project through Amazon purchases are now $914. Let's make this $1000 by the next Forum issue. It is amazing to think we will have raised $1000 by doing nothing more than making purchases on Amazon! Every time you want to buy something on Amazon, follow this, or any other Amazon link on TAT's site, and a percentage of your purchase price is credited to TAT. It's easy and costs you nothing: Amazon Purchases.

To keep the link handy, bookmark the Homing Ground page in your browser or add a shortcut on your desktop. Just click the Amazon link on that page and order away.

See the TAT Homing Ground section below for an update on how the project is progressing.


Local Group News

Update from the Galway, Ireland self-inquiry group:

Self-Inquiry Retreat in Ireland – Summer 2016
When: Friday evening, July 8 - Monday lunch, July 11th.
Where: Star of the Sea. Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
Check the website "Events" tab for more information.

Update from the Greensburg, PA self-inquiry group:
Our Greensburg SIG Group's topic on June 25th was "The Mind's Desire." Nine participants were in the group, ranging from ages 15 to 76 years of age. I used a quote from Dan McLaughlin: "The truth is the mind's desire. I would say that is the ultimate desire for everyone. If you watch you can see it trying to find the truth even as it seeks desire. A resting place." Each participant was asked whether or not they agreed with the quote.

The discussion took some interesting twists and turns. For example, the teenage participant stated that humanity does not know what we are here for but yet is searching for the truth. This participant also shared his belief that the search for truth was unending and had infinite possibilities in such areas as advances in technology and possibly space travel. He was questioned on whether he believed there was an ultimate truth and if so, could that ultimate truth be found through examination of the manifested, phenomenal world or instead by an apprehension of an unmanifested dimension which is prior to the manifested world.

Another participant shared that he had difficulty with the idea of "the mind's desire" and prepared for the discussion by checking a Miriam-Webster's dictionary definition of desire. This participant noted that the dictionary associated desire with a wish for the unattainable, and the participant then remarked that trying to find the truth even as it seeks, desire is avoidance. Upon hearing this response, another participant asked whether, even in the avoidance, one could still be trying to find the truth.

A third participant answered that he interpreted the quote to be addressing the inherent dualism of things and our reactions to it. He shared his belief that we are looking for a place beyond suffering and that we are struggling in a dualistic existence. This participant stated that for him truth is beyond knowledge and intellectual understanding. ~

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We're organizing a retreat for Sun. November 13 - Fri. Nov. 18, before the TAT meeting on Nov. 18-20. We're getting ready to make a reservation at the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center near Lynchburg, VA. There are currently 21 participants committed to coming, including leaders Anima Pundeer, Paul Constant, Shawn Nevins, and Art Ticknor. (Tess Hughes is not going to make it over from Ireland this November.) ~ E-mail or for information on meetings.

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet every 1-2 weeks, alternating whether we focus on a discussion topic or on group inquiry. We have been trying to select topics that pick up on themes that emerge from the meetings. Some recent topics that led to good discussions were "The Will to Meaning," "Living a Life True to Yourself," and "The Source of Creativity." ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) is planning a retreat for October 1st and 2nd in conjunction with the Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality. Confirmed presenters for the October 2016 retreat include Paul Hedderman, Jenny Clarke, Gary Weber, Doug White, Bob Cergol, Paul Constant, and Anita Avent. See The Nature of Identity/Beyond Self for details and registration. ~ Email or .

Update from the Tallahassee, FL self-inquiry group:
The Tallahassee group continues to meet every other Tuesday. Our next meetings are on July 5th and July 19th. ~ Email for details.


Members-Only Area

A password-protected section of the website is available for TAT members. The area contains information on product discounts for members as well as a substantial amount of helpful and historical information, including audio recordings, Newsletter archives, Retrospect archives, policies, conference proceedings, business meeting notes, photographs, and suggestions for ways to help.

The audio recordings of presentations at the April 2016 TAT Gathering by Bob Cergol, Paul Constant, Bart Marshall, Shawn Nevins, and Saima Yousuf are now available in the members-only web area.

us if you have questions. (Look into TAT membership.)


Amazon and eBay

Let your Amazon purchases raise money for TAT!

An easy way to contribute to TAT is to click one of our Amazon links. Next time you want to make any purchase on Amazon, simply visit the TAT Press webpage and click any of the Amazon links. It doesn't matter what you purchase, TAT will receive from 4 to 6% of the purchase price of the item. It costs you nothing extra, and helps TAT. Try it now.

Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is the latest of TAT's books to be converted to the Kindle ebook format. All of the TAT Press books are now available on Amazon in a digital format.

TAT has registered with the eBay Giving Works program. You can list an item there and select TAT to receive a portion of your sale. Check out our Giving Works page on eBay. Click on the "For sellers" link on the left side of that page for details.

There's more background information in the TAT Homing Ground section below.


Your Contributions to TAT News

TAT founder Richard Rose believed that working with others accelerates our retreat from untruth. He also felt that such efforts were most effective when applied with discernment, meaning working with others on the rungs of the ladder closest to our own. The TAT News section is for TAT members to communicate about work they've been doing with or for other members and friends. Please your "ladder work" news.

 

Humor

"One thing you must be able to do in the midst
of any experience is laugh. And experience
should show you that it isn't real, that it's a
movie. Life doesn't take you seriously, so why
take it seriously." ~ Richard Rose, Carillon


How To Lose Weight In 4 Easy Steps!

Well done, humorous, and touching. Some adult language. Suggested by Ricky C.



We're hoping to present more humor created by TAT members and friends here. Please your written or graphic creations. Exact sources are necessary for other submissions, since we need to make sure they're either in the public domain or that we have permission to use them.

 

Inspiration & Irritation

Irritation moves us; inspiration provides a direction

Transcendence

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

*Pulyan wrote about the Ego dichotomizing itself in order to set up a dynamic of protecting and reinforcing a "boss" ego with the need created by having a subservient ego hard at supposed spiritual work of creating experiences and thoughts that affirmed ego-self.
~ Bob Cergol, 2014 Labor Day TAT presentation


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


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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please your thoughts on the above items.

 

Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends


A reader wrote that what would make the Forum more interesting would be:

Hearing from people who are searching – and have questions instead of those providing endless advice and "answers." What challenges they are facing. What their doubts and questions are. How they perceive their path is going. What they are doing in their lives. Where they think they will end up. Etc. etc.

Can you help make the Forum more interesting?


Last month the Forum staff asked the question: "What question would you most like to ask other readers?" Responses follow.

*

From Paul C:
On the spiritual path, what does love mean to you?
What is thought? Is it an asset or a hindrance on the spiritual path?

From Brent P:
In 100 words or less, what are your ways and means? [Richard Rose used the term "ways and means" in contexts such as this end paper of The Direct-Mind Experience: The Path to Truth, or Reality or Essence - Ed.]

From Ikeh:
What are you looking for in life? Can you feel it?

From Eric C:
In some spiritual circles we hear about the importance of working with other seekers as a way of progressing. Some seekers however work almost entirely on their own, and spend their time with books, practices, teachers, etc. that appeal to them. In your experience, have you been able to make progress working on your own? Looking back at your path, have you felt the "Law of the Ladder" [Richard Rose advised seekers to work with other seekers who were on their same level, and to be helped by those a rung above and to help others who are a rung below] expediting your efforts, giving you extra-proportional returns?

From David L:
National politics has been very interesting this year. As part of our projected realities (which we create with our thoughts, some of them of the collective dimension), what feelings, however subtle, does each of them bring up and which of them can you better witness as a result?

From Mark S:
What helps remind you, or keep your attention on, what you are looking for or why you are seeking?

From Dean N:
I can think of two ways to answer this question; the first is to ask a question that I think everyone should ask themselves, and the second is to ask a question to which I really want the answer. The first presumes that I know an answer that is useful, but I am not sure that is true. The types of questions to which the second applies are all of the type that don't have answers that can be passed, they must arise within each person. So, the only way that I can think of to ask a question is to make it a question one asks oneself: What question do you have right now, and how will you know when you have answered it?


What's your (very own) haiku?

Some characteristics of haiku (thanks to www.haiku-poetry.org/what-is-haiku.html):

  • An English-language haiku sometimes contains of 17 total syllables
  • English-language format is sometimes composed of 3 lines of 5-7-5 (syllables)
  • 2 simple subjects are often placed in juxtaposition
  • These 2 subjects are often separated by punctuation
  • A keen or unusual observation is made by comparing the two subjects
  • Haiku often contains a seasonal reference
  • Poems are traditionally about nature or the natural world

It's a lot more complicated than we thought, right? Traditional haiku usually focuses on two very simple subjects while providing an interesting or unexpected perspective. Like a good joke, the first part can serve as the set-up, while the second part delivers the punchline.

Here is a classic example from Murakami Kijo (1865-1938):

First autumn morning:
the mirror I stare into
shows my father's face.

Please your responses for next month's Reader Commentary.



Richard Rose described a spiritual path as living one's life aimed at finding the meaning of that life. Did you find anything relevant to your life or search in this month's TAT Forum?

 


Flame tree (Delonix regia) against brick building in Mali. Photo by Robin Taylor from Bamako, Mali. Wikimedia Commons.

 

Looking for reviews....

Cover of This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery by Tess Hughes TAT Press's release of Tess Hughes's first book, This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery, is now available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.

"I learned that enlightenment isn't just for an exotic person from by-gone eras. This potential is in everyone, and this is what all seekers are seeking." - from the back cover

Willing to share your impressions of This Above All with other readers? Please add your review to the Amazon listing & it to the TAT Forum.

 

We like hearing from you! Please your comments, suggestions, inquiries, and submissions.

Sign up for notices of TAT's four annual events and free monthly Forums by email on our .

 

Founder's Wisdom

Richard Rose (1917-2005) established the TAT Foundation
in 1973 to encourage people to work together on what
he considered to be the "grand project" of spiritual work.


Letting Go

Q&A with Richard Rose on meditation and a final letting-go.

 

A New Home for TAT

... A spot on earth where people can do retreats and hold
meetings; where the emphasis is on friendship and the search.


An Amazon Challenge: Funds raised for our Homing Ground project through Amazon purchases are now $914. Let's make this $1000 by the next Forum issue. It is amazing to think we will have raised $1000 by doing nothing more than making purchases on Amazon! Every time you want to buy something on Amazon, follow this, or any other Amazon link on TAT's site, and a percentage of your purchase price is credited to TAT. It's easy and costs you nothing: Amazon Purchases.

To keep the link handy, bookmark the Homing Ground page in your browser or add a shortcut on your desktop. Just click the Amazon link on that page and order away.

Current Status

Funds raised and pledged are at $202,849, making us $47,151 short of our goal.

To invest in the Homing Ground project, mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please the TAT treasurer).

Or you can use PayPal (though we lose 2.2% of your donation to PayPal fees) by choosing the "Make a Donation" button below or the Make a Donation button on our Homing Ground page. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

I thank each of you who have donated and pledged and look forward to the day we set foot on our new home site.

Remember
The Purpose:

The Vision:

Shawn Nevins
on behalf of the TAT Trustees

 

 

TAT gathering

 

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