TAT FOUNDATION

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


TAT Forum

January 2019


Contents


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Let your voice be heard
Enjoy the benefits of TAT membership
Become a TAT member
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New Year Bell postcard

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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Daily Life Is the Spiritual Life


Daily life is the spiritual life. Most folk come to the spiritual life by introducing something new into their lives, maybe a meditation practice, attending a retreat, or finding a new kind of literature or viewing material. This is usually accompanied by notions of spirituality as being something superior: more beautiful, better lifestyle, more compassionate, wealthier, more peaceful, happier, successful, etc. Many think of daily life as lower or lesser in some way than our imagined exalted spiritual life. Many think of their spiritual life as the frequency with which they repeat specially designated activities but always keeping the spiritual activities separate from daily life.

It is a necessary condition of spiritual progress that spiritual practices become incorporated into daily life. Our life is one movement. What we can influence is the direction and cohesiveness of that movement. This means finding ways to use the activities and events of our daily lives as fodder for our spiritual growth.

If we can remember to interrupt the automatic outward direction of attention during the day, even for brief intervals, we begin to recover our inner life. We can do this by incorporating reminders throughout the day, reminders to turn our attention inwards.

George Gurdjieff invented what he called "the stop" exercise, a practice of stopping mid-action or mid-sentence to check what is going on with yourself. Checking what is going on with oneself is the act of bringing attention back to our inner dimension. Gurdjieff referred to this as Self-remembering. Others have referred to this as returning to "The Now" or Presence, or Self.

Some practical suggestions for remembering to incorporate "stops" into your daily life might be that every time you use the bathroom you take a minute to Self-remember, or every time you get in or out of your car, or when waiting for your coffee or tea to be ready. The idea is to find something you do eight or ten times during you normal day and to use it to make what are usually unconscious minutes into conscious minutes. This may sound easy. It is simple, but it is easier said than done. However, over a few weeks, if diligently followed a new habit pattern begins to take hold. The secret in making this take hold is to do it diligently, to find a way that it fits in to your daily life in a way that is not noticeable to others, and to keep note of it. For note-keeping, I suggest something like a piece of paper and pencil in pocket on which you make a tick every time you remember to do it. Note keeping is important as a way of keeping yourself honest with yourself.

A problem that can arise with this practice is that one remembers that they should become Present for a minute and leave it at that. This is merely a memory exercise. It is necessary to literally shift one's direction of attention inward. It is likely to take a bit of practice at first to get a feel for this movement. It's like trying to slow or stop a speeding vehicle. Becoming aware of how fast our "vehicle" is travelling is often the first benefit of this exercise. Having a sense of how your attention shifts during meditation, a sense of Presence, helps with finding this inward movement.

St Therese of Liseux described her spiritual practice as The Little Ways. In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, she gives an example of her little ways. She was in the laundry when another nun accidentally splashed her with dirty water. This was distasteful to her, an affliction to the ego as Richard Rose would have said. Being in the habit of using every incident in her life as an opportunity to fuel her spiritual progress, she did not react to the offence. She interpreted her reaction as "my will" or what we might call ego. She did not act on it. She did nothing. In this way, according to her interpretation she was honouring "Thy Will" or what we might call Self. It is an example of reversing from untruth, of not indulging her ego inclinations. There are a couple of lessons to be taken from this incident. One, she was conscious of the opportunity when it arose. She had a way of understanding her aim, in her case it was using Christian mythology. There was no distance between her daily and her spiritual life. She had gathered all her energy and determination behind her single-minded direction. This is the kind of determination needed to facilitate spiritual fruition.

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This Above All ~ Thanks to Tess Hughes, an active TAT member and teacher. Tess's memoir, This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery, "which is really about a life of self-inquiry and how it led me from unconsciousness to consciousness to Self-Realisation. It is the journey that is available to everyone and that answers our deepest need. To say that it is life changing is an understatement, life changing in the best possible way."

Please email your comments to the .


 

TAT Foundation News

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


cover of Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, by Shawn Nevins TAT Press's release of Shawn Nevins's new book, Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, is available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.

"I appreciate writers who get to the point right away, then tell me a story to illustrate the point, then remind me again what the point was." – Shawn's opening sentence.

TAT Forum readers shared their impressions of Subtraction with other readers in the October 2018 Forum.

Please add your review to the Amazon listing if you haven't done so already. It makes a difference!

TAT Press's latest publication…. cover of Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi's Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self, by Stephen Earle

Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi's Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self by Stephen Earle, with a Foreward by Norio Kushi, is available in paperback and in Kindle e-book format.

Check out Shawn Nevins's interview of Norio on SpiritualTeachers.org podcasts.

TAT Forum readers shared their impressions of Awake at the Wheel with other readers in the December 2018 Forum.

Please add your review to the Amazon listing if you haven't done so already. It makes a difference!

2019 TAT Meeting Calendar

* April 5-7, 2019 (Claymont Mansion) *
June 14-16, 2019 (Claymont Great Barn)
August 16-18, 2019 (Claymont Mansion)
November 1-3, 2019 (Claymont Mansion)

Join us for TAT's April 5-7, 2019 spiritual retreat. Details & registration will be available as we get into the new year.


The following video recordings of presentations from the April 2017 TAT meeting are available on YouTube:

Richard Rose spent his life searching for the Truth, finding it, and teaching others to find their Way. Although not well known to the public, he touched the lives of thousands of spiritual seekers through his books and lectures and through personal contacts with local study groups that continue to work with his teachings today. Meet Richard Rose is a 34-minute audio recording of an audiovisual presentation by Michael Whitely at the August 2017 TAT meeting that explores the arc of Richard Rose's life as seeker, finder, family man, and teacher.


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


Local Group News

A new self-inquiry group is forming in the Central New Jersey area:
The co-founders met on December 12th to share their recent experiences and on the 13th to discuss open meetings. They are currently working to define the initial meeting format and outreach for the group. They plan to meet on January 4th for group self-inquiry followed by the first public meeting on January 11th. ~ Email for more details.

Update from the Central Ohio Nonduality group:
We continue to meet on Monday evenings at Panera across from The Ohio State University. ~ For further information, contact or . We're also on Facebook.

"Double Take on Life" blog
Two friends—one a TAT member, one a TAT friend; one living in Canada, one across the border in the US; one male, one female—have partnered to create a blog site, which they hope other TAT members and friends will enjoy and respond to.
     "We are two friends who were encouraged to continue our spirited and free-wheeling conversation about life with a blog. This bipolar labor of love intends to roam between various forms of expression and perspective, both serious and amused. And traverse between the nitty-gritty of the everyday to the essence of being. As above, so below."

Update from the email self-inquiry groups:

The Women's Online Confrontation (WOC) group consists of weekly reports where participants can include:
What is on your mind?
Any projects that you want to be held accountable for?
Responses to a selected excerpt (in the previous report).
Comments/responses/questions for other participants.

A philosophical/spiritual excerpt with two or three questions is included in each report. Based on what we share, participants ask questions to help get clarity about our thinking. The intention is to help each other see our underlying beliefs about who we are.

One rule we try to adhere to is not to give advice or solve problems. The number of participants, to make it work efficiently, is between 4 and 7 including the leader.

Both the women's and the men's weekly email groups are active, and we welcome serious participants. ~ Contact or .

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays. We're planning a weekend intensive retreat at Horseshoe Lake Park in Ft. McCoy, FL on Friday-Monday, Feb. 8-11. ~ Email or for more information.

Update from Galway, Ireland:
Anyone who's interested in self-inquiry activity in Ireland is welcome to contact .

Update from the Google Hangouts self-inquiry group:
Thanks to the advent of technology, we have a group that meets electronically on Google Hangouts every Sunday at 6.30pm UK time.
Our goal is to investigate and confront our unexamined beliefs in a group dynamic, within a safe environment. And at the same time we aim to serve as mirrors for the other group members to see themselves more clearly.
We have one person elected to be the moderator of the group, who brings a question to the discussion, and then each participant answers with follow up questions from the others. Questions range from the psychological type, i.e., "What kind of people annoy you, and why?" to the more abstract "What is the nature of perception?"
The group has been running for well over a year now, and we have all become good friends. A number of us have met in person at various events. We welcome any new members who are committed to self-inquiry and look forward to meeting you. ~ Email .

Update from the Greensburg, PA self-inquiry group:
The Greensburg Self-Inquiry Group is still in hiatus. I do plan to start it up again at some point as I see it as a lifeline to my own spiritual path. Things got stale with my group's participants, but I will e-mail them at some point to schedule another SIG meeting. In the meantime, I participate in a local "Socrates Cafe" group at the coffeehouse/art gallery where I have had my meetings. This group is not into esoteric philosophy as such, but they're supposed to be into "Socratic Inquiry," and I figure it's better than not engaging in any discussions with people. At least we sometimes touch upon spiritual matters, and this makes attending their meetings worthwhile. ~ Contact .

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Los Angeles:
It's in the early stages—so this is a beacon to see who's already familiar with TAT, is in the area, and is interested in getting together. ~ Contact for more information.

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We will be moving to a new location after the first of the year, The Drowsy Poet cafe at Little Dickens Bookstore, from 6:30-8:00 every Thursday evening. Participants are encouraged to bring topics of interest, questions, book quotes, whatever might generate discussion. If no one brings a topic, we dip into our folder of questions collected from Tess Hughes's site, and the writings of Richard Rose and Art Ticknor. If new folks show up, we give them a written description of what the group is about and rules of confrontation. Word of mouth is our system for finding new people—which hasn't been very effective. We're thinking of stuffing some relevant books in our local bookstores with provocative messages regarding our robotic nature, what you really want out of life, and how that's working for you ;-) See what comes of that. Email or for information on the meetings.

Update from the New York City area:
We've recently started a group in NYC and are looking for consistent, serious but lighthearted ;) members. So far, we have started each group meeting with a short meditation followed by a self-inquiry session with questions and responses. We plan to vary the format and also go on local retreats and spiritually-minded events, as time allows. We are meeting in downtown Manhattan (the financial district) in a really great public space that we are fortunate to have. Please contact me with any interest or questions. Tell a friend :) ~ Email .

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We hold public meetings on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, 7-9 PM, at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House in Oakland (4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) and invitation-only meetings occasionally on alternate Wednesdays. Last month's topics were:
Dec 5: J. Krishnamurti: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Do we define our sanity by that which we identify with?
Dec 12: Business Meeting at Panera Bread.
Dec 19: J. Krishnamurti, Part 2: Hosted by Mike W., we'll continue to examine some of Krishnanurti's key teachings as they may or may not apply to ourselves.
~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
We meet most Sundays and have been meeting at different local libraries around town due to limited room availability at any one library, but this has made it easier for people in those neighborhoods to attend the meetings. ~ Email or for more information.

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) meets on Wednesday evenings near NCSU. ~ See the website for more information.

Update from the San Francisco Bay area self-inquiry group:
See the Shawn Nevins interview by Iain McNay of Conscious.tv, kicking off the publication of Shawn's book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment. ~ Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

Update from the Sarasota, FL self-inquiry group:
Meetings are on alternate Wednesdays. ~ Email for more information.


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.

TAT's November 2017 Gathering was titled The Treasure Within our Lives Unconnected to Experience. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area (there's also a text file describing the speakers and their sessions, not all of which were successfully recorded due to equipment malfunctioning):

  • "Obstacles" by Anima Pundeer,
  • "Navigating Our Spiritual Waters" by Paul Constant,
  • "By His Logic, Man Can Do Nothing" by Shawn Nevins, and
  • "TAT Weekend Key Take-Home Highlights" with Tess Hughes

TAT's April 2018 Gathering was titled Steps on the Path. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Rose's Jacob's Ladder: Steps on the Path" by Bob Fergeson,
  • "The Threefold Path" by Paul Constant,
  • "What Keeps Us from Being Awake?" by Paul Rezendes,
  • "Allowing Exploration" by Shawn Nevins, and
  • "What's Trying to Get Your Attention?" by Mark Seabright.

TAT's June 2018 Gathering was titled In Search of Happiness. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Four Views of Happiness: Three steps beyond the search" by Avery Solomon,
  • "How You Can Be 'Free of Happiness'" by Gary Weber,
  • "A Personal Perspective on Friendship: Ode to 'Mrs. C.'" by Larry Inderbitzin, and
  • "Seeker Stories and Q&A" by Michael W., Penny W., and Michael R.

TAT's August 2018 Workshop was titled Beyond Imagination and included three guest speakers who each led separate workshops. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Nurturing What We Are" with Jenny Clarke,
  • "The Art of Seeing" with Norio Kushi, and
  • "Seeing Through Imaginary Traps" with Shawn Pethel.

Please us if you have questions. (Look here for info on TAT membership.)


Amazon and eBay

Let your Amazon purchases and eBay sales 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.

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. Or if you use the link and donate 100% of the proceeds to TAT, you won't pay any seller fees when an item sells and eBay will transfer all the funds to TAT for you. Check out our Giving Works page on eBay. Click on the "For sellers" link on the left side of that page for details.


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


Siddhartha Claus is coming to town

Santa's running a little late this year. © Andy Singer AndySinger.com.



Sniglets


cellfish: Someone who talks on the phone to the exclusion of those he or she is with.

destinesia: When you get to where you intended to go but forget why you wanted to go there.

epiphinot: An idea that seems like an amazing insight to the conceiver but is in fact pointless, mundane, stupid, or incorrect. [Epiphi-not: opposite of epiphany.]

metox: To take a break from self-absorption. [Riff on detox.]



A sniglet is an often humorous word made up to describe something for which no dictionary word exists. Introduced in the 1980s TV comedy series Not Necessarily the News, sniglets were generated and published in significant number, along with submissions by fans, in several books by Rich Hall, beginning with his Sniglets, Sniglets for Kids, and More Sniglets in the mid-1980s. It has been defined as "any word that doesn't exist in the dictionary but should."
~ Thanks to the December 2018/January 2019 edition of Reader's Digest.



Just Challah if you need me

~ Thanks to TAT member Ike H., seen in the Clear Flour Bread bakery, Brookline, MA.


We're hoping to present more humor from 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


Can Investigating our Political Leanings Aid our Spiritual Search?


Politics is a long game, a story. A soap opera for our thoughts and feelings, with winners and losers. It's a drama that plays out within us, and robs us of energy and cements us into identification.

Politics is one of the subjects barred from social occasion, family gatherings and general discussion. You can come up with your own anecdotes when this rule is breached I'm sure.

Have any of us ever tabled our political beliefs and identifications with an aim to unveil blind spots or prejudices? Not in the right and wrong sense, but in the sense of where we hold our identifications. Why wouldn't we if our stated goal is one of greater self-definition? Are we cosy with the idea we think we sit amongst like-minded souls with our eyes towards heaven and blind to the fellows we don't agree with? These days we tiptoe around one another so as not to trigger and offend. That's a good place for the ego to sit protected from adversity. This flies in the face of confrontation. I'd even say it's a bar towards rapport. If we can unmask our political identities, values, and beliefs, maybe we can see what we are deriving from them. I wonder if that isn't closer to deriving satisfaction from our positionalities. Food for our identities, and as Bob Fergeson has pointed out, "Our efforts at staying away from ourselves."

Perhaps we can put aside our partisanships. Cross the aisle with the idea we want to see ourselves clearer. Overcome the need to pull value from what we imagine is right or wrong by putting one thing against another continuously. Do we then govern ourselves or see we are governed? Are we pulling our own strings, or are they being pulled by outside forces well versed in manipulating our fears and desires? Do we imagine ourselves free or woke ["woke" is a slang term meaning converted, like a religious experience, mainly referring to social policy – ed.] all the time, gripping some flag and waving some image of identification? In other words, do we imagine our unquestioned notions to constitute a correct mode of being and virtue?

The value Richard Rose placed on confrontation and friendship is well known. Perhaps even hallmarks of his method. I like what C.S. Lewis can add to this. He proposed there are two kinds of friends. The first friend shows you that you are not alone in the world. The second is the man who disagrees with you about everything.

~ Thanks to TAT friend Tim Howell.

*

What do you think?




A talk given at the Briggs residence in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 24 January 1970:

"What we seek to do is deliberately produce, if possible, inductions…. There is That which is called Realization. It is the Awakening to another way of Consciousness. It is on the order of a ladder. At the lowest level one may know a little entering wedge of this Consciousness and may advance, usually through several lifetimes, step by step until, at the crown, he attains full Enlightenment and is a Buddha. A glimpse will tell the sadhaka, that is the aspirant, more than a million words. For he'll step from mere knowledge about, to some glimpse, at least, of acquaintance with."

*

Transcripts of the talk are available at https://www.searchwithin.org/download/the_induction.pdf and http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/arInduction.htm.




"How does consciousness happen?" is the focus of cognitive neuroscientist Anil Seth and many of his colleagues.

"Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality…. Consciousness, for each of us, is all there is. Without it there's no world, there's no self, there's nothing at all."

Q: The self we hallucinate is "a rather fragile construction of the brain," but what are we, really? Is it possible to know?

Q: Is how consciousness happens the ultimate question aimed at finding reality?

"You are aware prior to birth and aware after you die, so you begin with awareness, but you are not conscious of awareness." ~ Richard Rose, The Direct-Mind Experience.

Q: What could this awareness be that is different from consciousness?

~ Thanks to Norio Kushi via Leesa W. for suggesting this TED talk.



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?


The question we asked readers for this month's Reader Commentary: What are your doubts and questions? Responses follow.

From Maria T:
I don't seem to have many doubts, but perhaps these morph into worries and concerns before noticing. I worry about being able to change in a big way and move away from my usual ways of thinking-feeling that keep me in a state of mind that doesn't seem to foster growth.

Questions on my mind these days: What is my chief feature…the big one that keeps me earthbound and in the prison of self? How can I recognize this feature in action, when it's so close it's invisible?

From Bonnie Y:
The universal truth is no truth is universal. Then can we really get to the truth from any path, or is it just a wishful thinking by the seekers? Then how do we know we are on the right path? How do we know anything? Are we even capable of self inquiry?

From Anonymous:
Doubt: Whether I will ever be able to maintain a continuous presence of mind, or self-awareness as an act of watching, rather than this sporadic on again off again exchange with forgetfulness.
Question: Is it possible for my ego to eventually fade away due to scrutiny and questioning, or will the ego always be necessarily present in some form?

From Tara S:
Doubts and questions keep shifting as I continue self-inquiry, and they seem inter-woven. Just when I think I've boiled it down to a final question like "What am I?" or "Why am I here?" or "What's true?" more mundane questions like, "Why is my mind so out of control?" appear to shroud the apparent larger ones. The longer I attempt to study my mind, some questions do get answered or simply fall away because they are no longer relevant, but it seems there's a never-ending fountain of questions being created that I can't stop. I can only guess that this is the result of aspects of my personality that I claim as part of my identity or an attempt to develop an even thicker shell to protect and perpetuate the identity. These shifting questions do not seek an answer regarding who or what I am; they seem to be generated by who or what I imagine myself to be. 

Doubts:
I doubt my commitment, motives, sincerity and authenticity. Am I really serious about all this seeking? And this bleeds through to most things, not just my path of self-inquiry. I have a history of not following through. The pattern goes: start – procrastinate – change direction – start again.
I doubt this line of self-questioning is actually productive; it seems very circular and paradoxical.
I doubt my ability to change and yet, somehow, I still believe I need to.
I doubt how to proceed and what to do next or if I should do anything at all. There's no gauge or meter on my progress in this arena—no way to know if I'm doing it "right." I used to enjoy the specialness of labeling myself a seeker, but it is hard work and often lonely feeling like I'm in such a small minority of people who ever question their existence or reason for being. "Not all who wander are lost" may be true but it does seem like those of us who "wonder" are quite lost. I'm banking on the hope that there is truth in Richard Rose's quote of the old adage, "If you throw enough mud at the ceiling, some of it will stick." These days I doubt most everything except that my body will die. And I don't even know that for sure. Although it's highly unlikely, I may "die" and wake up to find I'm still in this body. Maybe my imagination is too good.

Shifting questions:
Why am I here? How did I get here? What's the point? What happens when we die? Is death the same for all of us? Recurring questions:
How do I prioritize? What do I really want? How do I come to know what I want? What am I? What is God? What do I know for sure? One unnerving question I keep being asked is, "What is my relationship with myself?" I don't know how to answer that if I don't know what "myself" is.

Thank you for this opportunity.

From Anonymous2:
In this journey, I constantly search for more information, more knowledge, and answers to questions. Sometimes I'm temporarily satisfied by more/better information. I feel that I'm only gaining talking points and prepared answers, regardless of how momentarily inspired I may feel. But my existence shows that I haven't really "gained" anything other than pacifying my mind. I'm doubting that my need of finding God within me will ever happen. How can learning more be so futile?

From James S:
Our consciousness is enriched with thoughts that give us the power to view ourselves and others as characters in the theatre of life. If we can imagine that other characters are fictional stories in our mind's eye, then can we not doubt whether the character we view as ourselves is simply a fictional creation of our mind?

But if we are to go deeper in our search to discern what we truly are, do we need something more than doubt and imagination? Can we find our true self in meaningful experiences that give us visions of coming home to the mind of God? Does our use of language allow us to instill meaning in our story and help alleviate our suffering? I'm not sure, but life can be a great teacher when we are willing to ask the important questions and give up our comfortable falsehoods in order to experience the answer.


The question for the next month is: Who/what makes your decisions? Who/what has veto power over them?

Thanks to Bob Fergeson for these questions. Please your response by the 25th of January and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name).


Other Reader Feedback

From Leesa W:

I really resonated with Mark's "body as observation point" conundrum ["I'm Not This Body?" in the December 2018 TAT Forum]. Thinking it through causes some consternation. Having feeling-level experiences that contradict it also helps to cast doubt, but we're up against, in my case, more than 1/2 a century of conditioning that says otherwise. I liked his conclusion regarding the exploration of the body from a tactile sense—just doesn't matter, does it? Whether the conclusion is flesh, atoms, or vibration, it's still in the view. Then I got to thinking about all of the things I've ruled out as "in the view," all the ways I've backed up as far as possible…and it hit me that in my meditations, after going through that exercise, ruling everything out, I was resting as the I AM rather than questioning even the I AM, as being in the view. It was like this one small shift in the way I was holding it. Now, I'm even holding that up to scrutiny…just looking at it from a different angle—and it feels qualitatively different. Thank you, Mark!

*

From Art Ticknor:

"I'm stuck at this first stage of Merrell-Wolff's self-analysis. I can follow his logic in a general, conceptual way, but I don't really believe I'm not the body."

We're always looking at the view through a paradigm or model based on a set of beliefs or hypotheses, which we're often not conscious of or remembering. Merrell-Wolff stated or implied the paradigm of what we are (the unknown subject) as never being an object of our consciousness, never in the view.

It's therefore a straightforward conclusion that, looking through that paradigm, "I" am not "my" body. To dispute that conclusion, we have to question the paradigm. If we can construct a contradictory paradigm and logically draw a contradictory conclusion, then the question becomes whether we can discern which of the two paradigms is more valid.

A contradictory paradigm to "I am never that which I see or sense" would be "I am always that which I see or sense." That would define me as the trees I see outside my window, the computer monitor on my desk, and the keyboard my hands are typing on, as well as my hands, arms, and torso—but not anything inside my skin. I conclude that the "never an object in consciousness" is a more valid paradigm than "always an (or every) object in consciousness."

Regardless of the relative validity of the hypotheses or beliefs behind my conclusion, the Truth I'm looking for is beyond beliefs. So the objective isn't to find an absolutely true belief but for all beliefs about what I am to loosen their hold. When that occurs, we can find—or recognize, in Merrell-Wolff's terminology—our true identity.

*

From Shawn Nevins:

I read with great interest Mark S.'s "I'm Not This Body?" essay in the December TAT Forum, initially simply because my name was in the first sentence!  I think it an excellent example of one of Merrell-Wolff's tenets: if you want success, you have to make the path your own.

I do have one point of debate with Mark: that what he describes is "counter to the subtractive or the 'view is not the viewer' approach."  I rather see his process of looking closely at what the body appears to be in his own experience exactly that of the subtractive approach.  One does not back away through a solely mental approach.  It must have some basis in experience.  

Similar to Merrell-Wolff, Mark speaks of the "view" of the body, and what sounds like a very real, experience-based question: "What sees any of this?"  His set image of the body is called into question, and the natural desire to know the truth arises.  

For me, Merrell-Wolff's rapid dissection of the body, feelings, thoughts, and the ego in his "Induction" was more a summary of years of what Mark is experimenting with, than it was a mental connect the dots of "I am not the body, I am not the feelings, etc."  

Nor is subtraction limited to "I am not this/that."  One could equally say "I am the body, but there is something more.  I am feelings, but there is something more, I am thoughts, but there is something more, I am ego, but there is something more."  That, too, is a backing away from untruth.  The untruth being that what is seen is all there is."

"What sees any of this?" Mark asks.  What a profound, and cutting question.

You can listen to a YouTube clip of Merrell-Wolff reading his "Induction" in the Inspiration & Irritation section above. And there's a transcript of the talk on SearchWithin.org.



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?


LA before LED

LA before/after LED. A view of Los Angeles from the slopes of Mount Wilson, before (bottom) and after (top) the city retrofitted tens of thousands of streetlights with LED bulbs, in a project financed in part by a Bank of America green bond. The orange glow is a sign of the energy "leaked" by traditional sodium bulbs. ~ Courtesy of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting, in the August 20, 2018 Fortune magazine.


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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.


Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations


Part 1 of a talk given at Ohio State University in 1974 –

"In the Fall of 74 we opened another [self-inquiry] group in Cleveland. To date, we have given lectures in two Theosophical Lodges, a Unitarian Church, and in the universities of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, Carnegie-Mellon, Ohio State, Kent State, Cleveland State and Case Western." ~ Notes on the Year 1974, by Richard Rose

Life Stories

This is my first lecture here this semester. I generally try to introduce myself a little bit in the first talk, presuming that after that some of you will be back and not have to hear it again, but there aren't too many of you here from last year. I don't see too many old faces.

The reason for this introduction of course is to give you a better idea of where I come from, philosophically at least. I've had pretty much of a lifetime of experience in searching, and hardly any of the searching part had to do with Zen. But the language that I use today has to do with Zen.

I was born and raised a Catholic; in fact I was so devoted to the idea as a child that when I was 12 years of age they shipped me off to be a priest. I endured that for 5 years and left at 17, not without some hesitations, because I didn't have any place else, anything that would be any better.

I couldn't say at that time that my search was for my self-definition. I thought I was searching for God, and I thought I was following a path, a path that the authorities knew about—the authorities being my parents and contacts in school.

So there was quite a traumatic break that occurred, when I was about 17 years old, with this conventional form of religion. But I think my childish intuition told me there was something missing, and I didn't care for the particular brand of authority.

So I got into an objective search; I got to looking into scientific things, studying the mind and studying psychology. And of course in those days there wasn't much known. I don't think there's still much known in the line of psychology. It's just that we have more of a confusion of theories, more theories to go by.

But regardless, I got into objective studies. I looked into spiritualism because—here was a challenge—it said that if you want to know what life after death is, talk to the dead; this is the most reasonable thing to do. And I found you could talk to the dead—and I searched the country over until I found a materializing medium that could materialize spirits—and incidentally it happened just near Columbus here; there's a town called Delaware, a spiritualist church by the name of White Lilly Chapel. And that's where I saw my first materialization.


The complete part 1 of "Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations"


Homing Ground Update

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

We are still very much in brainstorming mode for bridging the $100,000 gap between our original design and the funds we've raised. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to Shawn.


Driveway entrance from Thomas Green Road.

In the meantime,

Use the PayPal button above to donate now. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Alternatively, you can mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please the TAT treasurer).

For additional background, see the Homing Ground page.

In friendship,

Shawn Nevins
on behalf of the TAT Trustees


TAT gathering

 

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