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


TAT Forum

January 2015


Contents

 

Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

The Message of the Beatitudes

As a child I learned The Beatitudes by rote, and had no understanding of what they meant or what they pointed towards. After many years of seeking, mostly in traditions other than the one I was brought up in, I came to recognise the true meaning of these teachings. I came to appreciate the value of what Jesus had been teaching, in a mature way, and this is what I want to share in this essay. He was offering a set of guidelines for how to live one's life in the possibility of that life blossoming to the full fruition of becoming its True Nature – returning to its source.

If you want to become who/what you really are, then you need to:

1. Detox yourself from all worldly attachments.

Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

*

2. Accept that the world cannot satisfy your deepest longings.

Beatitude: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

*

3. Stop feeding the ego – your sense of control and doership.

Beatitude: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

*

4. Notice and inquire into the roots of your thoughts.

Beatitude: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

*

5. Be kind to all.

Beatitude: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

*

6. Living the above, not understanding, is the key to transformation.

Beatitude: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

*

7. Pray! Meditate! Contemplate(Inquire)!

Beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of god.

*

8. Neither feed your own inner doubts or the naysayers who are not on this path.

Beatitude: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


~ For the conclusion of this essay, and for more of Tess's teachings, go to TessHughes.com. Also see the TAT Forum archive for additional writings by Tess, and the audio recording from her November 2014 TAT presentation is now available on the TAT Audio page. Tess welcomes email through her website.

 

TAT Foundation News

It's all about "ladderwork" – helping and being helped

TAT Meetings for 2015

Our four annual meetings are scheduled for the following weekends this year (see the Current Events page for additional information):

The TAT Planning Committee for 2015 includes Nathan Lippi, Leesa Williams, Mike Whitely and Phil Franta. Nathan volunteered to lead the committee, and they will be planning the June and September meetings. If you have ideas for speakers or suggestions for the meetings, please Nathan.

Many thanks to Eric Clark and his 2014 committee of Mike Whitely, Charlotte Kramer, Nathan Lippi, Ike Harijanto and Leesa Williams. Eric led the committee for 2 years, and the strong meetings reflect the extra effort and thoughtful approach taken by Eric and the committee. The willingness of three of the committee members to continue adds valuable continuity.

Audio Recordings Now on the TAT Foundation Website

The TAT website now has a link to all of the November 2014 recordings. These includes talks by Tess Hughes, Anima Pundeer, Shawn Nevins, and Art Ticknor:

News of TAT Members

An interview of Bart Marshall was conducted in November on Buddha at the Gas Pump. The interview, on YouTube, is an excellent one.

Conscious.TV interviewed Bart Marshall and Deborah Westmoreland in September. Deborah's interview, titled Being Knowing Being, and Bart's, titled Only This Emptiness, are also on YouTube.

Local Groups

See the local groups listing for locations and contact information.Group monitors are actively in contact with each other on-line, sharing ideas for meetings and contacting interested seekers. TAT members who are running local groups who may wish to participate should contact Nathan Lippi to be added.

A recent update from one of these groups – Greensburg, PA monitored by Vince L:

Our [self-inquiry] group in Greensburg met this morning. We discussed the topic of "Regret." The focus was on each participant's personal experience and we tried to avoid a discussion of concepts. Seven people, including myself, were in attendance. All were group regulars. Questions asked to each group member included: 1) What have you regretted in your life?; 2) Could you have done anything other than what you regret doing?, and; 3) Should you have regrets, or is regret a false concept?

There are opportunities for e-mail and Skype confrontation groups, and several people monitor these. If you have an interest in committing to one of these groups, please TAT, and an effort will be made to put you in contact with the leader of such a group.


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. On a recent $169 purchase for example, TAT earned $6.80 in commissions. It costs you nothing extra, and helps TAT. Try it now.

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


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


Everyone knows facial expressions are generated by emotions, right? In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell notes studies showing that facial expressions done intentionally affect the autonomic nervous system the same as those generated by emotion. To test this for yourself, place a pen between your lips (which prevents contraction of the two major smiling muscles). Are you ready?

Q: Why did it take the Buddha so long to vacuum his sofa?
A: He had no attachments.

How funny did that joke strike you on a scale of 1 to 10? Now clench the pen between your teeth without your lips touching it (which forces contraction of the two major smiling muscles).

This guy was climbing a tree when suddenly he slipped, then he grabbed at a branch and was hanging there. After an hour or so had passed he felt himself getting exhausted and looked up to the heavens and cried out: "God, help me, please, help me." All of a sudden the clouds parted and a voice boomed out from on high. "Let Go!" said the voice. The guy paused and looked up at heaven once more, then said: "Is there anyone else up there?"

They were both corny jokes, but could you tell a difference in how humorous they seemed based on the facial expression determined by the pen positioning?


We're hoping to present 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

"Something Says"
Kate Van Pelt

Walking in the woods on this breezy spring day
Something says turn here, so I turn and alter my course
to walk a seldom trodden path.
Then Something says keep going, so I walk to the end of the trail, to a pond.
On the way, I jab my walking stick into a large fire ant bed and twist it
to make the fretful community scurry madly about.
Oops. Something didn't say to do that.
Then Something says walk to the water's edge, and watching closely for snakes and the like,
I walk to the water's edge and wonder why I am doing these things.

And then I see it: the deer trail through the leaves to a secret watering spot;
I see the flowering lily pads atop the muddy brown water, and the breeze lifting up
the fronds here and there across the water so they appear to be waving;
and I hear the woodpecker stabbing at a tree trunk across the water.
So this is why I am here. Yes, This has called me.

Walking home, in the afternoon sun, flies are buzzing my face, harassing me.
These insects are annoying, I think. And Something says
the fire ants sent them.

~ Thanks to Kate.

5 Questions for 2015?

Paul Constant:

Tess Hughes:

Bob Fergeson:

Shawn Nevins:

Anima Pundeer:

 

Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends


That was really beautiful what you wrote in the [Convictions & Concerns section of the] December TAT forum. Those questions really registered with me, almost like I had written them. Thank you for your guidance.
~ Tyler T.

I opened up the TAT Forum & just read your Convictions & Concerns. What can I say, the tears are streaming down my face ... it feels as if I wrote that, although I doubt I could put my feelings into words so eloquently, but I certainly feel/think all that you wrote.
~ Heather B.

In the "Conviction & Concerns" article, I found the questions to be valuable in their clarity and distinctness. There was a cumulative progression from pragmatic to subtle for further contemplation and nearing that point where all might be revealed.

I was equally appreciative of the "Inspiration and Irritation" quotes of Seneca. They paint a cutting and sober picture of how slippery this precious life can be, and how it's wasted in facile consolations and distractions, vanity and the childish embrace of time to spare. One line really stood out for me: "It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and—what will perhaps make you wonder more—it takes the whole of life to learn how to die."
~ Paul S.


Richard Rose described a spiritual path as living one's live aimed at finding the meaning of that life.

Did you find anything relevant to your life or search in this month's Forum issue?

 

Parkersburg, PA sunrise; photo by Ben E.

 

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

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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


Premises

I.  That the majority of the isms that serve as religious and philosophical guidelines for humanity are permeated by inconsistencies, and that in these isms many of the so-called facts are illusions or half-truths, and that most of man's beliefs are the product of fear and wishful thinking rather than an unbiased search for Truth.

II.  That the human mind is not infallible in its processes, and that it suffers errors as a result of many factors, such as the conflicting clamor of appetites, intellectual limitation, fatigue, inadequate intuition, inadequate reasoning (or inadequate common sense faculties), difficulties of the dual mind in the solving of abstract or absolute considerations, and the lack of individual control over states of mind.

III.  That there is a system of overcoming these errors, and the system is practical, and Truth may be realized.

IV.  That the rate of realization is directly proportional to the amount of and quality of energy and attention applied to the quest.

V.  That illusions are the great obstacles to Truth, and that the dispelling of these illusions involves the improvement of the inadequate factors mentioned in premise II, and better control over them. This process involves an ever-conscious schooling of the mind, so that it will be an instrument of Truth.

 

Conclusions

In reference to the message of premise III and IV, I have come to the following conclusions:

A.  That there is a path to Truth. From ignorance to relative knowledge. From relative knowledge to an awareness of the limitation of such knowledge. And finally we pass from that which we recognize as a loosely associated intelligence to a reality of Being.

B.  That this Path is not visible even to many who profess to be on a "Path." It is true that there are many paths, and it is also true that most people on those paths are quite convinced that theirs is the only real path. It is not until after they become broad enough to see that their path is at most only equal to many other paths, that they take another step and look about for a path that will lead them still further.

C.  That the graduation from the field of many paths to a more selective path among the decreasing choices of paths (as the searcher retreats from incomplete or lesser paths) is a phase of entering the final Path.

D.  That the Path does not require years of lesson-taking, and it is not bought with money. By the same token, we should not expect it to be brought to us on a gold server. Money spent should be so used as to hold a particular group together.

E.  That if we applied the same amount of energy that is wasted in any of the material pursuits, we would see spiritual results. And as in any material venture, the results of transcendental efforts are also proportional to the efficient interrelation of workers and brothers, whether it be in a study-group, or in some act resulting from mutual convictions.

 

Techniques

We go back to premise II and add the following notes. A lot can be said about techniques that are relative to our thinking processes, or that help in understanding ourselves. This is a partial list:

1.  Progressive elimination of concepts and concept-building by eliminating those not as consistent within themselves, not as inclusive, and those whose scope does not bridge the range of unexplained phenomena as well as some other system of thinking does.

2.  Self-observation.

3.  Self-remembering. (Looking at our past.)

4.  The respectful doubt.

5.  Application of the paradox.

6.  Development of the Intuition.

7.  Retaining the identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind.

I do not wish to give the impression that I am about to embark upon a course that will employ premises with pursuant conclusions, and thus produce facts from a jumble of words. I only wish to list some observations in an orderly manner. If the reader is looking for syllogistic proof, he can quit reading now. If psychology is in its infancy, transcendentalism, its parent, also has its share of confusion. And the application of logic to transcendentalism will, in most cases, increase that confusion.

~ From The Albigen Papers by Richard Rose.


Do you have a favorite quote from Richard Rose? Please it along with how you'd prefer to be identified.

 

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.

retreat center December 29, 2014 update: We've had several donations as the year comes to a close. 53 TAT members and friends have now made contributions or pledges towards our project to find a new home for TAT.

Just last week, we identified a potential property an hour and twenty minutes from the Columbus, OH airport, and forty minutes from Athens University. The property is 18 acres, with a 672 sq. ft. cabin overlooking a pond. The price is $149,900. To construct a brand new steel frame meeting hall (Armstrong Steel Buildings - http://armstrongsteel.com/) on the site, large enough for 70+ people, might cost another $69,000. A small isolation cabin might be another $25,000, which puts the total roughly around $220,000. Of course, these are extremely rough estimates, just to give you a sense of what is possible with our goal of $250,000.

View the property on Zillow.

As of today, we stand at approximately $153,000 in donated and pledged funds, and want to hit 70% of our goal (another $34,500) before searching in earnest for a property.

I hope you see what is possible and why it is important. If every Forum subscriber gave $60 towards this project, today, we would reach our 70% goal.

For more information, visit our Homing Ground Project page.

To help, please use the PayPal button below, or avoid PayPal fees and simply mail a check. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

For instructions on mailing a check, please .

 

 

TAT gathering

 

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