TAT FOUNDATION

The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, 

poems and humor.

May 2014

This Month's Contents: Excerpts from The Enlightened Mind: An anthology of Sacred Prose edited by Stephen Mitchell | The Disintegration of Me by David Weimer | Excerpts from Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood by Marsha Sinetar | Some Advice by Bob Cergol | Longing video: Gaelic Blessing by Libera | As Long as I Can See You by Paul Schmidt | Humor video: Creationist Cosmos by Funny Or Die | Quotes | Reader Commentary | A New Home for TAT |


Editor's Note
by David Weimer

Spiritual Magazine

Welcome to the Forum.


The Enlightened Mind

Spiritual Magazine

The following excerpts are from
The Enlightened Mind: An Anthology of Sacred Prose,
edited by Stephen Mitchell, 1991. HarperCollins.

*

“….On seeing one thing, you see all things. On perceiving any individual’s mind, you perceive all mind. Glimpse one truth, and all truth is present in your vision, for there is nowhere at all which is devoid of the Truth. When you see a grain of sand, you see all possible worlds, with all their vast rivers and mountains. When you see a drop of water, you see the nature of all the waters of the universe. Furthermore, in thus contemplating the totality of phenomena, you are contemplating the totality of mind. All these phenomena are intrinsically empty, yet this mind they are identical with is not mere nothingness. It does exist, but in a way too marvelous for us to comprehend. It is an existence that is beyond existence, a non-existence that is nevertheless existence.”
(p. 68; Huang-Po)

*

"This thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it."
(p. 76; Abu Yazid Al-Bistami)

*

“….Take these teachings and meditate on them, again and again; someday you will find your entrance. But no one can do it for you. Every one of you should work toward self-realization.”
(p. 80; Yun-Men)

*

“You are freed from your own desires when God frees you. This is not effected by your own exertion, but by the grace of God. First he brings forth in you the desire to attain this goal. Then he opens to you the gate of repentance. Then he throws you into self-mortification, so that you continue to strive and, for a while, to pride yourself upon your efforts, thinking that you are advancing or achieving something; but afterward you fall into despair and feel no joy. Then you know that your work is not pure but tainted, you repent of the acts of devotion which you had thought were your own….”
(p. 83; Abu Sa’id Ibn Abi’l-Khayr)

*

“Don’t follow the advice of others; rather, learn to listen to the voice within yourself.”

“Life is short, and no one knows what the next moment will bring. Cultivate your mind while you still have the opportunity.”
(pp. 99-101; Dōgen)

*

“When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, ‘This is certainly not the way we thought it was!’”
(p. 106; Rumi)

*

“The masters say that God is a being and an intelligent being and understands all things. But we say: God is neither a being nor intelligent, nor does he understand this or that. Thus God is empty of all things, and thus he is all things.”
(p. 111; Meister Eckhart)

*

“I would like to beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
(p. 187; Rainer Maria Rilke)

*

“Nobody doubts that he exists, though he may doubt the existence of God. If he finds out the truth about himself and discovers his own source, this is all that is required.

“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the whole world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.

“The ultimate truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. This is all that need be said.

“Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. It will automatically vanish and reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method.

“A day will dawn when you will laugh at all your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now.

“When you pray for God’s grace, you are like someone standing neck-deep in water and yet crying for water. It is like saying that someone neck-deep in water feels thirsty, or that a fish in water feels thirsty, or that water feels thirsty.”
(pp. 193-196; Ramana Maharshi)

*

“Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.

“The crows assert that a single crow could destroy the heavens. This is certainly true, but it proves nothing against the heavens, because heaven means precisely: the impossibility of crows.

“The fact that our task is exactly as large as our life makes it appear infinite.”
(pp. 197-198; Franz Kafka)

*

"You can't get there from here."
(p. 199; Ludwig Wittgenstein)


The Disintegration of Me

The disintegration of me is easy to see.

Me….

The sand beneath my feet
wears my feet
Smooth, wears the shells and rocks, wears everything
of everything,
and me, too,
watching.

I am a shell under the feet of the sea.
My defeat whispers
softly. My feet
push into the sand and heel into the coolness below,
into everything.

Disintegration of me is easy.
I stand sideways, and waves push and pull, crash and recede,
smoothing,
polishing,
wearing me
free.

~ David Weimer


"Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood"

by Marsha Sinetar,
1987. Dell Publishing.

Spiritual Magazine

Editor’s note: this shockingly useful book is readily available in electronic and hardcopy formats. Sinetar’s Do What You Love is a handy guide to accomplishing anything you may want to achieve. It is chock full of common sense advice and is tremendously inspirational. The following excerpt is from the introduction.

Tip: in the context of the TAT Forum, substitute the words “spiritual seeking” whenever you encounter the phrase “right livelihood,” and use “spiritual results” whenever you see the term “material rewards” or phrases with a similar meaning….

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow is my acknowledgment to all people who do the work they really enjoy. It is also a handbook that hopefully will show readers “how” to follow their own hearts to the work of their dreams. And more: it is at its core a comment about the spiritual aspects of work—a book that suggests people can fulfill themselves as authentic, unique human beings through doing their right livelihoods.

“….Readers will be able to reflect upon their own situations and apply the principles of right livelihood to their own lives. They will recognize case illustrations of people like themselves. They will identify with people who worried about paying bills or pleasing parents, spouses or other authority figures, or with those who felt they were too old, too inexperienced or too undeserving to identify and do fulfilling work.

“The case examples I use are not of persons who, by some magical fluke of fate, just closed their eyes to the necessities and demands of the real world. These are not people who woke up one day to find themselves rolling in a “fun job” and money. I am not suggesting that such outcomes are likely or even the most desirable. Nor am I suggesting in any way that doing what one loves means doing what one feels like doing.

“In some cases, people who embarked upon finding, and doing, work they loved are still waiting for the money to follow. This is the case of one of my oldest friends, who, years ago, decided to become an actress. She is still hard at work: studying, working at bit parts and off-Broadway roles, to make that dream a reality. Thus I maintain that hard, patient, disciplined long-term effort is required to do one’s right livelihood.

“Others I know are still in school. In some cases, an investment in tedious, often boring graduate or advanced studies may be necessary. Others hold down two jobs, as in the case of a woman I know who wants to be an artist, but who is not good enough yet to profitably sell her work. First she must paint, experiment, paint more, learn what works for her. This period will, for her, take years. Consequently, she works at another job, full time, while she spends all weekend time, almost every evening, painting. I write of this so that, at the outset, no one thinks I am suggesting that material rewards immediately flow out of the leap-of-faith which is made to do one’s right livelihood. The reason that this book’s title contains the phrase, “The Money Will Follow,” is precisely because we must do the work first, invest of ourselves first, seed faithfully in the small, steady, incremental ways of our chosen work first, and then—as a harvest of abundant crops naturally follows the seeding, watering and constant caring process, of seeds—the fruits of our efforts result.

“While the people I describe in these pages are working away at their chosen vocations, simultaneously they are growing successfully as human beings. And this is the beauty of right livelihood. As people honor the actions they value most—by doing them—they become more authentic, more reliable, more self-disciplined. They grow to trust themselves more; they learn to listen to their own inner voice as a steady, truthful and strengthening guide for what to do next and even how to do it. The example of such individuals points the way for like-minded others to plan their growth steps, as that growth specifically relates to their own life’s work.

“The examples I have used throughout this book are realistic; sometimes they “only” teach us how to be patient and endure. At other times, because of a specific success or enthusiasm expressed, the examples serve to inspire. The following pages contain stories, and a continual psychological narrative, about what it takes to build inner confidence, and self-esteem, and about how to listen to one’s own self and hear one’s own inner voice over the din and clatter of experts, society’s expectations and media-hype. It is this inner listening that is necessary if one wants to follow “the way of the heart” to the work that is most enjoyable, most fulfilling.

“Readers will survey what right livelihood is and how it leads people to personal health and personal development. They will examine what I call “The Big R”—resistance—in order to see how this phenomenon blocks energy and enthusiasm, robs them of satisfaction and reward. They will explore the subject of money and see how it relates to feelings of high self-worth—feelings which are so necessary to making life what we want it to be, as well as necessary to earning a decent salary or fee for our efforts. Readers will come to understand how increased self-trust and high self-esteem leads to increased material success, and, at the very least, to self-respect. They will read that high self-esteem only comes from confronting and handling life’s challenges—not from taking an easy, contracted life position.

“….The task is easier than people imagine. All it takes is everything they have to give: all their talent, energy, focus, commitment and all their love. The rewards are worth it and are evident the minute one consciously chooses on behalf of his or her own values, inclinations and vision.”


Some Advice
by Bob Cergol

Q: I want to experience my original face, nirvana, etc.... I guess my question is what technique do you recommend to experience Samadhi?

A: You’re looking for a simple formula and it doesn’t exist. Obviously – or millions of formula-followers would be enlightened. Words that effectively point the way can be quite simple – but people don’t hear them and don’t act even on what they do hear.

I can guarantee that you will never experience enlightenment – because it is not an experience. You are nothing but an experience. How can an experience have an experience?
Still, something animates you – gives you the seeming of being you – and the seeming of possessing a power of attention.

The direction is to turn that attention back onto itself.

Nisargadatta (and other like him) are right when they say “Follow the ‘I-am’” (Thought that is simply a direction and not the destination.)

Just one problem. You can’t do it! No one can quite do that – at least not very effectively. It has to be done obliquely – indirectly – and more than anything – unselfishly! Everyone wants to add something to themselves. They want to magnify themselves, have experiences – why? Who does that serve?

So you should strive for the humility of knowing that you know nothing and forget about your techniques! Forget about your goals – meaningless words those goals! I advise you to start by taking stock of yourself, and your life. What is your life about? What will become of you? Look deep and hard and be honest with yourself. Then maybe you can begin to see clearly – for a habit of seeing clearly must be established. You cannot see clearly if encumbered by all sorts of preconceptions and selfish desires. You better be willing to accept what is, and pray for the grace to be able to see clearly – and blessed so you understand what you see – and strengthened so you will then live your understanding. Then you at least have a chance of losing yourself – and what is left is the answer to everything.

The path is one of developing a reverse vector of the attention – inward and away from experience, even though looking at experience is required (that oblique, indirect looking again….) The process of “going within” is experienced as a loss of self – the self we cling to and want to magnify.

Since the attention follows the body and one’s actions, it’s recommended to “live the life” and take action to be of service to others on the path. It can’t all be about you. That sets up a dynamic that will drive the attention inward – especially from the “koan” of the tension and friction that occurs when one acts on commitments to make sustained efforts.

Any experience that is an affliction to the sense of self is an opportunity to go within. It focuses the attention on the source of self – at least until the mind spins the diminishment into an affirmation of self.

A daily “remembrance” is needed. This could be sitting or walking, but a daily habit of being in silence and looking inward – maybe starting by a brief period of breathing to still the body-mind – then maybe an acknowledgment of one’s helplessness in combination with a prayerful attitude of wanting/hoping for help from a higher power and being open to that – then simply looking (not thinking about!) the content of one’s mind – focusing in on past experiences of afflictions to sense of self (anger, fear, etc.) or just noticing how you really feel in that moment about your life – always asking why – and where is that coming from. You must question your thoughts and motivations and observe yourself and your emotions. You have to figure out whatever it takes for you to go within – but whatever you think you are doing will turn out not to be the important part – the important part about what you are doing is what you will not see in your actions – and that is the building of a vector of the attention which will carry you through when the opportunity presents – or perhaps in your hour of death when there is finally no place left to hide. Will you still look away from the truth even then?

~ Email


Longing

Dear TAT editors,

The combination of the song and the photos in the following video does it for me to evoke a longing sense: Deep Peace.

Take care,

~ Ike


Spiritual Magazine


As Long as I Can See You

How did it come to this?
I close my eyes and all I hear
is a skipping record of delirium…
crashing cymbals and tortured strings
Desires once so mellifluous
now a standing-room-only of strangers
arguing and shoving carcinogenically

Who could ever ID this body now?
As if silence had ears
several images begin to form
through a crevice in the bedlam

black bird…

wafting across the desert highway
as I drove under your sweep.
I have no notion how you came to be there
at that particular time so propitious.
Thank you Bird
for being complete
for being what you are
without need of me
your obeisance an ode
to the wide and long of the world

statue still white horse in alpine meadow…

Your nose planted in the lush dew green
when my road curved round your pastoral slope
How often have I passed one as you without notice?
I love you Horse
I saw how motionlessly your presence breathed
your heeding of only one urge at a time
received unquestioningly from your unknown Friend

mother resting on a playground bench…

her face drawn sheen smooth with fatigue,
watching serenely without envy
as her child experiences
the total mindless joy
she once knew
unlikely to ever return again

at last, a respite…

The hubris and frenzy
blacking out grace
disperses for an instant
the racket in mind becomes a song…

To all you no-ones who know how to abide
without losing your composure
I am willing to kneel at your feet and listen
I was mad with hurry
to get it all over with.
To all of you I have seen
who showed me what cannot be seen
through your flickers of purity
the quiet gathering into yourselves
reflecting something eternal-like
something uncreated by me

Perhaps someday I
when I am completely no-one too
filled with nothing in particular
will pass by Bird by Horse by Mother
and they will see me as I saw them
but if they don't, even better…
by then it won’t matter

~ Paul Schmidt


Quotes....

"We have an emotional brain, a limbic brain, and this emotional brain stores our wounds and our biases. And this emotional brain is where we live as a feeling being and it's crucial to being a mammal. It gives us the ability to bond with our community, with our family, with our culture...and it's a trap! It's a trap because it identifies us as a somebody and this somebody (is) personally identified with me and my family, me and my children, me and my parents. That's the false self that veils the truth of our true nature. And if what you want is truth, if you want this freedom, you'll pierce through the false veils. The false veils are the personal identity of me as a somebody. Calling that ego is too abstract maybe. Just say Me. Me is this body, these feelings, these thoughts, this past, this future. That bundle is the only thing that veils you from what you're searching for. If what you want is your self, that's how you veil yourself, with a personal idea of yourself. And this personal identity is the root of suffering and ignorance."

~ Eli Jaxon-Bear, from Tears of the Buddha


Humor....

(click on the image below to view video)


Reader Commentary

Thank you so much for this beautiful issue (April). I won't be able to attend the upcoming retreat, but I will be thinking of the many people I have met at past retreats.

The article by Bob Cergol about rapport sitting struck a chord with me....

Over the past few months, I started to have small rapport groups in my home. I invite only a few friends who have expressed interest, and call it "meditation and tea". As I have experienced in the retreats, there is a chosen theme and a reading before settling into silence, which lasts from 20 - 30 minutes. After this, we sit quietly and gradually come to a place where we can share our experiences and friendship, usually over tea.

I am familiar with some of the readings about the "ladder" and Phil's essay about friendship on the way. These little gatherings have been a way to a practical application of these lessons. The energy in the room is very similar to that experienced on retreat, and the time together provides opportunities to develop meaningful relationships.

Peace and blessings!

~ Your pal, V.

We would love to hear from you.
Let us know your thoughts on each TAT Forum issue
or send us something you've written.


A New Home for TAT Moves Closer to Reality

Last year's essay, A Vision of Home for TAT, lays out this vision:

· A small piece of property adjoining public lands.

· A house for a live-in caretaker.

· Either a wing on the house large enough for meeting space, or a separate building.

· A cabin for isolation retreats.

· Location within an hour and a half of a major airport.

· A reasonable distance from Columbus, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, and the DC Metro areas.

*

Our objective is to be of greater service to TAT members and friends by creating a spot on earth where people can do retreats and hold meetings; where the emphasis is on friendship and the search.

Our former home was on Richard Rose’s farm and was a sanctuary for many years, and a crucible. He once told me it was like the desert—where you go to meet God.

We officially kicked-off our fundraising campaign in early February, with a goal of $250,000 and we are now 44% of the way to this goal. Many hands do truly make light work. We've had donations from $50 to $10,000. No amount is too small--or too large. The success of this endeavor depends upon a true community effort.

Here is our personal appeal to you, the readers of the TAT Forum:

Lend us your hand in this great endeavor
that will create a benefit for yourselves and others.
Help us to find a new home for TAT.

To make a donation, use the contribution button below.

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