TAT FOUNDATION

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


TAT Forum

March 2019


April weekend event details

Contents


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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.


Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


A Fast Path to Non-Abidance


If enlightenment is defined as non-abidance in mind and a felt sense of oneness with "what is" (no "me" at the center of whatever is happening), then a fast way to attain this state of flow is to:

  1. Repeatedly shift attention away from thoughts to what can be seen, heard, or felt (direct sensory perception)
  2. Focus attention upon whatever activity is happening without engaging in mind-talk about it. In other words, become psychologically one-with whatever the body/mind is doing, whether it's washing the dishes or performing a task at work
  3. Use self-referential thoughts like a dharma bell reminder to shift attention away from such thoughts to direct sensory perception.

What's being pointed to with these admonitions is NOT mindfulness (if mindfulness is defined as "watching both the outside physical world as well as the inside world of thoughts and feelings"). The goal is non-abidance and seeing through the illusion of a separate watcher. Following these admonitions is a way of changing the circuitry of the brain so that what some neuro-scientists call the "default mode neural network," which is responsible for a sense of separateness, is converted to what might be called "a unified perspective neural network."

The body/mind organism is always one-with The Infinite, and the intelligence of The Infinite is what sends every blood cell and nerve impulse where they need to go. If the intellect becomes sufficiently quiescent, a realization of The Infinite will eventually occur, and the living truth of "what is" will emerge from behind the dead facade of what Charles Tart has called "the consensus trance state" of mind-imagined separateness.

For most seekers it will be initially difficult to look at the world without naming what's seen or engaging in mind-talk, but by repeatedly shifting attention away from words and thoughts, the mind will grow increasingly silent and spacious. Ultimately, the body will be able to function without intellectual reflection. Pursuing this path is like returning to a child-like state of mind while retaining adult intellectual capability. Psalms 46:10 states, "Be still and know that I am God," and this path will lead to the knowing of THAT.

If, while pursuing this exercise, a thought appears, such as, "I wonder if I'm making progress toward enlightenment and psychological unity?" refuse to follow that thought. Instead, use it as a reminder to shift attention away from that kind of thinking.

If one is washing the dishes, place attention upon the activity rather than any self-referential thoughts. If those thoughts arise, use them as reminders to look at what the hands are doing. Feel the water. Smell the fragrance of the dishwashing liquid. Listen to the sounds of the plates as they're scrubbed, rinsed, or stacked. Eventually this kind of attentiveness will eradicate fantasies and regrets, self-centered desires, comparisons with other people, self-image (whether positive or negative), attainments, and all other similar self-referential thoughts.

People who formally meditate may spend thirty minutes each day shifting attention away from thoughts to a mantra or breath awareness, but people who understand the importance of what's being pointed to in the above admonitions will discover that shifting attention away from thoughts throughout the day during all activities is a much faster path to psychological unity, existential understanding, peace, and freedom.

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~ Thanks to Bob Harwood, a TAT friend and author of several books including Pouring Concrete: A Zen Path to the Kingdom of God and A Path to Christ Consciousness who can be contacted by .

quill icon

Would you like to share your thoughts about this article with other TAT Forum readers? 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.


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

Update from the Central New Jersey Group:
The Central Jersey Self Inquiry Group had its first meeting on Jan. 4th, with the founding members plus one other person. On February 11th we opened up the meeting to others in our Eckhart Tolle Group community, and we had a good meeting with 6 attendees. The topic was: "What annoys you?" We plan to meet every 2 weeks. ~ Email for more details.

Update from the Central Ohio Non-Duality Group:
The Columbus group operated under the name OSU Self-Inquiry Group and met for many years in a church next to The Ohio State University. After attendance dropped off, the venue was changed to a local Panera restaurant, and the name changed to Central Ohio Non-Duality Group. The group has exposure to seekers through Meetup, but has only occasional visitors outside a core group of 4 people.
     Due to schedules, we have met infrequently the past semester, and in deference to an effort to try to do other things, like rapport sittings, in private meetings.
     Meeting format is a discussion format on topics of interest to seekers, and often bridges from the concerns, questions and interests of the core members in attendance into the topic which we intend to discuss. See the rest of the update.
     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:
Both the women's and the men's weekly email groups are active and welcome serious participants. An update on the women's group from Anima:

     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.

~ Contact or for more information.

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We completed the planned weekend intensive retreat at Horseshoe Lake Park in Ft. McCoy, FL on Friday-Monday, Feb. 8-11.
     There were 14 of us participating: 5 from FL as well friends from DC, GA, NY, PA, TX and VA. 11 of us knew each other from previous retreats and TAT meetings while it was a new experience for three others.
     One of the participants said "It may have been my favorite retreat I have ever been on. I liked the balance of inspiration, irritation, reflection, and vulnerability that popped up at different times. I thought everyone contributed (new and experienced, alike). I felt more capable of being honest and more interested in being helpful to others than ever before."
     We continue to meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays. ~ Email or for more information.

Update from Galway, Ireland:
Tess Hughes is currently working with seekers one-to-one and holding occasional group self-inquiry retreats. Anyone who's interested in self-inquiry activity in Ireland is welcome to contact .

TAT Press publishes Tess's easy to read, profound This Above All, the story of her journey of Self-Discovery.

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 if interested in local self-inquiry meetings.

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Hartland, VT:
Located in central Vermont, along I-91, the group will be using TAT videos from past conferences as a primer for discussion. ~ Contact for more information.

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. ~ For more information, contact .

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 self-inquiry group:
We meet every Monday in New York City's Financial District, where all great spiritual realizations take place ;) Our goal is to investigate and examine our beliefs (definition of examine: from Old French examiner "interrogate, question, torture"). We aim to serve as mirrors for each other, to see ourselves more clearly, in a group dynamic, within a safe environment. Recent topics include critiques of pema chodron, what it would be like to be god, and the consciousness of trees. If you believe something and are interested in doubting it, we are here for you :)
~ We have open meetings for first-timers; so if interested please reach out to or find out more through our Meetup link above.

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We meet on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of each month, from 7-9 PM, at the Friends Meeting House in Oakland (4836 Ellsworth Ave, PGH 15213) and on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, also 7-9 PM, at Panera Bread in Shadyside (5430 Centre Ave, PGH 15232). Last month's topics were:
Feb 6: Herb Clements hosted our pursuit of questions regarding consciousness and awareness.
Feb 13: "Guided Meditation: A Journey Within." This week Mike introduced us to a guided meditation by Shawn Nevins.
Feb 20: "Just One Look: Look at Yourself and Be Free." Mike introduced us to John Sherman who offers a simple method that he calls "Just One Look."
Feb 27: Searching for Key Illusions about Ourselves: "A possible definition of psychology is the study of lying..." - P.D. Ouspensky
~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
The big news in our Portland group is that Dan G., one of the founders, has moved to the East Coast. We will miss you, Dan!
      We have two kinds of meetings in Portland. One is a small closed group that meets at a local coffee shop. The format for this meeting is to give each person 20 minutes or so to talk about whatever is coming up for them in their practice. The other is an open meeting, held at a local library, that is advertised through Meetup. These meetings usually have a topic with questions, and the format is to give each person approximately 10 minutes to comment on the topic and then to answer questions from others. We haven't been holding open meetings regularly but hope to get them back on track for the new year. ~ Email 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.

Announcement of the newly formed Richmond Self Inquiry Group:
The Richmond Self Inquiry Group provides an opportunity to meet and work with others involved in the search for Truth and Self-Realization via meditation and self-inquiry. The underlying tenet of this path is that Truth is something to be found through one's own direct experience. Group Inquiry recognizes that working with others may expedite this process, and provides a platform for genuine friendship along the way. ~ Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

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):

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

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

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:

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


caution: low-flying aircraft



For Those Who Enjoy Language (or Severe Distortions Thereof)


  • Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
  • Practice safe eating—always use condiments.
  • Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  • A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.

~ Thanks to TAT member Bob C.



Bizarro: free from desire

© Dan Piraro


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


Science and Spirituality


~ Thanks to Norio Kushi via TAT member Michael R.


 


Scientists studying psychoactive drugs accidentally proved the self is an illusion….


"Philosophers and mystics have long contemplated the disconcerting notion that the fixed self is an illusion. Neuroscientists now think they can prove it or, at least, help us glimpse this truth with some help from psilocybin, the psychoactive property in magic mushrooms."

*

"Normal consciousness relies, at least in part, on the brain's Default Mode Network (DMN), according to neuroscientist Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research in the brain sciences division of the Imperial College of London medical school. The DMN is a network of interacting brain regions that acts as a cognitive transit hub, integrating and assimilating information. As the name implies, it's the usual system of organization for your mind. Carhart-Harris says the DMN 'gives coherence to cognition' by connecting different regions of the brain, and is considered the 'orchestrator of the self.'

"Carhart-Harris and his colleagues found what seems to be an important function of the DMN inadvertently. While studying brain networks, they got curious about what changes might occur when people are under the effects of hallucinogens. In studies analyzing the effects of psilocybin on brain wave oscillation and blood flow, they found that when the DMN was inactive, an alternate network of consciousness seemed to arise."

*

~ See the Quartz article by Ephrat Livni. Thanks to TAT member Brett S.

enso

Q: Does the alternate network of consciousness reveal the truth, or is it an alternate and contradictory view with equal validity…with the truth hovering above the alternative views like the still point from which a pendulum swings?

Q: Can we experience the truth, or do we need to "become" it, finding it as our true identity?



The Evolution of Minds


termites & temples


Jeremy Patrick writes an article on Top Down and Bottom Up Design referencing a talk by philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett.

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"Comparing (genius architect Antonio) Gaudi's extravagant Sagrada Família cathedral with a shockingly similar structure built by a termite colony, and comparing a termite colony, which contains up to 70 million clueless participants (don't know why they're doing what they're doing, don't have a boss termite) with a human brain with around 86 billion clueless neurons with no boss neuron, Dennett asks: 'How do you get a Gaudi-type mind out of a termite colony brain?” in a Google talk, "From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds.'"

~ See the Daniel Dennett talk From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Thanks to TAT member Tess Hughes.



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, from TAT friend Sergio F., for this month's Reader Commentary: I'd like to ask "What book was the most inspiring read in your search?" as it may help me discover some gem I'm missing. Responses follow.

From DBarahona:
The book that inspired me the most is a compilation of talks by Lester Levenson called Keys to the Ultimate Freedom: Thoughts and Talks on Personal Transformation, Sedona Institute, 1993. Better yet is listening to recordings of him giving the talks (on Youtube): "The Ultimate Goal - part 1" and "The Ultimate Goal - part 2."

It helps to read his autobiography, No Attachments, No Aversions, to understand how he actually attained complete self-realization, because in his talks he tends to undervalue the process that he went through of letting go of the ego and cultivating love for every being. These are the practices that led me to my own awakening.

From Kevin S:
The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

I first came across the Tao Te Ching in 1971 at college. It was about that time, and partly influenced by that book, that I first became obsessed with the "spiritual search." Since then I have moved through many different traditions, philosophies, and practices; but somehow the Tao Te Ching, in some form or another (I have eight or nine different translations), has remained a part of my regular reading. It has helped me to maintain and nurture a fundamentally non-dual perspective throughout, in spite of some traditions appearing otherwise on the surface. At the heart of its benefit: a recognition and acceptance of the limitations of thought and language in expressing truth, and an intuitive grasp of the principle of doing/not-doing.

By far my favorite translation over the years has been the large-photo edition by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. But perhaps the most useful for someone doing serious self-inquiry is Bart Marshall's version in his book The Perennial Way.

From Brett S:
After the Absolute by Dave Gold, with Bart Marshall, is the most "inspiring" book I have ever read. Reading that book around ten years ago, I felt a recognition of something within myself that I had never experienced before, in a book or in my life. The feeling of being with Mr. Rose that I personally got from that book kick-started my spiritual search, and has led me all the way to my involvement in TAT. Reading Mr. Rose's own writings, I sometimes struggle(d) to understand the exact point he was making or why. Reading about what it was like to be around Mr. Rose in After the Absolute gave me an inspiration for what the purpose of my life might be that I can still call on at any time. I recommend it.

From Mike M:
I have read a number of books from our authors and teachers taking wonderful lessons from each. Undoubtedly the one that has had the ultimate influence on me is Art Ticknor's first book, Solid Ground of Being. The way the chapters were laid out allows for places to stop and reflect, fairly often. The exercises contained within some of the chapters were both fun and insightful, with one in particular giving me more direction in my journey than anything else I've done to date.

From Chris P:
Looking back, everything I'd read was appropriate for where on the path I was (as clichéd as that sounds). But, it was I Am That that provided something special for me. Specifically, at some point, Nisargadatta says (and I'm paraphrasing), listen, follow through, keep at it, peaks and valleys … but you WILL arrive at the end of your search—I GUARANTEE it. It was the certainty of his guarantee that kept me going.

From James S:
One book that inspired me and is perhaps not well known to the TAT community is The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo. A reason I'm recommending it is that each teaching includes commentary by two other Soto Zen masters so you get three perspectives. The different perspectives remind me of the question and answer format at the last TAT meeting, where the audience received answers from a variety of teachers. My ego also enjoyed the irreverent and blunt way he presents his teachings.

From MT:
My impression of books is a meeting of minds. There have been so many authors who have influenced and nourished my life and thinking. I met GK Chesterton in my late teens and read Orthodoxy but it was George Gurdjieff and PD Ouspensky who introduced me to esoteric Christianity and what had been lost by the Churches down through the centuries. Books by Bernadette Roberts, Jan Frazier, Tess Hughes, Robin Amis (A Different Christianity), Saint Theophan the Recluse (Turning the Heart to God and The Path to Salvation), Linda Clair and her Simple Meditation website, and many other authors were so important in my search for answers and guidance. If I were to name one book that stands out it could be the one by John Kent which I downloaded from the internet: Richard Rose's The Psychology of the Observer: The Path to Reality Through Self.

From Paul S:
Two books have greatly inspired me in the latest stage of self study. The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. 1 was a gift from a friend of a book that was personally owned by Alfred Pulyan. Within its pages Pulyan had marked a number of passages. These selections reflected, or perhaps had shaped, his view towards cultivating a heightened sensitivity for the sublime, as a bhakti-like complement to the rough work of ego dethronement. The Sufi way as presented by Khan is a subtractive path, but also one of submission and love as expressed so intimately by the Sufi poets. There are five sections in the book, but two of them, "The Inner Life" and "The Purpose of Life," left the deepest impression on me with their esoteric psychology and insight. You can read it free online at this website: The Spiritual Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, (where it's titled The Way of Illumination), as well as all of Khan's books and teachings.

The other book is The Inspired Heart: An Artist's Journey of Transformation by Jerry Wennstrom. I learned of him from a podcast interview by Shawn Nevins. Jerry was an accomplished artist who came to see art as a false god. He destroyed all of his paintings and set out on a 10-year journey to find the highest truth. And he committed himself to implicitly trust the universe to provide. He demonstrated what it means in stark terms to turn over all of one's will and life to God, always "returning to zero" as he put it. His transformation reads like a study in betweenness and the magic of synchronicity.

From Rob-in Leeds:
I reacted strongly to the question the moment I read it the Feb Forum.

My instant reaction was twofold: one, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach, and two, "How the hell do you pick one book?"; then a real sense that I should truly think about this question and attempt a response for myself and find the gem in the question treating it as a koan.

At the end of maybe ten days cogitation, hesitation and my mind's almost constant creation of lists of books: authors (TAT and non-TAT); spiritual and non-spiritual; book forms (long, short, text, audio, websites, ebooks, free books, poetry, comic, illustrated); academic, non-academic; scripture, non-scripture, scientific, psychology; the one book from each decade of my life, the one book from each year of my life and so on….

Rob-in Leeds's complete response.

From Jim P:
The book that most inspired me on my path is probably the very first one I read. This was nearly fifty years ago, and J. Krishnamurti was the author. It jarred me out of my Christian stupor. It showed me for the first time that I could turn and observe my thoughts, which suddenly became mere objects in my consciousness, whereas before I had completely identified with them. A more objective "seer" woke up in me. Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the title, but all of his books do the same thing. And Krishnamurti is so famous that I'm sure anyone on the path already has read at least one of his. Many books I've read since then have brilliantly reinforced that first experience, including, recently, Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Pathways Through to Space. Another book I've recently read and am currently re-reading is very good at driving this point home on page after page: the title is Behind the Mind. It is supposedly transcripts of the talks of an ancient Chinese sage named Wu Hsin. The translator, Roy Melvyn, has been attacked as a fake. Some writers say that he made up this Chinese sage and is pretending to be the translator. I don't know the truth of the story either way. But I do feel that these short discourses of Wu Hsin are about as good at pointing to the truth as anything I've read.

From Desperately seeking Susan:
The book I've chosen is Where God Begins to Be: A Woman's Journey into Solitude by Karen Karper. A book I borrowed from Tess Hughes that she subsequently gifted to me. When I think of this book I realise that every reader of the TAT Forum could read this book and just think, "Yeah nice book but not that great. She's not someone who has realized her true nature". She is undoubtedly a sincere seeker, though, giving an account of a period along her journey.

The inspiration for me in this book came from the examples of risk that the author took. She realized that although living as a nun in community with other nuns, she wasn't truly practicing her faith as she kept ignoring an urge that she had to leave the convent and live as a hermit. This urge that she was ignoring had been with her for over 10 years before it dawned on her that ignoring this urge meant that she wasn't practicing her faith in God. She was in a conflicted state for those 10 years as part of her was very content to live in community, yet something was dis-satisfied and calling for a life in solitude. The inspiration for me is that she finally heeded that call—that she stepped into the unknown where logic and rationality were not dictating the terms. A few months before reading this book I had realized a personal urge that I had been ignoring for years and had such amazing freedom when it was seen. Upon reading this book it seemed to inspire yet another wave of ticking another few things off the heart felt desire or urge list, which I had not been allowing myself. These were dreams or significant desires that had been visiting for years, yet I had been overlooking again and again. Examples of these things were:

Desperately seeking Susan's complete response.

From Vince L:
I would have to say that Richard Rose's first book The Albigen Papers was the most inspiring book in my search because for me it played the pivotal role regarding how I have pursued the spiritual search throughout my adult life. This response might seem to some as being a cliché coming from a longtime TAT member who knew and studied under Rose. But imagine what the esoteric spiritual search scene was like 45 years ago when I first met Rose as a college student at the University of Pittsburgh. That period of time was in the wake of the 1960's counterculture, when many young people like myself were breaking away from the traditional beliefs they were raised in and seeking a deeper meaning and purpose in life. Some were taking hallucinogenic drugs in order to raise their consciousness or studying eastern philosophies. I was one of those people. There was a yearning in my Catholic background as a youth and before I met Rose and TAT I had read some Alan Watts as well as Krishnamurti, at which point I concluded I needed to find the ultimate answer. I met Rose at a college talk in Pittsburgh and bought his book, then a typewritten 8-1/2 by 11 inch work bound with duct tape. Despite the lack of professionalism in its publication, it was absolutely unique at that time, a handbook on how to pursue the spiritual search, describing the pitfalls, dead ends, and the deceptions of various groups and cults existing at that time, and offering tips for spiritual discernment. There was no book like it. I'd imagine the book now seems dated to some, but for a novice in the search it can still have the power to challenge the thinking of those who have a lack of focus and discernment in their path. For me what continues to be the gem of the book is the poem "The Three Books of the Absolute." I've read this poem over and over again during the past 45 years and continue to gain insight.

From Paul C:
Think on These Things by J. Krishnamurti. I was 18 years old, and it sparked my desire to know Reality. Psychology of the Observer by Richard Rose gave me the roadmap. And lastly, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Bucke: I craved what these people had found.


The pair of questions for next month is: How do you meditate? What constitutes a good session?

Thanks to TAT member Bill K. Please your response by the 25th of March and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name).


Other Reader Feedback

From John J:

Thanks to Baruch Cornejo for the three E-Mails to a Friend. They encapsulate, par excellence, some of the frustrations that can arise with searching. I see truth in each email and, at the same time, unnecessary suffering. As Senzaki and Reps comment on the search for the bull, "The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search?"

*

From Bill Racine:

In the TAT Forum February 2019, Baruch Cornejo published "EMAIL TO A FRIEND #3," with this third paragraph:

Another friend wrote, "'You' will NEVER get anything from Truth Realization. It is not possible. I cannot emphasize this enough. The honest, no holds barred, down and dirty reality is that you are looking for something that you think you can gain from. This is an oxymoron, an impossibility. My best advice is to look somewhere else if your intention is to get anything out of this." If I can't get anything out of this, what's my motivation?

There is so much wrong with this, that it is difficult to know how to begin. I have to guess at the intentions of the friend who counsels against seeking Truth Realization. Perhaps it is intended to say, "You misunderstand what it is you seek," or perhaps it is meant to say, "The search is falderal and a waste of time and energy." It is unclear, and so, I will comment on this by deconstructing and un-packing the ideas in this small paragraph to the best of my ability.

See Bill's complete response.



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?


Feb. sunset off Anna Maria Island

February sunset from Anna Maria Island, FL. Photo by Leesa W.


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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 3 (conclusion) of a talk given at Ohio State University in 1974,
continued from the January 2019 TAT Forum and the February 2019 TAT Forum :

…There's recognition of things that have happened. For instance, the first exaltation that you encounter in life may be seeing a flower in a meadow, which is strictly on an instinctive level; it's an instinctive person suddenly being—a sunrise coming up, or thunder at a certain time—this is an exaltation. You're lifted above the mundane, momentarily, and meaningfulness and meaninglessness simultaneously are thrust upon you, and you're caught between this. And that's the exaltation.

But you go on from that….


The complete part 3 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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