Discernment means separating the wheat from the chaff, the more true from the less true.
In spiritual work, discernment relates to the truth of being: Who or what are we at the core of our beingness? In religious terms we might say that the goal is becoming one with God or All. In psychological terms we might call it self-realization or -recognition.
At the end of Act I of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town, George's little sister, Rebecca, says to him: "I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; the Crofut Farm; Grover's Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America." George says: "What's funny about that?" Rebecca answers: "But listen, it's not finished: the United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God – that's what it said on the envelope."
The mind is our tool, our worksite, and our playground in the search for Truth. We capitalize truth to indicate that what we're looking for needs to provide an absolute answer to our core identity in order to be fully satisfying. Of course there's no way to know if that's possible unless we "find it," "go there," or "become it" (highly paradoxical implications).
"If the Truth is within us, and we do not see it, it can only be that we see through the glass darkly,—at this stage of the game." ~ Richard Rose, The Albigen Papers, from chapter 7, which is titled "Discernment."
Meet our presenters:
Anima Pundeer: Penny that hides the Sun. Discerning the Problem
Mumukshu, a Sanskrit word, is one who discerns the basic human problem of self-non-acceptance and seeks freedom from this. It is from this standpoint that Vedantic philosophy helps us start the inquiry. Neti-Neti – not this, not this – is a path of discernment which finally takes us to what IS.
Anima is a super busy mother of two. Lives in Houston Texas with her family. When she has spare moments, she weeds her vegetable patch.
In June of 2004, she had an experience where she realized her All-ness and One-ness… She finally knew Freedom. She feels immense gratitude for all the help and guidance she got from her fellow seekers. She feels she couldn’t have made this without her Guru and her friends … and the only way she feels she can help anyone is by sharing her own struggles and obstacles.
Looking forward to seeing everyone soon...
Bob Cergol: DISCERNMENT: Retaining the identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind
In the paper on Discernment in his book The Albigen Papers, Richard Rose lists the above phrase in a list of techniques that help us understand ourselves.
Have you ever said about someone, or just as likely, about yourself: I was lost in thought…. I was swept away…. I got caught up in the mood…. I was swayed by the crowd…. I don’t know what came over me!
You’ve wondered, marveled and puzzled over your observation that you disappear during nightly sleep. But what about the countless times throughout your waking day where the very same thing happens?!
This Friday evening session will attempt to set a tone for the weekend’s theme in the form of a guided meditation followed by whatever discussion spontaneously ensues.
Bob was 19 when he met Richard Rose and had a teacher-student relationship with him for the next 20 years, including living several years at Rose’s house and farm. At the end of that period, and shortly after getting married, his search culminated in a self-transcendent realization. Bob’s writings have appeared over many years in the TAT Forum, and in presentations on several of TAT’s conference DVDs. Bob and his wife have two girls, now both in college, and he works in the I.T. field.
Bob Fergeson: Discerning a True Direction: Nostalgia as Our Inner GPS
"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really want. It will not lead you astray." ~ Rumi
For the interactive sessions, we'll give personal examples of nostalgia, looking for clues as to how they help discern base feelings and moods from true longing. In preparation, participants are encouraged to remember glimpses of nostalgia, to share them with their fellows.
Bob is a Colorado based teacher, writer, and photographer. His work attempts to use the feeling of longing and nostalgia as a way within. He spends his time washing windows and hiking, as well as exploring our inner country with fellows from the Denver Self-Inquiry Group.
Paul Constant: Absorbing Conflict
In this session, we'll use the group's energy to maximize our discernment of opposites. Through a combination of interactive discussion, silence, and full group exercises, we'll attempt to cultivate something deeper and widen our perspectives. Paul will walk us through a few simple approaches that point us away from the world of paradox and toward what is.
Paul has been a TAT member since 1985. His fascinations and explorations are directed toward integrating body, mind, and Essence through rapport. Read his essays Friendship and Spiritual Rapport, or listen to the audio recording of his September 2015 presentation titled Softening Our Attachments and Becoming What Is (MP3 file; 1 hr, 12 min). Paul and his wife live in Pennsylvania. They were adopted by two kittens in 2013.
Shawn Nevins: The Lying Mind
The Lying Mind – You know what you want. You know the truth. If so, then how, why and where does your discernment get mangled? Through exercises and discussion, we'll get to the root of the lying mind.
Shawn "Fell onto the spiritual path in 1990," had an enlightenment experience in 1999 and since then has enjoyed making films, writing and working with the TAT Foundation as well as his own small group in California. See his work at poetryinmotionfilms.com.
Tess Hughes: Separating the wheat from the chaff; the Absolute from the relative
Tess credits the teachings of Richard Rose and The TAT Foundation with bringing her decades long seeking to a final resolution, the awakening to her True Nature. She loves to share this with other seekers.
Tess asks participants to have pen and paper at the ready for an exercise intended to get participants to catch and note their passing reactions and thoughts to presented stimuli, as a means of becoming discerning about their "within".
The registration deadline for the November Gathering is Saturday, November 14th.
Friday, November 20, 2015
5:00 to 7:30 PM - Set-up and arrivals.
7:30 to 8:00 PM - Welcome session for early arrivals.
8:00 to 9:00 PM - Presentation by Bob Cergol, "DISCERNMENT: Retaining the identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind," – Discerning the boundaries of: where you begin and end; inner and outer experience; between thoughts and emotions; and between participation in, versus the witness of, an experience.
9:00 PM to ? - Informal conversation.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
7:30 to 8:00 AM - Optional group meditation.
8:00 to 8:30 AM - Break.
8:30 to 9:45 AM - Potluck breakfast and open discussion.
9:45 to 10:00 AM - Welcome.
10:00 to 10:30 AM - Presentation by Shawn Nevins, "The Lying Mind" – a short look at this all too common pattern.
10:30 to 11:00 AM - Interactive breakout session based on Shawn's presentation.
11:00 to 11:15 AM - Break.
11:15 to 11:45 AM - Separating the wheat from the chaff; the Absolute from the relative" – some thoughts on discerning this by Tess Hughes.
11:45 AM to 12:15 PM - Interactive breakout session based on Tess' presentation.
12:15 to 1:15 PM - Potluck lunch and open discussion.
1:15 to 1:45 PM - Optional movement sessions (e.g. yoga, walk, stretching, tai chi).
1:45 to 2:00 PM - Break.
2:00 to 2:30 PM - Presentation by Bob Fergeson, "Discerning a True Direction – Nostalgia as Our Inner GPS": Nostalgia is confused by many with sentimentality, but in its true sense it offers a valuable tool in finding our way to that mysterious place called "within." How can the nostalgic mood help us to discern a true path from those dead-end trails offered by the imagination? Is there truly a better place, a more real reality, one without conflict and dissatisfaction? Let’s explore the nostalgic mood together.
2:30 to 3:00 PM - Interactive breakout session based on Bob's presentation.
3:00 to 3:15 PM - Break.
3:15 to 5:45 PM - Group self-inquiry breakout.
5:45 to 7:00 PM - Potluck dinner and open discussion.
7:00 to 8:30 PM - All participants' inquiry discussion.
8:30 PM to ? - Informal conversation.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
7:30 to 8:00 AM - Optional group meditation.
8:00 to 8:30 AM - Break.
8:30 to 9:45 AM - Pot luck continental breakfast and open discussion.
9:45 to 10:45 AM - "Absorbing Conflict": We intuitively sense something deeper in life that is incessantly pulling at our attention. As seekers, we imagine that following a spiritual path will finally abolish all opposites and ultimately end all of life's conflicts. But what if cultivating "something deeper" leads to a surprising twist? What if this cultivation actually expands our perspective on opposites and increases our capacity to absorb conflict, both internally and externally? In this interactive session, Paul Constant will attempt to cultivate our deeper feeling-sense and widen our perspectives.
10:45 to 11:00 AM - Break.
11:00 to 11.30 AM - Presentation by Anima Pundeer, "Penny that hides the Sun": How does the Penny manage to hide the Sun? In spite of knowing better, why our attention is still drawn towards this penny. Subtle and not-so-subtle Obstacles that I observed on the path of Self-Discovery.
11.30 AM to Noon - Interactive breakout session based on Anima's presentation.
Noon to 1:00 PM - Potluck lunch and open discussion.
1:00 to 2:00 - Meeting wrap-up & feedback for future meetings.
2:00 PM to ? - Optional ad hoc sessions and free time.
Location and Facilities
The event is being held at the Claymont Society Mansion near Charles Town in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. The mansion's historical ambience mixes perfectly with 350 private acres of forests and farmland. Sleeping accommodations include a mixture of single and double beds in 12 rooms and 6 shared bathrooms. Claymont provides towels and bed linens for overnight guests (guests make and strip their own beds). During the registration process, we will do our best to accommodate room preferences, but all mansion guests should expect to share sleeping quarters and bathrooms with other participants. On-site camping is available in the lawn area near the mansion.
The Claymont Society is located near 667 Huyett Road, Charles Town, WV 25414 [GPS coordinates: N39.26740, W77.90390]. Claymont is 50 miles/60 minutes from the Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C. Travel directions to Claymont Mansion.
The November Gathering fees per person for TAT members are as follows:
The non-member fees per person are:
Full-time students should contact for information on discounted registration fees.
Use PayPal to pay with these credit cards (PayPal account not necessary). PayPal is "fast, free and secure" and allows payment by credit card or electronic withdrawal from a bank account. Checks (in U.S. dollars, drawn on a U.S. bank) or money orders (domestic only) made payable to the TAT Foundation are also accepted if received by the registration deadline.
Note: If cost is a serious issue that will make or break your attendance, please let us know. We do not want someone to refrain from attending for reasons of cost.
* The TAT Foundation hosts four public events each year. Registration fees vary depending on the event location. Because we are an all-volunteer organization, please allow up to 5 business days before receiving confirmation of your payment. See our membership overview or email if you have questions about registration fees.
Space is limited, so registration is required. The deadline for registration is Saturday, November 14th. You may cancel your registration on or before Saturday, November 14th and receive a refund, minus a $5 handling fee. Cancellations after Saturday, November 14th will not be refunded. Because ADA-compliant facilities are limited in the mansion, persons with a disability should contact before registering.
Meals are potluck style for Saturday and Sunday continental breakfasts, Saturday and Sunday lunches, and Saturday dinner. As a good rule-of-thumb, we ask that each event participant bring enough food to feed 6 people (about $10). All meals are included for non-members. Sorry, we cannot reduce fees for those who prefer to bring their own food. TAT will provide coffee and tea.
For those who register using the alternative (off-site) lodging option, the following overnight accommodations are located near the Claymont Society Mansion:
What is the TAT Foundation?
A group encouraging people to think rather than believe. A group determined to help people find ways and means to answer their deepest philosophical questions. A gathering of friends who are not afraid to be honest with one another. An island of hope and sanity (or at least the hope for sanity!). Last, but not least, TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization chartered in 1973.