TAT Spring Conference 2006: What is Spiritual Action?

Is spiritual action measured by numbers: how many books one has read, hours spent in meditation, yoga postures mastered, or new recruits brought through the temple doors?

Or is spiritual action a mirage? Shall we join those who say there is nothing to be done? Those who claim all is perfect as it is and who counsel us to simply relax and be aware of the passing days.

Or is there a third way? Involving action and no-action. Accelerating our way to answers we may already have, but do not realize.

Join us for the fifth annual TAT 2006 Spring Conference. A chance to hear, meet, and speak with some who have found answers and are willing to freely share their stories, advice, and friendship.

The 2006 Conference is April 15 & 16, beginning at 10 AM Saturday and going through noon on Sunday.


Event Schedule

Schedule of Speakers & Workshops

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

  10:00 AM ~ Welcome

  10:15 to 11:15 AM
Bob Fergeson photo Three Steps to a Working Spiritual Practice, by Bob Fergeson
First, do you have a question, a direction? A longing, an intense dissatisfaction with how one sees oneself and the world, that distraction and rationalization can no longer dispel? The honest admission of our internal angst is key to the ability to face the moment. Next, becoming someone who is capable of observing oneself and one's experience, rather than reacting in endless dualities. And finally, allowing the attention to turn within. Once we let go of ourselves as the doer and experiencer, realization and discovery can occur. Are these steps possible, and are they a part of your Path? Click here to read an article by Bob.

  11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
The Early Teachings of Richard Rose, by Mike Gegenheimer
Mike Gegenheimer photo Richard Rose's efforts to contact individuals blossomed in the early 1970s in Pittsburgh and on college campuses in Ohio as interest in philosophy, Zen and self-inquiry developed from the social traumas of the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, Rose spoke often and worked directly with individuals in Albigen System groups. Rose's emphasis on developing a vector of action, working with others and on self inquiry, brought focus and meaning to The Albigen Papers beyond the text.

  12:45 to 1:45 PM ~ Lunch (provided)

  2:00 to 3:00 PM
Generating the "Doubt Sensation"—the Precursor to Seeing the Real, by Bob Cergol
Bob Cergol photo Experience gives rise to the experienc-er. Experience reinforces the experienc-er. No experience—no experienc-er. All experience involves two kinds of witnessing. At all times we are literally staring at the Real simultaneously while staring at the unreal. But the preponderance of our staring is fixated on the unreal.
     Experience has an effect upon the attention. Spiritual action is action that produces the "doubt sensation." The doubt sensation causes the attention to retrace the source of experience.
     Nothing is observed without the observer simultaneously being observed. Normally the preponderance of attention is on "outside" events. As the preponderance of attention shifts inward, a threshold is approached. On the "other side" of that threshold is the realization of Being. Being knows itself. Crossing that threshold requires breaking the fixation of attention on experience. Whatever dislodges or disrupts and leads to the dissolution of the fixation of the attention on external experience can be said to be spiritual practice. Click here for a sampling of quotes from Bob's writing.

  3:15 to 4:15 PM
Retreat center walk. Free time, with an optional guided walk on retreat center paths.

  4:30 to 5:30 PM
Is My Hair on Fire Yet?, by Shawn Nevins
There is an old Zen expression that one must work (seek) as if their hair were on fire. Is it possible to summon such intensity? Can we charge the gates of heaven, or are we destined to stumble and fall short again and again? Drawing on experiences of failure and success, Shawn will examine the role of passion, intensity, lethargy, and depression in spiritual work. Visit The Poetry Chaikhana for a selection of Shawn's poetry.

  5:45 to 7:15 PM ~ Dinner (provided)

  7:30 to 8:30 PM
Look All the Way Through, by Art Ticknor
Art Ticknor photo "The eyes seeing forms is equivalent to blindness; the ears hearing sounds is equivalent to deafness." - Buddha
"If you would see the true source of illusion, instead of living vicariously on the screen of the theatre, follow the light back through the lens of the projector ... observe the observer." - Richard Rose
"Put your own mind to use to look back once: once you've returned, no need to do it again." - Foyan
Click here for a sample of Art's writing.


grapevine on the farm

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

  10:00 to 12:00 Noon
Panel Question and Answer Session.

  12:00 Noon
Departing words, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.




The event is being held in TAT's beautiful rural facility near Wheeling, WV. Wheeling is in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, approximately 1 hour from Pittsburgh International Airport and 2.5 hours from Columbus International Airport. There are many lodging and dining facilities within a 15-25 mile radius.


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 folks 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.

Four DVD April 2006 Conference Video now available

Cover of the What is Spiritual Action? DVD

"The master said there is one thing in this world which must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else, there would be no cause for worry, while if you remembered, performed and attended to everything else but forgot that one thing, you would in fact have done nothing whatsoever. It is as if a king had sent you to a country and you perform a hundred tasks, but if you have not performed the task you were sent for, it is as if you have performed nothing at all. So man has come into the world for a particular task, and that is his purpose. If he doesn't perform it, he will have done nothing." ~ Rumi, Table Talk

There are some who have performed the task that Rumi referred to, and although it's an individual trip for each person to make, help is available and accessible. These people are willing to talk honestly about their own struggle and to offer insights on how to make your own journey. This 4-disc, 7.5-hour video, created by Poetry in Motion Films, will give you the guidance to go straight toward the highest objective of life. See the April program below for more details on the speakers, their presentations, and the wrap-up session.

Bonus Material: A 384 KB Portable Document File (PDF) file containing the presenters' notes will be sent to you by email for use as reference. If you're paying by check, please be sure to include your email address.

Click here to see the video trailer or to order the DVD.


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