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

TAT Forum

April 2019

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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Occasionally, often after long periods of wandering about with little sense of inner direction, a question or word will present itself that grabs my attention in a new way. Recently, this word was "here."  What is "HERE?"

Unlike so many other times, this wasn't another concept to ponder.  Rather, this was a felt word and question … similar to saying "I," but with less personal narrative.  This was something I could feel into rather than think about, a particular fascination with direct experience.

When I ask this, or simply say the word "here" and let myself look in that direction, the attention moves to the heart … but then, if I keep looking, the heart is seen and felt as "there" in the view.  Next it might be my back, between the shoulder blades.  But then again, holding attention here, the sensation of my back is now "there" somehow in front of me, and no longer feeling like "here."

What I've also noticed is the ability for this word, "here," to decrease the hall-of-mirrors situation that so often occurs when contemplating "What am I?" or meditating with something like "the view is not the viewer."  Often these create the tendency to try looking "backwards."  But whatever I Am isn't "back there," it's right HERE.

We often read to make ways and means "our own," to personalize them, to experiment. For now at least, this has become my version of "What am I?"  What is HERE … closer than close?


On my way back from a recent TAT weekend I found myself watching my mind try to understand … trying to integrate new knowledge and insight into a comprehensive structure that I could see. Why? It's true that I long for Truth, for Home … if you were to ask the child in me he would say "I miss God," but is that why I was trying to understand?  Is that really what was going on?

As I watched myself mentally reviewing various bits of information, what I saw was a struggle for survival.  Put succinctly, I was trying to see truth so that I could adjust myself in a way that survived in the face of truth. I realized in that moment that it was relatively easy for me to say "I'll accept anything, just let me understand first," but significantly difficult to say "I accept everything, even if I don't understand."  The latter meant I could be blindsided, the former ensured I was prepared.

Understanding = survival.  That seems to be what I believe.  If I understand the way things work, then I won't be caught off guard … I won't be blindsided … I'll know my threats before they appear and can prepare for them, can change myself in a way that neutralizes the threat.  This is why letting go of understanding, really and truly stopping all attempts to understand, feels so unnerving.

I still try to understand. Understanding may lead to better practices and insights, which may lead to a direct knowing of Truth. What's different now is that I see the survival game that's also occurring, and I watch it.  To see the self in motion where it wasn't seen before seems only beneficial in this work.  If I can see it then I'm noticing that it's not me, and might—by chance, grace, or a lightning bolt—happen to notice what I am.

The Myth of Significance

"Nothing is judged. Nothing is known. Nothing is meaningful. Everything is perfect." I remember the first time I heard those words read at a TAT meeting, the last few lines of Richard Rose's poem "The Dawn Breaks," it brought tears to my eyes.  They were tears of relief, and recognition (even if distantly and not fully grasped) of Truth.  Nothing is meaningful. Everything is perfect.

Meaning is make-believe.  It's projection, imagination, and what I thought I was seeking for years. Meaning is a story, typically with "me" as the central point of reference.  For me, the seeker story, when I said I wanted meaning what I meant was "I want to know how I fit into all of this, I want to know my place, my purpose, I want to feel significant and interconnected, I want to know I exist."

But I don't know how I fit in to all of this, I don't know my place or my purpose, my significance is questionable at best, and I feel separate and vulnerable. So what is the mind to do to escape from this quandary?  Make believe.  Create (project) particular significance where there actually is none, call it sacred or meaningful or important or whatever word you choose, and seek satisfaction there.

And what better way to create suffering than to add even more expectation and identity to our attachments, to justify misguided efforts by fusing some sort of imagined absolute value in our relative pursuits.  Thus the tears of relief—it's painful searching for satisfaction in vapor.

quill icon

~ Thanks to TAT member Michael R. for sharing his thoughts and feelings with us. Would you like to share your impressions 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 Great Barn) *
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 on topics of interest to seekers, and it 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:
An update on the women's self-inquiry 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.

Both the women's and the men's weekly email groups are active and welcome serious participants. ~ Contact or for more information.

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We're planning a four-day intensive retreat at the Claymont Society in Charles Town, WV on Monday-Friday, June 10-14, leading into the June 14-16 TAT gathering.
     The theme will be "Knowing What You're Not." Self-inquiry is integral to what Richard Rose termed as a path that is "subjective, subtractive, immanent, and designed for immediate changing and becoming."
     Nisargadatta described the approach in this way: "Discover all that you are not—body, feelings thoughts, time, space, this or that—nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search…."
     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.

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We're currently using Alfred Pulyan's correspondence with Richard Rose as inspiration for our weekly gathering. We're perusing the letters during the week and then coming together to see what got our attention. This activity was inspired by several online groups who have used them in past years with good results. The women's group, run by Anima Pundeer, also inspired us as we already have some questions posed by Anima to go with each letter. It's always good to share additional questions among groups!
     We continue to meet at The Drowsy Poet cafe at Little Dickens Bookstore, from 6:30-8:00 every Thursday evening. ~ 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:
Mar 6: "Ego: the boundary-maker and gatekeeper, drawing lines and dividing me from you." Could ego be our best friend, worst enemy or a necessary challenge on our path?
Mar 13: "What are you searching for? What are your main underlying beliefs?" What personal beliefs define your path?
Mar 20: "Awareness Games: Playing with Your Mind to Create Joy," an evening of exercises by Brian Tom O'Connor, hosted by Mike W.
Mar 27: "What is the Question that Drives You?" Welcome to An Evening of Self-Inquiry hosted by Mike W.
~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
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.



"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

Help me, I am trapped
In a haiku factory
Save me, before they


Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. ~ Tobias Smollett

Happiness is an inside job. ~ William Arthur Ward

Everyone loses hair, but men do it better—faster, earlier, and more extensively. ~ MedicineNet.com article on hair loss by medical authors Nili N. Alai, MD, FAAD and Alan Rockoff, MD, with medical editor William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR.

The easiest thing to find is fault. ~ Anonymous

If you are going through hell, keep going. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed? ~ Maxine

"Dammit I'm mad" is "Dammit I'm mad" spelled backwards. ~ Unknown


~ Thanks to bydewey.com.


~ Thanks to TAT member Brett S.

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

I Can Remember Every Day of My Life

Bob Petrella

Bob Petrella, a standup comedian, is one of only 50 or 60 people in the world diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, (HSAM). There are several video interviews, including this one by the BBC.


public relations

Was watching a class on Buddhism and psychology, and they were pointing to the self as primarily serving the role of public relations officer, which I thought quite clever. The professor pointed to this quote as one of the first people (academic, I assume), to point out this idea.  

The prof went a step further and proposed that the belief in a conscious, decision-making self could be an evolutionary adaptation to strengthen the self's ability to function as an effective public relations vehicle.

~ Shawn Nevins.


Q: How do those ideas strike you?

Emotions Are Guesses

"Emotions that seem to happen to you are actually made by you."


~ Thanks to TAT friend Adrian B.

Q: Are we always guessing, too, when we "read" emotions in others?

Q: Is it possible that emotions we experience internally have actually been transmitted from another person (dog, cat, etc.) or have somehow been picked up unintentionally by us?

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 member Bill K., for this month's Reader Commentary: How do you meditate? What constitutes a good session? Responses follow.

From Brett S:
Meditation used to be the primary (only?) way I engaged in spirituality. I meditated for thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, four hours a day if I recall. I remember having to leave for work around five so waking up around four to be sure I had time to meditate. The way I did it was to set an alarm on my phone for the desired amount of time and then sit on a meditation cushion with my eyes closed, refusing to get up until the alarm went off. I did this religiously, even on family vacations. While sitting, a good session would be when my attention dropped from thoughts and instead keyed in on a humming, ringing in the ears, or some kind of palpable silence that was outside of and possibly before my thoughts. The sense was that this was always there even when I wasn't apprehending it. I found that I typically had the most intense and interesting connections to this silence right before the alarm went off, no matter how long the session was (maybe I just have an accurate internal clock). Often times random memories would pop up: experiences I had forgotten, events from my life I that was seemingly remembering for the first time. During the day, it seemed that I moved through the world a little easier. Once in a while, although it was rare, people would say things like "oh you're so zen" or "you have calm energy" (these were mostly people who I don't imagine meditated themselves).

Today I don't meditate by sitting on a cushion with my eyes closed. I don't feel it is necessary for finding out what I am, which is currently what is most important to me. Meditating in that way may make me a better person, or more able to get through daily life, or less irritable, but I am currently working with the hypothesis that the things that make me irritable and are harder to get through in daily life are the very things I should be paying attention to/investigating. So these days I'll "meditate" by sitting on the couch with my eyes open or standing by the window looking out, untimed.

All in all, I found sitting meditation to be great for getting settled; we still usually do ten minutes of eyes-closed meditation at the beginning of our local self inquiry group meetings in NYC. However, I don't think that the benefits I feel I got from meditation are as important to me as they once were.

From Michael R:
Meditation to me can be divided into two categories—practice, and a spontaneous "happening."

Speaking to the practice portion first, this has been a long standing point of back and forth for me as I've tried to determine the "best" method. It seems here too there are two categories, "active" meditation and "passive" meditation, and the right balance and/or blending is just as much a paradox as the idea of "betweenness" or "wu wei." Where all of that has led me today, is to what I refer to as "Art's meditation" as it is similar to how Art Ticknor describes his meditation when he was seeking. I sit down, feel into the sense of longing, and then turn away/let go of anything that seems unrelated to the search. Some days this is more of an active internal inquiry, other days it's a more passive "allow what comes to come and what goes to go, find out what remains." This general method allows flexibility, and the following of intuition in the moment, which feels more direct and real than following a prescribed practice that doesn't really "hit home" for me. I've found it to be important to tweak things and "make them your own" in a way.

The spontaneous "happening," on the other hand, can happen either during a more formal meditation … or at any other time. It has happened when I'm driving, when I'm hiking, and when I'm more formally meditating. It's not something I "do," it's something that shifts, somewhat like a "flow state." Everything seems to be happening on its own, without the usual sense of a doer or meditator, and there is an uncharacteristic fullness to experience. I suppose I would consider this a deeper form of meditation, and if anything like this occurs, I consider it a "good" meditation.

Smaller insights, the seeing and weakening of faulty beliefs, etc. are also things I consider to mean a meditation was "good," but most often these things happen gradually and not actually during a meditation (though I imagine meditation does contribute to this gradual movement). So in that way there aren't really any "bad meditations," since I never really know what sort of effect it may have had.

From Jeroen:
I don't have a regular daily meditation schedule although I believe that it would be good to have one. Daily, I set time apart to disengage from the thinking mind and just be with sensory input while listening for intuition from within. If necessary, I force the incessant "I" thoughts down (all the storytelling about the main character in my life). I like the so called 6R technique from Bhante Vimalaramsi (a Buddhist Monk) to disengage from particular persistent thought streams. My feeling is that good meditation is more about sinking than diving. With that I mean that it is more about disconnecting from what keeps me at the surface of my awareness than actively diving down. The doer is part of the problem :).

From Kevin S:
How do you meditate?
- I usually start with a form of mental repetition (some call it mantra or simran) to focus my attention. If I have difficulty settling the mind down I may switch my focus to my breath, but I prefer to let my breath remain natural and relaxed.
- Once the mind has quieted down some (I don't mean no thoughts, but relaxed and undisturbed) I try to open my attention to a more diffused, multisensory awareness.
What constitutes a good session?
- I prefer not to think of meditation as trying to accomplish anything, but more as the practice of just "being."
- Having said that, some sessions are "better" than others. For one thing, if I can get through the process above to the point of an open, broad awareness—a kind of expansiveness, then I finish feeling peaceful and relaxed.
- On the other hand, if I have difficulty concentrating and my mind is constantly running away and getting lost, it can feel frustrating.
General Comments:
- I don't think any effort at meditation or self-inquiry, etc. is ever wasted.
- I think almost any form of meditation will involve an encounter with, and observation of, the mind / thoughts. This, in turn, will facilitate self-inquiry—and that is the primary benefit of meditation.

From Mark S:
I've explored several different types of meditation over the years, but I've been doing something a little different recently. After settling in, I notice the things that are appearing—e.g., thoughts, sensations, feeling, sounds—and try to put them "out there" and then attend to what seems "behind" them. I experience it as blankness, darkness, or emptiness, but those are just other mental images. What's more important is turning towards it. One thing I've noticed is that it helps to relax, to let myself go there rather than to try to go there. A good session is when I'm not completely lost in what is appearing.

From Michael W:
My approach to Meditation is best described by this quote from Adyashanti:

Just stop all dreaming.
Stop all doing.
Stop all excuses.
Just stop and
be still.
be still.
Grace will do the rest.

Posted on the Adyashanti Facebook group by Michael.

From Anonymous:
My daily practice begins early morning as an attempt to continue the previous night's awareness of activities, a period which has become increasingly one of erratic sleep. First, I begin with entries in my sleep journal, recording dreams but paying attention to feelings that appear in that space less cluttered with my usual conscious activity. The intention is to transition from the nocturnal state into the meditation session preserving a level of mental quiet lacking the interference of my daily mental agenda of distractions. The meditation is one of watching, allowing a quiet opening or blankness only in order to see what happens, what comes up or what could be revealed mentally or even physically. Of course, thoughts can clutter that stage, but a practice of simply watching what appears and my reactions to them gradually leads to a quietness conducive to just watching for any more subtle occurrences. Eventually a quiet state evolves that is very still and feels like a presence, perhaps like an opening, maybe an opportunity. A good or successful session is one where the quiet and watchfulness seems to linger, reappearing and staying with me throughout the day.

From Leesa W:
When I read Shawn Nevins's meeting of the black wall regarding meditation, it felt very familiar. Still, I go through the motions, pretty much on a daily basis. What has my attention are early morning and late night sessions that seem to happen spontaneously. It feels like something draws the attention inward and there's none of the usual effort, or agenda. My local group has been going back through the [Alfred] Pulyan letters [to Richard Rose], and in letter number 3 he speaks of Love (not the variable emotion) being like heightened awareness…that's what this feels like. It's like marinating in this heightened awareness, this Love, but it's not predictable and it's not under my control…I'm not even sure I would call it meditation. A good session? Most of my efforts at meditation have resulted in frustration and failure, except for the loving/kindness/inner peace types, and though that helps sometimes, it's not what I'm ultimately after.

From Anon2:
Intuition tells me I need to meditate. So I meditate for a few days, and struggle to resume for many more. I've done this for years. I focus on a single thing like my breath. In other sessions, I attempt to look back at what is conscious. A good session has minimal daydreaming. A great session finds Silence.

Nov. 2001 TAT Forum article

In Tweeny Town, in Tweeny Town
there lived a boy and maid.
And they went up and they went down,
but all their children stayed.

In Tweeny Town, in Tweeny Town
the two were free of sorrow.
For they delayed the ups and downs,
and looked for them tomorrow.

In Tweeny Town, in Tweeny Town
there were no rich or tragic,
Nor age or youth nor chain nor crown,
For between-ness was their magic.

between-ness icon

The questions for next month, from TAT member Brett S. are: What do you think Mr. Rose meant in his poem "Tweeny Town" when he wrote, "In Tweeny Town, in Tweeny Town there lived a boy and maid. / And they went up and they went down, but all their children stayed."? What does between-ness mean to you?

Please your response by the 25th of April and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name). The "distance to travel between two points" icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

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?


Shiva Natargaja depicts Shiva's roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. Wikimedia Commons. Retouched photo by Julia 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.

"The Dawn Breaks"

The dawn breaks because another day and night have died.
But the sky was there through all.
The butterfly floats a moment and then
        his dalliance is only an eternal picture.
The breast flows with milk and is
        dry forever.
And the lullaby of life and the ear
        that hears it weaken and cease.

Nothing is happening. Nothing is done.
The sun rises in glory and the lover
        stretches his shoulders with ambition.
The sunset is forever, and the lover
        drinks of beauty,
And beauty drinks of the lover
        And life loses its pride in death.

But nothing is happening. Nothing is done.
        The eye and the urge are beauty and life,
        The owner is disenfranchised
The holder lets go of his grasp and everything becomes
        his domain.
        God is in his thought, and his thought lives only
in his God.
        Nothing is judged. Nothing is known.
Nothing is meaningful. Everything is perfect.


Carillon: Poems, Essays and Philosophy of Richard Rose

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


Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book!
Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.

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