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

TAT Forum
July 2002

Essays, poems, opinions and humor on seeking
and finding answers to your deepest life-questions


This month's contents:

The Mind (part 2 of 2) by Richard Rose | Poems by Shawn Nevins | To Change or Not to Change by Shawn Nevins | Still Point of the Turning World (part 1) by Bob Cergol | Take Notice by Jim Clatfelter | Awakening into Awareness (part 4 of 4) by Metta Zetty | That Problem Mind by Bob Fergeson | Honesty by Gary Harmon | Humor | Reader Commentary

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The Mind (concluded)
by Richard Rose

(~ Continued from the June 2002 TAT Forum)

illustrated letter M Man is continually trying to find himself. He stumbles from illusion to illusion. He rarely stands on any sure ground in his entire lifetime. His confusion begets despair, and he acts out his life toward the end like a man in a nightmare, from which he can escape only by going deeper into sleep.

As has been stated before, there is no better way to see the self-deluding nature of man than through hypnosis. The application of belief to an individual mind through hypnosis is like tapping one of the great laws of the Unmanifested Mind. The Law of Creation involves Imagination plus Faith, plus the Fiat. It is said that God imagined, or dreamed up the physical world, believed in himself, and said, "Let there be Light." The spoken word was the Fiat. Or the Logos.

In hypnosis, we create a small microcosmos. We shut out the projections of the individual mind, and project with a proxy-Light, originating from within the operator. The fact that the individual mind accepts this new projection as his own, and adopts a new state of mind as a corollary, is evidence that his previous states of mind which he would like to identify with sanity, are not on too sure a ground.

We can see that we can never be sure of any state of mind, until we are knowledgeable of all the factors that cause such, or all of the agencies that project their light upon us.

We can see ourselves as a colony of cells, or a group of cell colonies,—and we do not feel very much like an individual. We do, however, have the knowledge that we are a group of cell-colonies,—a feeling of individuality, and a feeling of incomplete knowledge about ourselves.

A Rosicrucian might say that we are in reality a string of luminous, colored flowers of light and brilliance, forming a general radiance called an aura, which with its chakras is more real than the body which we see. And once more, we find ourselves to be a group of something.

And the deeper we peer into transcendentalism, the closer we approach an inescapable paradox—that is, if we are anything at all, we are somehow closely related to everything.

The Unmanifested Mind is not demonstrable. The technique for studying it is. 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.

This may appear utterly ridiculous if taken literally, but it remains that we must observe the observer, not the make-believe which all of us agree is life-drama. We are chained to the theatre, rather than to a Platonic cave. We identify ourselves with veritable shadows, and laugh and weep at their motions. And perhaps we come back repeatedly to see the same show, to purge ourselves of Reality in a repetition of drama drawn from the Matrix of the dimension of the Unmanifested Mind.

When we observe the observer, we sense several things. One is that we have been in a dream state, and must return to a dream state as long as we are in this body. We observe also that the Dream State is very real, in that it is for us the only life for us until we awaken. And it is inescapable that we must deduce that dream-life is a real manifestation of some agency within ourselves that acts as a creator. It is as though we were born with a false face, which all through life we accepted as our true face, because it was all we knew as a face, and because our friends accepted it as true. The face would literally have to fall off by accident for us to know that it was not our true self.


Let us try to get behind the false face. We can observe, by introspection, that much of what we would like to think of as thinking, is nothing more than reaction—and mostly automatic reaction without any volition on our part. Of course we can get into some very complicated reaction patterns, and this complexity (as is noted in the law of complexity) is visible life. [See Laws]

Desire is not a reaction—we may have quite varied reactions to it. Curiosity is not a reaction, but an external force. We are not that—which was here before we learned it. Curiosity exists for the amoeba, and thus for every white corpuscle. And possibly for every cell in our bodies. It is planted in the unborn beings, and for want of a better word we call it instinct. It propels the new-born to look for food, and propels him so relentlessly that there is no chance for the food-seeking to have any origins in deliberate action. Desire is likewise implanted in the being before it is born, and it continues to propel us until the day of our death. It, too, is not something learned, or reasoned out.

Some of us may be generals, priests, or Indian chiefs, but we are still basically robots, hiding beneath elaborate robes the gears that are the signs of our slavery. While we pose as movers of planets.

Next, we are inclined to look at the above analysis of the mind, and take pride in being able to "Project." We might think for a while that our ability to project is our individuality. The truth is that we are but a channel for the projection, if we are referring to the individual mind and the Unmanifested Mind, neither of which we really are.

We like to think that we are the sum total of our thoughts, or our experiences. This is like saying that a dog is a composite of fleas, lice, ticks, intestinal worms, germs, and a final glorious heap of maggots. It is vain for us to claim to be that which happens to us, which we cannot control. And if you think that you are the one that is thinking, try to stop it. You will find that every thought is tied to another thought by an inexorable chain. This chain is the chain of reaction. It is basically rooted in the body, starting off as a baby, by the two catalysts, desire and curiosity.

Now you might at this point demand that we identify desire and curiosity as being implanted in us by a superior entity, which we might call God. It may well be that we are acted upon by other entities, but this interaction being other dimensional, appears to be divine. The proper definition for "other dimensions" is "other accepted world views"—other than our own. And they may well emanate from the same Unmanifested Mind, and are so related to our world view.

Our true umbilical cord is toward the Absolute, beyond the womb-matrix of the Unmanifested Mind.

The projection that animates the whole picture of creation, as well as every cell in our bodies, we will call Light. I use a separate term, because it might appear that curiosity and desire are the sole motivating forces. However we can see, all through nature, that there is a central fountain that regenerates decaying force-fields, isotopes, delicate protoplasmic combinations, which we know are in a constant state of precipitation and deterioration. This fountain is not curiosity alone. This fountain is the force behind the entity or mechanism that implants the desire and curiosity within us. This fountain likewise supports the eternal growing and dying of celestial bodies (planets and stars).

This Light begins beyond the Unmanifested Mind. The Unmanifested Mind acts as a sort of prism that separates the differentiated rays from the undifferentiated source.

Projection from the Light of the Absolute
Projection from the Light of the Absolute

The use of the word Light here should not be construed in the same sense as the light that is the cause of eye-stimuli. I wish to emphasize this to prevent an ardent investigator from pursuing the analysis of such manifested light. This particularized light of the eye is still differentiated and lower mind matter.

Likewise, we can take some steps away from illusion. We begin by recognizing that the material world presents an illusory picture. We secondly notice that we are automatons of a sort, galvanized by desire and curiosity.

But then we settle back and say,—well at least we perceive, remember, react, and project. Actually these qualities are also automatic. We cannot control these functions, unless we control the entire environment.

So we look to our motivating force. We look back through the eye of the projector. We are projectors of a sort ourselves. But we are like little prisms that have been projected. And this microcosm is no better aware of his function than when operating as a hypnotist.

Why are we projected? (Not questioning the reasons for our origin, but the reason for this illusory projection instead of something more real.) It is impossible to presume the reason for this diffusion from the Absolute. It is likewise impossible to assess all of the life-forms or intelligence quanta that function in the Unmanifested Mind matrix.

Some modern psychologists have come to believe that we exist only in the mind, which must of course place all phenomena, material or abstract, as being mental phenomena. They must then take the next step, and admit that they are—body and environment, and their individual mind as well—a mental phenomena over which they have no control. Unless the dreamer would pretend to be consciously creating his dream. And of course, if we are all mental phenomena, we are extremely vain in legislating human conduct for our fellow-man.

We take another step and say that if we are nothing but mental phenomena, then there is no self, and consequently no immortality. And if neither of these hopes exists, then why should we confuse ourselves further with any study of the subject?

Of course the answer is that, as regards the self, our only true essence must be Real instead of illusory. This true Self is not the individual dream character that flits across the stage. It can find its real life only in the Light that is its source, absolutely.

And in regards to immortality, immortality is measured in our objective minds by Time. And time is inexorably tied to space as space-time in the clearer world-view, and in the Unmanifested matrix. So that not only is there not a day, or a year, but there is also not a billion years.

There is only Isness.

Our immortality is dependent, not on our ability to extend our personal illusion indefinitely but to transcend it. Our immortality is dependent upon our becoming the Light, by identifying with that which is Real, and really is us and has been us all the time.

The scientific psychologist will always fail to understand even the world-view, because he is like some bumpkin in the audience, taking pot shots at the villain on the screen. Or like a child grasping at the surface of the water whereon is playing an elusive, dancing reflection.


In order to better understand the umbilical function of projection, we might take a television set as representing the individual mind. Channel Three (three dimensional) would present the same world-view to all of its viewers. By changing to another channel through the use of drugs or other means, we might get another world-view, coming from a different level or studio.

The television set Reacts in a very complex way to the waves coming through its antennae. It sorts out the incoming percepts and projects them upon the screen. Its range is not its own option. It is set by the manufacturer.

Now we might build in a memory-bank for the television, and install electronic devices, so that at any suggestion, reactions would trigger projections. In time, the television set might even be operated by and from the broadcasting studio, which is the equivalent of the Unmanifested Mind-matrix. And at this point the television set might begin to think that it was an individual, answering only to the broadcasting studio.

It never took into account the fact that its real power and life, as well as the power and life of the broadcasting studio, came from an inconspicuous electric wire. When the plug is pulled, all of the lights and life go out.

By this analogy we can realize the three types of projection. The television set projects into our room the picture of our accepted world view, analogous to the individual mind. The broadcasting studio likewise projects—from a matrix of cardboard sets, trick mirrors, two dimensional cities consisting of buildings with only facades, and with various trick-noises—a picture that upon reception by us will seem to be real. However, both are dependent upon another projection—the voltage from an invisible power-source.

The individual experiences sleep when the power source is diminished to near-zero, and death when completely severed between the individual mind and the Unmanifested Mind.

© 2002 Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

Poems by Shawn Nevins


Everywhere I look upon human beings
staking out claims to patches of earth,
as futile as forty-niners panning for gold
made real by dreams.

These people are digging in the wrong direction
spurred on by the sound of shoveling.

Everything we do is borrowed,
only what we Are is ours.
Who among you has had enough of madness?


Tread lightly upon this world,
for that is closer to the truth.
Our greatest works teeter on the edge of nothingness
from the moment of conception.
Explore within rather than build without,
stalking your prey silently.
It is there behind you—
look without turning you eyes—
within and behind.


Nature simplifies; it takes life
down to its bareness—
motion, presence, your place upon the scene.
There is a presence over which
the scene of life moves.
Your witnessing your self is a gateway.
Let my words block out the excess of life
till your ears ring
with the sound of silence.


The last night,
the holy night,
when all resolves to a last goodbye
to all we hold close.
A night of leaving our believing
in life as a field of connections.
Tonight, severing connections,
we bow down before the last fear of aloneness
and toss our glass into oblivion,
whispering sweet nothingness.


There I am
scattered all over the ground,
skeletal where I thought most solid.
Wholeness reduced to wants and needs,
fleeting thoughts.
Bone thoughts with mirage skin
laid low by a thirst
that no potion of dreaming will slake.


I look through the years
like a man peering down
a dark tunnel.
The light of my life
illuminating such a short way.
The noise of water that pours forth
and bars my way from whence I came,
is the same for every man.
It is that eternal motion
from the Source.
We are but leaves in the water
settling to the bottom as we are
worn to shreds.
Peering down the tunnel,
we peer into our nature,
and the light of all life
is enough to illumine the Truth.


Imagine you are a patient
and the doctor, too.
"I'm afraid you've not long to live,"
you tell the poor fellow.
He breaks down crying.
You feel sorry for him.

There you go again,
crying and pretending to be above it all.
Delivering news to others
when there's no one else in the room.
Physician, heal thyself.

To Change or Not to Change
by Shawn Nevins

In the business of self-discovery, we often discover much we don't like about our personality. Studying the personality is the beginning of searching within for answers. Our initial studies reveal little about our potential divinity and much about habits learned from our parents, animal-like lusts and fears, greed, envy, pride, and an array of neuroses. We find all the illogical insanities we so easily see in our neighbors. A natural reaction is to repair these psychological defects.

The danger is in spending months and years changing behaviors that have little bearing upon our spiritual quest. We may waste vital years of our search, not searching, but sculpting the nuances of our personality to conform to standards whose origin we don't understand. Out of the fuzzy recesses of our societal mind come values and ethics whose validity and reality is as questionable as that of any fetish.

We could take the opposite approach and observe and let any thought and action take place. Take the philosophic stance that the observer is unaffected by anything he observes. Protest all the way to prison that we had nothing to do with the hand that stole. Find our behavior has led us to a situation that delays or dooms our attempt to discover our true nature.

Clearly, we must decide what helps and hinders our spiritual endeavors. Some personality facets must change while others need not. We must change that which prevents us from improving our observation ability, intuition, and reason. We must change that which slows our ability to search. All the while remembering that none of what we observe is very important.

For example, if you are afraid to speak to people, then your ability to help and be helped by others on the path is affected. One of the laws of success is thwarted by a personality trait. To change, keep observing the trait in action, delve into its origin, throw your self again and again into the frightening situation, laugh at the whole ridiculous process and keep trying. Eventually, you will become a person who can speak when needed. It may never be pleasant, but when the need arises, you can act. You don't need a total cure, only enough to keep moving on the quest.

On the other hand, if you are afraid to speak to people who own black cats, your ability to help and be helped by others on the path is less affected. You may be occasionally inconvenienced in daily life, and irritated or embarrassed by this seeming defect, but it is not worth the investment of precious time and energy to unearth the causes and change the habit.

There is no need to root out every fear and desire. Observe and look for patterns of actions, thoughts, and circumstances. To observe is to become detached. To become detached is to lessen the ego's benefit from behaviors. Thus, behaviors whose existence is supported by egos will wither and many of our quirks will fade without direct effort. If your intuition, reason, or ability to act on the spiritual path is hindered, then make direct efforts to change.

The Still Point of the Turning World (part 1)
by Bob Cergol

(~ From a presentation at the Self Knowledge Symposium's Avila Retreat in November 2001)

I want to talk about how you got to where you find yourself now – and this is really about your journey out of stillness and into increasing turmoil. Examining this will reveal much about where you are headed – and why. (Verbal communication about this sounds contradictory, so you have to see/feel your way past the grammatical paradox of these words that falsely imply a non-existent dichotomy.)

My fundamental premise is that "the stillness" or "the silence" is all that there is – truly. And you came out of it even as a cloud emerges from the invisible ether in the sky – and you will return to it in like fashion. Consequently it is at the very core of your nature to want to abide there – for that which is essentially still cannot remain in motion. In truth, that motion is merely an appearance of motion and in reality you are not separate from that stillness or silence. Who – and what – you really are is at all times utterly still and absolutely silent.

Paradoxically, your seeking to satisfy this inner need expresses your striving to live in separation from your source – and simultaneously – expresses the source itself. Paradoxically, your seeking to satisfy this inner need is your greatest obstacle – but simultaneously – your way home. It is an obstacle because it is the project of the personal and validates the personal 'you.' But it is also your way home because the desire to seek is itself born from the inner being.

To most students of the esoteric sides of philosophy, religion and psychology, my words thus far may sound all-too-familiar, and that very fact brings us back to this question of how you got to where you find yourself now – to the 'you' to which these words sound all-too-familiar.

Be aware, as we pursue this dialog, that there are always two dialogs going on – not just between me and you, here and now, but always within your own self. There is the dialog of the inner being with the outer being and the dialog of the outer being with itself. The dialog of the outer drowns out the inner, yet it cannot silence it. The outer dialog is like an echo – onto which your attention has become so fixated, trying desperately not to lose track of it before it ages into oblivion, that you have completely overlooked and forgotten the original, crystal clear, loud and immediately present source of that echo – the inner dialog. This inner dialog is between that which is the real, still and silent being that you and I are in common, and the outer being. These words are merely the echo of that inner dialog – and an echo of a rapport – wherein the voice speaking now, and the ears hearing now, are of one being – else no worthwhile communication is occurring. This inner dialog is not a dialog of words. There is no outer being – only a seeming of such, born of looking away. In the final analysis there is no dialog – only a seeming of such when the echo begins its journey home. The inner dialog is a beacon guiding the way. You have to listen – past the great rumbling generated by your quest to be – somebody and something. When the only thing you can hear is the still silence, then you have found what you are.

How do you find that truly still point? A Zen master once wrote, "There is only one way – you must abandon the egocentric position."

This egocentric position is so entrenched as our point of reference that it goes unnoticed despite all the books that you read about dropping egos. It goes unnoticed despite all the meditation disciplines you practice aimed at transcending thought and finding your real self. It goes unnoticed because somewhere along your journey it/you got the idea that defining yourself is achieved by addition (a dust cloud in a desert). All the great teachers tell us the path is through subtraction, but the egocentric position sees this as self-elimination. In truth this subtractive process is not self-elimination, it is the finding of the only thing that really is you.

The dawning of identity – Experience is binding

A Zen master wrote that the ego projects an ego on which to work in order to preserve its own primacy, i.e. so long as you are working at fixing this ego, or altering it in some way, you are firmly protected from looking in the mirror. All eyes are focused, so to speak, on ego2 while ego1 remains unnoticed.

Try this experiment. Close your eyes. Notice how you feel right now – present in the body. Go ahead and feel the complete sense of the position of your body and any sense of comfort or lack of comfort. Now notice the feeling of being your self – the feeling of having an identity. Notice the sense of self-awareness that is present. This sense of self surrounds all perception and experience. You are you. You feel – "I am." This sense of self is behind all thought. I want you to focus your attention – not with worded thought – but with direct feeling of this sense of being you.

Now there's just one problem with this – and that is – that entire sense-of-self, that whole feeling of being you, that lovable "I-ness" is NOT going to survive death. You need to remind yourself of this because you have it in your head that it is the body that's not going to survive. Where – pray tell – are you going to live without your body?

Since you don't really believe this, if you are still focused keenly on that sense of 'you' being here 'now,' ask yourself this question: From where does this sense of self arise? Where were you before your birth? Where will you be after your death?

Can you even put your finger on the essence of this sense-of-being, without placing it in a personal context? Can you separate awareness from yourself without taking ownership of it?

This self-identity is not your real being. This sense of self is the egocentric position that takes ownership of everything – even of awareness. Do not mistake the two as the same. That personal identity is impermanent. Only the impersonal awareness that powers it is permanent. The self you feel yourself to be right now is impermanent. It is entirely dependent upon an impersonal awareness. Do not invert reality. That identity felt as the sense-of-self does not possess awareness. Awareness is entirely independent of it. When you hold to the notion that you possess awareness, you cannot imagine awareness absent your personal identity.

When that mortal self realizes and accepts this distinction, something profoundly magical occurs – what remains is awareness alone – and a sense of abiding in utter silent stillness – there is the sense that the entire world is but a reflection of an underlying absolute, silent, stillness. This awareness is referred to by Franklin Merrell-Wolff as "consciousness without an object," i.e. – with no dependence upon physical perceptions and thoughts, indeed without that sense of personal identity which is itself a thought.

Richard Rose writes: "The task of the seeker of eternity is to die while living." The mortal seeker, in truly accepting his mortality, realizes that there is nothing to die and that only that which is eternal ever existed in the first place. So long as the seeker must live, then he must live in mortal separation from eternity.

The sense of self-as-identity is the focus in awareness on experience brought about by the body experience – and it overlays the focus on the ever present, silent stillness in which this sense of self occurs. The sense of self-identity, occurring in awareness, is entirely dependent upon experience. Your entire sense of self is merely an experience! The body/mind is an experience machine. You think to yourself, "Ah, but that experience must be happening to somebody – and that somebody is ME!" Once again the egocentric point of reference has got it backwards. It is the body/mind experiences that give rise to the sense of self-identity. The body will die and be dissipated. The mind is at all times one with the body and will likewise be dissipated. When that happens what will remain of "he-who-experiences"? Answer: Nothing of you will remain.

The story of a man's life in a very real sense is the story of this character reconciling itself to this immutable fact – which it knows in its heart of hearts to be true. Each individual's life's story is the story of coping with and comforting oneself – while dying a slow death. We are – all of us – dying a slow death.

~ Continued in the August 2002 TAT Forum

Take Notice
by Jim Clatfelter

You must try looking for yourself.
Don't take me at my word.
You say you're much too busy?
Ain't that the best I've heard!

You say you'll have a look someday
When you can find the time.
I trust the little birdie more
Who told me that's a load of lime.

The only time to see is now.
The only place to look is here.
Don't gamble living will allow
Another day, another year.

~ You can find more of Jim's
poetry at The Headless Way site.

Awakening into Awareness (concluded)
by Metta Zetty

(~ Continued from the June 2002 TAT Forum)

Following is a continuing excerpt from Metta Zetty's Insight Mentoring Letter #48, dated March 12, 2002, on the topic of "Deep Sleep, Awareness and the Great Mystery." This letter is a compilation based on correspondence and a chat session with Ku Ye, a Chan Buddhist teacher in Spain. Metta Zetty's web site is Awakening into Awareness.

Ku Ye: It's a pleasure to talk with you. I don't know many people to talk to about this.

Metta: Nor do I, Ku Ye—except through AIA. The privilege and pleasure is mine, most assuredly! Have I been clear in what I have said so far?

Ku Ye: Sure, it's a pleasure to read you. You are very clear. I think you have thought much about the right terminology.

Metta: (smiling) You're absolutely right about the terminology, Ku Ye. The use of words took on a whole new meaning for me (pardon the pun) after the epiphany. [http://awakening.net/Epiphany.html]

I realized that everything I would say and do following this experience would be a translation of it through my own perceptual filter, and I have spent a lot of time working with and thinking about the words I choose. Thank you for your insight in acknowledging the importance of our terminology and use of language.

Ku Ye: I would like to know: what do you think about ethical trainings? In reply, to one of your questions, I act as Chan master with a growing sangha around the world.

Metta: (nodding) It would be an honor to sit at your feet some day in Spain. I hope life affords us this opportunity some day.

Ku Ye: It's not necessary to sit at my feet. To take a cup of tea can be more interesting. I don't like guru game, you know. :-)

Metta: (smiling) Understood—and agreed—completely. Tea is definitely best!

As for ethical trainings: they are quite valuable if/when they help us understand our accountability for our own choices and actions. The teachings can, however, become self-limiting if they are too prescriptive about how we should live our lives.

The choices are ours...and the accountability is ours. Ethical training simply helps us understand this. [http://awakening.net/RMChoice.html]

Ku Ye: I would like to share with you my view on them, if you want.

Metta: Absolutely! Please continue.

Ku Ye: I think that when we observe our actions and we discover they are based on illusion, it is a great opportunity to awaken. Ethical trainings are a wonderful tool that helps us to detect illusion before and after awakening. Therefore, ethical trainings help us to minimize suffering.

Nowadays I can observe bad karma in my actions, but when I observe it, it dispels by its own self. It is like a purifying state after awakening.

Metta: What does it mean to you, Ku Ye, to say that "bad karma" dispels by itself when you observe it? What evidence do you have that this negative karma is being dispelled?

Ku Ye: I'm going to try to explain myself....

For example: I can observe a thought like "She has acted in a bad way", but when I observe this thought, it has no energy to go further than that...so I think illusion is rooted some place.

Metta: Do you consider it to be "bad karma" to think "she has acted in a bad way"? And, what is the "illusion" to which you are referring?

Ku Ye: The illusion is our false identity, and I think illusion has an inertia. It is like a force that leads thoughts, words and actions. Now I know who I am and I live it all the time, but I observe that inertia. I don't know if you can understand me?

Metta: I think so. This helps. If I understand you correctly, this dynamic is described in the Hindu tradition as "prarabdha karma" and represents the unwinding of residual karmic momentum after the experience of Realization.

"Prarabdha" literally means "commenced" and in this context refers to karmic effects that have already begun and cannot be stopped, just as the potter's wheel continues spinning even after there is no more input from the potter.

I also agree completely that it is the power of *observation* that makes the difference, that helps to root out the false sense of identity.

This is why I emphasize the importance of *paying attention.* [http://awakening.net/Reflections.html#Attention]

When we observe our thoughts, words and actions, we begin to recognize that we are not limited to or by them, no?

Ku Ye: It's a pleasure to read you. I fully agree....

Metta: (smiling) It is like looking into a mirror, is it not?

Ku Ye: Well, I like to say it is like *being* a mirror. I mean when I observe something, I am not observing something: I'm presence for this something. [http://awakening.net/MentoringQA.html#Mirror]

Ku Ye: My partner, who is here with me, would like to ask you a question, if possible.

Metta: Certainly! I would be honored, any time....

Ku Ye: She says: "I fully agree with you both, and ask why sometimes presence is more strong and other times less?"

Metta: Good question. Variations in the strength and clarity of Presence are simply a matter of how much the illusory identity has dissolved. The less the illusion, the greater the clarity of Presence.

As I see it, each of us has an ego with which our essential Identify is associated in space and time. But, this ego is not inherently evil or wicked. It is simply limited and, like any tool or a knife, it can serve a useful function, or it can cause great harm.

In its functional role, the ego allows us to walk and talk and hold down a job and pay our bills. In this sense, the ego and the sense of identity we hold about ourselves is like a coil with a bright light shining inside. The greater the illusion and the stronger the sense of false identity, the more tightly coiled the spring—and the more dim the light.

However, when we see through the illusion and the false sense of an independent and separate self, the coil begins to relax and open up, and the light of Essence shines through as Presence—naturally radiant, clear and bright.

Ku Ye: Dear Metta, thank you very much for this wonderful sharing. It was a pleasure, and I do not want to take more of your time....Maybe we can still keep in touch? It's wonderful to share these beautiful things with people like you....I spend so much time answering questions....Thank you again, Metta. :-)

Metta: You and your dear friend are most welcome, Ku Ye. I very much appreciate sharing this time together with you both and I, too, treasure the opportunity to reflect on this deeper aspect of our human experience.

~ Metta's reflections on Reality and the experience of Realization are available in the reflections archives or regularly through AIA's "In This Moment" mailing list.

That Problem Mind
by Bob Fergeson

It seems to me that the value of trauma is to stop our heads from being so fixated on running the show, and to let a little something in between the cracks. The mind is basically a problem solver, but is itself a problem in the long run. Harding talks about this in an interview for the Noumenon Journal. Once we learn how this problem solving can work, and get better and better at it, we can become convinced that it's a valid tool for everything, even to find out things beyond the scope of mind and dual thinking. This very process of problem solving is addictive as we continue, perhaps unconsciously, to place the highest value on it. We can then be tricked into overlooking the fact that the mind or reasoning, even what we might call associative intelligence, is not sentient. It is not aware, but we get so fascinated with its process, we forget to look at who's looking. Who sees this process called mind or thought, and from where? This Ocean that Is Aware contains the mind and thought, and is invisible to anything but Itself. This act of looking, or listening, back between thoughts when the mind is still, is the simplest act we can do, but for this very reason we give it no value, and continue to stay entranced by the process of so-called intelligent reasoning.

If you can see the character that you play in this waking dream, mind, thought and all, then you're that miraculously aware ocean that is nowhere and everywhere, nothing and everything, no one and everyone, at Peace in Itself. To solve the problem, we simply need to give up the problem along with the process of creating and solving it. This doesn't mean the mind is not still doing its job, in its valid field, but we are not it.

by Gary Harmon

One of the major keys to supporting expanded consciousness is being absolutely truthful to ourselves. What is to be done to become more honest with ourselves? That means being aware of every thought we have, every syllable we utter, every single thing we do and any manipulation we attempt. Hard work you say? Fulfillment comes when we slow down and listen to the part of ourselves that knows what is appropriate in each moment. Don't go looking, it is the mind that goes looking; thought has nothing to do with Reality. Thinking or understanding is stepping out of the flow of life. Remember, there are no opposites, only varied amounts of what is presented.

Our utmost potential is not to have a position or opinion—to not know anything.

When you are here for the profundity of each moment, not the product, transformation happens and with it the miraculous. A switch is made from the content to the context. On the inside that which we are is always beautiful, there is no exception. We are all love, and loved, and there is nothing we can do to avoid this.

Do we dare to live in change?
Life doesn't have a linear structure.

If we become aware of the fact that there is no alternative to waking up, then waking up is easier. There is no opposite of truth, only varying degrees until the absolute is reached. "Straight and narrow is the path. Waste no time."


Loose Parts, by Dave Blazek: Living Next Door to a Philosopher
"... so you're saying, not only how do I know the garbage you threw over my fence is real, but maybe the fence isn't even real, and ... hey, this is the same trick as last time!"

~ From Larry Hauser's Philosophy Comix

Reader Commentary:

Shawn Nevins writes good poetry. His poems cover their subject like a balloon covers the air within its sphere. His comments on asceticism, among the other things he's written here (for example in May's TAT Forum), are especially valuable. The poems are capable of inspiring—extremely capable—and the essays are an honest and to-the-point perspective. ~ David Weimer, expatriate living in France

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