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

TAT Forum
February 2004

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


This month's contents:

Peace of Mind Despite Success (part 3) by Richard Rose | Six Methods of Perception by Richard Rose | Going Within by Bob Cergol | How to Surrender by Douglas Harding | Go Deeper than Love by D.H. Lawrence | Mind Breakers by Bob Fergeson | Material for Contemplation by Shawn Nevins | Humor

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Peace of Mind Despite Success
by Richard Rose

~ From a 1984 talk in Akron, Ohio—Part 3
(continued from the January 2004 TAT Forum)

fancy letter 'S' So as you move, you're starting to move considerably away from this idea of being nothing but a programmed hunk of flesh.

Now this is all demonstrable. I can't get into the techniques of it tonight, but I could cite you a lot of instances. When people first hear them they think, "Hey, this couldn't hardly be true." Some people are born with it, as the savant-idiots are. Some people can acquire it much more easily than other people; for some people it seems to be tremendously hard, and to other people it seems to come very quickly.

For instance, they had a boy—they used to put him up in an airplane and fly over the land, and he could look down and see oil beneath the ground; he would tell them there were oil deposits there. It's not too far-fetched from the fellow with the dowsing rod: that fellow also had some way of seeing the oil—he had a mental faculty that he developed which caused him to twist the stick himself. That's what happened—his hands had to twist it.

So these things fall into this idea of the supermind, or the direct-mind concept. Precognition, being someplace else—these things have happened to me a good bit throughout my life. Although not in a consistent manner; I couldn't tell you for instance what the stock market in AT&T is going to be tomorrow, or something like that—that doesn't happen. But every now and then this thing pops up.

If I put a great deal of weight upon it, if I didn't have some work to do that I thought was more important, I could allow myself to develop in some sort of medium, healer, Lord knows where it would take me. For instance, I've been able to see into people's heads. I've been able to feel and take pain out through the top of their heads. And— no science. Except what I call direct-mind science. There's a science to the procedure, but when it comes, it's spontaneous and unpredictable. And I always have to check to see if it actually happened.

I feel what I'm doing—I can feel pain in a person's body. The first time it happened was just on a hunch. It was with a man's wife—a man and his wife came to my house, among the first of the people that came into the group back at the beginning of this twelve-year period. I could sense something taking energy out of the room, and I looked around and it was she. She had a tremendous headache.

She called it a migraine headache. The only thing I noticed was that after it went on so long her lips got pale and kind of purple—she was just in pain. So a hunch came to me: Take the pain out of her head. So I walked over like an idiot—feeling like an idiot—because I didn't know anything would happen. But I had to follow my impulse. I went over and put my hand on her head. And I pulled my hand away very quickly, and she said, "Boy!—how did you do that?" That's when I knew something happened. I only obeyed an impulse.

Because—you don't have time to logically think out the things that can come into the mind, and from the mind. What we're getting into is that the mind is nothing more than a computer. You want to throw a certain subject into a computer and get an answer out—it takes a certain number of seconds for the computer to shuffle and run it out to you.

The human mind has a vast, tremendous amount of knowledge in it. And these things I'm telling you—I don't need to write a book—you live the life and they'll intuitively come to you whenever you need them. It will just come to you, and then the explanation will come later. If your nose is clean.

In other words, don't have any selfish ideas about building it up into a big-feeling empire. Just be glad that it happened and go on about your work. That's the formula, part of the formula. Don't be egotistical. Because it's done by working between. Working between. You desire—with no desire. That's the basic formula.

So if I run into somebody and see something and have a hunch, "Hey, you can alter that situation,"—I do it, and then look and see if it gets results. In other words, I have the faith that ultimately I'm not wrong—if the time is right. If the time is right.

Getting back to the computer—we have, what, ten million, ten billion cells? We have data, DNA molecules, genetic memory, all sorts of places in the body. I think that the basic mind—the real mind—is not physical. The brain is physical. The real mind—and this is again my concept; I'll always tell you that I've got a concept when I'm not talking about something I have conviction on—touches the body at the synapses.

In other words, there's another dimension called Mind—and in that, we have a substance called the mind, "our" mind—which transcends death. But which is in constant contact with us and also records the memories of this body. And I have a reason for what I'm saying: people in these after-death instances—when they come back, they remember.

There's a lot of stuff that if you read it and contemplate as you're reading it with an intuitive mind—a lot of wisdom will come to you out of these little books they're writing.

Monroe [Robert Monroe, who established the Monroe Institute], when he was sailing over Atlanta, Georgia or wherever he was, saw and recognized and remembered people. He's out of his body, but he's got his memory and his recollection with him. Meaning this has to record in that astral body, if you want to call it that. But at the same time, it records in this brain. There’s a lot of stuff that if you read it and contemplate as you're reading it with an intuitive mind, a lot of wisdom will come to you out of these little books they're writing.

I wondered why Monroe himself never mentioned—or any of the other people that have written about astral projection—that they had a memory there.

Egyptian mummy and astral body My brother had an experience. I don't know whether it was a case of astral projection—he wasn't conscious of being in an astral body. He was at the point of death from an automobile accident, lying on the operating table. And when he came out of it, he said he was above the table a considerable distance. His wife was cursing the priest—because she thought he was a devil-worshipper. And this was a hilarious thing to him—from where he was floating, he thought this was the height of absurdity—because it didn't matter whether they anointed his toes or not. The thing was that he was happy now, and he'd gotten rid of his wife and the priest, both.

But he remembered all those details and verified them when they brought him back. They called me on the phone that same time and said that he was dying and to get there if I wanted to see him while he was still alive.

So the little pieces of evidence—if you put them together, you find a tremendous picture. What we're getting down to is that there's a way of contacting simultaneously all of the knowledge that there is in that computer—and possibly all that's connected with that computer—by holding your head a certain way. And this is one of the aims of this system.


Now as I said previously, we have all sorts of success formulas. They have seminars that charge anywhere from two hundred fifty to six hundred dollars to tell people how to succeed. And what they are, they're exhilarating exercises. You can do aerobics and get the same thing. If you want to hop around and shout "Hallelujah" or "Hare Krishna" or something like that, you might get inspired—temporarily.

But what happens when reality comes back? What happens when the intoxication is over?

And the reason why there is trauma after that is that the person does not know himself. He doesn't even know what type of success he wants. For instance, if we could run through the crowd and ask everyone what they wanted out of life, I could guarantee you that within an hour after I asked them a few questions, they'd have doubts about whether that was really their aim. To have a million dollars, for instance, is nothing. Even the desire to know all there is to know, is nothing if you didn't know something, one thing in particular, correctly—and that's your definition. Then, after you find your definition, what is there to know next? What you are supposed to do. What you are supposed to do. Not what you want to do, but what you are supposed to do. Can you succeed? The best thing that was ever written was a little prayer used by Bob Wilson in the Alcoholics Anonymous literature [i.e., Niebuhr's "serenity" prayer]. This is the significance that you learn after you go through years of booze or years of dope—that you're not running the show. The closest you can get to running it is being on the train. Not trying to throw it off the tracks.

So, how do we go about this? It involves the whole being. As I said, we start back with basics—what we see. We see that we are a body. We see the reactions. We stand behind that to a degree. You watch the body, and you become an observer. I've got a little book written called the Psychology of the Observer, and this is what we are approaching now. You have to do this. You can't read books about your self. You have to go inside your self. The book isn't too thick. It won't get in your road. It will help you a little bit. Basically, as you approach it, if you are diligent, you don't need books. But why do you need books? Why do you go to church on Sunday? Because you can't keep a discipline every seventh day unless you are pushed in the door. Unless there is an attachment there, a social drawing, a feeling of responsibility to show up because you pledged yourself to that congregation, or something of that sort.

We go back to the business of trying to accept what we are supposed to be doing. That doesn't mean sit down. This is one of the bad things about when people get into any church or group. This is the decadence of a lot of groups. For instance, I was talking to this fellow in Irwin, and he said he had lots of people come, but they were shallow. He just flattered them. Most of these success seminars are just flattery—you can be this, you have this power, you're responsible. Nonsense. You didn't put yourself here. You didn't pick your parents. I'm not speaking negatively. You're supposed to think positively? Nonsense. What is positive? What is positive is what you're supposed to do. Who wrote your blueprint? Ask him. Ask it.

Who did write your blueprint? You wrote it. You wrote it. There's a paradox. Way back there, you wrote it. You've got to get back inside yourself to find out that you wrote it and what you want.

At the last lecture, I mentioned the word blueprint, and it puzzled one fellow. I asked for questions, and the fellow said, "What do you mean by blueprint?" He said, "Who wrote the blueprint?" I said I don't know who wrote your blueprint. I said all I know is the significance of nature shows that there is a pattern that you can't violate. If you do, you're clashing with the formula. This is the blueprint. In other words, snakes are not supposed to fly. They don't have any wings, they shouldn't try to fly.

So you find what your adaptation is and you're put in a certain environment, you're born with certain parents for a specific reason. You get ideas, of course, because of training, that seem to make something in life very important. Like, some guys want to find the link between certain moths. I see a guy on tv, running around with a net catching moths on tree bark down in Florida. He's dedicating his whole life to it. He didn't have much life left. They said he had cancer. Nevertheless, he's still out there with that net, and before he dies he's going to get this magical moth that will tell him the secrets of the moth kingdom. But he doesn't know who is swinging the net. That doesn't seem to concern him much. This is the case of a man knowing he is lost, and he has to keep moving. He uses his past experience in order to keep going, keep plowing along the same course.

The desire to know your self and the relentless push to find that self, leads you to find that there are two selves. Small-s self, that is who you thought you were, and large-S self, that you find yourself to be. Once you find your capital-S self, you don't have to be.... anything, except keep moving. Keep functioning, until your course is played. Beyond that there's no concern. The capital-S self is synonymous with the totality of all Essence.

~ Continued in the March TAT Forum.

© 1984 Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

Six Methods of Seeing or Perceiving
by Richard Rose

~ Excerpted from The Psychology of the Observer

Normal Sensory Perception. This is ordinary seeing or perceiving. As the result of a sensory stimulus, the mind coordinates the stimulus with previous stimuli and projects back upon the physical environment that which it wants to see. Only this projection is seen by the individual's awareness. To say the same thing more precisely, man visualizes everything that he perceives (thinks he perceives) through the physical senses. It is a "normal" percept followed by a "normal" projection.

Abnormal Sensory Perception. Illusory or non-validated phenomena. These are visions which apparently are seen by the eyes (or percepts connected with the other senses), which later will be found to be invalid or illusory in nature. Included in this category are ghosts that cannot be checked out, hallucinations, holograms, mirages, and hypnotic phenomena that involve the imposition of illusions on the mind of the subject.

The next four categories have to do with Mental Perception. A while back I discussed the ability of the mind to see or perceive. The examples given showed clearly that such perceiving resulted from initial sensory stimuli. There are, however, instances where the mind "sees" independently of the senses. I call this ability visualization-projection not warranted by percepts.

Mental Visions. Here the mind watches synthetic projections from its memory bank. (We conjure up an apple with diamonds embedded in the sides.) This is memory revisited and rearranged. This is commonly called imagination.

Visions Without Projection by the Perceiver. Non-physical visions, valid according to some means of corroboration, or laws of reference. Their general corroboration lies in the fact that they often are found later to have been revelations of some sort. They are ghosts that substantiate their presence by warnings or prophecies. They are dreams, articulate voices from non-visible sources, and instances of déjà vu which are found to be more than a hallucination. It may be that some of these visions are contacts with the Manifested Mind, or with emanations from the Manifested Mind.

Also in this category are direct-mind communications which we pick up accurately from another person, such as in mind reading. In the past, many phenomena which we now describe under the heading of ESP or Psi phenomena were previously described for the recipient as being an ability called the sixth sense.

This sense can be discovered and developed. It amounts to a sort of sensitive feeler which the mind extends to the mind of another, using in the beginning all manner of clues from the countenance of the other person and even items of posture and tone of voice, to guess (at first) that which the other person may be thinking. But after a while, success will breed accuracy, and later still, we will be able to possess a feeling of knowing instead of uncertainty. This feeling of knowing results from persistent checking over a long period of time with the person that we are reading. Group sessions for the purpose of attempting to have rapport and picking up information are good.

Visions of Mental Processes without sensory percepts. This is not the same as the third category, which is reverie or imagination. This is that which we shall later call the Process Observer. This is the mind which is anterior to the Umpire and its phenomena. It is a part of us that sees. It sees the mind, the somatic or umpire mind. It is, in turn, unable to watch itself or any processes peculiar to itself. This is a genuine mental awareness by the Real Self, or Ultimate Self.

This last category of visions is that which is caused by someone's mind (projection by them), which has an impact upon other minds, to the point where the recipient may have the conviction that he physically sees the projection.

• They are Deliberate Mental Projections. Visions projected upon the world scene, or upon our consciousness by another. Under this heading we have Tulpas (Tibetan materialized humanoids) and the Indian rope trick. Other instances are cases of bilocation, healing at a distance, psychokinesis, transubstantiation (water into wine, etc.) and possession. I would like to devote an entire book to this subject, and to the methods of attaining expertise in this type of projection.

© 1979, 2001 Richard Rose. All Rights Reserved.

Going Within
by Bob Cergol

Richard Rose writes in his booklet on meditation:

"The ultimate aim of meditation is to go within. Going within means to find Reality by finding the Real part of ourselves. It does not mean merely playing around inside the head with random observations which we have discussed as being important to understanding the natural mechanism of man's mind."

"When we begin to meditate in the attempt to go within we should simply observe our self. We cannot really do it simply. It is a very profound task or attempt."

Rose also writes in that booklet of the levels of meditation, of which "Going Within" is the 4th level. The instruction given is: "Employ whatever necessary."

What does it mean to "go within"?

Its not a place, and you don't really "go" anywhere. It refers to the direction of one's attention.

What is it that you do to "go within"?

Life is basically an experience. Experience is a continuous stream. We can categorize our experience as "inner" and "outer." Inner experience refers to the totality of our individual reaction to outer experience—and on another level to inner experience itself in a spiraling, even "tail-chasing" process so the line between inner and outer is blurred—and ultimately may prove to be a false distinction, i.e. all experience is external....

Going within means a shift in the object of seeing or listening, of one's attention from the perceptions and events swirling around us to the seeing or listening to our reactions to life's experiences.

What determines those reactions?

We engage ceaselessly in evaluating whether our sense of self is affirmed or diminished. The former is pleasure. The latter is pain.

Which reaction is dominant for you? What is its source?

What fills your attention most of the time?

I believe that fear of death develops in concert with the development of identity, for the simple reason that intellectually we know that the body is mortal and therefore cannot be the vehicle that will ensure survival of that identity. The escape mechanism is to disassociate from the body, place oneself anterior to it and take possession of it, as it were. But since there is no hard proof, there is this core knowledge of the lie, and our lives become an incessant, doomed-to-fail effort at proving the independent existence of that identity by attempting to magnify it through experience.

What is the motivation for shifting your attention away from external experience to look at inner experience? Or said another way, what motivates you to examine what is occupying your attention?

The primary motivation is whenever experience diminishes the sense of self. It is not really motivation since the shift is a reaction. If looking at the internal experience of reaction is painful, the automatic reaction is to shift the attention away either by engaging in rationalizing analysis or by engaging in alternative mental or physical activity.

What result do you expect from "going within" as you conceive it?

Consciousness versus Awareness: definitions

The dictionary defines the words "consciousness" and "awareness" as synonyms, and each word is used in the definition for the other. The definition for both words depends on there being an object to which consciousness or awareness applies. This implies that there must be a subject who possesses the attribute of consciousness. One is either conscious of something or not. In this sense the words are verbs and denote action by an individual being—even if that action is itself either automatic—or an unconscious action!

Students of the esoteric have this concept that "God" or the "Source" is pure "awareness." They conceive this awareness to be a possession or attribute of God's, just as they perceive it to be an attribute or possession of their own self—or one that can be acquired. Realization is conceived as adding god-like awareness or consciousness to this same personal self. This all stems from an egocentric point of reference that places their ego anterior to everything else. Seekers of enlightenment have this idea that they will become god-like, or one with god, or attain this god-like awareness, and so there is the presumption of personal immortality and eternal ego consciousness.

Let's see how this would apply to God, Supreme Being or Transcendental Awareness:

What is the object of this consciousness or awareness? What is God aware of?

If God's awareness is without object then, how is God alive according to our concept of being? Does God know that he's alive?

Does the knowledge of "being alive" require an identity? Would you be alive without your identity?—Without your body? Without your mind? Without—YOU!?

If God is all-knowing, what does he think about?

If God is beyond all thought, what occupies his attention?

If God is the object of his own attention, how long is God's attention span?

If God is beyond time and exists eternally, then how could God not be eternally bored with himself?

If you believe in your own immortality, or even the possibility, what will the object of your attention be for eternity?

Can you imagine yourself, your identity with all its history, as the object of your consciousness for eternity—with no ability to alter that history? Is that realization?—Or the definition of Hell?


I distinguish between the two words consciousness and awareness.

For me, consciousness is personal and temporary; awareness is impersonal and timeless. Consciousness is the experience of individuality, and awareness is that which powers it. The "experience of individuality" is motion on a background of immobility—a whisper that cannot alter or penetrate the silence. Consciousness is a point. Consciousness is the point at which the un-manifested intersects the manifested. Awareness is boundless.

Awareness is consciousness without an object, unless you wish to say that awareness is its own object.

How then does an individual become aware of that which is anterior to that individual? The question seems a contradiction—indeed a Koan!

The short answer is by "abandoning the ego-centric position"—another paradox. The verb abandon implies action by the ego, which action itself would reinforce the supremacy of the ego's position. Therefore it is said that the ego is taken from you or dropped. When one "gives up" or "expires" it is not a voluntary action but a spontaneous acceptance or natural consequence....

The process is negative or subtractive. The end result is not created by the process.


Two Meditation Exercises:

roman numeral one Superficial "Going Within"—skirting with loss of self—and resistance....

(Looking at self-dissatisfaction in a specific instance.)

Focus your attention on that which bothers you the most about yourself. What troubles you more than anything else? (It is that which is wrong about yourself—that which hinders you from attaining the fullness of life that you crave.)

This is NOT "going within." This is focusing the attention on one's reactions to external experience. This reaction comprises one's internal experience. It's like a "parallel universe" or dream world that is evoked by external experience.

roman numeral two Real "Going Within"—acceptance of what is....

(Looking at the self directly.)

Focus your attention on what it feels like right at this moment to be you—to exist as you. You have to do this gently. You cannot strain to focus the attention in this fashion. You need only to just notice your sense of self and then gently notice how does it FEEL to exist as this identity this moment. Perhaps you notice a certain positive or negative feeling that accompanies your self-existence.

How strong is the sense of existence as you?

This is a crude attempt to illustrate my point: Self-dissatisfaction is merely the kindling to light a fire that must ultimately consume you. You must get to a point where the looking inward is automatic, and there is either not much reaction to what you see—or, if there is strong reaction, there is simultaneously a detachment from and acceptance of the reaction—just as if it's merely another part of the experience you've had to contend with all along anyway, and it's no longer of much value to you.

Note: For years my meditations were all about me—my problems, my feelings, becoming free of myself. There was much I didn't like about myself, and I'd lost track of it all and just plain felt bad, inferior to others. It was only after this had burnt itself out—with some help perhaps from looking at it—that I began to look at the world outside myself. And when this happened, I began receding from it—automatically.

~ From a presentation delivered at the July 2003 TAT meeting.

How to Surrender
by Douglas Harding

Being united to the will of God you enjoy and possess Him.

It is in His purposes, hidden in the cloud of all that happens to you in the present moment, that you must rely. You will find it always surpasses your own wishes.

People who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from Him exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural, and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual.

~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade

fancy letter I Inspiring words, coming from one of the greatest experts in self-surrender and abandonment to the will of God. But of course they are for testing, day in and day out, and not just for believing and taking on trust. And it's when we start trying them out in practice that we run up against what looks like insuperable difficulties, some of which we address in this chapter. It is about practice and not theory. Here we are not concerned with the theology or philosophy of surrender to the Divine Providence, but with precisely how to give up and let be and let go, precisely how it is possible for you and me to arrive at and maintain this wonderful state.

It's not so easy to describe what surrender is, but we all know what it feels like—the sudden cessation of struggle, the end (for the time being) of all our resistance, the special sort of calm that follows the storm of what has become futile effort, the relaxation we enjoy when "something gives" at last after a long period of mounting tension and anxiety and all the fight goes out of us.

A beautiful presentation of this abrupt shift of mood—or rather reversal of mood—is to be found in Berlioz' overture Les Francs Juges. This celebrated piece of program music dramatizes the tale of a prisoner who is appearing on a capital charge before a secret medieval court. As he tries, with mounting desperation and terror, to defend himself, the music gets wilder and louder, more and more frenetic. Then quite suddenly, realizing that his fate is sealed, he abandons all hope and submits with perfect calm to the death sentence; and the music of struggle gives place to one of the great serene tunes of the world, smoothly flowing and even blissful. (Berlioz took the tune from a Russian folk song. In fact, it's common property, a perennial theme that crops up in unexpected places, for instance in the once-popular song Now the Carnival is Over, which is itself about a lover's resignation, if hardly his self-abandonment.)

struggle against temptation We may take as typical our example of the prisoner on trial—typical of the dependence of surrender upon its opposite, without which it cannot exist. Giving in is as inseparable from fighting as up is from down and left is from right. You can't let go of something you weren't holding on to.

It follows that the mood of surrender can't be permanent: to be itself it must alternate with its opposite, with the mood of resistance. It's not in its nature to be steady. This is certainly common experience. We go on struggling against God's will as bodied forth in our circumstances, then somehow we find the grace to submit to it—for a while—and then the wretched process starts all over again. Surrender may come, but alas what comes goes. In common with all thoughts and feelings (no matter how profound or enlightened or even divine they may be) it is impermanent. Since it's a specific something with limited characteristics, it not only implies and needs its opposite, but is always tending to merge into it.

These obvious but neglected facts set limits to all cultivation of surrender—whether by reading and thinking about it, by trying somehow to work up the feeling, by various kinds of religious disciplines and practices, by any means whatsoever. The trouble with this highly desirable experience is that it fluctuates all the time, that it eludes our grasp, and is apt to be least available when most needed. Who, indeed, can feel anything to order? And in this instance there's something particularly self-defeating, and certainly ridiculous, about deliberately cultivating what must come naturally if it comes at all: about chasing stillness, about trying not to try, about holding on to letting go, about straining after relaxation. The sooner we surrender these absurd attempts to surrender, the better.

Is there then nothing we can do about the problem? Must we continue to let these alternating moods of struggle against the nature of things, and whole-hearted (or half-hearted) acceptance of even the worst of them, continue to structure our lives? Or, more likely, tear them apart?

No. The direct method of trying to gain control over our feelings proves self-defeating, but there is an indirect method which is more promising. The problem can be solved—though emphatically not at its own level or on its own terms—and solved absolutely.

The solution is ATTENTION, attention instead of intention. Attention to What is, in place of striving for what should be. Attention to how things already are, without any attempt to improve them. The fact is that total attention is surrender, and total surrender is attention.

Attention to precisely what? To what's given right where you are at this moment, regardless of other places and times. Just to read about this attention is no good at all. To get the point, dear Reader, look right now at what's taking in this line of print, at its Seer, its Reader—if any. Isn't it a fact that there's no-thing where you are, nothing but space for the scene (for a pair of hands holding an open book, surrounded by vague colored shapes) to happen in? Nothing where you are now but this speckless Awareness or Capacity, itself lacking all smell, taste, sound, color, opacity, movement, and therefore perfectly fitted to take in all these, and more? How marvelously accommodating you are!

This inseeing, this attention to What one always is, this discovery of What is beyond all improvement of deterioration (because there's nothing here to change or be changed)—this alone is total surrender. It is the giving up of every attribute and function that one had claimed, the end of all one's pretensions to be anything whatsoever. Not an atom of substance, not a twinge of feeling, not the shadow of a thought can survive in the rarefied atmosphere of the Center. Here remains only Attention, simple Awareness, pure Consciousness-of-consciousness without content or qualification, and This can never come or go. Here is Abandonment itself, including the abandonment of all time and change. One doesn't achieve this abandonment. One is it eternally.

All the same, this essential inseeing doesn't put an end to the parade of feelings and thoughts with their endless shifts and alternations, their built-in contradictions. Nor can it be counted on to "rectify" them. Maybe they will in some degree sort themselves out, and maybe the feeling of surrender will grow apace, now that all feelings are consciously experienced from their problem-free Source and Container right here. Nevertheless they remain in their own sphere essentially "problematical": it's their nature to be incomplete, in part false, at odds with one another. The real difference which this seeing-What-one-is makes, isn't the improvement of that scene (of one's thinking and feeling and behaving) but in its placing. It all belongs out there, in and to the world. What I used to call my thoughts and feelings are found to be thoughts and feelings about things there, not about Me here. The universe is replete with sadness and joy, ugliness and beauty, fighting and giving up, with all the other opposites, as it is with color and shape and movement. All of it is brought to light by the Light here, the Light that is itself clean of every thing it shines on. You are that Light.

But you may object that this Seeing-Who-and-What-you-really-are doesn't last, that it comes and goes, and perhaps is just as difficult to arrive at and maintain.

Well, try it, and you will find that, quite unlike the feeling, the seeing is always available. You can see perfectly well What and Who you really are, whatever your occupation or circumstances or mood. Nothing is easier or more natural.

Nor, strictly speaking, is it intermittent. It occurs out of time, inasmuch as it is seeing into the Place where nothing whatsoever—not even place and time—survives. This isn't theory for thinking about, but fact for testing. Look again and see the Emptiness that you are, and you will find that it doesn't read as beginning at such and such a time by the clock, and end so many seconds or minutes or hours later. I think you will find that it cannot be separated by any interval from other "occasions of seeing," so called. As one of the Zen masters observes, "Seeing into nothingness—this is the true seeing, the eternal seeing."

Where there is no time there is no will or intention or choice: all three are time's offspring. Paradoxically, real surrender to the Divine Will isn't just giving up one's own personal will but all will, and resting in the perfection of what is. The only way to come to the place of no desire is to attend to it, and see that one has never been anywhere else. Right here at zero inches from oneself, at the very midpoint of one's universe, is the God who is the still point at the heart of the storm.

We used to pray: "Thy will
my Lord and God, be done."
And lo! He has no will
He is stillness alone.

Angelus Silesius (1624-1677) So wrote Angelus Silesius, the Cherubinic Wanderer.

But in that case what are we to make of Dante's cry from the heart: "His will is our peace"?

The answer is to examine yet again the Spot one occupies and see how empty it is of all content of its own, and in particular of all will or intention. And see, too, how full it is of the scene, of the world as it is now given, complete with all the feelings and thoughts that are now coloring and enlivening it. Isn't it a fact, in your own experience at this moment as the will-less Source, that your will is perfectly embodied in what is now flowing from that Source, so that all of it is perfectly acceptable just as it is? Is it possible to see Who you are without endorsing things as they are? Is there any other way to true self-abandonment but falling into the arms of the One who in Himself has no will, but is responsible for everything in the world? To see that you are not in the world, but that on the contrary the world is in you, is to be more than reconciled to its every manifestation.

First see What and Who you really, really, really are, establish your true identity, and then see whether you have anything whatsoever to complain of.

~ Reprinted by permission, from Look for Yourself by Douglas E. Harding. See The Headless Way web site for more information on Douglas Harding and his teaching.

Go Deeper than Love
by D.H. Lawrence

~ Excerpted from Know Deeply, Know Thyself More Deeply

Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.
Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.

Mind Breakers:
Experiments in the Listening Attention
by Bob Fergeson

"The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitude of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." ~ William James

When we first start out in this business of finding the Self, the Truth of who or what we really are, we are forced to use the only tools at hand: our thinking and feeling. After a few years of trial and error with emotion-based cogitation, we may stumble upon the intuition that there's another tool available: direct seeing, or the listening attention. Our personal heredity, environment, and karma, will lead our thinking and feeling around and around in a never-ending circle of ego-fueled projections. This mechanical tail chasing may become more and more astute as we grow older and more crystallized, but never leads us to Truth. How can we blow a hole in this armored box of mind and emotion? Is it possible to perceive without coloring the perception?

Let's get to really know ourselves by playing some games. Drop the heavy learned pose of knowing, and instead return to the lighthearted innocence of simple seeing. Take the sense of "I" from your thinking and feeling, and allow the ever-present inner silence to be your center. We will now become, as Douglas Harding says, headless, alert idiots. Like taking a mini-vacation from yourself, drop the "you" you try so hard to be, and just listen and look. Does it sound like fun? You bet it is.

Put your conceptual thinking, precious feelings, and clever intellect aside and try the following trick: pick an object in front of you, say the tip of your finger. Where is this object in relation to you, as awareness? Now pick one behind you, the same finger if you like, and see where it is (the memory or feeling) in relation to you. Now, close your eyes, and scratch your nose. Where is this happening, in relation to you? Now, scratch the back of your neck. Look closely. Where is this taking place, in relation to you, as awareness? (Hint: having a double arrow of attention is imperative: one pointed outward towards the object, one inward towards the Unknown.)

Now, let's play a modified version of the same little game. Close your eyes, and, while looking inside with your inner eye, scratch the back of your neck with your finger. In your mind, which do you label as "me," and which as "object": the finger, or your neck? If you'd like, you can try switching the subject/object relationship. If you see the finger as object, and the neck, or body, as "me," try becoming the finger, and let the body be the object.

Outside-In photo by Bob Fergeson Outside-In photo by Bob Fergeson

Let's revert back to thinking for a bit, a relapse, so to speak, and see what just happened. The feeling of "me," and the feeling of the "world" or "objects," is an arbitrary designation brought about by what we call learning, another name for hypnosis. It is not a fact of our own seeing, based on present evidence. If we look a bit closer, with our eyes closed, we see that what we call the finger and body are simply tensions in the field of our awareness. They are both what we call objects, mind-made, whether we have been induced to call them "me" or "I," the body or the world.

To illustrate this even further, let's try this trick. Remember to keep focused, in silence, out of worded thought and the internal dialogue, and only watch what you're seeing with the mind's eye, on present evidence. Try and remember a moment when you were offended or hurt by someone. C'mon, this isn't hard, we all have many such moments, I'm sure. Relive the event just as it happened. Now, on present evidence, what is it in you that is hurt? And what is the form of the offending party, right now, as you see it? Remember, this is all now only in memory, so you can look clearly into your mind, and simply watch. What is the make up of the subject/object relationship in this play of victim and perpetrator? Who is doing what to whom? Where are you in all of this?

Now, for all you intellectuals, pick up a pencil or pen, and take a good look at it. Give a thorough, verbal description of the object before you. You may even list any associations the pen/pencil has for you. Now quick, who was talking? Who was listening? Who was being spoken to? Remember, this internal dialogue is happening inside your own head. Look carefully: in which voice is the "I" usually placed?

Now, let's finish up by giving ourselves a break, and get up and get a drink. But before we go to the kitchen for our drink, let's prepare ourselves. First, let's take a look at our aim, simple as it may be. We wish to get up, go to the kitchen and get a drink. This is our desire of the moment. You might even call it our longing. Now, without thinking, but by just observing in the present moment, watch what actually happens as we allow our longing to unfold. As we begin, the desk with its computer swings back and out of the way, and the view of our desired destination, the kitchen, swings into view. As our longing continues, the kitchen magically gets closer and closer. Realigning itself to our vision, it eventually presents itself to us, even if a hallway or another room has to first pass by. The water glass we need comes into view. A hand reaches out and picks it up. Then, the glass and the hand go under the faucet. Another hand appears, and turns on the faucet. The water appears and fills the glass. A hand puts the glass to a mouth and the water flows inside, becoming a feeling or tension somewhere within our mind's field of view. Somewhere, desire is replaced by satisfaction.

Now, what did we really have to do with any of this? Nothing. It just happened as an answer to our longing. The only part we actively played, in truth, was that of observer. The ever-still awareness we really are was witness to a play of desire and fulfillment. The play was created from nothing, out of nowhere, to miraculously appear in the aware space that is Us.

All spiritual work relies on the same basic principle. Our true longing eventually brings us to that which fulfills. We can now also see how the simple aim of reading this paper was not interfered with by the smaller aims of conducting the individual experiments. The end goal was achieved by progressing from one small goal to another, with our longing as the guide. As long as we didn't cater to a conflicting desire, and thus were not distracted, we came to the goal.

Any question asked with absolute sincerity, honesty, and commitment will be answered. If we want the world of form and images, along with its corresponding pleasure and pain, we will have it. If we wish to gaze upon the miracle of existence right before our eyes, created from nothing, moment by moment, we may have that, too. If you want to know what your true desire is, look truthfully at the life before your eyes. There is your true longing, playing out before you in the events of your day-to-day life. If there is static and pain, worldly desire and anxiety, then find out why you long for it. The answers are there, in the present moment. Bravely clear your vision, and turn the subjective world of your unconscious desires and fears into a simple clear longing for Truth.

~ See Bob's web sites, The Mystic Missal, NostalgiaWest, and The Listening Attention.

Material for Contemplation
by Shawn Nevins

Note: On Saturday afternoon during the November 2003 TAT meeting, we walked down two hills on the Rose farm from the community building to Big Wheeling Creek, coming out of the woods onto an open field of harvested corn. We then split off to find separate spots on the border of trees along the creek, to spend some time—listening. This material was available as a handout for possible contemplation.

Big Wheeling Creek, WV Big Wheeling Creek, WV - by Art Ticknor

You think,
the only deflection in this stillness
is you.
Seeming substance stops
at the edges of your mind.
Edges maintained only by effort.

An opportunity opens,
drops poignancy into your mind.
The words,
"every single thing is out there,"
curl upon themselves
and consume
every thing you feel inside.

Life is a series of misleading loves
that eventually fall
like leaves pulled from autumn trees,
floating in patterns
away from you.

Your claim to a season
passes on,
becomes more
than any pattern or purpose
ever conceived.


Irresistible thought
that impels me to action,
when will you let me rest?
A "me" created
from a jungle tangle of desire.
Remove one strand and the whole web
I fear.

I fear that between each thought
is empty space,
fear that even fear will fall into
that lonely place,
and release a soul
that will not know

The diminishment of many of our psychological ills and acceleration of our retreat from error occurs through the contemplation of death. It is useful to recognize death in its many forms: fear, loneliness, loss, sleep, embarrassment, and forgetfulness.


"I'm trying to age a few young people." ~ Richard Rose


frisbee Frisbeetarianism (n), the belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.

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