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

January 2011

This Month's Contents: Reverse-order Q&A by D&A| Correspondence between Ohio & Connecticut by Dave & Mike | Be As You Are Selections by Sri Ramana Maharshi | A Poem by Shawn Nevins | Video: The Known Universe by AMNH | Quotes | Humor: God is an Atheist, by N. Nosirrah an Enlightenment Dudes book review

Editor's Note
by David Weimer

spiritual magazine We believe this is the beginning of another year. What if there were no years?

Become a part of this year’s TAT Forum.

A “Call for Papers.”

Your original essays, poems, stories, photographs and other literary, audio and video contributions are welcome this year, as every year. Send us your suggestions for featuring other authors and authorities on the subjects close to our hearts. Click on Contact above and send us your comments and questions.

You can also Subscribe to this e-zine by clicking the link at the top of this page. You will receive monthly email notices of new issues and information on TAT Foundation events. This lets us know there is someone out there, listening.

Happy New Year!

Q&A Exchange by D & A

Fontaine de Vacluse

Hi D,

Maybe the change you sense in me is weariness, confusion and depression.

Please see some comments below, in bold.


Note: The following is a three-layer reverse-order Q&A exchange between two friends interested in the most important subject. “D” edits this Forum every other month, works as a handyman and is cobbling together a book. “A” is a determined spiritual seeker, world-traveling project leader for a large company and recently experienced unexpected “glimpses” into his nature and the source of his thinking.

Earlier, D asked A for a piece of writing for this month’s Forum. A said that he was doubtful it would be of interest. D responded in the plain text below. A’s replies are in bold and D’s reactions to those are italicized. An underlined missive was the last swing in this tether-ball back-and-forth. Confusing-sounding? Hold on…

Hi D,

I think I see what you mean about the impossibility of the kind of understanding I expect there to exist across the gap of what can and can’t be put in words. I think I'll try what you suggested.

I think the Q&A format would be good. I look forward to seeing what you're able to come up with and working toward the possibility that it might be of some usefulness to others. (I still favor face-to-face communication for stuff like this. But that looking into the eyes and direct sensing of how the words might be useful is often not available when we live so far apart from each other and only get together every few months.)

Thanks A


Hi A,

I’ve responded to your comments. I used italics under your bolded text.


Hi A,

I wanted to leave you alone for a while.

Did you go back and read what I wrote? It doesn't sound like you did. Why not?

I did. I wanted to know where you were looking from now, not what you’d experienced.

I figured by now that you could say something. And when I softly suggest or ask people to write something they never get back. So I go for the more direct appeal--and they still don't write, although they at least say they won't. And you are someone whose view I want! Because of your 'extended glimpses' and overall status as seeker.

What do I think? I want something in writing from you. Deluded seeker is a value judgment on your part.

I am still not other than a coward. Is that a judgment on my part?

That’s my terminology, relating to me; other people will have their own terms that relate to them and their condition. What has changed in your chest or heart? Not what you think. Are you different from what you felt yourself to be three years ago? A satori experience (eureka) might not change anything in the heart or fundamentally. I don’t know.

My assessment of value: Someone actively and possibly honestly engaged in the only endeavor worth embarking on is someone I want to hear from. All good and well to hear some enlightened person say how great the view is from the mountain top. More valuable, in my opinion, to also hear from people working.

I can understand that you might want to hear from me. But, I'm pretty sure that your readers do not. In fact, I'd willing to bet that when you were a seeker, reading other seekers' blurbs was not one of your top priorities.

“Comparing notes” with fellow seekers was an integral part of my seeking. Sharing information discovered, books examined, practices tried. The real work or focus was not [talking with fellow seekers], but what would we do whenever we met? We’d ask each other, “Hey, how’s it going? What are you doing now?” And we’d tell each other this stuff. I have a different opinion about what people would find valuable or interesting.

Everything I’ve managed to put in the Forum that was written by seekers I have found interesting and valuable. It’s alright to be afraid. But walk through the door once; you’ll not regret it, and in any case, you’ve got nothing to lose except personal pride or ego-reinforcing stuff.

I'm sure you don't feel that the Forum has been mostly enlightened people writing about how great the view is. So, your statement above is a little misleading.

That could be a tendency in spiritual newsletters. Putting out the correct information. This is what enlightened people say. Originally, Shawn told me (and I don’t know if this is what Art and Shawn talked about ten years ago as the Forum was started or if it’s what Shawn thought about when he took over editing) that they wanted to feature only new work in the Forum. This means a lot of stuff written by Dumb Shits. My statement isn’t misleading; it is making a point. You’re just arguing. You don’t want to do something.

Probably not related to you, but Rose advised or told a guy to lose the coward; he’s not worth saving. Your comments here remind me of [one of the guys] down in Raleigh in October when I tried to talk him into fire walking with me (it was only three steps). He had endless supplies of problems with my suggestion—they were legion. What about just doing it? Deciding to maybe try? Easy for me to say, I know (I’m already deluded into thinking I can do it). Incidentally, [he] was entertaining the idea, I could see that, but when it came down to actually doing it, he retreated and reinforced his position in [sanity and] safety.

[What I wanted, was for you to say things like:] "This is what I have been trying. This is what I think about my past efforts, my current efforts and my thoughts on what my future efforts might bring me. This is what I think about the 'subject at hand' now."

I feel that there is nothing more valuable to other seekers than hearing you, A, directly address what you think about the project you are engaged in. Extraordinarily valuable, and what I really, really want!

Lately it has been more and more on my mind that I am in a seemingly endless cycle of getting exposed to and excited about new teachers and their variations on spiritual teachings, followed by months of deepening understanding of the particular variation (i.e. the terminology, the metaphors, the clichés, stories, do's and don't, the relative weaknesses of the other teachings...), and growing sense of optimism and focus until the sense of hitting a plateau becomes apparent, followed by apparently coincidental, seemingly fortuitous exposure to a new teaching with renewed promise and excitement.

More recently, the periods of relative excitement have been associated with thoughts like, "This is it... I've finally found the last teacher/teaching that I'll ever need to pursue... Now I can concentrate on this one, till the end."

The distress triggered by the recognition of these cycles is somewhat tempered by the possibility that the cycles may be getting shorter. But the distress leads to depression when the cycling appears to include recycling of teachers/teachings which had appeared to have been exhausted earlier. A partial list would include: Watts, Hanh, Tolle, Beck, Benoit, Rose, Cergol, Weimer, Harding, Bernard, Nisargadatta, Ouspensky/Gurdjieff, 12-Step Work, Tolle, Langford, Llum, Scoma, Hall, Wingate, Wheeler, Hedderman, Wheeler, Hedderman, and now perhaps Spira... and round and round. (Plus a long list of supporting "actors" like Traversa, Howard, Almass, Reich, Sahn, Segal, Taylor...)

Practices like dreamwork, hypnosis, prayer, isolations, fasting, retreats have come and gone, but meditation and journaling have continued pretty consistently although with their own variations. The most consistent form of meditation has been the effortless variety, although there was also a year and half of several-hours-per-day awareness watching awareness practice.

A relatively steadily increasing trend has been a reduction in repression of emotions, aimed initially at increasing intuition but also connecting to longing which has triggered cycles of intensely praying for guidance and completion.

These days, I've been recalling with increasing frequency that there is a perceiving me that is aware of the thoughts, feelings and moods that I'm otherwise usually identified with. I'm noticing also how often the thoughts are associated with situations and circumstances from the past or anticipated in the future; especially my past and my future. Sometimes I pay attention to a sound or sensation as an anchor to the present where these imagined situations and circumstances don't actually exist and the thoughts about them are not necessary. Overall there seems to be more of a mix of the positive and negative sides of efforts to realize the Truth, i.e. focus on more directly connecting to our true nature, versus backing away from untruth.

The degree to which thoughts come automatically seems more apparent sometimes, especially the spontaneous recalling and noticing above, as well as the reflecting and then falling back into the usual trains of thoughts about me, my past and my future.

Now that’s what I’m talking about. Thank you. You have offered a rare and honest glimpse into your journey.

[I sent you a Link to the thing you wrote in 2007 to maybe show you what you were putting out a few years ago. I assumed that you could look at that and have a compare/contrast moment between your current perspective and whatever you had back then, what you put out back then and what you think now about the guy who responded in the way that he did, back then.]

I vaguely recall wanting to present myself as a hard-working, hard-trying, "straining" seeker. When I've wondered if all the straining is possibly becoming counter productive, and whether "relax" makes more sense, I've doubted and struggled, afraid of what might happen, how I might fall off the path. [Also], what would so-and-so say or think. I suppose I am only just now moving toward becoming more of my own authority, although barely so, it seems.

Again, grateful for your candor. This is what a real, honest-to-God seeker encounters. Questions like “Will this doom me?” or, “Will this help me?” Attaching [oneself] to this; leaving that. You know, this is the meat-and-potatoes of seeking, in my opinion. You are your own authority. Everyone else is taking up space in your world. Except for the ones you relate to or recognize. They become your friends. I’m talking in the third person but I’m really speaking from the first person perspective.

Thank you very much for the links [A had sent links to essays and a video by two inspiring spiritual teachers]. But I want something from you. Blame it on me; that I asked you for a progress report, a statement from you about what you think about life, and seeking, right now.

[You’re] like a guy climbing Mount Everest saying that he doesn't have anything valuable to say for other climbers until he has summited. Climbers might benefit from hearing another climber, on a steep section above them, talking about what they're encountering.

I definitely pick up an attitude change in you. Perhaps it is what you've always had inside but always put another face on things in dealing with people. There's a definite change in how you're showing up in the world. Less apologetic or 'nice.' This is just what I pick up. I could be wrong and projecting a lot, but I don't think so.

Something in me refuses to believe that I have changed significantly. And this something in me absolutely refuses to put any credibility in how others think they can read me, compared to how I read myself. I'm not saying this is a good. It's just what I notice. I guess I have seen too many total, 180-degree mis-reads.

Yeah, I can relate to that. Maybe you had a glimpse. The bucket being lowered into the well. Cosmic Consciousness. Sudden or global comprehension of a previously not understood cosmos (where thoughts come from/what thoughts are). I suspect you are going somewhere else. A furthering of this. Assimilation and something more, on another level than before.

[Try reading] over some philosophic stuff that you feel you pretty much have already gone through. Like Ramana Maharshi, for example. I remember reading stuff that I thought I [was familiar with] already and was very surprised. I kept turning to look at the cover, suspecting that I was reading a different edition or something. The other thing is what you feel. Do you feel different? I’m not talking about profound ultimate things. Although I could be talking about fundamental things—things at your foundation. I remember writing in a TAT newsletter (before the Forum existed), “I am not enlightened. But I do believe that I experienced what I’ll go through when I die for real.” I was fundamentally changed. I didn’t “know” anything. I knew even less, far less than I ever thought I’d known before. I was changed. Different.

When something happens to you, in my opinion, it is so utterly personal that you don’t equate it with any of the adjectives you’ve heard the gurus saying. Enlightenment. Satori. Realization.

There is no equals sign because [in] my head’s dictionary these words were defined by a guy who had not experienced what I’d recently gone through. My "head" still accepts without question these definitions (fingers pointing at the moon) as valid. I’d experienced moon-ness, but never and could never make the connection because, quite literally, the experience itself and the words are universes apart. They [don’t] touch. My old definitions were things a clueless guy "understood." How could [those definitions] “equate” to an actual experience of anything? [From] orange tasting to annihilation.

I don’t know what you don’t know. But I recognize something is different with you. What helped me the most was [accidentally] reading [Be As You Are] by Ramana Maharshi and Rose’s Albigen Papers. Previously, I had been pretty bored by both of these works. They did not ring a lot of bells for me, although I tried. But! Suddenly I saw that I knew what they were saying; that was a big surprise.

Do you feel different inside? Do you recognize stuff that you couldn’t or didn’t before?

All I want is you talking about what you see now. Basically address these questions: What do you think about the project you are engaged in? Has your assessment of that work changed? I'm talking about the 'subject at hand.' What does the search for (fill in the blank with your ultimate objective) mean to you now? What did it mean before? What do you think your future will bring? What are your prospects? What 'work' will you be doing now? What efforts have you made before, and what did you get from them? Just an overview, please, of your life as a seeker, as seen from where you stand right now. Philosophy

I long to be transformed and see the truth of what's going on. I long to be done with it; to be finished with the searching and the not-knowing and all the back-and-forth; optimism-pessimism, hope-hopeless, apparent-clarity/delusion, lost... I have also longed for a sense of ease, peace, knowing, and being able to help others, especially my sons. These seem less important now, or less likely to happen under any circumstances.

I think my future will bring a shortening of the cycles I described above, plus more and more distress at the diminishing triggers of excitement, optimism and renewed hope. Although I could not have imagined it a couple of years ago, the possibility of giving up is starting to seem within the realm of the remotely possible. At the time, oddly, I think my prospects are decent. (What I'm doing now is described above.)

I am honored; thank you for your honesty.

As a parent, I can answer all of these questions in the context of parenthood. They can be answered [from within] any context: seeker, mountain climber, book writer, etc.

Please write something and send it! It should really only take you an hour or so. I mean, you'll be talking about where you are right now, seeing what you see; how much easier can it be? No research required.

I have basically asked people who I think have something to offer to write something. What to offer? Their perspective. Talk about what you see from where you are.

I think your other piece was good. When I asked you for it, I didn't intend to include it in a Forum because I wasn't editing the Forum at that point. I just wanted to share your perspective with the M&M Philosophy crowd.

Thanks. If you think something of what I wrote above can be put in a usable form, let me know how and I'll give it a try.

As I started to send this I realized I had not mentioned meeting with our local group every other week, and corresponding with various other seekers in the group or otherwise, like from previous retreats. I've also been on the phone a lot with a member of our local group who has been in a fairly deep depression.

I'm noticing also that I'm becoming the guy who seems to be dragging his feet and not replying as quickly as I had hoped. A.T. sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago asking how I'm doing and how I'm reflecting on the retreat and glimpses and so on. But, like with this e-mail, I've struggled to assess what's going on, and have not responded yet. Plus I owe A., T. and C. e-mails, and I'd planned to join in the google doc's system T. set up for encouraging follow-up from the November TAT meeting.

Thank you, A. I would like to take what you wrote and put it in a Q&A form, using this correspondence. I’ll send you what I come up with soon.

Please give your honest comments and answers to the questions above from your viewing point. I'm asking you to talk from where you are. Just say what you think.

Waiting hopefully,


Well A, thank you very much.



~If you have any questions or comments of your own you can Email
or Email .

Correspondence between Ohio and Connecticut
with Dave & Mike

This excerpted correspondence took place last month between TAT members Dave in Ohio and Mike in Connecticut. Dave is in his 40s and Mike is in his 20s.

Correspond Hey Dave,

I want to start a daily journal in order to get a better look at my self and my internal processes. I was thinking of daily moods, maybe thoughts, reactions, interactions, progress, etc. This journal hopefully will mainly be about getting to know the whys of what I do. To get some understanding on why I think or react the way I do.



Hi Mike,

I like what you said in stating the reasons you were considering keeping a journal.

For me, just the process of writing my thoughts, having to put into words what I was feeling or deciding—that was important. It was evidence. Something concrete. Beyond that is the pattern or repeating behavior thing. That is revealing. I was a lone explorer going into territory where there was no other soul to speak to. My journal was my way of talking to myself.

You know, all the kinks will iron themselves out. Once it becomes a part of your daily life, a habit, it is something you can't imagine having not done. I say 'you' but I mean what I think.

Okay Mike!



I bought the TAT April 2006 DVD and just completed watching it. I was just wondering why you thought I would relate to Shawn's segment? What specifically about it did you connect with me? I know that I could relate to the part where Shawn talked about feeling like I don't have what it takes to make it. The earnestness, dynamism, and drive.

Sometimes I can key into this mood or feeling that knowing who or what I am is the most important thing I could ever want to know. When that mood/feeling descends on me I get more hopeful. Lately all of Bob Cergol's writings and his segment on the TAT DVD have really thrown me back into that mood. I really like his idea about sitting with and staring at anything that is a blow to your sense of self. Maybe it’s just the fact that I can take something that hurts the most and use it some how in a positive way or that it can be of benefit but it feels like more than that. I really feel like there is something there.


Hi Mike,

Well, I can relate to the image that Shawn portrays with his answers and outlook, as what I think of as a true seeker. Someone who is just working on this thing—not putting it off or lying to oneself or playing other games. For a genuine seeker, they're doing what they were destined to do, doing justice to the activity, 'seeking.' They're not mailing it in or half-assing it.

The thing I wanted you to see was an example of a person who was on this thing, this kick—and it's good to encounter people who you can relate to. Every full-time philosopher is utterly unique and different from all others—but exactly like every other full-time philosopher.

Have you ever talked to Bob Cergol?

I always felt that there was something. I mean the answer to everything, the meaning of life. Something big, like God; I felt it, but I didn't have it. Have you ever felt something like this? Ever heard bells ring when someone talks?



Hey Dave,

I've never talked to Bob Cergol, no. In regards to your question about feeling something big out there like god, I'm not sure if I can relate to that. But questioning what life is about or if there is a god, or an afterlife has always been something I have thought about since I can remember.

I guess I'm more of a doubter. I doubt almost everything unless I KNOW it. That has made commitment to this whole thing pretty hard but more and more doubt is coming up about life in general.

As the days pass more and more I think a final answer is what is going to do it. Not a wife and kids, not friendship, not security. These were/are the proposed beliefs of what is going to fill this feeling of incompletion that I've had ever since adolescence. I really related with Shawn's idea of just wanting to know SOMETHING for certain, ANYTHING. But just to KNOW it.

The more I look at things the less I feel like I know about them, including myself. But lately I've come to realize that underneath almost all of my actions is this feeling, this incompleteness that drives me to try and fill it. Drinking, friendship, love, these were all the things I thought might do it. Now I'm not so sure.

As for hearing bells ring, I feel like a lot of what Cergol's stuff has been doing that for me lately. I've been reading and re-reading his stuff lately and it has been hitting me with a lot of force.


Hi Mike,

“The more I look at things the less I feel like I know…” Well that’s the railroad tracks that Rose talks about ending, I believe.

[Nevins wrote a while back that if he can do it, anyone can]

Without seeing precedence, it feels pretty crazy to make a commitment to this search for ultimate meaning. Everything in us and our world seems to discourage going in this direction. It wasn’t until I encountered Rose’s life example that I said to myself, "If he can do it, I can do it for myself."

If he was deluded, then I wanted that brand of delusion because the stuff people were trying to sell me was valueless to me. He embodied a certainness that I recognized as related to the feeling I’d had of there being something big that I didn’t have.

It was terrifying in a way and I had a STRONG feeling that I was throwing my life away. I was anyway, that’s for sure, spending my time in a place half-heartedly, not being fulfilled by any of the fare offered there. It finally made me feel like I was doing the work I was destined to do, once I began taking steps into my own life. It wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Like before jumping in the water.

People talk darkly and seriously about the seeking of something ultimate. It’s also the grandest adventure there is. It’s finally doing something that isn’t meaningless.

What do you mean by hopeless?



When I said hopeless path I wasn't even really talking about the spiritual search. I was rather talking about life in general. Since adolescence I've had this feeling that something is missing, that there is this awful feeling of incompletion. When it first hit I was probably about 16 I had a girlfriend who was great and doing well in school but something just seemed missing.

This feeling never really went away. It seems like I've always looked for some definition for me. All throughout college I struggled with what I was really interested. What defined me. What would I do with my life that would give it meaning?

After 5 years and 5 different major changes I finally settled on psychology even though that didn't really do it for me either. I just wanted to get out of there. Depression and Anxiety have been a major part of my life with that feeling of incompleteness, sometimes it just seemed that it was hopeless this life. That finding something of meaning might be impossible for me.

It just was tough looking out at my fellow friends, I felt like they all kind of found the niche, something that gave them meaning and a drive and purpose. Seeing that I couldn't find anything has a lot of times left me with this feeling of hopelessness for life.

That this feeling of isolation and separation wasn't something that could be fixed. Adding things to myself always felt wrong too. My friends seemed to successfully be able to do it and be satisfied and I couldn't. That's where I think this hopelessness came from.

I also feel like something that really drew me to this whole spiritual search thing in the first place was the fact that it was about subtraction not addition. I've always looked out at people and felt like all this crap they were trying to sell, either to themselves or others was fake, just garbage. Not Genuine I guess. I noticed that in myself as well and this probably contributed to some negative self images. But getting rid of all this crap, finding something true, real about myself seemed and still does seem like something that might offer hope.

CorrespondsSomething that has always keyed in this longing for something more and given me hope is music. Certain music can really key in this feeling, and when I see that someone else has this same experience, this longing for something more there is a connection. It can be completely inspiring to me. I really don't know what type of music you like or anything like that but have you ever heard of a band Mumford and Sons? They are an English folk/rock group that specifically keys in this feeling in me.

They only have one album out right now, Sigh No More, But the themes presented in it are quite amazing. Truth, Love, God, Longing to understand, seeking, it all hits me so hard and the way the music accompanies the lyrics just moves me in such a way, it’s indescribable. A lot of their lyrics were inspired by Shakespeare and Steinbeck—or so I read. Here are a few links to some of their songs. Just listen to a few of them if you get the chance and listen to the lyrics.

Sigh No More
After the Storm
Awake My Soul
Roll Away Your Stone

End of thread.

~ Email or Email .

Be As You Are Selections
by Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

The following is a series of excerpts from a remarkable compilation, Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman. Arkana Books, 1985.

The editor took questions and answers from many sources and assembled them. There is an impression that they were from continuous conversations. “I was forced to adopt this method because there are no continuous lengthy conversations available which cover the full spectrum of his views on any particular subject,” Godman says.

If you are intrigued by these quotes, then buy the book and delve deeply into Ramana Maharshi’s perspective on life and the Self.

Q: What is reality?

A: Reality must be always real. It is not with forms and names. That which underlies these is the reality. It underlies limitations, being itself limitless. It is not bound. It underlies unrealities, itself being real. Reality is that which is. It is as it is. It transcends speech. It is beyond the expressions 'existence, non-existence', etc.

….The reality which shines fully, without misery and without a body, not only when the world is known but also when the world is not known, is your real form. The radiance of consciousness-bliss, in the form of one awareness shining equally within and without, is the supreme and blissful primal reality. Its form is silence and it is declared by jnanis [those who have realized the Self] to be the final and unobstructable state of true knowledge.

Q: If the Self is itself aware, why am I not aware of it even now?

A: There is no duality. Your present knowledge is due to the ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object, whereas the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object.

….People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. The best definition is ‘I am that I am’. The [scriptures] speak of the Self as being the size of one’s thumb, the tip of the hair, an electric spark, vast, subtler than the subtlest, etc. They have no foundation in fact. It is only being, but different from the real and the unreal; it is knowledge, but different from knowledge and ignorance. How can it be defined at all? It is simply being.

Q: When a man realises the Self, what will he see?

A: There is no seeing. Seeing is only being. The state of Self-realisation, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. All that is needed is that you give up your realisation of the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real.

Q: How to know this by direct experience?

A: If we talk of knowing the Self, there must be two selves, one a knowing self, another the self which is known, and the process of knowing. The state we call realisation is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realised, one is that which alone is and which alone has always been. One cannot describe that state. One can only be that. Of course, we loosely talk of Self-realisation, for want of a better term. How to ‘real-ise’ or make real that which alone is real?

Q: You sometimes say the Self is silence. Why is this?

A: For those who live in Self as the beauty devoid of thought, there is nothing which should be thought of. That which should be adhered to is only the experience of silence, because in that supreme state nothing exists to be attained other than oneself.

Q: What is mouna [silence]?

A: That state which transcends speech and thought is mouna. That which is, is mouna. How can mouna be explained in words?

….All other knowledges are only petty and trivial knowledges; the experience of silence alone is the real and perfect knowledge.

Q: As the Self is existence [sat] and consciousness [chit] what is the reason for describing it as different from the existent and the non-existent, the sentient and the insentient?

A: Although the Self is real, as it comprises everything, it does not give room for questions involving duality about its reality or unreality.

Q: Sri Bhagavan speaks of the Heart as the seat of consciousness and is identical with the Self. What does the Heart exactly signify?

A: Call it by any name, God, Self, the Heart or the seat of consciousness, it is all the same. The point to be grasped is this, that Heart means the very core of one’s being, the centre, without which there is nothing whatsoever.

Q: However often Bhagavan teaches us, we are not able to understand.

A: People say that they are not able to know the Self that is all pervading. What can I do? Even the smallest child says, ‘I exist; I do; this is mine.’ So, everyone understands that the thing ‘I’ is always existent. It is only when that ‘I’ is there that there is the feeling that you are the body, he is Venkanna, this is Ramanna and so on. To know that the one that is always visible is one’s own Self, is it necessary to search with a candle? To say that we do not know [the real nature of the Self] which is not different but which is in one’s own Self is like saying, ‘I do not know myself.’

Q: But how is one to reach this state?

A: There is no goal to be reached. There is nothing to be attained. You are the Self. You exist always. Nothing more can be predicated of the Self than it exists. Seeing God or the Self is only being the Self or yourself. Seeing is being. You, being the Self, want to know how to attain the Self. It is something like a man being at Ramanasramam asking how many ways there are to reach Ramanasramam and which is the best way for him. All that is required of you is to give up the thought that you are this body and to give up all thoughts of the external things or the not-Self.

Q: What is the ego-self? How is it related to the real Self?

A: The ego-self appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas the real Self is permanent. Though you are actually the true Self you wrongly identify the real Self with the ego-self.

Q: How does the mistake come about?

A: See if it has come about.

Q: One has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self.

A: The ego-self does not exist at all.

Q: Why does it give us trouble?

A: To whom is the trouble? The trouble also is imagined. Trouble and pleasure are only for the ego.

Q: Why is the world so wrapped up in ignorance?

A: Take care of yourself. Let the world take care of itself. See your Self. If you are the body there is the gross world also. If you are spirit all is spirit alone.

Q: It will hold good for the individual, but what of the rest?

A: Do it first and then see if the question arises afterwards.

Q: Is there avidya [ignorance]?

A: For whom is it?

Q: For the ego-self.

A: Yes, for the ego. Remove the ego and avidya is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains.

Q: Does my realisation help others?

A: Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. For a realised being sees only the Self, just like a goldsmith estimating the gold in various items of jewellery sees only gold.


A Poem
by Shawn Nevins

Little did we know
our playful poses by grandfather’s one story shanty
– a country doctor’s office –
would be the last memory of us.
Not that we didn’t live full lives
and create life from our life,
but that the line of love is broken.
The look in our eyes is silenced for no one remembers
who we are.
We are sentenced – not even ghost-worthy –
just trapped in a 4 X 5 cell glued to a brittle page,
paused over briefly
by strangers.

The Known Universe

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"You said the sane person is the one who knows their source. Can you elaborate on that?"

"Yes… I think that a person should never stop until they know the Source. The word Source is the right word, because if you say anything but that you are postulating in advance. We should find out the answer. Strangely enough, when you find out the answer of any thing, you’ll know the answer of everything. The truth in this matter, once it opens up, is that the answer to all of this becomes apparent.

"I don’t like to make statements without launching into a description of subjective realization. The realization was more than just subjective. The realization was other-dimensional, meaning we are no longer on the relative scale. We are in a position where man is truly One.

"People talk about it. They prattle about 'be here now,' everything’s now, there’s no space-time, but they are only prattling. They don’t know that there’s only now. They’re just prattling about it. You’ll hear this statement that, 'We’re all One,' and it sounds so good in terms of social compatibility, but they don’t know that we’re One. That’s just prattling. When you know you’re One, the politics won’t matter. Nothing will matter. This is basically the point that you get. The thing the theologians stumble around on trying to prove with words, you realize with finality. From that you retreat your steps and then you say, 'Oh! Now I know why this other thing is! Now I know why we think this way.'”

~Q&A from a lecture given by Richard Rose on June 26, 1983.


God Is an Atheist:
A Novella for Those Who Have Run Out of Time
video book review
by Enlightenment Dudes

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


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