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

February 2011

This Month's Contents: Work, Watch, Wait by Art Ticknor | A Poem by Andreas Hack | What ever is to be will be by Gary Harmon | Quotes | Humor

Editor's Note
by Shawn Nevins

spiritual magazine

I hope that your New Year's resolutions are going well. It takes time for new habits to get established so don't give up!

For the April 2011 Forum, I would like your input on this theme: Life as teacher. Richard Rose evocatively wrote, "Yet the real teacher is not a man, and is known only in that circumstances befall us," and that line has surfaced again and again for me over the years. Please submit essays, poems, and pictures on Life as teacher — stories of a life event that taught you a profound lesson. The submission deadline is March 7, 2011.

Work, Watch, Wait
by Art Ticknor

So Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, "If you live by what I say, you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32

Chela-A: What does it mean to know the truth?
Teacher: Knowing the truth is not a knowing in any form you're familiar with. It's seeing what is as opposed to what seems. "What is" is what you truly are. Do you know what you are? Do you see the truth?
A: Apparently not. I don't really know what I am, and I certainly don't feel free. So I must not see the truth.
T: What do you tell yourself the reason for the non-seeing is? Do you feel it's because the truth is in the dark and when light reveals it you'll be able to see it? Because a new "eye" has to open in order to see it? Something else?
A: I keep seeing my personal self! It's annoying. It's just a damned notion, but I take it to be so real. No, no other light, or new eye, just a stupid conviction that needs to stop happening. "Unclenching" sounds kind of like what's needed.
T: Yes, the personal self is a clenched fist. A fist has no sight. Only the Truth/Self sees, and only the Truth/Self sees itself. Reflecting back on my life, I could say: "I looked away and saw a projection of myself. I looked back and saw my real self."

Teacher to Chela-B: Do you feel you currently see the Truth, or that it's hidden from you? If you do see it: do you recognize it or admit the implications of what you see; if not, how do you explain to yourself the non-recognition or non-admission?
B: I feel that I can see the Truth. I can see that all things arise and disappear in the view, including every single aspect of I/me. I/me is not-I, yet all not-I are contained in I.
I tell myself that there must be something I'm NOT seeing clearly, which is why I persist in craving, seeking and trying to become something. I don't know which of the two categories this explanation falls in, since the explanation probably contains aspects of both. I am tending toward the interpretation that if I notice what I haven't yet noticed, then the unbelief or non-admission would be impossible to sustain.
T: "As a child, I held on to childish beliefs."

Chela-C: Hidden. The mind is attached to the mental drama and pretend ego-building but could tire of this and begin to turn its inquiry to the observer truthand over time somehow the resistance would wear out and a vision would happen that hasn't yet. I've also been assuming, since what I see isn't me I need to see something I haven't yet, when the observation is part of the truth too. It's that kind of mental blinders (in this case a misinterpretation perhaps) that keep the view focused on the parts rather than the whole and I don't know how many are left and how long it'll take to see them.
T: "I was in love with sorrow."

Chela-D: I often feel like I see the Truth. I don't fully accept it because I still have attachments to untruth. Some of these attachments I'm not seeing yet. Some I'm not willing to let go of yet.
T: "I concocted elaborate stories to try to still the troubled waters."

Chela-E: It feels like it's hidden. I tell myself it's not seen because I'm not ready yet due to continued strength of the ego (individuality sense) and all its attachments. I can hypothetically understand that Truth may be perfectly obvious and I'm just ignoring it because of this. Also, the Truth as expressed by those reporting back feels extremely right, but somehow seems too good to be true.
T: "I prayed to my Self, imploring my Self to show me the way, to reveal the truth of myself to myself. But when my Self asked me if I were ready, I said: 'Not just yet.'"


Chela-D: I've been working hard, writing down my observations, learning new things, etc. Is all this an elaborate story I've invented to avoid the Truth?
T: That's a question you'll have to answer for yourself. You're the only authority to gauge whether my response ("I concocted elaborate stories to try to still the troubled waters.") fits your situation.
D: Is despair a valid strategy?
T: Despair (loss of hope) is not a strategy. It's a feeling-reaction that generates a belief or conviction. The feeling is a fact; the belief or conviction is an interpretation that may be more or less valid. The existentialists like Sartre and the popular crop of today's advaitins (who share the view that "you're already enlightened … just admit there's no self," etc.) represent exhausted seekers who stop short of realization by latching onto the belief that there's nothing to be done. That's a premature interpretation of hopelessness. Of course some people never start seeking due to an adolescent interpretation of hopelessness ("there's no answer" or "it's too big for me to tackle," and so on). A valid strategy is to make our life a laboratory for finding the truth of what we are and to feel our way intuitively, allowing intuition to refine the strategy as we go along. Mental clarity increases as we "back up" within the mind ... as more and more of the mind's activity comes into view. Final mental clarity is only possible if we can see mind from a higher perspective.

Chela-B: There was a deflating effect of your statement that endures to right now. Thing is, we've done this before. The affliction, the response, the story, the forgetting – and repeat the cycle. Perhaps there is a bit more honesty, a bit more acceptance of my complete ignorance, than the last cycle. What is it that your question and feedback was designed to do? Is there a better way for me to approach this? To show that it's time that I let go of mental forms that have been repeating since childhood? But if I am convinced I am those mental forms then how is that necessary higher perspective achieved?
T: What I said was a statement reflecting my life-experience triggered by your answer to the question. You might take a look at whether your prolonged focus on your balloon's frequent deflation is a possible defense mechanism that allows you to avoid looking at the facts that life is trying to present to you … and therefore allows a reinflating of the balloon (ego, self-belief) to prevent its collapse.

Chela-E: Had a big blow to the seeker ego this past week by realizing that I'm the same old unenlightened schleb I've always been. It's like there was a house of cards being built up represented by hours of meditation, retreat attendance, doctrine study, etc., which was severely shaken and damaged if not toppled. This resulted in being distraught and a lingering feeling of gloominess. Seeking activities will continue, but I feel the grandiose ideals of Enlightenment need to be replaced with practicality, simplicity and realism.


Recognizing what you truly are takes work – possibly years or a lifetime of work. I doubt if anyone puts in the necessary effort unless they come to see (i.e., intuit) that it's the only solution to their deepest question, desire or dissatisfaction.

What obstructs our clear view is a field of faulty beliefs about what we are. Life erodes those beliefs over time, sometimes providing traumas that knock them down. We can speed up the process by intentionally looking for them and consciously doubting them. Introspection – watching the mind's activity and looking for patterns – provides the data to challenge the validity of self-beliefs. We work then relax; pray then listen; push then wait.

We can't force a breakthrough to self-knowing. The pins have to line up properly for the lock to open, and we don't know what key will do that.

If you have any questions or comments of your own, email .

A Poem
by Andreas Hack

“All fake”

Last hours
Lone 10 day retreat
A hut called “Beyond”

Dark outside
Warmed by fire, coffee

Who am I?
What need I do?

“All fake”
Wells up
Gently & clearly

Every “me” you’ve ever tried
All fake

Corporate man
Helping professional

Some of the many
All fake

Always knew that
Always felt “not quite right”
Always been looking for the next better “me”

All fake

Sounds harsh
Feels right though
Honest & true

Who am I?
What need I do?

A smile
First sun touches the other side of the valley
Currawongs calling out to each other

A few more moments
Before packing the bags

What ever is to be will be
by Gary Harmon

What ever is to be will be. The lazy engineer of this place has it all planned out.

When we are born and when people die is all part of the program as is the pain and sorrow, laughter and joy, justice and injustices. I have found that even though that is known at center it is still sometimes difficult to accept the obviousness that there is only one will: that being the will of divinity.

A very sane perspective to have is to be in agreement. I have also found that it is best to differentiate awareness from consciousness for awareness has no personal likes or dislikes like appointed consciousness does. It is the personal consciousness which feels pain and experiences joy.

What is it that is aware of this consciousness? I look toward the light which is our home which all things are born of and return to. Is either awareness or consciousness definable or concrete? I think not. At center it simply is without reason, without cause, eternally dreaming.consciousness

Going with the flow as a mantra is good for sanity’s sake. Acceptance of all that is presented can be difficult even when it is known the apparent individual is a phantom, a reflection whose opinion has no bearing — we are not that, but something much greater. There is an inner voice that tells us everything is perfect even though our outer opinionated voice yells NO! NO! NO!

The bigger picture is beyond understanding and seems to have a mind of its own, but it does not. It is actually our mind seen in its entirety.

Going with what we feel is improper or just plain wrong can be a major deficiency of fully developed adult responsibility and temperance. A practical way is to help steer the toboggan on its downward ride toward the bottom of the hill and exert the limited free will which we are allowed and duty bound to make the ride more pleasant. We can lean one way or the other and hope that the rest of the many riding the toboggan are in accord and lean our way to slant a certain way with us. When we reach the bottom of the valley we know that whatever we are is not separate from each other and we encompass our thoughts in the pursuit of a warm human experience that includes all apparent others in pursuit of the greater good — for the one and the many are intrinsically eternally the same. There lays the powerful true magic of the situation.

So the “Veil of Maya” is clouding our view of the light, but that light is eternal and our hopes and wants come from there too, all part of the drama without reason, purpose or cause that has no separateness.

~ Email


"Everything goes black in front of my eyes," he writes about approaching high camp after completing his solo climb of Everest. "Slowly, very slowly, I let myself dissolve. With each further step downward, with the marker poles in front of me, the first moraines in sight, the whole world stands revealed within me. I see my whole being from without. 'Here' is now somewhere else. I am transparent, made of glass, borne up by the world."

Reinhold Messner, quoted in Explorers of the Infinite.


If you walk a while in someone else’s moccasins you may understand them too well….
~ D. Sahaida

Reader Commentary

I found a quote in my files that I noted as being from Richard Rose and it feels so appropriate for many of us today:
"The way I see it, a realistic hope for this life is to get to the point where it doesn't matter anymore whether this 'I' gets credit for being unique. To go around like no one in particular and be genuinely relieved to just be a part of Being. Franz Kafka said - "Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached."

My sense is that practically all of the TAT readers sense that they are already "in the tiger's mouth" and that state of Between-ness is increasing as we make the time for and now recognize the vast gifts that await anyone who simply "opens out a way for this Imprisoned Splendor" to manifest Itself. Richard Rose definitely had it right. We only need to stay there and watch every area of our life be transformed before our eyes. (paraphrased liberally)

With sincere gratitude for the immense work you do in keeping the TAT eNewsletter at its 5 Star level.
~ G

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


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