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

July 2011

This Month's Contents: Audio: Removing Resistance to Enlightenment by Bart Marshall | A Poem by Christopher Hunnicutt | Truth is Emptiness (2) by Greg Nicholls | Video: S73 by Adam Santelli | Quotes | Humor | Answers | Your Questions of the Month

Editor's Note
by David Weimer

spiritual magazine Is what you feel really real?

For those of us who are still seeking fulfillment, equanimity and existential completion, advice from those who have “found” is often sought. For a “finder,” however, not much advice is needed anymore.

I operate under the assumption that at least one seeker reads this monthly e-zine.

This month’s issue includes a remarkable collection of reactions to last month’s question, as well as a truly inspirational audio clip from a talk given early last month in Philadelphia.

Welcome to the Forum.


Removing Resistance to Enlightenment
by Bart Marshall

Click on the image above to listen to Part One
of a talk given June 3, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Here are three recorded sessions from this weekend.

Viewing - From the Outskirts of Infinity
by Christopher Hunnicutt

The mark appears where no-thing was before,
Filling the emptiness in a brief movement, a trace;
Reflecting in nothing.
No author, only an echo in an infinite canyon.
Further past the canyon, look back and see a grand movement,
Viewing - from the outskirts of infinity.

Truth is Emptiness (2)
by Greg Nicholls

The Editor's Note from May's TAT Forum, "Tell me something I don't know," resulted in a reply by this contributor. I found his take on things intriguing and requested that he attempt to bring some of his points into sharper focus--hence the "2" after the title.

Here are three paragraphs from his original reply, followed by the revised submission. -DW.


Tell me something I don’t know.

Why would anybody want to hear something they don’t? Is it because there is the hope that the next statement will reveal all, reveal Truth? That then the search will be resolved and there will be security? There is no ultimate experience to be gathered up and used as a shield against the human condition of relentless incompleteness.

What the human organism doesn’t know, understand, is knowingness interferes with the silence of what is; this is the undivided wholeness of what is, which includes the physical organism existence.

There is nothing that you can be told that will bring about Truth for Truth has no answer: Truth is what is taking place as (blind) brain activity, which is not a solution for solutions are dead, but Truth is living as relentless (blind) brain activity emergence.

Truth is Emptiness 2

There is no road, no path, to Truth. Road, path, implies time, time to get to Truth, but Truth, although having space sensation, has no time sensation, no before or after, no past or future, no beginning or end. Nothing can be added to Truth, nothing can be taken away.

Truth is not a personal achievement: it’s ‘my’ Truth or ‘your’ Truth; Truth is not to be gathered up as another experience for if Truth becomes an experience it can no longer be Truth because it would then be memory/imagination.

Truth is the silence of what is. It’s not eyes that see the silence of what is, it’s not brain, in the darkness of skull, that sees the silence of what is, and it’s not I that sees the silence of what is as Truth.

Truth is now, taking place as now-moment-continuum, as out there electromagnetic activity lives brain activity as psycho-visual sensation mind-of-the-out-there as the silence of what is. To describe what is out there may be true but it cannot be Truth for Truth cannot be spoken.

Truth has no feeling or mood as emotional sensation; Truth is emptiness as first person subject sensation; the illusory ‘I’, can add nothing to Truth without second person subject as an illusory ‘Me’ alteration/control of what is. Third person subject sensation as an illusory ‘Self’ has no existence as part of what is; Self existence can only take place as alteration/control of moments been or (possibly) to be to safeguard the sensation of the organism’s existence as psycho-physical sensation psychological time space as so-called past/future.

There can only be an understanding of the human condition and the constant rediscovery of seeing, sensing the whole of the physical out there is taking place as now-moment-continuum relentless emergence as psycho-visual sensation mind-of-the-out-there. This is Truth in that there is only the silence of what is in which there is the sensation of emptiness; but in continued seeing, sensing now-moment-continuum…’ even first person subject sensation ‘I’ fades and resurfaces.

Video: S73

S73 from Adam Santelli on Vimeo.


If you don't see a video clip above, click here.


"The simple thing about the 'sense of self' is that it may be an hallucination. The brain parts that support it are also the ones behind hallucinations. And, in looking for the human 'self,' science is coming up empty-handed. Cognitive science understands quite a lot about the modalities in which it operates, but not much about what holds them together. There is some understanding about the brain's activity keeping consciousness 'bound' together, but the mechanism that makes us feel we are real to ourselves is still something of a mystery.

What we can talk about [in] this area is the sense of self. We experience ourselves as real the same way we experience anything else. Through our senses. But which sense do we use to perceive our "self"? The answer I suggest is that there is a sense, that uses all the neural substrates of the other senses as it's organs, and that has no 'percept'. Instead, it only hallucinates. And it has only one hallucination. The self."

~Todd Murphy, from Enlightenment as a Neural Process: A Forensic Look at the Buddha's Transformation.



June's Question of the Month, "What does Truth feel like?" struck a chord. Here are the answers we received along with some reactions to the May TAT Forum.

1. Truth has a physical feeling to it that resonates from the heart and vibrates throughout the body like a shiver of recognition or the vibrations that spread through the entire instrument when one guitar string is strummed.

~Alexis R. Osborne

2. So here is another go at describing what it is to be a human organism. It is understood this description doesn't fit within the subjective experience of most searching-for-Truth human organisms but then it seems most are eventually frustrated with going around in circles. There will be the usual struggle to find a suitable language, and the grammar won't want studying too closely. But hey this isn't easy stuff for a novice!


3. Certainly a few of the readers of the TAT on-line newsletter must have felt last month's "Question of the Month" (something utterly non-sensical about how to be a sincere (!!!) seeker) should have been given an award for the stupidest question of the month if not the entire year. But then we are given this month's question -- "What does Truth feel like ?"

How about this answer: "Truth feels soft and fuzzy like a cute little kitten".
All sincere (!!!) seekers should swoon after reading that. However, if the Truth we are considering is Ultimate or Absolute or Divine then our encounter with that (assuming we ever reach that remarkable depth of maturity) this encounter utterly shatters us into nothing. Let me express this more dramatically: If we could get into a rocket and blast our selves into the very center of the Sun how would that feel (and who the hell cares).

Pleasant Journeys,
~Greg Campbell

4. I had the priviledge to be in an operating room once when a skin transplant was required at the end of an operation. The surgeon took a device that looked very much like a cheese cutter and gingerly dragged it along the front of the opposing thigh; smoothly, perfectly extracting a 2-3 inch rectangular piece of skin. This graft was then put through a little "meshing machine". Once the skin came through this machine it had numerous holes in it (it looked like the 80's weight lifting tops with the large meshed holes in them), expanding the surface area it would cover by more than triple. The skin to be grafted now appeared much larger and thinner, though expanded. Truth feels like putting one's self through this meshing machine again and again and again, becoming smaller and smaller (yet expanded somehow) until what was the skin/the self is no longer identifiable, indeed no longer accessable to the senses, because it has become completely integrated/enmeshed back with its source.
Thank you for this Forum!


5. Spiritual seekers who have been on the path for a while will undoubtedly bump into common answers to this question: "Truth exists in Itself." Or "Truth has no feelings, because feelings are part of the dream we call life."

These words are believable—and even true—but are cold comfort to those who desire, above all else, to know Truth, to be Truth. A more relevant angle to the question is “What does Truth feel like to the Finder?” Spiritual seekers commit time, effort, and money in a direction that lacks certainty of fruition, so why seek? Simply put, the Finder's Heartache is cured, the deep burning to solve life's mysteries is extinguished, the fear of death's door is dissipated. You might consider these a lack of feeling. Semantics aside, the Finder feels differently.

Don't twist yourself in a knot trying to imagine what Truth feels like. Your imaginings and speculations won't take you "there." If indeed you are an earnest seeker, and you truly understand despair and desperation to Know, then Truth will forever change the way you feel...


6. Every now and then just when we need it most, Truth will come along and whisper an astounding revelation regarding this life and our place in it. After the gentle shock; the laughter mixed with tears-- we pick ourselves up and do what Truth advises. We act accordingly.

But before we do there is a moment of relief and joy that grips our hearts so that we feel compelled to break out into an old sweet "soft shoe" dance.

[Click here], hoping you get a feeling for one of Truths many marvelous aspects by watching two of our best Truth Angels, Mr Laurel and Mr.Hardy as they challenge Life and us and invite all to a dance instead of a fight.

Let's Commence Dancing to Truth's Lovely Messages!

PS.- Just in case this link does not work go to Youtube --- Laurel and Hardy in Way Out West.


7. For me truth is synthetic. Everything I know fits. And thus what is true keeps changing as I learn. . . . . .
Just my experience.

~Imants Baruss

What does Truth feel like?
[a sonnet]

The Truth, it is no thing,
It knows not how to feel,
It thinks not of an ideal,
It does not care to sing.
It wears not what you bring,
It shares not what you reveal,
nor what it is you conceal,
It's repose is that of King.
Unto Itself, it is always sufficient,
resting in peace; the essence of clarity,
simple and calm, forever omniscient,
The home that is ever not known to duality,
True Nature of you, the backdrop of All,
Be still and just Be, it will hold you in thrall.

~Tess Hughes

Now for three replies to May's Question of the Month
and a reaction to the Editor's note from May:

1. Useful advice for the tired seeker? hmmm.

I found artistic expressions of a deeper search or realisation very helpful. Poetry can really re-plenish me, try reading Mary Oliver's "The Journey" quietly to yourself 5 times. Or songs. For example Leonard Cohen's "Avalanche".

"Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.

You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they're the crumbs I've left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you've gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don't love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear."


2. I was in a similar situation a few years ago of wondering whether Truth was something to pursue or not and I ended up doing a simple exercise that helped me put things in perspective: I sat down with a piece of paper and started to write down all the possible things I could dedicate my life to. And when I couldn’t think of anything else to add to the list I started to cross out the options that appealed the least. In the end I was left with two options: family or Truth. And it sure wasn’t an easy decision. I literally got out of the chair, walked around my apartment while tearing my hair because of the tension, but in the end I admitted that what I really wanted was to pursue Truth. So I crossed out family from the list and it was a huge weight taken of my shoulders. An added bonus that I didn’t become aware of until later was how easy decisions about how to live my life became when I had clarity of purpose (that has been questioned many times since, but I always seem to come back to the same answer one way or another).

And if you are wondering whether the TAT approach is right for you or not I’d encourage you to go to a meeting and check it out for yourself. Participate in a meeting, talk to some of the folks there and make up your own mind. I flew in from Denmark (Europe) to check it out and I’m glad I did.

~T. S.

3. We are told or take it as true that methods and practices are a means of discovery. What did you do to be where you are now as a seeker? What advice or tips can you give me that led you here? If I apply your answer to my problem will I stand where you presently do? I don't think so. It appears that for every realization there's a seeming path or epiphany that took them there. Sifting through them all would take a lifetime. For me I can only say continue through the paradoxs the frustrations, the seeming set backs, depressions, reversals, the epiphanies, the excitements, the fellowships. Go where it takes you.

~T. H.

* David, in requesting "tell me something I don't know" you reveal an ego yet to transform itself from seeker to one who has become humble in the knowledge that God actually exists and is beyond your trying to figure it out. In terms of the request, how about this: you have a soul separate from your psyche, mind, emotions, zen, buddha, yoga, etc. God is separate from you and you are his creation. I am sure this last has you and most tat readers coughing and laughing, after all you are all gods but you don't know it yet, right? Ha.

~M. D.

Your Questions of the Month:

What one question would you ask of your own most respected authority on metaphysics?


To Buddha:

How can I know that this is really real, this path towards enlightenment?

Send your question to .

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