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

September 2012

This Month's Contents: Seeker Notes by Ricky Cobb | Loneliness by Gary Harmon | Dream-Like Illusion (audio recording) with Bart Marshall | If Only We Had Taller Been by Ray Bradbury | The Purpose of Life in 950 Words by Shawn Nevins | Quotes | Humor | Question of the Month & a Brief Request |

Editor's Note
by David Weimer

Here are a few angles on conscious existence.

Welcome to the TAT Forum.

Seeker Notes
by Ricky Cobb

I must acknowledge my dissatisfaction. I suffer because of what I think I am. Suffering happens because of the thoughts which go unquestioned. Then there is fear that questioning these thoughts would be bad and that holds the suffering in place. Why do I fear questioning my beliefs when the Truth withstands all scrutiny?

Feeling can undermine thoughts. It is prior to. What do I really want? And why? For what purpose?

Am I some human being with human wants and desires? Human aches and pains? What does it mean to be human, assuming I am that? Is there part of me which does not die or is eternal?

What is experience? What is seeing and aware of all that is? (For to not be aware of it, it doesn't exist to me) I cannot simply assume ANYTHING. I do not truly know anything. Everything appears as seeming reality. It cannot be denied but THE WAY IN WHICH IT IS KNOWN CAN BE QUESTIONED AND INVESTIGATED FOR THE REALITY BEHIND PERCEPTION-APPEARANCE.

A shift in perception is a shift in the seeming reality. What is prior to the seeming experience? Truth comes in multiple levels. Within each level there can be more true and less true, yet can 'truth as only true' be known in a world of 'true as true and false as false'?

Richard Rose mentioned in his epic poem Three Books of the Absolute: “Is not man a question asking questions, frustrated by the unanswered, laboring to answer himself....and creating a mountain of questions in the answer?”... And yet he had AN ANSWER. The desire is to get close to this answer by becoming it. Can you become what you are? And how can what I am, what you are, not be known truly to Truth as that which is?

By limitation I define myself but can self be beyond limitation and include it? Is the universe a friendly place and can I trust that truly all is well, all is well? When trust is given proof is shown. When doubt is given proof of that doubt is shown. What gives reality to reality as I know it? Can my own perceptions of all I have ever known be wrong? ...Kind of humbling.

I'm wrong in my perceptions. My seeing cannot be trusted. Whatever evidence is searched for is found to be as it was sought. Belief behind perceptions colors appearances of reality.

Doubt is unsettling and pervasive. A resolution is hinted at yet unrealized. If there is no solution then there is no problem yet the perception of a problem exists so the solution must be because there is a problem. A splinter in the back of your mind that maybe, just maybe something isn't quiet right about life or about reality as Morpheus describes it in the movie The Matrix.

Investigation requires discrimination. Discrimination is simply knowing the difference between two things. It must be a clear cut knowing between what is true and what is false. This distinction occurs in all the teachings in some form or another and seems to be a preliminary but necessary step towards true Knowledge which is also described as "not knowing" but an absolute not knowing.

When listening to or reading a teaching of another there is automatically an effect upon my mind as one tuning fork of a stronger power will cause another tuning fork in close proximity to come into harmony with itself. The effect may be temporary but the fact that it happens points to a natural law and challenges my ordinary perception of all I take to be true.

Prayer is what is under admitting one's ignorance. I do not know the truth but my desire is to know the truth and I am open to whatever it is or isn't. Please allow me to see past my preconceptions and truly know….

Visit Ricky's website, What Is This Life, to read his complete article, Seeker Notes: Advice About Being Spiritual.

by Gary Harmon

Solitude is never a function of place, but of mind. A man attached to desires cannot get solitude anywhere, whereas a detached man is always in solitude wherever he may be.

My life has largely been attempted avoidance of time alone, which may seem a strange way to endorse spending time alone. I am an only child, so I started this life in isolation. My father left my mother when I was about nine years of age, deepening the sensation of being all alone. When I met Richard Rose in 1973, I found great value in what he was saying and recommending, although it was later that I purposely did isolation retreats because in the early seventies socializing was a primary importance.

I lived with Richard Rose several times in Benwood, West Virginia and later on his farm, which was set aside for the use of people who wanted to have time alone and to work together in a joint effort of spiritual adherence which can be called the effort of many to find the singularity that is common to all humanity.

There were many realizations which were steps along the path. The most notable was before I met Richard Rose and left me with an unquestionable knowing that there is no time and no space. It occurred out of the blue for no apparent reason in 1972 while I was in San Antonio, Texas—but talking of various experiences is basically worthless to other people. The fact that they occurred in a fashion to make them undeniable for me as a testament of experience allows my speaking with authority about the various stages I went through, which primarily was a “retreat from untruth,” as Rose termed it.

I found finding the direction to go was like backing a truck with a trailer, while the only certainty of direction was avoidance of allowing the trailer and the truck to bend too far out of alignment, because total rigid alignment was impossible while backing away from what was found to be error. I also found the “straight and narrow path” for me to be a myth, because it isn’t map-able.

It wasn’t until becoming one-pointed in intention with determination to know who was living this apparent life that real progress was made. My first effort being an isolation retreat in Dave Atanasoff’s cabin on Rose’s Farm. I found shutting the doors of confusion necessary for focusing inward, in order for any certainty of what the observer was witnessing. During that period of determined state of mind, I purposely isolated myself.

The thought came to me to reverse the vector, to really reverse everything: stop relations, stop thought patterns and just be, alone with no reaching out for another or anything. Simply... alone. Then it happened. Alone, I found, is the natural state. When we feel lonely, we are craving duality, the invention of another, because in the end there is only one and this is the main reason self realization is so hard to find.

We don't want to be alone and the mind knows that it is. It will do anything it can to avoid the Truth: We are alone. Always have been. Always will be.

~ Email

"Dream-Like Illusion"
SIG Meeting
audio recording
with Bart Marshall
January 25, 2012
Raleigh, NC

waves on ocean links to Illusion mp3

To listen
click on the image above
go directly to the
SIG audio & video recordings

If Only We Had Taller Been
by Ray Bradbury

The fence we walked between the years
Did balance us serene;
It was a place half in the sky where
In the green of leaf and promising of peach
We’d reach our hand to touch and almost touch
that lie,
That blue that was not really blue.
If we could reach and touch, we said,
‘Twould teach us, somehow, never to be dead.

We ached, we almost touched that stuff;
Our reach was never quite enough.
So, Thomas, we are doomed to die.
O, Tom, as I have often said,
How sad we’re both so short in bed.
If only we had taller been,
And touched God’s cuff, His hem,
We would not have to sleep away and go with them
Who’ve gone before,
A billion give or take a million boys or more
Who, short as we, stood tall as they could stand
And hoped by stretching thus to keep their land,
Their home, their hearth, their flesh and soul.
But they, like us, were standing in a hole.

O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.

Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!

Listen to and watch this recently-departed dreamer
reading his poem.

The Purpose of Life in 950 Words
by Shawn Nevins


Perhaps we are the deepest dreamers, the least evolved form of life on the planet.

"What is my purpose?" is a deeply puzzling, though not at all troubling question for me. What follows are a few paragraphs that trace the chain of thought regarding purpose.

Is the purpose of a hammer to drive nails? To pry shingles? To break a window? To punch holes in the soil? To kill? Every object seemingly has an ideal/highest purpose – a task for which it was designed.

A human uses a hammer for many purposes. A chimpanzee might use a hammer to open a nut. Even a dog might use a hammer for a few seconds of chewing before leaving it for a more enjoyable snack. Humans clearly use one another in the quest to survive and other organisms, like bacteria and fungi, use humans. Biologists coin words to describe these relationships: mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. We are using (other living and non-living objects) and being used. According to the cat, my purpose is to feed it and entertain it (children may think the same). All of this using and being used is not particularly glamorous for our self-image. We prefer far more edifying reasons for our existence.

From the Pope to the plumber, people are full of opinions on purpose: we’re here to help others, to be happy, we are a stage in the spiritual evolution of the universe, we are the eyes of God, a cog in a biological machine, a battery supply for other creatures, or we have no purpose at all. Whether using or being used, this is all speculation. How would one truly know their purpose? Some say they have a "calling." Is it a higher authority they hear or is purpose equivalent to our wants? In other words do we create a purpose that justifies our psychological and physical needs?

What do I know for certain? Fifteen years ago the answer would have been “nothing.” It took some time to realize I really knew nothing. That, in fact, is a large part of the spiritual path – uncovering the depth of our unknowing. Nothing, not even death and taxes, is certain. The rational response to that unknowing was to seek certainty.

Today, I find there is one certainty within me, but it is described only peripherally – with simile and metaphor. I am a tree that feels its roots deep inside, as if I am connected to the bedrock of existence. Where I came from and where I’m going… yes, I know this. But why am I here? No clue; no care either. Imagine a tree that believes it forces fruit to appear – what an unnecessary burden. The tree is a door through which fruit manifests.

I am here. A thought arises to write; I write. I wonder what my purpose is; I wonder. A bacteria consumes me, a stranger sells me groceries, a woman asks me for seventy-five cents, a tiny bird is struck by my car, an unkind word spoken to my mate, and a kind word to a harried clerk. A great river of action is unfolding, with feeder streams trickling in from a watershed as vast as existence. It is both a playground and a killing ground –arousing fear and swallowing lives, yet providing endless opportunities for discovery and joy.

The Purpose of LifeThe river flows through the life of the tree and downward to the essence.

For me, the question of purpose lost its emotional heat. I find that purpose is a product of the human mind. The augury of tea leaves or goat entrails is no different than the augury of our thoughts.

Is the purpose of a fruit tree to produce fruit, or to have a branch torn and shaped into a club which beats a young man to death? And if that young man were beaten to death on a bright morning five thousand six hundred and seventy-two years ago, what would it mean? What purpose would the tree, the man, and the one who beat him serve? Does the river and its accompanying drama have a purpose, or does it simply exist? Is there no grand purpose, but only purpose from the viewpoint of the individual?

The river is... the tree is... and we are. As long as there is "verbing" there will exist the seeming of purpose. As long as we exist we will have purpose. What are we to do? Nothing and everything. Can the hammer choose who holds it? Can the hammer of my self choose its hand? I believe so. I act as so. Even the hammer will protest its misuse by hurting the user or showing signs of damage. We have a choice between greater and lesser dreams; between light and dark. We are always being called to, by greater and lesser goods (gods?). I would not call it evil, but there are seemingly forces that would use us in ways that bind us deeper to illusion.

I am a tree that dreams. I lose my way in little worlds inside my head; in the whispers of my leaves that I turn into words. Now and then I must remember, remember where I rest and in doing that I choose the hand that guides me; choose the whisper that I hear. Is there a burden there? I think so, but not a heavy, Biblical one. I listen as best as I can to my heart and interpret that feeling into words that cause action. Let every word serve my highest light, and in that light is revealed the truth of my purpose: to be used, consumed by that which pulls my heart.

(What movements do you follow?)

If you don't see a video clip above, go directly to youtube.com

stacks of books


"I buy and hold books like I hoard sugar cereals now, the tragedy being one is wasted on me and the other should be. If only I could employ the technique I use on cereal boxes — that is, read the exterior and digest the interior...."

~ Dan Sahaida


An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, 'Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly..'

The other man said, 'What is the name of the restaurant?'

The first man thought and thought and finally said, 'What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know.... The one that's red and has thorns.'

'Do you mean a rose?''

Yes, that's the one,' replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, 'Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?'

Question of the Month Answers

August's question(s):

What is really real?
What is more solid than anything else?
What can you know for absolute certain?

Received responses:

Question: What is really real?

Answer: That sounds like the beginning of a clever game which I no longer wish to play.

Question: What is more solid than anything else?

Answer: I find that the constellation of conditioned neurotic patterns in which I engage without wanting to do so is the most solid thing in my life.

Question: What can you know for absolute certain?

Answer: Ignorance.

~Imants Baruss

Q: What is really real? What is more solid than anything else? What can you know for absolute certain?

A: That you KNOW you ARE! Here "you" = Knowingness which is Beingness at the same time! What you are and what you know is debatable! This is absolute certainty of all our experiences and their Reality, really!!!



What is really real?
What is more solid than anything else?
What can you know for absolute certain?


These are the same thing.
If you're there, you're there.


A: (last three paragraphs of a 2-page response)

....There can be only the constant rediscovery of seeing, sensing now-moment-continuum the whole of out there taking place in here, inside skull as (blind) brain activity psycho-visual sensation mind-as-the-out-there. In this (blind) brain activity mind-as-the-out-there is an undivided whole without any division as (blind) brain activity measure. This is the only Truth, the Reality as what is, as all subjective sensation as so-called ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Self’ as an illusory entity/person/agent existing inside brain/body momentarily subsides.

Everyday (blind) brain activity cannot have a sensation of the subsidence of (blind) brain activity for in this there would be no momentary (blind) brain activity subsidence. No more than (blind) brain activity knows (even though there is knowledge of death), has the sensation of physical death for any searching for the sensation ‘death’ is still incomplete (blind) brain activity consciousness.

Pore (blind) brain activity is the response of (blind) brain activity to (blind) brain activity as further relentless (blind) brain activity emergence. In this there is no before or after, no past or future, no beginning or end. No time or space sensation.

~Greg Nicholls

...And a brief request

Our TAT Forum editor, Heather Saunders, requests your Haikus for her November issue. Please send your submissions through the Contact tab.

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


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