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

September 2013

This Month's Contents: Confrontation Rules by TAT Foundation | An Interactive Exchange by Ally Milo and William Racine | Raleigh SIG Meeting transcript excerpt Bart Marshall | Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski | Humor | Quotes | Reader Commentary |

Editor's Note
by David Weimer

Spiritual Magazine

Welcome to the Forum.

Confrontation Rules


A “confrontation session,” from the beginning of the TAT Foundation’s existence, has been an integral activity for group members who proclaim their insistence in getting to the Truth and in desiring to fundamentally understand themselves. These sessions include willing participants only (it’s not a spectator sport). Participants are encouraged to confront one another’s cherished beliefs. This isn’t a free-for-all, however; a “facilitator” is required to be a kind of referee.

The following rules were established to ensure that sessions weren’t hijacked by any of the various egos participating in this nitroglycerine-soaked arena of challenging and questioning others’ beliefs. The rules were also designed to help maximize the potential self-knowledge benefit for each participant.

This “confrontation” activity with others is seen as valuable because we gloss over and often unconsciously avoid examining central aspects of our makeup—our “chief features”--whereas other people see our comb-over and are able to say so.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us (humans) adopted the following guidelines to govern ourselves in the daily interactions we have with other “individuals”?

Confrontation Rules

The meetings serve as forums for discussing issues related to self-inquiry and self-definition. This is a tricky proposition – using the mind to understand the mind. To expedite the process, a facilitator directs the discussion.

Typical meeting formats are round-robin style, where participants have an equal amount of time to air their views. The object of this airing is to help each person clarify contradictions, tracing them back to prides and fears that cloud our mental processes. One of the ways of doing this is a friendly mode of challenging, or confrontation, not of the person but of his or her assumptions, beliefs, values and ethics.

The facilitator is not to be confronted, as this disrupts the flow of the meeting. A successful interchange relies on the cooperation of all participants and their willingness to "play the game." No one should preach or be subject to preaching.

As much as is humanly possible we should try to:

An Interactive Exchange

Ally Milo and William Racine

"The work of the Albigen system is to chase ego and thought into an inescapable corner, to shine light on the multitudinous layers of cognitive constructs created throughout one's life, those unconscious dialogues and paradigms that form identification and bind one to a world of illusions, and to create the energy vector that will ANNIHILATE THE EGO, that will carry consciousness through the DEATH OF THAT WHICH BELIEVES ITSELF TO BE SELF, and reveal ABSOLUTE AWARENESS.

First attain Enlightenment. All pure action flows from this."

~ William Racine

"In releasing these identifications i think you will find yourself retreating from untruth as Rose liked to say. Check it out for yourself. We can begin to release identification not only by discernment as i just gave example of, but also by the cultivation of virtue and/or positive qualities."

~ Ally Milo

Click here

to encounter a dialogue between Ally Milo, the author of the July 2013 TAT Forum article, An Art of Unknowing, and Forum reader, William Racine.

In the article, Milo invited commentary and reader reactions.

Racine, one of several readers who responded, wrote a letter to the Forum. He is a longtime member of the TAT Foundation and knew and worked with its founder, Richard Rose.

The quotations above are from the exchange which ensued.

Spiritual Magazine

November 14, 2012
Raleigh SIG Meeting
with by Bart Marshall

[read by Bart]

The Voice
by Richard Rose

There is something calling me.
I have heard its changeless voice
Often in my life.
It must have waked me for first time
-- in my cradle
Causing me to scream in its brilliant significance.
It came me to in my childhood
Like the tinkling of silver bells,
And inspired me to hours of idle fancy.
It startled my student hours
And my thoughts leapt toward it
And answered, struggling in a dialect of poetry
For that voice is greater than me.

[Transcript excerpt]

What Rose is expressing about a voice, a call, is the idea that one's life is not one's own—the sense that life is being lived through us. When I first woke up eight years ago it overwhelmingly hit me that from now on I was just taking orders. Previously I was just taking orders too. But now I knew that this was the case, and that this life was just being lived through me, and if I was asked to do something—and it was asked in such a way that it was obvious this was coming from a place I could trust—I would have no choice but to follow it. The years of willful living, living by whims and my own desires, were over. And never had been there. That part had just been an illusion, that I was in control of things, and that I did what I wanted, and that events unfolded in the direction of my desires. Along with that is a sense of—when you put it in the spiritual context, what we hear in that poem—is that there's an urgency there. There's something important to be done, and if the call comes we have to do it.

All of us in this room to one degree or another have answered a call—to something higher, let's say. We've been asked to not just piddle away our lives with frivolities and minor desperations. We've been asked to look into something else. With what degree of intensity do we do that?

In the Rose poem you get the sense of someone marking time until he gets that call. He hears, and he does it. He hears it again, and he does it. He hears it, drops his tools and goes out into nature. He hears it and he writes poetry. It's an inner voice. It's that small still voice within that says, “Not that. That might be fun for a while, but that's not what we're supposed to be doing.”

Rose was, from an early age, very directed in this. One of his early memories was realizing, as a six or seven year old, that he had been filling a page with line after line of, “Many are called, few are chosen. Many are called, few are chosen...” He was in a seminary at a very young age, 12 or 14. It was always a part of his life. There was something that called him very early.

I was not like that. I was very clueless and kind of thick and dense, and was not called in any way, and maybe was headed for a reckless life. But fortunately the Divine has a remedy for everything. In my case it was an explosion that blew me up. “Alright, this guy's not headed in the right direction and he's not taking the hints. Let's blow him up and see what happens.”

I've told my kids all through their lives—and this was the case for me—that if the world is trying to tell you something at first it's just going to give you a little bit of a slap. And if you don't pay attention it's going to get a little bit harder. If you keep doing the same thing you're going to get beat up a little more and a little more, until finally you're taking these head shots until you eventually get the message: “You're going in the wrong direction.” Maybe you have to get blown up, I don't know.

But it's a blessing, no matter what it is. No matter what brings you here, to doing this—not necessarily to this room—but what brings us to looking beyond the little self for what else maybe we're being called to do, that's a blessing. Whatever brought us to this, no matter how much tough love it might have been, no matter how much suffering it entailed, is a blessing. Whatever brings you to that point where you realize you are no longer in control of these things, and that you must pursue this—that this is what needs to be done—is a blessing. It's all a blessing, whatever gets you here.

Then you sort of get the message and you start doing a few things. You pick up books, you find teachers, you go to meetings, you go to retreats, you do self-inquiry, prayer… Then there’s the question of, “How all-in do I have to be to hope for results? How much dedication, how much responsiveness to this call is required of me?”

I can't answer for other people, but I found in my own life, and in other stories that I've heard, that the price is nothing less than everything. You can't hold anything back. You can't be half-assed about it because if you're fortunate enough to have something happen, it's going to be a very big deal. It's a very ordinary thing, but it changes everything. If you're half-assed about it, it probably won't happen. But if it did happen to someone who is half in and half out, it would be a rough passage. And if it happens to someone who's not in at all, they might think they've gone crazy or gone to hell or something because there was no framework for it, no foundation. So, we're dealing with that too. We're a little scared of it.

Listen to this talk in its entirety
and discover other audio recordings
of meetings with Bart

Roll the Dice

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
it could mean mockery,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test
of your endurance,
of how much you really want to
do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with fire.

you will ride life
straight to perfect laughter,
it's the only good fight there is.

~ Charles Bukowski


"The trivial leads to the important and do not brush it aside as being petty. Since it is there it is an indication of the pettiness of the mind and to brush it aside does not make the mind any the less trivial, stupid. To brush it aside helps to keep the mind small, narrow, but to be aware of it, to understand it leads to great riches."

~ J. Krishnamurti — June 11, 1944, OJAI


"My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim.'"

~ Paula Poundstone

Spiritual Magazine

Reader Commentary


This is another response to the July 2013 article, An Art of Unknowing, by Ally Milo. At the end of his piece, Ally had included “an incomplete list of questions” that readers were invited to answer. Last month's Forum issue featured a Topic Spotlight of reader responses.


1. What are character flaws or reaction patterns? From what do they arise in the psyche?

C.F.'s are behaviors or way of being that ego doesn’t like. Psyche? How do you define that? Ego, essence, unconscious? Conditioning and ignorance. Life on earth.

2. What impact do your character flaws have on your level of awareness of the world around you? What are their effects on others?

Your life reflects your being and your being creates your life.

3. Is there a relationship between your level of awareness of the world around you and enlightenment or the depth of enlightenment?

This sentence is unclear for me. Level of awareness! Depth of enlightenment? Make up a chart so that it's clear, all these levels. This is all as is. Levels and depths are egoic fantasies.

4. What impact do our character flaws/foibles/imperfections and our level of awareness of the world around us have on the "accident" of enlightenment—and on "becoming more accident prone?"

Useful, maybe necessary, as the grain of sand that the pearl forms around. I don’t like the labels ‘character flaws’, ‘foibles’, especially- ‘imperfections’. Language supporting ego and an ego as a problem. We just need a bit of ego management maybe.

5. Is there something from which all conflict in the world stems? What is it?


6. What are the relationships between your answers to the preceding questions and a Love that is empty of personal motivations? And to your capacity to feel such Love?

I don’t know. To complicated for me to wrap my mind around at this late hour. Why is it important to feel what I/you are? Relax.

7. Does capacity to feel Selfless Love have anything to do with "becoming more accident prone?" Does it have anything to do with your depth of enlightenment?

I don’t know that I’ve ever intentionally done anything selfless. When i was spontaneous and didn't know what i was doing, maybe? Well if you're feeling ‘selfless Love’ and you're not paying attention you could get into an accident while driving.

8. What do you observe about the possible importance of eliminating one’s character flaws? Is this important for seekers? Is it important for those who have "stopped seeking?"

Answered one that already. These questions are bordering on oxymorons, or one of those things. Um... I think I see some point? Why make such complex distinctions? This gets sorted out by itself naturally, eventually.

9. Are there "greater depths" or "various levels" even within enlightenment? What do you know for sure? From which depths do you speak?

Listen everyone is enlightened, period. So there is no such thing as unenlightened, at least from the enlightened perspective. Now maybe there is, awake to one’s enlightenment. This whole enlightenment shtick these days is mostly a marketing program. What i know? I know very, very little, for sure, so I must be speaking ‘thru my hat.’

Sincerity gets one a long way, so to say.

~ Karl Krumins


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