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TAT Weekend Intensive: Doing Nothing vs. Being Nothing April 12-13, 2014.
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April 2014

This Month's Contents: Rapport Sittings by Bob Cergol | 18th Street Angels a poem by Shawn Nevins | Video: The Most Astounding Fact by Neil deGrasse Tyson | Entropy by Shawn Pethel | Quotes from Gary Weber | Humor |

Editor's Note
by Shawn Nevins

Hello Friends,

It has been awhile, and I feel like sharing some thoughts. As I write this, the news is dominated with the disappearance of a Malayasian airplane with 239 people on board. News articles question how in this age of satellites photos and GPS tracking, 239 people and a Boeing 777 could disappear without a trace. It is disturbing. By the time you read this, the mystery will likely be solved. "It crashed here," we will say and our minds will ease. Yet what mystery will have truly been solved? 239 people still vanished, as over 150,000 people die on any given day—never to be seen again. Vanished. Another 200,000 and more arise from nothingness—in a great, universal churning of matter.

At the edge of vanishing and arising is the spiritual search. Striving to know while facing the unknowing, till....

Enlightenment is falling off of a cliff, backwards, a plunging through the sense of self to some other sense, of eternity. A spreading outward in all directions, being in all directions, awareness frozen in all places at once. Then returning. Mr. Rose once said there was a lifetime of exploration of this place once one returned; only now do I begin to understand. There is no expansion of the absolute, but there is expansion of the manifestation of the absolute through these vehicles. There are other ways of being in this world. There is change. And all of it means nothing, yet means something. And we will forever seemingly talk in circles until someday you come to understand.

Rapport Sittings
by Bob Cergol

Some of you may have noticed "rapport sitting" on the TAT Foundation event schedules and wondered what that is about. I asked Bob Cergol to explain the purpose of rapport sittings.

The purpose of a group rapport sitting is to transcend personal, ego-centric consciousness. angels

It is Satsang with the silent, inner guru that is present in everyone – yet hidden behind the ceaseless chatter of the ego and the glare of sensory experience. It is the meaning of the saying: “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am present.”

When individuals are in each other’s presence there is an innate, automatic desire to speak and hear. We listen out for what the other will say. Absent their speaking we feel the urge to speak, in order break the silence, and evoke them to speak to us. We even do this whenever alone – carrying on endless conversations with ourselves. This is the ego-mind looking for affirmation – like a dog whining for more attention the second his owner stops petting him.

In private meditation we may accidentally drift into the state where the focus of attention is concentrated on pure silence. This is usually quickly displaced by either more chatter – or sleep.

Sitting in silence with others can be a catalyst that concentrates the attention. The sharing of silence in a group setting can, when conditions are right, be an amplifier that overcomes the personal chatter, letting the Silence alone fill our attention. In that intense silence, breakthroughs can occur – ranging from simple insights into our mundane lives, to profound realizations about the true nature of our self and the meaning of our life.

The purpose of rapport is not to harmonize personalities, though to the degree our personal consciousness becomes grounded in the universal, impersonal awareness that is experienced as Silence, harmony with others is strongly felt, and insights into their nature may even occur, resulting in a sense of compassion towards them, along with our self as we also realize we are more alike than not.

The aim of rapport is not to delve into our own inner world and try to reach some state. The aim of rapport is simply to listen – and hear that Silence that transcends the self – and therefore contains all the selves gathered together in listening.


18th Street Angels
by Shawn Nevins

The blinking lights of bicycles become angels
bobbing between the blocks of 18th street
and I can only gasp,
as they pour through me, too,
leaning against a cold lamp post,
struck like Saul
on his way to nowhere.

Overhead, light plays on trolley lines,
reflected headlights creating
crests of light and troughs of darkness
rolling into the vast expanses of Folsom St.
their motion an expression
of the freedom of perfect meaninglessness.

I am walking on air,
relieved of being—anything
and filled with light
arising as easily as these feet,
propelling me into mystery.

A subway panhandler strums a banjo,
clearly waiting for me,
to walk across an expanse of tile,
and hand him a five dollar bill
in exchange for resting,
beside his lonesome notes.

I shake my head,
involuntarily shrugging off
What has always been
like a soaking rain
so I can write
that run forward
into nothing.

Image by John Vetterli from Toronto, Canada (King St. at Night Uploaded by Skeezix1000) [CC-B]

The Most Astounding Fact—Neil deGrasse Tyson

by Shawn Pethel

If you enjoy this you may also be inspired by David Eagleman's Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives.

In the afterlife you’ll understand your purpose. It is simple to state, but only in the afterlife can you feel its necessity. During life you are too consumed with short-terms goals, all of which contribute to the Ultimate goal, though you refuse to admit it. It comes down to this: everything you have done or have participated in, all your beliefs, the good times and the bad times, the tender moments, the shame, the births and deaths have all furthered that one, grand, Ultimate goal, which is no less than the destruction of the entire Universe. nevins grass

You see, the Universe is mostly empty space, and Nature abhors a vacuum. Something went wrong during the Big Bang. There was a flaw, an asymmetry in the point-like initial state. The Perfect Uniformity that was meant to be was thrown off balance and sheared by the primal forces, and as the Universe expanded matter was thrown about like the flotsam and jetsam of a giant shipwreck.

But Nature rights itself. Immediately the Shining One was called forth to gather up the masses into piles and burn them. We call these burning piles stars. The lesser masses, too small to burn, called forth armies in the form of bacteria and other microorganisms to aid the breaking down process. The microorganisms called forth plants that covered all surfaces, pushing down deep and throwing matter into the sky. The plants called forth the animals and us as well. Yes, we humans are the minions of plants. We dig deeper, stretch higher, and never tire of finding new ways to consume.

The humans called forth machines, whose need for energy outstripped all that came before. At last, the Lesser Masses, jealous of the stars, see upon their surface the spark of nuclear reactions. There is, of course, no chance of outpacing the destructive mania of a sun, but at all levels, every process, animate or not, does its utmost to rip apart whatever bit of the Universe lies before it.

In the afterlife we will look back over our lives and tabulate the consumption: all those miles driven in vehicles fashioned in factories from metal smelted from ore dug from the ground; all those gallons of fuel refined from petroleum pumped from deep under the earth; all the processed food made from animals who ate plants grown on vast farms fertilized with chemicals; all the megawatts of power used to warm the winter, cool the summer, light the night, and heat the water, most of which flowed down drains unused. We will ponder all this and finally be still, satisfied with a job well done.


nevins-doorways You may have heard that you are already enlightened and perfect and that there is nothing that you need to do. You may have also read that there is no you and that everything is beyond your control, so doing a practice is impossible. However, if just hearing those statements were enough, you and the millions who have heard them would already be enjoying endless uncaused stillness and peace. If you are, you don't need this book. If that isn't your reality, you will need to do some work. This book, which has come from nowhere and is written by no one, will give you approaches that can make that realization yours and the ever present mysterious reality and happiness that you are apparent. Let's get to it.

~ From Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Gary Weber.


If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

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