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TAT Forum

March 2016

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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Prediction & Living in the Moment

Some of you may know me as a TAT member who's been around on and off at TAT meetings the past few years, although I had a good attendance streak going for about 4 years before that. Another thing some of you may know about me, especially if you've done a weeklong group retreat with me, is that I read tarot cards. I've always been fascinated by the art of prediction, by time, and how the two interact with one another and affect one another. I have been studying prediction and intuition from a tender age, fascinated by the potential to know the future, of getting to see behavioral patterns in people's lives, and to help others through this knowledge.

Now, through the study of prediction I have learned two great lessons. One: I can be a great medium, and good tarot card reader, and give good advice to people. Two: none of that serves me in the least (except maybe if I charge money), because what prediction has shown me through its practice over the years, is that it is subject to the one absolute law of the Universe that has been in place since the beginning of the beginning: change in time, and how that affects EVERYTHING.

Let me give you an example from a reading I did: someone wanted to know if they could be with the woman they loved a year into the future, and be happy. The cards were all positive, and the reading was good, so I said what I always say "based on the present moment, and the way you both feel, there is a strong possibility it will happen." And it did. A year later, they were still together, but there was one problem: the person who asked the question had changed. The man who came to ask the question was not the same man who experienced the answer, a year later. In fact, he was not so very much in love anymore, at least not with that specific woman, and within two years he moved away for his job and left that possibility behind. There is a saying in the mediumship community, and that is "the question and the answer, those are usually two completely different things, which don't have much to do with each other." The first time I heard that I was flabbergasted, and thought "that's complete nonsense, of course the answer is related to the question, it comes from it, and it is, well, an extension of it. Why else would people ask questions, and how else would people get answers?" But now, I understand the saying, and I know that it is true.

Which brings us back to time and to change in time. Which brings us back to the present, and WHY the present is so very important when it comes to the future. Because right here, RIGHT NOW, in this moment, ALL possibilities exist. And they are ALL equally valid. And which of them will manifest in the future, and why, is only helpful to you if you can swallow this truth: by the time anything predicted manifests, you will be a different person. The person who hears the prediction is NOT the same person who will experience the prediction. Just as surely as the seasons change, that person will change as well.

Ever since I was a teen, my goal was to become a good reader of people, a "medium," a "good psychic." I was already quite intuitive, and could read people from their words, and gestures, and the way they talked, and I could see the kinds of things they would want to hear. I could feel their fears, and their desires, as clearly as if someone had laid them out on a table in front of me. But, to be a good reader, one who touched people and changed their lives forever for the better, that was the holy grail of my youth. So I did a lot of "field research" on the subject in my tender high school years and my more hardened college years, dragging my best friend Mary along the way, to all sorts of psychics and readers and mediums. I had charts, comparing them and the prediction the readers I saw had made, I had a journal in which I tracked their accuracy, who had a better track record and who didn't. My friend Mary went along with me for fun, also because she was my sidekick and was up for anything that would keep the perpetual boredom we had to endure in high school at bay; but she would always say to me "this moment now is more important than what is coming in the future." You see, my friend Mary, despite not doing years and years of intuitive research, was always the wiser of us two. She had an old soul, and had learned some lessons I still had to learn. I had no clue what she was talking about, when she made her wise remarks to me, and I was frankly not interested in it, taken up and obsessed by my quest. I would not come to discover the meaning and insight of her wise observation for many, many years. Because I was busy, you see. I continued my "studies" and "research" in the art of prediction, and in time, my natural intuitive abilities blossomed along with my studies, to the point where I could do a reading just as good as any of the readers I knew and respected.


Old tarot cards. Public domain.

The problem, however, to this day, has always been time. And not ANY TIME, but the NOW, this present moment. Yup, that "NOW," the one you're being perpetually badgered into living by all the New Age gurus, the one you're being told you're not ever present in, and told you should be there more often. You know, check it out. It's "the place" to be. Umm, thanks. But here's the problem with "this moment" from the perspective of a medium: you see, it changes EVERYTHING. And one of the best psychics I have ever met has announced that fact to me, during one of my readings, very matter of factly: "everything I tell you is subject to change, because we change all the time." To which I couldn't resist making the sarcastic remark of "so I need to get a reading every day?" The woman smiled "actually every hour, or better yet, every minute, if you want to be precise." To this day she's remained one of my dearest friends.

And she was right. The problem was not the events, most of the important events that she predicted (and my own readings reinforced) about things to come within a few months, proved to be true. The prediction was NOT the problem, most facts were accurate to a T. The problem was that the questioner, the "I" would change. So by the time the event in question would happen, it was either no longer as relevant, or affected me in a completely different way than I had thought it would earlier in time, during the reading.

And that is probably the greatest lesson I have learned through the practice of prediction. That this NOW, this present, this ever-flowing moment that's so hard to pin down, is NOT of the same material as the past and the future, that it stands "outside of" the flow of "linear time" as we like to call it. The present is, for all intents and purposes, a most curious and perplexing creature, one that does not "fit in line" very smoothly, right after the past, and right before the future. Because it is constantly CHANGING them, you see. Something that happens TODAY can put a memory I have from my past in a completely new light, and show me a new meaning to it. That changes THE PAST (well, my feelings/impressions of the past, which are really all that matter, being the subjective creature that I am). This moment RIGHT NOW also affects my future, because no matter how much I want to be healthier, I can only make that choice to work on being healthier in the NOW, and that choice alone will determine IF I will be healthy in the future.

There's also another realm altogether, when it comes to time, which would require a whole other article to address, and that is the realm of grace and divine intervention. I have seen them both in action, they change EVERYTHING. One example of grace is prayer, which I have had overwhelming experiences with, and have seen answered, and change things, in THIS MOMENT. Also, divine intervention, I have witnessed at least two events in which things seemed pre-determined and at seemingly the last moment, some greater force acted and changed everything. Now, I'm not sure if these specific (I'll say spiritual) forces reside in the "NOW" or the present moment, but I'm pretty certain of this: they stand outside of time and space, at least outside of the linear kind of time.

So then: what am I left with? Was it all in vain? My research, the holy grail of my youth, my many hours spent comparing charts, and patterns, and who is more accurate, and who isn't? I wouldn't say so, if only because of the great lessons it has taught me, about time and space, and intuition. Also, because there is another aspect to which tarot cards can be applied, which I find most constructive and helpful: problem analysis. That is, helping the people who come to get a reading to look at themselves, as they are right now, and analyze and examine the different aspects of their personality. There's a therapeutical value there. I've discovered the cards work quite well with that, and they're probably better at telling you what's happening RIGHT NOW, than they are with any other time (realm). Because, really, all we have at hand is RIGHT NOW. And the best way to use this paradoxical creature is to apply it towards self-knowledge.

My interest in self-knowledge is almost as big as my interest in complaining and ego-pampering, and all brave and hard tested souls in the Pittsburgh Self Inquiry group who've had to listen to me over the years can agree with that. All my beloved friends, who've had to listen valiantly to one too many moments of me complaining about feeling alone in the world, my failures and obstacles, and how life is so unfair, and "why, oh, WHY, must these things happen to ME?," know that to be true. My spiritual teacher and founder of the PSI group in Pittsburgh, Art Ticknor, once answered the complaints of my plight with a very wise remark: "all existence is suffering, it comes from the Latin ex + sistere which means "to stand outside of." So, you see, we are always separate from the Source, as long as we believe we were born, we are this body, and we're going to die, we will always feel separate. Despite occasional moments of connection." Oh boy, how right he was!

So, then … where does the "Right Now" fit into this? In this moment, which is all I have and all I EVER had or will ever have … this moment which is completely outside of past and future, and yet affects them both – in this moment, this "present presence," am I really, truly separate from the Source? Are you?


Thanks to Corina Bardasuc, a TAT member since 2008. If you'd like to read more by Corina, feel free to visit her Facebook public page where she "rambles, rants, writes poetry and occasionally gives useful advice using a nom-de-plume." You may also be interested in an essay she wrote for the Forum in 2008: "My Experience with Group Work."

Comments? Please the Forum.


TAT Foundation News

It's all about "ladder work" – helping and being helped

2016 TAT Meeting Calendar

April 15-17, 2016 (Claymont)
June 17-19, 2016 (Claymont)
September 2-5, 2016 (Claymont)
November 18-20, 2016 (Claymont)

In addition to one of the TAT talks, there's now a downloadable/rental version of the Mister Rose video:

"You don't know anything until you know Everything...."

Mister Rose is an intimate look at a West Virginia native many people called a Zen Master because of the depth of his wisdom and the spiritual system he conveyed to his students. Profound and profane, Richard Rose was not the kind of man most people picture when they think of mystics or spiritual teachers. Yet, he was the truest of teachers, one who had "been there," one who had the cataclysmic experience of spiritual enlightenment.

Filmed in the spring of 1991, the extraordinary documentary follows Mr. Rose from a radio interview, to a university lecture and back to his farm, as he talks about his experience, his philosophy and the details of his life.

Whether you find him charming or offensive, fatherly or fearsome, you will not forget him, and never again will you think about yourself, reality, or life after death in quite the same way.

3+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.

1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
A discussion of the varied ways we can use in order to hear the voice of our inner ocean, the heart of our true desires.

3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
Notes on assumptions, beliefs, and perspectives that bind and free us.

4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
An intriguing look into a feeling-oriented approach to life.

5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

We're looking for a volunteer to rip the rest of our talks from DVD and upload them to VHX. Please for details.

Local Group News

Update from the weekly email self-inquiry groups:
Both groups are active, including some new participants. ~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
Our weekend retreat at Horseshoe Lake Park.... ~ Email or .

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
Reactivating after a couple years of hibernation, the Pittsburgh group is meeting informally on alternate Wednesdays at a restaurant in Oakland. ~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
The Portland group continues to meet every two weeks or so, with the first hour devoted to a common topic (thank you, Vince) and the second hour exploring Tess Hughes's questions (thank you, Tess). Several people have been coming regularly now, and the group has grown. Recently we have experimented with adding an off-week meeting discussing an article. So far, we have read Douglas Harding's "How to Be Happy," Richard Rose's "The Path," and Bob Cergol's "Going Within."

Dan, Andrew, and I are going to Shawn and Aimée's for an informal retreat this weekend, and I think Jason and some of the regulars from their local group will be there too. It will be good to be together. ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) is planning a retreat for the first weekend in October in conjunction with the Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden. We'll keep you informed when the program is put together and registration begins. ~ Email or .

Members-Only Area

A password-protected section of the website is available for TAT members. The area contains information on product discounts for members as well as a substantial amount of helpful and historical information, including audio recordings, Newsletter archives, Retrospect archives, policies, conference proceedings, business meeting notes, photographs, and suggestions for ways to help.

The audio recordings of the presenters at the November TAT Gathering are now available in the members-only web area. Descriptions of each session are also available there along with the speakers' notes.

us if you have questions about the members-only area, or refer to your most recent TAT newsletter for log-in information.

Amazon and eBay

As an Amazon Associate TAT earns from qualifying purchases made through links on our website.

Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is the latest of TAT's books to be converted to the Kindle ebook format. All of the TAT Press books are now available on Amazon in a digital format.

TAT has registered with the eBay Giving Works program. You can list an item there and select TAT to receive a portion of your sale. Check out our Giving Works page on eBay. Click on the "For sellers" link on the left side of that page for details.

There's more background information in the TAT Homing Ground section below.

Your Contributions to TAT News

TAT founder Richard Rose believed that working with others accelerates our retreat from untruth. He also felt that such efforts were most effective when applied with discernment, meaning working with others on the rungs of the ladder closest to our own. The TAT News section is for TAT members to communicate about work they've been doing with or for other members and friends. Please your "ladder work" news.



"One thing you must be able to do in the midst
of any experience is laugh. And experience
should show you that it isn't real, that it's a
movie. Life doesn't take you seriously, so why
take it seriously." ~ Richard Rose, Carillon

"The Harding Tube Experiment gives paws to these two seekers." Submitted
anonymously. See the Feb. 2007 Forum for a Douglas Harding memoriam.


Driving from Fort William, roughly 100 miles north of Glasgow, to the Ardnamurchan peninsula, one follows the road south along Loch Linnhe for about 15 minutes then takes the Corran ferry across the loch before continuing on the road that becomes a single track for much of the way.

"There was a doctor round these parts…. He was a very popular figure. But he liked his whiskey. Nobody minded that, of course, as everybody likes his whiskey in Lochaber [the district which includes Fort William and Ardnamurchan]. Anyway, he drove onto the Corran ferry one day after he'd been up to the Fort to visit some friends. He'd had a few drams up there and decided to get out of the car to clear his head. When he got back in there was a terrible fuss and he called one of the ferrymen over to the car. 'Somebody's stolen my steering wheel!' he complained. The ferryman had a look and said, 'You're sitting in the back seat, doctor.'"
~ From The Dog Who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith

We're hoping to present additional humor created by TAT members and friends here. Please your written or graphic creations. Exact sources are necessary for other submissions, since we need to make sure they're either in the public domain or that we have permission to use them.


Inspiration & Irritation

Irritation moves us; inspiration provides a direction

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Bronnie Ware, a nurse in end-of-life care, shares the most common regrets of the dying. "For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

"People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

"When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind."


~ From Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware. Based around this article, Bronnie has released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Thanks to Paul Constant for this material.

Mr. Rose gave a lecture series on Peace of Mind and Success when he thought that was a fad and would connect with people. [See Peace of Mind Despite Success in the December 2003 TAT Forum.]

His definition of success was a life with no regrets.

I knew him well enough to know he had plenty of those, all on the mundane samsara field. He truly had no regrets.

I think he understood that each person, in the final analysis, lives the life and makes the so-called decisions they've made because they could not have done anything otherwise. Regrets are a projection from the present into the past from the vantage point of seeing how the story unfolded.

Death sits on my shoulder 24 x 7 – ever since my realization. It is my source of constant "sorrow." For me it's very easy to look backward from the vantage point of being on my deathbed and weep for the beauty of illusion and know the painful poignancy that "All my joys are not … that all my love is not, that all my being is not…. All that remains is All." [The quote is from "Three Books of the Absolute" by Richard Rose.] As from a Willie Nelson song: "And regret is just a memory written on my brow / And there's nothing I can do about it now."

That people have such regrets on their death beds is a good thing because it might just be the portal inward to self-transcendence.

I have many mundane "regrets" but I have no regret about those regrets because I know the story could not have been anything else for this particular character. THAT is the acceptance I received in the wake of my realization. Might explain why I've never felt motivated to rearrange my life just because….

On a lighter note, the lyric from that Willie Nelson song is one of my absolute all-time favorite song lyrics in the world. [See box below.]


When I first heard that Willie Nelson song I was amazed by the wisdom the first stanza suggested, albeit likely not nearly fully understood or appreciated by its author.

It very nicely encapsulates what I say about ego weighing every single experience as affirming or diminishing, and rationalizing in a self-affirmative loop ("identity spinning identity").

That one has regrets looking back at life from the vantage point of one's final moments implies looking with a certain detachment – observing from a point of reference above that life – seeing the story in whole, and as a thing apart – the view, not the viewer. Regret is an initial reaction to seeing misplaced priorities – misplaced because from the greater vantage point one can see their lack of meaning. When Mr. Rose, even from the dark recesses of an Alzheimer-crippled mind, told B. "It's a damn shame … you took the bait…." he may as well have been speaking to all of humanity.

I would suggest that the regret would be replaced with essentially pure love – if the person let go completely of the self, finding acceptance and self-forgiveness, because that would mean they've transcended that ego-identity from the story and now see it likewise in the view – as a thing apart – and what could possibly be left at that point? Nothing of them! Yet something quite beyond nothing!

That's why I say that regret could be a very good thing if it triggers a deeper looking at the story before the period gets appended.

As far as not having the capacity to change the story, caution is needed about jumping to conclusions, before that story has unfolded, regarding the need for effort and action.

It would be a lazy rationalization feeding a narrow streak of desires, not to mention fantasy, to think one will surrender to fate, sit back, let go, do nothing and abandon oneself to the wind. What a lie!

Part of the story is the experience of being an individual and experiencing the conviction of having a capacity to act and make choices. One has no choice about making choices and taking actions.

What a challenge! What choices shall one make? To what end?

People are unsure of what they should or shouldn't do in varying degrees, and everyone has a long list of real good reasons for doing all the things they do and have done, tallying all their wins and losses, all their affirmations and diminishments every step of the way. (It's called defining themselves.)

Not only are we not running the show, we don't even know how our own story is going to unfold. That means we don't even know our part in our own storyline, let alone how that part fits into the grand scheme of things.

Curiosity and desire drive action. Action has an effect on the attention. Attention follows the experience our action generates. That vicious cycle left to play out over a lifetime without examination inevitably leads to regrets. Regret is the hindsight of misplaced desire.

But in the end, there's nothing you can do about it now – except perhaps accept and see with clarity.

It's not about changing events, not about remaking ourselves to some self-image or remaking the world to our liking. It is all about the focus of, or object of our attention along the way. By the power of that from which our being arises we inherit the capacity for awareness, or more accurately we ARE awareness. But when that awareness becomes restricted to the body-mind object, and in turn further restricted to all the experiences that unfold in front of that body-mind, a story unfolds that leads to regret, because deep down there is this faint echo from the source, speaking to us in words such as Francis Thompson wrote: "All things betray thee, who betrayest Me," and "Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me." ~ Bob Cergol

"Nothing I Can Do About It Now"

I've got a long list of real good reasons
For all the things I've done
I've got a picture in the back of my mind
Of what I've lost and what I've won

I've survived every situation
Knowing when to freeze and when to run
And regret is just a memory written on my brow
And there's nothing I can do about it now.

I've got a wild and a restless spirit
I held my price through every deal
I've seen the fire of a woman's scorn
Turn her heart of gold to steel

I've got the song of the voice inside me
Set to the rhythm of the wheel
And I've been dreaming like a child
Since the cradle broke the bough
And there's nothing I can do about it now.

Running through the changes
Going through the stages
Coming round the corners in my life
Leaving doubt to fate
Staying out too late
Waiting for the moon to say good night.

And I could cry for the time I've wasted
But that's a waste of time and tears
And I know just what I'd change
If I went back in time somehow
But there's nothing I can do about it now.

I'm forgiving everything that forgiveness will allow
And there's nothing I can do about it now.

Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote the song, which was popularized by Willie Nelson.

Please your thoughts on the above items.


Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends

A reader wrote that what would make the Forum more interesting would be:

Hearing from people who are searching – and have questions instead of those providing endless advice and "answers." What challenges they are facing. What their doubts and questions are. How they perceive their path is going. What they are doing in their lives. Where they think they will end up. Etc. etc.

Can you help make the Forum more interesting?

Last month the Forum staff asked the question: "What music would you say had the biggest impact on your life, and why?" Responses follow.


From Andrew S:
All sorts of different music have impacted me one way or another. I love music. When I was growing up we only listened to oldies. At the time, I would complain a lot about not being able to listen to what other kids were listening to. Seems kinda silly now because oldies are great and I don't know what I was complaining about. I have a whole new appreciation for a lot of the music I listened to as a kid when I hear the songs again now. I enjoy almost all kinds of music but lyrics are very important to me. I listen closely to lyrics and prefer them to make sense.

I would say rock music/alternative metal has had the biggest influence on my life. It used to be a way for me to vent a lot of the frustrations of life and still is sometimes. I love the style and the powerful sound. They put a lot of emotion in their music and it seems to make it more real. Trying to express something is more important than making a catchy tune to play on the radio.

Whether it's a soft song or heavier, I love listening to the specific instruments and how they all play their part, specifically with Breaking Benjamin. I feel like I could write a whole dissertation on how great Breaking Benjamin is. When listening to their lyrics I'm convinced a lot of their songs are about spirituality, although there may be some bias on my part. Songs like "Without You," "Into the Nothing," "Give Me a Sign," "Failure," "Ashes of Eden" and others make pretty compelling arguments though.

From Mike G:
"Adagio for Strings" by Barber has the effect of creating a deep nostalgic mood.

From Mario P:
It was a warm and sunny Easter morning. My mother woke me up holding a radio with a rendition of The Lord's Prayer sung by Pope John II (in Italian and Latin). I felt a very deep sense of wonder and peace and smiled. She understood perfectly and just asked: "You feel it too?". Magic!

Then there is anything by Sigur Rós. They're an Icelandic band that invented their own gibberish language to accompany their songs. Here's Ekki múkk, a motion-picture style video. If Tolkien was a musician, I think that's the style he would compose the Elven songs in.

Lastly, I love and often listen to the Alan Watts musically accompanied videos. His voice and music are just perfect. Here's an example on Death, which he describes as "everything becoming nothing."

Ahh, and then there are the many songs we sang in church when I was a kid. Those were happy songs and happy times. I still sing them sometimes today – especially when drunk! :-)

From Grainne V:
Soul reggae with the "one love" theme. "Jérusalem" by Alpha Blondie.

From Mary M:
Music has always been a certain song at a certain time, never a type and not always words. I remember "Love Is Blue" [Paul Mauriat instrumental; vocal version by Al Martino] from my childhood; it was always nostalgic, even the first time I heard it. Another one is "What a Wonderful World" sung by Louis Armstrong... hmmm. Then of course if I am trying to conquer some personal demon, Superchic's "Beauty from Pain," "I will survive" [Gloria Gaynor], and "Jar of Hearts" [Christina Perri] or the like. Then there are the classics Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon," "Free Bird" [Lynyrd Skynyrd] and U2, you name it. I love all kinds of music, always. I think I tend to like music that makes me cry the most ;)

From Mark C:
I grew up on rock music (both playing it and listening to it) and never attributed too deep of a meaning to it until I was older and ran into the band, Pink Floyd, who had their roots in the more psychedelic arena of music. It was this very same psychedelic viewpoint that allowed me to see our apparent everyday world in a very different way with songs such as "Money" and "Time" and "Welcome to the Machine." Sometimes I even wondered if any of the members of Pink Floyd had interests in more Eastern thought as songs like "Us and Them" seem to mock the apparent divide between people. Their music was thought provoking as well as feeling evoking and unlike conventional rock did not stick to the standard formula topics of sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll. For example, their "Animals" album was based loosely on Orwell's "Animal Farm" and spoke to the same societal ills that "Animal Farm" had spoken to.

In more recent times, I have swung away from music with stronger beats, and started listening to such things as Gregorian chant and/or Native American flute music in my car while driving because it seems to soothe what can be a stressful drive to and from work. It puts me into a relaxed state and helps me to prepare for my day, and I have found that that relaxed state is very important to me.

From Steve S:
When my strongly held Christian beliefs began to fall away I was in deep terror. All my life I'd been taught that if I didn't believe in Jesus, I was bound for an eternity in hell. I had also had some very deep experiences early in life which I attributed to Jesus, and a big part of me was tied up in Christianity. I clung strongly to bits and pieces of that Jesus thing for years until one day I realized that, regardless of what my fears said, it was just gone. There was a time of black depression while I came to grips with this new way of being. Then one day my gym playlist circled around to AC/DC's "On the Highway to Hell." For some reason, having that old rock and roll group blasting in my ears brought me into final acceptance of the death of what had been a strong part of my "self."

What person or lesson would you say had the
biggest impact on your life, and why? Please
your responses for next month's Reader Commentary.


We'll be asking about other profound impacts in future issues.

Other Reader Feedback

~ From A.B. in British Columbia:
The reader's request for input from people that are searching, rather than endless "advice" of dubious quality, is a very good suggestion. This raises some interesting points, if one stops to think about the request. I can't say that I am "searching" for anything, because whatever you require is found inside and not outside. So I think these types of sites might actually be a limitation, or a diversion, or misleading, because one "searches" – i.e. outside of themselves – when in fact, the search needs to be inside, independent of the court of public opinion, and not to mention their "friends," who will enable them right down the drain.

But it is however an excellent suggestion and deserves a response from many readers. What problems have I had? Yes, excellent … the biggest problem is the people that you hang around with who don't understand or agree with your personal goals. These might be nice people and everything, but are they your "friends"? I doubt it. They are a problem. This type of search is a solitary affair, by definition. So the more one talks, the less one might understand, because if you are talking, that means interacting with others … and, one has to ask, are they there to help you? Or to further their own blueprint of what reality is? You probably threaten their views.

It's not what you do, it's what you avoid and do not do. That is more important than what you "do"; it's about "not doing." And those "friends," they aren't your friends unless they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Obstacles? Asking other people their opinions or advice. Their opinions might be true for them, but they aren't true for anyone else, because everyone's blueprint is their unique personal blueprint, unique to them. So, what works for the snake charmer might not work for you, or for me.

Ask your higher Spirit Self for answers, rather than people.

Postscript from A.B.: There is a great documentary called Kumaré which speaks to this problem: phony mitómanos [compulsive liars - Ed.].

Richard Rose described a spiritual path as living one's life aimed at finding the meaning of that life. Did you find anything relevant to your life or search in this month's TAT Forum?


Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Photo by Corina Bardasuc.


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Founder's Wisdom

Richard Rose (1917-2005) established the TAT Foundation
in 1973 to encourage people to work together on what
he considered to be the "grand project" of spiritual work.

Knowing Oneself

Part 1 of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983:

One of the themes of this talk is knowing yourself. Another is accomplishment, and this is on any level. I would like to start with knowing yourself. I have brought this up at many lectures in universities around the country. People take it for granted that the projection they have of themselves is themselves. When I was younger, studying to be a priest in the Catholic religion, I got exposed to a lot of literature and exhortations to do this and that. And one of them was, "First know thyself." And this runs through the vein of a lot of literature.

I maintain that not only do we not know ourselves, but the people in charge of helping us to know ourselves are not competent. One time at the University of Pittsburgh I said, "People don't know who they are." A fellow interrupted me, he said, "I know who I am." And rather foolishly I said, "Who are you?" And he said, "I'm the guy sitting in front of you." But this fellow in front of me was carrying a projection. And people live with this projection all their lives, until the rebuff or the disappointment is violent enough to cause some trauma and they're forced to sit and think, "Well, I'm not as much as I thought I was." And sometimes with dealings in romance a person falls in love but he gets rejected. He thought his projection was perfect, he was the perfect rooster, why didn't the perfect peacock fall in love with him? After he gets rejected a couple times he realizes that his projection is off, and he reevaluates himself. This is just a crude, elementary example of this.

So we go back to basic psychology. Knowing yourself is basic. If you don't know yourself you're liable to succeed in one form of your life's work but fail in another. And failing in the second might be fatal. I was just reading in the paper where a man had realized he was worth $9 million dollars and he took his Ferrari over a cliff and killed himself.1 That was out in San Francisco. He was organizing a company and was about 40-45 years old. And I thought to myself, "What happened?" The article said the officers of the corporation had been up for two or three days drawing up papers for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Which meant that he may have been without sleep, he may have been running on coffee or drug stimulants; and he just couldn't take it any longer and fell asleep at the wheel. If this is true, he didn't particularly know himself. He should have known his capacities. He should have known that a life is worth more than the corporation or the success, because naturally without your life you can't enjoy it or possess it.

In this business of achievement, basically I'm approaching you with a philosophic and psychological understanding or experience. The trouble is that we go to people for advice who are supposed to be experts, but the aim of psychology today is adjustment to conventional customs of the time, not to the discovery of who you are. So that if this were successful, you could become a millionaire and not know who you are. Or you might have some other ambition, to become very wise or to be a student or a scholar; but unless you know who you are, you haven't begun on the right step even to become a philosopher or a psychologist.

I'm not trying to negate knowledge. Getting back to the subconscious mind, I do not think we have a subconscious mind as understood by the compartmentalized psychological writers. That we have an id, ego, superego and this sort of thing. I think what we have is a perceptive ability and a memory bank, and an automatic coordination just like any computer. The thing is that there is only one thought that comes through the window at a time, but the memory bank has all that information in it, and we like to call that the subconscious mind.

And this disturbed me years ago when I took psychology courses in school. Because in those days, back when I was in my 20s, which was 40 years ago, we belabored ourselves with the normal curve and Pavlov's dogs, and we were trying to predict behavior so we could manipulate people. That's the only thing I can see that comes out of this behavioral psychology. What good does it do except for the manipulators? For instance, B.F. Skinner remarked that people were like lions or animals and they had to be trained. That they were almost irresponsible. In fact, he used the word "masturbation" – that people in the zoo who train these animals use this to keep them sedated or peaceful or happy.2

So this thought went over into the whole funded system of psychology and psychiatry, to keep down riots by placating people, but not understanding. I maintain that you can keep down the riots if you understand. I maintain that you don't need to worry about friction between people if you have the ability to understand yourself, first, and then to step inside the other fellow's shoes. And then you'll have compassion, friendship perhaps. But we exhort each other to love, all the while we're anxious to manipulate. Love is one day a week. You put out a good attitude, tell people to have a good day. That's cheap. How much does it cost to tell somebody to have a good day? But what kind of a person are you behind all this?


So we come to this business of really knowing yourself. And it isn't that complicated. You don't have to have a book. I've got some books back there that I've written; they help, they'll stimulate thinking perhaps. But you can do this without a book. You can do this without a teacher, just by honestly sitting and thinking. Not sitting and doping, but sitting and being introspective.

And when you do this you begin to observe yourself, you begin to observe your own action. And this action takes a definite course. The course of this introspective action is described in a little book I wrote called Psychology of the Observer.3 I maintain that we are not the people who we see in the mirror. This is one of the things you learn. We learn that we are programmed by genetics; our parents are somewhat responsible for many of the things that we think, many of the directions and choices we make. Now we talk about linear thinking, and I maintain that linear thinking goes nowhere. It's like an endless line. But Hubert Benoit, in The Supreme Doctrine,4 talked of the triangulation of thinking. And this was his explanation for the wisdom in Zen. People observe black and white, but we are relative creatures: we have to compare with two eyes, two ears to pick up sound, etc. All of our language, everything we do, think, say, communicate with each other is relative. Every definition requires and incorporates its opposite. You are this because you are not the opposite. We can take black and white as a simplification; this is also with good and bad, ethics and anti-ethics or whatever you want to call it. We look at black and all we can see is black. At the other extreme we see white. But by taking a triangulated view of it, from what Benoit calls the conciliatory point, you get an overview of a line. The line at one end is black only, and at the other end is white only, while in-between is an infinite variation of gray.

Now you watch this operation going on. And this, what I call the umpire, works in everything you do. Whether you want sugar on your food, or when you go out the door you walk to the right or the left, it requires a decision. And those decisions are made very rapidly. After you examine these you think, "That's good, we've got something in charge." Some religionists call it conscience. The consciousness is the umpire, the arbiter that says, "Hey, don't do this, don't do that."

I find that this arbiter or conscience has to do mostly with natural laws, natural things, things that are good for nature. We make decisions to protect our children, very quickly. We'll make decisions to protect our fellowman on the battlefield and give our life to do it, so it doesn't necessarily take into consideration the good of the individual.

After observing this and delving into it for a while you develop a thing called intuition. And why? Because the factors in understanding the human mind are more than you can put on a slide rule. There are thousands, millions perhaps, of factors in the decision-making of things that people do.

Now to get around that, we can't do it with the intellect. When I started to get into this introspection I thought, "First of all I'm going to have to read everything that's written on it." You're going to have to read everything on psychology. Then you're going to pick up on these warring factions in psychology, these schools of thought. You've got your behaviorists, humanists, Freudians, gestalt psychologists; they're not all in agreement. So somehow you've got to absorb all of this and have a faculty that will give you a reading rapidly. But you don't have 200 years to logically evaluate every book and weigh it: Where did this fellow lie or go overboard in his convictions?

And this faculty is the intuition. The intuitive factor is the instantaneous computation. It doesn't go about it logically. It develops a sense for quickly deciding: "I like this or I don't like that, and this is good." And then you go through a process of correcting your intuition, because it can make mistakes too. But after so much of this you become fairly efficient. If you correct your intuition enough you can tell what a person is thinking. John Dunninger5 was once asked how he began to be a mind reader. And he said, "I started by guessing." In other words, you just get some people you know and you say, "You're thinking of this." Or like J.B. Rhine6 down at Duke University; they rolled the dice so many times with the attention on a certain number and that number came up. The statistics showed the effect of the mind on moving the dice; this made it a scientific operation. The same thing when you get to reading minds. You take little ESP games, and if you become proficient at picking up – if you're 51% right in your guessing – you're starting on the path to mind reading. You become a fractional mind-reader so to speak. But anyhow, I'm trying to point out the importance of the intuitive factor,7 which a lot of people don't think about at all.

As I said, most people think they are whatever they project. The big crime is in saying, "I am this. With the help of a little makeup or with a nice suit of clothes, they'll believe that I'm the rooster." Or the peacock, whatever it is. And these errors have to be overcome. Now take this and project it a ways. What goes on when you are taking this conciliatory point? You're taking the relative world and viewing it from a superior position. You're observing it. And then in turn you suddenly become aware of what you're doing; you realize that the relative creature that you're watching, this body and the body actions, is not you. They are a spectrum that begins at birth as an infant and ends later on as a decrepit old person. And that's the total you.

Process Observer

With this you realize that you are studying a process. And I came up with the realization that the view is never the viewer. That which you see is not you. Whenever you're able to study and possibly change this person that you're watching and working with, it means that the real consciousness is anterior. Now you can take this system of psychology and say, "Well then I'm watching myself watching myself watching myself." No, no. It only goes back so far; it goes back three definite steps [see the Jacob's Ladder diagram below].

In the analysis of the self you watch your actions. The next thing you watch is like gestaltic patterns. When I studied psychology years ago the word gestalt meant mental patterns,8 but today it means something else.9 We think in terms of patterns. It's not like if I touch something hot and I move, or I react to somebody's words and it's a one-time thing. This isn't true. When you're driving a car, you drive according to a pattern of thinking. You visualize ahead of time or through experience what will happen, say, if a dog runs into the street or a car swerves in front of you, or if you tramp on the brakes and the brakes fail. If you visualize this correctly you'll be ready for it. In one to two seconds you'll tramp on the brake and twist the wheel. You'll do exactly the right thing if you've visualized it ahead of time, because you've set up a pattern of thinking.

So in this next stage you stand behind yourself and watch these patterns of thinking as they take place. You realize that you're no longer an individual with a deliberate, purposeful direction. And you find processes of thinking, states of mind.10 I find that very few psychology books mention states of mind. What is the main cause of two people fighting? – say if you go into a beer joint. In the book I tried to spell it out by Mr. A, Mr. B, and Mr. C.11 Their genetic background, their religious background, their nationality and so on may spark something, because each one of these has a state of mind.

Every family has a unique state of mind. When a child goes to the first grade of school it always enters into shock; and we wonder why, because we can't remember when we were a child. In the household from which it came there was a decided state of mind. The parents talked and the children heard it, meaning, "We don't do this," or "We do this, but don't tell other people." Or, "We hate these people. This type of people are no good."

And it's much deeper than that; it's a whole emotional reactionary system. It's also the tolerance that they have for the child: In one family the child may be able to get away with anything; in the other family he's beat half to death if he looks crooked. So the whole state of mind is wrapped around this. It's a certain expectation from living in that family. You adjust yourself to it, and then at five or six years of age they send you out into people with other states of mind, and there's a tremendous shock.

Naturally the child is programmed to forget pain and trauma rather easily, so it adjusts. But later there are still fragments of the family state of mind, the racial state of mind, meaning the nationality; it doesn't have to be race, just nationality. For each nationality, if they live together in a country or a certain part of town, there will be a state of mind. And when they mingle, when the kid from there goes to college and he meets other people he thinks, "Oh, boy, they don't understand the way I'm talking." And again there's an adjustment.

This is just one element, one process that the mind goes through. We look at the world through stained glass windows sometimes. And we realize sometimes that we shaded things; that when the body was in a certain hormonal stage we got into a different state of mind. And that state of mind will click sometimes within 24 hours. The person will be in a different mood and they don't know what causes it. I've had people stay in the house – this happens more with the women than the men; I think the cycles of change are different – but I've had quarrels going on between two or three women and I'd say, "Hey, what happened?" I remember one of the girls said, "I just forgot to look at the calendar, or I would have known what would happen."

The person who says that is now what I call a process observer. These are the processes. We think we're doing things, we think that we're in charge of something – and we may be; we may be running a big business – but then one day you find out that you're not doing anything. The bottom falls out for some unexpected reason. And once you become aware of that, then you're at the point of another triangulation. On the one end is somatic judgment or the umpire, the man in charge of the body apparatus, the somatic-humanity part also [point C in the following diagram]. On the other end of the spectrum there's a new triangle that forms, which is the intuition [point D] and then the conciliatory point, a process observer [point E].

Source: Psychology of the Observer, © 2001 Richard Rose. All rights reserved.

So you're watching these different actions. And you've got to do this if you want to know yourself. You can't just read books about it. First you've got to know where to look, but then you've got to go through this process of looking. We're going to have a seminar here tomorrow12 and I'll put some questions out so that you will see how much thinking you have done to date. And there's no big follow up to that, except the rest of your life you'll be on the lookout for this neglect of proper observation of what's going on in your head. Ninety percent of all of our troubles start right in our own head, not in the enemy's, not in the other person.

To be continued....


1. http://www.nytimes.com/1983/06/10/business/corporate-triumph-then-death-in-a-ferrari.html

2. Quote in context: http://selfdefinition.org/psychology/quotes/skinner-on-taming-the-lions.htm

3. https://tatfoundation.org/psych.htm

4. Full text: http://selfdefinition.org/zen/benoit/

5. Famed mentalist (1892-1975) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dunninge

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Banks_Rhine

7. Rose is linking intuition, ESP and telekinesis. Also see The Albigen Papers, ch. 2, paragraph 7: "But telepathy may also function in another manner, as a sort of mental tenuousity."

8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology

9. Fritz Perls, "Gestalt Therapy" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Perls

10. See The Albigen Papers, ch. 5, Obstacles to Transcendental Efforts, subheading States of Mind.

11. The Albigen Papers, ch. 5: "Mr. A uses a perfectly harmless word, the word Penguin. Within a few moments and with little or no explanation, Mr. B. has knocked him to the floor. ..." Etc.

12. The seminar for Denver was cancelled but there was one the prior week in Boulder.


~ Transcription (at www.direct-mind.org/index.php?title=1983-0610-Denver-Colorado) by Steve Harnish of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO in 1983. for information on the transcription project.


A New Home for TAT

... A spot on earth where people can do retreats and hold
meetings; where the emphasis is on friendship and the search.

Current Status

We've looked at two properties in North Carolina and are currently investigating a third. When we find a promising spot we will need to move on it quickly. So please keep your donations, which are nearing 80% of the goal, coming. And please keep an eye out for potential properties. (See "The Vision" below for desired requirements.) Many eyes on the ground will help a lot in this respect.

When you make any purchase on Amazon after visiting the TAT Press webpage and clicking any of the Amazon links, TAT earns 4 to 6% – all at no cost to you. Or try it now.

LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN: To invest in the "Homing Ground" project, mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please ).

Or you can use PayPal (though we lose 2.2% of your donation to PayPal fees) by choosing the "Make a Donation" button below or the Make a Donation button on our Homing Ground page. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Thanks to each of you who have donated and pledged and look forward to the day we set foot on our new home site.

What is TAT?

The TAT Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 100% volunteer organization founded in 1973 with the express purpose of providing a forum and meeting place for inquirers into the mystery of life and ourselves. TAT brings together people from all levels and experiences and welcomes those in search of truth, adventurers of the mind, seekers of knowledge, the self, and the unknown to meet others of like interest.

TAT is non-sectarian and non-denominational; there are no secret oaths, dogmas, or rituals at TAT. Its membership, open to all of serious intent, from all walks of life, is united in the friendship of dialogue and fellowship of human spirit. All are on equal ground at TAT.

TAT believes that you can expedite and intensify your investigation of life's mysteries by working with others who are exploring, perhaps down a different road, so that you may share your discoveries and "compare notes" in order to come to a better understanding of yourself and others.

TAT is not tied to a single teacher. Its model remains in line with that of TAT founder Richard Rose, whose vision included an "umbrella" organization through which many people would exchange ideas. His vision also included "a spot on earth upon which to meet. A homing ground...."


The Purpose:

The Vision:

What's This All About?

For over 35 years, the TAT Foundation met on Richard Rose's farm, where he and the members created "a spot on earth upon which to meet. A homing ground...." TAT meetings, group retreats, and solitary retreats were a regular part of life at the ashram. Rose's desire to help others and to bring people together in a meditative surrounding, influenced two generations of spiritual seekers. Rose's farm was a sanctuary for many years, and a crucible. He once said it was like the desert—where you go to meet God.

In 2011, Rose's heir decided to use the property for another purpose, and TAT's lease was not renewed. We have since rented facilities for our four quarterly meetings. Yet, the desire to provide a greater service has been a frequent topic. Our dream is to create once again a space that encourages honesty, provides a crucible for spiritual development, and produces the next generation of spiritual seekers and finders.

To that end, TAT is raising $250,000 to find a new home. We envision a semi-rural facility, close to a university town, with a meeting hall seating up to 70 participants, kitchen and bath facilities, and a room for a live-in caretaker. Additionally, the facility would have one cabin for solitary retreats. Ideally, the property would border public lands to provide a buffer of quiet and solitude, and have enough acreage to allow for additional cabins, sleeping quarters, and facilities over time. A resident teacher, week-long retreats and intensives, public events and other activities are planned.



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