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

TAT Forum

May 2016

June gathering details



Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Weekday Warrior

One of the things I noticed when first starting to put some effort into self-inquiry was my different attitude on the weekends vs. the weekdays. Meditation went from something I was committed to and saw as important (on weekdays) to something that could be focused on later (on weekends). I was committed when it was convenient.

My situation at the time was that, during the week, I stayed with my mom in Portland because that's where my job was. My actual home was in Seattle, so every weekend I would drive back and leave again for Portland on Monday morning.

Since it was just the two of us at my mom's, it was much easier to meditate and read quietly without nearly as many distractions. Whereas in Seattle, it's the weekend and my girlfriend and friends are there. I would still meditate sometimes but hardly put any effort into it. My mind would keep asking when I would be done because it's the weekend, and the weekends are for fun.

The mind wanted justification for what I was doing or not doing, and I guess I didn't have the tools to convince it that weekend meditation was important. At the start of the following week, it would always be much harder to get my focus back. I was frustrated.

A friend asked me these questions: Do you have two different conviction states between weekdays in Portland and weekends in Seattle? Are you able to get a feeling for the underlying convictions about self/other that are operational during the (latter part of the) week vs. weekend?

This was my answer: Yes, I certainly did have two different conviction states. Not as much now, though. Before it was like I was not ready to give up my weekend time. I wasn't ready to let go and make this full time. My state of perception has always been different on the weekends, and I was holding onto that. I'm sure this was also the reason for my hangover periods when I went back to work. Mondays were always out of focus, with work for a long time and then also with my practices once I started those.

It was as if I felt like I had earned something, and the weekends were my time to cash in. On Mondays, however, I don't think I ever once felt like I had gotten what I was looking for out of a weekend. My last two weekends have been better: much more focused; not as much of a hangover to start the week.

I had already started to reluctantly accept that my opinion of what the weekends were for had to change. The friend pointed out that there was a time historically when weekends were just like weekdays, and "fun" was something fairly new to our generation since survival didn't leave a whole lot of time for fun in previous times. I really started to see how much energy and hope I was investing in the weekends and how it related to how crummy I felt on Mondays. Weekends ALWAYS fell short of my expectation.


From a TAT member who wishes to remain anonymous. Comments? Please the Forum.


TAT Foundation News

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

Breaking news....

TAT just received a new donation-matching challenge for our Homing Ground project:

The challenger will donate $1,000 if we raise at least that much in the next two weeks (by Sunday, May 15th). Please check the Homing Ground section below for project details and donation options.

2016 TAT Meeting Calendar

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


Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire (details).

April TAT weekend feedback:

Coming to the TAT meeting I had a mixed feelings of excitement and a little bit of fear at the same time. In the meeting I felt like I was home with seemingly intimate friends and yet without attachment whatsover. All the speakers really presented the subject with certainty, listening to our questions patiently as well as answering them as honestly as possible. I could feel the oneness in that group. Home from the meeting, I am not the same person as I was before the meeting in a positive way. It was a big transformation for me. I was happy I attended that meeting. ~ Aselo R, a newcomer

The meeting was really good – had the desired effect on me … left me very, very shaken but determined to get up and keep going. One of the new people made the observation that 3 out of the 4 speakers, at some point, became visibly stirred to tears – and that impressed him the most. ~ Leesa S.

This was my second TAT meeting over the past couple years, and I left with a deep conviction that TAT would become a greater part of my life moving forward. This conviction mirrored a shift in commitment and focus that began prior to the meeting, but was further motivated by it. There is something very special about TAT … it's subtle at times, but profoundly substantial. I have never met a group of more authentic individuals, and have never felt so at home to be completely and entirely myself. There was an immediate sense of friendship, true friendship, and an understanding that this was a sacred place to align with the deepest longing of our hearts. I am so grateful to the TAT Foundation for all that they stand for, and to those in my life that have helped create the conditions which allowed for my finding this "home for the wanderer." ~ Michael from Richmond, VA

Local Group News

Update from the Central Ohio Nonduality group:
The Columbus, Ohio group has renamed itself from its former identity as the Ohio State University Self-Inquiry Group. ~ For further information, contact or . We're also on Facebook.

Update from the Galway, Ireland self-inquiry group:

Self-Inquiry Retreat in Ireland – Summer 2016
When: Friday evening, July 8 - Monday lunch, July 11th.
Where: Star of the Sea. Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
Check the website "Events" tab for more information.

We now have a steady core group of 5/6 people. It started with 2, one responded to Meetup.com notices and one to my website. Over 4 years it has grown, very slowly, either through participants bringing someone who is interested along to a meeting or from having attended one of our few weekend retreats, either by me or Art or Bart. A few have found me through the Conscious.tv interview.

There has been quite a bit of attrition along the way. Quite a few have come once and not returned. I think it helps to have a local name for the group and perhaps a photo of the person leading the group.

Through word of mouth I meet people who express an interest in attending around a couple of times per month. They are trying to get an idea of what happens at a meeting and to see how they feel about me. I tell them it's all about asking deep meaningful questions and learning to ask oneself questions. This is an immediate turn off for some folk and an intriguing idea for a very few others. ~ Tess

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We're organizing a double-barrel retreat at Grand Vue Park the Sunday-Friday June 12-17 preceding the June TAT meeting (Friday-Sunday June 17-19). Some participants will be there for the first half, some for the second half, and some for the entire period beginning Sunday afternoon, ending Friday noon. Paul Constant and Art Ticknor will be shepherding the retreat. ~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) is planning a retreat for October 1st and 2nd in conjunction with the Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at the Juniper Level Botanic Garden. See The Nature of Identity/Beyond Self for details and registration.

The Raleigh TIG (Triangle Inquiry Group) has been meeting for almost 20 years now and has gone through many transformations. We have a solid core group now with some members that have been with us for as long as 5-6 years and a few longer. As far as attracting new members, the best media so far has been our own web site. Also the TAT web site has provided some folks the means to find us. Word of mouth seems to be the best means of bringing in new members, and many have come from out of town and looked us up after moving here.

We have changed the format of the meetings, and the group facilitator reads a short paragraph [it's on the website, also] that outlines the intention for the meeting. This has replaced the format of bringing up a specific theme or topic and just allows for whatever someone brings up as a block or obstacle on their path. The other members contribute by asking probing questions to help that person uncover what may be behind that block or obstacle. I believe this is effective because we have so many "core" members who help keep things "on track." That being said, things do tend to drift into general discussion and intellectualization towards the end; however, it seems to work better than setting up strict rules and guidelines. In any case, I am sure we will always be adjusting and experimenting with new formats and approaches, and as long as we keep our original intention of self inquiry in view, we should be OK. ~ Email or .

Update from the Tallahassee, FL self-inquiry group:
We had our second meeting on April 26th. Both meetings have been attended by two women who found the group through Meetup.com. As people familiar with Meetup.com know, half or less of the people who RSVP for the meeting actually show up.

I've been following Art's example with topics. At the first meeting we just went after everyone's biggest complaint, or what was on their mind the most. This seemed spontaneous and I was surprised at how open and responsive everyone was for the first time. At the second meeting I had everyone write down their 3 most deeply held beliefs. I found this was a little more scripted and feel it gave people more of a chance to think and create something to hide behind.

We will be meeting every other Tuesday, with the next meeting being on May 10th. ~ Email for details.

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 presentations at the April 2016 TAT Gathering by Bob Cergol, Paul Constant, Bart Marshall, Shawn Nevins, and Saima Yousuf are now available in the members-only web area.

us if you have questions about the members-only area.

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 Man Who Wasn't There
(Inspiring for Seekers Everywhere)

A 69-year-old Spanish man was fined this week after officials discovered he hadn't shown up to work for at least six years, the Guardian reports. Ironically, the civil servant was discovered only when the deputy mayor attempted to give him an award for 20 years of "loyal and dedicated" service in 2010. "I thought, where is this man?" the Guardian quotes the deputy mayor. "Is he still there? Has he retired? Has he died?" According to the Independent, a legal case was launched against the man – Joaquín García – that year. It finally wrapped up this week, with García, who retired in 2011, losing an appeal and being issued a fine of approximately $30,000, The Times reports. That's the equivalent of one year's salary after taxes, and was the most that could legally be reclaimed.

The investigation into García determined he hadn't been to his office for at least six years – and possibly as long as 14 years – and had done "absolutely no work" between 2007 and 2010. He was supposed to be supervising the construction of a water treatment plant, the BBC reports. But the water company thought the city council was in charge of García, while the city council thought the water company was in charge of him. A water company manager admitted to not having seen García for years despite having an office across from him. García argues he was bullied and given a job with no actual work to do because of his socialist politics. As for what he did with all his free time: The Guardian reports he became "an avid reader of philosophy and an expert on the works of Spinoza."

(Thanks to long-time TAT member Krista H.)


Thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

We're hoping to present more 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

Waves of Love
Saima Yousuf

You keep asking me again and again
You keep asking me again and again
How did you do it?
How did you do it?

I turn, and smile
Look in your eyes, and say
This world was all an illusion!
As long as it was believed, my "I" delusion

In this world, I gained all material measure
But I couldn't find my buried treasure
As long as I believed "my" delusion
This world was all an incredible illusion!

Until Grace when itself, Spirit recognized
Then all fears became un-disguised!

And my heart said...
Come, come with me!
Let's surf the Cosmos below and above!
There is nothing else, just Waves of Love...

[Saima read this poem at the recent April TAT meeting.] It just "downloaded" into my brain one day, after a deep meditation, completely in Urdu/Hindi.... Although I do not read/write Urdu (which is written in Persian script) beyond a 5th grade level.... I translated it the best I could into English while staying true to the original rhyming beat, although I still feel something still gets lost in translation. "The Embrace" is my painting of the moment of enlightenment, the heart opening to all there is, and in the background of the woman's neck are stars and comets, representing all the cosmos, or as a microcosm could be seen as sperm and ovum, which also represents all of creation.

Pyar ki Laherein

Aap bar bar mujsay poochthay hain
Aap bar bar mujsay poochthay hain

Ye aap nai kaisay quiya?
Ye aap nai kaisay quiya?

Mai pallutt ker muskkerathein hoon
Aur ankh milla ker khethi hoon

Ye duniya sub aik dhoka tha
Jab thak mainay "socha" tha
Is duniya mein mainay hur cheez paayi
Muggar na milli mujhe merri Khudayi

Jab thak mainay socha tha
Ye duniya sab aik dhoka tha!

Apnay aap ko jab Rooh nai paichaanna
Tho har khauf ban gaya anjana

Aur meray Dil nai kahaa...
Aaa, meray saath aa...
Qayinaat ki sahar karrein –
Aur kuch nahein, sirf Pyar ki laherein.


See Saima's holistic art website, Heart of Art Studio.

One Day at a Time?

You have to be prepared to give up your body, but this thing comes in stages. You can't say, "Give me the formula, and I'll jump off a bridge." No, you have to take care of your body. You have to be an egotist to where you get strong enough to do it on your own. You can't think with a diseased body. You've got to have something of a methodical way of going about your thinking processes, or you could become a raving fanatic and go bananas from the so-called pursuit of the truth. This is caused by improper thinking, something wrong with the awareness of your own awareness; you're unconscious of factors and that sort of thing.

But when you really realize, your whole thinking mechanism disappears. I talk about fattening up the head before you chop it off. You can't be a dummy, you can't just say, "Oh, I'm going to relax. One day at a time." I hear a lot of this stuff. This is nonsense. This is the philosophy of earthworms, or rocks, where we're going to "be here now." They haven't begun to be here, much less now. You have to come out fighting. A man fights. The woman is acceptance. A man fights like heck before he learns to surrender. The woman has the ability to surrender more quickly, and consequently reach that point. ~ From a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983 (transcript beginning in the March 2016 TAT Forum and continued in this month's issue).

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 is your favorite aphorism (a concise observation that contains a general truth), and why?" Responses follow.


From Hanne Q:
"No mud, no lotus." Came across this in the email messages of a Chinese medicine practitioner I know.

From Alan M:
"What a world would this be, were everything beloved as it ought to be!" Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations, 2:66-8. [Check out Alan's Capacitie.org website.]

From Joel S:
"What did the Buddhist monk say to the hotdog vendor? Make me one with everything." [Joel submitted this as humor, but I thought it was a good fit for this section. - Ed.]

From Michael in Richmond, VA:
"It is so simple to be happy, but it is so difficult to be simple." - Rabindranath Tagore

From Garry N:
"Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Franz Kafka

From Paul C:
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Frank Herbert, Dune. When I was in my early teens, I read the sci-fi novel Dune. Although it probably doesn't meet the strict definition of an aphorism, this quote stuck with me for decades afterwards. It turned out to be prescient….

From Richard Rose:
"You people here are the wisest people on earth for you. Because you'll find what you're looking for inside yourself, not in a teacher. So you are the source of your own wisdom. You have to go inside." ~ From a talk given in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983 (transcript beginning in the March 2016 TAT Forum and continued in this month's issue).

What is the primary question you're asking yourself or, to word it another way, your primary quest, and why? Please your responses for next month's Reader Commentary.

Other Reader Feedback

Bob Fergeson's essay was so full of wisdom that I had a strong urge to quote it on Facebook. ~ From John A. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University [Humor is still alive in academia :-). Bob's essay in the April 2016 TAT Forum is a commentary on Facebook self-glorification. - 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?


Vishnu Temple at Grand Canyon National Park. © Bob Fergeson.
See Bob's photo site at www.NostalgiaWest.com.


We like hearing from you! Please your comments, suggestions, inquiries, and submissions.

Sign up for notices of TAT's four annual events and free monthly Forums by email on our .


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 3 of a talk given by Richard Rose in Denver, CO on June 10, 1983 (continued from the March 2016 TAT Forum and the April 2016 TAT Forum):


But to make a long story short, we should never exercise our ego too foolishly. One of the biggest detriments in the understanding of yourself – that which stands between you and yourself – is an ego. And there are many steps as I described; you get into observing yourself and looking for methods. I call this the ways and means committee. You have to set up a ways and means committee for every step.

It's a great temptation to exalt yourself. And right before you have your final experience, the biggest ego you have to face is your own mortality. I remember when we were meeting in Steubenville one time,1 I was trying to get a fellow to join us. His wife was sitting in a little group with us. He was a tremendously congenial fellow and he was generally sipping a martini when we were talking. He said, "That's alright but that's not for me. You're talking about life after death and immortality, but John Kapitka is just not that dammed important to live forever."

This is what you have to face one of these days, and if you aren't run over by a Mack truck you will face it. If you die slowly, the thing that will surge through your consciousness is, "I'm not that important. What is it about the inhabitant of this wreck of a body, what's left of it, that's important?" You actually drop that ego, and strangely enough, in the process of dropping that ego is when the lights come on.

The complete part 3 of "Knowing Oneself"


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.

Breaking news....

TAT just received a new donation-matching challenge for our Homing Ground project:

The challenger will donate $1,000 if we raise at least that much in the next two weeks (by Sunday, May 15th). Please check the Homing Ground section below for project details and donation options.

Current Status

Money in the bank is now $165,150. Our earnings from the Amazon program are $840 since last January. Adding pledges brings us to $190,170 which is 76.1% of the goal.

Funds Raised as of April 2016

What you can do to help:

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. We look forward to the exciting day we set foot on our new home site.


The Purpose:

The Vision:

Shawn Nevins
on behalf of the TAT Trustees



TAT gathering


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