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

TAT Forum

September 2016

Fall Gathering details



Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Notes from a November 2015 TAT meeting presentation:

> Retaining the Identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind

> An attempt to Knock You Off Your Rocker!

> Where Are You Within Experience? Are you the observer, or recipient?

> From "On/Off, Waking/Sleeping" by Mark Seabright, in the Nov. 2015 TAT Forum:

I became interested in the transition into and out of sleep as a way to notice the "I Am." I had heard or read that you might be able to catch a more direct glimpse of it as you wake up, and it made sense to me to try to pay attention to the transition into sleep also, partly as a way to set the intent to notice waking up. So I began a kind of sleep practice. I would remind myself of my intent just before going to sleep, and I would try to follow consciousness into sleep.

But I didn't have much luck with noticing the "I Am." Instead, I started to become troubled by what I take for granted: the experience that I go away in deep sleep and that I appear when I wake up. I – sense of self, consciousness, all of it – come and go daily, automatically. I tend to think that "I go to sleep" and "I wake up," but when I try to look at the transition into or out of sleep, it becomes clear that I don't have anything to do with it (any more than I control my thoughts, for example). It seems more accurate to say that I am turned on and off, "similar to a kitchen appliance" (Beyond Relativity, p. 330). The image that has stuck in my mind is of a light bulb (me) being turned on/off, on/off … off.

Why does this image touch a nerve? It's a reminder of death. It makes me question the continuity between the "I" that falls asleep and the "I" that wakes up. It makes me question the sense that I am in charge of or in control of being conscious. What else is it that bothers me so much about the on/off image? What does it say about what I am or what I am not?

Indeed ….

Lincoln Memorial (late 1960s). Photo by Bob Cergol.

The complete presentation


TAT Foundation News

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

Cover of This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery by Tess Hughes

TAT Press's release of Tess Hughes's first book, This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery, is now available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.

"I learned that enlightenment isn't just for an exotic person from by-gone eras. This potential is in everyone, and this is what all seekers are seeking." ~ from the back cover

Tess has set up a Goodreads.com giveaway contest that extends through Sept. 21, 2016.

2016 TAT Meeting Calendar

April 15-17, 2016 (Claymont)
June 17-19, 2016 (Claymont)
* September 2-4, 2016 (Claymont) *
* November 18-20, 2016 (Claymont) *

Jan Frazier, author of When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening and The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is, will be a guest speaker at the TAT fall gathering during the weekend of September 2-4.

Register for the TAT fall gathering, Who Am I?.

Registration for the November 18-20 gathering will be available soon.

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

Local Group News

Update from the Central Ohio Nonduality group:
The Columbus meetings continue to be small, with three, sometimes four, in attendance. It follows a discussion format, with a clear focus on the search. Summertime meetings at Panera, which is less than ideal for meditation and conversation, have nonetheless resulted in new attendees – an improvement from the ideal setting for meditation and discussion at a church chapel to which a rare attendee outside the core group shows up. We are thus exploring other public venues as students return to the OSU campus and heavily populate and make noisy the Panera venue. We may stay there for a few meetings to see what happens. For further information, contact or . We're also on Facebook.

Update from the weekly email self-inquiry groups:
Both the women's and the men's email groups are active and welcome serious participants. Contact or .

Update from the Galway, Ireland self-inquiry group:
Tess along with guest teacher Bob Fergeson will be holding a self-inquiry retreat in Co. Sligo on the last weekend in October. Check Tess's website "Events" tab for more information (coming soon).

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We're organizing a Sunday, Nov. 13 - Friday, Nov. 18 retreat, at the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center here, leading up to the TAT meeting on Nov. 18-20. There are currently 22 participants committed to coming, including leaders Anima Pundeer, Art Ticknor, and Paul Constant. E-mail or for information on meetings.

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We're now holding public meetings on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House in Oakland. For further information, contact or .

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) is holding a retreat on October 1st and 2nd in conjunction with the Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality. Confirmed presenters for the retreat include Anita Avent, Art Ticknor, Bob Cergol, Doug White, Jenny Clarke, Paul Constant, and Paul Hedderman. See The Nature of Identity/Beyond Self for details and registration. Email or for information on local meetings.

Update from the Tallahassee, FL self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet every other Tuesday at the downtown public library. We will meet on the 13th and 27th in September. If you are interested contact , or find the group on Meetup.com.

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. (Look into TAT membership.)

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

Haiku Humor

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.


The web site you seek
Cannot be located but
Countless more exist.


Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.


"I've always enjoyed these
Windows PC haiku" ~ Eric C., from

"Truth is like poetry. And most people f***ing hate poetry."
~ Overheard in a Washington, DC bar by Michael Lewis. From
The Big Short, a book and a film about the global financial
crisis of 2007-2009 triggered by the US housing bubble.

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

Sturgill Simpson – "Brace For Impact (Live A Little)"

One day you wake up
And this life will be over
Every party must break up
For burdens to shoulder
We're dying to live
Living to die
No matter what you believe
And all of us cry
For the ones we must leave

So go and live a little
Bone turns brittle
And skin withers before your eyes
Make sure you give a little
Before you go to the great unknown in the sky

Some will beg for forgiveness
From someone above
For something they did
To someone they love
Some scream like a baby
Some go out crying
Some bid the world goodbye
And welcome to die

Go out and live a little
Bone turns brittle
And skin withers before your eyes
Make sure you give a little
Before you go to the great unknown in the sky

~ Thanks to Shawn N.


"Use your mind. Remember. Observe. You are not different from others. Most of their experiences are valid for you too. Think clearly and deeply, go into the entire structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional makeup and powerfully affect your actions. Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself." ~ Nisargadatta, I Am That, Dialogue 10

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: "In 100 words or less, what are your ways and means?" Submitted by Brent P. in his response for the July 2016 TAT Forum. [Richard Rose used the term "ways and means" in contexts such as this end paper of The Direct-Mind Experience: The Path to Truth, or Reality or Essence - Ed.] Responses follow:

From Leesa S:
My ways and means…
1) Fellow seekers and a few good finders – not just to call you on your baloney but to provide a shoulder to place your head or extend a hand to help you get back up. I'm in an online group, have 2 groups here at home and TAT meetings – invaluable.
2) Staying in constant contact with whatever is running the show – through prayer, threats, curses, and a bit of begging and pleading
3) Questioning EVERYTHING

From Paul S:
Some newer ways and means have been presenting to me. Committing is at the heart. The workshop which cultivates a number of these is an Improv Comedy class I attend once a week. I'm getting practice countering the calculating mind by permitting spontaneity more often, and the ensuing surprise and newness which arises from a blanker mind. I'm learning not to force things or reach out of turn, but letting things come to me, at least half-ways. Best of all, It has allowed a long hidden child to come out and play. A spiritual based life needs joy. [Look for Paul's essay "The Tao of Improv" in next month's TAT Forum - Ed.]

From Sheri R:
1. Get up approximately 5:30am to avoid the rush of husband and kids. Walk around the block to wake up (so I do not fall asleep in meditation) but also, and just as importantly, to focus attention. I will focus my vision on a mundane object and walk towards it not allowing the vision to wander. Once the object is passed, I focus on the next and keep going. This cues the mind-set attention on a focal point. The walk is kept brisk and I am attentive to posture, again to build focus.
2. Grab a coffee with a little milk, again to help wake up so I can be alert…. [the rest of Sheri's response]

From Soanna P:
God (a problematic word) is not a being.
God is Absolute Being = Total Freedom.
Becoming one with God = transcending all enslavements.
A self-inquiry practice is the ultimate form of prayer.

When you know all, you know nothing.
When you do all, you do nothing.
When you love all, you love nothing.
When you are all, you are nothing.


The Bottom Line

A summing up of advice for your consideration:

From Michael R:
Reading, writing, sitting, and watching … that sums it up pretty well. I read slowly, trying my best to allow the concepts to morph into insight. I journal almost daily, and use this as a tool to organize and reflect upon my path. Meditation is also an almost daily practice, and consists mostly of the "abiding in non-abiding" quality. Throughout the day I try to watch myself rather than getting lost in myself. Watch thought and emotion arise, watch my actions, watch myself make decisions, look for deeply held convictions, and try to sense intuition amongst the noise.

From Ram S:
Mine is a two-pronged approach. One is to look for the origin of the "I" feeling, which is ever-elusive. The other is to step back from the ongoing story and observe what's going on. On both the approaches, sometimes the mind clings to an image that gives a feeling that the root of I has been found and I'm centered in that I, but then there is a quick realization that it's all happening at the mind level and that it's also being observed.

From "Author still Unknown":
My Way of life is more a dismantling of what, over decades, I have become. It's the revealing, the scrutinizing of those things that through observation I intuit are leading me away from honesty and the truth about myself. My means is looking for and then focusing upon what keeps me from being honest, from making commitments, from questioning and being the sole and final individual responsible for my own vector's direction and intensity. So I dwell on and question what is keeping me stuck in place and in equilibrium, stuck in understanding and contentment, stuck in seeking control and in being me and me alone.

From Mark S:
I can think of three ways and means that I rely on. One is to limit preoccupations and things that numb me from the discomfort of not knowing what I am. Another is to notice questions or "balls over the fence" (Jim Burns) that are trying to get my attention and to keep them on my mind. The third one is to work with TAT friends and with the members of our local self-inquiry group.

From Mike G:
The search for self-definition employs the same principles by which humans apply energy to any task – the difference is the goal is inward, not outward. Success in any human endeavor whether education, business, sports or self-knowledge results from energy conservation, focus, self-analysis and determination in the face of adversity. Working with peers and others who have previously succeeded accelerates progress. The paths of great scientists, business giants and Olympic medalists are illustrative. The inward direction of energy to the question of self-realization has the distinction of applying one's capacity to discern the source of what is, rather than creation of some thing. Thus, the practice of meditation is not for health…. [the rest of Mike's response]

From Rajesh K:
As Mr. Rose, and all major scriptures indicate, finding the Greater Truth involves making an unconditional commitment and devoting every moment to the task. So how, while operating in the world, can one devote every moment to the task? One way is to follow St. Paul's (1 Thessalonians 5:17) instructions to "Pray without ceasing." For, as Sri. Ramakrishna explains, each repetition of God's name is like following the links in a chain to the treasure at the end (The Gospel of Sri. Ramakrishna.) Or, as Ramana Maharishi said (in his Q&A), if you try to find out who it is that is doing japa, that japa itself becomes the Self.

From Shawn N:
Remember my deepest desire.
Realize I know nothing.
Remember my deepest desire.
Realize I know nothing.
Repeat until complete.

What are you looking for in life? Can you feel it?

Submitted by ikeh in her response for the July 2016 TAT Forum.

Please your responses for next month's Reader Commentary.

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?

"Taj Mahal Sunset" woodblock by Charles
W. Bartlett, 1920. Wikimedia Commons.

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.

Introduction to the Albigen System

The following transcription features rare material from an early lecture of philosopher, poet and author Richard Rose. The talk, based on the speaker's own experience, describes a way of life aimed at understanding that life … a self-directed retreat from untruth … a common-sense, non-dogmatic approach to spiritual realization. Part 1 of a 1977 talk given by Richard Rose in Cleveland, OH:

The basic idea that I'm going to talk about is why Zen at all? Why fool with Zen, as opposed to some other system? I don't think anybody can give you more than their own personal reactions – you have to choose your own. But sometimes by giving a talk, someone with similar questions, a desire perhaps for a certain answer or a certain completeness of philosophy, may receive an intuition, and we may have the same direction.

I don't mean that everybody has to go the Zen direction, or that anyone has to go any particular direction. There's no direction that you should endorse for everyone. As an old farmer said to me one time, "There are many paths to the top of the hill, that the cows make, but they all come to the barn."

So I'm not trying to convince people that this is the only path to the top of the hill. But if it rings a bell for you, then my purpose is achieved. And if it rings a bell for just one or two, I presume it's achieved.

The complete part 1 of the talk


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

Commissions earned from Amazon purchases stand at $1100, so we more than made up for missing last month's $1000 goal. (To keep the link handy for Amazon purchases, bookmark the Homing Ground page in your browser or add a shortcut on your desktop. Just click the Amazon link on that page and order away.)

Funds raised and pledged are now at $203,415, making us $45,585 short of the goal. Bob Harwood continues to work on fleshing out the building design with input from the TAT officers. A search team has been organized to look for properties in the Raleigh area. We would also like a search team for west and north of Washington, D.C. area.

Funds Raised as of August 2016

To invest in the Homing Ground project, mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please the TAT treasurer).

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.

I thank each of you who have donated and pledged and look forward to the 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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