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

TAT Forum

September 2017

Homing Ground Update

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

I'm happy to report that TAT is now about $3,850 short of its fundraising goal. Keep those donations coming and we'll keep closing that gap. Things on the building and planning front were a bit quiet this past month as we're working to get an insurance policy for the property before we begin any volunteer projects or construction. The good news is that delay means we'll skip laboring in the summer heat!

Use PayPal button above to donate now. TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization and qualifies to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Alternatively, you can mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation (for instructions on mailing a check, please the TAT treasurer).

If you want to try eBay, use this eBay link: http://charity.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/tat-foundation/73911/. If you use the link and donate 100% of the proceeds to TAT, you won't pay any seller fees when an item sells, and eBay will transfer the funds to TAT for you.

For additional background, see the Homing Ground page.

In friendship,

Shawn Nevins
on behalf of the TAT Trustees


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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

The Plan

What is a plan? A plan is something we make that we think will lead us to where we think we want to go. It is a preconceived notion based on very limited and subjective data, if I am honest with myself. I also have a poor track record of accurately predicting what I want to happen in life. In my experience, life is infinitely more creative and unpredictable than anything I can conjure in advance through my mind. For that reason, I have a tremendous amount of doubt in my mind's ability to tell me which plan will create the best outcome for me.

At a certain point I started asking myself this question: "do I want things to work out well, or do I want them to work out according to my plan?" A plan is just the most creative way my mind can imagine things working out to my advantage. It doesn't necessarily mean that, once executed, the plan will even be to my benefit at all. It may not be the way that brings me the deepest feeling of satisfaction, happiness, or joy. In fact, to stick to "the plan" is to be confident, proud, or faithful enough to believe that the way I've imagined things in the past is the best and most accurate predictor of how they will actually go. In other words, sticking to the plan in the face of alternative facts is to believe that reality is a poorer predictor of the future when compared to my own mind.

It's to believe that I know better than the world, that my mind is a better tool for gauging my best interests than what is actually happening. This seems incorrect. I am all for sticking with it and toughing it out. It doesn't make sense to turn and run when things get difficult. But plans are made with a goal in mind. And if at a certain point it becomes clear that one path leads to the goal and the other path leads to the completion of the plan, the clear choice is to go towards the original goal. Unless the goal has changed, and the completion of the plan, you realize, points to a better outcome than the original goal. However, if that is not the case, it may not be worth completing the plan just for the sake of completing it. The exception to this is when completing the plan is important for developing discipline and where there is a need to cultivate the pattern and practice of seeing things through. In that case completing it just for the sake of completion is worth it. But after I've done that a few (many) times, I feel like I have built up my ability to keep my word, to myself. If I say I will do something, I will do it.

Once I have a sense that this is my natural place, where keeping my word is the default, I have freedom to make decisions not based on some lofty concept about the importance of always keeping my word but about focusing on what I really want and what's the best way to get there. Take celibacy, a rich topic in TAT. Is my goal to be a celibate person or is it to find Truth? If the first leads to the second then there is no conflict and the decision is easy. But if not, I have to be honest with myself about what my real goal is. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between rationalizations and intuition, and so my advice to myself is that it takes practice and to just keep making the best decision possible and assessing the consequences without guilt or neurosis. See things as they are as best I can. So sometimes that means sticking to the plan. Sometimes not.

~ Thanks to TAT member Brett S.


TAT Foundation News

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

2017 TAT Meeting Calendar

March 31-April 2, 2017 (Claymont Mansion)
June 23-25, 2017 (Claymont Great Barn)
August 18-20, 2017 (Claymont Mansion)
* November 17-19, 2017 (Claymont Mansion) *

Join us for TAT's November 17-19 Gathering (registration page coming soon).

The following video recordings of presentations from the April 2017 TAT meeting are available on YouTube:

Richard Rose spent his life searching for the Truth, finding it, and teaching others to find their Way. Although not well known to the public, he touched the lives of thousands of spiritual seekers through his books and lectures and through personal contacts with local study groups that continue to work with his teachings today. Meet Richard Rose is a 34-minute audio recording of an audiovisual presentation by Michael Whitely at the August 2017 TAT meeting that explores the arc of Richard Rose's life as seeker, finder, family man, and teacher.

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:
We continue to meet on Monday evenings at Panera across from The Ohio State University. ~ 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 we welcome serious participants. ~ Contact or .

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Mondays and Sundays. We had a five-day retreat at Claymont (Charles Town, WV) on the Monday–Friday leading into the TAT meeting on June 23–25. The next retreat is scheduled for Nov. 12-17 at Grand Vue Park (Moundsville, WV). ~ Email or for more information.

Update from the Galway, Ireland self-inquiry group:
In addition to meetings in Galway city, satellite groups are meeting in Cork and in Dublin. Tess held a retreat August 18-20th in County Clare Ireland, at The Boghill Centre. She is also leading a retreat in Wexford for the local ACIM group Sept 30th-Oct 1st. This is being held in the Ballyvaloo Retreat Centre. For details and to sign up, contact .

On October 27th-29th, TAT members Bob Fergeson and Tess Hughes will be leading Awakening Together's fall retreat in Colorado Springs, CO. Awakening Together is offering a special discount for TAT members.

Update from the Greensburg, PA self-inquiry group:
In June the owners sold DV8, the art gallery and coffee shop where I hold my SIG meetings. The new owners have permitted me to continue there, which pleases me greatly since it is close to pedestrian traffic in Greensburg. However, DV8 was closed for most of June and July for remodeling by the new owners and since they have reopened I regret to say there has been a lull in our meetings. My old regulars indicated to me through e-mail they are engaged in other activities such as baseball during the summer. A couple of times no one showed up. However, I was pleased a couple of weeks ago when a graduate student from the University of Pittsburgh e-mailed me and asked if I still was holding meetings. The following Saturday he drove all the way from Pittsburgh to our SIG for the purpose of discussing The Albigen Papers, which he found at the Pitt library in Oakland. Instead of having a meeting I spoke to him for two hours about my experiences with Mr. Rose, The Albigen Papers, and esoteric philosophy, all of which he seemed interested in and desired to know more about. Since he lives in Pittsburgh I gave him Bill's e-mail for the Pittsburgh Self-Inquiry Group, and he indicated he would contact him. So in a roundabout way, I did some ladder work, but since he lives in Pittsburgh, he most likely would attend the Pittsburgh SIG. ~ Contact .

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We meet on Wednesday evenings and welcome inquiries. E-mail or for information on the meetings.

Update from the New York City area:
We've recently started a group in NYC and are looking for consistent, serious but lighthearted ;) members. So far, we have started each group meeting with a short meditation followed by a self-inquiry session with questions and responses. We plan to vary the format and also go on local retreats and spiritually-minded events, as time allows. We are meeting in downtown Manhattan (the financial district) in a really great public space that we are fortunate to have. Please contact me with any interest or questions. Tell a friend :) ~ Email .

Update from the Philadelphia area:
Folks from the dormant Philadelphia group met with two new folks who want to get an active group started. Day and time for regular ongoing meetings is still being resolved. ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We hold public meetings at 7:00 PM on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House in Oakland. We also have private (i.e., by invitation only) confrontation meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. ~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
We meet most Sundays and have been meeting at different local libraries around town due to limited room availability at any one library, but this has made it easier for people in those neighborhoods to attend the meetings. ~ Email or for more information.

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) meets on Wednesday evenings near NCSU. ~ Email or for information on local meetings.

Update from the San Francisco Bay area self-inquiry group:
Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

Update from the Tallahassee, FL self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet every other Tuesday at the downtown public library. ~ 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 following audio recordings from 2016 TAT meetings are now available in the members-only website area:

TAT's June 2017 gathering was dedicated to teacher, author, poet, and TAT founder Richard Rose. Audio recordings from the weekend include:

TAT's Fall Workshop 2017 was titled The Prism of Truth: where science, love, and reality merge and included three guest speakers who each led separate workshops. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

Please us if you have questions. (Look here for info on TAT membership.)

Amazon and eBay

Let your Amazon purchases and eBay sales raise money for TAT!

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. Or if you use the link and donate 100% of the proceeds to TAT, you won't pay any seller fees when an item sells and eBay will transfer all the funds to TAT for you. 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 on the new home for TAT project 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

bear attack humor

"Yeah I called her up, she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something, I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention." - Dumb and Dumber (1994), Harry Dunne (played by Jeff Daniels)

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

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Quotes from I Am That

Deliberate daily exercise in discrimination between the true and the false and renunciation of the false is meditation. There are many kinds of meditation to begin with, but they all merge finally into one.

The clearer you understand that on the level of the mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker you will come to the end of your search and realise your limitless being.

See your world as it is, not as you imagine it to be. Discrimination will lead to detachment; detachment will ensure right action; right action will build the inner bridge to your real being. Action is a proof of earnestness. Do what you are told diligently and faithfully and all obstacles will dissolve.

Sooner or later you are bound to discover that if you really want to find, you must dig at one place only – within.

A man willing to die for truth will get it.


~ Thanks to TAT member Brent P. See additional selections from I Am That in the November 2009 TAT Forum.

Urban Guru Cafe 20-minute podcast of William Samuel (1926-1996) speaking of "One Heart."

Pavlov's Plants: Plants can learn from experience

"In a famous 2013 New Yorker article by Michael Pollan, 'The Intelligent Plant,' [Australian evolutionary ecologist Monica] Gagliano was introduced to readers as someone whose experiments are extending the concept of cognition to the plant world.

"The problem she is addressing is that if plants have brain-like functions and make sentient-like decisions, our existing perception of nature and ourselves must change.

"These experiments need further analysis. But first: the experiments. What Gagliano did with her Mimosa pudica plants—also called 'sensitive' plants—was to custom-build an apparatus whereby the plants could be suddenly dropped a foot or so on a regular basis.

"Initially, on dropping, the plant retracted and curled its leaves, but after repeats, it stopped reacting. Not only did it appear to 'learn' a behaviour (without a brain, mind you) but it also remembered.

"Gagliano repeated the experiment at intervals and found that even after a break of a month or more, the Mimosa would still not retreat its leaves after being dropped....

"Gagliano and her colleagues have just published a paper in Nature Scientific Reports that could rock our sense of human 'self.'"


~ By Prudence Gibson, UNSW Australia. Read the entire article at The Conversation, December 6, 2016.

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?

The question we asked readers for this month's Commentary was: What helps enhance your spiritual practice?

1. Forming strong habits that I practice regularly
2. The value I get from praying, meditating, doing yoga, etc. that informs my practice
3. Physically moving while doing my spiritual practice
4. Making it a priority in my daily routine
5. Um, I've got a lot of work to do to establish a spiritual practice
6. Other

Responses follow:

From Larry I:
Solitary retreats.

From Ricky C:
Anything that enhances my ego (affirms my sense of separate self) leads to an enhancement of my spiritual path. Since the false can't survive the truth, the contrast in what I thought was real vs. what actually is real will help make it more obvious what I really am when the false falls away. "We have to fatten up the head before we can chop it off..." - Richard Rose, Energy Transmutation, Between-ness and Transmission

From Teresa M:
4. Making it a priority in my daily routine.

From Vince L:
Basically, I do the first item on the list. Namely, I've formed strong habits. One habit is of course my local Self-Inquiry Group. I was running this group every Saturday for ten years but have cut it down to twice a month. Doing my group at a regular time is both a lifeline and a reminder to continue my spiritual efforts. The other thing I do is simply to observe my thoughts throughout the day. No matter how busy I am I can set aside a little bit of time to watch my thoughts. And there always seems to be something happening daily that compels me to so. Also, reading spiritual literature is something I do on a regular basis and doing so always helps me to go within.

From Chris B:
1. Forming strong habits that I practice regularly
4. Making it a priority in my daily routine
5. Um, I've got a lot of work to do to establish a spiritual practice

From Frank V:
6. Other:
Spiritual practice is enhanced by working with others. Helping and being helped.

From Ariel D:
1. Forming strong habits that I practice regularly

From Mike G:
My response is in the vein of the second item: The value I get from working with others; and from reading and meditating.

From Martin M:
Making a priority out of connecting with truth, no matter what it is that gets my attention, drives my daily life. Taking the dog for long walks, or simple guided meditations (GMs) focused on body scanning help me connect and occasionally reject the intrusion of unreality that inevitably comes. Coming back from this latest TAT gathering, I listened to the GM I sometimes listen to up to four times in a row, and I understood a phrase that I never did before: "if there is an absence of sensation, notice that, too."

The composite question for next month is: Where do you feel like you have volition? What argument could you create to challenge that belief?

Please your responses for next month's Reader Commentary by the 25th and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name).

Other Reader Feedback

From Lauren T:
This summer I read two books: Robert Fergeson's Dark Zen and Paul Brunton's A Search in Secret India. Both books were about the seeker's search and the ending of their search. Both books reported an ending of one way of life into another.

It was the moment when there are more answers than questions, the moment when the seeker and the sought are merged.

Brunton's book is about his long search through India in the 1930's to finally meeting Ramana Maharshi and their unusual and unique and continuous relationship, which completely changed Brunton the rest of his life.

And in Fergeson's book, the main character's life is totally changed through a series of traumatic events that led to the awareness that he is not the doer. I left Fergeson's book still wandering in the Dark as a Question waiting for the Answer.

It is difficult to convey this sweet moment of surrender in words and the appreciation for these two men and the gift of their words to us.

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?

Photo by TAT member Tess H.

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.

Miami Theosophical Society Talk – 1985

The first public talk that Richard Rose gave was by invitation of the Pittsburgh Theosophical Society, in 1973. It was at that talk where two college students got inspired by what they heard and became instrumental in setting up self-inquiry groups at colleges primarily in the northeastern U.S. In 1985, one of Rose's students had moved to Miami, Florida, and Rose traveled down to help in starting a local group there. Several members of the Miami Theosophical Society had heard about Rose and were enthusiastic about inviting him to give a talk there. Part 4 (the final part) of the transcript follows (continued from the June 2017 TAT Forum, the July 2017 TAT Forum, and the August 2017 TAT Forum):

Q and A begins

Q. I'm more than a little interested in what happened to you in Seattle, Washington. Would you tell us?

R. Well, let's get some other questions, because that might be the last one of the night.

Joseph Chilton Pearce

Q. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to too many people about this, but I think that what most human beings do, or probably all, is to process life based on what we know – not considering that what we know is really nothing that we know, but what we believe.

R. Right, right.

Q. So what I do is try to un-process life, and by un-processing life it gets down to what I actually know. I've been working on this for awhile now, and I think that's how you get to the foundation of what's happening.

The complete Part 4 of the Miami Theosophical Society Talk



TAT gathering


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