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

TAT Forum

November 2017

November meeting details

Homing Ground Update

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

We continue to put finishing touches on the plans for the building layout, and just settled on a great design for the heart of any proper home – the kitchen! Hopefully, we'll have final drawings to share with everyone by next month's Forum issue. Another group of volunteers headed to the site and felled trees to clear the parking area. With luck, we'll have a big excavation date in November for the driveway and perhaps the foundation. Stay tuned!

TAT is now about $3,468 short of its fundraising goal. Keep those donations coming and we'll keep closing the gap!

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 Wisdom to Know the Difference

When a sense of resistance or aversion arises, I question its source.  Likewise, when a sense of clinging or attraction arises, I question its source.  Resistance and clinging reflect an attachment of some sort, but what do aversion and attraction (the initial movement prior to the "clench" of resistance and clinging) reflect? Thought can try to answer this, but a conceptual idea rarely sinks to a level of insight—to seeing the attraction or aversion clearly and directly for what it is.  This lack of clarity leaves me uncertain of myself and the world at large.  What internal compass to follow amidst the confusion?

We can say that one needn't stress, that decisions and direction will happen beyond our control, etc. But again this is not something I see fully, clearly, to the point where the angst of decision disappears.  So what do I do?  How should I view this?  Can I assist the arrival of insight?

Stay still or move?  This, in my mind, is the question behind the serenity prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  What impulses do I act upon and which do I watch and learn from?  What is "right action"—responding vs. reacting?

I can at least be clear about my intentions, though I may not know exactly how to live them—acceptance, openness, Love … to be as honest as possible in every moment—wisely. It seems the movement towards Truth should come from acceptance and openness towards that clear pull, from a love for Truth, not from a resistance towards my ignorance.  Resistance is my ignorance.

So what's my current bottom line? Move when I see clearly enough to move, even if it's just one step. Until that clarity arrives, my decision is to wait and see.

~ Thanks to Michael R., a TAT member since 2016 who has become very active in TAT's operation.


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, The Treasure Within our Lives Unconnected to Experience.

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 have a retreat scheduled for Nov. 12-17 at Grand Vue Park in 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. ~ 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:
Meeting weekly on Tuesdays. ~ 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. The Oct 4 and 18 meetings focused on material from Nisargadatta Maharaj from these links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzd0txiRN2E (20 min video) and https://albigen.com/uarelove/nisargadatta_practice.htm. ~ 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.

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 above.

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

Human relationships are hard work and can be a pain in the neck but nature has designed humans to be social animals and we need other humans to be around... so though i find my fellow humans extremely irritating most of the time, i have decided to suck it up and try to be more cordial...:)...

~ Thanks to a TAT member who wisely wishes to remain Anonymous.

~ Seen in the Warung Kecil restaurant in Sanur, Bali by TAT member Ike H.

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

Is Consciousness Just an Illusion?

Consciousness is real. Of course it is. We experience it every day. But for [philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist] Daniel Dennett, consciousness is no more real than the screen on your laptop or your phone.

The geeks who make electronic devices call what we see on our screens the "user illusion". It's a bit patronising, perhaps, but they've got a point.

Pressing icons on our phones makes us feel in control. We feel in charge of the hardware inside. But what we do with our fingers on our phones is a rather pathetic contribution to the sum total of phone activity. And, of course, it tells us absolutely nothing about how they work.

Human consciousness is the same, says Dennett. "It's the brain's 'user illusion' of itself," he says.

It feels real and important to us but it just isn't a very big deal.

~ From a BBC science news item, where Dennett also makes the argument that intuition is nothing special:

In an infamous memo written in 1965, the philosopher Hubert Dreyfus stated that humans would always beat computers at chess because machines lacked intuition. Daniel Dennett disagreed.

A few years later, Dreyfus rather embarrassingly found himself in checkmate against a computer.

And in May 1997 the IBM computer, Deep Blue defeated the world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Many who were unhappy with this result then claimed that chess was a boringly logical game. Computers didn't need intuition to win. The goalposts shifted.

Daniel Dennett has always believed our minds are machines. For him the question is not can computers be human? But are humans really that clever?

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's The Life Scientific, Dennett says there's nothing special about intuition. "Intuition is simply knowing something without knowing how you got there".


Q: Is consciousness just an illusion?
Q: Is there anything special about intuition?

10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently

Intuition is challenging to define, despite the huge role it plays in our everyday lives. Steve Jobs called it, for instance, "more powerful than intellect." But however we put it into words, we all, well, intuitively know just what it is.

Pretty much everyone has experienced a gut feeling—that unconscious reasoning that propels us to do something without telling us why or how. But the nature of intuition has long eluded us, and has inspired centuries' worth of research and inquiry in the fields of philosophy and psychology.

Cognitive science is beginning to demystify the strong but sometimes inexplicable presence of unconscious reasoning in our lives and thought. Often dismissed as unscientific because of its connections to the psychic and paranormal, intuition isn't just a bunch of hoo-ha about our "Spidey senses"—the U.S. military is even investigating the power of intuition, which has helped troops to make quick judgments during combat that ended up saving lives.


~ See the Huffington Post article for 10 things that people in touch with their intuition do differently.

Q: What role does intuition play in our decision making?


Arapahoe Funeral Prayer

You will not see the sun rise in the east again, nor will you see the moon in all its brightness in the night sky, nor feel the wind on your face nor the earth beneath your bare feet. Today you are going home. May the ancestors greet you and show you the way. May your journey be joyful.

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 composite question we asked readers for this month's Reader Commentary, which is related to last month's question, was: Who/what makes your decisions? Who/what has veto power over them? Responses follow:

From Michael C:
That's a good question, and I wonder about it often when the pressure is on. Most of the time I "find" myself doing something, and realize a decision has been made (but not intentionally by me) or has been somehow arrived at beneath my conscious awareness. In looking closely over the course of time, it seems things happen in accordance with my desires; and often with my often stated deepest desire, though I'm not always happy or at peace with the results or implications of those decisions. The feeling is something like "How did I get into this situation?" or "What am I doing here, or supposed to do here?" Repeated examples over the years leave me with only one option: just show up and see what happens. I'm not talking about decisions that might be involved in fixing my car, or taking care of everyday life, but larger decisions that reflect or affect my life's direction. It's when I find myself doing something that seems diametrically opposed to my highest intentions that I begin to wonder if I'm just kidding myself, or if my body/mind has its own agenda and any "me" is just along for the ride. Yes, that's a real concern, and it causes a further downward spiral or can cause the whole thing to deflate, and I'm back at square one asking myself: "What am I doing? And why am I doing it?" These are good meditations that help maybe keep things on track, or at least assuage the little fears and sometimes big concerns that arise. The whole thing boils down to what Richard Rose called a Vector: a force in a direction. It's hard to argue with the facts of one's life, when looked at in retrospect. To work without concern for the results but simply for the sake of the Work is an old Gurdjieffian idea, and also one Rose also talked about, and lived. I aim for that and simultaneously know there's always more I can do. It's kind of a paradox all along, which makes it even more interesting and fertile ground for reflection.

From Beau B:
I have no idea. The first thing that popped in my head was, "the one doer," probably trickling forth from that Nisargadatta quote. The next thing that popped in my head was "the force that through the green leaf drives the flower," which I think comes from a Dylan Thomas poem. But these are just ideas, and they aren't really mine. A spiritual mentor recently has been on me about going to quotes, but that's where my mind went. In direct experience I'm not sure there's a center making decisions or veto-ing anything, but I'm not sure how you express that or live it other than just letting go into it. And who/what decides to let go?

From Saima Y:
Recently a few situations occurred, and in hindsight, I saw that I honestly don't know who made the decisions that were made. It appears as though I made the choices, but upon honest introspection, it turns out that those choices had to be made the way they were made, and that I was merely "going along with the script."

In one instance, I lost an "eternity" pendant – a diamond encrusted circle (which has no beginning and no end, and is emptiness inside its form). In my mind, I had grown very attached to the meaning I had for this circle pendant, which I have worn around my neck for many years. I had lost it once before, years ago in Mexico, while swimming in a pool at dusk. I frantically searched the entire bed of the pool, barely able to see anything because it was getting so dark. By some miracle, I found it near a filter grate while diving and swimming along the bottom of the pool. The very thin chain had broken, causing it to sink down with the pendant still hanging on.

But this time, it seems as though the stars had it aligned for me to take the chain off myself, and be careless in putting it away, at an event quite far from home. I completely forgot about throwing it in my unzippered purse, so that I didn't even think to look for it until the next day, after I had driven 4 hours back. I called the event venue, anxiously searched every inch of my car, and asked friends if they found it. Nothing. One morning a few days later, I was standing in my kitchen, repeatedly agonizing in my mind for any clues as to where it could have slipped out of my purse, re-examining my steps that day, and suddenly, something in me stopped the identification with the mind chatter. I saw my mind as the analyzer, the detective, the identifier, and just kept watching it. I saw its desperation, and its tenacity. I remember even putting my hands deep into my sweatshirt's pocket, still clinging to the idea that if I just searched hard enough, I'd find it (absurd, I recognized). I then had the thought, "Why did that necklace mean so much?" I answered myself, "because it represents all that I want to be – without limit, no beginning and no end, yet hollow inside. I want to be Emptiness." As I pulled my hands out of my pockets, a quote by Gangaji that I had read years ago came streaming across my awareness: "Searching like a beggar for the diamond in my pocket." Wow. I was hit. I literally just lived this! I had a flashback of moments from that day of the event, I saw clearly how it all played out exactly as it was meant to, for me to be having this moment right now of realization. I laughed. I realized that I was a beggar. Begging for a pesky token which merely represents the Unrepresentable. I saw the attachment to my belief about the pendant. Plus, I saw that this was masterfully crafted, and in hindsight, I had to admit, that I could see that I had no choice. I also realized that it was time for me to let it go. I no longer needed a symbol for what I knew, what I am. It was a mini graduation. So I guess "I" vetoed the decision to keep searching like a beggar for the diamond in my pocket!

Who was making the decision to be a beggar, and who is deciding to stop searching? Seems like One in the same thing to me now. Just that the beggar didn't realize what it is, and the One who decided to stop searching, well, let's just say it was Grace.

From Corina B:
I suppose my most honest answer to this question is: I don't know. I'm going to address this question as pertaining to major decisions, as smaller ones (not as dramatic) I find I usually do automatically (they happen automatically) and there's not much thinking involved. My modus operandi in the past, when faced with a big decision, has been to wait till the very last minute, to see what other factors might jump in to affect it. Also really I don't want to take responsibility for my decisions, so it's kinda been "wait till the last minute and let Jesus take the wheel." I leave it up to fate/God/call it what you will. That's why I have a mostly love-hate, with emphasis on hate, relationship with the Universe on this decision-making thing. I can see that when I usually take the reigns on a decision is when it's mostly safe, as in the outcome appears to be good and clear. At least, it feels easier to say "I did that." When the outcome seems uncertain and I'm torn, that's usually when I cower down and sort of go "ok, I'll wait and leave it up to you, God." Which is unfair to God if it turns bad (he didn't ask for it :), because I moan and complain about it inwardly, so either if I take responsibility or "let" a higher power have it, all is damned anyway if the outcome is bad. So, looking at it that way, my decisions seem split. And even when I DO take responsibility and go all in, at times factors creep in at the last moment, so it seems in that case circumstance was the decider, not I. But, is circumstance God stepping in? That one I haven't figured out yet.

As to WHO has veto power over my decisions, again, it's such a mess usually that I'm lucky if it remotely has anything to do with my will. In all things, as of lately, at this stage in my life, it seems that life/circumstance/God has taken over, and I'm pushed into a role of mostly watching, and not much else. That's all good and fine by me, as long as I can learn to not be too invested (or attached) to the decision's outcome. The less the outcome matters, the easier the whole process becomes. The less anguish, less thinking, less anxiety. So the veto power, not mine. Whose? Life's, I guess.

From Bill K:
Decisions seem to be made (not by me) in the direction in which I face, in the direction in which I may "hold my head" (per R. Rose). Will seems to be nothing more than where I "will to face," so any veto power would lay only in an ability for "turning my head away" from a distraction to my will.

The question for next month is: What is your relationship to what you seek?

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).

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?

"Pisces Dream," Bonaire, Leeward Antilles. Photo by Cindy C.

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.


Man needs man. Without the parent and the teacher, there is no fountain. Without the son or student, there is no continuity. There is no book that is not written by another man. Strangely, the prophets did not write. Jesus and Buddha wrote nothing. But lesser men, by writing, guaranteed their continuity.

We can pretend to be independent. Intellectual people, especially those who live in large cities lay claim to an independence and detachment when it comes to philosophic matters. It is true that in a large city, a man may hide better than in a corn field. He may do strange exercises and never attract attention. He may receive mail, and not have it scrutinized by an entire village.

But we who find fetal security in a hotel room, must still go out to work in a very noisy and distracting world. Even as the man, who goes to the top of the mountain to meditate, becomes engrossed and pleased by the physical beauty of his surroundings and finds that such beauty interferes with his meditating.

Wherever we go to meditate, the big mistake is to think that we do not need a friend. Our fellow man is essential to any walk of life. There is no treasure so great as a true friend. And too often in metaphysics as in religion we allow a temporary mental elation or spiritual realization, to make us feel like little gods that need nothing but their path.

In order to gauge that path, or even our very sanity, we need the eyes of a trusted friend. And when we find a path, out of a deep feeling of gratitude to friendship we try to bend down and help another so that the chain of friendship may in itself be a type of immortality.

The recognition of this aspect in regards to the religious aspirations of man is evident in the records of every religious beginning. We have the apostles and disciples of Christ. In India and China we find a deep regard for the Sangha or Sanghat. Buddha listed it particularly as a necessary element of spiritual development. The monasteries of the world although of divers faiths are evidence that people who are serious about the business of meditating, eventually come around to cooperative living and seclusion.

To succeed in any human venture, that cooperation is necessary. And cooperation need not mean a monastic life. The Sanghat may be a mobile method of meeting and studying such as Gurdjieff employed. It may be a correspondence club of sorts. But it remains that the efficacy or degree of success of any brotherhood will determine which is the best system. And our Inner Drive and Discernment will pick for us the particular type of brotherhood, and will measure our success upon it.

When the knowledge reaches us or when we are inspired with conviction of the need for cooperation, we should immediately begin practicing it. If we do not have at least that much Inner Drive, then we lack the necessary energy that simple friendship calls for. We need not leap from our seats and rush to a monastery. But we can look about us for kindred spiritual companions. We can neither help or be helped until we find them. We can meet occasionally, but regularly, or we maintain a regular correspondence with such friends. And when we have the opportunity we can join metaphysical groups that tolerate the members being friends to one another. And when we get the chance to expand our sphere of contact in the search for these friends, or in the search for more fruitful systems of endeavor, we should not hesitate to grow.

Even if a man presents himself as a Master to us, unless he can demonstrate the quality of friendship, we would be reluctant to place what might amount to our mental welfare in his hands.

This friendship, or brotherhood is by no means to be allowed to be restrictive but rather than limiting such friends, would enrich all members because all would be free to explore in any direction, and willing to share. So that in the day when evaluation of an ism is found necessary to us, we may thus find not only those who may have experiences with that particular ism or group, but may also find others belonging to dissimilar groups that shall enable us to arrive at a multilateral evaluation.

There is another important value to friendship of this sort. There is in every man, whether he is possessed of great or lesser drive, a recurrence of periods of inertia. A man may determine to cure a habit, and find it impossible without a type of group therapy. He may decide to meditate one hour each day or a half hour a week, and occasional remissions will eventually lead to months or years of inactivity as regards metaphysical work. However if he meditates communally he is reminded by his fellows when he fails to show up. He is lifted often across the hiatus that would ordinarily be caused by the inertia, or by distraction by emotional incursions.



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