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

TAT Forum

December 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.

Though we hoped to have final drawings to share with you this month, perhaps this photo will be a worthy substitute. It's a picture of a bulldozer clearing the driveway and building site of our future home! Thanks to Bob H., Bob C., Larry, Chuck and Steve, for getting us to the point where bulldozing can begin. Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks.

TAT is now about $3,423 short of its fundraising goal. Keep those donations coming and we'll keep closing the gap! Be sure to do your Christmas shopping using this Amazon link, and TAT will receive a percentage of whatever you then purchase at no cost to you. Thanks!

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).

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

Meditation & the Spiritual Path

Meditation is apparently universally regarded as central to a spiritual path.

But why do you meditate? Precisely—why? What do you expect from the effort?

Your answer is fundamental to how you define your spiritual path.

Do you seek spiritual experiences—or knowledge?

If your definition of your spiritual path, and therefore your definition of progress on that path, is to have spiritual experiences, increasingly profound ones, then that is where the focus of your attention will be—no matter where you imagine you are focusing that attention. The desire for, and expectation of, some experience as the reward for your effort makes you especially vulnerable to self-hypnosis, wherein you generate the experiences of which you have heard and read so much about. (But not true self-transcendence or answers to what is beyond mind and beyond death.)

If your definition of your path is a search for knowledge of self, or self-definition, then it is obvious that the focus of your attention would be on yourself—self-observation and self-inquiry. In this case you really don't know what to expect. Sure, you have concepts based on your readings and conversations, and you are susceptible to postulating answers that you have not actually discovered for yourself—and then believing them. But the path of self-inquiry, by definition, has a built-in safeguard against self-delusion.

"First Know Thyself" is the prerequisite of "To Thine Own Self Be True"….

The complete essay

~ Thanks to Bob Cergol, a TAT member since TAT's 1973 inception and who has continued being active in TAT's operation. To hear more of Bob's perspective, check out Shawn Nevins's interview of Bob at SpiritualTeachers.org/podcasts. Bob can be contacted by . If you have comments for the TAT Forum, please email the .


TAT Foundation News

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

2018 TAT Meeting Calendar

* April 6-8, 2018 (Claymont Mansion) *
June 15-17, 2018 (Claymont Mansion)
August 17-19, 2018 (Claymont Mansion)
November 16-18, 2018 (Claymont Mansion)

Join us for TAT's April 6-8 weekend intensive. Registration will be available in 2018.

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. ~ 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 Hughes and Pat Crowley will be leading a self-inquiry retreat on January 26-28 in Castletown, County Laois, Ireland. Email for retreat details. ~ Contact .

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We meet on Thursday evenings and welcome inquiries. We will be having a weekend retreat with Art Ticknor on Jan. 26-28, the theme of which is "What's My Next Step?" Art also will participate in the regular Thursday 7-9 PM group meeting and at an afternoon session on Sunday for newcomers interested in the self-inquiry group. Email 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. Previous topics:
Nov 1: Choose two things that had a great impact on your life that could be, but are not limited to, an event, a person, a book or an experience. Why do they have such profound meaning to you? Did the experience have an effect to change you in some way? Might all these experiences share a common thread?
Nov 15: Visiting host and speaker for this meeting. Topic: Getting Started on the Path. (How did your spiritual search begin? Was there a gradual realization that you were not satisfied with how things were? Was there an actual moment when you consciously said "I want to know the score, the Truth"? What did you do first? What was your first footfall that became your Path? Can you look back now and see where you are based on where you’ve been?)
Nov 29: Is your sense of "I" identified predominantly with feeling or thinking?
~ 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 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

applauding teacher

Applauding the Teacher (from Wikimedia Commons).

Anything that's worth doing is worth doing slowly. ~ Mae West

bear attack humor

Captivating Teacher. From the LA Zoo Brew Press. Photo by Jamie Pham.

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

Free Won't?

Benjamin Libet (1916–2007) was a pioneering scientist in the field of human consciousness. Libet was a researcher in the physiology department of the University of California, San Francisco. In 2003, he was the first recipient of the Virtual Nobel Prize in Psychology from the University of Klagenfurt, "for his pioneering achievements in the experimental investigation of consciousness, initiation of action, and free will."

In the 1970s, Libet was involved in research into neural activity and sensation thresholds. His initial investigations ... soon crossed into an investigation into human consciousness; his most famous experiment was meant to demonstrate that the unconscious electrical processes in the brain called Bereitschaftspotential (or readiness potential) discovered by Lüder Deecke and Hans Helmut Kornhuber in 1964 precede conscious decisions to perform volitional, spontaneous acts, implying that unconscious neuronal processes precede and potentially cause volitional acts which are retrospectively felt to be consciously motivated by the subject. The experiment has caused controversy … because it challenges the belief in free will….

Libet's experiments suggest to some that unconscious processes in the brain are the true initiator of volitional acts, and free will therefore plays no part in their initiation. If unconscious brain processes have already taken steps to initiate an action before consciousness is aware of any desire to perform it, the causal role of consciousness in volition is all but eliminated, according to this interpretation.

Libet finds that conscious volition is exercised in the form of 'the power of veto' (sometimes called "free won't"); the idea that conscious acquiescence is required to allow the unconscious buildup of the readiness potential to be actualized as a movement. While consciousness plays no part in the instigation of volitional acts, Libet suggested that it may still have a part to play in suppressing or withholding certain acts instigated by the unconscious. Libet noted that everyone has experienced the withholding from performing an unconscious urge. Since the subjective experience of the conscious will to act preceded the action by only 200 milliseconds, this leaves consciousness only 100-150 milliseconds to veto an action (this is because the final 20 milliseconds prior to an act are occupied by the activation of the spinal motor neurones by the primary motor cortex, and the margin of error indicated by tests utilizing the oscillator must also be considered).

Libet's experiments have received support from other research related to the neuroscience of free will.

~ From Wikipedia on Libet's pioneering investigation of the decision-making process.


Q: Does this conform with what you've observed about your decision making?

Book of Love

The Monotones from Newark, New Jersey—lead singer Charles Patrick, with Warren Davis, George Malone, Warren and John Ryanes, and John Smith—are the quintessential one-hit wonders of the 1950s. These five young men hit upon the words and music of "The Book of Love," and while they were rehearsing, some children outside were throwing a ball against the wall. At a key point the ball hit the window, not breaking it but making a loud BOOM, right at the point where that now appears in the song. Everyone agreed it should be incorporated.

Well I wonder, wonder whom, de doo doo, who
BOOM (the children's ball)
who wrote the book of love . . .

~ From the endnotes of Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing, translations and commentary by Coleman Barks.


Becoming a Man

David Torrence was a Peruvian-American middle-distance runner—holder of the American indoor record for the 1,000 meters—who grew up in California, running in high school, college, and in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Runner's World highlighted a 2013 interview in which Torrence gave this advice to young runners: "I would say the most important thing is to listen to your coach…'. My coach would tell me during particularly hard workouts, 'This last repeat isn't about getting into shape; this is about becoming a man. Twenty years from now, you may be tired after a day of work and not want to talk to your wife or play with your kids or pay your bills, but you have to suck it up and learn how to get it done.'"

David, who had been training for more races, was found dead in a swimming pool in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday, August 28, 2017. He was 31 years old.

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 Reader Commentary was: What is your relationship to what you seek? Responses follow:

From Michael R:
In a word – confused. I feel all sorts of things towards God, towards this Truth that is right here but somehow just out of reach. Mostly the feeling is . . . lost, like "where did you go and without you where am I?" It's an odd mixture of love, trust, distrust, confusion, and feeling abandoned. My relationship to what I seek is the relationship a child would have if the parent he was walking with all of a sudden disappeared.

From John A. Johnson:
Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned about my relationship to what I seek is that, despite appearances to the contrary, I am not separate from what I seek. This notion is expressed in the commentary of Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps on the first plate of the Ten Bulls, "The bull never has been lost. What need is there to search?"

From Joel S:
My relationship to what I seek is, you know how when you grab a live wire and even though it's shocking you, you can't let go? It's kinda like that.

From Isaac H:
What a koan! It is paradoxical because ultimately I am that which I seek, not what I see. So if I am not the view, the body dangling, the clouded mind, if I am what is behind the black wall, the observer, at this point my relationship with myself is of a dog to its chased tail. But my feeling is for the other side of the hole in my heart, the source of Love and longing, and I am my own supplicant, my own somehow distant lover.

From Rob in Leeds:
What I seek … has become clearer and closer because of TAT and friendships within TAT
My relationship to what I seek has changed to what it feels like now …
Through prayer and praying using the vocal, mental and spiritual forms Tess Hughes outlines and the simple yet powerful prayers shared by TAT teachers and readers (seekers and finders) …
I believe what I seek has become my companion urging, encouraging me on, nudging me to "wake up from 'waking up'" as John Moriarty so simply puts it.

I have wondered often in my seeking where I might find home and the peace of arriving ...
Presence, awareness gently smiles and points to the obvious, which I have so often missed in nearly 5O years of searching.
To get to the point and answer the question.
The word "Within" best describes the relationship I have with what I seek, I am within it always and it is always within me and I know my best friend, presence, is guiding me to the home I never left.
I have yet to find the key to the open door but it feels close ...

From Chuck W:
There is a mystery man that I am certain is part of me, and yet I know almost nothing about him other than little hints I have picked up along the way. He is my father's father.

My father's father was never mentioned in our family as I was growing up. It was as if he didn't exist and never had. From time to time my grandmother would make a thoughtless comment like the time we stopped for gas on a vacation to Green Mountain Falls. "Your grandfather invented that gasoline pump over there," she said, starring at an antique gasoline pump surrounded by rusting junk. Sometimes my father would share a memory of his own childhood, like when he was nine years old and sold donuts on the side of a dirt road near Ft. Worth so he could buy groceries for his family. "Your grandfather invented a greaseless donut machine which we used to make the donuts," he told me.

The mystery man was never spoken of, but there were clues. He was creative, an inventor of seemingly unrelated gadgets and gizmos for which he never got credit. He didn't seem to care much about the details of life that kept the world from spinning into chaos. He was both the victim and the perpetrator of inequitable relationships that often left a mess. One night when my father was a small boy the mystery man disappeared into the night, never to be heard from again. My grandmother, with her four young children, went into survival mode moving from one town to another. Economic depressions, world wars, the Saint Louis Cardinals winning the World Series and backyard barbecues demanded all their attention. Life moves on and mysteries are quickly forgotten. What's the point?

I know the mystery man is close. He appears in me out of unconscious genetic machinery, and I imagine and create gadgets and gizmos. His butterfly effect manifests in thoughts of abandonment and fears of starvation. The mystery man is unknown and yet so intricately woven into me that there is no discernable delineation of where he ends and I begin. How could there be? Though there would be no purpose or profit to knowing my father's father, I would like to meet him nonetheless. Perhaps we might have a conversation and I could hear stories of his mysterious ways of creating and destroying and of coming and going. Perhaps we could build some wonderful gadget or gizmo together.

From Bill K:
I seek a final truth about my existence, and feel that on the relative plane the best I can do is to avoid dishonesty wherever possible, which includes the unraveling a lifetime's worth of distractions and mechanicalness based on erroneous assumptions. On a more subtle level I feel that some part of me may know how to find passage to deeper truths—an unseen guide perhaps always present, but by reducing the accumulated clutter, I may recognize it more clearly. My relationship to a final truth may apparently be no more than the ways and means I employ, but the unapparent may be a necessity and possibly a calling to which that guiding part of me responds. I do not know how I am related to an Inner Self or truth except by the intensity and direction of my seeking, with which I identify.

From Brent P:
The only honest answer that I can come up with is that I just don't know what my relationship is to what I seek.

A compound question for next month is: How is it known that someone is awake?  Is it possible to sustain this awake state or is it only possible to have a series of glimpses? How is it known that waking up isn't an ego manifestation, dissociative experience due to trauma, psychological problem or brain dysfunction? And, does it make any difference?

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 Steve H:
[In response to the BBC article in the November TAT Forum "Is Consciousness Just an Illusion?"] I spent an interesting time finding out about consciousness. My conclusion is that almost all of them are stuck with Descartes' Dualism. I found two people who asked the right question: David Chalmers, who gave us the phrase The Hard Problem, and Susan Blackmore, see "The Grand Illusion: Why consciousness exists only when you look for it," where she nails a few important points.

Good luck on finding er ... whatever it is.

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?

Bald Eagle photo © Bob Fergeson, Nostalgia West spiritual photography.

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.

The Golden Find

I come to you as a man selling air,
     And you will think twice at the offer and price,
And you will argue that nothing is there,
     Although we know that it is—everywhere.

I bring a formula largely untold,—
     Of forces, mixed with between and betwixt,
And only seen when allowed to unfold,
     And better felt when the body is cold.

I have a map to the home of the soul,
     Beyond the mind is a golden find,—
The paradox is a guide to the goal,—
     Though doubt is sacred, each man is the Whole.

~ From the Profound Writings, East & West epilogue.



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