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

TAT Forum

April 2018

April weekend event 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 still only have one contractor who has responded to our request for bids. If you happen to know a good general contractor in the Roxboro/Raleigh area, feel free to pass on that information.

Driveway entrance from Thomas Green Road.

In the meantime,

Use the 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

Summer, 1992

The last time I talked with my grandfather, I was struck by his summarization of people's lives: Carl Walters, he bought a farm, married a girl from in town, had two kids, and he died. One of his children was a banker. He did really well. Had a big, brick house near Kidville. He died. Elizabeth was a student of mine. She married a boy from Simpsonville. He died. Later on, she died.

So it went, life after life abstracted to two or three sentences. Of course, at 97, my grandfather has a long lens through which he views the past. A lot of the detail is lost. We aren't much different. We condense hours into days and weeks into months. A courtship becomes, "Your father and I dated, then we got married," and all those evenings of wonder and doubt are lost to the fragile chemistry of memory. Memory becomes a mere outline of our lives.

Are you anything other than this fragile chemistry?

That is not what I set out to write today. Instead I wanted to write of the heart of the spiritual path—the quest for our source. Particularly, of the day I realized that the answer to my philosophic questions lay in looking for the source of thought. Prior to that day, I spent nearly two years reading spiritual books, attending Self Knowledge Symposium meetings, challenging and changing my habits and character deficiencies. In short, I was improving my self, becoming a better functioning human being.

That changed one day when, during my first solitary retreat, it dawned on me that I was searching in the wrong direction. I suddenly realized I had to study my mind with my mind, to search within for the source of my thoughts. If I could unravel that mystery, I would be free.

Trouble is, that sudden realization didn't happen that way….

See the complete essay, which appeared in the May 2005 TAT Forum.

~ Thanks to Shawn Nevins, who became a student of Richard Rose in the early 1990s, had a major breakthrough in 1999, and remains an active TAT member. The May 2005 TAT Forum also included the following contents:

Jacob's Ladder (part 4) by Richard Rose | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Being and Doing by Douglas Harding | First Know Thyself by Art Ticknor | This Camera by Art Ticknor | Trusting the Inner Self by Bob Fergeson | Hijacking of Thought by Bob Fergeson | Humor | Reader Commentary

Please email comments to the .

Subtraction, by Shawn Nevins

"December 28, 1999 was the day my spiritual search ended. From late 1992 till that day, I devoted myself to finding an answer to the great philosophic questions of life: Who am I? What am I? What happens to me at death? These were not theological musings, but eminently practical questions that demanded answers based on personal experience rather than belief. I meditated for hundreds of hours, fasted, prayed, talked to spiritual teachers and talked to myself, spent days alone in the woods, tested and challenged my beliefs through dozens of practices, despaired and cried. A central theme of this path was that of a Way of Subtraction fueled by honesty. It was Richard Rose who taught me this simple, but elegant formula: "You back away from untruth," he said, turning from untruth until all that was left was what was real."

With excellent, unplanned coordination, the TAT Forum features an article by Shawn this month and TAT Press has released Shawn's long-awaited book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, available through Amazon, your local bookseller, and at TAT Foundation gatherings.

You can view the Prologue (from which the above quote was taken) and the first two chapters of the book at the Preview page of SpiritualTeachers.org.


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. See Steps on the Path for more details and registration.

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 .

On Sunday–Friday, June 10–15, the Gainesville self-inquiry group will be hosting an intensive retreat at Grand Vue Park in rural Moundsville, WV.

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays. We currently have over 600 members on the Meetup site. There will often be half a dozen or more new folks indicating that they'll be coming to the next meeting, but few of them actually show up. Fleeting inspiration! ~ Email or for more information.

On Saturday, May 5th, Bob Fergeson and Tess Hughes will be holding a one-day introduction to TAT and the teachings of Richard Rose in London, UK. See https://tatcouk.wordpress.com for registration or e-mail for inquiries.

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 Greensburg, PA self-inquiry group:
Our Greensburg SIG meetings have been much less frequent since last September. Attendance from my regulars has become more sporadic, especially from those I considered more interested and dynamic. Up until a year ago we met every week, but when attendance went down I cut it to bi-weekly. Now I'm considering monthly meetings. We last met the weekend before Christmas where the topic was "Are you awake or merely sleepwalking?" I had this meeting at a request of a regular who brought someone he thought would be interested in what we were doing and it went well, with five people present. My strategy right now is not to have the meetings for a while then start them up again when the regulars indicate an interest. Recently the new owners of the coffee shop where I have the meetings told me that some of the regulars have asked if I still have the meetings. In fact I saw one regular attendee at the coffee shop in January who told me that if I don't want to do the meetings, I should assign someone else to facilitate because he is interested in continuing. Hopefully if they miss the meetings I'll start them back on a more frequent basis. But I think the other problem is that we need new people, and I'm still cautious about using internet social media like Meetup and Facebook. ~ Contact .

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We meet on Thursday evenings and welcome inquiries. 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:
Now meeting on alternate Saturdays. ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We hold public meetings on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, at 7 PM, at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House in Oakland (4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) and invitation-only meetings on the other Wednesdays.
Wed Mar 7: "Do you believe that you have the ability to do anything. Why or why not?"
Wed Mar 14: "Am I a seeker? If yes, then "Why do I search?" Can we deconstruct this desire to search, and are we searching for something, or are we avoiding something? Are there alternatives to seeking?"
Wed, Mar 21: Session by Gloria N. "We remember Bernadette Roberts, one of the greatest christian mystics: What is the relationship between the observer and our everyday reality? Is experience just an eternal flow where the unmanifested becomes distinct and manifested? Is this who we really are beyond the self?"
Wed Mar 28: Select readings by Richard G. from Robert Wolfe's Presence of Being, p. 110; Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj, by Ramesh S. Balsekar: Ch. 23 – "Child of a Barren Woman" and Ch. 27 – "Mis-identification is Bondage."
~ 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.

On Friday–Sunday, April 20–22, Shawn Nevins and Tess Hughes will be conducting a weekend retreat in Co. Sligo, Ireland. For registration or inquiries, contact .

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:

TAT's November 2017 Gathering was titled The Treasure Within our Lives Unconnected to Experience. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area (there's also a text file describing the speakers and their sessions, not all of which were successfully recorded due to equipment malfunctioning):

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 page.

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


Cliffs of Moher caution

Watch Where You're Going
A caution for the unwary at the Cliffs of Moher.
Thanks to Paul Constant.


…Words or phrases made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase.

  • Dormitory => Dirty Room
  • Desperation => A Rope Ends It
  • The Morse Code => Here Come Dots
  • Slot Machines => Cash Lost in 'em
  • Snooze Alarms => Alas! No More Z's
  • A Decimal Point => I'm a Dot in Place
  • Eleven plus Two => Twelve plus One
  • Astronomer => Moon Starer

~ Thanks to https://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/anagrams.html.

We're hoping to present more humor from 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

Life Before and After a Zen Monastery

"Finding happiness in your work is a complicated, ambiguous, confusing process – a process that defies simple answers like 'follow your passion' or 'reject conformity.'"

"For years, Thomas had imagined living at a monastery to be the 'zenith' of his passions – in his fantasies, it held the magical qualities that all his previous jobs lacked. But once he arrived at the Zen Mountain Monastery, he realized that although his surroundings had changed, he was 'exactly the same person.' The thought patterns that had caused his previous unhappiness – like and dislikes; anxieties, boredoms and fantasies – had not magically disapeared.

"Put another way, Zazen is a tool of self-inquiry, not escape, and this self-inquiry turned out to be trying for Thomas."


See the complete article Zen and the Art of Investment Banking: When Working Right is More Important than Finding the Right Work by Cal Newport, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.

~ Thanks to TAT member Brett S., who says: "While I have made a variety of changes in my life and lifestyle over the years, thinking that they will bring me happiness/reduce suffering, I have not always been aware that I was bringing the suffering along with me. Same baggage, different locale. This article is a reminder that the answers can be found within. Not in changing our external surroundings or circumstances. We can have what we want right now, without changes. We might even have it already! This story about a winding career path brings it home."

Consciousness After Death

6-minute interview of Dr. Sam Parnia

"I don't mean that people have their eyes open or that their brain’s working after they die," Parnia said. "That petrifies people. I'm saying we have a consciousness that makes up who we are—our selves, thoughts, feelings, emotions—and that entity, it seems, does not become annihilated just because we've crossed the threshold of death; it appears to keep functioning and not dissipate. How long it lingers, we can't say."


~ From a Newsweek.com article by Kastalia Medrano on "Where do you go when you die?" Thanks to Shawn Nevins.


"The most powerful force in the universe is regression to the mean. Everyone dies, and gets it wrong along the way."

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they've been fooled. If you present someone with evidence against their beliefs, they double down on their convictions."

"Invest heavily in your strength(s) and spend modest effort to get your weaknesses to average so they don't hold you back."

"The happiest people I know are the ones who live beneath their means, as they don't have the constant ringing in their ears of economic anxiety."

"You need to ask for help if you plan on being successful. You should also get in the habit of helping people junior to you."


~ From The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, by Scott Galloway.

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:

What are the principles you live by or aspire to live by?

Responses follow.

From Paul S:
Two principles come to mind which I aspire to:
To will whatever happens.
And the principle embodied in "To thine own self be true."

From Isaac H:
It's easy to say Honesty, Integrity, and Sincerity are the principles that I try to live by, but principles are abstract and mean different things to different people. Especially "integrity" – for me "integrity" is more about being true to myself, and so it naturally implies honesty and sincerity as I have to be honest about what makes me whole, and sincere and dedicated in the practice and pursuit of that.

From Paul C:
The following principles have been especially important in my relationships, home, employment, finances, and spiritual life. Some became especially meaningful later in life. As with most aspirations, I often fall short….

From Y.C.:
Values I try to live by:

I have probably left out something important, but that'll do for now.

From Mike G:
Conservative lifestyle (as regards energy conservation)

From Shawn N:
Be a light unto others.

From Anonymous:
First is to be honest in all things – how could I not be if my purpose is to find Truth.
Being vigilant in watching. And keeping quiet, in an attempt to not distract myself with my small "s" self.
Always endeavor to search for as well as learning how to submit to the truth about myself.
Be receptive to help – from wherever it is offered in any form.
Help others on similar paths as mine.

From Art T:
December 16, 1999 – solitary retreat (in Bob C's cabin on the Richard Rose farm). I asked myself what my principles were and came up with the following list:

The question for next month is: What challenges are you facing?

Please your response 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?

labyrinth maze

Labyrinth maze. Thanks to 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.

Nostalgia and Dreams

Part 4 of a talk given at Case Western Reserve University in 1978 (continued from the January 2018 TAT Forum, the February 2018 TAT Forum and the March 2018 TAT Forum):

Q & A concluded


Q. It would seem that if somebody tried to develop their sensitivity, they would constantly be at the mercy of moods.

R. That's what I said earlier today. You can overcome your major moods; you can overcome the things that dominate you, on a major scale. But after you conquer that and get clear of that, you're still going to see everything you're doing as being the result of some factor you can't control. Not that it will matter as much, because you will have some clarity and some sanity.

But this is something I shouldn't emphasize too much, because I don't want to discourage people from fighting. I believe that this is important – because even if you lose, you're a fighter. It's important to fight, because then you're a fighter. If you don't fight, you're a slug. You're just like a snail without a shell, or a snail in a shell, something that basically exists.

I believe that man has a fact status, and you're eternally that fact status. And I maintain that this nostalgia is the voice of the soul, which points to eternality. It points toward it by virtue of all this emphasis and direction that is on it. It points and says, "There is an eternal man." Whatever you make it to be, you'll be eternal. If you're going to be a murderer, you'll be an eternal murderer. If you're going to be a person with a vector, you'll be an eternal vector.

And this is the language I think we read from this study of the nostalgic mood. That somewhere inside, the intuition behind the computer – or the Oversoul or whatever you want to call it – gets this reading very clearly, and acts on it. Or tries to act on it.


Q. Can a person effectively generate the vector, so it is stronger than the moods?

R. You can't just invent one….

The complete Part 4 (conclusion) of the 1978 "Nostalgia and Dreams" talk



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