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

TAT Forum

May 2018

June gathering 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.

There is nothing new to report on the Homing Ground this month. We have one bid from a general contractor so far, and it is too far over our budget. We're awaiting responses from other contractors. There's a bit of a building boom in Raleigh at present, so that's not helping the situation. We're determined to finish this project in a financially responsible manner and, while we hope it won't be necessary, can always revisit the design to revise what we can construct given the circumstances. We'll keep you posted and hope to have something more interesting to report next month.

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

Meaningful Relationships and Happiness

Looking at the description for the theme of the June TAT meeting, The Search for Happiness, I was thinking – Meh, Happiness Schmappiness. I've always associated this pursuit of such an elusive and mercurial state of mind with mass-appeal hypnosis, like love. I like what Richard Rose said when asked if he was happy being enlightened: "I'm free of happiness." Give me freedom any day, I say. But then I read this on the June registration page: "Research indicates that social relationships are central to our happiness and life satisfaction" – and it got my attention. Not because research indicates it, but because I know all too well the ill effects of not having them, of not having community. This lack of meaningful social relationships has probably been the biggest struggle or koan of my life. In the past few years, there has been an exodus of a number of friends, and I am truly bewildered as to the reason for certain key ones. What's the matter with people? Or worse, what's the matter with me?

See the complete essay.

~ Thanks to a long-time TAT member, who was a student of Richard Rose in the early years, and who wishes to remain anonymous.

Please email comments to 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 June 15-17 gathering. See In Search of Happiness 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, although we canceled the first two of the three April meetings due to the library being closed on April 1st and then a big storm coming through the area on the afternoon of April 15th. ~ 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 Galway, Ireland:
Shawn Nevins's visit to Ireland and the April 20-22 weekend retreat he led with Tess in Sligo were well appreciated by the Irish folk.
A dozen people gathered at Star of the Sea retreat center in Mullaghmore for a weekend retreat. Most everyone came away with something new to think about, and the honesty and thoughtful discussion were well-appreciated by Shawn. Particularly moving were the Sunday morning readings by participants in response to Shawn's request to bring a poem or passage that resonated with their deepest self.
Anyone who's interested in self-inquiry activity in Ireland is welcome to 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. Last month's topics were:
Wed Apr 4: Mike W. as host: "The Definitions of Belief and Doubt"
Wed Apr 11: Ram as host: "Who am I?" and what exactly do we mean by "I"?
Wed Apr 18: Jose as host and the topic: "What is Humanity? Where is Humanity? We will approach this topic outside the box. Without using the intellect, without I, me, mine, myself in the discussion."
Wed Apr 25: What does one really "want out of life"? And this question begs a second: Do you have a strategy or path to get what is intended or to direct you to results?
~ 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.

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Sarasota, FL:
~ Email for more information.

Update from the San Francisco Bay area self-inquiry group:
See the Galway group item above for an update on the April 20-22 retreat in Ireland. While in the vicinity, Shawn sat for two interviews with Iain McNay of Conscious.tv in London, which should be available by next month.
Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

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."

The 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.

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.

TAT's April 2018 Gathering was titled Steps on the Path. The following audio recordings 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

Hole in the Chest

Hole in the Chest
© Dresden Codak. Thanks to Mustafa, a friend in Qatar.

A toast given by a Hindu gentleman at a wedding: "A man not having a wife is incomplete. And once he has a wife, he's finished!"

~ Thanks to www.enlightened-spirituality.org.

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 in Rewind

"Because of his severe obsessive compulsive disorder, it took Ed Zine 16,384 precise movements to get from his bed to the bathroom [and back]."

An Obsessive Compulsive's 'Life In Rewind' is an NPR interview by "Neal Conan [with] Ed Zine and Dr. Michael Jenike, the psychiatrist who helped Zine find a way to overcome OCD and unlock his life. Their … book with author Terry Weible Murphy is called Life in Rewind."

"Dr. Jenike is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and one of the world's leading experts in the research and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. He describes OCD as a disorder of "pure suffering," and brings to its treatment not only an extraordinary scientific mind, but a profound depth of compassion for his patients. The message from his secretary is simple: A young man is stuck in his basement and needs help. She knows that Michael's already busy schedule doesn't really allow him to take a full day to see a new patient, but she also knows that nothing she says will stop him from going. Someone is trapped, and that's really all Michael needs to know as he pushes his own life-clock forward, driving almost three hours to meet his new patient."

Dark Night of the Soul by Loreena McKennitt

"On the beautiful text of St. John of the Cross, Loreena made this sublime song." ~ Thanks to TAT member Corina B.


And the student says to the master,

Abiding in Awareness, in singularity, All is here, nothing of self.
Time and space have no place here in All.

Thought appears as a roiling surf, bounded, and unconnected. The world is contained therein.
The mind appears as a leaf waiting to drop to oblivion.

Yet desire catches a thought, and in an instant the world springs forth again.
Self seeks to validate self, an existence which cannot be.

The backdrop of ever present Awareness recedes, haunting the unreal with its memory.
The self clings to mind, to thought.

And the student implores the master,

Speak those words that might, between their meaning, stop the mind of duality and dispel the false desire of self; that nothing shall obscure That which remains.


~ Thanks to Mike G., a long-time TAT member and Richard Rose student.

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 challenges are you facing? Responses follow.

From Brett S:
I think a lot of my seekings have been propelled by a feeling of loss or lack. Now, my challenge is to find my motivation in the face of new distractions (seemingly good things). How to constantly remind myself that what I really want is "in here" and not "out there." Previously, the "in here" was agitated, unhealthy and so needed attention. Now, "out there" has appeal. But I believe that it's not what I really want. My challenge is to be honest enough to listen to what my inner self is really saying, and to go in that direction even though my original reasons for doing so might have changed.

From Saima Y:
I'd have to say that I've noticed two big challenges I'm facing in this identification with my body/mind. One is staying silent when I really don't need to be talking, questioning, or demanding. I do notice later, and can see the unnecessary chatter.

The second stems from the first: demanding things to be done or go the way I want them; trying to force my time sensitive deadlines on others, and use threats to get my son to clean his room, my husband to finish his taxes, and then get frustrated when they don't. It is hard to let go of control when I feel under control by society's demands and dictates, especially around time sensitive deadlines.

From M.C:
Well, as the wheel turns so does the story. Nothing has been more challenging lately than answering this question. Hard to imagine that, but it's the case, and here I am Sunday morning after another sleepless night (seems to be a lot of them lately, but I get some reading done) of debating internally what I said a week ago about challenges I faced. I wrote to the Forum editor and asked that he trash my first response and let me have another go at it. Kind of like working on a carpenter job, when the first pass at hanging a door doesn't go well. The only thing to do is stop, regroup, and fire it up again. So here goes, another "best effort" at an honest response to the simple (??) question: What challenges am I facing?

M.C.'s complete response.

From Anonymous:
Loss of interest, motivation, lack of discipline when it comes to the spiritual search. No inspiration, too much to do, not enough time or energy to do it. Just keeping up with the "exigencies of life." No "game plan." Even hopeless is hopeless because hope exists. Missing the days of my youth which are forever gone, nostalgic for the times of carefree play without having to keep up TO-DO lists and busy tasks, which have to be done.

From Frank V:
What challenges am I facing?
1. The ongoing production of, and my identification with, Head Trash (limiting beliefs).
2. Ability to hear or feel intuition: Seems to me that the intuitive voice is often hard to hear because it is obscured by the head trash voice.
3. Fully feeling feelings as they arise (fear and frustration are common feelings).

From Liam C:
Despite the sticky, awkward, clumsy persona I created, with its raging emotions and searing reactiveness – I seem to have a certain loyalty to it, an attachment to a way of being born out of protection of soul but grown into a cruel master of misery, suffering and hate. I have some love for this Frankenstein creature, and while my intended destination appears to be the antithesis of this yoke, I am reluctant to bid farewell to this protector friend of mine…yet I will.

From Sergio F:
The lack of any obvious meaning about this impermanent world and life I'm experiencing. It challenges me to find meaning, and I believe that the meaning is to be found within.

From Anonymous2:
This individual's world-view ingrained and reinforced over a life-time.
Deeply embedded habit patterns.
Ability to let go of the above.

From Mark C:
Acceptance of what IS has been one of my challenges that I have taken note of lately. I find myself thinking about how my life could be better if something were different (sorta like the "if we just had some sauerkraut" thought that Art Ticknor wrote about in one of his books). This has been a sneaky thing that I will lapse into if I am not paying attention, especially when it comes to feelings that evoke nostalgia.

I think Richard Rose said something somewhere about considering the idea of switching jobs every year or two because we tend to become too identified with the role we play as well as with the culture of that particular workplace. I am finally reaching the point where I will no longer make the comfortable choice about staying in my current position (after a long 17 and a half years), but I also obviously have to find a way to continue to support myself.

The more I consider this question, the more I think that I (or the ego or the self) is the real challenge for me and likely always will be. I get in my own way. And just when I think I am not doing so, I realize that a way to circumvent the guard has usually occurred. My feeling is that spending more time alone or in isolation (when possible) will hopefully shed more light on this.

The question for next month is: What question(s) would you like to ask readers?

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?

Horseshoe Park Lake

"A Serene View."
Horseshoe Park Lake, where one of the mens' email confrontation groups held a 5-day retreat in March. Thanks to Colm 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.

Notes on Between-ness

You might liken between-ness to a neutral state of mind, but neutral implies no effort, which isn't necessarily so because you must will it to happen.

Yes, I believe this—I would like for it to happen. But I'm not going to try to make it happen, unless it's supposed to happen. Then I will it to happen. Otherwise, I'll forget about it.

Between-ness often only works on events of the moment. In other words, you cannot will something to happen a week or month from now. You will the right event of the moment. This is why it is possible to keep the thought of success or failure from entering the mind at the moment. If you had to do this for too long, you wouldn't be able to stop the thought—you cannot choose thoughts, only whether or not to dwell on them.

The key to magic is to remove the ego from what you do. Take the attitude of "let's see what might happen" rather than "let's make this happen." Mr. Rose says don't brag about what you do. Be grateful that it happened. He implied that you bump into things; you don't make things happen. Mr. Rose said that in the old days, a master would send the pupil to the mountaintop and tell him to stay until he found the answer. Excerpt from Shawn Nevins's personal journal after he attended a profound evening lecture by Mr. Rose at Chapel Hill, April 1, 1993.

Over an eight-year period, Paul Constant recorded nearly 350 pages of personal notes in four notebook binders and subsequently extracted Rose's most remarkable wisdom from the notebooks. Readers can find a four-part series of "Richard Rose Quotes and Notes—1986 to 1993" in the download center of searchwithin.org.



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