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

TAT Forum

July 2018

TAT August Workshop: Beyond Imagination. August 17-19, 2018.

August workshop 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 may have to sacrifice a goat in order to appease the contractor gods, as our appeals are still being greeted with silence! Though we may pivot left, and feint right, we'll find a way to keep moving forward. This month we received several new donations, as well as some members setting up automatic, monthly recurring donations. What a great idea! We also have plans to proceed to get a well drilled for water on the property and set up electric service in anticipation of construction. Given the building boom in Raleigh (and who knows what will happen once Amazon picks Raleigh for its new headquarters? Remember – you heard it here first), we will likely be modifying the scope of our building either in terms of the size or what percentage we can complete with the available funds. We'll keep you posted.

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


Receive new-Forum notifications each month

Let your voice be heard
Enjoy the benefits of TAT membership
Become a TAT member
Help support TAT; become a member today

Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Paradigm: a model, template, prototype, archetype; a worldview; from the Greek for "show side by side."

There are many beliefs that underlie our individual thinking. Many are learned ("I am good," "I am bad," "I am cool," "I am worthless," etc.,) and others are more subliminal, seemingly arising from the human condition. But are they valid?

Some of those that are subject to question are listed below. It is an incomplete list, as drawing such a list of your own beliefs will attest. But, a paradigm is just that—a mental experience which we witness. Paradigms of which we are unaware or lose sight of define our existence… and, thus, we are sleepwalkers.

See the complete essay.

~ Thanks to Mike Gegenheimer, an active TAT member and student of Richard Rose.

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 August 17-19 workshop. See Beyond Imagination 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 .

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays. We're planning an intensive retreat at Grand Vue Park in Moundsville, WV for the Sunday-Friday, November 11-16, preceding the November TAT weekend. ~ Email or for more information.

Update from Galway, Ireland:
Anyone who's interested in self-inquiry activity in Ireland is welcome to contact .

Update from the Greensburg, PA self-inquiry group:
We last met the weekend before Christmas where the topic was "Are you awake or merely sleepwalking?" My strategy right now is not to have the meetings for a while then start them up again when the regulars indicate an interest. 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:
We're 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, 7-9 PM, at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House in Oakland (4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213) and invitation-only meetings on alternate Wednesdays. Last month's topics were:
June 6: Mike W. explored the concept of identity as presented by Gary Weber on his website and in his new book Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening.
June 13: Richard G. hosted based on "Noumena: Consciousness without an Object," an article from the www.stillnessspeaks.com website.
June 20: "What do you resonate with?" Participants were asked to bring a quote or saying or two that inspires them, that best demonstrates what they 'resonate' with.
June 27: Mike W. presented the confrontation topic based on "The Five Foundations" from The Way of Liberation by Adyashanti.
~ For further information, contact .

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:
See the Shawn Nevins interview by Iain McNay of Conscious.tv, kicking off the publication of Shawn's book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment. ~ Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Sarasota, FL:
Meetings are on alternate Wednesdays. ~ Email for more information.

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 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):

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 2018 Gathering was titled In Search of Happiness. 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 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

Living in the Moment

Thanks to TAT member Colm H.

A quip from Robert Frost: "Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I'll forgive Thy great big joke on me."

One Buddhist monk leaned over to another and quietly asked, "Are you not thinking what I'm not thinking?"

Voltaire: "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

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

Question Your Mind

When you ask yourself who the master is who this very moment sees with the eyes, hears with the ears, raises the hands, moves the feet, you realize that all these operations are the work of your mind. But you don't know why it works this way. You may say it doesn't exist, but it is clear that something is freely functioning. You may say it does exist, but then you can't see it.


~ From Bassui's talk "Question Your Mind" in the book Mud and Water. Bassui was a 14th-century Rinzai Zen master in Japan. Thanks to TAT member Mark S.

Is Life Meaningless?

"Every human being must at some time confront the same disease that claimed Anthony [Bourdain], Kate [Spade], Robin [Williams], and every other person who takes his or her life: meaninglessness. Why are we here and is this life worth living? It's a sobering thought."

"Friedrich Nietzsche—another struggler—said that anyone with a 'why' to live could endure almost any how. These wealthy, accomplished people had some of the most marvelous 'hows' anyone could imagine. Yet none of it could make up for the lack of 'why.'"

Is there an antidote to the feeling of meaninglessness?


~ See the article in The Federalist by Caroline D'Agati—a writer, former park ranger, and New Jersey expatriate living in DC. Thanks to TAT member Brett S.


If someone could read your heart, what would they find?

Someone endlessly doubting himself and trying to get away from himself. Fear, desire, insecurity on a background of goodness that I feel we all are ultimately. Lack of trust in anything, except the thought "Is it true?" It's the pride that really pisses me off.

A longing for connection. A longing to connect with someone or something at such a deep level that there isn't any more separation. I think that I've believed this type of fulfillment could be found through a relationship for most of my life. That if I meet the right girl who would love me enough I could feel that feeling and be truly complete. I have yet to be in a relationship where this has happened, where I felt as if I loved someone else completely and they loved me completely, although I felt glimpses of it and had hope towards it. Lately I have been wondering if this was really possible. If someone else could provide that type of love or if it's a pipedream. This longing for connection and completion seems to be another reason why I'm involved with all of this. Hopefully there is a love which can be felt from god or the absolute. Maybe I've been trying to fill that void through seeking god or enlightenment. If someone could read my heart they would see I want true love if there is such a thing. I sure hope so. This response feels like one of the most honest things I've said in a while. Honest in the sense that after writing this down, no doubts came up, I wasn't wondering if this was just talk. It feels true to me.

The first thing popping into mind was "what is meant by heart?" but I guess that an intellectual answer is not what is asked so I will just write a flow:
      [I am a] person who wants to be good but is often feeling as if there would be something wrong with him. Like a child accused. Someone struggling for acceptance and admiration. A person who doesn't really know what he wants but is struggling to find something worthwhile in his lifetime. The kid whose father left him even before he left us. The acceptance missing is still searched and the failure which that brings flings him deeper into the search for something that would end the suffering and satisfy the longing. Guilt, a lot of guilt. And shame, a lot of that too. Things done wrong trying to be fixed but never really satisfied about the results. Vulnerability of a child crying in a dark room waiting for a hand from someone to lift him up.


See the complete survey of friends participating in email self-inquiry groups in 2011.

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 two-part question we asked readers for this month's Reader Commentary: Do you know or have you made clear for yourself what you want or what your goal is? And do you think you need a teacher? Responses follow.

From Brett S:
I have two goals. My first goal is to know experientially who I am, self-definition. My second goal is to live the truth of that experience. To me, knowing who (or what) I am experientially means that I believe that it's possible to eliminate confusion about what I am not. I believe there is a way to know what about me is real (permanent), what my essence is, and what about me is unreal (fleeting), constantly changing. In my opinion, a teacher is needed, and learning from teachers who have what I want has been one of THE most helpful things to me. However, my teacher is also myself, my experience/life events, nature, the TAT Forum, people on the subway, etc. Teaching happens whenever I am open to learning.

From Peter O'D:
Do you know what you want or have you made clear what your goal is and do you need a teacher? Yes and Yes. To be freed of my life-long dissatisfaction with life. Regardless of how glorious the circumstances I find myself in, to be free of the dissatisfaction that stalks all my experience.

For me having a teacher has been one of life's greatest gifts. I don't have the space here to explain all the reasons I make such a statement, but if one is lucky enough to have a genuine teacher, then the wisdom, experience and guidance that teacher can offer can be invaluable, especially if and when life's harsh waters wash over you. However, as valuable as any teacher will be, we have to live our own life, and no teacher can carry us along our path. Life itself is the ultimate teacher.

From "Truth disguised as, or appearing as, this particular bodymind":
What I want: my True Nature to realize Itself. Well, perhaps I should say what I want is to awaken; I've been having what some call, awakenings, but I have not woken up. I want to WAKE UP to my true nature, and not forget, go back to sleep, whatever is happening here. I don't fully understand what I'm talking about here, so how can I say that this is what I truly want? (There's a strong sense here that if I truly wanted that MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, it would be done).

Do I need a teacher? Sometimes I think having one might decrease the time it would take to realize I am the Truth. And, having a teacher might also help this bodymind feel less like it's flailing around in the dark at times, among other things conducive to awakening; however, it might also increase the sense of doership, among other things not conducive to awakening. So, as it seems with all things, there are pros and cons here. So once again, and as usual, the answer to both of these questions is: I don't know.

From Topi P:
I do, i want to know what i am right at my center, to look at what I'm looking out of, to see what I am.

I don't know if I need a teacher, would be handy but none around. But one can't really be taught how to look or to see. One just has to look … the serious intent of really looking and discovering instead of thinking and learning.

From Anonymous:
I don't really identify as a seeker anymore, and have no practice or goals. And even in cases where I suspect someone (whether a teacher or not) of living a more radical shift of identity in the wake of their realization than is so far the case for me, I find I no longer relate to them as a potential guide. My own recognition and shift of reference point are authoritative enough, I guess you could say.

From Chris P:
I want to be ready to die with no fear. And I've decided that fulfilling this goal requires as complete a self-understanding as possible. I've also decided that this requires living as purposeful a life as possible.

I've been doing this without a teacher for so long that I would have to answer no. Especially since teachers appear anyway whenever there's an opening for an energetic jump to a new level of being/doing. Or if there's an opening for more release, more letting go. It seems also as though ladderwork with folks somewhat fulfills the need for a teacher.

From Anonymous Seeker:
I want to find the final Truth about who I am. I want to find my source, that from which the experiencer comes.

To succeed, I feel strongly that I need guidance by sources both from within me and from without. I believe the guide or teacher may be in any form either familiar or unexpected but as needed in order to influence me.

From Jim P:
Over time my goal has become clearer to me. I want to burn away all of the untruth in me—the beliefs, assumptions, dreams, hopes, accomplishments, and most painfully, even my loves—and awaken in the truth. Or maybe I should say "as" the truth. The arrogance and foolishness of those words strike me pretty hard, but maybe being an arrogant fool is what is required to complete the task. I honestly don't know. But it seems impossible to state a goal like this without being full of one's self. That appears to be the very nature of goal-setting. I also honestly don't know if I need a teacher. But I do know that the work is ongoing with or without a teacher. Over this last year, my first year in TAT, I have felt less and less need to approach a teacher with questions, less and less need of the teacher's assurances, rebukes, or company in general. I think the teacher's role is smaller than I first imagined. I don't know if that's just more arrogance, or if that's how the process works. A teacher helps by pointing in the right direction. Once the direction is known, are pointers still necessary? Maybe, from time to time, they are. Sometimes I feel that just the presence of a teacher is all that one needs. In any case, the task is at hand, and all I can do is accept it and get to work.

That work has become frightening to me. I had a conversation with Art at a TAT weekend last year in which I told him that as I retreat from the untruths in myself, I end up backing against a wall, and I can't go any further. That wall had no openings, couldn't be climbed or outflanked. But now I find myself standing at a threshold in that wall. I'm facing it now. And it's the scariest sight I've ever seen, because inside is a raging inferno. In the face of this fire, I realize I've been kidding myself about having truly retreated from untruth. The fire will incinerate everything I know of as myself, the false self, and I can't yet take that step of self-immolation. I realize that everything I love will have to burn to ash. My heart, as I know it, will have to burn. I wish that a teacher could just give me a push across that threshold. But I believe the most a teacher can do is point to it. I want to take that step, but fear holds me on the threshold. What will I become without my loves? What is the real cost of this freedom from self? Maybe if I stand close enough to it, the fire will just suck me in.

From Julia O'K:
What is clear to me now is different to 20 years ago. For years there was a great desire to feel better and to suffer less, and having just written this I cannot say that this desire has left me. Until recently I would probably have referred to this work as a spiritual journey with some kind of forward trajectory that was hopefully going to lead to some sort of blissful state. This appears more like a seductive delusion now. These days the only thing I want is to KNOW… while I can't deny the richness of experience, I know that it is just that. I know that I am not my experience. This doesn't do me a whole lot of good as I get lost in it as often as not and what I fear the most is humiliation. The urge to not feel shame or humiliation will activate my ego in a lightning flash. My defences are up and firing before I see it. It can all feel a bit hopeless and when I get rightly caught I think I'm worse off than when I was a young woman operating unconsciously at full tilt. Usually these days I can steady myself and my way inwards is through the body. I don't have a very investigative or analytical mind so I trace or source the thought after the feeling. The feeling is what helps me to trace back to the thought that triggered the feeling. It takes real effort when I'm strongly emotionally triggered and usually a time lapse to disengage from the triggering thought.

If I manage to hold still in the midst of the apparent action, something simple, wordless seems to preside and it has nothing it seems to do with 'me'. This occurs fairly regularly when I become still and present. The moment of stillness is very brief and what isn't clear to me is my resistance to the stillness and the silence? There is a subtle but lurking panic that causes me to re-engage quickly with experience, and a thought will surface in response. It can present as very convincing or something as trivial as thinking that I have to feed the dog! (Mind you it is important to feed the dog !??)

I have had a few glimpses of what this is about for me. It has to do with fear of nothingness, of being nobody. It is just a glimpse and then I am back believing the story again. I am still very attached to the security of the phenomenal world, and God knows it has shown me nothing if not the futility of this security.

I've given up notions of bliss and higher states and such like. So to answer the question, what I want is to be still, and ultimately to know who/what I am, which means facing or walking through this panic.

DO I THINK I NEED A TEACHER? The answer to this is a resounding YES. Having said that, I think one might need different teachers at different points but I think it is a real gift to have a central teacher that one knows deep within has one's higher good always in her sights.

The question for next month is: Is there some guiding principle that determines your search?

Our thanks to a Forum reader who wished to remain anonymous. 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?

Albigensian dove

~ Thanks to TAT friend Y.C., who wrote while on a recent trip to the historic Cathar area in southern France: There was also a beautiful, very simple monument in the town of Minerve…. The [Albigensian] Crusaders burnt 180 people there in 1210. There is a dove cut out of the rock – a representation of the Cathar conception of the holy spirit as entirely removed from physical matter.

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.

Talk at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh

Part 2 of a talk given at Duquesne University in 1974 (continued from the June 2018 TAT Forum):

Levels and exaltations

When we speak of exaltation – some of you are familiar with the Gurdjieff and Ouspensky books. Gurdjieff refers to the different levels of man as being instinctive, emotional, intellectual and philosophical – that's one, two, three and four. He claims there are seven men, but four is as far as he goes because manifestly he didn't go any further himself.

But between each of these – if you observe the different exaltations of mankind, the religious experiences of mankind – they occur between these men. And this brings in the concept of betweenness. That a man starts as an instinctive creature and then he becomes emotional: maybe he falls in love, and it somehow draws him away. Although the love is caused by a physical attraction, which is his instinctive nature, still he starts to have an idealistic way of looking at things.

And he's caught between his animal nature and his selflessness, his meaninglessness in front of someone he considers more than himself. And in this he reaches an exaltation. It may be a love affair. We hear of people in fundamentalistic religions getting "saved" – this is very similar. This guy has overcome his booze or his sex habit or whatever it is, and he's saved. And he'll tell you that he has reached the last rung, that this is it. He's talked to God, or something of that sort.

The complete Part 2 of the 1974 Duquesne University talk



TAT gathering


Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book!
Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.

TAT Foundation on Facebook


Keep informed of TAT events and receive our free monthly Forum filled with inspiring essays, poems and images.

Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse

© 2000-2021 TAT Foundation. All rights reserved.

View Full Site Back to Top


TAT Foundation logo