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

TAT Forum

August 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.

Bob H. and Larry I. recently checked out the property, and beat the bushes for contractors. They reaffirmed the beauty of the site and the silence—no car passed by the entire time they were there! They took measurements for the electrical hook-up and marked locations for the well and propane tank.

The search for prospective contractors yielded much better results than they dared hope for! At least a half dozen leads led to several face-to-face contacts, and they are optimistic that at least three bids will be forthcoming. However, it may be that any bids will substantially exceed the funds TAT has on hand. Bob H. has some ideas of how to proceed if that is the case, so stay tuned.

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

Marks of Enlightenment?

What is Enlightenment? The search for this exalted state has been the "holy grail" of humanity. Whether it's been called Enlightenment, Awakening, Nirvana, Transcendence, Transformation, Cosmic Consciousness or Heaven Within and Paradise on Earth, it has been a goal of most of humanity for millennia. ~ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/awaken-your-brain/201209/what-is-enlightenment

An enlightened person has all the qualities of a Saint.

  • They're calm, unperturbed and unattached to everything
  • They do not care for material things
  • They realize that they are here (on the planet, in the bodily form) to help others
  • They are definitely ALWAYS happy
  • They never complain (about any situation or pain caused from it)
  • They are not strongly opinionated because they can see and accept all points of view
  • There is no scope for fear in their lives
  • They have surrendered themselves to the higher self. Therefore, there is no scope for pride, ego or self
  • They don't fear death. In fact, they accept it with open arms
  • They believe in Karma & re-incarnation and the connection between the two.
  • Most importantly, an enlightened person has realized non-duality and that definitely reflects in their behavior. They treat every being equally (from insects and reptiles to animals and human beings) They see the entire Universe in not only living things but also in non-living things.
  • Understanding non-duality is quite different from realizing and assimilating it. If you meet an enlightened person and are open to spirituality, you yourself will know it!

~ Neha Bandekar, Vipassana meditation practitioner https://www.quora.com/How-does-one-know-if-a-person-is-truly-enlightened-or-fake

What follows is an informal discussion about the marks or earmarks of enlightenment:

As soon as a teacher describes how realization should manifest in a person, they place relative limits on something that cannot have limits or conditions.  And worse, they fuel the beliefs of seekers concerning the "state" of realization. ~ Paul Constant


The marks of enlightenment, whatever they may be, are written in shifting sand, engraved in dust, burned into the air.  They only have meaning to the self, and not to the Self. ~ Shawn Nevins


When I first visited the TAT retreat in 2005, I knew I had met the quality I had named as integrity since I was young, but I wouldn't then or now be able to say much about it. It was as if there was planted in me a mirror or magnet that responded to that quality, it was a recognition of something that I had no words for, but it was a very definite feeling, not an emotion but a feeling as one might describe the feeling aroused by beauty.... ~ Tess Hughes


See the complete discussion.

Please email your comments to the .


TAT Foundation News

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

Looking for reviews....

cover of Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, by Shawn Nevins TAT Press's release of Shawn Nevins's new book, Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, is now available in Kindle e-book format as well as paperback.

"I appreciate writers who get to the point right away, then tell me a story to illustrate the point, then remind me again what the point was." – Shawn's opening sentence.

Willing to share your impressions of Subtraction with other readers? Please your response to the TAT Forum and add your review to the Amazon listing.

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 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:
July 4: Questions and quotes by three famous teachers used to confound seekers, presented as koans.
July 11: How do you get in-touch with your Inner Self? Questions based on talk by Gary Weber at the June TAT gathering [recordings available in the members-only website area].
July 18: Gloria presented: Is there such thing as language/words ways of speaking/chanting that are more resonant with deep spiritual/mystical experiences? What is/how is language used?
July 25: Faults in our mental processes such as observation, memory and decision making. Questions based on the work by psychologist Daniel Kanheman.
~ 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



"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." ~ Sci-Fi author Douglas Adams

"People who think they know everything are very irritating to those of us who do." ~ Unknown

"Lord, lead me not into temptation. I can find it myself." ~ Anonymous

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

Henri Poincaré Quotes

It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.

Mathematicians do not deal in objects, but in relations between objects; thus, they are free to replace some objects by others so long as the relations remain unchanged. Content to them is irrelevant; they are interested in form only.

Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night. But this flash means everything.

The brain of the scientist, who is only a corner of the Universe, can never contain the entire universe.

Pure analysis puts at our disposal a multitude of procedures whose infallibility it guarantees; it opens to us a thousand different ways on which we can embark in all confidence; we are assured of meeting there no obstacles; but of all these ways, which will lead us most promptly to our goal? Who shall tell us which to choose? We need a faculty which makes us see the end from afar, and intuition is this faculty. It is necessary to the explorer for choosing his route; it is not less so to the one following his trail who wants to know why he chose it.

However, sometimes the truth scares us.

It is impossible to study the works of the great mathematicians, or even those of the lesser, without noticing and distinguishing two opposite tendencies, or rather two entirely different kinds of minds. The one sort are above all preoccupied with logic; to read their works, one is tempted to believe they have advanced only step by step, after the manner of a Vauban who pushes on his trenches against the place besieged, leaving nothing to chance. The other sort are guided by intuition and at the first stroke make quick but sometimes precarious conquests, like bold cavalrymen of the advance guard.

The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so.

It is the simple hypotheses of which one must be most wary; because these are the ones that have the most chances of passing unnoticed.

Reality an Illusion?

"A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram." ~ U. of Southampton News


"The theory that reality, as we consciously experience it, is not real, goes back to the indigenous people who believed that we exist in a dream or illusion. In our current timeline, we refer to our virtual reality experience as a matrix, grids, simulation and hologram. There are those trying to prove the hologram exists and others who are trying to break us out of it. Theories about reality being a simulation are increasing. It used to be difficult for me to find one good article, now they are manifesting along with consciousness." ~ Crystalinks.com metaphysics and science website

holographic universe

"… There is evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it—from snowflakes to maple trees to falling stars and spinning electrons—are also only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own it is literally beyond both space and time." ~ Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality


Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein


How's Your Life Plan?

"According to a study published this week in the American Journal of Psychology, the average person's plan for their life is only capable of withstanding 25 seconds of honest, direct questioning before falling apart." ~ TheOnion.com

Does that sound right?

      Fake news?

           But accurate?

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: Is there some guiding principle that determines your search? A reader who wished to remain anonymous submitted the question. Responses follow.

From Ralf I:
I'm not sure; maybe not consciously though, but I feel I won't stop until I'm 100% sure that I've arrived at an experiential conclusion that enables me to look at all the things I'd usually want to turn away from. I just cannot settle for convenient spirituality; I seem to have an aversion towards woo-woo-feel-good kind of stuff.

From Brett S:
My guiding principle is that I have to be honest with myself about what my heart is saying, about what I REALLY want, no matter WHAT it is.  I have a belief that the most direct way I can "get through to myself" about who and what I am and what I am looking for is by listening to my heart. My definition of heart (as opposed to my mind) is love, which feels like acceptance and yearning. I may experiment with implementing the directions I feel I'm getting from my heart so as to test my ability to understand what my heart is saying.

From Anonymous:
Is there some guiding principle? No not really. I am just trying to do what feels right. There seems to be a tug at my heart on occasion that sort of gives me a sense that this is a dream. But when I read Bernadette [Roberts] it feels like my head is spinning. If only I could get it to stop on dead center.

From PS:
The guiding principles, specific to looking and seeing, which make sense for me now are:

From Benjy H:
I suppose the underlying principle for me is that there is a fundamental Truth and that it is possible to find & know it. My stated process of looking away/backing away from untruths wouldn't make sense otherwise.

From Michael R:
Retreat from untruth remains the most honest principle I've found to follow. Being honest, lived as a sort of natural koan, is another. Beyond this my guiding principle is more of a felt discomfort with existence that seems to drive me inward, away from the lies of self-propagation. For most of my search I've had no idea what intuition was, but recently it seems to be coming into view in recognizable forms. It's a lie detector, a bullshit meter, an often subtle but sometimes gross recognition of untruth. I often imagined intuition would be a guiding light for decisions in this world, a way to answer the question "what should I do," a guiding voice for "me." But it's not like this, it doesn't care about what "I" want or even what "I" should do – it just senses the discord in dishonesty and, if I listen, leads me away from it. This may indirectly lead to decisions in life, but the life-effect is secondary, the honesty is primary.

From Nicholas G:
Let go of experiences. Go within. Persist.

From Joel S:
I would have to say I have two guiding principles. One is to try my best to be my own authority while still keeping myself open to good input from trusted sources. I can't just accept what other people, even realized people, say about what reality is. Accept what they say, but verify it with my own understanding. The second principle is to "keep your head on it" as Rose said.

From Ben R:
I believe the principle guiding the direction of my search right now is a sort of compass pointing toward relief. I find myself leaning in the direction I hope to find relief, and when I'm lucky enough to stumble into it for a bit, I tend to do more of what got me there. For example, sharing with friends about struggles with anxiety seems to relieve some of the anxiety, and so I lean in the direction of doing that more. As another example, meeting with supportive and open friends on a regular basis and inspiring each other brings relief in unpredictable ways, so I find myself more willing to step past resistance in order to continue doing this. There's a qualitative difference between this kind of relief that brings with it clarity, and the more unstable relief that comes from too much stimulating distraction (Youtube, podcasts, movies, news) that brings with it cloudiness and restlessness. It's taken me a while to realize this difference between clear relief and distracted relief, and I try to let the former of the two guide me.

From Anonymous2:
No, I don't have a guiding principle, but it's not like I'm just adrift or operating by whim. So I want to be quiet and honest enough to watch and question everything and, as a result, my experience is that things seem to change or fall away as needed. So there is a commitment to watch and question but no intentional principle as much as some unseen guidance that seems to determine a course of my search. There is intentional honesty which seems to automatically lead me from fallacy, which could perhaps be some principle (but not mine) at work.

The question for the next month is: What is your Heart's deepest desire?

Submitted by TAT member Vince Lepidi, who included these additional questions to stimulate your response:

  • Do you want this desire to be fulfilled in your lifetime?
  • Why do you believe this desire is worth fulfilling?
  • Are you sure you are honest about wanting to fulfill this desire?
  • Could this professed desire actually be a desire for something else?
  • Are you willing to make the sacrifices and effort to fulfill this desire at all costs?

Please your response by the 25th of August and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name).

Other Reader Feedback

From Sheri R:

In response to a question posed with excerpts from an article cited in the last month's TAT Forum titled Is Life Meaningless?:

"Is there an antidote to Meaninglessness?"

Well, I think there is.

I would agree with Ms. D'Agati on her point that 'suicide is a reasonable response to being confronted with life's reality'. However, I disagree suicide is selfish and/or tragic. It takes a certain amount of courage to advocate with such finality on one's own behalf, and I just don't understand how we can conclude something as tragic when another gets exactly what they want.

Though it's likely splitting hairs, I would also disagree with Ms. D'Agati that meaninglessness had the final hand in these suicides. More accurately, I believe, it was the suffering resulting from a sense of meaninglessness that tipped the momentum for these individuals. A fine point, but relevant. Not all people who commit suicide have a sense of meaninglessness, but I suspect most are suffering. Perhaps then a more precise question is; Is there an antidote to suffering? Again, I think there is. The antidotes applied to my own graduated experiences with meaninglessness, and thus suffering, have been undeniably effective.

Initially, the antidote to meaningless was to insert meaning into life. I never questioned this approach, eagerly and willingly painting all aspects of life with meaning. Family is everything, a career to serve humanity, a religion to bridge what I could not understand. All bases covered! For a time. But there was an imperceptible and disproportionate rate of energy expended to the sense of meaning. Suffering began to creep in as a sense of meaninglessness became increasingly difficult to mask.

Somehow I became aware of what I was doing: trying to construct meaning in an effort to eliminate a sense of meaninglessness. In this moment there was a subtler level of knowing. Now I could ask the more direct question, 'Why am I constructing this?' The antidote at this stage was to apply years of self-inquiry. I was constructing this sense of meaning because there was so much suffering everywhere. Where meaning had suffused and embedded itself into the minutia of my life, there was a deep well of suffering not far beneath. With enough assiduity fueled by endless reserves of anger, self-inquiry was an extremely effective tool to untangle the intellectual origin of meaninglessness, suffering and meaning. This made sense and I was in agreement. For a time. That insidious sense of suffering would re-appear, and most disturbingly, it would re-appear without a conscious trigger. Now I had to ask a more direct question, 'How is this being constructed?' Subtler, again.

The antidote at this point was, and continues to be, the refined and extremely sensitive work of meditation. With diligence, enough sensitivity developed to where I could 'see' the sense arising, see the thoughts triggered, see how those thoughts triggered more sensations, etc. The work is ongoing, becoming subtler and subtler.

Today I don't really think about life, actions, relationships, engagement as having meaning or no meaning. I do see how this could be important to some. But for now, to discuss life in such a context, seems to me, to miss the point. And that point is that all discussion, whether it be regarding meaninglessness or meaning, suffering or no suffering, innocently and impalpably continues the fabrication and solidification of the sense of self which, in turn, suffers.

Mr. Rose once said that he was beyond happiness, I think this is similar in that here is an opportunity to go beyond meaninglessness…and meaning.

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?

Henri Poincare

Henri Poincaré: French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science. He is often described as a polymath, and in mathematics as "The Last Universalist," since he excelled in all fields of the discipline as it existed during his lifetime. See philosophical quotes from Poincaré in the Inspiration & Irritation section above.

We like hearing from you! Please your comments, suggestions, inquiries, and submissions.

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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 3 (conclusion) of a talk given at Duquesne University in 1974 – continued from the June 2018 TAT Forum and the July 2018 TAT Forum:

Authorities and robots

The reason I talk about psychology and psychiatry – I'm somewhat concerned about those people who are putting themselves in a position, without any knowledge of the truth, to deny an Essence for man. And this is the current psychological thought, that man has no Essence; that all he is, is what you see; and that a person who claims they have a soul is a dreamer.

I'm concerned that we're becoming a race of robots, if we're not already a race of robots. And that was the reason I asked you to stand up. Because we're being programmed to respond to authority, instead of being programmed to respectfully question authority.

Who am I to tell you to stand up? I'm nobody. I'm nobody. Who am I to say, "Please form a line over here"? Yet people rush out and start directing traffic – and no one questions them, whether they've got a right to direct traffic.

The complete Part 3 of the 1974 Duquesne University talk



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