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

TAT Forum

November 2018

November weekend details & registration

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 received a couple of suggestions last month for bridging the $100,000 gap between our original design and the funds we've raised, and we are still very much in brainstorming mode. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to Shawn.

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

Suffering Is Missing

Concern: Suffering seems to be missing. I feel insulated from the usual suffering I feel. Not the low-level feeling that nothing will suffice in this world—that's pretty much always there. It's the personal suffering that's missing. It seems like there's an approaching storm, a familiar sense of suffering, but it can't quite get a foothold. I feel, and the only word that suffices is, "docile." It's as if I have the sun behind me—its brilliance allows nothing to get too close. There's an intensity in the inner gaze that in some way looks beyond the suffering—but to what? Perhaps to the unknown/God. The few times it has been able to penetrate, there's a feeling of trying on some costume that doesn't fit anymore, and it's flung aside pretty easily.

Who am I without it? In the past when it has lifted, I've felt as if I'd lost something. St. John of the Cross talks about a "loving wound"—that the aspirant feels bereft without the "dark love" and that somehow this affliction is also a comfort. I have felt that and even had conversations with others about the bizarre desire for one's suffering to come back. This feels different. Other times when this has occurred, I had a concern that my desire for Truth had been compromised. If I'm not suffering, where is my motivation? Again, this time, that intensity is still intact, and it has the quality of being drawn from me rather than generated by me.


I wrote the above description several months ago, and I've come to no conclusions about what happened, only more questions. In retrospect, I see that the suffering lifted rather abruptly, and as I said above, unlike times in the past, I did not miss it as a motivator, nor did it feel that the seeking had declined in any way. It was a welcome gift, a respite of sorts. I think I've learned better than to look for a causal relationship, but around the same time there had been a lessening of resistance, partly out of exhaustion. Resisting pain had always been my go-to definition for "suffering"—however, in looking back, I can see now that there also was an element of acceptance—no desire to make the suffering go away. This was not practiced or cultivated, just seen.

The suffering has returned. It comes and goes, but like in the initial phase, it can't seem to pull me under completely. In the past, the only descriptor that sufficed was that it felt like I was dying inside. I can't use such a dramatic designation anymore—perhaps it's just not as "personal" or maybe I now know that it's not any more permanent than any other state. It can certainly appear to be triggered by the personal, but there's a growing sense that it's more universal, shared even. I'm also starting to question whether it really comes and goes—maybe something else comes and goes—and how will I find the answer to this if I don't stop the hundreds of ways I look away? At least when the suffering was full-blown, I couldn't look away, but from what? Perhaps the answer lies in that first small shift of gaze (attention) from the suffering/sufferer to whatever (God, Unknown) is beyond it.

~ Thanks to Leesa W., an active TAT member and participant in a local self-inquiry group.

Have you experienced something similar?

Please email your comments to the .


TAT Foundation News

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

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 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.

TAT Forum readers shared their impressions of Subtraction with other readers in the October 2018 Forum. Please your impressions to the TAT Forum and add your review to the Amazon listing if you haven't done so already.

TAT Press's latest publication…. cover of Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi's Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self, by Stephen Earle

Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi's Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self by Stephen Earle, with a Foreward by Norio Kushi, is now available in paperback and in Kindle e-book format.

Check out Shawn Nevins's interview of Norio on SpiritualTeachers.org podcasts.

We're soliciting your impressions of Awake at the Wheel for next month's TAT Forum. In the meantime, please contribute a review to the Amazon listing. It really helps people evaluate potential purchases.

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 November 16-18 workshop, Forgetting & Remembering. Details & 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.

"Double Take on Life" blog

Two friends—one a TAT member, one a TAT friend; one living in Canada, one across the border in the US; one male, one female—have partnered to create a blog site, which they hope other TAT members and friends will enjoy and respond to.

I'm on my hands and knees now as the unmovable mountain I did not realize I was relying on to help propel me upwards has turned to shale. It now feels like I am scrambling up a downward bound escalator. My thoughts mercilessly and rigidly trained over the last several years, shift from "poor me" to "my life is Yours, Father." Immediately space moves in and my body surges with ease.

Surrender? Devotion? Hands off the tiller? These are the snooty ideals my monkey mind holds reverently responsible for the shift from toil to ease. It even goes so far to excitedly conclude, "This is it! I've got it! This is how it all works!" God has to find us endearing in such moments.….

See "The Mountain" blog post.

Update from the email self-inquiry groups:
Both the women's and the men's weekly 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:
The Greensburg Self-Inquiry Group is still in hiatus. I do plan to start it up again at some point as I see it as a lifeline to my own spiritual path. Things got stale with my group's participants, but I will e-mail them at some point to schedule another SIG meeting. In the meantime, I participate in a local "Socrates Cafe" group at the coffeehouse/art gallery where I have had my meetings. This group is not into esoteric philosophy as such, but they're supposed to be into "Socratic Inquiry," and I figure it's better than not engaging in any discussions with people. At least we sometimes touch upon spiritual matters, and this makes attending their meetings worthwhile. ~ 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:
Oct 3: Jose hosted the meeting with the help of Krishnamurti: "How do you feel about these quotes?"
Oct 10: Gloria monitored "What is the difference between mystical experiences and enlightenment or awakening? How do mystical experiences transform the seeker? Are they ultimate experiences or signposts along the way? Is there really an end to the spiritual journey?"
Oct 17: Regarding the phenomena of "seeing": How does one "take-in the world" or experience things first hand? We'll look at some quotations to see which we identify with in explaining our own personal experience, especially how it may have changed from our earliest youth.
Oct 24: We focused on some of the arguments of The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution by P.D. Ouspensky, a student of G.I. Gurdjieff.
~ 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. ~ See the website for more information.

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 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):

  • "Obstacles" by Anima Pundeer,
  • "Navigating Our Spiritual Waters" by Paul Constant,
  • "By His Logic, Man Can Do Nothing" by Shawn Nevins, and
  • "TAT Weekend Key Take-Home Highlights" with Tess Hughes

TAT's April 2018 Gathering was titled Steps on the Path. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Rose's Jacob's Ladder: Steps on the Path" by Bob Fergeson,
  • "The Threefold Path" by Paul Constant,
  • "What Keeps Us from Being Awake?" by Paul Rezendes,
  • "Allowing Exploration" by Shawn Nevins, and
  • "What's Trying to Get Your Attention?" by Mark Seabright.

TAT's June 2018 Gathering was titled In Search of Happiness. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Four Views of Happiness: Three steps beyond the search" by Avery Solomon,
  • "How You Can Be 'Free of Happiness'" by Gary Weber,
  • "A Personal Perspective on Friendship: Ode to 'Mrs. C.'" by Larry Inderbitzin, and
  • "Seeker Stories and Q&A" by Michael W., Penny W., and Michael R.

TAT's August 2018 Workshop was titled Beyond Imagination and included three guest speakers who each led separate workshops. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

  • "Nurturing What We Are" with Jenny Clarke,
  • "The Art of Seeing" with Norio Kushi, and
  • "Seeing Through Imaginary Traps" with Shawn Pethel.

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

Big D's first AA meeting

"Why have a draw[er] full of batteries if you can't get them all together once in a while!" © Mathew Robertshaw at www.flickr.com. Thanks to TAT member Colm H.

"If you don't think too good, don't think too much." ~ Ted Williams

Ted Williams is the last major league baseball player to hit over .400. The Boston Red Sox slugger captivated millions with his dazzling swing and towering homers throughout the 1940s and 1950s in competition with New York Yankees hero Joe DiMaggio. ~ www.detroitnews.com

Ted Williams He trained as a naval aviator during World War II ... was called up again to serve in the Korean War as a fighter-bomber pilot with the 1st Marine Air Wing. It was in Korea where Williams met John Glenn, the future astronaut and U.S. senator. They quickly became good friends, and Williams flew half his missions as Glenn's wingman. "I had been a baseball fan since I was a boy, and meeting Ted was a thrill," Glenn recalled in his autobiography, John Glenn: A Memoir. "He was a fine pilot, and I liked to fly with him." ~ www.moaa.org

Winnie the Pooh

Created by R. John Wright. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
"I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost." ~ Winnie-the-Pooh

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

Daniel Kahneman on Intuition

Kahneman on Hidden Brain Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, then a freshly-minted professional, created an interviewing technique half a century ago for the Israeli army (IDF) to use when interviewing new recruits. It consisted of detailed evaluation of six personality traits. The recruiters complained that the test took too long, and that they generally had an intuitive evaluation of recruits after talking with them for a few minutes. Kahneman came up with a compromise: Run through the detailed evaluations and grade the interviewees on each one. Then close the test booklet, close your eyes, and ask yourself what your intuition tells you. The recruiters found that their intuitions following the detailed analysis proved to be more accurate than their old way. And the IDF has been using that basic approach ever since, although they planned to introduce a modified approach this year in order to more accurately evaluate recruits for combat and non-combat positions.

Shankar Vedantam, the host of Hidden Brain, a weekly program carried on National Public Radio, talked with Kahneman in a wide-ranging discussion in March where they covered the IDF recruiting technique and many other aspects of Kahneman's research on understanding how the mind works. It's 48 minutes of fascinating insights and humor that may inspire your own intuitional activity.


~ Hidden Brain podcast.

In Space

Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician and astronaut, became the first "woman of color" to go into space when she orbited aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

In a recent interview on Here and Now, Jeremy Hobson asked her about whether she wants to return to space. Her answer:

"Well you know what? We're in space right now."

She's seen the Earth from a distance and has a view of being on Earth that's different from the perspective of us non-astronauts.

~ Here & Now, October 18, 2018.


Q: Can you draw a parallel to spiritual seeking?

Twenty Years from Now

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Q: True or false?

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 is the biggest problem, difficulty, or concern in your spiritual search?

Responses follow.

From Drew C:
With regard to your question, I have to say I would really have to work to come up with an answer. It doesn't really feel like much searching is going on or unresolved questions. I'm still attracted to retreats but the last couple of Adyashanti retreats I did would have been "better" without all the talking. I could say something like "lack of motivation" or some such nonsense... but the next indicated thing always happens without the need for "me" to be motivated... Anyway, sorry to babble. I'll let you know if anything comes to me.

From Anon:
Becoming nothing. Being nothing. My concern is that being is not enough in and of itself. i am familiar with knowing myself through various mis-identifications and i am attached to that way. knowing myself as I-Am-ness, the void, in place of how i have known myself is scary.

From Anon2:
I see the biggest problem in my spiritual search as a conflict in what I really want. Sometimes I really want Truth above all else and that shows in my actions, and at other times, my actions show that what's happening in this life is more important than Truth to me. But I have also experienced, and believe that problems or "obstacles" are grist for the mill, so no real problem or obstacles here? Or, I wonder if the bigger problem could be that I'm so hypnotized and mesmerized by life that most of the time I'm not even thinking about Truth. Then, too, I've had experiences of what I believe to be the Self, which prompt me to say that there are no problems at all, and I am just imagining having all these problems (and I'm good at imagining I know what your problems are, too), or imagining is just happening somehow.

From Tara S:
The superficial problems are time management and lack of discipline but I believe these to be symptoms. The real problem, which until recently I thought was fear of the unknown, may actually be an attachment to the game. I used to think I was not afraid of death. Then I decided I WAS afraid to die after all. Now I'm not so sure it's fear of dying, but the desire to keep the Tara game going. It may be that I just love her story too much: the charm, the memories, the wins and losses, the tragedy, the comedy and the adventure. And if I see the truth, I fear all of that will dissipate into an empty, lifeless void. So, in a nutshell, the biggest obstacle to self realization is my mind.

From Mark C:
Problem #1: Managing time/energy
I have been noticing lately that even though I have been staying overly busy with 2 jobs and not devoting as much time/effort as I would like to do on my spiritual path, there has been this silver lining or nagging itch from somewhere that keeps rearing its head amidst my chaotic life. A tension has been building within me, and my investment in the usual worldly clamors appears to be on some kind of decrease. I was, seemingly, in charge of a very large soccer tournament this past weekend that involved almost 600 teams. I realized at one point that there seemed to be a lot of activity going on around me, most of which I had zero control of, yet I was the witness to this beehive of activity. There has been a similar effect during my day job where I have been assigned much more work than what I had been given in previous years, and much more than I could feasibly manage even when the boss offers unlimited overtime. It's as though I am getting some assistance to acknowledge that I cannot stop or alter much of what happens around me.

Problem #2: Ego
At the same time, I have realized just how much of my internal dialogue is associated with my incessant complaining about what I think should be different, and I have also noticed how I like to tell people about the roles that I play (especially when I am the good guy that I fancy myself to be). I have had some success in not offering up my opinion, but it seems that a question is all the doorway I need to give my 2 cents on whatever subject comes up next. I have been trying to notice this behavior as it arises in me and then refocus myself. I suspect that devoting more time to silence and turning off the taps (Back to Problem #1) would be advantageous.

From Michael C:
Well that's as good a question as ever been asked of anybody who claims to be looking for the Truth. There's a lot of "stock" answers I could give that would sound right. Like "believing I was an independently existing self," or "not realizing my sense of 'me' was only just another thought," or "thinking the big 'IT' might happen for others but not for me," or "Who am I to think I can achieve what so few ever have?" Surely it's got to be one of these, that's my greatest concern, but I don't think so….

Michael's complete response.

From Anon3:
Can I be open to guidance, advice and direction when it is made available to me? The best approach seems to be in clarifying my purpose or aim so that I would "hope" to attract such influences, but does defining my purpose limit my openness to the unexpected? My hope is that honesty and intention will attract only what is best for me, but is there a master plan that has something totally different in store for which my aim is in direct conflict, and if so, what would be the significance of that conflict?

From Saima Y:
The biggest problem in my spiritual search is still doubting the unwavering knowing of what I am, which in turn leads to great defensiveness (of the falsely identified self) in most life situations.

Fear (of being thought of as inept or incapable) and covering up of perceived faults and insecurities lead to relationship problems and great suffering. I wish I could just accept whatever is arising in situations and not jump to defend myself or make excuses. It is getting really exhausting, and I see it more. But I just can't seem to stop myself in the moment of it happening.

Also, I might add that in this defense of the imagined self, I forget all that is wonderful in my life. The gratitude (that I feel well up in moments of recognition) is completely ignored and forgotten. I become an angry, self righteous monster who has enemies all around. A monster that is me. Exhausting yet underlying my life, waiting to jump out and attack.

The question for the next month is: What are your impressions of TAT Press's latest publication, Awake at the Wheel: Norio Kushi's Highway Adventures and the Unmasking of the Phantom Self by Stephen Earle?

Shawn Nevins has an interview of Norio on SpiritualTeachers.org podcasts.

Please your response by the 25th of October and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name). And please consider adding your review to the Amazon listing.

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?

camping under the Milky Way

Camping under the Milky Way. © Bob Fergeson. Thanks, Bob.

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.

States of Mind

From The Albigen Papers, Chapter 5: "Obstacles to Transcendental Efforts":

States of mind are like massive gestalts. Psychologically, they have never been given the proper consideration. Most people are not aware of the existence of a state of mind, other than one similar to their own. When they encounter another state of mind, they may reject it as aberrated or abnormal. Normality is always that which we are, not that which the other fellow is. And because of this lack of understanding, friction and even violence results.

Psychologists try to create a sort of universal state of mind, by promoting legislation in regards to conduct and behavior. They have recently gone a step further and imposed "sensitivity sessions" upon some of the students of the country to force a precipitation of tensions, and to bring about a homogeneity of reaction-patterns.

The psychologists and psychiatrists will fail because, again, they do not know all the factors, and specifically, because they can at best be responsible for creating newer states of mind that shall conceal more deadly resentments than the possessor had before.

Some of us are aware that we have different states of mind. However, most of us are unaware of the many states of mind that exist among different people, nor are we aware of the tremendous role that these states of mind play in religion, politics and war. Some states of mind are easy to see. For instance, similar states of mind are found in close families and among people of restricted social contact, such as the inmates of monasteries and prisons. Inmates of such institutions or families have several other states of mind, besides the one which is common to all of the other members or inmates.

The complete excerpt on States of Mind



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