TAT FOUNDATION

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


TAT Forum

October 2019


Closing Doors

November spiritual gathering details
 

Contents


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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns


Dream: The forgotten history of the Facebook game


Had a vivid dream about the history of maybe Facebook, where it started as a single-player game and there had been two spirits to feed, a good and an evil, and people found if they fed the evil just once it started to take over the game and never backed off, ruining the game. So the designers made it a multiplayer game in the hope people would come up with enough creative versions of good to counter evil.

At first everyone left the evil spirit alone, but the first one to feed it was a person named "Jordan" and it then became free to move around, so that incarnation was called the Jordan Spirit or something.

As time went on sometimes people fed it out of curiosity, sometimes out of fear, and every time it was fed it morphed and grew in its form (maybe like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors). People fed the good more, and many variations on good spirits roamed, almost like super heroes, occasionally needing to fight back the evil spirit.

People, including myself, forgot the history and origin of the evil. Now I feed it by making adjustments in my presentation to the world when afraid, projecting fear onto people (and also when being selfish maybe, don't remember).

The last version of evil shown was Hitler standing by a pathway making passersby uncomfortable, since he could attack them at any moment.

(This dream was viewed in reverse chronological order, with a few feelings of surprise and remembering a forgotten history of "Facebook": When I woke up, I wasn't sure if this was true, and everyone had in fact forgotten this history.)

*

~ Thanks to Dan Garmat, a TAT member and active local-group and email group participant since his college days. The dream occurred in July of 2015. Retrospective Commentary in September 2019:

An evil spirit roaming is scary and I feel it, perhaps as potentially unfriendly not-self, out there. I hope for courage to defeat fear, and for good, pro-self, to prevail over evil, mean not-self.

Jordan, might be "you're Dan." Maybe when the mind identified the self with "Dan" that preceded ever feeding "evil," here seen as anything anti-self. Believing I'm Dan may have preceded and initially fed the sense of a dangerous part of the not-self.

The people are probably reactions to events happening as I learned to cope with life (or still try to learn how to cope with life).

Certainly, my tremendous concern about how I appear must go back to a belief in danger for me—a belief there is a dangerous component of not-self. Acting on a belief would "feed" that belief I suppose.

Certainly, Hitler by a pathway is part of my defenses—part of how I feel some security by hoping I look scary to not self as it passes by. But interesting that it's evil now as the main character. As if the defense against possible evil itself may come from evil.

What is the single-player game? How could Facebook be a single-player game? "Facebook" is a fun game. It's the only game. And who plays it? Apparently, it is played by "people" who can feed good and evil, reactions to events happening. Multiplayer must mean some kind of combined identity that includes all these reactions; a memory of identify that persists across reactions. If that's so, my identity outside what's happening right now may have its origins in belief in a self and not-self, as a strategic reaction to protect self against potentially dangerous not-self.

What did people do before "Facebook," before self and dangerous not-self? A game is not real. What is happening outside "Facebook?"

quill icon

Would you like to share your impressions or questions with other TAT Forum readers? Please email your comments to the .


 

TAT Foundation News

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


cover of Falling for Truth: A Spiritual Death and Awakening, by Howdie Mickoski TAT Press's latest publication….

Falling for Truth: A Spiritual Death and Awakening by Howdie Mickoski is now available in paperback and in Kindle e-book format.

Explore Chapter 1.

Please add your review of Falling for Truth to the Amazon listing. It makes a difference!

2019 TAT Meeting Calendar

April 5-7, 2019 (Claymont Great Barn)
June 14-16, 2019 (Claymont Great Barn)
August 16-18, 2019 (Claymont Mansion)
* November 1-3, 2019 (Claymont Mansion) *

Join us for TAT's November 1-3, 2019 spiritual retreat. November spiritual gathering details.


The following video recordings of presentations from a previous April 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

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Carlow, Ireland. ~ Contact for more information.

Update from the Central New Jersey Group:
The Central Jersey Self Inquiry Group has been meeting 2 times per month since our first meeting in early January this year. We have been averaging 5 participants at each meeting. Current outreach is our meetup.com page (above link) and word of mouth. Our most recent meeting topic was: "What is your biggest obstacle?" ~ Email for more details.

Update from the Central Ohio Non-Duality Group:
The Columbus group operated under the name OSU Self-Inquiry Group and met for many years in a church next to The Ohio State University. After attendance dropped off, the venue was changed to a local Panera restaurant, and the name changed to Central Ohio Non-Duality Group. The group has exposure to seekers through Meetup, but has only occasional visitors outside a core group of 4 people.
     Due to schedules, we have met infrequently the past semester, and in deference to an effort to try to do other things, like rapport sittings, in private meetings.
     Meeting format is a discussion format on topics of interest to seekers, and often bridges from the concerns, questions and interests of the core members in attendance into the topic which we intend to discuss. See the rest of the update.
     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.
     "We are two friends who were encouraged to continue our spirited and free-wheeling conversation about life with a blog. This bipolar labor of love intends to roam between various forms of expression and perspective, both serious and amused. And traverse between the nitty-gritty of the everyday to the essence of being. As above, so below."

Update from the email self-inquiry groups:
An update on the women's self-inquiry group from Anima:
     The Women's Online Confrontation (WOC) group consists of weekly reports where participants can include:
     > What is on your mind?
     > Any projects that you want to be held accountable for?
     > Responses to a selected excerpt (in the previous report).
     > Comments/responses/questions for other participants.
     A philosophical/spiritual excerpt with two or three questions is included in each report. Based on what we share, participants ask questions to help get clarity about our thinking. The intention is to help each other see our underlying beliefs about who we are.
     One rule we try to adhere to is not to give advice or solve problems. The number of participants, to make it work efficiently, is between 4 and 7 including the leader.

Both the women's and the men's weekly email groups are active and welcome serious participants. ~ Contact or for more information.

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
We continue to meet at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays. ~ Email or for more information.

The Gainesville self-inquiry group is planning a five-day intensive retreat at Grand Vue Park in Moundsville, WV on Sunday-Friday, Oct. 27–Nov. 1, leading into the Nov. 1–3 TAT gathering. The theme will be "Closing Doors." As Richard Rose said in a public talk titled Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations:
      "Whenever you are travelling in what I call the desert without any railroad tracks—you have no trail to go by—you have to have some beacon light, something to guide you. Logic will not do it; your faith alone will not do it; but intuition will. It will take you through the abstract realms. Any system that pretends to take you into becoming has to have some mechanism for facilitating your skill in becoming—the necessary skill—and that skill involves intuition. You can't argue it out logically, this is the whole thing. So once you hear it—it amounts to the business of closing doors…."

Update from Galway, Ireland:
Tess Hughes is currently working with seekers one-to-one and holding occasional group self-inquiry retreats. Anyone who's interested in self-inquiry activity in Ireland is welcome to contact .

   TAT Press publishes Tess's easy to read, profound This Above All, the story of her journey of Self-Discovery.

This is a new listing for the self-inquiry group in Goldsboro, NC:
The Goldsboro Inquiry Group (GIG) meets on the first and third Monday evenings of the month. We begin the meeting with a short reading, then sit in silence for 20 minutes before opening it up to what I like to call group assisted self inquiry. ~ For details on when and where, 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 coffee house/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 if interested in local self-inquiry meetings.

A new self-inquiry group is forming in Hartland, VT:
Located in central Vermont, along I-91, the group will be using TAT videos from past conferences as a primer for discussion. ~ Contact for more information.

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We're currently using Alfred Pulyan's correspondence with Richard Rose as inspiration for our weekly gathering. We're perusing the letters during the week and then coming together to see what got our attention. This activity was inspired by several online groups who have used them in past years with good results. The women's group, run by Anima Pundeer, also inspired us as we already have some questions posed by Anima to go with each letter. It's always good to share additional questions among groups!
     We continue to meet at The Drowsy Poet cafe at Little Dickens Bookstore, from 6:30-8:00 every Thursday evening. ~ Email or for information on the meetings.

Update from the New York City self-inquiry group:
We meet every Monday in New York City's Financial District, where all great spiritual realizations take place ;) Our goal is to investigate and examine our beliefs (definition of examine: from Old French examiner "interrogate, question, torture"). We aim to serve as mirrors for each other, to see ourselves more clearly, in a group dynamic, within a safe environment. Recent topics include critiques of pema chodron, what it would be like to be god, and the consciousness of trees. If you believe something and are interested in doubting it, we are here for you :)
~ We have open meetings for first-timers; so if interested please reach out to or find out more through our Meetup link above.

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
We meet on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of each month, 7-9 PM, at the Friends Meeting House in Oakland (4836 Ellsworth Ave, PGH 15213) and on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 7-9 PM, at Panera in Shadyside (5430 Centre Ave, PGH 15232). Last month's topics were:
- Wed, Sep 4, Friend's Meeting House, "If I know I am asleep, then why can't I wake-up?" G.I. Gurdjieff said "Man is immersed in dreams… He lives in sleep… He is a machine. He cannot stop the flow of his thoughts, he cannot control his imagination, his emotions, his attention… He does not see the real world. The real world is hidden from him by the wall of imagination."
- Wed, Sept 11, Panera, What is the meaning of "going home"? Home is somewhere to go for rest, at the end of the day, for security and well-being. But is "home" outside, someplace to go to, a place of resort where well-being is guaranteed? Or could it be something that always evades us? Let's pursue what a "home" that you long for may represent, or if it even exists.
- Wed, Sept 18, Friend's Meeting House: "What are the limits of your perspective?" Could there be a better perspective on life? Might there be a single true perspective, or ultimately, might there be no perspectives at all? We'll draw on excerpts from D.E. Harding's The Little Book of Life and Death and Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer.
- Wed, Sep 25, Panera: new format: the 2nd & 4th Wed Meeting will include more discussion and sharing of experiences or topics each participant may bring.
~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
We have two kinds of meetings in Portland. One is a small closed group that meets at a local coffee shop. The format for this meeting is to give each person 20 minutes or so to talk about whatever is coming up for them in their practice. The other is an open meeting, held at a local library, that is advertised through Meetup. These meetings usually have a topic with questions, and the format is to give each person approximately 10 minutes to comment on the topic and then to answer questions from others. We haven't been holding open meetings regularly but hope to get them back on track for the new year. ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The Triangle Inquiry Group (TIG) meets on Wednesday evenings near NCSU. The inquiry process that we practice is essentially subtractive in nature, identifying 'what I am not', while exposing our false certainties and limiting beliefs; thus we are revealing the underlying truth of Who We Really Are. By asking honest, open, respectful questions that invite reflection, insight and the deepening of one's inner knowing, and by simply being present with our attention and sincerity, we create a space for direct seeing into true nature. ~ See the website for more information.

Update from the Richmond Self Inquiry Group:
The Richmond Self Inquiry Group has been off to a slow start, and is still seeking consistent participants. Once a small steady group is formed, this often attracts more interest and things evolve from there. The Meetup group is private, which aims to foster the creation of a committed gathering of individuals. Clearly there is a potential downside to this as it limits visibility and exposure to potentially interested persons.
     For those reading about the group here through the TAT Forum, please know that you can certainly attend without being a member of the Meetup group, just shoot me an email any time if you're in the area and we can communicate about future meetups.~ Email for information about upcoming meetings and events.

A self-inquiry group is forming in Rockville, MD. We've switched to meeting weekly, Wednesday evenings, whether or not a "quorum" of three can make it. The Rockville, MD public library rooms can be reserved exactly 6 days and 12 hours before a meeting's end time, so it's been a challenge to get a consistent room among the five available, but it's a consistent group and the walls are glass, so so far figuring out the room hasn't been an issue. ~ Contact 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.


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 August 2019 Workshop was titled Beyond Mindfulness: Meditation and the Path Within 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 June 2019 Spiritual Retreat Weekend was titled Between You and the Infinite. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

TAT's April 2019 Spiritual Retreat Weekend was titled Once in a Lifetime is Now. The following audio recordings are now available in the members-only website area:

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:

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!

An easy way to contribute to TAT is to click one of our Amazon links. Next time you want to make any purchase on Amazon, simply visit the TAT Press webpage and click any of the Amazon links. It doesn't matter what you purchase, TAT will receive from 4 to 6% of the purchase price of the item. It costs you nothing extra, and helps TAT. Try it now.

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.


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.

 

Humor

"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


Universe Feels Zero Connection To Guy Tripping On Mushrooms


On Mushrooms from the ONION


Noting that it had yet to experience any sort of oneness with the 22-year-old, the universe confirmed Friday that it felt absolutely zero connection to a local man currently tripping on hallucinogenic mushrooms….

~ Thanks to TAT member Chris B, from the ONION.





BE THE REASON


be the reason

~ Thanks to TAT member Brett S.




Applauding the Teacher


~ Applauding the Teacher, from Wikimedia Commons.



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

Beyond Mindfulness: Meditation and the Path Within


Please Be Mindful sign


Mindfulness meditation has now moved into the popular culture focusing on Mindfulness at Work or Mindful Parenting. But what are the limits of mindfulness? Where does it fall on the "spectrum of awareness"? And what does mindfulness have to offer those in search of their True Nature? Or Ultimate Reality?—to explore our own connections to mindfulness, awareness, and the inner direction to which they point.

Mindfulness: Is it just another spiritual buzzword?

Is it the secret ingredient that will deliver the results that have thus far eluded you? Can a dreamer be mindful of dreaming? Would such mindfulness be part of the dream? Can a sleepwalker be mindful of sleepwalking? Would such mindfulness be part of the sleepwalk? Who are you when you are being mindful, versus when you are not? Let's use this workshop to be mindful of what you truly know for sure, mindful of what guides and informs your spiritual path, and mindful of your preconceptions and expectations of the results. Perhaps that might take the idea of mindfulness to a different level….

See the complete workshop notes.

These are notes from an August 2019 TAT workshop led by Bob Cergol. Listen to an interview of Bob at SpiritualTeachers.org/podcasts. He can be contacted by .


 


Virtual Reality (VR)


virtual reality


"I have tried many virtual reality products by now. Oculus's and HTS's and Google's and films and video games and job-training simulations. Someone was always there to strap me into the headsets, to prepare me for the experience. And then they were always gone when it started. And I was always alone, even if I saw other people, or things, inside the new reality, even if I could still hear people outside in the old reality.

"When I enter the Allen Zoo at Dreamscape, inside a Westfield mall in Los Angeles, I'm thinking about how people typically describe their VR experiences. They fly over the Manhattan skyline or dive into the Pacific or head for outer space. And they always use the word 'I.' I, too, am now in space. But there's a significant difference: It's not 'I,' it's 'we.' Moments ago, my partners and I strapped blue-lit haptic [simulating touch and motion] sensors around our hands and feet and slung computer-stuffed backpacks around our shoulders. We stepped into a dark, bare room; slid the headsets over our faces; and watched one another's bodies transform into human atavars. Our Dreamscape minder instructed us to shake hands to confirm this astonishing mix of the physical and fake, and then we set off for a safari on a vibrant planet occupied with brontosaurus-giraffes and gigantic praying mantises that make Jurassic Park seem positively Neanderthal. It's a mind-blowing experience—and absolutely worth paying for. Now all the virtual reality needs to do is to persuade hundreds of millions of people to arrive at the same conclusion."

*

~ From The Fall and Rise of VR, in the July 2019 Fortune, by Aric Jenkins.

Q: VR—an entertaining distraction or an opportunity for self-inquiry?



The problem of mindfulness
Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos

meditating

~ From Mindfulness Loaded by Sahanika Ratnayake. Thanks to TAT member Jack B, who noted: an article in Aeon.co that I had read earlier that day annoyed me. The writer, a PhD student in psychology in the UK, had a rather hazy argument about mindfulness, and the whole thing had my attention for about a day. I couldn't get it out of my head, which I found extremely funny and ironic for an article about meditation. My general sentiment (perhaps uncharitable and unkind) was "If you had a bad experience with mindfulness meditation, that's too bad, but don't decide that it's potentially dangerous for other people because it might shake up their view of themselves. For some, that's the whole point, and it might be just what they need." Maybe it will irritate you too.

Q: Pro or con?


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 composite question we asked readers for this month's Reader Commentary:

(How) do you discuss your search with your loved ones? If you don't speak to them about it, why not?

Thanks to TAT friend Sofia for these questions. Responses follow.


From RM:
At this time, I choose to keep my search private from my loved ones. To relay to someone what I don't really understand myself seems very difficult. I am still searching, and within this search there is so much undoing, breaking away and questioning of beliefs, that I feel I would be hard pressed to have this discussion. As I search to uncover Truth, I am discovering that what I believe today may not be true tomorrow. It is also my sense that my loved ones, most from conservative Christian backgrounds, would not understand. This would not fit into their paradigm of religious practice. While this should not matter, I am not ready to discuss or defend my practices to a resistant audience. I believe, for now, I will keep these discussions within the TAT community. I appreciate and am grateful for TAT, to have a safe, non-judgmental place to have this discussion; with those who are experiencing or have experienced their own search. With loved ones I will stay quiet, hold my search near to my heart and continue to quietly contemplate and discover all that is in play in my awakening.

From Andreas H:
I hardly ever speak to them about it anymore. It sometimes seems to me that it took me further away from loved ones—as if the distance between us grew bigger whenever the topic came up. Early on I think I was mainly at fault for that, wanting to assume an identity under the guise of serious spiritual seeking. It actually served to maintain a certain status quo within the family dynamic, as I could avoid other aspects of identity.

Later I observed how any discussion in proximity to the spiritual territory almost became like another pastime conversation. As things have progressed, and along with some degree of spiritual maturity on my end—whatever that means—I feel less of a need to explain myself or to justify the way I choose to live. Maybe most of all, I have begun to relate to family differently, where focus is rather on improving communication and staying open to what they are dealing with in their own lives, without necessarily bringing spiritual ideas and concepts into the equation.

Obviously, in giving them my views on any particular matter, some of the insights and understanding of the mechanisms of suffering will bleed over to our interactions. They are, however, on my part framed differently and in a way that is not coming from any pretense of spiritual authority as may have been the case before.

I still keep the door open to at least some of my loved ones in terms of sharing some of what the journey entails, as I've witnessed how people tend to open up when you least expect it.

From D. Barahona:
I had a sudden awakening in June, 2018. In my initial euphoria, I reached out to some friends and relations to tell them about it and to recommend the online course that had brought me to it. In retrospect, this was not a wise thing to do, although it didn't do any harm….

See D. Barahona's complete response.

From Sergio F:
At various times I attempted to talk with family members and some close friends about the spiritual search and the reasons I consider it important and worthwhile. They always considered it too abstract and unrelated to their life experiences, as if I was "a man selling air." To some people I even tried explaining how many mystics and teachers through the ages have been giving their accounts about the possibility of success in the search, but to no avail. So, eventually, I ceased attempting to discuss the search with people that don't find the topic meaningful.

From Patrick K:
I explain the reasons why I do this esoteric work:

I am far from perfect. In this life, I have developed negative traits, fears, anxieties, egos, conceits, false identifications, prides, hatreds, self rejections etc. I use psychologies, philosophies, and spiritual material as a mirror to see myself better with, to confront my own mind with, to shock it out of its ingrained "psychical inertia". This makes me interested in doing teacher-led retreats, regular group work, and solitary retreats to give myself the time to look at and confront myself. And as I gain a broader perspective of myself, I detach from my own nonsense more and more to become a more mature person aligned more with the truth of who I am. In the work, I look for master wayfinders like here in the TAT Foundation to keep the door open from the top. It keeps me inspired and longing for a final and ultimate battle which makes the work in the meantime a whole lot easier.

Why I don't speak to loved ones about it:

This is down to ego I think. I am esoterically driven. I notice everyone else in my life is not. In the beginning of my serious work on myself, I am weak, fearful and self-doubting. I build up a defensiveness to protect myself and my interests. It turns to conceit, an over-inflated ego that I am superior to everyone else and then judge others from this erroneous position. This creates the divide. But over time I am able to let go of this ego defensiveness and also able to open up more.

From Ann P:
My husband, two sisters, a daughter and I are students of "A Course in Miracles" and frequently discuss our search. Other loved ones are very busy, are happy with their path or are not interested. I am grateful to the members of the TAT Foundation and their website as well as a couple of teachers' sites where I listen to other people discussing their search. One of the ways I move along my path is by listening to other people. Very important to me is the guidance given by the teachers who have had an experience that ended their own search. I am also grateful for having attended a TAT meeting where in person I could feel the openness and freedom of the discussion which was helped by the experience of those present…it was extraordinary! Perhaps I have strayed from the topic.

From Dan G:
It's like my sister's interest in Burning Man. I'm not as interested in it as she is, and I'm somewhat curious about her experiences and plans for next year, but I don't feel drawn to it.

Now if she started meditating 20 minutes a day on Burning Man, and had weekly Burning Man meetings, I might think she's a little far gone, but if it keeps her sane, it's her thing. If she started preaching the importance of attending Burning Man and imposing its philosophical point of view on all interactions we had, I might give her feedback she doesn't want to hear. But she doesn't do all that.

Likewise, I don't really talk much about the Perennial Philosophy with loved ones. It's a little lonely, and it can feel fake to focus conversation on life circumstances when momentous issues are being ignored by everyone in the room. But connection with loved ones meets some needs, and conversation about topics I find important and fascinating can be reserved for those who genuinely share that perspective.

Or, next Thanksgiving I can say I'm thankful that everyone here is appearing inside me, as the source of their reality.

From Author still unknown:
There seems to be a huge wall I place between those that I love and myself, a strategy passed down from my parents to me, and on to my sons, and is also present in a wife with her own perfect wall that keeps her out of my personal business to pursue alone whatever passions I desire—making her "the perfect mate."

I have a history of hits and misses in revealing to my family my life's highest aspirations, but this month's question has always plagued me with pangs of avoidance and denial. It's tricky enough to negotiate my own emotions and blocks that come up let alone those from people you love. However, their understanding of how my beliefs could affect our relationship may seem necessary to all of us, but their interpretation of my personal interests in light of what they want or need to hear may be quite at odds. I have been advised by a good source to have that heart-to-heart talk based on what they want from me, rather than what I want to do for them, as it's important to be open with those we love. But, I always come back to the law of the ladder, which the lack of understanding two rungs down and two rungs up is intrinsic. Do I interpret my interests into terms they want to hear, and is that strategy just another vein of avoidance that twists what I consider foremost in my life into digestible chunks that have meaning to them but is only another veil of cover for me? But I am trying. I've more recently mentioned the classic philosophical questioning of one's thinking and self-definition per Socrates and Plato—but as my spouse has questioned, how could someone spend a whole week doing just that? Since our family all share the same Amazon account, my wife was asked why Dad ordered a copy of Christ Sutras, to which she responded, "Don't worry, he's hasn't gone that far—yet."

From Daniel O:
I discuss my spiritual search on a case by case with loved ones. With some, I can be explicit, if I think they might understand, and with others, I couch my seekings and findings in vague terms.

What's interesting to me is that those I feel I have to evade, or dress things up for, often lead me to think it's not that they don't understand—but that I have no idea what I'm talking about! Which is often fertile ground for discovery.

I find it easier to discuss the spiritual search when I equate it with relatable facts of life. For me, this means career, family, passions, and nature, to name a few. I sometimes find that this grounds the heady and confusing nature of spiritual work. For example, I might say, "I feel that I enter my highest being—and transmit that Most High to others—when performing." This clarifies things. But does it lose some of the ineffable we are after? Perhaps that's the point: that discussing things, particularly with people who have patience for you, may help you climb through the layers.

From Beau:
With my father, we share and discuss books. When I was younger he had Tolle and Thich Nhat Hanh laying around the house. More lately, I shared with him some Krishnamurti and he loved it, so I send him more anytime I come across something I don't think he already has. We talk about it a little bit, often the discussion is something along the lines of how hard it is to put into practice some of these insights or principles.

A composite Reader Commentary question, from an anonymous TAT member, for the November Forum:

Do you consider yourself to have a spiritual teacher? Without referencing a name, describe your relationship with this teacher, and how have you benefited? Any advice for someone seeking a teacher?

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



Q: What are your thoughts on this month's reader commentary? Please your feedback.



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?


Ballycroy National Park

Ballycroy National Park, County Mayo, Ireland. Photo © Tess Hughes.
Ballycroy (Irish: Baile Chruaich) meaning "town of the stacks," either hay or turf.



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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.


Futility is Futile
And other quotes


"Futility is futile." ~ Talk at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, 1974

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"I always said that if a man prays and hears himself, he can answer and acquire." ~ Going Within 1978 talk at Kent State U.

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"Meditation shouldn't be sitting there looking at your third eye or something like that; it should be arguing with yourself, analyzing within your own mind. And writing things down, because as you analyze you're going to forget. So you keep track of your battle scheme, things that you found…. Well, I don't believe in sitting down for the purpose of meditating. I believe in productive thinking—that's meditation—to find out what your obstacle is…. I don't tell you to pursue knowledge; I tell you to do things that will provoke your mind to think." ~ From an informal talk at Augie Turak's apartment in Raleigh, NC in October 1991

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"The only meditation is what you devise for yourself. The best meditation is just to look at yourself: 'Why did I think this?' or 'What should I do more dynamically tomorrow?'" ~ Richard Rose, from Peace of Mind Despite Success 1984 talk in Akron, Ohio

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"You have to have a certain kind of faith. I always say, 'Doubt everything except your ability to doubt.' You have to have faith in your ability to accomplish, your ability to sort. ~ Boston College Lecture, The Direct-Mind Experience


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 are still very much in brainstorming mode for bridging the gap between our original design and the funds we've raised. 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


TAT gathering

 

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