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

October 2019 / More

TAT Foundation News

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

Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire:

"You don't know anything until you know Everything...."

Mister Rose is an intimate look at a West Virginia native many people called a Zen Master because of the depth of his wisdom and the spiritual system he conveyed to his students. Profound and profane, Richard Rose was not the kind of man most people picture when they think of mystics or spiritual teachers. Yet, he was the truest of teachers, one who had "been there," one who had the cataclysmic experience of spiritual enlightenment.

Filmed in the spring of 1991, the extraordinary documentary follows Mr. Rose from a radio interview, to a university lecture and back to his farm, as he talks about his experience, his philosophy and the details of his life.

Whether you find him charming or offensive, fatherly or fearsome, you will not forget him, and never again will you think about yourself, reality, or life after death in quite the same way.

3+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.

1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
A discussion of the varied ways we can use in order to hear the voice of our inner ocean, the heart of our true desires.

3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
Notes on assumptions, beliefs, and perspectives that bind and free us.

4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
An intriguing look into a feeling-oriented approach to life.

5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

Local Group News

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.
     Unlike the public meetings, we are able to sit in rapport in the private meetings.
     One recent topic included a discussion of Invisible Forces: Physical (gravity, electromagnetic waves, light, laws of nature as exhibited by physical reactions like wind, rain, erosion, stress, strain, chemical reactions, nuclear reactions, etc.), Mental (intelligence in living organisms, thought, memory, belief, emotion, desires/drives) and Spiritual (rapport, creation, life, love, awareness), with the questions/prompts:
- Did man create any of these?
- Does man control any of these?
- Does man possess any of these? If so, how is man defined?
- Which of these do we observe as "outside" the mind and are witnessed by others?
- Which of these do we experience "internally" that cannot be shared by others?
- Which of these is understood by becoming?
     Another was a series of rather over-used questions, but with some additional prompts:
- Are you what you eat? Then are you a chicken, cow, lamb, pig, leafy plant, vegetable or the proteins, molecules or minerals resulting from digestion, or the atoms, electrons, protons and subatomic particles conceived by man as the ever smaller and smaller units of matter?
- Are you what you feel? Then are you as ephemeral as a feeling which changes as quickly as the songs on a radio, first a madman, a hater, then a lover, and in turn a reflective person…?
- Are you a thought? Then are you the insanity of your thoughts, wildly changing your form throughout the day and night, changing the paradigm in which you exist?
- Are you what you believe yourself to be? Then are you the creature of your imagination? Are you an entrepreneur, a father, a grandfather, a seeker, a savior, a storyteller if you believe yourself to be so? Are you defined by your own insistence on self-affirmation? Are you the beautiful baby your parents loved, or a grizzled animal you see in the mirror? Have others affirmed you to be either or neither?
- What proves itself to be real? The physical body? Feelings? Thoughts? Beliefs? Reflections? Is the power of observation found in the mind? Is the mind found in a location in space and time? If time and space are concepts, and what is real is beyond the mind, what finds? What realizes?
     Some of the added prompts were targeted to stir the core members.
     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.

Return to the main page of the October 2019 TAT Forum.


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.


  • Paying attention
  • Being in the now
  • Being present
  • Attending to what one is doing in the moment
  • Not daydreaming or getting lost in random, reactive thought-streams


From Mindfulness: Buddhist Meditation for Beginners by Julyen Rose:

One of the main aspects of meditation is that it trains us to connect with our inner selves. This is what contributes to our improved self-awareness. The fact that we are more attuned to our inner selves guarantees us that we can control our lives. We can heal ourselves from the pain that we might be going through.

There is no rocket science involved in the notion of living mindfully. This is something that can be incorporated into our everyday lives. Whether you are walking, eating, or listening to your partner, mindfulness can be practiced. It is all about being present in the moment. When grabbing your meals, you have to exist the moment and enjoy how your food tastes. When communicating with other people, you have to listen intently. Living mindfully frees your mind from worry and anxiety.

From Zen For Beginners: A Beginners Guide to Mindfulness and Meditation methods to relieve anxiety (meditation, zen buddhism, mindfulness, ying yang, zen … peacefulness, relieve anxiety) by Daniel D'apollonio:

While it is true that we live in a hectic and stressing world, this does not mean you can never attain inner peace and fulfillment. You can certainly be peaceful and fulfilled even as you fulfill your responsibilities and enjoy your life. How can you do that? Well, the answer is simple: Zen is a branch of Buddhism that focuses mainly on meditation and teaches you ways to infuse peace and calm into your routine life. If you desire to learn all about Zen and follow Zen practices, this book is for you. Created as a complete Zen guide for beginners, this book illuminates Zen and its benefits along with easy-to-follow steps guaranteed to help you bring the essence of Zen into your everyday life and thus make your life more meaningful, peaceful, and harmonious.


  • Is mindfulness an activity or a state-of-perception?
  • When you are being mindful, what is the focus of your attention?
  • Is mindfulness a focus on activity or circumstances?
  • How long can you be mindful?
  • What is most important to be mindful of?
  • Is there a difference in being mindful of different activities or circumstances?
  • Who are you when you are mindful versus when you are not mindful?
  • Can you be mindful of your practice of mindfulness?

Can a sleepwalker be mindful of sleepwalking? Would such mindfulness be part of the sleepwalk?

Can a dreamer be mindful of dreaming? Would such mindfulness be part of the dream?

Let's not turn the idea of being mindful into something grandiose. It is simply "beginners-mind" in the practice of self-inquiry. It is an early step on a spiritual path. It is a prerequisite for going within. One cannot explore the questions "Who am I?" or "What am I?" if one is not mindful.



My teacher told me that, on the spiritual path—the path for answers—that doubt was sacred, and that once you believed what the answer was—you were done—and lost!

He told me the only thing not to doubt was my capacity to find an answer, and the possibility of such finding.

I followed his advice my entire path, and it meant that the focus of my entire spiritual path was of self-observation and looking at my life, and it meant that the foundation of my meditational practice was self-observation and looking at my life.

Doubt is the catalytic agent of self-transcendence!

The purpose of this guided meditation is to raise the doubt sensation, because without doubt you are blind, and cannot see your imprisonment, or distinguish between what you are, and what you are not. Therefore, I call this meditation:


- Some of you here confuse a search for peace and happiness with a search for the Truth, or for self-definition.

- Some of you here have the conceit to think that you are increasing your spiritual quotient by what amounts to formalized, scheduled, daydreaming.

- Some of you here suffer from the "body-builder delusion"—that you can expand your consciousness, and improve your awareness, through repetition of prescribed exercises, purported to give you an improved spiritual musculature and appearance.

- Some of you here mistake as self-transcendence the trance of self-forgetfulness, induced by auto-hypnotic, visualizing meditation techniques.

- Some of you here busy yourself with imagined spiritual work, to suppress your feelings that you are wasting your life, thus maintaining a comfortable, mundane status quo.

- Some of you here protect the status quo of your life, that secretly disappoints you, by holding to a smug superior attitude, falsely attributing knowledge and insight to yourself, by virtue of mere book knowledge and association with famous teachers.

- Some of you here substitute earnest self-inquiry, with rationalizations, to prove that yours is the right path, and superior to someone else's.

- The thought processes of some of you here are dominated by bodily appetites, and the preponderance of both your thoughts and actions are, first and foremost, to satisfy your appetites, without compromise—but you are blind to that fact.

- Some of you here see yourself as a veteran spiritual warrior, and martyr of a life-long, spiritual battle, when in fact, you've been blown around like a leaf in the wind, by desires, fears, and random events.

- Some of you here pretend to be in search of the truth, when all you are doing is avoiding responsibilities that frighten you, or make you uncomfortable.

- Some of you here use the pose of spiritual work to hide from low self-esteem.

- Some of you here distract yourself with philosophy to paste over your inability to make a life commitment.

- Some of you here, for no good reason other than events that befell you, strongly dislike the person you see yourself to be, and instead of looking at that squarely, embrace one philosophy after another that promises some mysterious "liberation experience."

- Some of you here feign spiritual motivation while being blinded by your pride in being unconventional or controversial, which in turn is a cover-up to your low self-esteem.

- Some of you here say one thing, but do another, acting in contradiction to your stated priorities.

- Some of you here lie to yourself about what constitutes the center of gravity in your life.

- Some of you here use "spiritual pursuits" as a respectable way of biding your time until you can settle on something more widely respected.

- Some of you here rest on your imagined "spiritual laurels."

- Some of you here want others to appreciate how cute and lovable you are, and behave accordingly, to avoid letting go of a character you long ago ceased to be, and that life is pulling you away from.

- Some of you here simply can't accept the natural course of your life.

- Some of you here use others to gratify your needs and appetites, while avoiding the natural costs and responsibilities of such gratification.

- Nearly all of you are deceived in thinking you are looking within, when in fact you are projecting outwardly—in accordance with your self-image, especially in accordance with your preconceived beliefs of enlightenment.

- Nearly all of you feel some degree of "lack of definition," and are trying desperately to create one that you can witness as proof and validation of yourself, and your role in the world.

- All of you are a witness to watching the drama of your character react to events that are beyond your control.

- Nearly all of you are aware of your mortality.

- Nearly all of you are in self-denial regarding that mortality.

- Nearly all of you would rather experience pain and pleasure, that reflects a self-image, than to turn your gaze away from that mirror, and see instead, what remains of that self when ALL experience is absent.




Can you stop looking at reflections of yourself?

What is there to see, when you stop looking at your own experiences?

What remains when all objects in the attention are ignored, removed, or dissipated by your death & dissolution?

THAT—is beyond thought, beyond mind, and beyond individual consciousness—yet is self-aware, without any need of you—ETERNALLY.

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 .

Please your thoughts on the above items.

Return to the main page of the October 2019 TAT Forum.


Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends

The questions we asked readers, from TAT friend Sofia, 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?

The complete message 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.

As Lester Levenson explained, most people will shy away from a person who has had an awakening, even if the person doesn't have psychic abilities as he did. And as you move ever further away from the world and from human beings, you see the reason why. Even though your self is not annihilated, only stripped of passions, people are aware on some level that you have committed self-murder. Not only is the you that they knew not there anymore, leaving them without anything they can connect with, but if you are so indiscreet as to recommend anything they will suspect that you think they should do the same. Imagine how someone who is completely identified with his ego is bound to interpret this: "You think I should kill myself."

So even though I reached out to several people, in most cases it produced distrust, and the majority never wrote back to me. My two grown children, once they understood that I was happy for the first time in my life, took it well. We've visited each other and had some good conversations about reality.

One sister, a Christian, came to the conclusion that the reason for my unaccustomed peace of mind was that I was contemplating suicide. I got calls from my brother and another sister, as well as my son, who knew that I wasn't suicidal but had been asked by my sister to call.

A final note: in order to attain enlightenment, it's necessary to cut yourself off from everyone. Lester Levenson said so, Meister Eckhart said so, and Madame Guyon got herself thrown into prison because unconsciously she knew it to be so. There may be exceptions, but it's so difficult to reach the highest level, so rare an event, that to fail to seize any advantage, any effective device, is to court failure.

D. Barahona (InscribedOnTheBelievingMind.blog)

Return to the main page of the October 2019 TAT Forum.


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

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