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

TAT Forum

February 2020

TAT April 3-5, 2020 Spiritual Retreat Weekend Banner

Attend TAT's April Spiritual Retreat Weekend—New Beginnings

Homing Ground Update

… A spot on earth where people can do retreats and hold
meetings; where the emphasis is on friendship and the search.

Hurdle Mills new home for TAT

See the TAT Homing Ground Update section below for how you can help prepare our new home for the April TAT meeting. We need more action from Forum readers!


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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Seeker Story

I'm going to speak for about seven minutes, then open it up for group conversation.

Thank you to TAT, which has seemed to inspire changes in both my outer and inner life.

The theme of this weekend [Nov. 1-3, 2019 TAT gathering] is "Closing Doors," so I wanted to give two examples from my own life.

Around 2008-2009 I read After the Absolute, a book about spiritual seeking with Mr. Rose.

Based on the inspiration I felt I got from that book, I made some changes in my life.

Two of the biggest were celibacy and meditation.

Celibacy was like closing a door on sex and romantic relationships.

One surprising thing I noticed was that celibacy seemed to eliminate a sense of competitiveness with other men. My theory is I wasn't internally competing with them for women.

That showed me that my biology could be influencing my attitudes and relationships.

Another thing I noticed is when I really gave my word to something, that breaking that promise was more psychologically painful than denying myself something I wanted.

A third thing is I would use turning my attention away from thoughts about sex as a reminder of what I really wanted. For example, if I saw an attractive woman, I'd remind myself that I'm trying to be celibate, which in turn remind me of the spiritual goal or purpose that motivated me to try celibacy. This showed me the value of having reminders in my life of what I value and aspire to.

Meditation meant closing doors on other things. At its peak, I was meditating four hours a day, which of course meant there wasn't time for as many other activities.

When I was meditating, I saw past events from my life, events I was seemingly remembering for the first time. Since my sense of who I am is based on my memories of past experiences, and since what I remember seems to be at the least incomplete and at the most entirely arbitrary, this suggested that my very sense of identity could be incomplete and arbitrary.

Meditation also seemed to show me that my energy was capable of changing. I want to use the word "energy" specifically, and not in a vague sense. I noticed feeling more relaxed, open, and even peaceful. I wasn't sure that these qualities were what I wanted, but it showed me that change was possible seemingly from the "inside-out," and on a fundamental level.

So what inspired me to close doors in this way? The authenticity, integrity, and friendship I sensed from reading about Mr. Rose and the people I met through TAT.

I spent this past week at a retreat led and organized by TAT members. One of the topics that came up was love. The effort I put into celibacy and meditation helped me feel love in new ways.

One was gratitude for the people who have helped me look for what I really love. That looking may be the same as my spiritual path.

The other feeling I gained a new appreciation for was acceptance, cluing me into the idea that I can spend less time trying to improve my experience and more time looking at who I take myself to be (who is experiencing).

This brings me to the question for our group discussion: does love require closing doors?


~ During the November 2019 TAT Foundation weekend gathering, six TAT members led 15-minute sessions for an interactive presentation of their experience as seekers. Thanks to Brett S. for sharing his notes. An update now that a few months have elapsed since then:

I ended indefinite celibacy and formal meditation more than two years ago, and since then opened and closed lots of other doors. In this presentation, I wanted to share lessons seemingly learned from those experiences. Today, my online "Accountability Report" with other TAT members is a valuable reminder of what is important to me.

Brett has also proposed a question (below) for next month's Reader Commentary.

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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

TAT Press's latest publication….

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

See a message from the author in the Other Reader Commentary below.

Explore Chapter 1.

Please add your review of Falling for Truth to the Amazon listing if you haven't done so already. It makes a difference!

2020 TAT Meeting Calendar

* April 3-5, 2020 *
June 12-14, 2020
August 14-16, 2020
November 6-8, 2020

April spiritual gathering details and registration
2020 TAT Gatherings will be in our New Home!

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

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.
     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.

Irish clover A new self-inquiry group is forming in Dublin, Ireland:
We will meet in Dublin City, location to be confirmed. We already have two people so technically I guess we already have a group :-) but it would be great if we can get some more people involved. Meetings will take varying formats e.g. confrontation, reviewing TAT material and Rose teachings for discussion, etc. ~ Contact for more information.

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 four-day intensive retreat at Horseshoe Lake Park in Citra, FL on Friday-Tuesday, Feb. 28–Mar. 3. The theme will be "Modern Day Mystics."
      Mystic: A person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect. ~ www.lexico.com
      Contemplation? Self-surrender? Unity? Absorption? Absolute? Beyond the intellect? ~ E-mail for more information.

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:
I am meeting every Saturday morning with three of my former Greensburg SIG group participants who are into non-dualist paths, such as Adyashanti and Mooji. There is also another participant, a professional psychologist who is interested in eastern philosphy and who wasn't in my SIG group but makes a great addition to our proceedings. These fellows are sincere seekers. We spend our time discussing our respective paths and comparing notes. Our new venue is a place called the White Rabbit Cafe in Greensburg. I'm hoping that the lull here has ended and that we're ready to be more dynamic again. ~ 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.

"Ignoramuses Anonymous" blog
Ignoramuses Anonymous is for seekers to explore questions together…a fellowship of seekers for whom ignorance of the absolute truth had become a major problem. It started as a blog for Pittsburgh PSI meeting members back in 2009. Welcoming discussion on the path.
To get notices of new posts, you can subscribe by RSS feed or by email.
From the Nov. 17th post:
William Samuel recommends adding glimpses to your journal, and I've been doing that for about half a year when I review the day. If I haven't had a glimpse I write down something I appreciate…or can appreciate. But what is a glimpse?

Update from the Lynchburg, VA self-inquiry group:
We have been meeting on Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the home of one of the group members. Our meeting format is generally 20 minutes of meditation followed by an hour of group self-inquiry.
     Our group held an on-line meeting via the Zoom website between several seekers and Norio Kushi and Paul Rezendes recently. Zoom platform is fairly user-friendly and inexpensive, and might be a useful avenue for future "virtual" meetings, especially for those folks who live far away from physical SI groups.
     As several of the group members will be traveling during the month of January, they will continue to meet with Norio and Paul via Zoom. Regular meetings will begin again on Monday, February 3, 2020. ~ Please contact or if you're interested.

Update from the New York City self-inquiry group:
Our goal is to investigate and confront our unexamined beliefs in a group dynamic within a safe environment. We aim to serve as mirrors for each other, to see ourselves more clearly. Topics range from the psychological ("What kind of people annoy you?") to the abstract ("What is the nature of perception?"). We have meetings every Monday at 180 Maiden Lane from 6-8 PM. We welcome any new members who are interested in self-inquiry. ~ 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). We also meet informally on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month at Panera Restaurant in Oakland, 3401 Blvd Of The Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, 7-9 PM. "Bring your own topic," get some coffee, and look for the table with a green raincoat on the back of a chair. There is nothing to join, nothing to buy, meetings are free, and there is nothing to believe in. (Both locations ADA accessible.)
- Wed, Jan 15: Douglas Harding "It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing, this hole where a head should have been was no ordinary vacancy, no mere nothing. On the contrary…I had lost a head and gained a world."
- Wed, Feb 5: John of the Cross "To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing…. To come to what you are not, you must go by a way in which you are not."
- Wed, Feb 19: Paul Rezendes "What is always here is not an experience, but it makes itself known to thought. Thought, the brain, cannot know it or hold it, but it can't deny it. 'It,' that which is not coming and going, is being us, being all beings … thought has to learn how to move with 'This.'"
~ For further information, contact or .

Update from the Portland, OR self-inquiry group:
A small group of us meet most Sundays at a coffee shop. The format for our meetings is to give each person 20 minutes or so to talk about whatever is coming up for them in their practice and to answer questions from the others. ~ Email for more information.

Update from the Richmond Self Inquiry Group:
There isn't a Richmond self inquiry group at the moment…it never really got off the ground. I'm considering a few different approaches for round three, but it'll be at least a few months away before that takes form. ~ Email for information about future meetings and events.

Update from the Rockville, MD self-inquiry group:
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.)

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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

resistance is futile

~ Thanks to TAT members Dan G.

Sniglets II
{Canbe (KAN bee) humorous words made up to describe
something for which no dictionary word exists.}

carperpetuation (KAR pur pet u a shun) - n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum ONE MORE CHANCE.

cherries separator

elecelleration (el a cel er AY shun) - n. The mistaken notion that the more you press an elevator button the faster it will arrive.

cherries separator

furbling (FER bling) - v. Having to wander through a maze of ropes or retractable belts at an airport or bank even when you are the only person in line.

cherries separator

furnidents (FER nih dents) - n. The indentations that appear in carpets after a piece of furniture has been removed.

cherries separator

hydralation (hi dra LAY shun) - n. Acclimating oneself to a cold swimming pool by bodily regions: toe-to-knee, knee-to-waist, waist-to-elbow, elbow-to-neck.

cherries separator

lotshock (LAHT shahk) - n. The act of parking your car, walking away, and then watching it roll past you.

cherries separator

napjerk (NAP jurk) - n. The sudden convulsion of the body just as one is about to doze off.

~ Thanks to a TAT member who's a retired collector of good humor. :-)

5 tips for a woman

~ Thanks to TAT member Paul C.

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

Hymn to Almighty God
"In Charleston Graveyard upon Release"

John Davis II

Hail moon! Hail sun!
Hail sacred tree.
The center now shall hold!
Almighty God, who healeth me.
All praise to Thee!

For thou art One!
I know! I know!
As Thou art There above.
But Many in us Here below.
O yes, I know!
I know it's so!

I'll give my best,
I'll give my all.
In Faith, I am assured.
That from this World we cannot fall.
No! Not at all.
We cannot fall!

So let me live.
So let me die.
A moth unto Thy Flame.
Light unto Light! To Thee I fly.
Nor question why.
To Thee I fly.

My burden great.
My spirit free.
A goal I dimly see.
Almighty God, who healeth me.
All praise to Thee!
All praise to Thee!


See the amazing story of John Davis's life on Shawn Nevins's SpiritualTeachers.org website.


Negative Capability

John Keats

Despite his short life, the great Romantic poet John Keats (October 31, 1795–February 23, 1821) endures as one of the most influential creative geniuses humanity has produced. Writing to his brothers, George and Thomas, in a December 1817 letter found in Selected Letters, Keats coins the phrase that has come to be the single most emblematic phrase of his entire surviving correspondence, even though he only makes mention of it once: "Negative Capability"—the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity. Triggered by Keats's disagreement with the English poet and philosopher Coleridge, whose quest for definitive answers over beauty laid the foundations for modern-day reductionism, the concept is a beautiful articulation of a familiar sentiment—that life is about living the questions, that the unknown is what drives science, that the most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. ~ Thanks to www.brainpickings.org.

Q: True or false?
Can one truly "make peace with ambiguity," of knowing nothing for sure?
Is the quest for Beauty or for Love or for Truth limited by temporal experience?

Napoleon Hill on Faith

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says:

Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty. A great poet has correctly stated this universal truth through these lines:

I bargained with life for a penny,
and life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
when I counted my scanty store.

For life is a just employer,
he gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.


FAITH removes limitations! Remember this when you are ready to bargain with Life for whatever it is that you ask as your price for having passed this way.


What did Napoleon Hill mean by faith?

~ Thanks to TAT member Dan G. He and several friends have been participating in a video hangout to discuss Think and Grow Rich, which Richard Rose recommended as containing the success formula for life's greatest conquest.

Freudian Flip
Go with your gut. Then double-check it.

Going with your gut sounds like a lazy decision-making strategy. However, there's some sophisticated psychology behind making intuitive guesses.

One reason this works is that our intuitions encode our past experiences. Thus we often reason from sophisticated patterns that aren't consciously visible to us. Intuitions also help us avoid problems of self-conscious signaling, so we may pick the option we really "want" more, even though we can't rationally justify it.

However, knowing your intuition is often difficult for hard problems. This is because if your intuition were obvious, the decision would feel easy.

One way to check it is through what's informally called a "Freudian Flip." This technique says to assign each decision to a flip of a coin (or dice, if there's more than one option). Then flip it. Once the decision has been "made," ask yourself whether you regret not being able to take another. If you feel relief, that's the direction your intuition points. If you feel regret, it points in the other way.


~ From "How to Make Hard Life Decisions: A few models for thinking through the tough questions," by Scott Young.

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 Reader Commentary question for the February Forum:

Is there something "way down deep that's eternal about every human being," as the stage manager in Wilder's play Our Town says? If your answer is "yes," how do you get to it?


The stage manager in Our Town says of the recently deceased, "They're waiting for somethin' that they feel is comin'…waitin' for the 'earth' part of 'em to burn itself out and the eternal part to come out in them clear…."

"Our earthly identity is all that is separating us from God—and it is the thinnest of veils, a manufactured fiction, which we cling to as if not only our existence, but the existence of God himself, depended on it." ~ Bob Cergol, "The Life Behind Things."

Is there something "way down deep that's eternal about every human being," as the stage manager in Wilder's play also says? If your answer is "yes," how do you get to it?

Ideas on "how" in an email exchange between two friends on the path:

From Leesa W:

From Michael R:

We're wondering what others might add to the list?

From Tess Hughes:
Yes! And not way deep down as Wilder says, but very close to hand. I'd say it's that, to use an analogy, we are like icebergs. The main part is below the surface, floating in the very substance from which it is created, water/eternality. All we see of each other is the part above the surface, and come to believe that all we are is the part above the surface. Once we locate the depth of our own "iceberg"/being, we recognise that everyone else is also sitting on their own "iceberg" of eternality.

How to get to it? That is what TAT is all about.
~ See more of on the Tess's writings in the TAT Forum archive.

From Eric C:
Ask—who can I encourage? Who could help or encourage me?
If one's ability to feel feelings isn't well-developed—find ways to work on that.
Practice self-honesty (journaling may be a method), and your ability to be honest with another.

From Shawn Nevins:
More of Wilder's dialogue might be of interest:

"We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings."

How do we open to what our "bones" know?

We stand at the edge of the inner abyss again and again and again. All practice amounts to various ways of bringing us towards the unknown. This is why Rose proposed backing away from untruth. I am convinced that a person could take any method that intrigued them, and if they pushed forward in that practice with sincerity and a desire for truth, while employing the principle of backing away from untruth, they would eventually find what settles their soul. Likewise, John Davis says, "follow your fascination." [John Davis poem.]

The "how-to" list from Leesa W. and Michael R. has fine suggestions. If one looked at that list, found nothing of interest, and found themselves unable to generate a how-to from their own inspiration, then the place to start would be a question like "what am I waiting for?" or "what is the payoff from the life game I'm playing?" followed by "how long will I continue waiting/playing and what will be the end result?"

~ See Shawn's website at SpiritualTeachers.org and his prose and poetry on the TAT Forum. He has a page about John Davis which has this quote: "What's important is that man in his soul goes into the abyss, into darkness, into death—finds something, and comes out with it."

From Paul Constant:
With regard to what was helpful for me . . . I feel that determination, spiritual friendship, self-inquiry, meditation—and working with teachers—were all part of the formula.

Someone looking for eternality in every human being might encounter a profound paradox: as a person becomes more desperate, the pain goes deeper. But ultimately, a permanent recognition of eternality will remove the underlying heartache and fill your Heart beyond imagination!
~ Writings from Paul Constant are available at SearchWithin.org and the TAT Forum.

From Bob C:
Yes, I agree that he speaks the truth, albeit, in a folksy manner consistent with his character in the play. He says, "down deep" to suggest that this eternal something is hidden from, or out of ordinary view of, most everyone.

Something eternal would have to be unborn and undying. Rather than describing this eternal "something" as being way down deep, I'd rather describe it as all-pervading and ever-present, surrounding and enveloping every human being. Indeed, it permeates all things. We do not contain it but are contained within it. It does not arise from us, but we from it. It is the source of the power we call attention, that we claim as ours.

That attention of ours is focused on objects, starting with the body, and from there, all the experiences of that body, and from there, to an experience of being the owner of that body, a persona, an identity—albeit a fickle, chameleon-like identity, that talks to itself in a multitude of different voices—stemming from a multitude of different desires, and reacting to a stream of experience. That stream of experience is a stage play, and that attention, which we call ours, is lost in that play.

One does not "get to it" or travel to it or acquire that "eternal something." One realizes it as one's very being, and the truth of that is why such realization is even possible.

So, the question is what brings about this realization?

This realization occurs when the focus of the attention turns wholly upon itself and not on any external object.

So, what is the object of "your" attention? You are always looking at something! Don't kid yourself that you can stop looking—at something. So, what are you looking at in any given moment? Do you even see clearly? What clouds your seeing? Do you see what is? Or what you want to see? Whatever you see is in your view, and therefore is not you. What are you looking out from?

By questioning what you see and how you are seeing it, you are shifting the object of your attention in an internal direction. When that internal direction of looking reaches a momentum that cannot be diminished by pleasure or pain, or deflected outward by fear or desire, or interrupted by self-centered thoughts, then realization of that "eternal something" will manifest.

The best catalyst for this questioning is viewing afflictions to one's sense of self. So do not look away from those. Break that habit. These are everything that induce so-called negative emotions, or unwanted emotions. A secondary thing to look at is what motivates you, what is responsible for your doing the things that you do—especially those things that are not self-consistent, things that contradict your declared commitments, whatever they may be, or contradict the character you imagine you are and want others to believe that you are. Thirdly, you need to act. Action has an impact upon the attention. You need to see yourself in action, and manifest your commitment and understanding, not merely imagine it.

When you wake up from the dream, that eternal something about you will be seen as neither inside or outside you, but rather, inseparable from you.

From Adoy:
We get to it by running away from it,
Until something helps us turn to face it,
Drawing us into rapport with ourself, our true identity.

From Brett S:
I'm reminded that Mr. Rose advised that it is a mistake to postulate a definition of truth and then try to prove it; and that a vector pointed at truth can only be a vector pointed away from untruth. I certainly feel that there is something out there that is beyond "Brett." I believe that, whatever it is, it's find-able by anyone/everyone. The way to get there seems to be through Self-Definition, finding what I am, which may only be a starting point for answering questions about the eternal. But until I know my identity, every other question can only be academic or inspiration. I feel something that's like a thread to be pulled on…and the unraveling might be eternal. But all I can do is pull.

From Tina N:
By working on admitting to myself the hopelessness and helplessness of my situation.

From Anonymous:
When I sense there may be something coming into view, into the periphery of my attention, I realize that I need to stop everything, and respond by allowing my self to be aware and open to what it may be—I like Bob Ferguson's description "like waiting at a mouse hole" not knowing what to expect, but fully embracing, allowing myself to become enthralled if "it" just might become more available to me and even seek my attention. Allowing oneself to become fascinated is only another way of saying one suspends one's judgment and thinking, a surrendering of the mental processes as it were, in exchange for what could otherwise be revealed.

From Bob Fergeson:

From Tara S:
Yes, I feel there is something eternal in every human being, and, in fact, in every aspect of the relative world. (… But I reserve the right to be wrong.) With regard to making "additions" to Leesa and Michael's thoughtful and helpful lists, a few of the following are just different ways of restating:

From Mike Gegenheimer:
The prompt from Our Town is a stirring one: "Is there something "way down deep that's eternal about every human being," as the stage manager in Wilder's play says?"

That which is eternal is sensed by the human being as if it is within, as if it is "way down deep," and below the "earth part." For "the 'earth' part of 'em to burn itself out and the eternal part to come out in them clear" summarizes the effect of the subtractive path on the seeker as his perspective becomes less finite and less drawn to the attractions of life.

One need not simply wait for the earth part to burn away in death, as in the play Our Town.

Volumes have been written challenging Seekers with questions, techniques, and inspiring their hearts and minds to accelerate this process within their own house in their own play. In short, the intense application of attention in self-analysis can accelerate freedom from the "earth part."

The subtractive path brings one face to face with thought, and with the mind and body's attachment to appearances, beliefs, desires and the suffering as we struggle to be free of attachment to the "earth part." Shedding these attachments brings about a metamorphosis of perspective, and the possibility of becoming Truth, the Eternal, the timeless One.

How can a seeker know That which remains when the all thoughts, creations, appearances, beliefs, desires—all "the earth part"—is gone? Is not the vehicle for knowing, itself, gone? What remains but a vain hope of realization, or of becoming something unknowable? In the process, a seeker may find meaning in the concept and experience of Between-ness as described by Richard Rose.

In the stillness between what appears to be life and death, between what appears to the mind and is sensed by the intuition—neither "down deep" nor "out there," neither in the past or future, neither here nor there—free from any point of reference, seekers over thousands of years pursuing a subtractive path have sought and realized That which remains beyond the dust of the "earth part." There is no formula.  There is nothing to fear. It is always there, waiting, present at every moment, waiting for a moment of Between-ness, where Grace intervenes. 

May Grace befall every seeker who seeks Truth without reservation.

From Steve S:
My first thought is "yes," there is something eternal. Second thought is to question that belief. Is there a soul? Is something individual, something with a consciousness all its own as the Christians profess? When this something is free of the body, that it will meet and be with family and loved ones in the "great beyond" sounds like a load of wishful thinking to me. Anyway, how would I know one way or another? Is this another wishful thinking exercise? How would one "prove" or disprove this?

All of this circular thinking leads me back to a strong feeling that something eternal does exist inside us. How do I get in touch with that eternal thing? If there is something eternal which is both inside and in each of us, it seems the way to get in touch with it would be to look toward where it is … inside of me. That would mean turning my attention away from the external world and toward what's in my heart. That could mean just sitting quietly or walking in nature, but I think it can also mean having my attention there even when driving, working or interacting with other people. That's a bit harder but can be done. At least until I get distracted again.

The bottom line for me is as always … how does what I want to believe inform my life? How real is it?

From Rebecca M:
There is something, "way down deep that's eternal about every human being." We may get to it by:

From Dan G:
Something seems unusually true about this. It's not about experience. Everything in my experience changes. Dies. Even atoms will either be balled up in a great crunch or cast so far apart nothing of meaning exists, eventually.

If it's eternal, it must be here now, too. What could possibly feed this perception of truth in the Our Town sentiment above? Perhaps the mind is seeing or has seen this and forgotten it. Or the significance didn't register, completely.

Is there something eternal about others? If there is, it almost has to be more essential, realer, than other parts.

Is there something eternal way down deep? Yes, something more eternal than the universe. How do I get to what's eternal way down deep? Logically, it involves death. Do I need to die while I'm living to get to what's eternal? It's going to have to do it ("let go and let God," or AA's step 3, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him").

Next Month

The Reader Commentary composite question for the March TAT Forum:

What differentiates a "serious seeker" from a "seeker"? Which one are you?

Thanks to TAT member Brett S. Please your responses by the 25th of February and indicate your preferred identification (the default is your first name and the initial letter of your last name).

Other Reader Feedback

From Howdie Mickoski

(Just wanted to add a reply for the many people who wrote about my book that you printed in the January TAT Forum . . . so it's below. Cheers.)

Hello, this is Howdie Mickoski, author of Falling For Truth. First off, thank you to everyone who took the time to make a comment here in the TAT Forum about my book—either positive or negative. I want to respond to some of what has been commented on, and give a bit more background on the creation process of this book so that others might be able to understand better if this is a book that can help them or not. Someone in a recent interview asked me to describe what a spiritual search is. I replied, "That you have a desire for the Truth that is so strong, it is greater than the need for the love of a person, place or idea. You want the Truth more than you want to be happy or safe. Then the path really begins." The book might be thought of as that statement presented over 300 pages.

The book really did take me ten years to write. Part of that is because I believe that a really honest book can not be written as a hobby or a secondary activity. It has to be your one true passion, your number one focus. I likely went through 30 or 40 complete rewrites, because as I grew and evolved, so too did the content. I have no problem finding out at some time I was wrong about something, but I needed to be honest at this moment for what the experience of no-self in the canyon presented.

This is not a spiritual book, there is nothing in here with the goal to make you happy. Thankfully around one year into my search the fallacy of needing to be happy showed itself. Why be happy if you don't really know who is happy, where you are happy, or if it even matters after one dies? Who I was, what this reality is, who has any control over it took over any need for being happy.

It was not until I read the books of Richard Rose after the canyon that I felt like finally, after a decade of reading, here was someone telling the truth. Maybe some of it from his perspective at times, but that was closer to IT than anything I had ever come across. So when Shawn Nevins agreed to publish my manuscript back in 2014, I felt a weight actually. A weight coming from Rose himself.

So the book went through more revisions. I chose not to shy away from topics, but in fact did discuss what Rose described as The Forces Of Adversity, and demonic parasitic entities that are sucking the energy of every person on earth (and I don't mean a select few, everyone) and that none of the standard books or teachers have anything to say about them. So I wanted to share with people the side of the spiritual search that the guru can't sell. I have experienced the mystical highs of the spiritual search, as well as the deep depths from its challenges. I present some of them so that you too can see your own challenges in a new way perhaps, and be better equipped to make the best choice in your process of spiraling inward when they appear.

So with that I leave this short reply. Perhaps there are a few grammatical mistakes within this book, though surprising given the many edits this went through over the years. What is most important is the underlying message. Can that message help you with where you are now. In fact that is the only question one should ask with any book they are contemplating to read. Does it apply now to the place you are currently at in your seeking, or it a step above to act as a possible guide to what might be just around the corner. And perhaps it is just one chapter in a book that has the value for where you are right now.

I wish all of you the best of luck in your search, the strength to see the underlying cause of your challenges, the commitment to get the core of your deepest question, and the courage not to stop until you have, and then the ability to be still in order to integrate the seeing.


From Author Unknown [referencing the "Realization" essay by Mike Gegenheimer in last month's TAT Forum]:

I don't know why, maybe because I know him personally, maybe because it's so fresh still in his "mind," but some things seemed to jump out of the page, as they say. "What was absent and unseen seemed more real than what appeared present." This doesn't seem like much on the face of it, but I kept rereading it. Like some sort of magnet, being seduced by something suggested by this phrase that remains always just out of sight.

"There is no formula. There is nothing to fear. It is always there, waiting, present at every moment, waiting for a moment, (a moment) of Between-ness, where Grace intervenes." This has some graceful rhythm to it, like it dances lightly, and I wanted to stay with it and keep it going, and kept going back to it over and over for days. I felt like these were trying to bring me around to something, get my attention, but simultaneously I admit I'm one of those people that are always too busy, always finding something else to be distracted by, but still drawn all the same.

Thanks again, Mike!

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?

Duquesne Incline funicular

The Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, PA. Built in 1877.
Refurbished in 1963. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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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.

Richard Rose Notes
Written on a Shirt Cardboard Insert

RR notes on cardboard shirt insert

The secret of all relations between man and the infinite are to be found in the Self.


The secret of eternal life requires a knowledge of death.


The secret of death is found only by dying.


To be a witness to this secret, one must die and return.


Those who do not enter the Self know nothing of the Infinite.


Those who do not die know nothing about a greater Reality called death.


Those who teach disciplines, unless the disciplines are for introspection or for dying, are teachers of systems of orderly leisure, autohypnosis or self-deceit.


Let us convert our fears and emotions into energy, our doubts into substance & facts, our faith into a belief in our Self.


And life into Reality.


~ Thanks to Richard Rose student and TAT member MC, who wrote the following note about how he came to find the above material:

It was back in the last days of Cecy Rose being primary caregiver for Mr. Rose in McMechen. It was winter and cold. I drove him out to the country for his last walk on the Farm. We trekked down by the Chautauqua building, then back up the hill out to the clearing, him offering tidbits of history mixed with an aura of confusion. At one point he said, "I don't know about you, but I have no idea where we are." It was a sad moment in a string of others like it when the effects of Alzheimer's began to show in earnest. Damn near broke my heart right there.

We went back down to the farmhouse, and I got a fire started in the living room stove using some newspapers from the box. That's where I found it, along with a large envelope from Dale Hunter that had a dot-matrix-printed copy of his book [Book of Daleth] and a letter to Rose. He had found and read The Albigen Papers in a Miami library. One of you guys must've placed it there. Needless to say, at that time Rose was well beyond reading and replying to mail.

I wrote Dale and explained the situation. He and I still communicate today, and a dozen years ago he drove up from Florida and we met at his cabin in Tennessee and spent a few days. He's been a good friend these many years, and I attribute that friendship to Rose's efforts and lifetime of reaching out to communicate with people.

Homing Ground Update

… A spot on earth where people can do retreats and hold
meetings; where the emphasis is on friendship and the search.

Hurdle Mills new home for TAT

We're making steady progress! Thanks to those of you who recently donated, the TAT Center now has chairs and beds, but more help is needed to reach the rest of our goal. We are 8% of the way to raising $70,000 to:

  • Clear, grade, and gravel a parking area for up to forty cars
  • Upgrade the water system so there is adequate pressure for large groups
  • Purchase yard equipment and tools to keep those 15 acres in shape
  • Purchase household items for retreats and events such as a second refrigerator, bed linens, dishes/utensils
  • Repay the short-term loan

Let's bring this to life! "The job is upon us," Richard Rose said, "and it is worthwhile." To contribute to the TAT Center, mail a check made out to the TAT Foundation to:

TAT Foundation
PO Box 873
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Big checks, little checks, all are welcome. Or use the PayPal link above (though we lose 2.2% of your donation to PayPal fees). See photos and more on the Homing Ground page.

In friendship,
Shawn Nevins
on behalf of the TAT Trustees

TAT gathering

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