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

TAT Forum

October 2020

Relative & Absolute

November virtual spiritual gathering details

Homing Ground Update

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

Hurdle Mills new home for TAT

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


Receive new-Forum notifications each month
Not getting your notifications?

Let your voice be heard
Enjoy the benefits of TAT membership
Become a TAT member
Help support TAT; become a member today

As an Amazon Associate, TAT earns from qualifying purchases made through links on our website.

Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

The Direct-Mind Experience

I recently had the pleasure (and consternation) of re-reading through all of Richard Rose's published works for the first time since I was introduced to them 11 years ago. I saved The Direct-Mind Experience for last. In fact, I was going to save it for maybe another 10 years, as I had it in the back of my mind that it wasn't as good as the others. I am very glad that I ended up just reading it again.

Each of Rose's books are unique. The Albigen Papers is a full-frontal assault on all you think you know, with a powerful poetic recounting of Rose's experience at the end. Psychology of the Observer is dense, packed with meaning, and expounds the core of his system. Psychology is the physical heart, but Carillon is the emotional heart ... verses that sing with meaning, power and the emotion of direct experience. His pamphlets are also well worth reading, and again, very dense and packed. I find, however, that The Direct-Mind Experience is Rose's most conversational publication. That is to be expected as it is a book composed mostly of radio interviews, speeches, lectures and dialogues. For somebody who never met him, this book made me feel like a fly on the wall during an infamous late night lecture, or at a TAT meeting from the good old days, or actually in conversation with him. That is not to say that it is any less powerful than his other books. In fact, this more conversational tone gets across points in a way that poetry and dense esoteric philosophy don't as easily, and of course, there is both much poetry and much dense esoteric philosophy in these pages.

That is to say, there is a lot going on in between the lines, and there are meanings behind the meanings of the written words. This book is meant to be wrestled with, as Jacob wrestled with an angel. For example, within the first 22 pages of the book we get a grand contradiction that makes the observant reader pause, rethink what's being said, and maybe even introspect into their own motivations and goals. On page 15 Rose says: “We are not desirous of bringing anyone peace of mind.” On pages 22-23, he states “Pleasant moods indicate correct direction, that is, direction towards ultimate realization or peace of mind.” Of course, “peace of mind” means different things to different people at different times. On one level, “peaceful” mindfulness meditation can be a narcotic band-aid that doesn't get to the root of a problem. The addressing of that problem (maybe the problem of existing at all?) might actually lead to a higher “peace of mind” ... like Ultimate Meaning. As Rose states on page 16: “if you don't have trouble, you're not going to think.” The book is full of these prods and pokes at the mental machinery, causing both trouble and the resultant productive thinking.

The first section of the book introduces Rose speaking to a radio audience, so, he's casting a wide net. A good first chapter. The interviewer asks some interesting questions, and Rose does his thing. He ends this interview by stating why he does what he does. In his search, he continually ran into hucksters and people with bad intentions, so he promised that if he ever found anything, he would try to help people. And that now he doesn't try to be evangelistic, but makes sure that people who need help on the path know that he's around to help. He seems to have passed this wise attitude down to his students, which is one of the things that attracted me to TAT.

The second section is a lecture on moods, titled “Lecture on Moods.” His distinction between the three moods that manifest in dreams: Fear, Acquisition and Nostalgia, was very helpful to me. I began to see how these three basic moods swim behind the surface of everyday life, as well as dreams, and how they affect my state of mind. It was very helpful for me to apply these to my own life, to see how they affect my actions. Again, this book, as with all of Rose's books, and all esoteric philosophy, opens up to deeper meanings when the concepts are actually meditated on and applied personally.

In the third section, “Lecture at Boston College,” Rose outlines some yardsticks for a successful search, including finding out what your own yardstick is. Meditating on what my yardsticks are felt very productive for me. A lively question and answer session follows.

The fourth section, “1983 Chautauqua,” was memorable for me by the intense discussion about thought, what it is and what it does, and for all the old timers who participated in the conversation (some of whom I recognized by their first name and last initial, most of whom I didn't.)

The fifth section is a lecture at Akron about miracles and energy transmutation. For those who read Rose's small, brilliant book Energy Transmutation, Between-ness and Transmission, this is an interesting lecture on similar topics, with in-depth diagrams of how energy is transmuted in the body, and a discussion of different types of magic.

The sixth lecture dives into the second part of ET,B&T, that is, “Between-ness”—an ever-confounding core concept in Rose's system. It is pure magic, and this lecture lays it out just enough to make you think you understand it. That is, until the next section, entitled “Notes on Between-ness.” This is one of those dense chapters of esoteric philosophy that is well worth pondering over, and trying to see how one can ground it into action.

The last section is from an informal discussion at a TAT meeting, a profound exploration of “points of reference,” strategies for becoming clear on motivations and goals, and for making those goals manifest. It really both shakes you out of your comfortable state of mind and gives you hope that there is something beyond this illusory, impermanent and untenable mind realm that we seem to inhabit. This is, I think the goal of the book as a whole, and of Richard Rose's teachings in general.

Overall, The Direct-Mind Experience is well worth the read, but it will make the most sense in relation with his other books, and like all of his books, it's best read and digested slowly, meditated on, and wrestled with.


~ Thanks to TAT member Isaac Hill.

quill icon

Would you like to share your impressions or questions with other TAT Forum readers? (Comments and questions may be selected for future Reader Commentary inclusions, identified with first name and first letter of last name or other attribution of your choice.) Please email your impressions/questions to the .


TAT Foundation News

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

Call To Action For TAT Forum Readers

With the intention of increasing awareness of TAT's meetings, books, and Forum among younger serious seekers, the TAT Foundation is now on Instagram (@tatfoundation).

You can help! A volunteer is producing shareable text-quote and video content of Richard Rose and TAT-adjacent teachers. We need your suggestions for short, provocative 1-3 sentence quotes or 1 minute or less video clips of people like Rose, Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Tess Hughes, Bob Cergol, Bart Marshall, Shawn Nevins, Anima Pundeer, Norio Kushi, Paul Rezendes, Paul Constant, & other favorites. (See below for an example).

Please send favorite inspiring/irritating quotes—from books you have by those authors, from the TAT Forum, or any other place—to . If you have favorite parts of longer videos (ex: from a talk at a past TAT meeting), please email a link to the video and a timestamp.

Thank you!

RR quote on Instagram

2020 TAT Meeting Calendar

April 4-5, 2020
June 13-14, 2020
August 15-16, 2020
* November 6-8, 2020 *

TAT's November gathering will be held online, with presentations and interactive sessions on Saturday and Sunday, November 6th and 7th. See the November spiritual retreat page for details and registration. For additional information, please email .


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).

door on TAT Community Building 2010

See TAT's Facebook page.
Photo of TAT's open door by Phil Franta.

Local Group News

Update for the Amsterdam, NL Self-Inquiry Group:
The group is not holding meetings currently, but email for information.

Update from the Central New Jersey Group:
At the end of July, the New York City and the Central Jersey Self Inquiry Groups co-sponsored a 3-hour inquiry meeting using the Zoom platform. The inquiry meeting (the third event organized by both groups) attracted 11 participants. The meeting schedule: Welcome; Byron Katie inquiry exercise (led by a NJ member); "I statements" exercise (led by a NY member), and a feedback session, to collect ideas for future retreats. Organizers feel that organizing an event with another group, is a good way to "find your fellows" as Richard Rose once advised.
      We hold regular Zoom meetings on Friday evenings. ~ Email for more details.

Update from the Central Ohio Non-Duality Group:
The Columbus, Ohio self-inquiry group, now known as the Central Ohio Non-Duality Group, has continued to meet virtually on Tuesday evenings at 6:30PM during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please email one of the people's names below if you wish to get a link to the meeting. Meeting format involves discussion of 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 look forward to the easing of restrictions to the point where we feel comfortable meeting again in person. ~ For further information, contact , , or . We're also on Facebook.

Irish clover Update from the Dublin, Ireland self-inquiry group:
We're now meeting every second Wednesday, rather than Sunday, on Zoom, and we have been working with Tess Hughes's list of confrontation questions for the last couple of months. Participants select a number, to replicate drawing from a hat, and the question is pasted into chat and read out. They then answer the question for 5 minutes followed by questions from the group for 15 minutes. It has been working well to date, so we will continue in this vein for the time being. ~ Contact for more information.

rose A new self-inquiry group is forming in Dulverton, South West England:
Currently meeting weekly in a backyard and will modify as the COVID situation changes. ~ Please contact for more information.

Update from the email self-inquiry groups:
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.
There are two men's groups currently with 6 participants in each, down from three groups with 19 participants last year. They function like slow-motion self-inquiry confrontation meetings, which has its pros and cons. We alternate by asking each other questions one week then answering them the following week. Participants provide brief updates of highlights from the previous week and optional updates on progress toward objectives that they use the reports for accountability on.
Both the women's and the men's email groups welcome serious participants. ~ Contact or for more information.

Update from the Gainesville, FL self-inquiry group:
Our meetings at the Alachua County library on alternate Sundays are still suspended while the library remains closed. In the meantime, the regular participants are saying hello to each other via email every Sunday, sharing whatever is on our minds. ~ Email or for more information.

We're looking into starting a Zoom or other online meeting group. Please let us know if you're interested.

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.

red clover Update from the self-inquiry group in Hartland, VT:
Previously using TAT videos from past conferences as a primer for discussion, the group is now meeting online. ~ Contact for more information.

An update from the self-inquiry group in Houston, TX:
The backyard patio meetings are now moved to Zoom meetings, which take place at 4 pm on Saturdays. There are 3 active and inspired participants right now. Topics vary from Mr. Rose's writings to "What is on your mind?" ~ 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 7pm - 8:30pm, online, via zoom. Norio Kushi, Paul Rezendes, and Bob Harwood are consistent guests. We've also had some other interesting characters show up from time to time. Topics come from readings or questions brought up by our members. These are sent out, along with the zoom invitation each week. Recently we posted some "considerations" for joining our group:
** Try to frame your comments as questions to Norio, Paul, or Bob. Draw these questions from you own experience rather than generalities. Maintain attention and discussion on the question rather than philosophical musings.
** Question other participants, in the spirit of group-assisted self inquiry, but without attempting to lead them to any particular conclusion or bring attention to yourself.
**Allow for and attend to the silence and the space that is always present. When you aren't speaking, see that as your role - to hold that space.
**Question, in yourself, the use of personal story-telling and quoting others - though sometimes both are helpful and appropriate.
**Consider the way in which you are listening. Does it have a quality of acquisitiveness or openness?
**Continue to question your own intention for coming to this meeting and let that guide any comments/questions/discussion.
~ Please contact or if you're interested in being on the email list.

Update from the New York City self-inquiry group:
The New York City Self-Inquiry group has continued to meet. We meet every Monday via a free conference call phone number. An advantage to the current format is that it's allowed people to join who live outside of New York City, including people living in Connecticut, Maryland, and Texas. More details, as well as our weekly discussion topics, can be be found on our MeetUp page (link above).

The recently listed Online Self Inquiry Book Club:
This online Self Inquiry Book Club meets Sunday afternoons. We are finishing the The Way of Selflessness by Joel Morwood. Our open meeting to discuss the whole book will be on September 6th. The book club also includes an optional weekly call-in and Slack channel to talk about the content of the book with other seekers along the way. Anyone can attend and contribute conversation mid-book. If wanting to get a sense of Joel Morwood, Shawn Nevins recently interviewed him for the Journals of Spiritual Discovery Joel also mentions the book on his Center for Sacred Sciences website.
    Our next book will be Jean [Dunn]'s Journals — Being with Nisargadatta Maharaj on Holy Books. ~ For more information, see the meeting website (link above).

Update from the recently listed Online Video Confrontation Group:
The Monday Night Online Confrontation Group is going strong with a core group of participants and room for a few more. We meet at 7 pm EST, using the online video conference platform from "Jitsi.org" which works best with the Chrome browser. The goal of the group is to practice confrontation/group self-inquiry. ~ If you're interested, email or .

Update from the Pittsburgh, PA self-inquiry group:
Group confrontation online every Wednesday, 8:00 pm via Zoom, plus one monthly online intro to self-inquiry with discussion topic for newcomers. Recent topics:
Sept 2: Where would you be 'If you could take a step backward?
Sept 9: Where does your Spiritual Path go from Here?
Sept 16: Catching Glimpses, Intuitions, Hunches
Sept 23: Human energy is created by the body and transmuted for different purposes; We come from the earth and are expected to return to the earth, but are there other possibilities?
Sept 30: TBD
Oct 2: Invitation-to-all Meetup and new members: Nisargadatta: Did he actually teach a system?
~ All Forum subscribers are welcome to join us. Email to receive weekly topics with preparatory notes and Zoom invitations.

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 Raleigh, NC Triangle Inquiry Group:
The group is starting up again after a hiatus, now with Zoom online meetings. ~ Email for details.

Update for the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area TAT Center:
The new TAT Center in Hurdle Mills, NC recently hosted its first event: an open house for folks in the Raleigh and Lynchburg areas. With the successful opening of the center, teacher-in-residence Bob Fergeson and caretaker Mark Wintgens are looking forward to hosting retreats and meetings for local group members as well as all TAT seekers. ~ Email for information about future meetings and events.

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 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.

Update from the Washington DC Area Self-Inquiry Discussion Group:
[This group was previously listed as the Rockville, MD self-inquiry group.] We've been meeting monthly at Rockville, MD Memorial Library. While the library is closed for public health reasons, we're participating more in a weekly online book club. Forum readers are welcome to participate. ~ For more information, please email or see the website http://firstknowthyself.org/virtual/.

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!

As an Amazon Associate TAT earns from qualifying purchases made through links on our website.

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.



"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

I Forgot

I forgot....

~ Thanks to CoolFunnyQuotes.com

The Stock Market Keeps Rising Despite COVID. Is It Nuts?

A friend who knows that I live, breathe, and teach investments gave me a suggestion that inspired me to write this article:

Why don't people use AI to find out why the market's booming while the economy is tanking?

This innocent question reminded me of the experience of Charles Babbage (1791–1871), the “father of the computer”:

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of parliament], “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”… I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
~ Babbage, Charles (1864). Passages from the Life of a Philosopher. Longman and Co. P. 67. OCLC 258982

I, too, am struck by the confusion revealed by my friend's question. I started laughing before I realized that he was not joking….

4 diamond separator: />
</p><!--p style=

~ Thanks to Shawn Nevins. From the article The Stock Market Keeps Rising Despite COVID. Is It Nuts?" by Gary Smith.

Q [from Shawn]: Are "wrong figures" going into your mental computer?


hitch hiker

~ Thanks to TAT member Paul Constant.

We enjoy presenting humor here from TAT members and friends. 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

Against Willpower

"Willpower is a dangerous, old idea that needs to be scrapped."

In the 1960s, American psychologist Walter Mischel set out to test the ways that children delayed gratification in the face of a tempting sweet with his now-famous “marshmallow experiment.” His young test subjects were asked to choose between one marshmallow now, or two later on. It wasn't until many years later, after he heard anecdotes about how some of his former subjects were doing in school and in work, that he decided to track them down and collect broader measures of achievement. He found that the children who had been better able to resist temptation went on to achieve better grades and test scores. This finding set off a resurgence of scholarly interest in the idea of “self-control,” the usual term for willpower in psychological research.

Did my patient, Thomas, really have a willpower problem? While he struggled with alcohol cravings, he had no problem motivating himself in the positive sense, continuing to be extremely successful in his professional career and excelling as an amateur athlete, winning several competitions around the New York City area. His difficulty resisting the impulse to drink didn't seem to be related to this ability to stick with a plan. Some researchers call this quality “self-discipline” and differentiate it from impulse control or resisting temptations. Which of those cognitive functions is the “real” willpower? To ask that question is to miss the point….

See the Nautilus article by Carl Erik Fisher.


~ Carl Erik Fisher is an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University.


The Way You Think About Willpower Is Hurting You


Most studies to date have looked at willpower as a force that helps people do things they don't want to do, or that helps them resist temptations they'd rather give in to. But if we adjust the perspective and treat willpower as an emotion, it could instead be seen as providing insights about what we should and shouldn't be spending our time on....


See the Nir & Far post by Nir Eyal. Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the image from the cover of a 1996 "It's Your Life – It's Our Future" Stop Smoking Guide.

Casual Intensity

"A Reborn Pharma Giant Takes the Lead Against COVID-19"

Pascal Soriot became CEO of AstraZeneca, the world's fifth largest pharmaceutical company, in 2012. AstraZeneca PLC is a British–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company with its global headquarters in Cambridge, England. Khan described the company's situation as:

When Soriot took the helm of AstraZeneca in 2012, the company faced a bleak future. Its bestselling medicines … were about to plunge off the industry's dreaded "patent cliff"…. Half of AZ's annual sales … were likely to disappear in the next five years.

Soriot commented: "At the time, the company was run like a spreadsheet. It was all about cost savings, increase the profit and use that for a [stock] buyback, and mechanically increase the share price. But the company was on the road to nowhere."

In under a decade, AstraZeneca improved its drug-development success rate from 4% to almost 20%—three times the industry average. John Bell, Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, summarized it: "It's one of the greatest turnaround stories in pharmaceutical companies over the past 20 years."

Michael Leuchten, an equity analyst for Swiss bank UBS, says of AstraZeneca's recovery: "It's remarkable. I've never seen anything like that before, and I don't think we will again anytime soon."

Born in France, the 61-year-old pharma lifer has spent most of his career abroad but still speaks in French-inflected English. He has jet-black hair that contrasts with the crisp white dress shirts he favors, and he speaks with a directness rare in executives of any nationality. Soriot tells Fortune he believes in "casual intensity." "We have to take what we do seriously, but we should not take ourselves too seriously," he says.


Q: Do you feel like you're on the road to nowhere or to somewhere?

Q: Do you take what you're doing seriously?

Q: Do you take yourself too seriously?


See the Fortune article by Jeremy Khan.


Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett Says This 1 Simple Habit Separates Successful People From Everyone Else.

Hint: It starts with a two-letter word.

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

… His advice, in whatever context, can apply to anyone arriving at the crossroads of daily decision-making.


~ See the Inc. article by Marcel Schwantes. Photo is of Kathy Ireland, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates from a Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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 this month is:

As a seeker, how do you perceive your spiritual path is going? Or as a finder, how do you perceive your spiritual (helping?) path is going? Responses follow:

From Tess Hughes:
It's been ten years since the awakening and I have never gotten over how blessed I have been with this. My lovely husband died, my house went on fire, I lost friends, some of them because of me writing a book about this happening and still, I cannot get over how blessed I am by this.

How could I have been so blessed to be given this life changing thing? It's beyond wonder to me, still.

It's just that everything is acceptable. I know this does not make sense but this is about what is beyond sense. Life, life itself is beyond sense making.

How are my efforts at spiritual helping going? I really don't know.

Initially, after about a year or two, I tried to offer what I could, because I felt such gratitude to TAT for the guidance and support I had been given, especially by Art. I am still more grateful for that help than I can express. I always will be.

But, I have found as the years passed that I don't have much or indeed any drive or motivation to teach or share this.

I never was ambitious for any kind of success (except spiritual fruition) and it seems I have returned to form. I just bob along, responding to whatever comes up. If someone asks for help or some kind of guidance I am happy to respond as best I can. But, I don't feel any desire or drive to build up a following of “students”. In fact, I do not feel able to plan anything. I seem to be able to function only in the present.

So, I suppose the answer to the question is that, since I don't have a goal related to spiritual helping there is no path. At least no discernible path for now. Maybe looking back we'll see that there was a path all along, which is what happened with the seeking part of this life journey. But Tess is not trying to make it happen. That does not mean that it is not happening.


Editor's comment: TAT Foundation Press publishes Tess's This Above All: A Journey of Self-Discovery.

From Shawn Nevins:
You tell me how I'm doing. This question reminds me of the importance of a group as a mirror. Honest feedback is priceless. At the August TAT meeting, I led a guided meditation. Unusual for me, I practiced it a couple of times before the meeting with different people and asked for feedback. How valuable! And I asked a couple of people afterwards what they thought of it. Again, valuable. On my own, I would never have seen what they saw. I see that if I did this consistently, I would be a better communicator than I am now.

There's a restlessness to my helping path. I'm always looking for some new channel, some magic formula that will open the gate between the Absolute and the ordinary mind. And I am perpetually disappointed. Yet all along I know that even this, right now, the very next word to appear, is the opening that might make the obvious, obvious.

[See Shawn's new book, Hydroglyphics: Reflections on the Sacred, at www.spiritualteachers.org. -Ed.]

From Richard W:
After close to 25 years of seeking and maybe 10 years of accessing TAT's and Richard Rose's material and lurking I was able to attend the online weekend this summer. It coincided with a time of reading TAT writers more intensely again, and what has been at least temporarily an increase in seriousness. This was triggered a few months ago after experiencing a shift after reading the first chapter of Douglas Harding's The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth. I also went on two two short but intensive solitary retreats. In terms of Rose's map (Jacob's Ladder) I would (perhaps and tentatively) characterise this as stumbling upon Individual Consciousness of Awareness. It really took me by surprise. I think I may have come to the Process Observer about two and a half years ago.

From this place it is not really apparent how to proceed, and I seem to have entered something of a plateau. Anything I do seems as likely to take me away from an answer as to take me to it. Any conceptualisation of the path is really thinning out almost to nothing, and the same could be said of acts of will. I am praying for deliverance because I do not know what else to do, and writing poems and koans which I try and meditate on. In the last few days I have written:

1# Man cannot surrender to God.
Only God in man can surrender to Himself.

2# I am ready to die
Yet I cannot be ready
For God decides.

3# If thought is empty.
If will is empty.
How can I awaken?

I have established habits and spare time so I am trusting that, but I am also trying to discover what is required fresh each day. I am very grateful for the TAT foundation; ordinary people seeking the truth. Grounded and real. Thank you. Richard W.

From Sheryl S:
Embedded in the question: “As a seeker, how is the spiritual journey going?” is an abstract concept that presents a quandary. But I'll give it a go. All the paths I've traveled have fed me in some way and no part of my journey has been without merit. I started life in an observant Catholic family and have traveled from there through a variety of spiritual venues. Since middle adulthood those paths have been esoteric in nature; and most recently I have been drawn to TAT where I find an accepting group of like-minded people to work with and learn from.

At this point the direction of my seeking seems mostly conceptual with days spent “practicing” suggestions given by those who tell of a world more Real than the one I typically inhabit. I have had glimpses of that more Real “place” outside of the conceptual, and those moments help fuel the search. And they also serve to remind me that there is only One world and in it there is no me, no other. Only One. “I” wander away from this Truth and then remember. And then I forget and remember again; and this pattern persists. For now.

From Mike Gegenheimer:
The ineffable realization of Source brings about peace; and life continues with its mundane necessities. The bright spots have been the opportunities to meet with others, especially the TAT meetings, breakout sessions, and in our small local group where we can interact on a more deeply personal level.

Life's mundane demands on time don't go away although the importance of doing them does; demands for time and attention still compete with the priority commitment to help others. I find that I have been able to spend a bit more time on matters supporting TAT, and be open to what does and may appear on the horizon to help seekers.

So, how is the path of helping? The commitment to help other seekers and the opportunity to do so are the reasons to do anything; the meaning, if any, from such effort is rapport. Nothing more.

From Patrick K:
To answer the first question, I don't really know. The best I can gauge it is to look back a couple of months/years. I find that is a good indicator or way of revealing progress. Certainly when it comes to being hypnotised by the world, I would say I can see it much clearer now than even a year ago. I am able to see the emptiness in everything without getting emotional or in a mood about it and just carry on with my day. Maybe nostalgia or a philosophical sense is growing in me, at least I pray it is. I don't crave my piece of the pie anymore, I don't feel like I am chasing anything, which is a change from a previous me.

To answer the second question, again I don't really know. I am glad to be a part of Art's online written self-inquiry group and Colm H's online zoom self-inquiry group. There are great folks in each. I challenge myself as to whether I am effective at helping anyone. I pray I can contribute something of value so I just keep working at it. Best I feel I can do for others is to be available, be consistent with my efforts. I am still and always open to exploring options of how to share this work with others and especially Rose's and the TAT Foundation's material because that is closest to my heart, because I believe it is the real deal. If anyone wants to contact me to discuss about possible group work/ladder work or any other questions relating to the work you can me.

From Jon W:
Trying to describe perceptions of my spiritual path may be like trying to place a point on a map of four-dimensional empty space - a map with no defined borders, no reference points, no scales, no directional reference, not having a firmly established idea of a destination, and having an infinite number of possible routes to that undefined destination! Paradoxically, over years, I have always sensed a distinct and ongoing "opening up" towards a Knowing that will come when it's supposed to (if it's supposed to). Frankly, it's utterly fascinating to alternate between periods of complete misery/confusion/hopelessness and delight/joy/opening with both ends of the spectrum aiding in this that we pursue.

Put another way, I was struck a couple of days ago by something from Douglas Harding that I thought very accurately described things for me, at least as of a couple of days ago! In On Having No Head (page 96 of my copy), he says, "It's a disappointing and perhaps quite devastating discovery, that one's perfectly clear and near-habitual seeing into the Nothing here can go along with blindness to a massive Something here - namely, one's personal and separative will or ego." He goes on to describe this as being "half-surrendered" with the lower-ego not willing to completely give way to "higher" and more conscious regions of the total personality. So, to end back with the map analogy, there has been ongoing movement/unveiling towards a "destination" - which I always perceive as a center (like the dot in the center of the monad). However, egoic perceptions of the spiritual journey fluctuate often (love vs. strife, hope vs. misery) with a trend (over years of seeking) towards "Truthiness" (my term - highly scientific - meant to imply I don't think "Truth" can be used to describe these things until it's KNOWN!). Whether a cartographer or navigator is able to offer direction at some point remains to be seen, but the quest will regardless continue!

From Art Ticknor:
My path seems to be continuing on the route of trying to inspire and irritate seekers to keep moving on their retreat from untruth. People tell me I'm better at the irritation than the inspiration :-). The more of the mind's operation that comes into view, the more our life-experience can challenge our faulty beliefs about what we are, thus eroding our faulty self-definition. When our self-definition reaches zero, a "magical" discontinuity can occur that brings our personal consciousness (maybe what Hindu scholars refer to as Atman) home to our absolute essence (Brahman).

From Gus R:
My path is that of a loser.

Some dictionary definitions include: incompetent, unable to succeed, consistently lacking, sometimes confused with "looser," put at disadvantage, one who loses game or contest. Even Harry Potter was told by some bad guy that "You're a fool and you'll lose everything." What could a fool like me hope for, if I might lose everything?

So no, I'm not very good at losing or even loosening all those barnacles of ambition, pride and a myriad of attachments and identities and accomplishments over my life, so far. Ironically, my early ambitions as a seeker were all about gaining spirituality, intuition, and becoming a more mature and clever "seeker." As Nisargadatta referred to it, I wanted to "ripen" asap. Now it seems how much and how quickly can that which I've gained in life be lost.

Inspiration lies in that losing all may also gain all—thank you St John of the Cross for that little bit of hope—since everything gained in life seems to have closed so many doors to that which I now yearn for the most. The one who has gained so much must now lose so much including himself, in order to pursue one thing. To me, a spiritual path is doors behind me closing, in order that doors ahead open, while at the same time St John might say, "Losing is gaining and gaining is losing."

Whom could this possibly make sense to? The one who begins to lose does not lose by choice, but realizes that all might be eventually taken away as the Desire for That, which may be far greater, makes both that which is lost and the loser more obvious.

From Anima Pundeer:
Helping: When I look back on my path as a seeker, I get overwhelmed by gratitude towards my fellow seekers. I feel everyone was extremely generous and patient with me. Understanding ‘self' can be a tedious process. It is like opening a knot at a time where you have no idea how many knots are there. I know for sure that I would still be unclear about "Why am I so unhappy?" Blaming the world for my misery.

Since COVID-19, I must say that suddenly my TAT related activities have increased. Meeting in cyberspace is not the same as meeting in person but is much better than not meeting at all. I have realized that the only way I can help is by sharing what I found useful in my own search. And I have to remind myself that patience can be learned.

Next Month

The Reader Commentary question for the November TAT Forum refers to the article on Casual Intensity in this month's Inspiration & Irritation section:

How do you know if you’re taking yourself too seriously?

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).

PS: What question(s) would you like to ask other TAT Forum readers?

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?

a narrow path

A narrow path. Photo by Art Ticknor.

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

Sign up for notices of TAT's four annual events and free monthly Forums by email on our .


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.


Down through the ages, mystics and scientists regarded the finding of laws to be the equivalent of finding milestones of progress. The application of them, or the observance of them, will help us understand things not previously understood. They may also save us a few sore spots which are normally incurred by banging our heads against walls that do not move.

A state of mind carries conviction and may result from a long period of accumulation of various convictions, and those convictions may have been inspired by totally non-logical moods.

Law of Proportional Returns: You will get that which you give. Effort is rewarded and helping others inspires help. Helping also develops in us a more acceptable attitude.

Law of the Ladder: The ladder here is used as a symbol to show that there should be a selective giving of goods, energy, or spiritual help. The law says that you should not reach below the rung upon which you stand, except to the first rung below you in order to help people. If you reach down too low your efforts will be wasted, and you will be hurt. Or crucified.

The Law also says that you cannot be helped by anyone too far above you, because you are not prepared to work on the same level at which he is working. There are fewer people on the higher rungs than on the lower. We will be lucky if we can find one man who can help us, but we should be working with six or more on the rung below.

Law of Love: The proper application of the Law should be in the direction of the friends upon the path, those on our rung and two adjacent rungs. This love can be expressed as friendship of the most unselfish type. For those too many rungs above we can only offer respectful silence. For those who cannot see us too well, being less fortunate, we can only afford compassion. Anything other than compassion may verge on self-deifying egotism.


See a more complete listing in the August 2004 TAT Forum. These and a few others are detailed in The Albigen Papers.


Definition of Terms

cherries separator

Index of many of the key terms and principles in Rose's work, with brief definitions, from Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer: The Path to Reality Through the Self by John Kent.

Jacob's Ladder (Richard Rose diagram)

Jacob's Ladder © 2001 Richard Rose. See this transcript of a talk on the topic by Rose.

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

Work continues at the TAT Center, and there are still plans afoot for a very limited attendance, local-only, and invitation-only event which will help serve as a test-run for potential larger events. Fundraising took a leap forward, and we're now half-way (56%) towards our goal of raising $70,000. Thank you! Please consider donating to keep the momentum going. Once we hit our goal, the Center should become self-sustaining as money from events and retreats will cover its operating costs.

Note that for 2020, the U.S. CARES act will allow many people to easily deduct charitable contributions of $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple). Read more at https://info.pgcalc.com/cares-act and check with your tax advisor.

expanded meeting room exterior finished

With the exterior now painted, the meeting room expansion is nearing completion!

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

Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book!
Readers' favorite selections from seven years of issues.
Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.

TAT Foundation on Facebook


Keep informed of TAT events and receive our free monthly Forum filled with inspiring essays, poems and images.

Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse

© 2000-2020 TAT Foundation. All rights reserved.

View Full Site Back to Top


TAT Foundation logo