The TAT Forum: a spiritual magazine of essays, 
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March 2021 / More

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=> [I don't use Outlook or Yahoo mail, but here's what I've read about whitelisting with them. Please let me know if any of these examples are incorrect or outdated – Ed.]

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TAT Foundation News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Return to the main page of the March 2021 TAT Forum.


Reader Commentary

Encouraging interactive readership among TAT members and friends

The Reader Commentary question for the March TAT Forum is:

How can a seeker who is questioning their beliefs and “doubting everything” sincerely pray?

Thanks to Brett S. for the question. Responses follow:

The complete response from Richard G:
The answer is found in the question. If one is “doubting everything or every “thing” there cannot be any sincerity in praying. For example, how can sincerity be instantiated if the individual doubts their mind's existence, doubts whether they are honest, doubts the purpose or reason of prayer, and doubts the object of prayer?

I think a “doubting everything” or questioning person can pray intensively or emotionally for things or occurrences, e.g., money, removal of illness, enlightenment, bringing back their loved one, or to revere a deity but not sincerely. One cannot be sincere if they know or believe what they are praying about or praying to is an ephemeral, transitory thing. The doubting of an object of prayer and/or one's identity (sense of I-ness) modifies the perspective and hence beliefs and affect. The doubting modifies sincerity (IMHO).

I reviewed the Realizations of various spiritual “heavyweights” at the www.searchwithin.org website. Some of the writers had expressed various doubts, for example one mentioned that they did not know whether they would wake up or not. Once the Awakening occurred, however, there were no doubts or at least I haven't read or found them. In other words, with Realization or Awakening, doubts are gone, no subject, no objects, and no things. Others may have questioned the veracity of the claims of those who talk about their Realization or Awakening but not the authors of theses narratives. Once the “I-thought” is neutralized, Realization follows.

In addition, the word pray is a noun and therefore a thing. To pray about (something) again is using words or a thing. To pray about something can also use nonwords, or visual images but they are also things. A thought whether verbal or nonverbal is still an object of a subject. A thought is a representation of something. To pray to something e.g., some deity, God, you, or nothing are still nouns and words and are therefore things. In other words, prayer is tantamount to using words to communicate with words, whether they are nouns, pictures, images, or visualizations. A noun is a noun and therefore a thing.

Also, how much or how frequently does one question “every thing.” This seems to evoke a problem, i.e., that one can be caught in the Scylla of induction (words) and Charybdis of deduction (more words). In other words, it appears as though one will elicit more discursive thinking and generate an increase in objects of consciousness (words or thoughts) and an increase in verbiage production, i.e., thoughts, verbalizations, or written language.

That's quite a catchphrase, “doubt everything” with some well-written and insightful information about these two words (for example found in September 2009 TAT Forum). [The article I referred to is "The Quotable Rose: Ten One-liners That Speak Volumes" by Bart Marshall. Then at the bottom is another link: "Richard Rose's Top Ten Tips for Serious Seekers" by Bart Marshall—see item #7 in the summarization by Bart of RR's teaching.] However, what does it mean that one question their beliefs or doubt “everything.” Is this in fact feasible, to “doubt everything”? In addition, how does one doubt or question their beliefs?

Do we doubt via philosophy, for example the Socratic method or arguments? Do we question the language or words we use, for example, like in Korzybski's General semantics theory? Is science, replete with null hypothesis testing, probability estimates, and theories (which are potentially changeable with confirming or refuting data) where it's at when it comes to doubting and questioning? Are St. Augustine's philosophical arguments, “Si, fallor, sum (I doubt there I am) or the Apostle Paul in Thessalonians: "Prove all things (question everything); hold fast what is good or keep what is good" (1 Thes. 5.21) a more pragmatic way of doubting and questioning?

I prefer questions that help get to the basic I-thought. Per Ramana Maharshi's Self-Enquiry (www.davidgodman.org) the aim is to ask basic questions to get to the I-thought, the source of thoughts. Some questions that may help in the endeavor include but is not limited to: “Who is the questioner?” or “To whom do these thoughts arise, to me, who am I?” “Who is this doubter?” “Who is it that doubts or who is this I that doubts”?

In addition, deconstruction of false or irrational beliefs through questioning may be useful and helpful as well. Rational emotive behavior therapy and cognitive (behavior) therapy utilize this method as an intervention to assist individuals with emotional and behavioral problems (excessive anger, depression, excessive anxiety, etc.). Sometimes an effective therapist can provide support and assist an individual to ameliorate emotional problems and disorders prior to or concurrent involvement with one's spiritual journey.

I've found the use of koans, with their unique line of questioning to be helpful as well. The following is an example of a koan from Solid Ground of Being (Art Ticknor). “How can the self see the self, which it hasn't yet seen or recognized?” The chapter, Koan, p. 24 of Solid Ground of Being, is replete with other insightful and hopefully helpful suggestions, and of course additional koans.

*****Just a side note, the above blurb is an example of questioning and doubting and the amount of verbal or written material that can come of it….with one sentence!

Return to the main page of the March 2021 TAT Forum.

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