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

TAT Forum

June 2021

June 2021 TAT gathering

June spiritual gathering details


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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Doubting Intuition

I think one of the many valuable insights Richard Rose offers an introspective individual is the suggestion that intuition may not be "foolproof." Why believe intuition?

I used to think that a "gut feeling" or strong intuition was a message from a higher power. Now I'm wondering why I thought that. What is the basis of intuition? Is it the same as the source of the content of thoughts, i.e., experience? If the "data set" that intuition draws on is nothing more than my limited and specific life experiences, there are good reasons to doubt that any "message" being conveyed by my intuition really fits the present situation. A coworker recently told a story about when she first moved to this country she had a bad feeling about the neighborhood she was living in. One day, she felt someone coming up behind her and the feeling deepened. As it turned out, it was her next door neighbor, a woman offering to help her carry her groceries. Her "bad feeling" was actually based on life in her home country, images from movies about life in America, and other experiences that didn't apply to her current situation. Intuition may simply be my body trying to warn me about something based on past experience. It may not always be accurate.

Even if a gut feeling was coming from some higher power, there are still good reasons to question my intuitions. Mr. Rose was supposedly loathe to give advice to spiritual seekers, explaining that any advice could be applied in the wrong way at the wrong time. The same could be said of intuition.

What powers do I think intuition has that make it so worth believing in and acting on? Do I believe that intuition is clairvoyant, that it knows the future?! How do I know if a gut feeling is an intuition, or just a strong desire or fear? Is the Universe really sending me messages, or is that just self-important wishful thinking? I need a refined discernment (intuition!) to tell the difference.


~ Thanks to Brett S. See the Reader Commentary question for next month, which refers to this essay.

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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!

Project: Beyond Mind, Beyond Death II

BMBD cover image TAT Press's Beyond Mind, Beyond Death (BMBD), published in 2008, covers selections from the first seven years of the TAT Forum, from November 2000 to December 2007.

We've had 14 additional years of monthly TAT Forum issues since then. And we're getting ready to launch a project to solicit recommendations from all readers for a 2nd volume of BMBD from the seven years of monthly issues spanning January 2008 to December 2014.

Our approach will be to have a brief, interactive survey each week for participants to rate the items in one issue of the Forum for inclusion in volume II. That will take about 20 months, during which time volunteer co-editors Abhay D. and Michael R. will arrange the selections into chapters and organize the book's contents. Within 2 years BMBD II should be available in paperback and e-book formats.

We e-mailed an invitation to all TAT members and Forum notice subscribers in early May with a sample of the first survey and the option to subscribe for weekly links to the ongoing surveys. Those who opted-in received a notice for the first survey:

Your participation to any extent practical for you will help the best formulation of Beyond Mind, Beyond Death II. If you haven't opted-in for participation notices, you can sign up at BMBD_II.htm, where you also can find links to all active surveys.

Random rotation of
TAT Foundation Books & Videos

2021 TAT Meeting Calendar

February 6, 2021
April 10-11, 2021
* June 12-13, 2021 *
August 14-15, 2021
November 6-7, 2021

Until 2020, TAT held four in-person meetings each year: one in April, one in November, and two in the months between April and November. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, all four meetings for 2020 were held online.

We started 2021 with a one-day virtual gathering on Saturday, February 6th, followed by a virtual gathering on Saturday and Sunday, April 10 and 11. The next gathering will be a virtual gathering on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13. See The Way, The Life and The Truth for details and registration.

We will revert back to in-person weekend gatherings with our August meeting. We're looking into having another online gathering in September ... possibly adding future online gatherings in February and September to supplement our four in-person gatherings. Comments or questions? 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:
In the last month we reviewed a piece submitted by one of the group members; the piece was 'The Mind' from Richard Rose. Each participant spoke on it for 10 minutes and then we had 20 minutes of confrontation. We worked with the piece over two meetings and it was a useful and productive exercise, with many varying views on the content. We also started working with the poem 'Please Call Me By My True Names' by Thich Nhat Hanh in the last meeting in May, which Paul Rezendes mentioned at the April TAT meeting in the breakout group, that one of our members was in with him. Participants were asked to read the poem, reflect on it and give their impressions and what came up for them, no specific questions were used as such. We then had confrontation based on what each participant shared. We will continue working with the poem at the next meeting in June.
      In other news, several of our group members have signed up to the self-inquiry book club, which meets over Zoom every two weeks. We are reading John Kent's book Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer: The Path to Reality Through the Self. The first meeting was great and those present discussed chapter one, which was read prior to the meeting. We will read a chapter in advance for each meeting. Thanks to Dan G and everyone else involved for setting that up.
      Finally, we had our first transatlantic self-inquiry meeting with the Pittsburgh self-inquiry group over Zoom on May 17th. It was a great to work with another group and to meet and work with a wider group of seekers. We plan to meet once a month on a Sunday; next meeting should be on June 20th. Thanks to Patrick K and Bill K for having the idea to do that, and for getting things moving. ~ Contact for more information.

rose Update from the Dulverton, South West England self-inquiry group:
We are meeting online weekly and hope to begin weekly ‘actual reality' meetings sometime in April. ~ Please contact for more information.

email icon crystal 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.
We had two new folks join in February, resulting in two men's groups with 8 participants in each. They (the weekly exchanges, not the participants :-) 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. We're currently trying to keep it to each of us asking just one question to each participant--switching from a shotgun to a rifle approach. 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.

   TAT Press publishes three of Art's books: Solid Ground of Being: A Personal Story of the Impersonal, Beyond Relativity: Transcending the Split Between Knower & Known and Sense of Self: The Source of All Existential Suffering?

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.

Update from the newly listed GMT Support Group for Seekers:
We meet every Sunday gmt 17.30, live on Google Meet. Rapport and confrontation, talk and exchange. Someone mostly brings a theme, like a text, poem or whatever to set the mood. Then 10 minutes of silent rapport after which everyone gets their turn on the "hot seat" for 10-15 minutes—the group listens to what the person has to say about the theme then asks friendly questions—depending on how many participants we are. The questioning is aimed at providing material for self-inquiry. There have been sessions in which we just chatted, but that is more the exception. ~ 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.

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.

   See the 2020/11/28 post: Four-day isolation retreat at TAT Center, with photos and YouTube clips.

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 meets by Zoom every Monday from 6-8 PM EST. The link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3098361863?pwd=anY5OFlMT0pNMld6VXJDb0Z2SjY0UT09. For those joining by phone, the number is +1 929 205 6099 US (New York), with Meeting ID: 309 836 1863, and Passcode: 895478. More details, as well as our weekly discussion topics, are available on our MeetUp page (link above) and via email at .

Update for the Online Self-Inquiry Book Club:
Our current book is Richard Rose's Psychology of the Observer: The Path to Reality Through the Self by John Kent. Chapter 3: Introduction to the Albigen System is the June 6th topic, and chapter 4: Further Basic Principles is the June 20th topic. ~ For more information on book club participation, see the meeting website (link above). TAT Forum readers are welcome to drop in any time.

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. Now meeting at 7:30 pm EST (previously at 7 pm), 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:
=> Book discussion of Be As You Are Ramana Maharshi dialogues: Richard Grizinski leads the Monday study group, continuing on May 31 with Ch7: "Surrender"; Jun 14, Ch8: "Guru"; and Jun 28, Ch9: "Sat-sanga." Contact selfinquirer (link below) to receive a Zoom invitation.
=> Online group confrontation and individual contributions every Wednesday, 8:00 pm via Zoom:
- Wed, May 26: Pgh participant Liora will present an unusual and challenging agenda: "Pick a page, any page..." Several "spiritual books" will be brought, you pick a book, name a page at random, and after it's read aloud, determine how you relate to it.
- Wed, Jun 2: Anima, monitor of the the Women's Online Confrontation Group, of the local Houston Group, and regular participant in the Monday evening Online Video Group, will host a discussion and confrontation: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
- Wed, Jun 9: Tara, who biweekly monitors the Monday evening Online Video Group, will be coming off a sabbatical and will be our guide.
- Wed, Jun 16: Can you cultivate compassion, honesty, humility or any virtue, and how, or why not?
=> Sun, Jun 20, 3pm EST: Pittsburgh - joint meeting with the Dublin, Ireland group; Colm will host.
- Wed, Jun 23: "Doing Nothing vs. Being Nothing: The Case of the Forgotten Self" article by Art Ticknor.
- Wed, Jun 30: Mike R., founder of the Richmond Group, will host our meeting
~ 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:
Bob Fergeson spent a year as resident teacher before returning to Colorado in March. Mark Wintgens continues as our chief-seeker in residence and invaluable caretaker. He is looking forward to hosting retreats and meetings for local group members as well as all TAT seekers. And TAT is looking forward to the possibility of hosting the August 2021 TAT meeting at the Center. ~ Email for information about the TAT Center.

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.

   TAT Press publishes Shawn's Images of Essence: The Standing Now, which features his poems with photos by Bob Fergeson, The Celibate Seeker: An Exploration of Celibacy as a Modern Spiritual Practice, Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment, and Hydroglyphics: Reflections on the Sacred, which features his poems with photos by Phaedra Greenwood.

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.)

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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

Reformed Buddhists

say no to reincarnation


~ Thanks to Tara S. Original source unknown; found on funnycaptions.com, pinterest.com, and other sites.


A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race appear?" The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made." Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved." The confused girl returned to her mother and said, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?" The mother answered, "Well, dear, it is very simple: I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his."

cherries separator

~ Thanks to enlightened-spirituality.org.

Event Happens

event happens


~ Thanks to BH, who says: "Saw this tweet a few years ago and I am reminded of it often," and wonders: "Do you find yourself reacting to life this way? What is the alternative?"

See BH's commentary on his reaction to it in the Inspiration & Irritation section below. [Protagonist: the leading character in a drama. - Ed.]

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

Event Happens

(BH's commentary on the quote in the Humor section above.)

At first glance, this tweet is a joke about people on social media centering themselves when a current event happens that affects others. For example, "Wow I go on vacation to Mexico all the time, I hope everyone there is safe during this hurricane." Or the famous "if you disagree with me about [insert political issue], unfriend me right now!!"

The phrase "The Protagonist Of Reality" is a funny set of words, but the concept itself sticks with me at a deeper level. I have lived my life with the mostly subconscious feeling that I come first out of everyone. All occurrences in the world are understood by how they might affect me or my security or how they will make me feel. My feelings and my ideas about myself are always in the picture whether the event is bloodshed in another country or the misfortune of my neighbor. As a kid, I remember reading about 10 foot boa constrictor snakes and being terrified one might squeeze me to death, but then being relieved to find out that boa constrictors didn't live where I lived. Boa constrictors were dangerous, but now they were dangerous to someone else far away in Brazil, and wouldn't directly affect me. Which meant I could go to sleep without worrying one might be under my bed. It's probably just a biological survival mechanism, but even after I grew up that mentality remained.

When you look at it, the idea that anyone could be the main character of reality is absurd. So what the joke reminds me to do is to notice my self-important ideas and stories as they run their pre-set programs. A question I might ask when the Protagonist character is asserting itself is "which self is important?" In that moment, the self-importance momentum tends to stop when no solid self presents itself as the answer. When it works, that question makes the self-importance seem ridiculous.

In a conversation, TAT member Brett S. told me something that really resonated. He said he saw something about himself which was that "I am looking for myself in every experience." I really like that because it's a simple way of putting something substantial. As with the Protagonist of Reality mentality, everything that happens in my life has been interpreted through the filter of "how does this reflect back to me the stories I want to believe about myself?" In this paradigm, I'm not a camera that just happens to be taking in footage; instead the footage is being interpreted by an identity with a specific set of interests. Interests like:

  • How does this event show or not show me that I am the image I want to be?
  • If I'm good?
  • If I'm bad?
  • And what does it tell me about my value?
  • My meaning?

These are the implicit questions that come up through that lens because there is a desire for the individual to matter and find meaning in a cold universe. As far as I've found though, there will never be that type of meaning. And there will never be any solid or satisfying answer to those questions in the realm of individual identity. Making myself try—and ultimately fail—to satisfactorily answer those questions as they come up is a useful recurring reminder of that.

This tweet reminds me to notice two of my strongest subconscious self-belief patterns. 1) The belief pattern that I'm the Protagonist of Reality, the one main character of existence, that everything is defined by how it relates to me. And 2) the pattern of constantly looking for external referendums on my value with the (futile) goal of providing meaning to the small-s self. I have a feeling that through continued observation, I can jostle these deeply entrenched beliefs until they're less firm. I believe that seeing them clearly for what they are—i.e., beliefs—will be crucial to me knowing who/what I really am.

Insignificance & Importance

Thanks to Larry I.


Q: Does this "make sense" to you?


The August moon calls forth a sound,
Night's cricket-canopy surrounds
       The mind
And draws it to the outer bound'.
       (A fragile dome indeed, within,
       That can so easily dissolve
       In dream-like notes that hug the lawn
       Of Earth—yet fill the sky above.)

The summer night emits a light,
Horizon's fireflies in flight
The stars in sheer delight!
       (How thin a curtain—this midnight sky
       That does so gently sway
       With golden specks that dust the air
       In silent realms with thoughts astray.)

The season's growth evokes a mood,
The greening of the land,
       A Force
In motion rests upon the edge.
       (How picture-like this landscape is,
       That it does somehow seem
       As paper lining on the walls
       Of Nature's theatre of dreams.)

The midnight air transforms my thoughts,
As day's long steam in drops
From earth-bound skies—beginnings' end.
       (How liquid is the empty air,
       That it to endless cycles flows,
       Contained by unseen boundaries,
       This mind-in-bounds doth strain to know!)


This is a poem I wrote in my twenties while living at Richard Rose's house in Benwood. The occasion was an exceptional summer night and I was in an exceptionally self-reflective mood. Very late that night I walked South on Marshall Street to McMechen and headed west on Fourth Ave, across the bridge over the rail tracks and a few blocks downhill to the edge of the Ohio River, with a view across the water to tall hills in Ohio. Lightning bugs filled the air and reflected in the river. It was a magical scene with an intensity that made it seem beyond ordinary reality—indeed as if a veil over an underlying Infinite Reality that I could sense! Some 20 years later I saw directly behind that veil. – Bob Cergol

Crowd Behavior

crowd madness

Richard Rose, when talking about the laws governing spiritual seeking, would point out that they applied to other aspects of life as well. For example, he phrased the value of working together as the Contractor's Law: two people could build a house in fewer man-hours than a person working alone; and with conservation of lower forms of energy to transmute into a higher form, he referred to money as stored/conserved energy.

Bill Bernstein is a neurologist turned investment advisor. He is also the author of several books, including The Intelligent Asset Allocator, The Four Pillars of Investing, If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly, and his latest, The Delusions of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups.

The interviewers began by asking Bernstein about the most surprising aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic and then moved on to his latest book and whether popular delusions described the current financial markets:

Q: ... How would you advise someone to ward against the danger of being swept up in a mania or popular delusion? What should they ask themselves or do to prevent that?

Bernstein: I would ask them how empathetic they are. When they see someone around them happy, do they get happy? When they see someone around who is very sad, do they get sad along with them? And if you answer those two questions yes, then you really have to be on your guard, because that tells you that you're the kind of person who is going to feed off other people's investing emotions, which is death in investing. Now, it makes you a good human being. Empathetic people tend to be really good people, but they also tend to be not such good investors. And if you're the kind of person who is not so empathetic, that doesn't feed off other people's emotions, that probably doesn't make you a good human being, but it may make you a good investor and you should use that to your advantage. My favorite part of The Big Short, both the movie and the book, is that the people who made the money during the crisis were all people who had very low empathy quotients. And the funniest part of the book was reading the excuses that these people's wives made for them about their bad behavior. And I think that's a lesson. You have to ask yourself, how empathetic a person you are. And if you really are an empathetic person, you have to really be on your guard.


~ From a Morningstar interview of Bill Bernstein. Photo from Osheaga music Festival in Montreal, Québec, in 2011, thanks to Wikimedia Commons.


Q: Do you see any parallels between the delusion of crowds operating in financial markets and spiritual markets?

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 June TAT Forum is:

What did you get out of or take away from the April 10-11 TAT gathering

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

From Colm H:
I got a lot from the April TAT weekend; there were many things that stuck with me after it, some of the main ones ... First, I was in the group with Paul Rezendes and Bob Harwood; I got a lot from them and all the participants, my thanks to everyone in the group. Paul talked about 'openness' several times, remaining open to life, which definitely sank in for me and it has stuck with me since. Paul also mentioned, paraphrasing, 'you can only feel joy to the same degree of capability to which you can feel pain, or suffer'; that also stuck in my mind as an interesting point for reflection. Again, being open to what is. As a by the by I think it was a good idea to stay with the same group all weekend.

The other thing that I got a lot from was Eddie Traversa's talk and his recommendation of the book to help with dream work, Inner Work: Using Dreams & Active Imagination For Personal Growth. I have done a lot of work with dreams over the years; I seem to be drawn to it and have found it useful. I got the book after the retreat, read it and have been applying the guidance re: working with dreams, and I am finding it very useful and helpful.

From Peter O Doherty:
I did this retreat for two reasons. One was because a very dear friend and fellow seeker was giving a talk over the weekend and out of a sense of loyalty to her and as an act of support I wanted to attend the retreat.

Secondly because the retreat was titled In The Quiet... and after many years of working and being helped through my own story, I feel very drawn towards silence.

What I found most helpful was the breakout room I shared with Mike Gegenheimer in which Mike carried out a rapport session which I loved. It cemented for me the direction to focus attention. It feels the invitation to just Be, feels more attractive than ever.

From Chitra D:
The April gathering was filled with many wonderful, resonant pointers. I continue to contemplate them, and they have led to seeing some things that were unclear before. I will list 4 events that were particularly important to my search

1. "In the Quiet, Listen": The overall theme itself drew my attention. Silence, and observing in silence has become more important since the Gathering. Observing the world around me, how everything is just being itself. Observing the body-mind, how it works. Observing the ego—the "I am Chitra" belief—and its basic fallacy that it shapes and controls its own life.
And then dropping the observing and resting in the Quiet that is always there.

2. Lisa Fallon's directive to "Being in the present moment and accepting the present moment"—and thus letting go of the need to control—made me understand how surrender happens and led to some deep contemplations.

3. The small group discussions with Norio and Shawn Pethel were very helpful as we dug into the question "Why am I really here?" (from the David Scoma session). Norio and Shawn made me think about the twin techniques of Just Being and Self Inquiry, how each one addresses a different need in the seeker.

4. Shawn Nevins' reading of Bart Marshall's "Transmission," what it truly means, was most inspirational. I contemplate this statement often: God is in an eternal state of transmission, but as long as the ego thinks it's in control, reception can't occur.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to listen to, and spend time with, such kind and wonderful teachers—awakened beings as well as fellow-seekers. I sincerely hope that TAT will continue to offer these valuable gatherings—or at least some of them—online, since that makes them available to seekers like me who are unable to travel.

From Brett S:
One thing I took away from the April TAT meeting was something Bob C. said in a break-out session. It was about "retaining the identity of the real observer in various states of mind." I've had that phrase come back to me at certain times, most often as a "stop and listen" moment during a busy day. I'd like it to visit me more often, like for instance during an emotional conversation with my family or during a potentially stressful situation at work. In moments like those, do I forget that there's another way of looking, seeing the situation and, most importantly, myself (thoughts, reactions)? Am I lost in what's going on? Or can I retain the identity of an observer throughout various phases of life. That's what I'm looking into.

From Isaac H:
For me, the April TAT meeting was a time of connecting with others on the spiritual path, learning from them, finding inspiration and re-focusing on my highest goal. I especially liked the small cohort style in this meeting, and getting a little deeper with the same group of people. It was great to be able to connect with so many folks from different corners of the world, but it will be nice when these can be in person again!

From Miriam K:
Like most things in life it was a bit of a rollercoaster—it had its ups and downs or should I say I had my ups and downs!

From Art Ticknor:
I was most impressed with the presentations by and Q&A with seekers Rob Lloyd-Owen and Lisa Falon. And Eddie Traversa went "above and beyond" to do a Sunday afternoon closing session that was at 5 AM his time in Australia. Each TAT gathering seems to take on its own personality, and this was another inspiring one.

From Vince L:
David Scoma's talk on the purity of our intentions and the subsequent discussion in the breakout group turned out to be a troubling experience for me. In his talk Scoma challenged his listeners to be honest about their intent with regard to the questions he asked. These questions included whether we wanted to know the truth at any cost, what we hoped to gain from the pursuit of self-inquiry, and whether the participants were being honest in their responses.

During our breakout group some of the participants acknowledged that they could see where they were not fully honest in their responses regarding the purity of their intentions. But I told the breakout group that I felt that my responses were indeed, honest. After all, I've considered myself a seeker since my college days 40 plus years ago, and assumed that since Mr. Rose and other teachers I've studied stressed the importance of being honest with one's self in the spiritual search, that this was just “old hat” with me. However, one of the participants in the breakout group confronted me on whether "feeling" that my responses were honest accurately measured their validity. This participant's question and my response to it bothered me to such an extent that I e-mailed Mike Gegenheimer, one of the breakout group's facilitators. He responded by telling me that "…this may seem to question intuition: but it also questions feeling and the two may be sometimes quite different." Mike recommended two of Bob Cergol's writings, "Dear Soul-Seeker" and his Power Point entitled "Discernment." Bob's two writings elaborate upon what Scoma was driving at, and since the TAT gathering I have been reflecting upon it.

From Rob-In Leeds:
Two days of friendly, intense, welcoming participation and inquiry.

Insights, glimpses and understanding came from all of the folks in all the sessions. The presenters and participants were a mix of open-hearted seekers and finders. Living in Europe and unable to attend previous retreats prior to the first held virtually because of COVID in April 2020. Virtual Retreats are a "Gift".

Selected highlights include:

  1. Paired conversations, discussing possible personal biases (how could "I" have any?) and cognitive dissonance.
  2. Being deeply moved by Lisa Fallon's personal journey and her prompt that one might "Step into your life, not the idea of it!"
  3. Being skillfully led in - Structured Inquiry, by David Scoma. David creatively led participants into a method of inquiry allowing self observation from differing points of view:
    1. Performer on stage of Q&A.
    2. In the audience watching performance of Q&A.
    3. Observer in the theatre wings of the two viewpoints above. Overall, the observation aimed at a deepening self-inquiry into one's motivation and intent, and assessing one's level of self-honesty.
  4. Working with the same set of participants and facilitators for the three Small Group Intensives provided a consistent, safe intimate setting for deeper inquiry and sharing.
  5. Eddie Traversa's talk, provided a new to me way of how one could explore and calibrate, ones internal processes of thought, sensations and feelings in a way that allowed a safe exploration without feeling threatened or overwhelmed by anxiety or pain. Very practical.

The April 2021 Retreat was a form of closure; the last six virtual events helped this seeker through the heavy lockdowns in the UK and feel he moved closer to “home” and the TAT community across the world.

"In the Quiet", doors have opened and listening has occurred.

Thanks to all for an amazing twelve months. The June VR cannot come soon enough.

From Mary H:
Rereading through notes from the TAT retreat, so many gems and thought-provoking stuff. I don't remember any of it. Good to read it back. Hope it's filtering through anyway, ideas I'm not aware of ruminating away.

One thing was I discovered that my motivation was to get some clarity, certainty, to know something for sure. My small self likes to be right, and feels very shamed by making mistakes, so this is a self-interest motive surely.

It occurred to me one day after the retreat that it is this small self (me) that is on this path of self-enquiry so of course there is conflicting desires and motives, and sometimes fear. Overall self-enquiry has helped me understand some events in my life from a different perspective, understand somewhat better my way of operating, develop a better relationship with the truth, and thereby reduce some mental pain and conflict. So I do it because it helps me live a less painful, less confused life.

Then there was the bit about God. One person said her motive in the spiritual search was to look on the face of God. I don't think much about God or the Divine. My thinking about God is embedded in a Catholic childhood reverence and awe belief of a mystical, powerful and loving entity far away in the heavens. I can't equate God with the still and silent space that I sometimes experience in meditation. Inside me. Not the God I grew up with … that would be heresy.

A personal name for God or this Higher Self? I had never thought about that, because God was beyond my reach. I realise I have set-in-stone childhood beliefs about God that I have yet to examine. A personal name for God, Rumi called him friend; I have been thinking about this, but the name hasn't come to me yet.

From Chris B:
Over the last year or so there has been a growing intuition that this process of inquiry and noticing needs to be pared down to its simplest elements. My confirmation bias led me to find support for that intuition in this retreat.

In our small group the themes of openness and clarity came up repeatedly. These seemed like useful touchstones for how to watch what's going on in experience. That dovetailed nicely with Eddie Traversa's point that what's right in front of us is what we should work with.

I've identified social anxiety as a strong recurring theme of what's frequently arising right in front of me, so it has become my path. Maybe even more than the social anxiety itself I've started noticing the behaviors that grow up around it – avoiding people and situations, hiding parts of myself, suppressing what I have to say, and lying to avoid loss of face. This is the raw material of my ego patterns, my attachments, and my fear. I don't want to live in that closed loop anymore. Can I watch what is coming up in experience, even if it is uncomfortable or undesirable? Can the openness and clarity holding that experience be noticed? That simple watching doesn't bar me from working on the issue in a practical sense, but can I be honest about whatever is arising without flinching away from it?

If I aspire to be “awake” I should probably start with a willingness to be awake to what's happening right here now, and when I don't flinch away from what's showing up right in front of me I discover there's openness and clarity to meet it.

From Patrick K:
The TAT weekends I find are very insightful. There is a good mix of teachers available and thought-provoking presentations; it would be difficult for nothing to land or hit home. Going through my notes, these were some of my take-aways (good to go over the notes again in answering this question):

From Bill K:
For me, the weekend is an opportunity to be with a broad spectrum of serious seekers and finders—in short the best friends I have. And because I chose to be there, there's an obligation for me to be open, to take what I need and to respond to that which attracts. Therefore, my cryptic notes may not always be exactly what was said, but how I was affected.

Here are some notes on sessions with Art Ticknor:
- He referred to insights that are not stable; we have to get beyond experiences to find love.
- About a knowing that only recognizes itself.
- "Being" is more evident than any current self-definition; Being is what is at the core; existence is standing outside of Being; he asked one fellow if he thought he had conscious contact with Being, & suggested investigating possibilities in hypnopompic states [waking up slowly].
- He talked about there not being any absolute points of reference [in this relative dimension], and that the problem isn't in not finding absolute love, but in finding the obstacles.
- He questioned someone as to where they thought consciousness existed. And then, where is being.
- The term information bias = how we evaluate things based only on our understanding or past experiences.
- This is a crazy dimension—everything appears as it is not; a really screwy place where nothing is definite. - Quoted Oliver Sacks: "A trail is for one. But one has to make it." One has to look for a path. Intuition plays a big role. The path is negative. Making a path addresses the little things. It is not like how to get to London.
- What we can or cannot do are traps. Neither or both. We have beliefs that we are not even conscious of, so they are not tested yet.
- He asked whether we think we are body, mind or experiences.
- I remembered being very impressed by the answer by one gal, when he asked what she really wanted in life, and she said freedom from obstacles to love.

From Dan G:
The main thing is at this point I've got to be overcomplicating. Too many people wake up for this to be complicated. That I don't know anything absolute or more real than this experience and drama, is not because I've failed to grasp an intellectual point or very fine distinction. It's not some idea that I need to get. I don't know what it is, but simplifying seems like a possible path.

Next Month

The Reader Commentary question for the July TAT Forum is:

What's your view of intuition?

See this month's Convictions & Concerns section for an essay on Doubting Intuition. Please your responses by the 25th of June 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?

Other Reader Feedback

From an Anonymous Seeker, regarding the article "Becoming Conscious of Awareness" in the 2021 May TAT Forum:

Mario P's article was full of inspiration and clarity. I read it several times over.

Each time I've had a sliver of a sense of the Greater Awareness, I've walked away with renewed hope of the possibility of finding/becoming the Absolute, which further feeds that vector. Reading Mario's account gave me that same sense of hope, and perhaps it did the same for other seekers, too. Thank you for sharing, Mario. May your quest culminate with success soon! I'll be sure to share anything I can in the same vein.

From Rob-In Leeds, also referencing Becoming Conscious of Awareness" in the 2021 May TAT Forum:

Mario P.'s sharing of his convictions, disclaimers, and description of his perceived encounter with Awareness and Attention, was inspirational and connected many dots here on the search jigsaw, for the puzzle “without a box lid”. Mario pointed at the valuable “1-2-3 steps” in Art Ticknor's 2004 Forum article entitled “Critical Path to Nirvana,” which strongly overlapped with recent reading of Douglas Harding's Science of the First Person, and personal investigations with the whole range of Harding's experiments at www.headless.org.

So the steps 1-2-3 really hit home. First, intuit that all answers are within. And then the "two-punch-knockout": see what you're looking out from, and accept the implications. Accepting the implications might take a few instances of seeing it, writes Art. Thanks to Mario for: (1) the new to me “glimpses” and helping connect some more dots; (2) taking the time to share his experiences with others beyond his breakout group; and (3) providing inspiration to continue the search to find the “knower”, or “what is looking” maybe, or expressed by Art T. as seeing what you're looking out from.

From Gus R., in response to "Q: Have you seen evidence of an additive bias in your quest for solving the identity problem?" following the Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy item in last month's TAT Forum

There is a magic to subtraction that this article could never address.

In the book Magic, White and Black: The Science of Finite and Infinite Life by Franz Hartmann, M.D., a book R. Rose considered invaluable for the seeker, creation is a form of transformation of that which we once believed to be our self. But, as Rose placed in the preface of his own book Psychology of the Observer, humanity has forgotten the original implant of "curiosity about his Designer and projected phantoms of false hope and monsters of desire" instead. Transformation due to our curiosity of God was hijacked by those evils.

While projecting, inventing or even imagining, humanity on the whole has not realized how to use that gift of the ability to create except as a means to benefit the self, and usually as a means to accumulate, obtain or add.

We are a society driven to tangible results. "That I have something to gain" is preferred to "you have nothing to show," which in turn is better than "ending with less than you started with." The obsession with more may be a hangover from primitive times when physical survival meant accumulating when hunting and gathering was good. And over the centuries physical survival evolved into ego affirmation also thru accumulation, an additive process to affirm, to gain or insure its existence.

Although evolution has seen the game of human survival change substantially over time, humanity has put the illusory spin on it, to become predominantly ego survival. Come to think of it, ego could never have anything to gain from any process of subtraction.

From Don A., also referencing Becoming Conscious of Awareness" in the 2021 May TAT Forum:

How could I critique another person's experience? How could I comment on another's spiritual inspirations, except as to what I can relate, and to what I do not?

Rose said not to judge another ... until you could "walk a mile in their moccasins." I think he meant not to make-up a story about what I think of another person, setting the bar really high for what I might know. But there is something I can commit to, and that is to what I may resonate with. Unfortunately, the term "resonate" may be very important for me, but is terribly over-used within spiritual circles as a way, I think, to avoid the taboo of saying the word "thinking" when trying to understand someone. I found inspiration for using this term from William Samuel, who suggested we be not only alert to little glimpses and insights throughout our day, but to also write them down to bestow them with value and credence in order to encourage more in the future. Hence, for me they have evolved as guidance, I know not from where or how, but if I am receptive and that my intentions are right, who knows what influences they can be or where they can lead, these little daily tidbits regardless how they may present themselves. I'm reminded of a phrase from W.T. Murray that "providence moves in," but only based upon my intentions.

Mario related the best he could about his experience, no doubt. But I have to ask why? Furthermore, although I'll claim that I resonated with it, exactly what did I resonate with? And what in me resonates?

I can only treat resonance as one of the best of my better gifts for perceiving others. Sometimes it bends my attention as a little emotion, or just a glimmer of familiarity, other times a more visceral gut-like feeling. But this resonance seems to be an affinity for something akin or known, if not same-ness. And this begs the question whether whatever perceived is already here, and two things similar, like tuning forks tuned to the same note, may even "talk" to each other. Maybe guidance is nothing more than drawing attention to whatever is already here. "There's nothing new under the sun," and maybe everything we search for is already in here as well.

I relate to Mario; I don't understand what he experienced, but I relate to him. Maybe that's 90% of that mile to another person. And then again, maybe there isn't anything at all to relate to, out there.

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?

"The Bimaran Casket is a small, gold reliquary which bears the earliest datable representation of the Buddha in human form. Earlier portrays of the Buddha took the form of symbols, such as footprints, a dharma wheel, or an empty throne shaded by a parasol. The reliquary was discovered with coins of the 1st century AD in one of the many Buddhist stupas scattered across the valleys and foothills of eastern Afghanistan south of the Hindu Kush, and is now on permanent display in the Sir Joseph E. Hotung Gallery for China and South Asia at the British Museum." From The Bimaran Casket: Representing the Buddha in Human Form.

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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.

Quotes & Notes
A dozen RR quotes and notes on action, by Paul Constant

“The proper path is somewhere between hope and hopelessness.”


“We must do something daily to remind ourselves of the spiritual path.”


“Commitment must take in all possibilities, and we must be ready to face them. Carefully think it out.”


“Letting it happen will only work so long. We must have intricate scheduling and organization.”


A few actions that may help clear the mind: vegetarianism, fasting, isolation, celibacy.


It is important to write, to constantly keep a log on the daily forces of adversity. It is also important to write about dreams.


To improve intuition, make an attempt to read minds. For example, “read” people when first meeting them, or guess at a friend's thoughts, then re-check those guesses over a period of time.


“Work for the battle alone, not the dream. It's all you know for sure.”


“A man runs many problems through the computer [i.e., the mind] throughout the day. If he is thinking about taking the garbage outside, even this small problem is in the back of his mind. How many of these small daily problems do we have?” If we are going to get anywhere spiritually, we need to set aside time, perhaps an hour a day, to think of nothing but the spiritual problem at hand. All other problems are ultimately irrelevant.


“The greatest moving emotion in the human race is nostalgia, and nostalgia may be one of the first steps towards a direct mind experience.”


“To achieve success, a success-oriented attitude is needed, a ways-and-means plan must be devised to achieve goals, and you must have the urgent sense of getting it done now.”


“Don't read past an inspiration point. Dwell on it a while.”


See the Jan. 2007 TAT Forum for a couple of dozen more.

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

June 2021:

  • The August TAT meeting will be live at the TAT Center.
  • Fundraising goal for 2021:
    • Repayment of short-term loans totaling $37,500
    • Repairs to HVAC system: $4,000
    • We've raised $530 (1.3%) of our goal, so we have a long way to go and mid-year is upon us. Please consider a donation.
  • Projects nearing completion for 2021:
    • Finishing the interior of the meeting room in preparation for holding our first TAT meeting at the Center

expanded meeting room exterior finished


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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