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

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Convictions & Concerns

TAT members share their personal convictions and/or concerns

Notes on Between-ness

Often overlooked in Richard Rose’s writings is the concept and practice of Between-ness—that feeling one may associate with rapport, reflective meditation or prayer, intuition or deep insight. It arises at many points in life, often spontaneously, revealing something directly to the mind, beyond thought. In retrospect, it is key. It is a condition that all the efforts on the path seek to bring about.

What conditions seemingly make Between-ness more likely? Richard Rose dedicated an entire book to the topic, Energy Transmutation, Between-ness and Transmission. The order of the topics in the title is intentional and meaningful. Bart Marshall articulated four factors that facilitate Between-ness in his paper, “Ultimate Between-ness.” These and others’ writings on the topic are more articulate and complete than this note.

Reflecting on my own search, commonalities appear present, but not a formula, where Between-ness has manifested spontaneously. Read this with the knowledge that there is an element of personal experimentation and reflection by the reader upon their own search to identify the feeling referred to as Between-ness.

One common element has been a circumstance presenting an unsolvable question of truly intense personal interest (a philosophical or personal question). This turns the vector of attention toward truth. And to that end, the question was addressed by an application of dynamic mental energy and thinking aimed at resolution of the unsolvable and was followed by an effort at intuition in the form of a rapport sitting.

To diverge for a moment about rapport sittings. Many seekers are familiar with rapport sittings, either from working with others who are acquainted with the teachings of Richard Rose or attending TAT Foundation meetings. Rapport sessions are silent meditations where one’s attention is not “here” focused upon one’s mind or thought or body, nor “there” focused outward or on another person, but “between” the two ... intuitively feeling for others, for rapport with their minds. Practicing this with friends and peers on the path can accelerate a development of the sense of intuition and Between-ness. A person can also sit in rapport with themselves, as in meditation. In my own experience, it has been enhanced among friends.

The common elements of friendship which enhance rapport sittings are the complete openness and trust with others sitting in rapport. Thus, if seekers are new acquaintances and are willing, sitting with the attitude of openness and trust will facilitate rapport. In some cases, as noted above, a dynamic discussion of a question may occur in advance of rapport, or an inspirational reading may facilitate a mood conducive to rapport.

Further, I have observed several other common elements are helpful. Personal commitments by those sitting in rapport are helpful, such as a commitment to the Truth for its own sake; an openness to accept the Truth (whatever it may be) at all costs; and living a life of energy conservation.

These commonalities broadly reflect Bart Marshall’s discussion of Intent and Confidence, Gratitude, and Indifference in his paper, “Ultimate Between-ness.” And, the commonalities observed above in my own search which foster Between-ness result from personal experience grounded on the teachings of Richard Rose, including the book mentioned above, Energy Transmutation, Between-ness and Transmission, and rapport sittings with Richard Rose and others over the years.

So, what value for the reader does this have for the reader’s own practice?

In retrospect, chance brought these elements together; however, application of intense mental inquiry on a seemingly unsolvable problem of intense personal interest, followed (sometimes immediately) by a simple effort at rapport among trusted friends, the magic of Between-ness has revealed Truth.

And equally by chance, the exercise of intuition, with the intent to feel for the space “between” which is neither “here” nor “there,” but between us in rapport, the magic of Between-ness has opened the mind to Grace and revealed Truth.

When you sense Between-ness arises, simply trust the feeling without reservation. And without further thought. Utterly abandon thought and fully trust the feeling…. It is in that creative space “between” that deep rapport, intuition and deep insight arise.

And, further, it is possible, an act of Grace may befall you, in “the twilight of the narrow crevice” Rose describes in his poem, “Friendship.” A doorway may crack open through which nothing passes to what IS.

If you find yourself frustrated in the search for Truth, an experiment of sorts may be of value. Combine your capacity to both discern by analysis and feel for answers. You are the instrument of your search. And if you sincerely seek answers with a foot on each path of analysis and feeling, you may find yourself in a condition of Between-ness. The answer to the question may be neither here nor there, nor in thought nor in feeling … through Between-ness.

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~ Thanks to Mike Gegenheimer. Would you like to share your impressions or questions with other TAT Forum readers? Please email your comments to the .

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


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 July 2021 TAT Forum.


Inspiration & Irritation

Irritation moves us; inspiration provides a direction

What Do You Want to Become? Q&A

Follow-up questions and answers to Bob Cergol's What Do You Want to Become? presentation at the November 2020 TAT gathering.

Q: You talk about the seeker "becoming" something rather than finding or seeing. What is the difference?

I don’t know where or when I talked about that, not in the writing I sent you—the “rather than” part makes no sense. Anyway, the notion of becoming is paradoxical. I once gave a talk at the community building in WV on becoming, and in that talk I mentioned the path was more rightfully described as un-becoming. You can’t become that which you essentially already are, but the dreamer in the dream can dream that he is a seeker, and by acting accordingly, that character becomes a seeker, and in that seeking, finding entails letting go of attachments, letting them drop away or be stripped away, taken from you—by virtue of seeing clearly. Action impacts the attention. The attention follows it. Action generates thoughts. The attention follows. “Yourself” is revealed and on full display for observation—if you are observing … and in such observing, the attachment is eventually broken. The view is not the viewer…. The observed you is understood as "not you." This is where the battle of self-affirmation vs. -diminishment plays out. A momentum of such observation is needed, in order to counter the self-preservation programming…. Becoming is what you spend your life trying to do—to preserve and affirm self-image, personal growth, etc. Going within entails dropping all of that and seeing what remains when nothing of that “becoming” is left. It is a paradox!

Q: You stated: "Sustained self-inquiry and becoming an inward vector of the attention will work." There are teachings that say that as humans we can't "do" anything, so why do you say this will "work"? [Referring to page 2 of the talk transcript.]

How is doing nothing but continuing dreaming going to wake you up? Are you going to hold your head in pretence that you are “seeing the actual” because you’re pretending that you stopped thinking? If you want to see yourself, clearly, you must first of all look at yourself. What are you looking at?!!! Are you watching the movie-dream? Or are you watching the dreamer? Both Marharshi and Nisargadatta advised inquiring: “Who am I?” and “Follow the I-am.” How is that done? By watching the dream? By pretending to not watch the dream by “shutting your eyes” (stopping thoughts … uh huh….) No, by actually seeing yourself. And a really good way to see the relative you more clearly is to see it in action. Diminishing experiences give you the opportunity to directly look into the “I-Am”—and from where does it spring—because diminishing experiences place "you" in jeopardy. Oh, Lordy—I’m going to die—where does that leave me?! I see no other path than an inward vector of the attention. It is the only factor that is going to allow fortuitous serendipity to penetrate ego—so attachment to ego can die—as it should.

Q: You stated: "... fulfillment of the desires that have been imposed upon you." Why do you imply desires are imposed upon us, and by whom? [pages 2-4]

Name one desire you chose to have. In the dream, desires are imposed by nature and conditioning. Behind the dream, the under-current of the dream, the desire to wake comes from essence—true being, your Source.

Q: You stated: "Awareness is what enlivens and animates the body-mind self. Awareness is the candlelight inside the jack-o-lantern." Can you explain this metaphor? [page 4]

That’s what the metaphor was for! Oh dear…. Self-consciousness is an illusion. Awareness is the ground. Put it in a bottle, add water, shake, and now you have an ego experiencing movement—and then taking credit for it. From my perspective, awareness pervades even a rock. The entire visible universe is one body, alive and enlivened by Awareness.

Q: Although you quote Nisargadatta, he teaches "Not this, not this" in that we are not the body not our thoughts or our feelings. Yet you seem to say that we need to focus on these. Explain. [page 6]

I have never said anywhere the path is one of focusing on thoughts. I have repeatedly said over many years in many talks, and recounting of my own path, that thoughts are not to be trusted. Thoughts and emotions are reactive and form part of the picture that reflects the dream character you are in the dream. I just think it’s a gross over-simplification to say “just stop thinking and true Self will be revealed.” When you [imagine!] that you stop thinking, all that is happening is a pause on a single thought, while ego taps his foot patiently waiting for the pathetic ruse to end.

Q: Explain: "From a deeper perspective, the overarching theme of life reflected in the mirror is one of Love and Selflessness…. Those countless stories are tales of love, and are what God sees when he holds up a mirror to see what he (Love) looks like." [page 8]

No time to write a poem just now….

Q: You described: "RE-TRAVERSING the projected ray of the relative self from the Absolute—that unfolded by an inward focus of the attention." Is this what someone does? Is this what happened to you? [page 9]

No, of course this is not "doing." This is what happens in the process of dying. It takes humans (and trees) a very long time to die. They are all about trying to live. And living involves building an identity—itself nothing more than a by-product of a body, with sensory machinery for capturing experience—which must be happening to someone … ergo the experiencer! I think therefore I am. I feel therefore I exist. WHO AND WHAT EXISTS?! By what power? Like the paradox of becoming vs. un-becoming, the idea of a projected ray, and moving forward or backward on it is paradoxical. How do you re-traverse a light beam that has no photons and does not travel and so has no speed or dimension. Nevertheless the dream character is an echo or a reflection and has the capacity to see into that light beam.

Q: Regarding the previous quotation, you said, "That focus is compelled by desires, and specifically by the failure to satisfy desires—most especially the failure to satisfy your most basic desire—to preserve yourself—requiring you to define, affirm, and magnify yourself. That’s how you prove to yourself that you are what you think you are." Explain. [page 9]

Acceptance of death. You cannot see what you are not willing to accept. Through failure you reach acceptance. The trick is keeping hope long enough to establish the inward vector. Rose said the head must fattened up before it is chopped off.

Q: You said: "The paradox is that it takes strong desire to build the momentum of looking that will lead you to acceptance of the basic root failure, from to trying to define yourself externally, to your true Self." It seems that you are saying that we have to try hard, only to find that we fail at trying hard? [page 9]

See #8.

Q: You said: "Can you abandon your profit-motivated ‘spiritual techniques,’ and just look at yourself?" So is there a technique? [page 10]

Certainly. But not a mechanistic recipe or a procedure. The technique is to ask the question: Who and What am I? And to make answering that question the center of gravity in your life. All the details are for you to work out. As Buddha said: Work out your own salvation—with diligence.

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

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

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