TAT's November 2019 Spiritual Retreat
Closing Doors

Friday through Sunday
November 1-3, 2019
at the Claymont Society Mansion, WV

Closing Doors: TAT Spiritual Retreat Weekend, November 2019 Closing Doors

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting."
~ Wordsworth

Whenever you are traveling in what I call the desert without any railroad tracks—you have no trail to go by—you have to have some beacon light, something to guide you. Logic will not do it; your faith alone will not do it; but intuition will. It will take you through the abstract realms.

Any system that pretends to take you into becoming has to have some mechanism for facilitating your skill in becoming—the necessary skill—and that skill involves intuition. You can't argue it out logically, this is the whole thing.

So once you hear it—it amounts to the business of closing doors. The human mind is like this room, and if they’re pounding on a piano next door, or the sirens are singing outside that window, you’re going to be distracted, and your computer’s not going to work—because all this stuff is continually going to be injecting itself into your problem. So the secret of course is closing doors.

~ From "Laws, Yardsticks, Exaltations" Ohio State University, 1974 public talk by Richard Rose

Seeker-led discussions

Breakout Q&A sessions

Interactive presentations by seekers

Panel Q&A

Meet our session leaders:

  Anima Pundeer: Right Practice

Anima is highlighted in the documentary film Meetings with Remarkable Women. She is a super busy mother of two who lives with her family in Houston, Texas. When she has spare moments, she weeds her vegetable patch.

  Bob Cergol: If You Want to Know "Who/What Am I?," then you have to look at yourself! You have to see yourelf!

 Bob Cergol - Bob Cergol was 19 when he met Richard Rose in 1972 and soon after attended the April 1973 meeting at Rose's house in Benwood, WV where TAT was conceived as an organization. He lived with Rose at his house in Benwood, WV, on Rose's farm, and in the local area on and off over many years. Twenty years later, after living in isolation for a year in a cabin he built on Rose's farm, and feeling his spiritual path had run its course, he moved away to pursue a secular life. He married and started a family, but soon gravitated back to the path, participating in group work with other TAT members. That group work led to a series of events that triggered a spiritual realization that for Bob was an absolute, and final answer to the existential questions he had been asking for all those years.

Over the past decade, Bob has delivered a number of poignant presentations during TAT events and has authored numerous TAT Forum essays that were ultimately published in Beyond Mind, Beyond Death, a TAT Foundation Press book. Listen to his story in a podcast interview on SpiritualTeachers.org.

  Art Ticknor: What Do You Long for With All Your Heart?

Art Ticknor worked first hand with numerous psychological and philosophical systems during years of intensive research. Twenty-six years of effort toward self-definition paid off in 2004, when the final nail was driven into the ego's coffin during an intense Realization. Art is the author of the books Beyond Relativity and Solid Ground of Being, invaluable guides on the quest for self knowledge.

Art currently lives the life of la dolce far niente and is involved in the Gainsville Florida-based Philosophical Self-Inquiry Discussion Group. For more information, visit Self-Discovery Portal.

Other session leaders:

Folks participating in a 5-day retreat with three leaders preceding the TAT weekend will form three teams to organize and manage three sessions for the TAT weekend.

The Friday evening session will be a get-acquainted session with interactive discussions on getting the most benefit from the weekend.

The Saturday evening session will focus on interactive discussion of selected TAT teachings and presentation of opinions about them.

The Sunday morning session will be a panel Q&A session with questions from everyone dropped into a "hat" during the weekend, pulled at random by a moderator. The panel will consist of a selection of seekers and finders. The room will be arranged into a large circle of chairs. Look for a lively interchange.

Six of the pre-TAT retreat participants have volunteered to lead 15-minute sessions that will begin with a short presentation followed by Q&A. These will be scattered, two at a time, before each of the workshop sessions on Saturday. An example of the topics chosen by the volunteers: "What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?" Expect some provocative material.

  Additionally, during the weekend there will be a Silent Rapport Sitting and Group Meditation Sessions.

The registration deadline for TAT's November Spiritual Retreat Weekend is Sunday, October 27th.

Weekend Schedule

TAT November 2019 Spiritual Retreat Weekend Banner - Closing Doors

Friday, November 1, 2019

  5:00 to 7:30 PM - Set-up and arrivals

  7:30 to 9:00 PM - Welcome and evening interactive session
Our Friday evening session will ease everyone into the weekend through this special opportunity to connect with others and become acquainted in small groups.

  9:00 PM to ? - Informal conversation

Saturday, November 2, 2019

  8:00 to 8:30 AM - Optional silent group meditation

  8:30 to 10:00 AM - Potluck breakfast and open discussion

  10:00 to 10:15 AM - Welcome and introductions

  10:15 to 10:30 AM - Seeker presentation #1

  10:30 to 10:45 AM - Seeker presentation #2

  10:45 to 11:00 AM - Splitting into three groups. The groups will rotate through each of three breakout sessions during the day. Session titles and presenters:

 Right Practice by Anima Pundeer
I was very sure that the only way to Realization was to perfect my meditation. I would be able to blank my mind, sit in a certain posture for hours, have a laser focus on my breath while repeating a mantra; Visualization also looked appealing which I tried. However, what I found was questioning and learning to think for myself was most effective.

What do you think is the right practice for you?

 If You Want to Know "Who/What Am I?," then you have to look at yourself! You have to see yourelf! by Bob Cergol
You could look at your physical reflection in a mirror, but that's probably not very productive ... so what should be looked at is:

• Look at your own life!!!
• What you do and what you did.
• How you feel and what you felt.
• How you behave and how you behaved.
• How you react and how you reacted.
• What you think, and what you thought (this one is very tricky....).

In essence: Look at your experience. What experiences should be looked at? Well not that time at your graduation party when everyone was singing your praises with "For he's a jolly good fellow..."—but at things that bothered you and bother you still! That was my spiritual path—period—and I see it clearly at the center of pretty much every other person’s story who found something, whether they themselves explain it that way or not.

 What Do You Long For With All Your Heart? by Art Ticknor
Let's talk about life goals. We're here for a limited amount of time. Do you want to become all that you may be?

Do you want to know something for sure? If so, then you need to find an absolute point of reference—which may be what you are at the core of your being.

Are you holding some doors shut that need to be opened and leaving some doors open that need to be shut?

  11:00 AM to Noon - Breakout session #1. Groups go to respective sessions.

  Noon to 1:30 PM - Potluck lunch and open discussion

  1:30 to 1:45 PM - Seeker presentation #3

  1:45 to 2:00 PM - Seeker presentation #4

  2:00 to 3:00 PM - Breakout session #2. Groups rotate to new sessions.

  3:00 to 4:00 PM - Free time, with optional movement sessions

  4:00 to 4:15 PM - Seeker presentation #5

  4:15 to 4:30 PM - Seeker presentation #6

  4:30 to 5:30 PM - Breakout session #3. Groups rotate to final sessions.

  5:30 to 7:00 PM - Potluck dinner and open discussion

  7:00 to 8:15 PM - TAT teachings. Small group discussions and reporting.

  8:15 to 8:30 PM - Break

  8:30 to 9:00 PM - Silent rapport sitting. A group rapport session with a particular spirit of friendship.

  9:00 PM to ? - Informal conversation

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Forgotten Tree

  8:00 to 8:30 AM - Optional silent group meditation

  8:30 to 10:00 AM - Potluck breakfast and open discussion

  10:00 to 11:00 AM - Panel Q&A

  11:00 to 11:30 AM - Break / check out of mansion rooms

  11:30 AM to Noon - Meeting wrap-up and feedback for future TAT events

  Noon to 1:30 PM - Potluck lunch and open discussion

  1:30 PM - Clean up and adjourn

Location, Facilities, and Lodging

Claymont Mansion

The event is being held at the Claymont Society Mansion near Charles Town in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. The mansion's historical ambience mixes perfectly with 350 private acres of forests and farmland. Sleeping accommodations include a mixture of single and double beds in 12 rooms and 6 shared bathrooms. Claymont provides towels and bed linens for overnight guests (guests make and strip their own beds). During the registration process, we will do our best to accommodate room preferences, but all mansion guests should expect to share sleeping quarters and bathrooms with other participants. On-site camping is available in the lawn area near the mansion.

The Claymont Society Mansion is located at 577 Claymont Mansion Road, Charles Town, WV 25414 [GPS coordinates: N39.26740, W77.90390]. Claymont is 50 miles/60 minutes from the Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C. Travel directions to Claymont Mansion.



The November Spiritual Retreat fees per person for TAT members are as follows:

The non-member fees per person are:

Full-time students should contact for information on discounted registration fees.

American Express Discover MasterCard VisaUse PayPal to pay with these credit cards (PayPal account not necessary). PayPal is "fast, free and secure" and allows payment by credit card or electronic withdrawal from a bank account. Checks (in U.S. dollars, drawn on a U.S. bank) or money orders (domestic only) made payable to the TAT Foundation are also accepted if received by the registration deadline.

Support TAT by becoming a Regular, Sustaining, or Lifetime Member.
Visit our
membership page for information about TAT memberships.

Registration Fees*

Please enter your name and email address in the boxes below and select your meal preference from the drop-down list:



Vegetarian meals?

From the drop-down list below, select the registration fee that applies to you. Select "no lodging" if you will either camp on site or arrange off-site lodging on your own.


Note: If cost is a serious issue that will make or break your attendance, please let us know. We do not want someone to refrain from attending for reasons of cost.

2019 TAT Membership - $40*

Become a TAT member for $40 and register at the discounted member prices. Or, renew your annual membership. See details on our membership page.

* The TAT Foundation hosts four public events each year. Registration fees vary depending on the event location. Because we are an all-volunteer organization, please allow up to 5 business days before receiving confirmation of your payment. See our membership overview or email if you have questions about registration fees.

Space is limited, so registration is required. The deadline for registration is Sunday, October 27th. Upon receipt of your registration, you will receive information on the location, facilities, and meals. You may cancel your registration on or before October 27th and receive a refund, minus the PayPal transaction fee. Cancellations after October 27th will not be refunded. Because ADA-compliant facilities are limited, persons with a disability should contact before registering.



Meals are potluck style for Saturday and Sunday continental breakfasts, Saturday and Sunday lunches, and Saturday dinner. We ask that each event participant bring 2 items, totaling about $15. A good rule of thumb is to bring enough food to serve 7 people with each item. All meals are included for non-members. Sorry, we cannot reduce fees for those who prefer to bring their own food. TAT will provide coffee and tea.


Off-Site Lodging

For those who register using the alternative (off-site) lodging option, the following overnight accommodations are located near the Claymont Society Mansion:

For more information...

TAT Foundation
P.O. Box 873
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-8873
(336) 933-0295

What is the TAT Foundation?

A group encouraging people to think rather than believe. A group determined to help people find ways and means to answer their deepest philosophical questions. A gathering of friends who are not afraid to be honest with one another. An island of hope and sanity (or at least the hope for sanity!). Last, but not least, TAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization chartered in 1973.


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