Discernment

TAT 2015 November Gathering

Friday through Sunday, November 20-22

Discernment

Discernment.

Discernment means separating the wheat from the chaff, the more true from the less true.

In spiritual work, discernment relates to the truth of being: Who or what are we at the core of our beingness? In religious terms we might say that the goal is becoming one with God or All. In psychological terms we might call it self-realization or -recognition.

The mind is our tool, our worksite, and our playground in the search for Truth. We capitalize truth to indicate that what we’re looking for needs to provide an absolute answer to our core identity in order to be fully satisfying. Of course there’s no way to know if that’s possible unless we “find it,” “go there,” or “become it” (highly paradoxical implications).

“If the Truth is within us, and we do not see it, it can only be that we see through the glass darkly,—at this stage of the game.” ~ Richard Rose, The Albigen Papers, from chapter 7, which is titled “Discernment.”

Meet our presenters:

  Anima Pundeer: Penny that hides the Sun. Discerning the Problem

Mumukshu, a Sanskrit word, is one who discerns the basic human problem of self-non-acceptance and seeks freedom from this. It is from this standpoint that Vedantic philosophy helps us start the inquiry. Neti-Neti – not this, not this – is a path of discernment which finally takes us to what IS.

Anima is a super busy mother of two. Lives in Houston Texas with her family. When she has spare moments, she weeds her vegetable patch.

In June of 2004, she had an experience where she realized her All-ness and One-ness… She finally knew Freedom. She feels immense gratitude for all the help and guidance she got from her fellow seekers. She feels she couldn’t have made this without her Guru and her friends … and the only way she feels she can help anyone is by sharing her own struggles and obstacles.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon…

  Bob Cergol: DISCERNMENT: Retaining the identity of the Real Observer in various states of mind

In the paper on Discernment in his book The Albigen Papers, Richard Rose lists the above phrase in a list of techniques that help us understand ourselves.

Have you ever said about someone, or just as likely, about yourself: I was lost in thought…. I was swept away…. I got caught up in the mood…. I was swayed by the crowd…. I don’t know what came over me!

You’ve wondered, marveled and puzzled over your observation that you disappear during nightly sleep. But what about the countless times throughout your waking day where the very same thing happens?!

This Friday evening session will attempt to set a tone for the weekend’s theme in the form of a guided meditation followed by whatever discussion spontaneously ensues.

Bob was 19 when he met Richard Rose and had a teacher-student relationship with him for the next 20 years, including living several years at Rose’s house and farm. At the end of that period, and shortly after getting married, his search culminated in a self-transcendent realization. Bob’s writings have appeared over many years in the TAT Forum, and in presentations on several of TAT’s conference DVDs. Bob and his wife have two girls, now both in college, and he works in the I.T. field.

  Bob Fergeson: Discerning a True Direction: Nostalgia as Our Inner GPS

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really want. It will not lead you astray.” ~ Rumi

For the interactive sessions, we’ll give personal examples of nostalgia, looking for clues as to how they help discern base feelings and moods from true longing. In preparation, participants are encouraged to remember glimpses of nostalgia, to share them with their fellows.

Bob is a Colorado based teacher, writer, and photographer. His work attempts to use the feeling of longing and nostalgia as a way within. He spends his time washing windows and hiking, as well as exploring our inner country with fellows from the Denver Self-Inquiry Group.

  Paul Constant: Absorbing Conflict

In this session, we’ll use the group’s energy to maximize our discernment of opposites. Through a combination of interactive discussion, silence, and full group exercises, we’ll attempt to cultivate something deeper and widen our perspectives. Paul will walk us through a few simple approaches that point us away from the world of paradox and toward what is.

Paul has been a TAT member since 1985. His fascinations and explorations are directed toward integrating body, mind, and Essence through rapport. Read his essays Friendship and Spiritual Rapport, or listen to the audio recording of his September 2015 presentation titled Softening Our Attachments and Becoming What Is (MP3 file; 1 hr, 12 min). Paul and his wife live in Pennsylvania. They were adopted by two kittens in 2013.

  Shawn Nevins: The Lying Mind

The Lying Mind – You know what you want. You know the truth. If so, then how, why and where does your discernment get mangled? Through exercises and discussion, we’ll get to the root of the lying mind.

Shawn “Fell onto the spiritual path in 1990,” had an enlightenment experience in 1999 and since then has enjoyed making films, writing and working with the TAT Foundation as well as his own small group in California. See his work at poetryinmotionfilms.com.

  Tess Hughes: Separating the wheat from the chaff; the Absolute from the relative

Tess credits the teachings of Richard Rose and The TAT Foundation with bringing her decades long seeking to a final resolution, the awakening to her True Nature. She loves to share this with other seekers.

Tess asks participants to have pen and paper at the ready for an exercise intended to get participants to catch and note their passing reactions and thoughts to presented stimuli, as a means of becoming discerning about their “within”.

The registration deadline for the November Gathering is Saturday, November 14th.

http://tatfoundation.org/nov/tat_november_gathering_2015.htm

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Freedom from the Teenager Ego

To enhance our probability of real spiritual growth, we need to get all the centers in our body/machine, the instinctive and moving mind, the emotional center, and the intellectual mind, all lit up and in working order. This brings us to maturity, or what’s known as good householder, so that we can stop living in the imagination and instead start dealing with what’s real. It’s easy in this day and age to get stuck in the teenager ego and refuse to accept responsibility or acknowledge the part of work in accomplishment. It’s necessary to learn to be capable of dealing with life head on, before we start thinking too much about enlightenment and a life with no resistance.

magical ship
magical ship

Richard Rose taught that we need to let go of the egos in the right order or else we risk becoming a functional idiot, useless in life, and to other people. If we remain immature too long, we risk having our minds become crystallized, fixed in an unreal belief system. It’s very painful to have to then break them up and start over to regain some resilience, a functional mind in good working order. It’s better to go through the pain of growing up and becoming an adult as an integral part of our spiritual path, rather than living in fantasy, waiting for our mythical spiritual ship to come in.

It’s the one thing that we can work on regardless; we can work on growing up into a mature man or woman, and therefore get used to the idea, in a practical manner, of what working on ourselves in a spiritual sense really entails.

This process of beginning work at our current level also takes us farther within, because we back out of the body, the hormones, and teenager dreams; and become older. Rose also said that he was trying to age a few young people. We can try and age ourselves; become wiser, more capable, more mature.

magical lights
magical lights

While we can’t force ourselves to surrender, or to be enlightened, we can work in terms of becoming more mature: at having a better mind, a wiser emotional center, and certainly we can get in shape physically. These are tasks which will develop a pattern of heading in the right direction, of not being afraid to work, of knowing what that really means rather than living in our head, imagining lights and magical powers and how everything will be handed to us because we’re special. This way, the way of the good householder, we’ve got something we can actually do; we can work on ourselves, every day.

Bob Fergeson

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Facebook Enlightenment

We post the latest quote by Adya or Ramana, proud of our apparent spirituality. We agree with the wise men’s words when they tell us all the wonderful things we seemingly see in ourselves. For we have had our hard knocks; now we know and agree with the wise men. We’ve become humble, experienced, and oh so clever.

contradictions
contradictions

We agree with other people’s memes, the beautiful photos, wonderful quotes, yet strangely enough, never see our own contradictions. We fail to see how we act against our own best interests. How we never really work for the spirit, but stay in a perpetual dance of supporting and glorifying the all mighty ‘ME’. That feeling of uniqueness, our specialness; that which keeps us different and separate from others. Though when the need arises, we agree with them, and hope they agree with us. We may by turns argue with them, even yell and scream, stomp our big feet, but this is all just to maintain that separateness, that uniqueness. To help them as they help us; by loving or hating each other in turn. We can’t see how we never really change. We simply spin in the same old pattern of routine, base desires and needs, and never move towards anything higher. That would require that we go against that separateness, that specialness. But no, we continue our lazy dance, bumping into the furniture, oblivious, only hearing the music of our own special song.

end of fun machine
end of fun machine

Sooner or later the fun machine will wear out and die. Then we’ll have to get a new one; the party will continue. The dance can go on, seemingly forever, with maybe some new awkward steps thrown in here and there. But never with the realization that we contradict ourselves with every move. That the one thing we need to get to the bottom of all this madness, is to go against that specialness, that uniqueness, and instead find the similarities between us, the common ground that lies ever within, covered by the noise and distraction of our song. To go against ourselves; not in agreement, but in wisdom. To go against the feeling of ‘me’. Not in contradiction, but as a quietness, an acceptance. To move into the silence where we find we’re all the same. And that the uniqueness, rather than being the thing that helps us, has actually been our greatest enemy.

Bob Fergeson

recurrence
recurrence

 

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The Paradoxical Loop

We must somehow acquire a quiescent mind in order to truly turn the head and go within. To initiate contact with the inner self, or higher centers, the mind must be capable of receiving from within, as opposed to its usual obsession with the unconscious projection of thought. Now, if we find we are not capable of a quiet mind, one that can discriminate within the inner realm, to receive intuition and insight, why not? What is bothering us? It is usually compensations based on our chief feature. Since we are largely unconscious of our chief trait or pattern, observing the compensations we have in place to deal with it may be our best bet. We may even think the compensations are themselves our chief feature, meaning we’re even further out from our center than we thought. We must deal with what our problem presently really is. We cannot afford to get lost in imagination, such as the realm of archetypes, or concept structures such as ‘oneness’ or ‘non-duality’.

Land of Paradox
Land of Paradox

If we can observe our compensations, our psychological habit patterns that keep us spinning in thought and obsession, and accept them, we can perhaps look beneath them and see their opposite, our chief feature. We do not want to fight and destroy them, or rationalize them away as meaningless. We must accept that too, if we are to be objective. We are not to blame or judge ourselves for any of this, but to bring it into consciousness and allow the higher power to do what it will.

 
Once we are blessed with a true understanding of how our mind keeps itself in charge through the compensations and chief feature, we open the possibility to find the quiet mind, what I call the listening attention. From here, we can go within; allow contact with higher centers. This itself is paradoxical, for we need the insight and intuition from higher centers to understand this, but how do we make contact until we do? Know that paradox is the sign you have reached the outer limits of the mind. From there, one must allow oneself to become; paradox yet again.

– Bob Fergeson

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Holding a Straight Line

“Zen is walk, don’t wobble.” – Richard Rose

People think they’re going against themselves, but what they’re going against is a made-up fantasy, a ‘self’ they keep handy in a box in their head. They say “I’m going against my ‘self’ “. They then pick some meaningless personality facet out of the box to work on, but they never work against themselves. That’s too close, and they’re too hooked into it; they are ‘it’. Separating from this ‘self’ is a tricky, painful business, and nothing to be taken lightly.

Say we have an insight and see a goal we would like to achieve, such as not being negative. As soon as we start to work towards it, resistance naturally comes up. This resistance, or second force, may start us second-guessing ourselves because we’re under the illusion that if we were truly on the path there will be no resistance; everything will be bliss and perfection. So as soon as resistance pops up, we say ‘oh my god, I’m going in the wrong direction, I need to turn and go around, this can’t be right!’. Thus, we get blocked, sidetracked. Then we start to second-guess the second-guessing and end up in a muddle. This is wobbling. Second-guessing and avoiding resistance keeps us from walking a straight line. It comes from a profound misunderstanding of the world and how things work. There’s resistance towards anything that involves changing; especially working against ourselves. The self that you’re trying to work against is you, and it will defend itself. It will defend itself because it doesn’t want to die, just as you don’t want to die. We will defend this ‘self’, for we have taken it to be us. This is the human dilemma.

Fog Lifting
Fog Lifting

So when you want to try spiritual work, and hear you need to go against the self, the ego, it will be difficult. At first it’s going to be hell. The only way to get to the other side, is to go through it, not to second-guess yourself and take the easy way out every time there’s resistance. The resistance means you’re headed in the right direction and need to hold a straight line.

Now this goes for the intuition too, you have to see where you’re fooling yourself. The path is not all bliss and ease, that’s not a good indicator. Ease and pleasure are indicators that you’re not going against yourself, that you just coasting, not moving. We have to go through what we fear and what’s hard for us. To work against our ‘selves’, that’s the point. Not to take it easy and go towards the magic, the rainbows, the imaginary bliss, dreaming everything’s going to be wonderful. Nothing changes then, it’s happening only in our heads.

Clearing View
Clearing View

Change is hard, change is death, death to the little ‘self’. To get to a higher place or state, you have to climb. You can’t keep turning back downhill simply because you’re out of breath and your legs hurt, and your ego isn’t being pumped up. You’ve got to keep going up. You may need to use switch backs and rest stops in order to keep from burning out too soon, but that doesn’t mean you stop and roll downhill, and then wonder what happened, why nothing has changed, why the view is still cloudy and close.

– rant by Bob Fergeson

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Pain as an Anchor

Anything is better than facing ourselves as we really are. Take pain. Why do we deliberately hurt ourselves and others by our actions, such as obsessions, addictions, self-centered behavior, if we didn’t need the distraction and identity that pain gives us?

I remember vividly the thought that would run through my head in the depths of alcoholism: that even if nothing was meaningful or important, that if no one cared or noticed, there was always pain.

This piece from R. M. Drake further illustrates this:

pain
pain

And the poem of Oscar Wilde, written while in prison, telling how we would rather kill that which we love , than turn and face the inner life within:

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.”

Why are we so afraid of facing ourselves, as we really are? Is it a feeling of fear? Are we that afraid of the unknown, that we would trade the discovery of ourselves, for familiarity in the form of pain?

The fear of  facing the unknown was described by a friend as the fear of falling into the black hole, and willing to do anything to stay orbiting on the event horizon, even if it means being anchored to a life of pain or distraction. This anchor holds us from the release of finding our True Self, which lies beyond the fear, beyond the opposites of pain and  pleasure.

Richard Rose wrote this wonderful poem to help us release the anchors, to give us a bit of hope in the face of our clinging. That beneath the event horizon, in the seeming nothingness, there is something: the home of the soul.

I come to you as a man selling air,
And you will think twice at the offer and price,
And you will argue that nothing is there,
Although we know that it is – everywhere.

I bring a formula largely untold, –
Of forces mixed with between and betwixt.
And only seen when allowed to unfold.
And better felt when the body is cold.

I have a map to the home of the soul,
Beyond the mind is a golden find, –The Golden Find
The paradox is a guide to the goal, –
Though doubt is sacred, each man is the Whole.

(from Profound Writings, East & West)

 

–  Bob Fergeson

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Are You Serious?

  • Imagine heaven — imagine being there forever.
  • If heaven is bliss, then imagine bliss for all eternity. Imagine watching your favorite movie for all eternity — imagine hell.
  • Peace. Is peace the absence of pain, or the absence of pleasure and pain? Without pleasure and pain, how will you identify the self!
  • You are actually already dead. How will you know the moment of your death, if you are dead? Who will be left to watch?
  • Imagine being anything forever — a frog, a rock, a king, whatever you chose. What will you do when there are no more roles to play?
  • Where did eternity begin? From what abyss did the big bang spring forth?
  • Watch your hand. Watch it do its work throughout the day. It is a tool.
  • Watch your mind do its work throughout the day. Finally, watch the watching do its work — nothing but tools.
  • Hollow laughter, lightening streaks in the sky, photographs slowly fading, echoes, and glimpses of shadows.
  • You do not let go of anything. That is another trick of the ego’s designed to keep it (seemingly) in charge of the show. Everything is taken from you.
  • I see no evidence of a system that leads to Truth — only general guidelines. The rest depends on your honesty. Take heart, for all can find their way to honesty.
  • No one is more honest than a corpse. He’s telling it like it is.
  • Turn awareness upon itself. The eye must struggle to see itself.
  • Everything you think you know should be followed by the word “maybe.”
  • Everything is hopeless, yet everything that is only seems to be. You must act in the face of seeming hopelessness.
  • How could you not be serious about your search? How could you not take action? Just don’t let your seriousness keep you from seeing your emptiness.

 by Shawn Nevins

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Second Edition – Images of Essence

 The TAT Foundation is pleased to announce a second edition of Images of Essence is now available in a new, more affordable paperback version. This beautiful book of poetry and photographs has been likened to “Rumi with a Nikon,” and the authors’ creative wanderings touch a deep cord of recognition of the profound in everyday life.
Now available for $17.95 on Amazon and for $2.99 in a digital edition for the Kindle.

 

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Tips on Meditation

Confrontation is not meditation. It is a technique used to provoke meditation, to get the mind off dead center.

Preparation for Meditation

  1. Find a place that will allow you to be quiet.
  2. Reduce body-turbulence.
  3. Do not fight Nature, but take a holiday from the whole Nature-game.
  4. Provide synthetic irritation to keep the mind working.
  5. Be aware of all obstacles, and Laws
     

    Unless we examine the thought process simultaneously with intense psychological analysis, there is a chance that we may be sidetracked for long periods of time, meaning years

    Levels of Meditation

    1. Remembering incidents of traumatic or reactive nature.
    2. Finding the final self among the many selves of voices.
    3. Analyzation of thought-processes.
    4. Going within. Employ whatever necessary.
    5. Transmission

from Richard Rose’s Meditation Papers

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Trusting the Inner Self

Trap: Identification with pain. The usual reaction to pain is avoidance, either through distraction or medication-induced relief. Thinking it is “us” that hurts, we must get rid of our pain. Pain is nothing more than a signal that something needs our attention. Identification with our thoughts and feelings, and thus our pain, keeps us from this simple truth. By avoiding pain or medicating it out of our awareness, we procrastinate facing both the problem the pain is pointing to and the action or change needed to solve it.

Trick: Seeing pain for what it is. By seeing pain as the simple signal it is, we can turn our attention on it without fear or over reaction. The underlying problem can be dealt with and, usually, the pain stops. This is especially true in relation to psychic pain, the avoiding of which can keep us in the following Trap of

Ignoring our conscience: That faint voice from the depths is often seen as a pain to be avoided, thus preventing us from learning the following Trick of

Trusting the Inner Self: If we learn to listen to this inner voice, our own inner wisdom, we see that instead of it being a pain or inhibition keeping us from what we want, it is actually a guiding signal from an interior compass deep within. This beacon gives us direction in our search, pointing to a path or lifestyle that gives better probability of Becoming. Experience will show that the pang of conscience is best dealt with by the avoidance of temptation, not pain.

 Bob Fergeson

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