The Missal Newsletter __________________________________

Shawn Nevins ‘The Way Of Subtraction’ Interview by Iain McNay
Shawn is author of four books including ‘Subtraction: The Simple Math Of Enlightenment.‘ In the foreword he says, ‘This book answers the question of how to find out the answer to who and what you are beyond any shadow of a doubt.’ His spiritual search ended on December 28th 1999 having started 7 years earlier. During that time he meditated for thousands of hours, fasted, prayed, retreated, met spiritual teachers, and never gave up. His primary teacher was Richard Rose but he also spent time with Bernadette Roberts, Douglas Harding and others. His breakthrough came when he read through a transcript of a talk by Franklin Merrell-Wolff. Shawn’s story has many ups and downs. His sincerity during his search shines through and his many realisations on his path are tangible.

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Dark Zen - A Guru on the Bayou

Ever wondered about the connection between Zen and self-knowledge? Dark ZenIf you have even a glimmer of interest in these matters, this book can open a new dimension for you. This much prized knowledge is delivered via the friendship that develops between a lost young man and a Zen master.

Nostalgiawest photographer Bob Fergeson has just released a new book, set in the swamps of Louisiana. Bob couches Zen lessons and a methodology for spiritual development into a simple story that allows the teachings to shine through. This book has something to offer the complete beginner and the more seasoned seeker - simple explanations of profound truths.

The book is available on amazon, in both print and Kindle editions. The Kindle version has full color photos taken by the author in southern Louisiana.

- Dark Zen in print -    - Dark Zen Kindle -

Join Bobby Boudreaux and the master of Dark Zen, OD Magee, as they explore the meaning of life and death deep in the Louisiana swamp.

visit Dark Zen's Facebook page!

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Poetry in Motion Films presents
Mountain High: Touching the Void with Bob Fergeson

"When the thought and the mind goes away, all you are left with is the real part of yourself.... In the quiet, there is a sense of eternality and unconditional love.”
~ Bob Fergeson

The sense of eternality marks the work of photographer, mountaineer, and spiritual teacher Bob Fergeson. Set among the Rocky Mountains, Bob's story weaves the passions of the creative life and a love for the outdoors into a compelling narrative of a spiritual search. From his childhood attempts to capture moments of ethereal, quiet beauty with a Brownie box camera, Bob's life careened towards a crushing encounter with alcoholism, then flowered in a time of self exploration through painting, drawing, and dreamwork, led to years of spiritual disciplines, and culminated in a final encounter with Truth that left him weeping on a Colorado mountainside.

Whether you frame your quest as a search for God, truth, enlightenment, awakening, certainty, or an aching longing to fill a void inside, you will find this feature-length documentary is more than just a film, it is a resource that you will mine for inspiration and advice again and again.

To Stream or Download the Movie go to:

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Thoughts on the Listening Attention
Informal talk on the Listening Attention, comments on anxiety, and how we can understand and transcend it.
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Breathing Underwater: An Intuitive Meditation
A video on a mindfulness technique, filmed in Canyon Rims, Utah.
If the emotional element is added while attempting this meditation,
it greatly adds to it, such as really wanting to be in the heart, the higher self: valuing it.

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Commentary on the Nostalgic Mood:

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Paradox and Prayer
by Bob Fergeson
" If you are willing to realize that you cannot create your own virtues or changes; if you are willing to feel the pain of emptiness, helplessness, and inadequacy; if you are willing to wait, knowing that of yourself you can do nothing - then you will be facing Reality correctly." - Roy Masters

For true spiritual progress, to get beyond the dualistic mind, we need to pray for the gift or grace of three things. The first is the ability to acknowledge our higher Self, to really and truthfully come to see this higher power. Second, to tell the higher power, from our heart, that we make an unconditional commitment to the truth. We will do whatever is necessary, including surrender of our will, schemes, and dreams, in favor of the higher wisdom. The paradoxical third part, and by far the most difficult, is that we then have to forget this. In practical application we have to forget it. Otherwise the ego, our little self, the petty tyrant, will take over, and surely mess things up. We must allow the higher power to call the shots.

Somehow, we must have faith in the higher power and it's ability to set things up, to bring us the gift, the grace, of stopping our head. We have to be stopped in order to realize our ego is not infallible and doesn't always have our best spiritual interest in mind. A paradox too, because this might have to happen before we'll agree to any of this. We have to be stopped. This means we have to come to the point where we realize we're helpless, and have limits. Very definite, little limits. That as we are, under the sway of the reflexive ego-mind, nothing will fundamentally ever change. And that everything is in the hands of the higher power. This is surrender.Woods of Bagsvaerd - photo by Bob Fergeson

This is paradoxical in that we have to be stopped, to realize our helplessness, before we'll ask the higher power for help. And we will not make a commitment before we know of no other way, but yet we will do none of this, really, until we are stopped. This paradox cannot be understood by the willful mind that believes itself to be the highest form, but the heart knows it's true, and somehow, paradoxically, we just have to do it. This is also self-inquiry.

Absolutely necessary in our ascent into paradox and grace, is the ability to pray. Pray to the higher power, that unknown but somehow felt wiser part of Us. If you have a sincere desire for relief from misery, to get away from yourself; learn to pray.  If you have an intense curiosity about the truth, but know that as you are, as ego, you will never be able to stop yourself, and if you stay the same, so your life will stay the same; learn to pray. If you realize your need for true discrimination, to tell the high from the low, to know when you are being fooled, and when and how you fool yourself; learn to pray.

We pray for the higher power to make itself known to us, to stop us, and show us what we need to do.

To help us. We may feel we have little, but we can have these three things, these three graces: to acknowledge and allow the higher power to help us, to make a commitment to its wisdom, and to allow it to change us, to somehow get out of our own way.  And we learn to pray, to ask our Self for help, no matter the consequence to our self.  This is true inquiry and surrender.

Bob Fergeson

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Bob Fergeson, Tess Hughes, Art Ticknor
The videos from Essential Transformation, the conference in Galway, Ireland, March 31 -April 1, are now available on YouTube.
You can see the playlist at: Essential Transformation
The interviews of Art Ticknor, Tess Hughes, and Bob Fergeson are also available as a playlist at: interviews

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Photography Corner

NostalgiaWest's Facebook page is at:
All 'Likes" appreciated! has a collection of videos to showcase the photographs, featuring music from classical to rock. Take a look at the NostalgiaWest Video Channel at

For the latest news and photos, check out the blog too, at

spirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zenspirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zenspirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zen

 Featured Links

Nostalgiawest's Video Channel: nostalgiawest.comeducational and music videos with a spiritual theme.

Visit the Missal's blog page, for the latest musing, photos and links.

Always a favorite, The TAT Forum continues to publish material on the search for Truth. ...a place for the deep questions of life :

Poetry in Motion Films: To create inspiring and challenging films that explore the spiritual, philosophic, and metaphysical dimensions of life. Call it spiritual cinema, spiritual documentary, or spiritual film, we're engaged in examining the perennial questions: where did I come from? what has meaning? why am I here? where am I going? what is this place? Through small films about big ideas, Poetry in Motion Films hopes to expand your possibilities for a life well-lived.

Tess site is about offering some crumbs at the table of Returning to our True Nature. It's about spiritual development, which is synonymous with Tess Hughesdissolution of the ego. Spiritual awakening is the purpose of life. It is what we are here for. It is about coming to know our True Nature. It's a strange thing that we have somehow become blind to our own True Natures, but this is precisely what happens to us humans.

Mystic Missal LibraryMystic Missal Library
For past issues of The Missal Newsletter, go to the Archives

  - Quotes -
" Meditation is the destruction of the sense of 'self.'  This self has been created by the mind through ignorance, a sort of learned hypnosis, and can be destroyed by the very act of staring it in the face. This is better described as the act of observing ourselves." - Bob Fergeson
" Awakening is not quite pleasant. One suffers and also is so very glad. You feel you are at last doing what you wanted, but had forgotten." - Maurice Nicoll
" Usually we are watching the environment and trying to influence it by thinking about it. It doesn't work but that's what we DO. And then wonder why we are always tired. " - Vicki Woodyard
" Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people."
" Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
" The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.
" One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung
"I found that by far the most difficult thing, to begin with, was to realize that 'feeling' is just another form of perception.
" When a poet receives 'intimations of immortality' from the sight of mountains, he knows perfectly well that the mountains are not really 'cloud-capped gods'. He knows that his own mind is adding their majesty to them - or rather, is seeing them as a symbol of the hidden majesty of his own mind. Their greatness and aloofness remind him of his own greatness and aloofness." - Colin Wilson
" The fear of death is nearly always greatest in those that have lived an unfulfilled life or not realized their full potential." - Edward Traversa
On the wild within: " An uncultivated quality of attention that has within it no intention for anything to be other than what it is; an awareness that is the stillness of our innermost being." - Paul Rezendes
" Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence into a soul? Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you." - John Keats
" If you are willing to realize that you cannot create your own virtues or changes; if you are willing to feel the pain of emptiness, helplessness, and inadequacy; if you are willing to wait, knowing that of yourself you can do nothing - then you will be facing Reality correctly." - Roy Masters
" You become mature when you become the authority for your own life." - Joseph Campbell

spirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zen

 Comic Philosophy

The Nothing Dance

After 2 hours of satsang I want to abandon all worldly ambition and go into silence forever.

After 2 cups of espresso I want to start a company, a nonprofit and get 2 more degrees.

- Walker Traylor

The universe is moving you. Therefore, you are not the doer. You're the Dude!

- Wes Nisker

For more Comic Philosophy, go to the Humor page of The Listening Attention

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spirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zenspirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zenspirituality meditation esoteric philosophy prayer satori nirvana zen

Last updated 05/20/12

 Copyright  2012 -  Robert Fergeson. All Rights Reserved.

"True religion is the realization of truth."
-Franz Hartmann-