Welcome to the Gainesville Philosophical Self-Inquiry Group
We aim to provide an environment where people seeking to discover a true understanding of themselves and their place in the cosmos can work together.
Meditation shouldn't be sitting there looking at your third eye or something like that. It should be arguing with yourself, analyzing within your own mind. I don't believe in sitting down for the purpose of meditating. I believe in productive thinking … to find out what your obstacle is. I don't tell you to pursue knowledge; I tell you to do things that will provoke your mind to think.
I aim to find and work alongside individuals who are consciously seeking for a permanent end to suffering, or those who are looking for something in themselves that is eternal, beyond time.
In such an endeavor, one's potential to deceive oneself, or get off track is great; working with a group of individuals who are aiming for a similar goal can provide invaluable mirroring, jolts, feedback, inspiration and, -- perhaps most importantly -- friendship, when one is stuck in a rut, unawares.
Rocking the boat by questioning deeply-held beliefs is one way, in my view, that has the potential to accelerate the rate of disillusionment and self-discovery; in our meetings, a form of questioning called confrontation is currently our primary approach.
We're fortunate to have Art Ticknor working with us, a long time self-inquirer, who found what he was looking for, after many years of conscious searching. Art currently travels up to Gainesville every other week -- I monitor the meetings on the weeks when he isn't around.
What we're doing is not always comfortable -- but it has the potential to be deeply meaningful for someone who wants it all.
To get a feel for our approach and orientation, you can look up Art Ticknor (see links below), his teacher, Richard Rose, and the TAT Foundation. Some others who have a related approach and orientation are Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Marahshi, and Franklin Merrell-Wolff.
Q: I was hoping to have a free-form discussion on spirituality. Why don't we do that instead?
A: Discussion is valuable, but it can also quickly devolve into mutual back-patting, complaining, advice-giving or weighing the pros and cons of X, Y, or Z. We attempt to create a situation which is different from everyday life where one participant, with the help of the group, is turned in on themselves -- hopefully to see something new.
Occasionally we'll have retreats or meet outside of the meetings -- I can assure you that normal and everyday conversation does occur!
Q: I see you have a topic for this week -- I prepared notes. Why aren't we staying on topic?
A: It's hard to predict where a line of questioning will take us -- a topic for the week is valuable in that it gives people somewhere to start from. But questioning can take us somewhere seemingly quite different, entirely. That's the beauty of the whole group process.