Welcome to the Gainesville Philosophical Self-Inquiry Group
What's behind the sense of "I am"? Who's living, and who's facing death? Who or what am I, essentially? Will some part of me continue on after death? Is there an unchanging, eternal part of me? Am I a part of some unchanging, eternal essence?
Occasional individuals throughout history have told of finding the answer to those questions, and their testimonies often have a surprising consistency. Richard Rose wrote: "Beyond the mind is a golden find...."
For individuals seeking to find the answer for themselves, those testimonies provide helpful clues for pursuing the search to a successful conclusion.
For some searchers, working by themselves is the preferred method. Others intuit that finding a few fellow seekers to work with may expedite their progress. Still more fortunate may be those who find a living person who has made the journey and can provide assistance from the perspective of that realization.
I aim to find and work alongside individuals who are consciously seeking a permanent end to suffering.
In such an endeavor, it can be difficult to stay on track; working with individuals who are aiming for a similar goal can provide invaluable mirroring, jolts, feedback, inspiration, and friendship.
Having deeply-held beliefs challenged is one way that has the potential to accelerate the rate of disillusionment and self-discovery; in our meetings we aim to do just that, and often use a form of questioning called confrontation.
We're fortunate to have Art Ticknor working with us, a seeker of 25 years, who finally found "the solid ground of being". Art currently comes to meetings every other week; he aims to do what he can to aid those of us still lost in illusion. In knowing him over the past few years, I have found his perspective and experience invaluable. His perspective, combined with a keen understanding of psychology, and first- and second-hand knowledge of the many traps seekers can fall into, has likely saved me many byways and dead-ends.
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 that 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 from which to start. But questioning can take us somewhere seemingly quite different, entirely. That's the beauty of the whole group process.