Guest Speakers

Retreats and self inquiry sessions at Juniper Level Botanic Garden are offered by Anita Avent. The following friends and guest speakers have participated in retreats and self-inquiry sessions at our botanic gardens in Raleigh, NC, USA.


Jenny joined the Self Inquiry Group (now the Triangle Inquiry Group) in Raleigh in 2009 after many years of spiritual seeking and trying to find ‘herself’. Through the help of the teachings and power of the Self Inquiry community, Bart Marshall, Deborah Westmoreland, and, of course, the All That Is, Jenny realized Truth. And, of course, ‘Jenny’ didn’t do anything.

After taking early retirement in 2015 due to a back injury, Jenny now enjoys playing with her grandchildren, creative art, drawing love Zentangles, writing (or more like musing), reading, watching birds, film, and mostly just living.

Jenny loves to be asked “Is love stronger than pain?” – and her answer is always a resounding YES! She feels she has a unique gift to share in that she has experienced many years of daily chronic pain and knows first hand the power that truth, beauty, and goodness provides.


BobC 2Bob Cergol met Richard Rose in 1972 and soon after attended the initial gathering wherein the TAT Foundation was officially formed. TAT is a non-profit organization founded by Richard Rose to provide a forum for friendship and the spiritual search.

After 27 years of seeking, Bob found the ultimate answer—an answer precipitated while reading Alfred Pulyan’s personal correspondence with Rose, dated August 1960. Over the past decade, Bob has delivered a number of poignant presentations during TAT events and has authored numerous Forum essays that were ultimately published in Beyond Mind, Beyond Death, a TAT Foundation Press book.

Read a snippet from Bob:

TOO BUSY BEING YOU …Your life’s journey is not unlike the experience of driving a car – you – the still point of observation at the center of motion swirling around and past you – have about as much control over events. You seem to steer – veering left, right, accelerating and slowing. What causes you to steer the car is simple and obvious. What causes you to steer your life is a profound matter for deep investigation. As with driving a car, you operate in reactive mode, likewise as with driving, you’ll wake up and look around from time-to-time and have no recollection of having driven to the spot you find yourself in that very moment. You get too preoccupied with conversation or daydreams to remember driving. You are too preoccupied being you, to look in earnest at what you actually are.

Read a review about Bob here:  For samples of Bob’s writings, please refer to these sites:  (Robert Cergol) and



Paul Constant’s fascinations and explorations are directed toward integrating body, mind, and Essence through rapport.

For the past 30 years, he has expressed his love for Truth by facilitating retreats, serving as a TAT Foundation member, and studying with spiritual teacher Richard Rose during 1985-1995. Paul and his wife live in Pennsylvania. They were adopted by two kittens in 2013.

To read his essays and other articles, visit




Jan Frazier lived a life typical for a well-educated, middle-class American woman. A divorced mother of two teenagers, she was making a modest living writing and teaching writing. Following a Catholic childhood in Miami in the 1960s, she had studied English in college and graduate school. In her late twenties, longing for hills and snow, she moved to New England, where she was active in the peace movement. But the inner peace she sought always eluded her.

Then, in August 2003, she experienced a radical transformation of consciousness. Fear fell away from her, and she was immersed in a state of causeless joy that has never left her. While she has continued her life as writer, teacher, and mother, she has discovered it is possible to live a richly human life free of suffering. Her wish now is to communicate the truth that within every person is a pool of calm well-being that waits patiently to be stirred to life. Jan’s website is here. 

Jan’s poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection, Greatest Hits, was published by Pudding House, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been inspired by many teachers, but the joy she lives in belongs to no particular tradition, and is available to all.  Jan lives in southern Vermont.


Paul2 2Paul Hedderman has been involved in the recovery community since 1988 assisting those with addiction problems as well as leading nonduality workshops and holding talks for more than 20 years.  Many of Paul’s talks, writings, and books are available on his entertaining website at

Paul integrates the 12 step program with nonduality teachings and has some very potent ‘pointers’, which seem to have assisted some to go beyond the personal self and the 12 steps. Paul does not talk exclusively about AA, the Big Book, or the 12 step program, but seems to vividly merge the essence of nonduality into all his talks with a different slant on the same non-thing.  A Zen slap to your mind, Paul’s unique language and solid presence bespeak the depth of his understanding of the human condition—in which the original addiction is the mind’s addiction to being a self.



Art2008Art Ticknor, trained as a computer scientist, and educated as a mathematician, 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, also active at the TAT Foundation is the author of Solid Ground of Being, and also Beyond Relativity, both invaluable reads on the quest for self knowledge. He currently lives the life of a modern day mystic and is involved in the Gainsville-based Philosophical Self-Inquiry Discussion Group. Read more here:  


Doug Franklin White currently works as a systems analyst at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He was interested in spirituality as a teenager when hearing the idea of enlightenment from musicians, music, artists, and books, especially works from the 60’s.  Believing the search for truth could be effectively made through logical thought, Doug grew interested in science which eventually led him to study physics in grad school.  This did sharpen the mind but otherwise was not particularly helpful in the search, so he explored a variety of churches and religions both in the Christian and Asian traditions. Searching eventually yielded the Self Knowledge Symposium (SKS) led by former Richard Rose student August Turak and then to Richard Rose himself.

Doug spent time regularly with Rose from 1990 until around 1996 when Rose’s Alzheimer’s condition degraded his ability to teach.  Leaving SKS to pursue a more heart centered path in music, Doug joined up with the Self Inquiry Group in Raleigh which led to visits with Douglas Harding, Tony Parsons, Bernadette Roberts and others while also working with those in hospice. Doug has been a regular practitioner of Harding’s “Headless Way” since around 2002 as well as investigating a variety of other methods to explore the reality and unreality of present experience and the sense of “doing”.  Read more from Doug here:  and here:


Your tax-deductible gifts to Juniper Level Botanic Garden, through our not-for-profit endowment fund are welcome to us preserve the gardens for future generations as a place for plant and medical research, plant exploration, horticultural and philosophical community and learning. 


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