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Interesting to see this side of Charles Tart.

I expect to see jeers and sneers from Randi et al.

Thank-you for the link. I must confess a love for anyone who would title a book "The end of materialism:...".

Coincidentally (?), I have only recently begun reading this book. The "Western Creed Exercise" in Chapter I is alone worth the price of the book (the online video is probably more effective [instructions in the chapter text], but either will do), and would no doubt create some very insightful moments for skeptics, were they to do the exercise honestly, functioning as a challenge to deeply held (and all too rarely examined) beliefs, regardless of their provenance (believers in Material Scientism are forewarned).

Just a follow up to Kevin's post.

http://westerncreed.com/Tart_ITP.swf

After taking the western creed exercise it is easier to see why professor Tart has paradigms and sys-system in his web address. Paradigms and systems are two of my favorite concepts or words as many on this blog have discovered I suspect.

I do not believe at this time that one exercise of 15 minutes can really reveal to a participant the profound influence that paradigms have on our beliefs, outlook, and behaviors in our lives. I suspect professor Tart also knows this as I suspect his seminars last several days.

For me it took about 80 viewings of the video “the business of paradigms” for “it” really to sink home how I suspected paradigms were affecting my life. I noticed most participants in my seminars thought they got “it” with one viewing. As I did of course but because I felt a need to watch this video with my participants during every seminar that I taught that decision unknown to me at the time turned out to be a most beneficial outcome.

I’ve enjoyed Dr Tart’s blog since he started posting. I started doing some of the mindfulness exercises that he has mentioned in his blog and which can be found in some of the audio recordings on the IONS website (http://www.shiftinaction.com/discover/luminaries/charles_tart ). I’ve found them to be very helpful.

William, you may be underestimating the effectiveness of the Western Creed Exercise. I tried the exercise, and I found myself laughing all the way through it. I could barely say the creed because it seemed so silly. After the exercise, what really hit home was the thought that if I could talk myself into believing the creed was true – or even if I could just pretend to believe this stuff in public - my life would be so much easier… probably less interesting, but so much easier…

That realization actually made me cry. The normal life that I thought I wanted so badly is in some ways a very sad ideal.

“The normal life that I thought I wanted so badly is in some ways a very sad ideal.”

I gave that so called normal life or the American dream a good go for its money and found it lacking. I think it was at that time I began to ask why if this is not working out as I had planned then what does bring us happiness and peace of mind and understanding.

The American dream allowed me to work for a Japanese international consulting organization working with the top four Japanese consultants in the world, travel the world, and have a six-figure income. But although that was somewhat satisfying at the time (ego thing) it in no way compares with the satisfaction of working with four year olds and seeing the excitement on their faces when they discover something new like how to write their first R. Just pushing them on a swing is a big and fun experience for them. And the love they are capable of showing and oh my what happens to that enthusiasm and ability to show love, as they grow older.

I think we may need a whole new paradigm on how to educate our children. Indeed a paradigm shift because by the time they get to the fourth grade it appears things have started to change drastically for many of them. My observation has been we are a teacher-based results only oriented society not a process oriented student-based society. This indeed will be perceived as a controversial statement as most people now believe we are already too much of a student-centered society and the need to be more results oriented not less.

In my seminars I tried very hard to switch my seminars to a participant based learning experience with limited success. I suspect switching from a teacher based educational system to a student-based system will be a paradigm shift of the highest order. Obama’s remarks on creating educational excellence by utilizing merit bonuses and pay raises for teachers and student performance missed the mark by a mile. I.e. almost total lack of understanding of variation as it applies to system and human performance.

I am sure he has little awareness that this teacher merit raise approach has been tried for decades in organizations with limited success indeed much failure. I.e. the big three. In fact this approach will be a futile as Bush Jr’s no child left behind approach. Neither understands universal or spiritual laws or the profound knowledge Deming taught for over 5 decades. I.e. one example using average as an indictor for performance evaluation.

I recently had a lengthy discussion with a friend who considers himself of the 'skeptics camp' and is a close kinsman of Michael Shermer and other materialism advocates.

I learned a lot. The divide between these two camps of thought has never been more clear to me.

Their views on the 'supernatural' or rather immaterial research reminds me of somebody who is upset at their ex-lover:

"Bah, that idiot! That moron! Everything he/she said was wrong! It's all bogus! Deception!"

"But do you care about that person?"

"Of course not! That person means nothing to me! Nothing at all!"

"But why do you endlessly talk about your ex if he/she means nothing to you?"

"Well..."

In other words there are some deeply conflicted attitudes. Their battle to demean every subject related to immaterialism / trans-dimensional research seems more like a personal vendetta then anything else.

If these subjects really meant nothing to them, they would focus their attention on productive things like maybe cancer and AIDS research, philanthrophy, global hunger, etc.

Instead, some of these guys consider themselves the paramilitary wing of academia, protecting the world from something which they deeply fear.

I still don't fully understand the psychology behind it, but I find it surprising that these guys get together at conferences, conventions, and private meetings and actually spend time like generals in a war-room plotting ways to sway the public and attack select individuals.

It's all really strange to me.

It amuses me that just when dogmatic scientific materialism(not TRUE science,of course,but the view that currently holds the floor) thought it had finally snuffed out the 'so loathed' concept of survival,some of the technology it so ingeniously developed to preserve life (because one life is all we can have,in science's view)is the very tool by which it is oh so reluctantly discovering that life goes on. This is a nightmare for some of these individuals. Brilliant men and women who have staked their lives and reputations on critical rationalism. If they are wrong(and there is much very unwanted(on their part) evidence emerging that says that they are) then all the lectures delivered / books written are ....worthless

Science 'murdered' the spiritual aspect of man and buried it with good riddance...and now a hand is reaching up through the soil and the coffin lid is creaking.

What a nightmare for them.

I wish Charles Tart the best of luck with his new book. Many of his books are classics, and I hope this one achieves similar status. Check out the reviews on Amazon - a few big names giving praise...

“It's all really strange to me.”

It appears to be for many ultra skeptics some kind of anti-religious thing. Some have suggested that these ultra skeptics feel they were taken in by religious dogma maybe as a child and now in their minds they are striking back and not about to be taken in again.

Religious beliefs to them are at the very heart of what is wrong with the world. Remember they live on a very very slippery slope. One paranormal event or experience they cannot explain away then their whole belief system comes tumbling down.

I am fascinated how they can explain away phenomena with often ridiculous explanations. Like the phoenix lights in the mid nineties. An ultra skeptic on TV stating they were flares dropped by A-10 planes. This unidentified spacecraft was absolutely quiet seen by hundreds at a very close range and very large flying over their heads at a low altitude including the governor of Arizona. The A-10 plane is one of the loudest jet planes the military still has flying.


It boggles the mind that these ultra skeptics can still believe that hundreds of witnesses can mistake a very large completely quiet UFO for a formation of very loud A-10 warthogs. The human mind is a most fascinating phenomenon.

They do get very angry when someone challenges their cherished beliefs much like a very religious fundamentalist. The religious fundamentalist and the ultra skeptic have much in common and neither have a clue they are so much alike. Cherished beliefs for all of us when challenged can become very emotional.

On many religious and paranormal blogs I have noticed discussions on free will and reincarnation can become very emotional almost as emotional as political blogs.

“then all the lectures delivered / books written are ....worthless”

They may not be worthless if we learned from them such as believing what we know may not be without error. We humans appear to have the mentality that those in the past made mistakes but somehow now with all of our scientific knowledge we don’t make those same mistakes.

To be human is too error to think our knowledge is without error is arrogance. It appears that meekness (i.e. humility) is the optimum mentality to learn and discover new knowledge. Indeed maybe the meek shall inherit the earth.

"It boggles the mind that these ultra skeptics can still believe that hundreds of witnesses can mistake a very large completely quiet UFO for a formation of very loud A-10 warthogs.'

I think the explanation offered is that the flares were dropped many miles from Phoenix, but were seen over long distances because of the clear night sky. Thus the airplane noise would not have been audible, but the flares, which burn for a long time, would have been visible.

The Wikipedia article on "Phoenix lights" reads in part:

"The USAF explained the second event [the Phoenix lights] as slow falling, long burning flares dropped by an A-10 Warthog aircraft on a training exercise over Luke Air Force Base. An investigation by Luke AFB itself also came to this conclusion and declared the case solved. More recent investigations have come to the same conclusion.

"Air National Guard pilot, Lt. Col. Ed Jones, responding to a March 2007 media query, confirmed that he had flown one of the aircraft in the formation that dropped flares on the night in question. The squadron to which he belonged was in fact in Arizona on a training exercise at the time, according to the Maryland Air National Guard. A history of the Maryland Air National Guard published in 2000 previously asserted that the squadron, the 104th Fighter Squadron, was responsible for the incident. The first reports that members of the Maryland Air National Guard were responsible for the incident were published in The Arizona Republic newspaper in July 1997.

"Military flares such as these can be seen from hundreds of miles with correct environmental conditions. Later comparisons with known military flare drops were reported on local television stations, showing similarities between the known military flare drops and the Phoenix Lights. An analysis of the luminosity of LUU-2B/B illumination flares, the type which would have been in use by A-10 aircraft at the time, determined that the luminosity of such flares at a range of approximately 50–70 miles would fall well within the range of the lights viewed from Phoenix."

This seems pretty credible to me. Incidentally, I was in Phoenix on the night when this happened, but I missed it. I was inside watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on TV and had no idea anything was going on until I watched the local news later that night!

For a while I dismissed the whole UFO/alien phenomenon as uncredible. But after listening the the interview with Art Bell and "Victor," watching a documentary about "Victor" and his purported alien footage, and watching interviews with Robert Dean, I don't know what to think anymore.

“The Wikipedia article on "Phoenix lights" reads in part:”

What you quoted as you stated was only a part of the whole story on wikipedia. An UFO was seen on that same night by many in Nevada, Prescott and Prescott Valley, Arizona and in Dewy Arizona.

The flares are not the whole story as many residents of phoenix saw a large silent craft flying right over their heads that same night. As far as the air force saying they were dropping flares that night maybe, maybe not, I do not trust the military when it comes to explanations for UFO sightings.

If it had just been the flares then that is very weak evidence but the sightings of a large craft with absolutely no sound seen by hundreds were significant. The former governor of Arizona has appeared on the Larry King show and local TV stations have interviewed many here in phoenix that claim to have seen what the governor saw.

My point was the ultra skeptic stated what the people in phoenix saw was several A-10 warthogs flying in formation. A-10 warthogs have very loud twin jet engines and several of them flying in formation very low would be very very loud. Hundreds of people could not have been that mistaken of the difference between a flock of warthogs and a silent large craft.

I am not saying this was an alien spacecraft we just don’t know but I doubt very much if it was a formation of A-10 warthogs flying low over parts of phoenix for hundreds to witness as a silent large craft.

“Bill Greiner, a cement driver hauling a load down a mountain north of Phoenix, described the second group of lights: "I'll never be the same. Before this, if anybody had told me they saw a UFO, I would've said, 'Yeah, and I believe in the tooth fairy'. Now I've got a whole new view. I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I've seen something that don't belong here".[11]}} Greiner stated that the lights hovered over the area for in excess of 2 hours.[12]”

Flares don’t tend to hover for two hours over one area.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3zotvpZLnY

Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!


"I doubt very much if it was a formation of A-10 warthogs flying low over parts of phoenix for hundreds to witness as a silent large craft."

I think the idea is that the A-10s dropped the flares about 70 miles from Phoenix, so the planes were never flying over Phoenix itself. The flares, which had parachutes, drifted slowly, carried by the wind, and descended so gradually that their downward movement wasn't readily apparent. Though they appeared to be directly overhead, they were actually many miles to the southwest, and they continued drifting long after the A-10s had returned to their base.

If this explanation is true, it would explain why no airplane noise was heard, and why the lights appeared to hover.

Many observers thought the lights were connected in the form of a large craft. But such observations can be optical illusions. The mind has a tendency to "connect the dots" - that's how constellations get started. In this case, a group of lights moving together against a dark background may have been interpreted as a single object.

The official explanation seems plausible to me. I still wish I'd seen the darn things, though.

“In this case, a group of lights moving together against a dark background may have been interpreted as a single object.”

The flares would have had to drift quite a ways as the lights and craft were seen as far away as Prescott about 100 miles north west of phoenix. From my point of view seeing the lights is of little evidence but watching a craft fly over your head at a very slow speed and at a very low altitude in complete silence by hundreds of witnesses may be more valid evidence.

For me at least A-10’s dropping flares does not begin to explain these phenomena. It is further proof how two people can read the same information and reach different conclusions.

“Though they appeared to be directly overhead, they were actually many miles to the southwest, and they continued drifting long after the A-10s had returned to their base.”

“Greiner stated that the lights hovered over the area for in excess of 2 hours” Flares hoverer for two hours over one area and stay in perfect formation. I suspect something happened that night that we know little of. Alien or area 51 or whatever. I suspect we are being watched and maybe even tampered with by many different intelligences from other dimensions or planets.

I also missed the lights as I was staying at a self-realization fellowship herb farm where the monks were teaching that a *personal devil exists. And while there listening to tapes where their master stated that “God knows he made a mistake when he created humans”. Truly this statement fails to understand the origin of our unawareness. Infinite makes mistakes? This is another example of how we humans tend to make God in our image.

I hope this above paragraph is not read as put down or attack on self-realization fellowship, as many of their teachings from my point of view are very profound.

* I was only allowed one question so I asked if a personal devil exists and is very evil and if evil is followed by suffering (their teachings) then would not that intense suffering cause the devil to change its ways? The answer I was given by the head monk was that maybe God allows the devil to not have to suffer for its evil deeds. But the head monk did comment that he thought it was a very insightful question but no follow-up questions were allowed. It appears that cherished beliefs can overwhelm the rational mind.

William what kind of monks were these? the kind I know of never say things that debase us as made in his image and likness.

“William what kind of monks were these? The kind I know of never say things that debase us as made in his image and likeness.”

I was not a member of self-realization fellowship as it was only part of my research into the different religions. I found most of their teachings very informative and thought provoking and much more advanced than traditional Christian religions. But it is still a religion and from my point of view still has some dogma attached to it.

This was a Yogananda self-realization fellowship monk (i.e. head monk) on their herb farm in California. When I heard this monk teaching visitors and those interested in becoming monks that a personal devil exists I could not believe my ears.

You are only allowed to ask one question a week and you cannot comment on their answer. So that week I spent some time designing a question about a personal devil. To the best of my memory as this was about 13 years ago I asked the following:

If you teach that karma exists for everyone and if we hurt others then we will suffer at some future time for our “evil” deeds. If there is a personal devil why is it that suffering does not in time cause this personal devil to see the errors in its way and learn compassion towards others.

The monk’s response was maybe God allows the devil to exist and to harm others with temptation and the devil is exempted from suffering. I.e. God exempts the devil from suffering? Maybe this is why they had this monk running a herb farm rather than teaching in an ashram.

I found this an incomplete answer. I could not find in any of Yogananda’s writing such statements about a personal devil. He did talk of the devil being maya but a personal devil I don’t remember any such writings. This is what often happens when followers try to interpret what their master has taught. Look how Jesus teachings have been misguided into teachings into a sacrifice for our sins.

Well I could care less about UFOs yet as an eyewitness of sorts of the Phoenix lights I wanted to chime in.

Maybe the Phoenix lights were planted by the military. But, if they did, they were doing it in an attempt to cover up previous phenomena which occurred that same week in the mountains southwest of Phoenix.

I was an eyewitness of aerial phenomena that week, with several other people, which cannot be explained by terrestrial means. One object was larger than a football field and appeared immaterial of nature because as it landed behind a mountain, it eventually vanished.

My opinion? Not even the military knows what's going on.

Thanks William

I have to say that you asked good questions to those monks which leaves a person still not fully satisfied does it?

“I have to say that you asked good questions to those monks which leaves a person still not fully satisfied does it?”

Thanks for the compliment. I had one week to prepare that question so it was thought out well in advance. Can you see that their own teachings contradicted what this monk was teaching? If karma causes us to *suffer the effects of our misguided desires then the devil would have to endure profound endless suffering.

It is indeed a great mystery that if God is love and the mystics and enlightened ones from all religions agree that the main quality of God is love then why so much evil and human suffering in the world. As the Buddha and many enlightened Hindus realized correctly that suffering has its home in ignorance or unawareness.

The book I hope to write someday is about the origin of that ignorance and why unawareness is a necessity for the creation of unique souls and for this infinite Oneness to express itself in an infinite variety of expressions.

It appears that if we have a personal God with human qualities made in man’s image then we must also have a need for a personal devil with human qualities. Cannot have one without the other.

From my point of view the Autobiography of a Yogi is a must read and an enjoyable read for any seeker interested in another seeker’s life long search into the mysteries of life.

*That suffering is not intended to be punishment as many write but as a perfect feedback system. Without consequences for our actions whether they be based in love or misguided desires I doubt if any soul could ever advance in love and compassion and divine intelligence.

It is indeed a great mystery that if God is love and the mystics and enlightened ones from all religions agree that the main quality of God is love then why so much evil and human suffering in the world. As the Buddha and many enlightened Hindus realized correctly that suffering has its home in ignorance or unawareness. - william
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Or.... this physical earth life is a very short temporary school and the suffering is necessary to teach the soul certain important lessons? Such as experiencing separation to teach the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate, and physical pain and discomfort imprint on the soul the physical parameters of the body. The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

Well Art your quoting me and your response pretty much defines our views on suffering. As I am sure many (all?) readers on this blog have come to realize. It appears I have had little or no success communicating my views on the relationship of suffering and ignorance, and unawareness and innocence.

Of course the Buddha (not that I am a Buddha) had very limited success communicating his realization on the origin of suffering being ignorance or unawareness as most of his followers confuse symptoms with the origin. I.e. attachment, craving, grasping, and misguided desires are symptoms of unawareness not the root cause or origin of suffering.

I agree that the human life is considered a short temporal experience when viewed from the other side and the soul does learn lessons but: how many lessons does a child learn if that child crosses over at a very early age? How many lessons did a Hitler learn?

What happens when that long lasting imprinted memory runs out or fades away? Then what? Some of my research indicates that newer souls may just come crashing onto the physical realm but older more mature souls may take much time in planning their next life to maximize their lessons. Also it appears we live in some type of soul clusters or groups not only in the astral realm but here on earth also.

Also we really don’t know much about the origin of those souls. Does consciousness evolve from what we term lower forms of consciousness? It appears there is some form of evolution of consciousness process occurring that some have called the law of progress.

Speaking for myself personally I feel there are many more lessons in life I need to learn in the physical realm. Now can some souls learn all the lessons they need to learn on the other side? Maybe, maybe not?

I noticed over the years of my research the mind often if not always wants to find beliefs that give it some level of comfort. And of course it depends on what culture a child is raised in determines much of what most adults come to believe in their life and will defend those beliefs often even to their death.

I think this is why a Christian can believe that if a savior dies for their sins and they just believe that they are home free so to speak. I find the human mind a fascinating phenomenon capable of convincing itself it has a knowing beyond knowing when in reality that knowing most often is based on belief not certainty. My personal beliefs on ignorance, suffering, and innocence are based on a knowing (i.e. intellect) not a knowing beyond knowing which appears to come only though revelation then realization.

Also the human mind can see others misguided beliefs but almost finds it impossible to see its own beliefs as conditioned or wishful thinking. Maybe this is the origin of the paradigm effect. The human mind is so convincing to itself even when someone shoots holes in its cherished beliefs it seldom fazes those beliefs. Often I suspect even makes those beliefs stronger as a protective device. Religion, atheism, and politics are classic and easily seen examples of this phenomenon (my belief is thee belief) in action. Just switch channels every few seconds between fox news and msnbc to see this phenomena in action.

“Such as experiencing separation to teach the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate”

I am not sure I remember reading why you believe a soul needs to know what it means and how it feels to be separate. If Oneness is bliss why would any soul leave that bliss to experience suffering to feel separate. What is the process for creating infinite unique souls?

“Or.... this physical earth life is a very short temporary school and the suffering is necessary to teach the soul certain important lessons?”

From my point of view this sentence could begin with the word “and” rather than “or”.

I agree that the human life is considered a short temporal experience when viewed from the other side and the soul does learn lessons but: how many lessons does a child learn if that child crosses over at a very early age? How many lessons did a Hitler learn? - william
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We don't live for just ourselves. What one learns we all learn. A child experiences what it is like to be a man, a woman, a dog, cat, bird, etc. Due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness in the Spiritual Universe, i.e. it's "holographic nature", we will all experience "all knowledge" after we shed our physical bodies and merge into the Spiritual Universe. Everyone becomes enlightened upon entering "heaven."

excerpt from Randy Gehling's NDE, age 10:
"That was really cool! I kind of felt as though my body exploded - in a nice way - and became a million different atoms - and each single atom could think its own thoughts and have its own feelings. All at once I seemed to feel like I was a boy, a girl, a dog, a cat, a fish. Then I felt like I was an old man, an old woman - and then a little tiny baby."
http://near-death.com/experiences/animals04.html

Beverly Brodsky NDE:
"I was given more than just the answers to my questions; all knowledge unfolded to me,"
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/judaism02.html

Janet NDE:
"my consciousness seemed to increase dramatically, to the point where I felt all-knowing. I felt I was in touch with all knowledge"
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/triggers02.html

It's a holographic universe thing...

“we will all experience "all knowledge" after we shed our physical bodies and merge into the Spiritual Universe. Everyone becomes enlightened upon entering "heaven."

My research does not support this statement but then that is what makes we humans and I believe every soul unique. I.e. variation of appearance and thought. What would life be like without that variation?

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it

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