Dr. Charles T. Tart on June 23rd, 2009

Dr. Charles T. Tart, Mindfulness, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology,

Lecture 2, Part 8 of 15 parts. To start class from beginning, click here.

Student: Any suggestions or counsel on the state change of my leg falling asleep constantly?

CTT: Well you can worry about how you’re probably going to die from it. (Laughter) But I think you already know how far that gets you. You might try a better position.

Student: But I need pain to stay awake.

CTT: You could hire somebody with a stick to beat you once in awhile. (Laughter)

Student: I can do that for you. (Laughter)

CTT: In classical Zen they have this . . . . What do they call the guy with the stick who will come around and give you a good whack when you get too sleepy?

Student: The guy with the stick.

CTT: Somebody must do Zen. What do they . . . ?

Student: Your guilty conscience?

CTT: No. This guy is external. He’s got a big stick and he’s trained to know how to whack you across the shoulders in a way that causes a maximum amount of pain without any actual physical injury. You might want a somewhat more gentle way.

Try keeping your eyes open and sit up straight and let’s see what else I forgot…. Some traditional ways are to meditate sitting up straight with a pot of ice water balanced on your head so that (Laughter) if you start to fall asleep the ice water will drench you and wake you up.

Or the really desperate ones recommend that you meditate while sitting on the edge of a cliff. (Laughter) So if you fall asleep, you’re going to die. (Laughter) I don’t go for those kinds of extremes.

Student: Okay.

CTT: More sleep at night.

Student: Yeah.

CTT: If you’re a typical student, you’re sleep deprived.

Student: Yeah. A little. I’m the typical . . . .

CTT: It’s much harder to stay awake when you’re sleep deprived. If the pain helps you keep awake and you can regulate the pain to a level that helps you stay awake but doesn’t distract you too much from what you’re trying to do, that’s fine. Yes.

Student: Where’s the acceptance that maybe this is what I need right now, and I’ve come to this place to be open, and what has come up is I need sleep, so go into the sleep and maybe there’s something new there. I mean, if you sleep then when you wake up, do you feel refreshed and then you can sit?

Student: Well, yeah and I’ve looked at that precise . . . I mean I’ve looked at it from the somatic sense, what is my body trying to tell me? What is my relationship to pain? Why do I have trouble staying still in this part of life? So yeah, there are all these tangents I can go on, but bottom line is my foot keeps falling asleep.

Student: If your foot falls asleep in 10 minutes, try sitting on a chair.

Student: I’m sitting up straight in a chair.

CTT: Okay. For you there’s another technique which may work, and that’s walking meditation. This is more of a Vipassana technique than a concentrative technique, but these things are actually on a continuum anyway. It is definitely harder to fall asleep when you’re walking! It could be done. But it’s harder.

I don’t normally teach it and I very seldom do it myself but it’s a good thing to do if you want to meditate but you’re going to fall asleep otherwise. The basic technique is to walk very slowly. For those who are really into it, it’s really sensing the lifting of your heel, and your foot slowly pivoting forward, your foot lifting from the ground, swinging forward, and beginning to come down, and doing this all in a very slow motion. It’s really weird to see it from the outside. You would think it was a bunch of zombies in there. (Laughter)

You do that with your eyes open. It helps to see where you’re walking, but your eyes are cast down, not looking out. You can do variations on this. If real heavy sleepiness is a real problem, there are ways to stay awake. Because, remember, you’re trying to learn to focus and calm your mind. So you can experiment around that in ways that are going to be helpful to you. Or, as one of my meditation teachers once suggested, sometimes a lot of sleepiness is nature’s way of saying you need a nap. ;-)

Student: Some dynamic forms of meditation can still…. I run and that’s a great form of meditation, and I like to climb and that’s a beautiful form of meditation.

CTT: Yes. Because if you put your foot or hand in the wrong place you die.! (Laughter) Good motivation to keep you awake. Now you’re probably on a rope when climbing, but you’ll be embarrassed anyway if you fall.

Student: Yeah. So in terms of orthodoxy, Vipassana is this… I mean, I’m obviously not doing Vipassana.

CTT: I’m not a great teacher of orthodoxy. (Laughter)

Student: I didn’t know that.

CTT: If you want to be orthodox you better sit in the full lotus posture. ;-)

Student: Yeah.

CTT: And the pain from that will definitely keep you awake. Now I remember one study years ago using EEGs with transcendental meditators. The transcendental meditators showed a lot of sleep periods during their meditation. Now was that a success or was that a failure? Depends how you think about things. Had they learned the skill of sleeping while sitting up? Was this is a great accomplishment? Or was this just one more way to cop out of staying awake and meditating? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions.

And there are a lot of things we don’t know, but keep in mind again the overall goal. We’re trying to learn to focus our minds better, in a gentle sort of way, that still leaves us open to other things but doesn’t leave us in the usual state of our minds running away like mad, distracting us with this, that, and the other thing. We all already know how to daydream.

I’m sure everyone one of you is at Olympic levels of daydreaming skill. You know you can go on and on and on and you don’t need special instruction on that. But to be able to just come back to the present and be here, that’s a real skill.

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33 Responses to “Sleepy-eyed Meditation”

  1. anonymous says:

    I don’t remember what they call the guy with the stick. At the Zen school I went to they said they hit you on an acupressure point. The stick is long and wide, the pressure is spread out. It doesn’t hurt. They hit you on the muscles just to the side of the spine. The guy walks around during the meditation sessions and if you want a wack, you put your hands together and lean forward. Mostly people do it because they’re bored or want an excuse to move. Zen is very regimented, you’re not supposed to move when meditating. Historically this is because nobles sent extra sons to the monestary to get good karma for themselves, but the sons were not always enthusiastic monks and could be disruptive if not kept under rigid discipline. I suppose if one fell asleep good wack would wake him up.

    In Zen they alternate sitting meditation with walking meditation. Once I was on a retreat and the instructor was nodding off during the sitting meditation – so during the walking meditation he would try to wake himself up not by walking slowly but by walking as fast as he could. It was hilarious because we wear these robes and they were trailing behind us because we were going so fast.

    The best meditation to do to stay awake is to do eating meditation and have soup. Humans and all mammals have a reflex that prevents them from falling asleep when consuming liquids. They evolved it to prevent drowning.

    The problem with the full lotus is not just the pain but the fact that the pain masks the fact that your leg is falling asleep. It was quite common with new students to hear them stomping around during the walking meditation (if they didn’t fall over) because they started walking and had no sensation in one leg. If you have no feeling in your leg it is very hard to walk. When it happened to me it was like one leg was walking on a trampoline. Every step with that leg felt like it was sinking into the ground despite the fact that it made a sound like a flaminco dancer.

  2. Sandy says:

    The jikijitsu is the guy with the stick (keisaku)according to wikipedia. Of course, when I work as a TA, I always tell students wikipedia is not to be trusted…

  3. Rocket says:

    There is an inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA that can be taken before going to bed at night… It facilitates better sleep and quieting the mind too. We are probably dealing with abnormal neurochemistry from sustained stress, cortisol levels, etc. due to modern lifestyles our brains are not adapted to. I have gotten good results with it. Melatonin too is one of the best things you can put in your body … as a powerful free radical scavenger. We have less natural Melatonin as we age.

    Deep sleep at nite is very helpful. Shortly after my first modest successes with Shamatha practice I had clearer dreams and even one lucid dream.

    • Rocket says:

      For my practice imperative is a better word with respect to good sleep, paying off all “sleep debt.” You need to get really relaxed, and if your body needs sleep, when you do get really relaxed …

  4. Sandy says:

    So how is meditation different from other activities that make you quiet inside? Walking makes me feel quiet inside. So does knitting. I actually refrained from knitting until very recently because I experienced a strange light/energy effect (Kundalini?) a few times while knitting and it scared me. Drawing also has produced that effect. Is it just the element of control that makes meditation unique?

    • Rocket says:

      I have a sneakin’ suspicion “meditation”, ( whatever that me be to you in this discussion) may not be the way to make the objectionable experiences you allude to “go away.” It can open the flood gates (as anonymous has said) and that can be the road to new more satisfying experiences but it can be, and often is for me, harrowing. That suits my temperament. If I may say do, it sounds like it is already harrowing for you. I go out of my way to make things like that happen and when all is said and done it is the source of new and much more interesting levels of experience. Rather than a :retreat,” fleeing in defeat, it is an expedition into the unknown involving courage, action in the face of fear. I do not think it works like meds, to make things simply go away. Shamatha practice is quite subtle in my experience. If you have unwelcome emotions, or rather if they have you, invading your experience that are already harrowing and you wish to just get relief I’m not so sure meditation practice is the best first choice. Taking the attitude of facing directly into the experience and allowing it be there rather than rejecting it, that is the way I have found to master my emotional issues.

      • Sandy says:

        Rocket,

        I haven’t found anyone who can tell me how to stop having anomalous experiences. I do find that meditation helps give me more control over them, but I don’t know if it is possible to stop them from ever occurring. It isn’t just a matter of dealing with unwelcome emotions. It is a matter of having experiences that most people would classify as nuts. The experiences themselves are not even so bad a lot of the time. They can be very nice, in fact. But they are not things that it is OK to talk about openly, so they tend to make me feel isolated.

        Even more isolating is that it is hard to explain anomalous experiences even when you are in a situation where it is safe to discuss them. Last week I had an experience that seemed very important at the time, so much so that I wrote as much about the experience down while I was actually having the experience. That isn’t very easy to do. I tried very hard to stay in the experience, but stay here enough to write. After a while I just couldn’t write anymore, because I felt too far away. Words didn’t work over there. The next day I read what I had written and it seemed kind of silly. The experience just didn’t make sense from the perspective of here. It was so important, but I couldn’t bring it back very well. I feel the same way about my NDEs.

        Sandy

        • Rocket says:

          Finding others having similar experiences will help alleviate the isolation….

        • Sandy says:

          Rocket, are there a lot like me out there? If there are, they may be quiet about it too.

          I had an interesting chat with one of my imaginary friends today in regards to my frustration at not being able to make sense of everything I experience once I get back here. He said maybe I just need more practise.

  5. anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    In meditation, because you notice your thoughts that arise to distract you while you try to concentrate on one thing, you get insight into your thinking and will realize much of it is rubbish. This, to some extent, reduces the effect of ego, regret, worry, attachments, and aversions. This is a transforming process that lasts beyond the meditatin session.

    If you want, you can concentrate on knitting or drawing just like you can concentrate on a mantra or the sensations in your body.

    This type of concentration also calms the mind. If you just sit and give your mind free reign you may think about the past or future and make yourself upset with worry and regret. When you concentrate the mind during meditation, in addition to the insight you get, you also reduce the extent to which your thoughts upset you by reducing the number of them and the length of time you spend thinking them.

    Meditation can also be more relaxing. If you sit still without moving while concentrating, you can get in a deeper state of relaxation than other activities. This is due to the relaxation response which is a physiological state opposite to the fight or flight response.

    However, as I’ve said in other posts however meditation is not a panacea, there can be physiological, biochemical, organic causes of emotional issues that meditation is not suited to deal with.

    anonymous

  6. anonymous says:

    … also…

    If you observe the sensations in your body during visassana /insight meditation, you notice these sensations are sometimes associated with emotions. You become more aware/conscious of your emotions and you see they are really a groups of effects, like sensations in the body, changes in muscle tensions related to facial expressions and posture, and changes in thinking. This helps to make us aware that emotions are not “reality” they are just a series of changes in the body. In cognitive therapy they call this “defusion”. This is a transformative effect, this understanding lasts beyond the meditation session, once you gain this type of insight you don’t easily forget it.

    Another point about keepting the body and mind still – you can get into altered state of conscioiusness like kensho. The value of these altered states seems to be subjective. Some people find them transformative others do not.

    When I said much thinking is rubbish, I meant we see that thoughts come and go without our intention or despite our intention to concnetrate and we realize that they are not reality but something that happens which to some extent is beyond our control. Therefore the force of their effects is diminished with this understanding.

    • Sandy says:

      Anonymous,

      Sometimes I hear music when I meditate. That happened today. Is that from meditation, or is that just part of the other stuff I experience? Some people carry music with them the same way that they have colors. Dr Tart sent me an email once that had more music than colors attached. That was pretty neat. Usually if I get anything, I just get colors. I actually can’t remember any other emails with music attached that way, so it was pretty unique.

      I just wondered if the music is just what is always there, but I’m being quiet enough to hear it, or is it something generated by the meditation itself? Kind of like those odd warm lights seem to be created by meditation somehow. I have my own music, so I know what that sounds like. The meditation music is bigger in a way. It would probably be really neat if you could get lots of people adding to the music all at the same time.

      Sandy

  7. anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    “Is that from meditation, or is that just part of the other stuff I experience?”

    I don’t know. I’m not aware that hearing music is a common experience in meditation but I wouldn’t rule out some neurological explanation.

    On the other hand, it could be due to psychic perception. Meditation tends to increase one’s psychic receptiveness so in that way it might be related to the meditation.

    It also depends how deeply relaxed you were. If you were in a relatively normal state of consciousness then I think the likelyhood of it being psychic is greater. If you were deeply relaxed it might be a consequence of being in the hypnogogic state where it is common to hear sounds and see vivid imagery. Some of these perceptions are psychic but not all. (If you spend a lot of time in that state, you can learn to tell the difference between psychic and normal perceptions.)

    I’ve heard music during meditation a few times. Once was during a class in mediumship. The air conditioner was blowing and making white noise and during the meditation part of the class the white noise somehow changed into music. I was the only one who heard it. When I described the music I heard(acoustic guitar), the physical description of the spirit I saw, and manner of death I felt, one of my classmates recognized the spirit who had been a musician and he had played that type of music.

    It’s interesting how spirits use white noise and other frequences to communicate. EVP requires white noise. There was a medium who produced direct voice phenomena but had to have music playing – the spirits somehow modulated the sound waves in the music to create voices. There is also a book “The Ghost of 29 Megacycles” that describes some devices that spirits helped to design that broadcast ultrasonic audio frequencies over shortwave radio and somehow between the transmitter and receiver added their own voices in the normal audio range. This required a medium but the (spirit and human) were trying to make a device to allow any spirit to communicate.

    anonymous

  8. anonymous says:

    Sometimes I wake up from sleep with a popular song going through my head and the lyrics are meaningful for some situation going on in my life at the time. I tend to attribute this as a means by which spirit guides communicate with me because in some cases it seems precognitive. But I suppose it could be due to “Uncle Psimon” (Unconscious Psi ;).

    The was a period of several weeks where every few days I would wake up with a very spiritual song going through my head. I don’t usually buy CD’s and I hadn’t bought one in years but something made me get CDs with those songs on them. Then the Spiritualist chruch I had been going to suffered a schism and I and a few others started a new church. We didn’t have anyone who could play the keyboard so we used my cd’s with those spiritual songs instead of hymns.

  9. @anonymous:

    There is a book written in the 70s, I believe, but recently republished, by Scott Rogo, called “Nad” or something like that. Nad is a Sanskrit word about psychic sounds people can hear, and Rogo had collected a lot of cases. I’m not sure I ever read it, but it’s a pretty esoteric subject so this book may be a valuable resource.

    • Sandy says:

      Thanks, Dr Tart. I’ll keep an eye out for that book.

      The music I hear isn’t always music in the conventional sense. It incorporates images, smells and feelings as well as sounds. They all seem like elements of music sometimes. Maybe you have to be in the right frame of mind to interpret them that way. I know that I’ve heard people call that synesthesia, but I don’t think I’m normally that way. It just seems like sometimes colors are noisy, usually when I’m being overly sensitive to things. Otherwise, colors are colors and sounds are sounds. A person having music is more than just noisy colors. It seems more like a personal theme song or narrative sometimes.

      What I heard from your email were very clear bell like tones. Very precise and clean sounding notes. It reminded me of mechanical birds somehow. The music was alive and yet beautifully constructed, with great clarity and humor. I very much enjoyed those sounds.

      Sandy

  10. @anonymous:

    >it could be due to “Uncle Psimon” (Unconscious Psi)< That's rich! I'm going to steal that!

  11. Rocket says:

    I was thinking of the conference Dr. T. suggested …. maybe find some course of action that makes sense to you too….

  12. Tom Dark says:

    Sandy,

    as I suggested in another thread, there isn’t any difference in walking or sitting or knitting, etc. so far as “meditation” goes; that the fine differentiations have been created artificially by somewhat literal-minded conceptualizing of what meditation is purported to be; that concern over whether one is meditating “right” defeats its purpose, which is a natural spontaneous activity of the mind to begin with. As I suggested, doing things “right” can set up a needless little mental battle. It can also create needless jealousies among those discussing such matters and techniques. This we have a-plenty. En masse, it has created religious wars and fanatical murders.

    I always mean to speak from the proof of my own pudding. Some of my proof, for myself, is as follows: I haven’t had a headache since 1981 (and counting); I haven’t had the flu since Christmas 1978; I’ve been bed-ill twice, not counting a couple of well-deserved hangovers. I’ve had… I think two colds, that is, the sniffles, in… well… January ’08 I was concerned because I hadn’t had a cold in at least 10 years. Maybe that’s not right… so I got one. Okay, didn’t need to know that after all. Nothing since.

    I don’t follow any kind of diet. I inhale cigars. I don’t have a routine of exercise. I perform no other ritual or ceremony than that of getting my work done. I experiment around with concentration a good deal, because it’s a great curiosity and fun. I do, however, write my dreams down and continue to learn to use them. It is a long study, and a highly practical one.

    For me, a meditation, out of quotes, is as I described on the other thread. It has its many values and they are largely spontaneous. For matters more needful or immediately practical, my form of meditation takes five minutes of concentration. Being relaxed or tense is immaterial. Either is fine.

    My method of choice is called “Concentrated Natural Hypnosis,” which I took from Jane Roberts’ THE NATURE OF PERSONAL REALITY in 1978 — one of many suggested methods given. Above I’ve thumbnailed 31 years of results in health matters from using it. Although I’ve met many many Seth readers, I know only very few who have ever applied it or any other of its many suggestions. I don’t know why they don’t. One to whom I suggested it came away with a totally clean bill of health from a doctor who’d diagnosed her with Hepatitis “C.” It’s never returned.

    I took a phrase of belief: “my body, left alone, knows how to heal itself” and repeated it for five minutes, once a day. Any more might bring in creeping doubts and the aforementioned little mental battle.

    “A belief” isn’t merely lip-service to a favorite idea. It’s what appears to be most real in one’s subjective experience.

    What’s the difference between a meditation, a trance, hypnosis, the distinctions to be found in ancient lore, or the several hundred levels of dreaming supposedly identified by Robert What’s-his-name, for that matter? The differences are not nearly so important as recognizing the similarity among them all. Until the similarities running through them are recognized, the fine distinctions will be of no use. All of them are — or were initially meant to be — creative use of the innate abilities of the conscious mind. So much preaching and teaching is done, but the proof is always one’s own.

    • Sandy says:

      Tom,

      I’ve been thinking about the idea of doing things “right”, and it occurred to me that as a scientist I like having a specific method to follow. If the method doesn’t work, I have no qualms about re-jigging it until I’m happy with it. But I like to start with something specific. It makes me feel like I’m doing something useful, and not just indulging in some silly metaphysical nonsense.

      BTW, I don’t mean any badness towards people who believe in all the weird stuff. I wish I could be more accepting of it. If I didn’t experience the world in the way that I do, who knows, I might be working for the Amazing Randi. (OK, so I’m not quite that bad.) In a perfect world, I’d be cured of the weird stuff but still open to the possibilities.

  13. anonymous says:

    “>it could be due to “Uncle Psimon” (Unconscious Psi)<
    That’s rich! I’m going to steal that!”

    If you like that you might find a blog post I wrote interesting:

    Faith in Psi

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/200.....n-psi.html

    I point out that many parapsychologists who favor the unconscious psi explanation rather than supernatural entities for things like synchronicities still have a certain faith that their own psi works for their best interest. They have faith, not in God, or spirit guides, but in Psi. Yet they also know that poltergeist phenomena is sometimes seems to be due to unconscious psi in a person with emotional conflicts. So in contrast to their faith, according to their scientific theories, unconscious psi should be viewed like any other unintentional psychological phenomena, sometimes good, but sometimes a result a psychological dysfunction.

    If the parapsychologists scientific theory is right then, despite their faith, one of the goals of parapsychology should be to learn to tell people how to recognize when unconscious psi, such as a synchronicity or intuition, is working for their own good and when it is not.

  14. anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    “The music I hear isn’t always music in the conventional sense. It incorporates images, smells and feelings as well as sounds.”

    A number of books written by spirits through mediums say that in the spirit world colors are associated with music. It’s hard to know how reliable this information is, but they describe concerts where music is performed where color is an effect of the music and is considered by the composer when composing. In another case a babbling brook is described as muical and colorful.

    For those who are interested, there are a lot of such books here:


    http://www.spiritwritings.com/library.html

    It sounds to me like some of your experiences might reflect what it is like when we are disembodied. Do they remind you of your NDE? Maybe your experience can help the rest of us to better understand what to expect in the next life. Supposedly, correct preconceptions about it make the transition easier and faster.

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Anonymous,

      Those experiences do remind me of my NDE to varying degrees. The farther away you get, the harder it is to describe the experience when you get back here. And sometimes I have trouble making sense of things afterward. Like I’m forgetting how things work here. When colors are just colors again, I feel disoriented and really sad for a while.

      It is like there are two very different ways to sense things. Over there, things are all mixed up and together, but instead of being confusing, it is like you get way more information about everything. Words can’t compete with that sort of clarity and completeness of information. But that doesn’t work here. Here you have words, and words suck. Here everything is separate. Color is separate from sound, which isn’t mixed up with smell or feelings. Well, maybe feelings are still connected to the other senses. Music or beautiful colors or a familiar scent can make anyone feel things, even here.

    • Sandy says:

      Anonymous,

      I was thinking about feelings. That is the one sense that does seem to connect to the others, even here. And ghosts always seem to connect using feelings first. Really strong feelings from ghosts get information across much better than neutral feelings. I always pick up on the ghosts that are afraid or angry (not to mention living people who are strongly emotional). Sometimes even nice ghosts will resort to yelling in anger to help get a point across. (They could just be really frustrated at how unskilled I am at understanding them, I suppose.)

      Is that why meditation works? Because it connects us to how we feel, and how we feel connects us to the rest? Are feelings the first rudimentary step towards experiencing things the way you do in the NDE place?

  15. anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    “And ghosts always seem to connect using feelings first.”

    Different mediums connect differently. In mediumship class I would get a picture of the spirit first. We used the term clairvoyant specifically to refer to visual perceptions. A lot of mediums are like this. However some mediums do get feelings first but I think it is less common.

    Often with the visual images there would be other information somehow attached. I would know what I was seeing, and I would know things about it. It was like an email with attachments. It seemed to me that the easiest way for them to get through to me was visually but once I had the “packet” and knew it was psychic they knew I’d be able to notice the other information.

    I think one of the hardest thing for the spirits was to convince me that the mental impressions I recieved were psychic and not my imagination. The way they would help me realize this was by showing me things from weird angles or placing them off center. If you imagine a house you imagine looking at it from the street in the center of your visual field. Once I saw a house from two feet away and looking along the side of the outside wall. It seemed pretty obvious to me that I wasn’t imagining that.

    The advantage to being clairvoyant is that you can describe the spirit and the sitter will generally be able to recognize who it is. The spirit can also show you what they did in life etc. It’s great for getting recognition and identification. The disadvantage is that you have to use symbols to give a message. I would occasionally get feelings, and less often smells, and words. When you get words we used the term clairaudient, but for me the words came to my mouth like I was saying them rather than to my ears like I was hearing them. It was weird.

    One of the hardest things about mediumship was putting psychic perceptions into words. You have to develop an appropriate vocabulary, for example, to say things without offending people or to describe what you see. It is a skill I didn’t have much practice in before. I had plenty of experience putting things into words from writing corporate e-mails and writing on technical subjects from work life and graduate school, but that was not the same as what I had to do in mediumshiup. Having to put things into words also gives your analytical brain a chance to color the reading with inferences, deductions, and associations which is a problem. I think being clairaudient must be easiest for the medium. They just repeat what they hear.

    By the end of the reading I would often get a feeling of the personality of the spirit the way you have a mental idea of the personality of someone you know. One spirit in particular had a really cheerful attitude and, as you know, spirits’ attitudes are contagious. Just communicating with him make me feel cheerful.

    “Are feelings the first rudimentary step towards experiencing things the way you do in the NDE place?”

    I don’t know, but I hope not! I was looking forward to getting some relief when the time came.

    One thing that parapsychology has shown is that emotional envolvement does seem to correlate with better psychic functioning. From what you are saying it sounds like it’s true when we’re disembodied also. This is consistent with mediumship lore that says a close emotional bond between the sitter and the spirit or the spirit and the medium usually results in better communication.

    anonymous

  16. @anonymous:

    >Having to put things into words also gives your analytical brain a chance to color the reading with inferences, deductions, and associations which is a problem.<
    Same problem came up repeatedly in the remote viewing research at SRI. A viewer would get a correct impression, say, of the shape of a distant target, but then her analytic mind would come in and add associations to that shape and the clarity of the original percept, which might have been right on, could easily get lost and buried. We called it analytical overlay, and instructed viewers to try to stay with straightforward descriptions of their impressions and not get carried off into analysis.

    • arringt says:

      I worked with a non-verbal student wit autism. I often worked with him by using a field of choices, word or picture cards, to see if e was comprehending material. He invariably selected the correct answers. However, he never looked at the cards laid on the table. It appeared as if
      he was looking at the subject matter and controlling his body from outside himself. It was very odd.

      After I was no longer Alex’s teacher, I planned to visit his class. I decided to get him some
      favored treats to see if he would draw pictures to request them. The night before, as I was in the supermarket, I was thinking of him as I selected the items. I got him a few fish candies, a tiny pack of chocolate chip cookies, and a tiny pack of donuts along with his beloved butter cookies.

      The next day I visited his class, but I forgot about the treats and left them in the car. When I was about to leave his classroom, I remembered. I told him I had some butter cookies for him in the car and would bring them in. I wasn’t even thinking about the other items at the time. I drew a picture of the butter cookie as I handed it to him as I told him that I had some butter cookies in my car. I told him that I would go to the car to get them. He took the piece of paper, drew a circle and put marks in it to indicate the chocolate chip cookies. He then drew a donut and a triangle with a spine through it, which I assumed indicated the fish candy. It was if he had said, “Don’t forget the chocolate chip cookies, the donuts and the fish candy!” I was flabbergasted.

      I don’t know if this was remote viewing or if he just tapped into my thoughts the night before when I was selecting the items. It was very perplexing.

      A few years earlier, I was having lunch and I felt Alex’s energy body had entered my physical body. It was an interesting but not uncomfortable feeling. Was that my imagination or is there an explanation for tis type of experience?

  17. anonymous says:

    Hi Charles,

    “Same problem came up repeatedly in the remote viewing research at SRI.”

    Yes, I’ve read some of the popular books on the remote viewing research and looked through the military remote viewing manual available on the internet. I was impressed with the methods the remote viewers have for detecting and dealing with analytic overlay.

    I think it would be interesting to have mediums go through a remote viewing course and remote viewers go to a mediumship class. I think there would be some benefits in cross training.

    Also, with mediumship, presumably there are spirits working to help the psychic, so it would be interesting to see if there was some way to measure or identify that there is something different going on with mediumship than remote viewing.

  18. anonymous says:

    … I also wish mediumship had been studied with the same systematic scientific approach that remote viewing has been and also that systematic and scientific training methods for mediumship had been developed. There has been a lot of research into mediumship but none that I am aware of into training methods.

    I think it is very valuable that the method of training for remote viewing was developed at the same time a systematic methodology was developed for doing it. That makes a big difference in studying remote viewing scientifically. It would be nice if an analogous system existed for mediumship.

  19. Sandy says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    “Different mediums connect differently.”

    Different ghosts have different ways too, I suppose. I had one guy who was a civil engineer that was very good at quantifying everything. (Must be an engineer thing.) He made me feel physically ill at first. He was just trying to get my attention and explain how he died (he had cancer). There must be a learning curve to being a ghost, because he learned not to cause me pain that way again. He could communicate really well. If I didn’t hear him correctly, he would show me pictures that were really helpful. If one thing didn’t work, he would just try something else. Poor guy still hasn’t moved on. He never believed in the afterlife before he died, and he still has problems with it. He keeps an eye on his kids, and that seems to be enough for him right now.

  20. anonymous says:

    “There must be a learning curve to being a ghost”

    Yes. In my opinion this is one of the strongest arguments against super-psi as an explanation for mediumship. Spirits get better at communicating the

    more they do it
    . This is why I think scientists who study mediumship should work with a development circle of advanced students. The deceased relatives of these students have a lot of practice communicating through other class memebers and are very good at it. A blind study where the medium doesn’t know who the sitter is would give very good results. The results could be judged by having a sitter try to distinguish a reading that was for him from a reading that was for someone else. In this situation it doesn’t matter that the students know all about each other’s deceased relatives because the reading and judging are done blind.

  21. anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    “And ghosts always seem to connect using feelings first.”

    I know that spirits have feelings, but I also tend to assume that some emotions or tendencies towards emotions are fundamentally biological and therefore would not pertain in the spirit world without a physical body.

    Do you see any evidence of that?

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Anonymous,

      Ghosts like Jack (my civil engineer) don’t seem very different than anyone living. Sometimes it seems like death is such an arbitrary boundary, because people change and move on in various ways before and after dying. I know that my point of view is tainted by the problem I have with telling ghosts from living people at times. But it seems like a pretty seamless continuum.

      That being said, among ghosts it seems like there are ghosts with issues and those without issues. The ones with issues are the most like us; they are the ones that need to “move on”. I don’t think moving on is so much a matter of going to a different place. I think it is more a matter of making personal changes, like it is for living people.

      I know I’ve told you in correspondence about how upset I was when my Grandmother moved on. It was like having her die again. I was so used to talking to her every day almost like she was still alive. And then she was different, she made a change… she “moved on”. I knew it was a good change for her. She was so happy, and I wanted to be happy for her. But she was just a little bit less like the woman I knew growing up. The one who baked cookies, enjoyed her garden, and talked my parents into buying me that drum set when I was 11 :-) . I’ve gotten used to the way she is now, but I still miss the way she used to be before she moved on. Just like I miss the way it was when she was a living person.

      Grandma became one of those ghosts that don’t seem to have issues. Sometimes it almost seems like she is less emotional, but she is still capable of tremendous joy, compassion, and even great sadness. Her emotions feel purer somehow. Cleaner, less messy than emotions here are. Like really intense colors instead of muddy ones. She can really get points across using mainly images and emotions. And sometimes I still hear her voice, but I have to meet her partway to make that possible now.

      There are ghosts that seem very far removed from Grandma. They are just lights shaped like people. I don’t know if they have emotions like Grandma does, but they make me feel emotions. They feel like the NDE place. The following is an excerpt from something I wrote to a friend while actually experiencing these sorts of ghosts very recently:

      I can’t really understand them very well. They don’t talk like some ghosts do. But there is light and music. And feelings. love? I guess it could be love. Somehow that word doesn’t seem big enough for what they feel like. I wish I could share this with you better. You would find it pretty neat. They smell like rain in the forest. A bright light that is soft and expressive. A strange buzzing of life. Almost electric. They are so beautiful I could cry. I am crying.

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