My Philosophy of Teaching

Recently the ITP faculty attended a workshop that emphasized that students feel more comfortable and work more effectively in courses where they understand the instructor’s philosophy of teaching from the beginning, so here, in a nutshell, is mine.
I always thought I was very lucky and blessed to be able to go to college and graduate school and to make a living doing stuff which, except for some necessary administrative work, was really interesting to me.  I sit at my desk occasionally and think “I like to read, to talk, to think, to write, to do research, and to teach – and they pay me to do it!  Wow!”  By contrast, so many people must work at jobs they dislike or are bored at or make the world a worse place…

I teach this course, even though I’m old enough to retire, because I think its subject matter is interesting and important in making at least a small contribution to our individual and collective psychological and spiritual growth.  That you are here at ITP, of your own volition, that you’re taking this course which is an elective, rather than required, allows me to assume that you too are really interested in its subject matter.  Thus I don’t have to motivate you to keep up with the readings, to read relevant material beyond what’s required, to contribute both your enthusiasm and doubts and questions in class, and to find it a privilege to write small papers each week to share your own enthusiasm and thinking with me and your fellow students.  I bring to class my interest and enthusiasm to share with you, and I’m rewarded by your interest and enthusiasm.  Yes, I bing expertise in content too, but that interest and enthusiasm is more important.  When I see you grappling with our material, intellectually and experientially, in class or in your papers, I feel I’m a success as a teacher!

If, God forbid, it ever reaches a point where nobody says anything interesting in class and the papers are all nothing but book reports, then it will be time to stop teaching….  I know this may happen someday if I get too old or sick, but I doubt it will happen for lack of student interest and enthusiasm.


  1. Dr. Tart,

    as I’ve searched this site, I see nothing about dreams. This concerns me because my own years of experimentation suggest that excluding nightly dreams from any study of consciousness is like excluding the motor from the study of the automobile.

    So say I, owing to decades of often quite fruitive results — plus 10 years or so of running a small dream experiment group on the internet, composed of correspondents around the planet who’ve never met in person; this grew out of experiments with individuals over periods of time, some years before then.

  2. @Tom Dark:
    >as I’ve searched this site, I see nothing about dreams.<
    Right! You see nothing – yet – as neither I nor anyone commentator has said anything about dreams – yet. Some day when I get around to posting transcripts from my Altered States of Consciousness class I’ll be commenting on dreams and/or the topic may come up before then.
    Meanwhile, sweet dreams…. 😉

  3. Well then! In these aforesaid experiments — still ongoing — are incorporated every phenomena addressed as separate matters here, and apparently, most other places of study, legitimate or charlatan. Clairvoyance, telepathy, remote viewing, precognitions, reincarnations, “parallel universes,” etc., etc., etc.

    …in spades, commonplace for some of us, less so for others, and the reasons for that pretty obvious.

    Of course this may sound like bragging. But it has led me to a corollary study, and that is, why should it, and if it is not bragging, why are so few willing to explore it?

  4. Hi Tom,

    I’m sitting here at 3:30 AM trying to convince myself to sleep, and I thought about your comment that no one had mentioned dreams anywhere in this blog. You could have broken the ice and elaborated a bit on your own experiences, but since I can’t sleep, I guess I’ll talk about a dream I just had. It might be a paranormal experience. Of course it could just be a coincidence too.

    I woke up at about 1:30 from a really bad nightmare. I dreamt about a helicopter crash. The people that died in the crash were wandering around confused about why no one could see them. It was a really terrible dream. I couldn’t sleep so got up and turned on my computer. The top breaking story in the news was that two soldiers from a nearby base were killed when a Griffin helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Being from a military background, I always get upset when a soldier dies. I know the nightmare was probably just a coincidence, but I’m still shaking.

  5. Hi Sandy,

    Sorry, I’ve been busy.

    I thought I had broken the ice, that is, made a few suggestions in various other postings. Dr. Tart’s ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS has a 1912 essay from van Eeden, whose thoughts were a keystone for me in exploring dreams. That was 35 years ago. Been at it ever since. My experience, such as it is, is quite extensive and continues daily.

    Your dream and brief description of your feelings suggests it was probably telepathic. Tho’ my experience so far says it does little service to label and categorize dreams — there is so far not anything like a sufficient body of experience or consensus belief on which to draw (and I’m pretty aware of dream-institution work and the like). Categorization can prejudice the data. Even the term “precognitive dreaming” can be misleading. Scientific method, which is too “empirical” for such a non-physical subject, can also be problematical. I’m sorry, but wiring someone up to study their dreams is balefully ludicrous.

    Years ago I began experiments with strangers — I arranged for a third party to pick me a willing partner, whom I didn’t know, and each of us attempted to dream of each other. The results were quite amazing.

    Years afterward — 1999 — I began some experiments on the internet with a group of people, the same way. Again, amazing results — but a dozen people was far too many. Writing it all can get exhausting.

    I still keep in touch with some of them. For instance, “Thyra” in Istanbul. We’ve never met. I recently dreamed she’d got a new boyfriend, an American, who was too young for her, the jealous kind. My symbol for this relationship in the dream was “a pile of stinky horse shit.” I wrote her this; I hadn’t written her in a year. That’s what happened. She broke up with him quickly.

    10 years ago Thyra was a total stranger who was writing her dreams on a “spiritual” internet site, asking what they meant. I suggested she dream of me, also a total stranger. She dreamed me down to the fact that I hadn’t shaved in a few days. This began the experiment with a dozen other strangers.

    The biggest obstacle is that people do not believe such things are possible — even when they do it. Sorting out and clearing up what one believes about his own dreams — and his waking reality — requires some persistent work. The rest is play.

    As to my experience, I’m where I am and doing what I’m doing owing to a series of dreams. I caught on long ago and have been doing that for 25 years or so. There is far too much to tell.

    Perhaps Dr. Tart would start a thread.

    And perhaps you would like to try an experiment for yourself. Who am I? See what you dream. No fair looking up “Tom Dark” on the internet.

  6. Tom,

    I did try the dream thing. What I got seems too odd to post, even for me. I’ll try again and see if it gets any more sensible. The colors I got sort of make sense, at least in how I see colors when I’m awake. A really noisy blob of two shades of purple. There was more of the lighter, greyish purple. And someone else had clear colors with little sparkly bits of various colors. It was more like reading a comic book than having a dream, except that it was really noisy like dreams can be. There were way too many words for a good comic book.

  7. Very good, Sandy. I’m already surprised, as I recognize a bit in what you’ve written. But no no, no dream is ever too “odd.” People toss away valuable clues that way. Some can seem embarrassing, which is why my experiment was private. The members must take the risk of learning to trust each other, and must be very truthful.

    Now. Lately my wife and my lives have been “too noisy.” I’ve JUST finished using those words in a letter to a mutual friend. We’re overloaded with work from clients too worried, and we’ve been too noisy with each other in the pressure. (We can’t stay away from business too long, so she’s off on a vacation and I’m manning the fort, handling the business).

    Secondly, “greyish purple” is a fairly reliable symbol of hurt feelings in my dreams. For instance, a dream of a great explosion in my home town a few years ago, a big cloud of purple grey, emotional pain, even terror. Two weeks later I learned that one of my nieces, whom I hadn’t seen since she was a little girl, had died at age 28. He was my brother’s only child.

    Thirdly, I’m a “sparkly” personality and so is my wife. Yet that may be someone else.

    Your thoughts of comic books. Lately I’ve been having fun posting on film critic Roger Ebert’s blog ( ).

    Two days ago he posted a little contest, titled “The New Yorker. No, the New Yorker.” He made up captions for 8 cartoons from the
    New Yorker cartoon-caption contest and invited posters to try the same. I not only spent quite awhile thinking up captions myself, I mentioned that I’d always wanted to be a cartoonist.

    Which brings me to a dream-reverie from the other night, before Roger posted his cartoon contest. I was seeing all kinds of vivid, beautifully drawn cartoons in the sky. The clouds were forming them. Although I rarely doodle any more, I could draw the caricatures I saw (I’m still not that bad a drawer, left over from childhood), because they were very familiar, if not in any comics or cartoons I know of here in reality.

    In this reverie I realized that in “an alternate reality,” (I use the term “probability”) I did pursue cartooning fully at some point in my past — so that these full-blown cartoon characters I was looking at were a “bleed-through” from a me who’s a successful cartoonist.

    It’s something like reincarnation, but it goes “sideways” in time rather than to the past.

    So there are some clues. Am I just leading you on? Scientific method, that is, empiricism, would have to dismiss this as evidence. Psychological science must not, but must not make presumptions about a moving cloud of probable evidence either. It’s a science of association and synthesis rather than analysis alone. One must follow intuitions with practice.

    Think of clouds congealing to form a solid object. That’s more or less the way dreams operate in the formation of physical events. You may find a series of “odd” or abstract dreams that continue over time until they become more easily recognizable symbols, such as — what I look like, and other more specific details.

    It has always been my practice to play what I call “the dream game” tit-for-tat. I’m sorry I can’t do that now, for various reasons pressing on both dream and waking time. Plus, I’ve done it successfuly and so often I leave it to spontaneous practicality these days. But spontanaeity often interrupts the best laid plans o’ mice and men, so let’s see what I do. For some reason I think of birds, imagining you.

    If we come up with something interesting, perhaps Dr. Tart will start a thread for “live” experiments. It does require a playful and open minded attitude. I already know the lady who handles the front desk at the Noetics institute won’t do this. She’s said so, officiously. So I won’t tell her the 2 dreams I had of her. But spending money on “dream workshops” doesn’t yield anywhere near the results free play can do.

  8. Tom,

    I dreamt that there was this lady with long blond hair in a ponytail. She looked like a drawing from a graphic novel. She had piercings and was very punk looking. She said she was your muse or guide. She showed me pictures in a book. They looked like real photographs, not drawings. There was a picture of her, but she wasn’t punk. She was older and softer looking, very pretty. There was a picture of a man with very short hair and stubble on his face. He was a noisy purple scribble.

    She told me that you loved change. All sorts of change. Changes in spiritual direction. Travel. Your past was all about change. But now you had to be more of a manager of things. A keeper of the estate. And you didn’t like it. She said being responsible isn’t as much fun as moving on. You want to wake up and transform, you don’t want to be stuck working. But in the end you will get and give the guidance you need. She said you would learn to have fun with work again. Things will change. The intuitive connection will surprise you. You don’t need to speak.

    We were sitting on the steps of what looked like an old brownstone building. She had comics and graphic novels in a pile being where she sat. One book had the title “Dirty Pair”. It was really noisy outside. The colors of everything were scribbled and noisy. There was a tan building across the street that seemed much calmer. There were very red pretty roses carefully drawn growing up the sides of the walls, almost like outdoor wallpaper.

  9. Hmm. Hmm. Be sure to look around the internet when you come up with dream info, Sandy:

    It so happens I know two women who are concerned with graphic novels and comics. One of them is well known, the other has an indirect connection with this article. I can do something about the both of them. And it’s so that graphic novels may be in the process of turning into a big thing. But I have yet to run across a good one (except the one we already have).

    Yep, I’ve entered the “managing” stages of life just lately, and sometimes I chuckle to myself and hum Joanie Mitchell’s old hit, “I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive.” And true, it’s not as fun as the freewheeling life I carved out impromptu in the past 25 years. There is much more magic in it. The challenge now is to conjure it up while obliged to deal with a lot of people frightened for their careers who don’t believe in it. It’s like trudging along in mud. So many of my dreams have been long, long, long conversations with various of them, I wake up weary from trying to do all that convincing.

    I’ve never liked the word “spiritual,” as it’s too connected to too many things, but yes, that’s the core of my motivation. Dreams are more “spiritual” than any 200 gooroos put together, for instance.

    I don’t recognize the descriptions of the guide-woman or the stubble-bearded man. Catt is grey-blonde now, but never wears a ponytail. (We got together “by dream,” incidentally. She’s the only other person I’ve met who has taken the same kind of initiative)

    Could be these are future people…

    Well thanks very much! The horses woke me up this a.m. (We sleep outside in summer and let them run free, their nuzzling is our alarm clock), so mine were forgotten.

  10. PS neglected to mention, the woman with the “indirect” connection to Hentai and Manga comics and people happens to live in the Brownstone neighborhood of New York City.

  11. Tom,

    I’m not sure how much faith I put into dreams. It seems pretty easy to find corresponding things if you look hard enough. Some of my dreams have seemed precognative, but they have a very different quality and are almost impossible to forget. Even then, it could just be my imagination.

    I had another dream about that lady. It didn’t sound like you were going to have a very happy day, so I hope that this was just a dream. She said you had to deal with a problem. Someone was “stuck” like a thorn. You handled that and were working hard. But you didn’t feel very well/strong, although you were putting up a good front and trying to be your best. You will see the inner truth. A problem close to home. A weakness affecting a cherished one/bringer of joy. She said you would be surprised by sadness.

    I wouldn’t put much stock in this. I just thought you should see that not all dreams make any sense at all when compared to the real situation.

  12. Well ma’am, I have JUST finished answering a false complaint charged against me before a literary agency ethics committee. (11:26 a.m. Wednesday June 22) — just before I checked this thread. A somewhat crazy ex-client and an old antagonist have been a thorn in my side and are harassing me this way.

    Yes, I might be surprised by sadness about it. Our chief isn’t very strong-willed.

    So there are your corresponding things. Let’s see what happens next.

    There’s no reason not to be skeptical about it, nor is there any reason not to stay open-minded about how dreams may actually work. Just watch and compare.

  13. Well again, Sandy,

    Guess what? I just got a bill in the mail for the electricity in my apartment in Tucson. It’s been overdue for months.

    Almost 2 years ago I left my apartment with a dear friend. I also left the utility bill in my name. He’s been paying it. But according to this bill, forwarded to my new address, not only hasn’t it been paid in 3 months, no electricity has been used since April.

    I haven’t heard from him in weeks. His little e-newsletter hasn’t shown up as usual, either. His phone number’s disconnected.

    He weighs somewhere close to 400 pounds and Tucson gets very hot starting in the spring.

    I love this guy and I’m worried.

    Point to take: your dreams don’t cause my reality, mine do. I’ve got a good track record of dreaming among friends and relatives who’s going to die and which might be prevented, but this one escapes me.

    1. Tom,

      That’s why I don’t like doing psychic stuff. I see bad stuff that I usually can’t prevent. It always feels like it’s my fault. My last dream was an airforce flypast with one plane missing.

      I hope your friend is OK. I’m sorry that you had a bad day.

  14. @Sandy:
    That’s why I don’t like doing psychic stuff. I see bad stuff that I usually can’t prevent. It always feels like it’s my fault.
    I’ve heard similar sentiments from many people over the years, and am sorry you and others feel this way. But put it in perspective. Every time you turn on the News, you see and hear about all sorts of tragedies. Are they your fault? The monsoons are late in coming to India, people are suffering. Is that your fault?
    Part of our human condition seems to be that we are hard-wired to pay more attention to bad news than good. That’s often adaptive if it alerts us to a bad situation in time to act. But we no longer live in a simple world where the barbarians are invading or they aren’t, we’re flooded with bad news. The news may come through conventional media or via ESP.
    I think we can do two things.
    One. Train ourselves to ignore anything not of immediate relevance to ourselves, so we don’t have feelings about it.
    Two. Gain enough self-knowledge to find any psychological areas where we really crave the negative stuff – we all have some pockets in our psyche like that – and work through them.
    Which is appropriate at a given time (or other methods) is a matter for individuals to figure out thru experimentation.

    1. Dr Tart,

      I’m familiar with your arguments and I’ve had this same discussion with a counselor in the past. I understand logically that not everything is about me, and not every bad dream that comes true is my fault. The universe doesn’t revolve around me. I know that, but I still feel badly.

      This was one of my major reasons for wanting a cure for my situation. I just don’t know if people are really meant to be psychic, at least not in this lifetime. I can see why we have this potential for psi functioning when we are done here and move on. When I had my NDE, these sorts of skills felt very natural and normal in the NDE place. Having those skills in this place makes me feel like I don’t belong here. I don’t understand why I came back this way.

  15. Dr. Tart! Pleased you’re here and watching!

    I’d quote Huck Finn’s Jim about it if I could remember — his argument about what fo’did he need to hear no good news from no fortune teller? If it’s gonna happen, why pay somebody to wreck the surprise? Something like that.

    Sandy, this experiment has pleased and surprised me a bunch. You’re a natural. You’re also a total stranger to me, wide awake, anyhow. I’ve read a few of your postings and that’s all I know. Now Dr. Tart’s advice to you is good.

    You posted your dream yesterday, but I didn’t read it until today, and just moments after I’d finished dealing with some truly annoying news that matched your dream, without giving names and details. So, Bingo. I may not have made the comparative connection between your dream and events here in my own reality if I’d read it yesterday. Then, the strange event of a worry about what’s become of a friend of mine.

    Now, both these events are highly unusual for me, but they would have happened whether you dreamed them or not. The events were formed weeks and months before you dreamed what you did. This underscored the likelihood that you “tuned in” in a dream, and picked something that not only stands out in the seeming negative, but practically BLARED out in comparison with the usual course of my days.

    You’ll see by my responses, too, that I had little idea what the “sad surprise” might be. We’ll see. You’re not responsible for them. If anything, perhaps the tip-off may have prompted me to prevent something. I don’t yet know, but such things do happen.

    There are more questions than meet the eye. You are being taught and I’m serving as a lesson. Who is this guide you dream of after all? I’d look to answer the question myself, were I you. Play with this some more, and more may come.

    One of my dream-experiment friends wrote me the day before. I haven’t heard from her in a good while. She said a gypsy man had told her to e-mail me and ask if I’m having a lovely day. Frankly, I thought that sounded a little ominous. The following day, your dream. And today… well… some ominous things.

    She thinks my missing friend is just fine and, like Schroedinger’s Cat (if you know that famous analogy), I’ll assume that’s so until I find out for certain. It may take awhile.

    As to “negative.” I’ve mentioned that I’m good at dreaming of the deaths of friends and relatives ahead of time. That’s hardly been an entirely negative thing. I wrote about one exception, my niece’s, which was tragic, and the symbolism was indirect. My father, for instance, visited me in a dream, shook my hand and let me know how glad he was to go. Ordinarily that’s been the case.

    Nobody dies who doesn’t want to. Our cultures have an artificial fear of death only because we accept only the phenomenon of physical reality as “real,” and no other. Those who die find out very differently. In other kinds of dreams, I’ve experienced realities of intensity and vividness that rather make this rock-hard one seem pretty ghostly — and it’s reassuring.

    Think of your “negative” dreams as exercises then. They’re simply easier to perceive for reasons Dr. Tart has suggested. We’re in a society that’s fascinated with bad news — although I protest the innocence of dreams. It’s what we remember when we wake up, and I hope so far this has been a good exercise for you.

    Now here’s a good one of mine: I have a friend who recently turned 103. When she was 98 or 99 (I do keep records, but not handy) I dreamed I was in her empty apartment, it was dark and charred, and a voice said to me “don’t let that place become a charnel house.” In this dream, she had died.

    The next day I paid her a visit. She reached up into a kitchen cupboard for a couple of wine glasses. The cupboard fell off the wall. I reached out my hand almost automatically and stopped it. It would have fallen on her had she been alone, and very likely, killed the fragile old darling. I’d paid her a visit because of the dream. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have. Big hero, wasn’t I?

    But the real hero turned out to be her dog, a couple weeks later. He woke her up in the middle of the night. Her apartment was already filled with smoke, but hadn’t yet reached the level of her sleeping on the bed. She got up and came out of the house completely black from standing in the smoke, choking. She’d left a turkey in the oven for a Thanksgiving dinner she’d planned for us; it had caught the place on fire. Her landlady was there to see her, totally blackened, her life saved by her doggie.

    She used to greet me with “why don’t you just shoot me?” I’d reply “the neighbors would talk, dear.” All her friends were long gone (including James Thurber and some other luminaries).

    After those incidents, she said “I’ve decided to live to 104 and don’t think I can’t do it!” Well, she turned 103 in April.

    You MAY save someone’s life owing to a dream, Sandy — that is, someone’s who hasn’t gladly made that decision inwardly. There are those who are hapless about it and I suspect my niece was one.

    The count for me is five, so far — that is, events that were as direct or yet more obvious than this one. I don’t go looking for it and I’m certainly not going to hang out a shingle for such things. It’s not dreams that need “improving” in any way, but one’s wide-awake attitudes, which were learned in a culture that does indeed tend to the negative.

    I’m eager to see what else you can do!

  16. PS Sandy I gather also from your dream-account that you find a certain amount of “static” in what I write, maybe too talky for you. My writing may take some slow thinking.

    But a quick note on your reply to Dr. Tart, and in a nicely negative way: we need to learn these innate abilities, person by person, or civilization is screwed. One reason things are as messed up as they are is because people aren’t using what they have. They don’t think they’re allowed to. So you keep on, girl.

  17. “I don’t understand why I came back this way.”

    To help spirits make the transition to the spirit life.

    To help incarnated people to believe in and better understsand our spirit nature.

    To suffer in a unique and creative way. Everyone seems to have their own special cross to bear. I think one reason we incarnate is to learn. We learn best by solving problems. We can’t learn by solving problems without having them. Life is too easy in the spirit world – you don’t need food clothing or shelter. It’s hard to have problems in that situation. That is why we have to incarnate here in the physical world.

  18. Talking to ghosts, precognitive dreaming, being homesick for what it was like to be dead…

    All of these things feel nuts. How can they be sane? I just want to be a nice, normal scientist. One who doesn’t talk to an imaginary dead Cambridge professor about her thesis research. The sort of scientist that people could trust. No one would trust me if they knew about me.

    I wouldn’t even be a scientist if it hadn’t been for the NDE. I was pretty happy being an artist/musician. No one would have cared if I had been a psychic musician. Big deal. Musicians and artists get a free pass when it comes to being odd. But if I need to be a scientist, why do I have to be afflicted with such unscientific baggage?

    The psychic stuff just has to be nuts.

  19. Oh, Sandy! Thanks! Now I get to quote one of my favorite quotes of the century so far!

    Years ago I did an article on one of the various African “Messiahs” cropping up in Africa in the past century. Simon Kimbangu, for instance has since become the “messiah” for a state-recognized religion in Angola (religion still requires government approval there.

    My guy was Simeon Toko. He died in 1989, after waving good-bye to his huge crowd of followers. My favorite saying of his is “I am crazy, you are crazy, but everybody else is even crazier!”

    This was a quip on our mental and emotional states in our times. To illustrate, my article went worldwide. One of my many callers was a well-known award winning psychiatrist who called me convinced that Jesus Christ Himself had returned and gone. Crazy, huh? Simeon Toko got weary of denying that. (The article is titled “African Avatars and the Secret of Fatima”; it’s still floating around on the ‘net after hardcopy publication in 9 or 10 languages. I still hear from people about it).

    Scientist, eh? Which is more insane: developing weapons that can wipe out the surface of the planet “to protect ourselves”, or experimenting around with one’s dreams and such?

    (One of my brothers, incidentally, developed the silicon-based stuff for insulating low-level radioactive wastes. He quit GE years before after he learned that the high-level radioactive wastes dumped in the arctic circle could poison the entire North American water table. The biggest beehive-hairdo psychic charlatan would never think of doing anything that crazy.)

    Part of the problem would be your training in scientific empirical method, then. I’ve told you that this method won’t work in “psychic” matters. It’s too simple. The core method for exploring these things is to assume that what one believes “comes true;” that changes the game considerably, but must be observed just as “faithlessly” as any test tube experiment.

    My cousin had an “NDE,” as it’s called. She was a hard-nosed medical attorney. I mentioned this elsewhere. She changed her life around for it. I think she went too far.

    I inculcated such a thing in myself following a yoga breathing experiment at age 22. My heart and lungs were stopped for maybe 4 hours. Quite a trip, much still not describable, but since I did it willingly, it didn’t “happen to me” and so I didn’t have the same questions or complaints about it as you do. I eventually tossed away all the mystical tomfoolery (Freud and Jung too) and started over again very simply: compare nightly dreams with daily reality. Compare real hard, like a phenomenologist. The practical results have continued for about 30 years, some spectacular, like becoming a millionaire. Yet “smaller” things even moreso.

    Above, I suggested you think of the dreams you began relating to me as “clouds that congeal,” or dream-symbols that begin in abstract symbols, then consequently produce images or symbols or messages that can very specifically match events or items or situations then experienced as physical, by yourself or others.

    If you care to continue this experiment, your next step would be to dream of something I might, say, send you a photograph of (If I’ve got one; Catt’s got all the pics and I don’t know how her laptop works). But you must at least give me the benefit of the doubt that some things that go on in labs today are far creepier than anything you’ll find in experiments like these.

    “Dead Cambridge Professor”? Are you at Cambridge? MA? One of my longtime “dream-buddies” lives there.

  20. @Tom Dark: Reflecting on your advice to Sandy…
    Sandy, I think you (and perhaps others) ought to read or reread the various sections in my The End of Materialism on what science is, as opposed to what scientism is.
    Basically science is a method, first and foremost a commitment to careful and systematic observation of what you’re interested in. Then you come up with a theory to account for what you’ve seen. Then you apply the theory in new areas to see how well it predicts things. If it does well, keep going, refine and expand the theory. If it doesn’t predict well, scrap the theory. It doesn’t matter how “elegant” the theory is or how well it fits with other currently fashionable theories, if it doesn’t predict what happens, out if goes.
    Scientism is what happens because we’re human. We like to think we understand things. So a theory does well, it gets adopted by prestigious people whose approval we want, it morphs from the best we can think of at the moment but always subject to further test into The Truth. Once you have the truth you can ignore or resist anything that doesn’t fit your Truth. Growth has stopped.
    Read Thomas Kuhn on the nature of scientific revolutions.
    Reflect on the “education” process in science, the power senior scientists have to mold the thoughts and actions of those junior to them… ;-(
    Essential science, as I call it in The End of Materialism, is really common sense. Observe your world. Come up with ideas that help make sense of it, but keep testing those ideas against new observations, revise the ideas as needed.
    Of course we all want to have successful careers too, so the pressure is always there – think like the authorities, see what the authorities see, don’t ask embarrassing questions.
    It’s hard being human sometimes…

  21. Observe your world.

    Dr Tart, the problem is that other people don’t seem to see the world the way that I do. My observations are a non-repeatable experiment. If I’m the only one that sees colored lights around people or ghosts of dead professors (no, I’m not at Cambridge, but I guess I like my imaginary friends to be well educated), I must be nuts. I’m just cogent enough to fit in some real enough sounding information that people think I’m psychic. I don’t know if there really is such a thing.

  22. You bet I’ll be reading THE END OF MATERIALISM, Dr. Tart. As I hope I’ve mentioned sufficiently, I’m at this board and at this point of life owing in no small part to ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS, 35 years back. I’ve recommended it to certain scientific clients, and I still see youths reading it as I did.

    Yup, I’ve had absorbing run-ins with scientismists. On ‘net boards it’s seemed the Velikovskyites are the most rabid anti-scientismists. However, denial is a problem.

    I’ll add that according to my elementary school lessons — these are least forgotten — a theory must be proved valid by successful repeatability of the experiment.

    And here Sandy objects, thinking she must be nuts or at least wrong, because nothing seems to happen the same twice. No, Sandy, that’s exactly right. Repeatability and exactitude work great in scientific method as we know it… but in “psychic” matters, we must think in terms of “areas” of experience. We’re dealing with psychological snowflakes of consciousness, similarities, but no two alike.

    You’re hardly the only one who sees colored lights around people. Seeing and interpreting “auras” has been a going concession at psychic fairs for generations. Been there done that (it was a “byproduct” of my own experience mentioned above). No red “aura” is the same shade of red; every occasion on which I made the effort to “see” them was quite unique from every other and so was each shade of each color. Nor does that color always mean “a courageous person” any more than a cigar in a dream means the same for all.

    Pardon the length of this post (as though they haven’t all been), but this needs read. I’m proud it was written by a very distant cousin of mine, Charles Steinmetz, in 1922, shortly before he died. He was a peer and friend of Edison, Einstein, Tesla, Marconi and the other giants, and contributed major developments to technology — for instance, he sorted out how to use Tesla’s alternating current so that it replaced Edison’s DC current. This is an article written for laypeople, for Harper’s Magazine. Had anyone begun speculating on “X” back then, Sandy, more people would be meeting your Cambridge professor and the like than just you — in their unique ways.

    …for some reason it won’t post. Try here:

  23. I’m very sorry for my recent posts. My only excuse is that psi really frightens me. It isn’t rational, logical, or by any stretch of the imagination scientific, but it is how I feel. Positive feedback in regards to psi is upsetting because it is scary. I’ve had too much positive feedback lately. I know that sounds silly, and it probably is, but I think I need a time out until I can handle this stuff with more maturity. Again, I’m sorry.

  24. Have a good time-out, Sandy. I have friends who’ve felt the same way. It’s likely that the problem is you meet no peers, so it’s frightening to feel so alone about it — particularly as this culture itself, with its fears of “the subconscious,” scientific ignorance of the “non-material,” religious superstitions about “the devil” and “the soul” are yet as prevalent as they are. These beliefs create irrational fears entrenched in every individual who subscribes to them.

    Every great change begins one single individual at a time and spreads one single individual at a time, most of it, very humbly and even unnoticed by most. It’s never any other way. Nobody has to play Jesus and go around announcing “I am the way.” Just learn to understand what’s happened to the point it feels comfortable after all. There’s no way you’re a victim of what’s happened to you. You’ll sort it all out.

  25. Thanks Tom.

    I’m really tired of being afraid. I wish I could break out of this cycle of fear, but I don’t know how. Logic and reason don’t seem to help. Right now, I just want to be cured of everything psychic, even though I know that isn’t the answer. I haven’t been meditating over the past few days or putting aside time to let myself have experiences like I had been doing. Maybe if I get back on track with those things I’ll cope better with the weird stuff.

  26. Could be, Sandy. Organizing a routine can make a very big difference. My experience lasted about 2 years, fading gradually. None of it frightened me (except the initial realization that I could’ve inadvertently died), but left me pretty haunted. The least of the effects was a constant “white” behind my eyes, and a constant “oceanic his” in my ears. I never had anyone to tell it to, no one would have understood, and I had no idea what in the world such an experience could be for. How could something so incredibly magnificent, so real to me, be just useless?

    Eventually I did think to establish a daily routine, which I do to this day. I write down my dreams keeping various intents in mind (the first is to compare with real-time events), and spend the rest of the day “normal” — which over time has incorporated a good number of perceptions people would call “psychic” or whatever. It has, in all, served to create more interesting days at the least.

    I feel a little mixed about saying this, since it’s so positive, but as your dream matched what actually happened here in my reality, I also was on the lookout for feeling ill, weary of having to deal with exceedingly foolish things like this (it will take awhile to resolve). I’m almost never ill (also self-taught behavior), but your dream served as a reminder, I took a break, adjusted my attitude, and what felt like was coming on didn’t happen.

    Now, the strange “surprise of sadness” I encountered after reading your dream, which may well have heralded the misfortune or death of a loved friend, didn’t happen. I finally located a friend who’s seen him lately. This leaves the rest of your guide’s words in question, and I’ll watch for it.

    It’s not going out of my way at all. Had my Turkish friend heeded what I’d dreamed of her, she wouldn’t have been raped. She was too embarrassed to tell me for almost 2 years. I do carry with me daily a kind of caution, also a learned habit, having made my “unusual” choices of perception deliberately with eyes wide open. It’s no burden. It sometimes makes me wonder why so many people aren’t paying attention in this way.

    Oh. And also this, also contained in your dream-guide’s words: one of my clients has just been longlisted for the MAN Asia Booker prize. That is spectacular news, and at the same time, is part of the news I’ve been waiting for, from a dream of him a few weeks ago.

  27. Hi Sandy,

    Have you looked into the possibility that there might be a subtle secondary condition that is causing you to have difficulty accepting being psychic?

    Here is a hypothectical example to illustrate what I mean … if someone had a medical condition that made them irritable, they might start experiencing problems with their relatiosnships. One such condition is hypoglycemia which can cause high levels of stress hormones and low levels of neurotransmitters and one of the symptoms of this is irritability. If this happened the person might not realize they had hypoglycemia and they might go to a marriage councelor to try to get help with their relationship, but what they really needed was to treat the medical condition, hypoglycemia, that caused them to be irritable.

    I’m not suggesting you have hypoglycemia or that you are irritable, but maybe there is something going on inside you, besides just the experiences themselves, either organic or cognitive that is making it particularly hard for you to accept being psychic. You mentioned you looked into whether your experiences warrented treatment as hallucinations and you were told that such treatment wasn’t appropriate, maybe you should go back and see if they can find something that might be causing you to have such difficulty accepting the experiences? You do seem to be very psychic, but there are still a lot of people who are psychic and don’t a problem with it.

    You wrote:

    “I’m really tired of being afraid. I wish I could break out of this cycle of fear, but I don’t know how.”

    It is possible that you have an underlying condition that is causing anxiety and being psychic is simply something that becomes a focus for the anxiety. There are also a number of ways to treat anxiety. It might be helpful for you to look into treatment for anxiety even if it is caused directly by your psychic experiences.

  28. Dunno what Sandy would say, but if I had to “accept being psychic” I’d block out everything but how-to-fix-things manuals. Eeek.
    “Being a psychic” is a term crusted over with distorted connotations, many negative, all of them pigeonholes. In many perfectly reasonable minds (mine too) it’s synonymous with “being a charlatan.” My sentiment comes from having met many. But the core belief involved goes “now that I am a psychic, I am no longer normal.” It creates unnecessary conflicts that way.

    The use of psychic or intuitive abilities may one day be the norm, but it is not now, and there are sensible reasons for that. The sociological aspects have yet to be explored — and if that isn’t in Dr. Tart’s THE END OF MATERIALISM, I don’t know that anyone has yet even considered it.

    We may find scholar-quality material for that in studies of African Native Churches — there is a scholar named Anderson at U Birmingham, UK, if I recall correctly, who’s detailed the rise of various African churches in the 20th C. These churches incorporate “psychic” phenomena in their social structure, revitalizing various concepts that were part of early Christianity.

    I associated with the Tokoists (tocoistas) of Angola/Congo/elsewhere awhile, doing an editing project. Was even invited to be a pastor. Their structure of organization and their use of intuitive abilities very interesting. But none of their seers’ (vates’) predictions were nearly as accurate as my dreams, a few necessarily pinpoint. I was able to perceive their “cherubim” on a couple of occasions, however, and Simeon Toko himself, as well as his spiritual predecessor Simon Kimbangu, all to useful effects in the project. But the social arrangement still had the flaws as neatly summed up in Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary (my paraphrase abridged):

    Clairvoyant, n. One who determines for her client that which he cannot determine for himself, namely, that he is a blockhead.

    I’ll keep insisting that an effective scientific method for exploring matters psychic must begin in a study of beliefs, rather than in the apparent results themselves, which can never be anything but apparent — not even when dipping one’s finger into the blood of someone given to stigmata.

  29. @Sandy:
    I’m very sorry for my recent posts. My only excuse is that psi really frightens me.
    No apology is needed, Sandy! I’m pleased that we can have an honest discussion of fears of psi here – it’s very rare to get it anywhere. I can’t get other parapsychologists, e.g., to admit that they might ever have had a fearful moment with regard to psi.
    There’s fear of psi per se and, what I think is more relevant here, fear of social ostracism by publicly admitting to psi experiences. Fortunately you are too smart to run around saying “Look at me, I’m psychic!” so you don’t have actual social problems, just your attitude to work with. You’ve been getting some useful advice from others on that.
    There are people who have psychic experiences but, from fear of rejection, never tell anyone about them. They may or may not worry about that a lot. But it may not be as big a deal if we put it in perspective. We’ve almost all had heavy sexual fantasies about others, e.g., but we don’t run around telling everyone we meet who has aroused even an iota of sexual desire how we feel – yet we generally manage to live with that situation. In the scientific circles you run in, strong discretion is a sign of intelligence.
    Some scientists will share their psychic experiences with others, but others who are not part of their scientific circles. That’s intelligence and discretion too.
    So there’s a realistic component here, indiscretion could be a career buster in your circles. Some people are extremely prejudiced against psi.
    When I was young I had an offer of a research job at one of the two leading laboratories working with one of my special research interests. It would have been an advantageous place to work in many ways. But the Director, a prominent psychiatrist, made it clear I could not publish anything dealing with parapsychology if I worked in his lab. He was quite rigid about it, and I turned the job down.
    I’ve been relatively up front – that means I’m honest about it, but I don’t rub my unusual interests in people’s faces if I can help it – about my unusual interests in things like altered states and parapsychology, and I’ve paid for it career-wise in terms of denied promotions, unfair hassles and the like, but as an advocate of being more open to this stuff, I didn’t really have the option of complete discretion.
    So continue your intelligent discretion, while looking more deeply into how you’ve internalized the negative attitudes of those you want and need acceptance from.
    As to fear of psi phenomena per se….that’s a real complicated subject. A friend of mine, e.g., said he has no fear of psi per se: ghosts and spirits do not carry guns or knives, but real people do, so he’s afraid of real people. Somebody/something popping out and saying “Boo!” can scare us, but that can get stale after a while. Whether there’s really anything to be afraid of about the psychic per se….I don’t know, and I’m certainly not going to do research to find out if you can make psi nasty!

  30. It is possible that you have an underlying condition that is causing anxiety and being psychic is simply something that becomes a focus for the anxiety.

    When I was in counseling, I was told that constant anxiety is the norm for a grad student. And being a military wife doesn’t help the situation either. So I do come by my anxieties pretty honestly, and yes, that has been a big focus of the counseling sessions. But the fear of psi seems much deeper than just the usual stressful situations in life.

    I actually find that I’m most psychic when I’m really happy. That’s when I’m most likely to see ghosts and be able to communicate with them in a meaningful way. When I’m stressed the images become distorted and difficult to understand. When I’m stressed out is also when I have light bulbs going poof and anything electronic needs to be kept a safe distance from me (usually about 2 meters, although most things happen within a meter). Last night my laptop turned on by itself, and the TV malfunctioned (my husband won’t let me touch the remote now).

    The electronic stuff going nuts may be a weird sort of defense mechanism. It saved my life once because someone who intended me great harm was frightened away by things turning on by themselves and lights going on and off. He thought that angels were protecting me. I still don’t understand what happened that night. (It was a little more complicated than that, but I am very lucky to be alive). When I’m mad at someone, they often have problems with electronic equipment if I’m nearby (I was annoyed at my husband when the TV behaved badly last night). It may be the ultimate passive/aggressive way of dealing with unpleasant emotions.

    I’m afraid that I’ll hurt someone if I get angry. The signal lights on our car malfunction when my husband’s driving scares me. What if I affected something more important that had a really bad effect? I have a lot of fear about precognition too. When I had my NDE, I didn’t just look at the past part of my life. I was told about some of the future parts too. I saw the end of my first marriage and my first husband’s death. I couldn’t do anything to stop those things from happening. I was told about my second marriage and how my current husband will pass away. I actually refused to marry the guy for years because I thought as long as we didn’t get married that he would be safe. I finally relented, but now I worry. He will probably live a long and happy life before his time comes. I was never given the details about time (time wasn’t the same in the NDE place). I’m just really selfish, because I don’t want to be the one left behind. Psi is scary because if it is real, doesn’t that make us much more responsible for what happens in the world? I’m not ready for that kind of responsibility.

  31. Dr. Tart, one of my real-life-lab experiments has been in telling people dreams, in the workplace, here, there, to correspondents. Not bragging of prowess or propounding theory, just watching reactions over considerable periods of time. There is at least a little psychological bridge, in that children still tend to do that. Results: too long to recount. But studying sociological aspects is equally important.

    As to what disadvantages openness on the subject has had in my career moves, your account very understandable, but once things appeared to work, fiddle-faddle to you people! I’d never have gotten wealthy had I played the game their way. So can far more enterprising entrepreneurs say the same.

    As I’d already been doing it for years from timid first steps, I encouraged one of my dream-group members to try this. She’d dreamed of a woman with an unusual name — just as unusual as “Ronnie Cotton,” to disguise it. She dreamed Ronnie was a teacher who would help her with her poetry and writing. She looked up a Ronnie Cotton on the ‘net, found the head of the English Department at a University well known for its English department of that same name, wrote her “you may think I’m crazy, but…” and they’ve been friends since 1999, Ronnie helping her with her poetry and short stories.

    Tellin’ ya.

    “Telekinesis” too, Sandy? Well I’ll be darned. Just one experiment for me, fascinating enough, but as you’ve seen, not real practical so far. Maybe one day, with trained groups. My dream-buddy Marcia also made watches stop and lights blink off. One day walking down the causeway of an old shopping center, I said something that disturbed her. The fluorescent sidewalk lights all blinked off and stayed off while Marcia stayed upset — so I noticed. Hmm. So I told her I was just making a joke. She sighed with relief and they came back on instantly. That’s quite a bit of electrical power, isn’t it?

    I grew up in a wonderfully ghost-ridden area of upstate New York. Two encounters, myself, several visits to houses locally known for them; very interesting sensations, as though to feel a pervasive medium of uncertainty outside of myself. What we traditionally think of as ghosts — with their stories of a murder or some terribly unrequited thing — may be something like electromagnetic impressions left behind; some may be more sensitive to them than others.

    If so, that presupposes an electromagnetic medium in which perceivable phenomena of all kinds exist in different degrees. Maybe “the aether” was not a faulty idea, but taken in a more narrowed direction. It would also imply that this medium is made of the stuff of consciousness.

    We are the descendants of civilizations that believed matter was conscious. Evolutionary anthropology ignores this data.

    PS Sandy, in keeping my eye out for the last things your dream-guide said of me, I was surprised and saddened yesterday to find out that one of my favorite columnists died on July 19th. His humor did bring a lot of joy.

    I’m trying to “hang up” and go do chores, but darn it, one more remark. The “precognitions” of dreams are not necessarily of single events, but of clusters too. Example:

    My young friend Udo in Germany wrote me a dream that he was in a movie; in this movie he had to have a car accident, as he wouldn’t realize a certain important thing about himself any other way.

    “Watch out, Udo. You’re going to have a car accident if you don’t start thinking about this important thing about yourself,” I replied.

    Udo replied with what amounted to intellectual gibberish. I repeated myself. This went on for 3 exchanges of letters.

    A a couple of months after I stopped trying to tell him that, Udo wrote me that he had by then had five accidents. One very serious, one a little less so, the other three just fender benders.

    “What did I tell you, Udo?” He replied with what amounted to a “duh.”

    Whattaya gonna do, Sandy? You can try to talk sense into somebody ’til you’re blue in the face. Intuitive recognition is no different. As to premoniting people’s deaths, understand that most die because they have their inner reasons to do so. None of us are composed of ego alone.

  32. Dr Tart, I don’t find ghosts very scary. I think if it were just a matter of seeing ghosts I’d be OK with that. But I had a very hard time understanding that other people couldn’t see what I saw. That is why it seems crazy. People often react to ghosts that they can’t see. I don’t think that they realize that they do it, but they often do. It is almost as if on some level we all know the ghosts are there, but most of us ignore them somehow. When your friend says he isn’t afraid of ghosts, does he see them? Could the unconscious fear of psi be what keeps most of us from acknowledging the ghosts around us? I know the thought of someone else using psi doesn’t bother me one bit. So if your friend is say, a parapsychologist working with mediums, it should be much easier for him to deal with the ghosts (because he isn’t the medium) than some poor hapless grad student who has to figure out if she is crazy or “gifted”.

    When you start to notice psi functioning in the everyday world around you, it can be pretty unsettling. I’m not the only one around here that uses psi, but most people are able to ignore, explain away, or just forget about such experiences. Forgetting is very common. If I hadn’t written down so many of my experiences I would have kept on forgetting them. My adult NDE is an exception to that. For some reason, it is an experience that seems fresh everyday. You always carry it.

    I worry that those things that now seem very self evident in how I view the world will not be seen in the same way as my peers. What if I don’t do a good enough job of being discrete? After reading Rupert Sheldrake’s work on Morphic Resonance, I got very excited because it actually helps to make sense of the ways I see colors. It explains why flocks of birds are connected by colors. I thought that if his ideas were true, I should be able to see evidence of it in the geological record. I’ve looked and seen suggestions for such evidence, but my own fears of seeing a truth that can’t be recognized without a price have kept me from looking very closely. I’m afraid that interest in such ideas will lead to me being “outed”. People will know there is something wrong with me. Or they will just think that I’m a bad scientist.

  33. Here’s a couple things, Sandy:

    That’s Hehpsehboah, a friend of mine I haven’t heard from in a few years. She used to call me daily. She’s quite a sweetheart, who has been putting up with an extraordinary psychic talent since she was a little girl, and was used by the Allies in WWII to tell where the germans were going to bomb next. Don’t blame her for how hokey that site looks. She has to depend on the volunteer work of others.

    On that site should be the URL for her talk-site at Paltalk Radio, on the internet. You can talk to her yourself if you like. Tell her I still don’t know what to do with her, if you do.

    And this is kind of amusing:

    That is, it’s amusing after you get used to what you’ve got. If you’re a graduate student you must be just a kid…

  34. Tom, I’m not quite a kid anymore, although I do laugh when other students ask if my husband is my dad when he picks me up at school. I think the NDE thing makes people seem younger somehow. I went back to school after a car accident that produced the adult NDE. But I had to learn to walk and do other stuff first. So I’m in grad school as a grown up. My step son is old enough to be is grad school too, lol.

  35. Tom,

    I really debated about giving this last dream to you. I haven’t had enough of a time out. So I’ll tell you the dream, but don’t give me any feedback. At least not any positive feedback. Or at least put on a spoiler warning so I don’t have to see the feedback if I don’t want to. Although if you want to tell me this is all a load of hooey… go for it! That I could handle. I think this lady talks like a fortune cookie anyway. This stuff is very, very generalized. It could probably apply to anyone.

    The punk lady with the ponytail said you were finished dealing with that thorn. She said I should pass this on to you despite my objections. She said you could be trusted. I guess the main point she wanted to make was that you were really focused on a project that you were strongly committed to and that you had to keep the faith that it was going to work out. Even though you didn’t feel like working on it at the moment. But in the end you will find that the integrity of your inner vision will shine through. You’ve learned to be a better person because of recent events. You might just be surprised at the choices you make. You’ll take the high road and be a good person, like a teacher or mentor, and you will feel really happy about it.

  36. Well, Sandy, I, er… was gonna erghmnernwffmm. Fnrrff. Hardfgndrernkphegrkes. Arrrrmfrmrmrmff.

    A very good day I had today. Also, I read this review by Roger Ebert and thought of you:

    It’s a comedy. Judd Apatow, the director, is an old workmate of my wife’s.

    And while making no further comment, as you’ve suggested, I’ll say this bit of dream-news: my wife called from Budapest yesterday. She’d had a dream about living there 800 years ago. She said it had something to do with the antique St. John’s Cross medallions we gave each other as gifts when we met, which had something to do with reincarnations. We’d each been carrying one around for years, long before we met.

    I didn’t know that Budapest was on her travel agenda. We’d never talked about Budapest before. She called before she’d gotten my e-mail where I’d suggested she keep her eyes open, because I’d had a dream maybe 2 years ago about being in Budapest, and it had something to do with the middle ages and those crosses.

    Pretty nifty, eh? But that ain’t nuthin’. We’re on this ranch here that we found very specifically through dreams, no lie. Actually it was me remembering one of hers that did it.

  37. Tom,

    Since you were nice enough not to upset me, I thought I would share something about a comment you made about me. You thought of birds. Normally that wouldn’t have meant much to me, but it did have a meaning for the exact time you made that post.

    I was in the park where I walk pretty much every day. I had stopped to feed this little chipmunk I call Hoover (because he sucks up the seeds so fast). Hoover has become quite possessive of me and of the handfuls of seeds I hide along this outcrop in the park. He doesn’t like to share, although I always bring way more than one rodent actually requires. At the time you posted your comment, Hoover was busily trying to chase a flock of chickadees away from all the various handfuls of seeds I had put out.

    I was looking up at all the birds in the trees and laughing.

  38. Yup, I figured that was a telepathic impression, Sandy. If I “leaned into it” more, right now, it’d serve as a way to sense more — tho’ I’m kind of like you, if everything seems fine, why tune in? In my dream-experiment group there are lots and lots of such occasions recorded.

    I’ve been sleeping outside under the New Mexico stars here, and this means the horses wake me up every morning, surrounding the bed and snuffling around for the treats they know I’ve got, and playing with me. That means I forget what I’ve dreamt unless it’s extraordinarily vivid, if I don’t wake in the night and think to jot a few notes down.

    I had a very vivid dream in the night, which I woke up to jot down, but was still heavy with sleep and was certain I’d recall in the morning. However, I forgot all but the theme thanks to 4 different noses snuffling me and my blankets. I do remember my thoughts about it.

    I was observing a young woman taking lessons in the value of personal integrity — not that she lacked this, but rather, she was being taught advanced lessons, and a certain situation was being used to illustrate it. The teacher was a heavyset old gentleman long well versed in negotiating dream conditions consciously, who, I gathered, lives in a more or less physical form on what we’d think of as another planet in another solar system.

    Who the woman was wasn’t specified. She was young (relative to me), with straight brunette-blonde hair, slim. Because a name and identity wasn’t specified, this meant that it represented more than one woman. When I woke it occurred to me that the woman getting these lessons incorporated both you and the woman involved in the mistaken fiasco about which you tuned in. It may also refer to a woman named Marie, a correspondent on Roger Ebert’s blog.

  39. You know how it is when you feel someone is talking about you? Tom was! (He told a story on me and my buddy “Ronnie Cotton”). So here I am :rotfl:

    Hullo, Doc. Read your philosophy on teaching and give you a hearty slap on the back. But aren’t you in the position of having almost everyone say something interesting?


  40. Hey, Ives! This is Ives, longtime dream-experiment buddy. “Ronnie Cotton” a darned good pseudonym, eh? Now, I was present to watch Ivey guide herself by way of dream from being an unsuccessful one-legged prostitute to an English Instructor at U Birmingham. Did I get that right, Ivey?

  41. Tom,

    This only gets weirder. I was talking to your dream friend, the punk lady, and I woke up. She didn’t stop talking though. I wrote down what I could, but it is much harder understanding these things when you are awake. I might not have interpreted her as well as I could have while asleep, but I didn’t have the issue with remembering everything. I don’t think she’s a ghost, but sometimes people kind of make their own ghosts. I think her name might be Joy. What can I say? This stuff is nuts, but I agreed to pass this along. I’m probably nuts too. Feel free to tell me that this makes no sense, or it is much too generalized to be useful.(Dr Tart, I apologize for getting so far off topic on this weird dream stuff.)

    She said you place a very high value on communications as a means of solving problems. She joked that you think a lot of the world’s problems could be solved with adequate communications. The thing is, you’ve been making your points very clearly, but not everything is stuff that you have any real control over. You are trying to provide guidance concerning a project that you are managing, and you have really high hopes for everything in regards to that. You don’t know what to tell people other than to relax and take things one day at a time. You can’t seem to get that through to them.

    You would really just like to stay home and relax today.

    You are focusing on trying to bring about some big changes. Happy changes. (Maybe the name “Joy” is really just that you are focusing on trying to make everyone happy?) In the end, the people involved are going to take their cues from you and follow your example, but they just aren’t going to do so today. Transformation takes nurturing and support. It isn’t as easy to manage as you might think it should be. Sorry.

  42. Hmmm. Some associative riffing. “Joy” is also an unusual last name I happen to know. Yesterday I got an e-mail from a young woman of that last name. She hailed from upstate New York — which is where one of my college girlfriends was from, whom I haven’t heard from in 25 years. I nearly wrote and asked her whether she was related; the Joy family were blondes, musically and artistically very talented and… nah, I thought. Let it go. Even so, my old girlfriend who might be her relative, named Wendy Joy, was someone I’d dreamed of for years after we broke up; and as it turned out, I’d been tracking her in my dreams all that time — she did indeed move to Alaska as I’d frequently dreamed.

    Long story and a complicated thought to relate, associating with who this punk-style lady of your dreams may be. You’d be very surprised to realize how communications in dreams can operate, and I hope some day you settle your mind down enough to realize how fun these surprises can be, much more often than not. Ives’ “Ronnie Cotton” is a nice textbook example, but one of many millions unnoticed I’m sure, how total strangers all around the world relate in their dreams, even arrange “accidental” meetings that way, accidental only because they don’t recall dreaming them.

    Maybe I’ll write the young lady surnamed Joy after all… wouldn’t hurt.

    What your lady described is pretty much my daily routine and intent. I did at least slack off some today. There’s one project above the others for which I have high hopes and expectations, and that one too is a dream-project, that is, getting practical information about it. I mentioned that one of my clients was just “longlisted” for a very prestigious international literary award — as of Saturday, I think it was. This also matched what you’ve written so far from your dreams.

    Your lady may as well have been listening in on a very long phone conversation I had about him yesterday — coming to the same conclusions she related, as you’ve described it.

    How far off-topic are we after all? Is this not an educational session? A first-hand lesson in progress? I’m delighted. Lessons like these are unutterably precious, Sandy. And maybe we’re providing a textbook example for Dr. Tart. So do keep going!

  43. I don’t understand why my dreams don’t end when I wake up. There are these experiences that can reach between sleep and awake, but no one ever explains these things and how they work. I’m terrified it means that there is something wrong with me. That maybe the accident that led to my NDE did some real damage that the doctors didn’t find or tell me about.

    There seems to be two groups of people I’ve encountered. One group thinks that these experiences are pathological and need to be treated medically, often with some very scary medications. The other group thinks these experiences are exceptional and wonderful, and I must be thrilled to be so gifted. I just want someone to be able to help explain to me what is going on and maybe tell me what I can do to be OK about it. No one does that. No one tells you it is OK to be scared, but things will get better. I’m not some enlightened person ready to experience whatever it is they experience. I’m just a normal person that the universe is playing a really mean prank on. I’m pretty sure this was an accident, or a mistake or something. Maybe the guy driving the truck that sheared my car in half was supposed to be the enlightened one and the universe got its wires crossed. I really don’t know. I just wish there were some sort of middle ground where I could find someone to help me out with this stuff.

    1. Hi Sandy. I’m a friend of Tom’s. I guess I have a different attitude about dreams: to me they are authentic life and all this other stuff (waving my arms expansively to take in all of the physical around me) is unreal. That’s why the images and thoughts in my dreams are as, if not more, important to me than the conscious thoughts I have. And, to me, dreams are not just something that happens when you’re asleep; dreams can happen any time your unconsciousness protudes into consciousness. Hold onto to those images, I say, for this means you are plugged into the stuff life is made of.

  44. “I don’t understand why my dreams don’t end when I wake up. There are these experiences that can reach between sleep and awake, but no one ever explains these things and how they work. I’m terrified it means that there is something wrong with me.”

    It sounds like you are experiencing hypnopompic hallucinations. Usually these are not a sign of anything more serious than a sleep disorder (ie lack of sleep).

    You can find out more about this by by searching the internet.
    Sometimes it is spelled “hypnapompic”, somtimes it is internchanged with the term hypnogogic or hypnagogic.

    Just because they have a scientific name doesn’t mean they do not contain psychic information. If a dream can contain psychic information, then a hynopompic hallucination can too.

  45. “I just want someone to be able to help explain to me what is going on and maybe tell me what I can do to be OK about it. No one does that. No one tells you it is OK to be scared, but things will get better. I’m not some enlightened person ready to experience whatever it is they experience.”

    Hi Sandy,

    It’s okay to be scared. I used to have a toaster and for some reason I used to check up on it to see if the bread was getting toasted and just as I would look into it the toast would pop up. This happened a few times and it scared the bejeesus out of me. My toaster was haunted! It was influencing me! I stopped making toast for a couple of years until I came to grips with it.

    I know someone who sees spirits objectively like you do and at first it scared the @#&)*! out of him too. He wavered between thinking he was crazy and thinking he was being attacked by demons. What helped him is that he got in contact with a reliable medium and started taking classes in mediumship. That helped him to accept his experiences and the spirits started appearing objectively much less frequently. Instead of seeing his ability as a problem, he found meaning in it by helping people working as a medium at a spiritualist church.

  46. …and just because they’ve been given a latinized label doesn’t mean that will help. Adding “hallucinations” to “hypnopompic” makes it a particularly loaded term. In the wrong hands it might lead to latinized prescriptions that screw people up far worse than a runaway dream ever could. I’m glad you see this.

    It isn’t all that okay to be scared, it’s just unavoidable. Otherwise you’re just fine as far as I can see, Sandy. Haven’t I made my own attitude about it clear? It has taken quite a long time to think anything about it but WTF????? But somewhere, somewhere, it HAD to be worth something. I know you’ve got the self-same attitude.

    I have a dream for you and an exercise to try out that might ameliorate the problem, with some effort.

    Exercise first: sit where you are but don’t relax. Feel your butt on the chair as vividly as you can. From there, a limb at a time, feel your thighs, legs, calves, feet, toes, and back up. Keep the feelings in mind as vividly as you can.

    And go upward — feel your stomach, back, chest, arms, hands, fingers, and what they’re feeling, touching the chair or whatever. Feel your neck, head, ears, nose, mouth, the taste in your mouth. Feel yourself breathing. Concentrate on what your eyes are seeing, your ears hearing, skin feeling, everything you can.

    Feel everything as vividly as you can. There’s no particular order in which to go. There’s no time limit on this exercise. Feel as you can with the goal of feeling your whole body and all your senses all at once (even if your dream-thoughts continue while you’re doing that).

    When you’ve got to that point, reasonably aware of everything in your surroundings and your bodily sensations at once, break your concentration. If say there’s a plane going by, listen to the sound of the plane as intently as you can. Don’t worry if it seems to go through your head, or anything like that. Concentrate with your eyes on whatever’s in front of you. Pay closer attention to something else, your fingers or breathing or whatever. Go around feeling your sensations seperately. You may sense the inner counterparts of these items mentally.

    Then once again, try pulling it back together: all of your physical senses and sensations all at once, in one single bodily focus.

    Do it as much as you like. Since you’ve had this complaint awhile, it’s going to take some vigor to get back to usual. So be vigorous, and you should probably set some time aside every day to do it. What you’ll be doing is exercising your ability to focus.

    Heh. That hasn’t happened to me in quite awhile. Years back I woke myself up from a dream of a gigantic charging snake who loved me very much; it charged right into the room even when I snapped myself awake. I laughed out loud about being so scared of it. The image dissolved very quickly. But I figured I’d have been better off learning the dream-lesson right then and there. Later, I did. In my next snake-dream I’d learned how to make them fly and do my bidding. For some reason the dream took place on an air force base.

    The truth is, no one stops dreaming when they wake up. It took me years to realize that. People have no idea how “hypnogogic” they already are, wide awake and in a lively situation at work or whatever.

    You’ve always had a habit of charging into decisions too rapidly, I’ll bet, yours or somebody else’s. Anyway, let’s you get back into focus. Do that exercise with vigor, routinely, but don’t strain.

    And now my dream: once again, that large old gentleman was involved, and now, the punk-lady guide you’ve described, and yourself seperately. The environment was highly changeable, but comfortable, with images from ancient to modern scenery. This time I was giving a presentation.

    I was showing you three how words form reality for people. The large old gentleman didn’t need the lesson, he was just looking on like a teacher watching a student’s presentation.

    How I did this was more vivid and fancy than what you’d find in a Harry Potter movie, but not so easy to describe. I’d take a word, which was a concept, which was now encased in a looping energy form — rather like the loops the ancient Egyptians would put around certain key words in their hieroglyphs. The words magically turned into the object or concept they signified. They turned into strings of events.

    Awake now, it is easier to describe this way: Do you have any early memories as a toddler? Do you remember learning how to speak, at all?

    I remember that charmed and wobbly dreamlike focus; when my dad or mom or brothers would say a word, I’d sometimes see the object intended. They’d say our dog’s name and I’d see the dog — who was most likely outside. My favorite memory was when my mother said “Dad and the boys are bringing in the new kitchen.” What I saw in my 3 year old’s eyesight (which wasn’t so distinct from dreamy inner eyesight) was my father and brothers wheeling in an entire kitchen on a new tile floor, with the refrigerator and stove and cupboards etc. all in place, at once, like a great big toy house.

    To this day I love to play with toddlers and watch as they learn to connect language with feelings and objects and objective reality, just as I did. The more precisely we learn language, the more precisely we use our hands as we grow.

    In my dream, I was presenting the psychological process as to how this is done directly. We become so habituated to a genuinely hallucinatory reality by later childhood, we forget that the rock-solid physical environment and events we perceive are the results of the habits of thought we are taught.

    The large old man observing seemed to be a guide of guides, I think.

  47. @Tom Dark:
    >The truth is, no one stops dreaming when they wake up. It took me years to realize that. People have no idea how “hypnogogic” they already are, wide awake and in a lively situation at work or whatever. <
    Interesting “coincidence” Tom. Just before reading your comment, I was creating slides to illustrate a panel presentation I will be making at the Parapsychological Association meeting in Seattle next week. I had done one illustrating a point about dreaming that shows a lovely picture of a sleeping baby swathed in colored lights to illustrate dreaming. Then I needed one to illustrate how there’s a world-creation process going on in waking, as well as in dreaming, except in waking the intense flood of sensory impressions from the outside world almost completely drives the process. I was just thinking, shall I leave the baby picture in here but reduce it greatly in size to show that a dreaming-like process goes on even in waking, it’s just normally small and in the background? Hard to see like the stars are hard to see in the day because of the sun’s bright light?
    One of the great potential values of insight-type meditation is to make us more aware of that constant background thinking (images and talking to self). With more awareness you can tap it for inspiration at times and/or direct it when it goes in the “wrong” (by current waking needs) direction…
    I don’t know how to add pictures to this blog yet, and I’m not sure what the copyright status is on this sort of thing when I’ve pulled the picture off the web, but if anyone wants to see a lovely baby picture try

  48. This is from an email that I sent Dr Tart earlier today. He suggested that I put it on the blog. I’ve edited it a bit, but I did try to keep the original tone.

    Dr Tart,

    I’m sorry to bother you. One of my weird dreams talked about you. Nothing bad or anything. I just didn’t know if you would want stuff about you posted on the blog. I don’t expect any feedback; I don’t even expect any of this to be correct. I think people want to believe in psi sometimes to the point where they find meaning in nonsense. Even when people try to be sensible about this stuff, they still really want to believe. I try to be sensible, but I really prefer not to believe.

    The dream (the “dream entity/consciousness” was a ball of red and honey-colored light) said that you sometimes wished in the course of your work that you could manage to see the kinds of things that I experience in order to understand it better and so you could be more helpful. It said you were at home. (I hope you aren’t stuck at home because someone is sick.) The ball of light said that you wished people like me could find some fun in the sorts of odd experiences that I have. It said that you even consciously intended that I be happier about psi. You are getting a clearer picture of my experiences and attitudes about psi, and you think that seeing a person going through such a personal transformation is useful. It might help to facilitate this process to help others make these sorts of adjustments. Making that process easier is part of what you wish to give to the world.

    The ball of light tried to show me how you think. I though that was kind of funny. I didn’t realize that there were that many different approaches to thinking. You don’t think in a nice sequential 1,2,3, sort of way, do you? It looks random. Like a sort of matrix. If you see the answer and all the steps at the same time, how do you know what order to do things in? Do you just try to do everything at the same time? Working on all the little details of a big picture? Maybe it’s a good way to absorb lots of information really fast? I guess when you worked as a researcher you were probably open to pretty much any outcome for a project. If you were trying to solve one problem, but solved another one instead, that would be OK with you? It looks like you don’t even see time as linear. Yesterday isn’t any more important than 20 years ago. No wonder you seem so patient. (No wonder you became a parapsychologist.)

    I’m sorry to have taken up so much of your time.


  49. @Sandy:
    [I’m sorry to have taken up so much of your time. ]
    One of my own worst habits is constantly saying I’m sorry for this, that and the other thing. Perhaps I’m practicing to become British in my next incarnation (terrible joke, sorry), but I know it’s a bad habit of mine and perhaps of yours too Sandy.
    Aspects of your dream put an interesting perspective on my life, so I thought it would be interesting to reflect on them in print – even though, of course, I am much too busy to be alive and live my own life, much less respond to anybody about anything, or…..ooops, sorry! Going off again! 😉
    [you sometimes wished in the course of your work that you could manage to see the kinds of things that I experience in order to understand it better and so you could be more helpful.]
    Yes, I’m not much for personal psychic and spiritual experiences, and sometimes I wish I had more of them. On the other hand, since my primary mission in this life seems to be building bridges between scientific types and the spiritual world, it’s a good thing I don’t have them. If I were speaking or writing to a scientific audience, the moment I mentioned personal experiences of this type I’d activate heavy defenses in most of them and lose my audience, lose my chance of moving them a little in a good direction. So my relative “squareness” in this is an asset for my mission.
    [The ball of light said that you wished people like me could find some fun in the sorts of odd experiences that I have. It said that you even consciously intended that I be happier about psi.]
    Be relaxed, have fun, learn some things – yes, I’m all for it!
    [you think that seeing a person going through such a personal transformation is useful. It might help to facilitate this process to help others make these sorts of adjustments. Making that process easier is part of what you wish to give to the world. ]
    Yes, that’s why I’m devoting the rest of my career to helping advance transpersonal psychology, which is all about both understanding spiritual experiences better, learning to make them happen more effectively, and learning how to integrate them into life in a healthy, growthful way.
    [The ball of light tried to show me how you think. I though that was kind of funny. I didn’t realize that there were that many different approaches to thinking. You don’t think in a nice sequential 1,2,3, sort of way, do you? It looks random. Like a sort of matrix. If you see the answer and all the steps at the same time, how do you know what order to do things in? Do you just try to do everything at the same time? Working on all the little details of a big picture?]
    I’m still trying to figure out how I think.
    One thing I do know, it’s usually not the logical way it’s “supposed” to be in the scientific world. That is, you see a lot of facts, a lot of data, you make logical inferences from them and logically create a theory that accounts for what you’ve observed. It’s funny, I have a reputation as a good scientist, but for years I harbored a nagging suspicion that I was somehow faking it. My best ideas just come to me, I usually don’t work them out logically. I then rearrange them to make good sense, to help communicate them, but I wasn’t “logical” in getting there.
    When I was a kid I got interested in where my thoughts came from and would try to trace them back. I could go back 10, 20, 30 steps sometimes, but there seemed to be no beginning, there’s just a steady flow. Some of the twists and turns of that flow have to do with what happens to me and how I react to it, sometimes I apply my intentions and direct the flow somewhat, but most of my thoughts (which are a combination of visual images and talking to myself) just pop up. For all I know there may be a variety of ways in which they pop up and I’m not sensitive to the differences.
    For example, last night I was having trouble going to sleep, so I did what helps sometimes, quietly look at the visual imagery in my mind. To my surprise I noticed for the first time that there was a quiet train of very tiny visual images running through my mind! Far out. Then I got too interested in them and lost them. Maybe there are large size images and small size images that are part of the “popping up” process….
    [I guess when you worked as a researcher you were probably open to pretty much any outcome for a project. If you were trying to solve one problem, but solved another one instead, that would be OK with you?]
    I did most of my research with a pretty good idea of how I’d like things to come out, but was always open to things happening another way. Indeed some of my most interesting discoveries were the surprises that came up. I also would pray before doing a research, a sort of “Dear Whoever is in charge, I think it would be good if things came out such-and-such a way, but I pray that they come up whatever way is best from Your Higher perspective.”
    [It looks like you don’t even see time as linear. Yesterday isn’t any more important than 20 years ago. No wonder you seem so patient. (No wonder you became a parapsychologist.) ]
    I don’t really think about the nature of time, I just do what seems to need doing. The reality of precognition totally bollocks my mind, I know it happens sometimes – to others, I don’t want it happening to me – but I have no idea what time really is.
    I became a parapsychologist, as explained at more length in my End of Materialism book, to work on the conflicts between science and spirituality. Still working on them! Happy to be both scientific and spiritual….

  50. Dr Tart, if that is really how your mind functions, I hope that your wife takes care of the finances in your house. 🙂

  51. Uh-oh, we might have a regular experiment going here.

    I’ve been trying to find some other word besides “coincidence” in quotes or “synchronicity” out of them, just for style, and am loathe to coin a new one. Another coincidence is that I’ve mentioned you on Roger Ebert’s blog site, Dr. Tart — as coincidentally, he seems to have joined in our discussion independently. His latest subject a surprise:

    …at this writing, he’s posted a couple of dreams he had. Jump in the discussion if you’ve got the time, Roger’ll be delighted. Wouldn’t hurt a bit to plug THE END OF MATERIALISM either. He’s got smart and lively contributors.

    I’ve seen your photo. Are you tall, by chance? Ivey hasn’t shown up again, but a couple of her dreams have made me suspicious that she’s in on this too… this mysterious “tall man.” (Plus I dreamed several years ago that she’d volunteer for a study on the subject)

    Gorgeous baby/aura pic. Sandy, coincidentally, Jesus said “unless ye become like little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” He didn’t mean be gullible and intimidated by big people, he meant the kind of experiences you’re describing. The kingdom of heaven didn’t mean “after you’re dead,” either. I’ll give you dollars to donuts the Dr. Tart you dreamed was a true one, about having fun with this whole thing.

  52. Tom,

    I know heaven isn’t about being dead. I’ve done the NDE thing. I know we don’t die. We just change. But sometimes changing can be really difficult.

  53. Dr Tart,

    I’m still trying to understand your thinking processes. Or at least what I dreamt your thinking processes might be like. Dreams are just dreams. But it looks like you can see shifting patterns in how people do things. You can distinguish the ebbs from the flows in human endeavors. You love humanity rather than focusing on individuals, but in kind of an abstract, non-judgmental way, with great objectivity. You perceive the world in moving patterns, like a kaleidoscope. Is that why you see all the steps in a process at once and not in any particular order? You don’t really see linear steps; it’s all moving bits of shiny lures. So if you stopped to count all the steps, like you did as a child, you would get different steps in a different order each time you tried. But you can see all the pieces of a puzzle at once, and you still manage to enjoy the big picture too. People shouldn’t discount your ideas because you have an unusual way of thinking. It isn’t unscientific. It is really quite amazing. Linear thinkers probably don’t catch as many interesting thoughts as you do.

    So if your world is always shifting, isn’t that kind of unsettling? Do you have a constant? Maybe like being in nature? I know nature isn’t really constant, but it does seem to follow regular patterns. You don’t seem very much like a science geek. But you at least like gadgets and electronic stuff, don’t you? Computer geeks often imagine everything as a whole system. And lots of professors have a reputation for being absent-minded. I’m not saying that you are like that, but wouldn’t it be a challenge to stay organized if you don’t perceive the world sequentially? How do you keep track of all the bothersome details of life when there are all these really neat ideas to explore? (I bet you leave things on planes.) You’ve already admitted to a fondness for going off on tangents…

    I’m sorry if this is too silly. (Yeah, I know, I apologize a lot. We Canucks are notoriously polite and apologetic. It’s a cultural thing.) I tried to approach this with eagerness, optimism and curiosity. That’s how I thought you might handle it. As a person with a gentle, abstract nature and lofty ideas.

  54. Dr Tart,

    I’ve been trying to figure out why your discussion of my dream didn’t make me retreat in the way that I usually do. I guess because it was pretty objective and non-threatening. I didn’t feel any pressure to be “psychic” afterwards. I don’t know if I really related how your thought processes work very accurately, but that line of thinking was helpful to me. My own thought processes and way of relating to the world changed after my NDE. I’ve been trying to work through that, and it isn’t like there are lots of counselors out there with experience dealing with NDErs. The counselor that I had been seeing knew about all the good NDE stuff (being a better person, no fear of death), but he had no clue about the tough part (high divorce rates, sudden changes in career and life direction). So I’m trying to make sense of who I was and who I am on my own.

    I didn’t used to see information as a matrix before my NDE. I was not into abstract thoughts. What I was really good at was taking an idea and translating it into something physical. Because I liked things that I could pick up and hold. Things that seemed real. I had this great sense of the world around me as it exists in the here and now. I liked painting because I could show people how I saw the world through my art. I didn’t have to discuss it; I could just show them.

    After the NDE, that changed. I don’t see the world as it is so much as I see the world as it is becoming. And thoughts are becoming as real as objects once were to me. Sometimes I even see those patterns of thought, where all the pieces that make up the whole show up in whatever order they want. That kaleidoscope thing. I’m starting to solve problems in a similar way to what my dream showed Dr Tart doing.

    I can see the changes in my colors. There were changes after my childhood NDE as well, but they were not so drastic and I was young and grew into them. This change is a big one and I don’t know if I like who I am now. I used to be really social. A party girl. Tom Dark would have liked who I was very much. Now I need so much space. I get overwhelmed because everything feels like too much. I don’t know how to integrate such divergent parts of a whole. I used to just feel stuff and know stuff. Now I think about things way too much.

  55. “Yes, I’m not much for personal psychic and spiritual experiences, and sometimes I wish I had more of them. On the other hand, since my primary mission in this life seems to be building bridges between scientific types and the spiritual world, it’s a good thing I don’t have them. If I were speaking or writing to a scientific audience, the moment I mentioned personal experiences of this type I’d activate heavy defenses in most of them and lose my audience, lose my chance of moving them a little in a good direction. So my relative “squareness” in this is an asset for my mission.”

    Hi Charles,

    It would probably help parapsychologists to design experiments if they experienced psychic functioning. There are companies that give classes in remote viewing which they say anyone can do. Also, Spiritualist churches usually have have classes in mediumship and spiritual healing. Many people find that they are able to learn these skills even though they did not realize they were psychic when they started the class.

    In my opinion, all parapsychologists should take classes like these. I think it would be easier to demonstrate a phenomenon scientifically if you knew how to do it yourself. They don’t have to talk about it to people who would not be receptive but they can still learn and experience it.

    “For example, last night I was having trouble going to sleep, so I did what helps sometimes, quietly look at the visual imagery in my mind.”

    Did you ever notice if these images were precognitive?

    Did you ever try to ask a question and see if the images showed an answer?

    I have a technique I describe on my web site that explains how to induce such visions using relaxation exercises. I have had many helpful answers to questions and also many precognitive perceptions. I also keep a log of my experiences.

    Do you find that the students in your meditation classes start having psychic experiences once they start meditating?

  56. Funny you’d think that, Sandy. Before I met Catt I’d spent 10 years alone, loving every moment of solitude I had. We’re a match for 2 main reasons: she’s an extremely rare individual who sees life from and acts on her dreams as I’ve taught myself to do, and we spend our days largely silent, absorbed in our projects.

    I much prefer looking at everything (aka “the universe”) alone and without a committee — that also excludes a committee of thought, such as a given institution may provide.

    My favorite quote of Einstein’s: “I live in that solitude which, painful in youth, is delicious in maturity.”

    1. I liked my solitude back when I was an artist, Tom. Solitude has always been easy for me. But there was a time when I enjoyed parties too. I had a very diverse collection of friends back then: opera singers, punk musicians, bagpipers, artists of various sorts, a few writers, scientists, engineers, soldiers, a ballet dancer… (Now most of my friends are scientists and engineers.) Back then dreams were great subjects for my paintings, and I read tea leaves without any concern for seeming nuts. I thought everyone saw colored lights around everyone else. I was even sad about outgrowing my childhood imaginary friends, but I thought that was just part of growing up. I was very connected to the world in a physical sense. I could take ideas and make something real with them; it’s just that my ideas tended to be very artsy and unusual back then. (Nowadays, I’m more likely to design a piece of scientific equipment and have someone else build it.)

    2. Tom, i think you would have understood my approach to the world back then. I saw everything as patterns in the physical world that could be followed and made real. I think in a way you see patterns in space through your mind’s eye. Patterns that account for all the senses, places and emotions of whatever it is. It could be a foriegn land or a chesire cat. But it probably isn’t enough for you to paint a picture. Writing is probably a better medium for you.

  57. I wouldn’t advise a man who’s had more opportunity than 99.99% of the population to take “psychic” lessons, Anonymous. As he suggests, it’s an asset that he hasn’t. As he says, he is here to create bridges. He is to my mind like Melville’s Ishmael, an astute observer on the high seas who sees much. I know of only one other scientist of whom I think the same. The rest of the credentialed scientists I know, involved in this area of study, I consider quite gullible and strangely arrogant — maybe predictably so. I won’t name names, but I could.

    I mentioned elsewhere in a whimsically pointed posting that I know a remarkably intelligent man who worked in Psychological Operations for the Department of Defense, that is, in the Pentagon. He told me that the “remote viewing” pool there was 100% accurate — strategists said the pool was better than satellite photos. He said that the program used was developed by the famous psychic Sylvia Brown. But, as I said, this didn’t explain why the soldiers were still getting their asses kicked.

    I’ve so far heard two first-hand tales about the “remote viewing” industry. The other was from a woman who was a Lockheed engineer, who was enlisted in the development program there. It also so happened that her uncle and his wife had produced the most influential work on matters psychic to date — it’s mimicked everywhere, never matched. That’s Robert Butts and Jane Roberts. The woman said Lockheed eventually abandoned the program. Her uncle couldn’t describe his feelings on learning that the U.S. government had been monitoring him and his wife for decades.

    To use more whimsy to a point: you can “remote view” me all you like, but if your mind ain’t right, I’ll kick your ass for it.

    The internet is infested with scare stories about “remote viewing,” as well as other hirsute developments an imaginary all-powerful secret government are up to. Some swallow them indiscriminately and burp up an insistent screech about it among whoever they can. Some have gotten quite angry with me for not getting upset over something about which they have no authentic knowledge or experience whatsoever.

    I’ve suggested that the most important, the central aspect of study of psychic or psychological areas must be what “a belief” is. Dr. Tart wrote about the passing of Gertrude Schmeidler, a pioneer in applying intellectual method to the search for “extrasensory perception.” One important thing she found was that those who believed in it did better in the tests.

    A football player who believes he is the best quarterback on the team will be the first-string starter. If he isn’t, don’t believe what he tells you about what he believes. If he’s the starting quarterback and says he doesn’t believe he’s all that good, don’t believe that either.

    That’s where to start in sorting out one’s terms of study. Presently, it’s a mess everywhere, and terminologies are often more in the way than not. I do very well at what I do and I have yet to meet anyone from a class or workshop who can match what I do. I know others who are better at “it” than I am who never would join such experiments, as I wouldn’t. (I hope the impromptu experiment here between Sandy and me will be given due consideration.)

    But how to judge good, better, best in this area is further from scientifically useful than the finest of “remote viewers” could view.
    (Incidentally, I’ll hope you’ll also notice the little occasion of that among these postings. Sandy admitted that she was playing with birds at the time I hinted what came to mind about her in that given moment in a previous posting. There’s much more to it than the shallow concept of “remote viewing,” but one mustn’t go around jarring people who have enough to deal with as it is.)

    A good critical analyst will tell you that words are essentially meaningless (Dr. Pasqual Schievella is an expert in that field, and for his 75 years of Doctoral study, his name is worth looking up, although he’s pretty much a materialist). These meaningless words must be organized in as coherent and semantically considered fashion as possible, or such a science will be forever going in circles about “ESP” or “PSI” or “remote viewing,” and so on.

    Not even the words “psychic” or “telepathic” denote more than arbitrary circumscriptions and a narrow defining of what those phenomena truly are. “Synchronicity,” now a popular term, does more to obscure what the occasion of a coincidental event that evokes a sense of “numinosity” may be than elucidate it.

    We tend to hang our beliefs on words and terms in too literal-minded a way. Sociologically we build quite a few Towers of Babel that way — socially, religiously, politically, economically and scientifically. We look too eagerly for what Emerson called “a shallow consistency” in his famous saying. Our expectations become much too narrow that way, and so results are often not recognized for what they are.

  58. For much of my life I noticed I had a lot of mental imagery while I was falling asleep. Mostly I saw people. When I started taking classes in mediumship I started seeing these people in my mediumship class. Sometimes they were spirits, some times they were living people I hadn’t met before. So, for much of my life I was having psychic perceptions but didn’t know it. It wasn’t until I started taking classes in mediumship and found that I could percieve psychically that I began to consider the possibility that I was also having psychic perceptions outside of class. When I started examining my hypnogogic imagry I frequently found psychic information in it.

    This is why I am very skeptical when people say they don’t have psychic experiences. Meditation calms the mind, especially the analytical, rational, verbal, left hemisphere which interfers with intuition, so I am even more skeptical when meditators say they don’t have psychic experiences. What I think is more likely is that they don’t know that for most people, psychic perceptions are very similar to ordinary mental impressions and unless you know when and where to look, you may not pay attention to psychic perceptions because you assume they are just ordinary mental activity. Classes in mediumship, remote viewing, and spiritual healing, as well as daily meditation sessions and any time one is in the hypnogogic state are all good times to watch your mental activity and be on the look out for psychic perceptions.


    1. Anonymous,

      Does that mean that my ghosts, the colors around people, and all the weird stuff I experience are really just varieties of dreams that contain pyschic information?

  59. Tom,

    I tried an experiment. Instead of dreaming while asleep, I tried to find the punk girl while staying awake. I can do it with ghosts sometimes. Maybe they are all just dreams too.

    Today her name is Kim.

    She said you had been using your inner vision today, with great clarity. You were using it to guide management decisions. You want to share your gift with others, but you believe that your guidance is being ignored. You are trying very hard to be a good person and mentor in spite of this. She said that in the end, everyone has to make their own choices in life and learn the lessons of free will and responsibility. She also winked and said that it was OK to shine a little light on the path you think is the good one. Even though you think you are being ignored, what you really want will come through in a surprising way.

    After she was gone, I noticed her colors are what I see when I think of you. It isn’t easy seeing colors for someone you only know from a blog. I’m surprised enough when they come through in emails sometimes. I actually think you would get along with both my before and after NDE colors, based on the colors I see for you. That isn’t all that common. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I perceive colors today. I find it interesting that all three of the other main posters (Tom, Anonymous, and Dr Tart) in this thread have colors that seem to have a very good affinity for the colors I developed after my last NDE. And yet you are all very unique people. (I don’t even have a natural affinity for the colors I developed after my last NDE.)

  60. Well Sandy, a woman named Kim called yesterday. She’s a friend of Catt’s who’s still in the movie production business. She’s just borderline of the punk generation. Riffing associatively: just 5 minutes ago I referred another woman to a client of ours who’s looking for a film editor for his animated short. Kim’s done for awhile and very much wants her time off.

    Now it’s your turn to associate the name Kim for yourself.

    Yeah you keep saying “they’re just dreams.” But be mindful of the little coincidence between Dr. Tart and my posts, which he pointed out. I wrote that one does not stop dreaming when awake and he elaborated on this (worth reading again) and added an illustration.

    Coincidentally, the woman to whom I referred this possible job is an illustrator. Coincidentally again, the job is for a well known psychologist and author. Coincidentally again, the job has to do with crawly cartoon bugs, and it came up because of a joke we’d made about crawly bugs. Coincidentally once more, her personality was implied along with yours, your Kim’s or Joy’s, and the large old teacher’s in my dream of you a few nights back, mentioned here. It was the dream about a lesson in integrity.

    Waking thoughts are specialized forms of dreams, and dreams are thoughts expanded into images and actions. They can make puns and rebuses. My favorite example is a dream of a woman stranger I met in a dream one night, wearing a set of pearls and holding a glass of sherry. The next morning I heard from a woman stranger named Sheri Perl. What she was after in the dream was precisely what she was after in waking reality, as it turned out; but in the dream, she was portrayed more honestly.

    I’m not looking mentally at an image of a rhinocerous when I write “rhinocerous” to you, but an image of a rhinocerous will likely be the first thing to pop into your mind when I say the word. With a bit of telepathy and quickness, you may see other images that were actually on my mind when I wrote this now-past previous sentence. Whatever you saw would be your interpretation, but sometimes interpretations match. Throw a word at me about that sentence, just for the heck of it, and let’s see. I’ll remember.

    I didn’t see colors for you when I first read your posts here, but rather an invisible and translucent kind of conscious knowing — it expanded in my mind in a flash, like the room suddenly got bigger. No interpretation necessary for me. You do fine. Now let’s hope those people I think are ignoring my sage perceptions give me a big happy surprise.

  61. “Does that mean that my ghosts, the colors around people, and all the weird stuff I experience are really just varieties of dreams that contain pyschic information?”

    Hi Sandy,

    I don’t know.

    When you have these experiences, are you dreaming?

    The communications you have with more advanced spirits (ie. non verbal communications) seem to be like what most people experience during mental mediumship.

    When a thought arises through unconsicous mental process and appears in the mind, it might originate in the individual from waking mental activity, from dreaming, or from psychic perceptions or from spirit influence. But all these cases may seem very similar to the individual because they share the mechanism of rising from the unconscious into the conscious.

    However when you see spirits objectively that seems different. Some people have speculated that objective mediumship is just an extreme form of subjective mediumship. I don’t know if this is right.

    I can usually tell that when I percieve something that it is coming to my awareness through my senses and not arising in my mind the way thoughts do. However I have to keep my door bell and telephones disconnected because when I try to go to sleep I will somtimes hallucinate that I hear them ringing. I can usually tell this is a hallucination but it is realistic enough that I would rather be sure that if I hear them I know it’s a hallucination so I keem them disconnected. If I heard spirits talking aloud to me during the day, I suppose I might think it was the same phenomena as when I hear bells ringing when I’m trying to sleep.

    However, all the times I’ve actually “heard voices” (psychically or by hallucinations) I could easily tell they were coming from my mind and not through my senses – there was a big difference, not like when I hear the bells. Most people when they experience clairaudient (hearing spirits) in mental mediumship hear the spirit talking in the voice of the percipient, it sounds like their own thinking not a spirit talking.

    When you hear spirits, do you hear them speaking in their voice or your voice?

    1. Anonymous,

      I’m not sure if I am dreaming when I have these experiences. When I was in counseling, I asked about altered states of consciousness and how that related to my situation. My counselor had a background in religious anthropology, taught meditation workshops and had a research interest in altered states of consciousness. So he had some informed ideas about this subject. He said it didn’t appear to him like I was in anything other than a normal state of consciousness when I talked to ghosts (he had seen me do that in his office). He did wonder about what I might be going through when I had experiences of being close to the NDE place and of other realities that seem to touch this one sometimes, but I never had those experiences in his office. The best I could do was email him while still in the process of having such experiences and that isn’t easy to do. (After a while it becomes very hard to use words.) He likened my experiences to those of a shaman.

      I hear spirits talking in their own voices. The “dream people” like Kim/Joy sometimes talk in a way that could be me or someone else I know. I sometimes see a ghost that belongs to a person that I’ve corresponded with for over a year. Other people have seen this ghost too, but it isn’t a real ghost, it seems to be a sort of “invisible friend” to this person (he doesn’t see the ghost himself). I had been hearing the ghost for a while and was used to its voice, but it surprised me to find out – because I heard my friend’s voice for the first time in a video – the ghost had the same voice that he did.

      1. I guess I should say that when I talked to ghosts in front of my counselor, it was always when I could understand them (the ghosts) without having to meet them part way. Some ghosts, the one who communicate using symbols, are hard to understand unless you meet them part way.

        One ghost, a homesick first-year student who had committed suicide, was very close to this world still. She couldn’t even see other ghosts. She had to learn how to talk to me, but once she did I didn’t have to zone out to hear her. She was like talking to any living teenager.

  62. “However I have to keep my door bell and telephones disconnected because when I try to go to sleep I will somtimes hallucinate that I hear them ringing.”

    I am not certain of the source of these hallucinations. Once I thought I heard someone knocking at my door while I was falling asleep. I knew it wasn’t real so I thought it must be a spirit who wants to visit me but is too polite to just barge in on my consciousness. I asked mentally, “What is it?” and I saw person in my mind’s eye. I asked them who they were and I saw scenes from their life the same way.

    Now that I think about it, I suppose I should try to see if there are spirits trying to communicate when I hear bells ringing. I have had analogous visual hallucinations where I saw a vision of my answering machine showing a message had been recieved. At first I thought I was psychically percieving that there was a message on the machine, but when I checked, there was no message, so I have to wonder if it is spirits who know I will ignore them if they ring, trying to tell me they have a message for me.

    It can be hard to tell what is psychic and what is not. For this reason I advise people never to do anything because they think they had a psychic perception unless they would do it without that experience too. When I have had important synchronicities in my life that seemed to be psychic in nature I didn’t know there was anything psychic going on until afterward. At the time I thought I was just doing something I decided to do. Once the synchronicity occured then I realized something odd happened.

    Generally the most reliable way for me to tell I’ve had a psychic experience is if there is some type of confirmation. either I see a person in my mind who shows up as a spirit at a mediumship class and is recognized by someone I’m giving a reading to, or if I percieve something that seems to presage something that happens to me in the future.

  63. I wouldn’t advise a man who’s had more opportunity than 99.99% of the population to take “psychic” lessons,

    I’d also recommend remote viewers take classes in mediumship and mediums take classes in remote viewing. You can’t have too many experiences.

  64. Bingo, Sandy. When I was writing “rhinocerous” I was also noticing out of the corner of my eye that the moon had just appeared out of the clouds in the western sky.

    Now isn’t this more fun than just theory, theory, theory?

    When I was reading Marie’s post at, my horse Harley came in the doorway and stomped his hoof at me (I used it for my reply to Marie). Next I read your post, and one of my kitties leaped up and playfully snagged my pants. What does it mean when a post you are reading excites the creatures around you?

    1. It might be fun, but it isn’t very scientific. You could just be saying that moon was the correct word. It is hardly a double-blind test.

      If a post you are reading excites the creatures around you, that suggests that they think you are paying way too much attention to a silly machine when you could instead be playing with them.

  65. Let’s not take my meanings out of context, Anonymous: I wouldn’t advise a man who’s had more opportunity than 99.99% of the population to take “psychic” lessons, Anonymous. As he suggests, it’s an asset that he hasn’t. As he says, he is here to create bridges.

    Now then, you’re recommending people spend their money on classes, such as they are. Look what Sandy’s been doing throughout this thread, who hasn’t. Let’s see you do your stuff… and if you can, give us a cost breakdown on how much one has to pay somebody to learn how to spontaneously use one’s inner senses.

  66. Yup Sandy. I AM saying “moon” was the “correct” word, actually, one of a number of probable words or impressions. Mustn’t let this go a couple days because I’ll forget that precisely-cubed moment. Take another guess if you like and I swear on a stack o’ bibles I’ll tell the truth.

    Double-blind tests won’t work with methods that are designed through the empirical methods of science. One can indeed be stuck with a dilemma of proofs. Empirical or materialistic science frowns on the idea that “people believe what they want to believe,” but of what science may be made of psychology or psychic matters, it must begin there. And, as the large old teacher in my dream dream-told you and the others the other night, the matter of personal integrity is of prime importance.

    Well, I’m sitting here answering your post and once again, kitty comes up and claws my pants. Why now? I sit here all the time and he never does that. I’ve been sitting here all this time answering queries and such, and he picked this moment out of the rest. Harley didn’t stomp at the door, though. Kitty’s stopped, and I bet he won’t do it again tonight. I’ll let you know if he does. I’m saying animals aren’t anywhere near as self-centered as humans.

  67. Oooops! Double-blind tests won’t work with methods that are NOT designed through the empirical methods of science.

  68. Nope. Coffee cup wasn’t on my mind while I wrote the “rhinocerous” sentence. I don’t drink coffee that late at night. Keeping a moment’s memory in mind for this game is almost a physical effort. Give it one more shot if you like. Use the force, Leia.

  69. You’re just guessing now. But I was thinking “arrow” before your post showed up, as I stepped out the door to check on the horses. Thinking about coincidences and things lately in discussions, I remembered a line from a book I edited about a biblical prophecy supposedly shooting 2,000 years into the future like a “divine arrow.” I still feel a little guilty about that, as I didn’t believe it and would never be so literal-minded about “prophecies,” but was just improving on my client’s phrasing.

    Before I forget: while I was writing that sentence, the comic strip “Ferdinand” was going through my mind alongside “Gordo,” where I first read the cute thing about “I bet you can’t stop thinking about a rhinoceros.” That was 47 years ago. The image of the funnies page came to mind (from The Catholic Universe Observer). At the same time I was thinking about the last time I used that analogy, a few days before, and as far back as 5 years ago. I was also thinking about one of my older brothers, who once gave me a T-shirt with Albrecht Durer’s famous illustration of a rhinoceros on it.

    There were other side-thoughts too, but these main memories of that moment are more than enough to illustrate. The following day I happened to learn that the comic strip “Ferdinand” still exists. Then I dreamed about my brother.

    It’s not unreasonable to suggest you would have picked up the impression of “moon” out of your own curiosity and natural sense of significances. I hesitated all at once to look in surprise at the moon over my shoulder out the window.

    We think thoughts that generate more thoughts that generate more thoughts. All of the thoughts of that moment writing that sentence wandered off into other associations, joining with other long ongoing sets of thoughts. The two that had a certain intensity enough to form an event as though “for” me, were the comic strip and the dream about my brother, from whom I haven’t heard in a few years.

    We are taught that thinking is morally questionable and potentially dangerous; that happy people hardly think at all, and it’s especially wrong for women to think. This “instruction” permeates our culture to the point it seems invisible — until we come to disastrous examples, such as times where “loose lips sink ships.”

    A woman was arrested in 1944 in England, under witchcraft laws, because while playing with a ouija board she learned about a planned Navy attack and mentioned it out loud.

    “Psychics” make people nervous. Dear god, please don’t let her mention how often I masturbate!

    As a matter of fact, an old and rather well-to-do psychic confided to me last year that in a previous life, I was victimized often with anal sex by my partner. “And that’s why I don’t care for it to this day,” I replied diplomatically. I could see that he was a homosexual, I had turned him on, and he went “psychic” to test me just in case. I’m real well versed in quite a few of my incarnations.

    Because of this rather telepathic injunction against “thinking too much,” we often ignore what we’re thinking — we shut it off and make ourselves even more uncomfortable with the notion that “not thinking” is a virtue.

    Screw that, thinking is GOOD. G-O-O-DOUBLE-DD. So I hear my thoughts and my thoughts’ thoughts pretty routinely. So far it has not prompted me to do evil. Because of that, it’s a little easier to hear what others are thinking, too. Distance, or space, doesn’t matter.

    When I saw you with your birds I also saw that they give you a valuable liberating feeling. Because of that, I feel yet more affection the birds hopping around out my front door right now. I’ve made sure to toss them more seeds. God they’re cute. See what your thought did?

    1. I admit it. I picked coffee cup knowing it was incorrect. Arrow came up with two other words, oak and faith. It didn’t feel like it belonged to rhinoceros, but it did seem to belong to you. To me oak trees relate to ships on the ocean (Heart of Oak). The two words together with arrow seem to suggest having the faith that you will make the correct choices to get to where you need to be.

      I’m not a big thinker, Tom. I’m more into doing stuff than thinking about stuff. And sometimes I really don’t want to be psychic. I can be a goat. I have no problem with performing psychic tricks if they can be used to prove I’m not a psychic.

  70. From the psyche where psychic things happen, there’s no difference between a think and a do, Sandy. Besides, you gave yourself away when you said you “think too much.” 😉

    I was thinking about “faith” a few days ago. I think about it periodically, and probably will ’til I one day come up with an essay about it. The concept is all screwed up. In public religious parlance it’s come to mean blind obedience to ideas that don’t even make any sense. The way I feel faith about one thing or another is kind of psychic… like tendrils feeling around in the unknown that suggest the thing is out there. Gently, gently.

    Ah, from a tiny acorn doth the mighty oak grow. Such thoughts are a background hum in my mind, but nothing in the foreground lately. I finished a bottle of wine 2 nights ago and thought they had oaked it a tad too much… that’s where the vintners add the flavor of an oak barrel to the wine. And as usual, that thought generated a splay of other associations, but no action except I don’t want any more wine for awhile.

    What’s become of Anonymous? I’ve got a dream for him.

  71. I hope it is OK to keep adding to this thread. I see Dr Tart’s latest main entry, and it seems to suggest we may be getting too wordy and off-topic around here. Sorry.

    I just wanted to say something about the fear of psi. I suspect most people have it to some degree, and I wonder if it keeps such abilities in check. The reason I think this is that I think fear limits us in a lot of ways, not all of them bad. But when you lose your fear, you lose your limitations. I’m sure anyone who has read through this thread will wonder why someone like me is having anomalous experiences if this is true. (I’m even having one as I type this.) Shouldn’t my fears prevent that from occurring? All I can say is that being a NDEr took away my fear of death. That is a major fear, at least from what I’ve seen in other people. I think the absence of that particular fear may be why I experience the world as I do.

  72. Eh, Sandy, I’m not out proselytizing for the cause. I’ve had all the psychic sideshows and speculative conversations I can take. My reason for showing up here was for a kind of teacher’s debt for Dr. Tart’s book of 35 years ago, and a run-down on his latest.

    I noticed you had a talent for dreaming — anyone can and everyone does, but so far, very few suspect the advantages they can take. On those few occasions where it’s opportune, I suggest my “dream game” and by now, I’ve certainly proved my point at least to myself and “him who has ears to ear.” I’m sure you had this talent before your accident.

    I thought a spontaneous experiment here might be of use to you and Dr. Tart and this site. A thread devoted to an experiment like this could be beneficial to all involved, but a serious one would take a whole lot more writin’ than I’ve done, and generally triggers very long posts from those involved in it.

    Others might come across this and think to join in. This is actually a social experiment.

    Woops. Phone just rang. I’ve gotta go have din with a client.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *