Originally posted March 15, 2009. Revised Summer 2019.
I’ve been blogging for a decade now. Here’s the introduction I wrote describing what it’s all about, back when I started, updated to the present.
For the last 60 years, a major focus in my life and work has been building bridges between genuine, open-minded science and genuine, open-minded spirituality.
The basic result came together in my latest book, The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, official publication date of April 2, 2009. That hardback is now out of print, although available used, but I’ve republished it as a paperback, The Secret Science of the Soul: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together. Same text, more informative (and exciting!) title.
I’ll say more about that book in other categories of this blog, but basically it’s about why it’s rational and reasonable to be both scientific and spiritually inclined, rather than feeling your spiritual interests or experiences are invalidated. Far too many people feel that way, because we think science long ago proved that all spiritual stuff was nonsense. Yes, there’s nonsense in the religious and spiritual areas of life, as in all areas of life, but there’s good evidence for some kind of reality core that’s very important!
I’m kind of amused that the official publication date of the book was April 2nd, but they couldn’t bring out a book mentioning parapsychology on April Fools’ day, could they? 😉
So why did I start blogging? Well, while I hope I will write some more books – the 14th, on explorations of spirituality, is already partly planned in my mind – I’m admitting to myself that I’m getting older and don’t have the energy I used to, so maybe there won’t be more books. Getting older is years truer when I update this introduction in 2019. On the other hand, I write lots of smaller notes and essays for my students and others on consciousness, altered states, meditation, parapsychology and Transpersonal Psychology, to mention my main foci, and these “micro-writings” may sometimes be helpful to people in general. So I decided to put them on this blog and see if that works out well, or is just a fantasy of mine. Hopefully some of the ideas will be useful to others.
I also feel like writing in a more personal style. I’ve done the oh-so-very-factual, impersonal style of science for a long time, it’s fine, but there’s more to me than that, and perhaps sometimes sharing some of that personal me will make my writings more useful.
I’m frankly ambivalent about blogging, though, as I do hope to write more books and give more lectures and the blogging may become too much of a distraction. This is especially true when it comes to readers’ comments. My mother, bless her soul, taught me that basic politeness requires that you answer all letters addressed to you, but I can’t take the time for that. So I hope to spark useful discussion among you readers with some of my posts, but I will have time to only occasionally post and respond to your comments. Most of the material I’ll be writing about is just so darned interesting anyway, I shouldn’t need to encourage thinking about it and discussing it. [I’m terrible about finding time to screen and post comments too, so no rushed comments…]
This blog is aimed at thoughtfulness, rather than speed. I will post an item irregularly, depending on my writing and lecturing schedules and life’s demands on my time. I’ve been told there’s no place for thoughtfulness on the web: I don’t accept that…
I’m going to start by posting material each week recorded and transcribed from one of my classes at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), my basic Mindfulness class, in the Transpersonal category. This has been only lightly edited, so can give you the flavor of what classes were like at one of the most unique institutions in the world, ITP, as well as providing a lot of basic information on how to live a more mindful life and understand more about how our minds function. I am retired from teaching at ITP now, so this is a past picture of ITP [now named Sofia University] rather than a current one.
Charles T. Tart
I’m looking forward to reading your book. I actually didn’t think that being both spiritual and scientific was even an option. It would be kind of nice if it were.
It is an option to be genuinely scientific and genuinely spiritual, but it won’t work if you have rigid beliefs on either side of this. You will find lots of people considered to be scientists who are actually rigid, dogmatic materialists and who will say the idea that you can be both is ridiculous. Don’t let their apparent authority get you down! True Believers in anything usually put everybody else down….
In all honesty, if I got kicked out of the “scientist club” for defying the authority of dogmatic materialists, I’d happily take my advanced education and go manage the local beer store. (Of course, my husband would be truly annoyed with me.) I just want to make sense of the way in which I experience the world. Science is great stuff, but there are things it doesn’t seem to adequately address. Finding a way to allow for both scientific and spiritual understanding to coexist could be a lot less work than continually attempting to “cure” myself of having spiritual experiences. I’ve been looking for that cure for quite a while now, and it hasn’t presented itself as of yet.