Observing the Mind Charles T. Tart

In the nineteenth century, psychologists tried but failed to develop a science of the mind using introspective data. A major reason for failure is that the ordinary mind has little skill at observing itself, as well as being very active and "noisy." Further, our "normal" state of consensus consciousness is like a virtual reality, generating apparently real experiences based on cultural conditioning and personal biases, and often distorting perceptions to support these scenarios. After conceptual material to fit introspective observations into the paradigm of essential science and scholarship, this workshop will introduce two fundamental techniques for calming the mind/noise reduction (concentrative meditation) and developing deeper understanding of the mind (insight meditation, vipassana). Emphasis will be on introduction to actual skills, not reviewing the research literature. These skills can make us better scientists, therapists and conceptualizers, improve our ability to obtain data about consciousness, and can have personal benefits such as stress reduction, clearer reality contact, and improving the quality of life. Prior reading of Tart's books "Waking Up" and "Living the Mindful Life" is recommended, but not required. His recent "Mind Science: Meditation Training for Practical People" is based on an earlier version of this workshop at Tucson III, and would be useful, but not required, reading (see www.paradigm-sys.com/cttart/ for finding all books). But remember, the guided practice of the skills in the workshop and your later practice is the essence, reading and conceptualization is secondary to skill learning.