Disclaimer: Please note that the following exercise is a learning exercise and does not necessarily reflect any actual beliefs or values of Professor Tart or of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, nor is it intended as specific criticism of any spiritual system.
Warning: The experiential exercise in the following video clip was developed for use with mature spiritual seekers who deeply value truth and self-knowledge and are willing to risk temporary or permanent challenges to their current belief system in the course of seeking more truth. It is probably not suitable for children and those with excessive emotional and intellectual attachments to their current belief systems. You need not continue with this exercise.
Learn more about Professor Charles T. Tart, one of the founders of Transpersonal Psychology. Charles T. Tart studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before deciding to become a psychologist. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963, and then had two years of postdoctoral training with Ernest R. Hilgard at Stanford University. He is Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto and Psychology at the University of California at Davis, and is internationally known for his research with altered states of consciousness, transpersonal psychology, and parapsychology. Tart’s 13 books include two that have been called classics, viz. “Altered States of Consciousness”...read more
The Western Creed exercise takes about 15 minutes to do. Ideally you should take part in it just like the filmed participants, students in one of Professor Tart’s classes at ITP, did, standing at attention in front of your computer where you can see and hear the video and repeat the Western Creed exercise words aloud, as per the instructions Professor Tart gives, and then sit quietly for a few minutes afterwards, noting your bodily and emotional sensations and feelings. You might find it best to do this alone, or with friends who are also participating, rather than just watching. If this is not a good time right now, it would be best to wait for the right time. The Western Creed exercise is most effective the first time you can do it whole-heartedly, and may dull with repetition. You will hear the word “scientistic” in the video. This is not an erroneous form of “scientific”, but rather a shorthand way of reminding us that beliefs in science can become psychologically rigidified, isms, instead of open to experimental test, as in essential science. There is much to be said for being open and flexible about examining our own beliefs, testing them, rather than letting them rigidify. Your main task will be to observe your bodily and emotional reactions to doing the exercise. You neednt’ bother to intellectually analyze while it’s going on, you can do that later, after you’ve made your observations of your feelings.
The rest of the instructions are on the video. Click the Continue Exercise button when you are ready to start, the Stop Exercise button if you think it’s best to wait until later.