Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Lesson of the Glass Monk

The Lesson of the Glass Monk

by Bob Peterson

Many of my friends know that, besides out-of-body experiences, I also do stained glass art. Recently I created the stained glass window you see above, which is 18.5 inches (47cm) per side.

One day my inner voice asked me to walk out to our deck and take a photo of the piece from outside the house (shown on the left) and another from inside the house (shown on the right) and compare them. Then it launched into a lecture about how the window is a metaphor for our physical body versus our soul. Anyone who has read my book Answers Within knows that my inner voice likes to draw metaphors from life to illustrate points about spirituality, so this was no surprise. The lecture went something like this:
Everything in our physical lives is a metaphor of our lives, our lessons, our mission, our spirit. The monk window is also a metaphor of your life (and everyone's life as well). The value of the window comes not from the glass itself, but from the light that passes through it, just as the value of your life is not from the physical body, but what we do with it; its utility, like the light that we let shine from within our souls. The physical body is just an expression or tool for the soul: its hammer and chisel.
In the dark, both sides of the window look equal. Even though you may see no value, the value is still there: it is never diminished. Likewise, in the darkest hours of our lives we may feel worthless, but our worth is always there, even when eclipsed by total darkness. Just know that everything is cyclic and the light always returns.

The back side of the window [left photo] represents physical life: the physical body. The front side [right photo] represents spiritual life: the soul.

From the outside [left photo], you see dirt and grime from outside. You see reflections of your surroundings and even optical illusions of things that are not really there. This is a metaphor for physical life, where we perceive all kinds of troubles, but most of them are illusions or path steering mechanisms.
The light from outside the glass [left photo] obscures its beauty and causes it to appear dull and lackluster. You can't even see the blue panes at the bottom. From the inside [right photo], the dirt doesn't show. It appears shiny and clean. We clearly see the light pour in to show us the true image.
From outside you see the reflection of the boards of the deck, showing you a path, but the path isn't clear and it obscures the truth. Similarly, in life, your path may seem meandering and chaotic but the reality is much simpler. The path is not the person. From within, you see there is really no path, no "doing" but simply "being," "oneness."
From outside, the inner aura surrounding the monk seems almost gone. The outer aura appears green, rather than its true color. The chakras look almost black. The lotus flower appears white and colorless. From inside, the inner aura is clean and bright. The outer aura sparkles and shines. You see the true color of the chakras shining through. The rich blue base is clear to see. The lotus flower is a colorful pink. 
So too in life, if you focus on outward appearances, you only see the distortions, the artificial, the washed-out, stressed-out; the physical animal struggling to breathe, eat, drink, mate, and survive. If you focus on the inside, you see the clear light of the soul, reflecting the eternal, the blissful, the peaceful: the reflection of God within.
From outside the monk's skin looks pale and ghost-like: a metaphor of your Caucasian physical body. From inside the skin reflects all of humanity, all colors, all cultures. Like many people, you have lived many past lives in many cultures and religions, but don't recognize it from appearances. We are all multi-colored. 
Learn to see everyone else as they appear not from an outside perspective, but from within. You may only see their physical body, the outside perspective, but realize the light of their soul lies within.
Similarly, learn to perceive yourself as the soul inside. Do not accept people's distorted ideas of you, for most will only see the distorted, poorly reflected outside image. They only see the physical.
Regardless of what they think and what they say, believe in yourself as the inner being, not the outer reflection. Learn to let your light shine the right direction. Show everyone the cosmic Light Being within. Don't let their droning false narrative drown out the song of the soul within.
Therein lies the value of out-of-body travel: you can see beyond the pale reflection of life and gain a better understanding of the soul, both yours and everyone else's. 
Remember that if you focus on the physical, you only see the pale reflection, like the photo on the left. If you focus on the non-physical you learn to understand the greater depths of the soul.
And to gain out-of-body experiences, learn to un-focus from the physical senses and focus your complete attention on "the other side of the glass." That is the lesson of the Glass Monk.

Bob Peterson
21 Sep 2020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: The Vibrational State

Review: The Vibrational State

by Maverick Vardøger

Today I'm reviewing The Vibrational State: Three Years of Out of Body Experiences by Maverick Vardøger. The copyright is 2019, so it's pretty recent material.

Like all OBE/AP books, there are both good things and bad things about this book. Unlike many of my recent reviews, I actually bought this book.

The first thing that grabbed me about the book is the author's name: Maverick Vardøger. I'm pretty sure it's a pseudonym or pen name. In the first two paragraphs of the introduction he talks about how OBEs can sound crazy to someone who's never had them. He writes "This is the justification for a nom de plume."

And his name is very fitting. According to the dictionary, a maverick is:

  1. a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates:
  2. a person pursuing rebellious, even potentially disruptive, policies or ideas.

I've known the word "Vardøger" for a very long time. It refers to an entity from Scandanavian mythology, much like a doppelgänger, but with a less sinister connotation. It has been likened to a phantom double, or a form of bilocation. For years, many of my close friends and family have heard me call my dog, Spirit, "Fur Dogger" as a tongue-in-cheek play on this word.

So who is Maverick Vardøger? I'm pretty sure he is an American: I've worked closely with Brits for many years and I'm well versed in British colloquialisms, and there just wasn't any in this book. Not a single "whilst," "fortnight," "lorry," or "petrol." I didn't pick out any Canadian phrasing either, so the writing is American. I'd bet his real name is Rick, but that's just a guess.

The next thing I noticed about the book is on the front cover where, in small print, appears an endorsement from William Buhlman, author of some very good OBE books like Adventures Beyond the Body. That's a pretty good authority!

The book starts back on February 29, 2016, when at the age of 30, Vardøger had his first spontaneous out-of-body experience. The book spans the period from then until August 2, 2019: a little over three years.

Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to out-of-body experiences. Chapter 2 is some example OBE narratives from Vardøger's journals. Chapter 3 is dedicated to techniques. His OBE techniques are:
  • Breaking the Glue
  • Roll-out Method
  • Sit-Up Method
  • Burst Method
  • Float-Up Method
  • 4-Hour Method (A 4-hour Wake-Back-To-Bed/WBTB Variant)
  • Eject Method
  • Hover Method
  • Rope Method
  • Observer Method (similar to the Target Technique)
  • Mirror Method
  • Ramp Timer (programmed audio beeps to trigger awareness during sleep)
  • Hair Pull Method
Most of these rely on how to break free from your body once you've achieved the vibrations, or the "vibrational state." Unfortunately, he doesn't offer a lot of advice on how to get the vibrations. He does give some pre-vibration techniques; just not a lot.
 
Chapter 4 is Tips and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This is pretty solid. It contains a bunch of OBE best practices found in many OBE technique books, such as:
  • Meditate daily
  • Eat light meals several hours before bed
  • Do affirmations
  • Do reality checks throughout the day
  • Eat a vegetarian diet
  • Sleep on your back
  • Exhaust your body with physical exercise
  • Perform mantras
  • Reduce fluoride intake
There are only 8 questions in the FAQ, and they're all pretty basic.

Chapter 5 is "The Astral Log". This is the longest chapter in the book, spanning 103 of the book's 145 pages. This is basically a well edited journal of all his experiences, including all the near-misses, encounters with the vibrations, sleep paralysis, finding himself "out" but glued to his body, and occasionally, a full-blown OBE. The journal spans from February 29, 2016 to August 2, 2019. It details experiences numbered from 1 to 52, but a lot of these he isn't fully out-of-body.

Although some people may find it a bit "slow," I loved it because it gives a very realistic idea of what OBE practice is like: Lots of near-misses, encounters with the vibrations, brief OBEs, explorations that get cut way too early.

It's also contemporary: you're not hearing about a dead guy's OBEs from 70 years ago; it's very current.
 
One nice thing is that it's fairly detailed. He documents many things about the OBE, like how long it's been since he meditated, how long since he ran (he's a runner), his sleeping position, and other particulars.
 
He also talks about when he transitioned his diet from meat to Pescatarian (fish but no other meat) to Vegetarianism, to Veganism. He also wore a smart watch to bed for many of his OBEs, and interestingly, the watch indicated he was in REM sleep during the OBE. I don't know how good these smart watches are, nor what they base their data on. They certainly don't measure rapid eye movements. Do they measure galvanic skin resistance? Do they just measure heart rates? How do they tell Delta sleep from Theta waves from sleep spindles? I may need to do some research.

This was all very interesting, at least to me, but I would have loved to seen it carried much further. I wish he would have documented everything for the two days prior to each OBE: everything he ate and drank at every meal, including every snack and handful of nuts. I want to know how active he was physically and mentally. Was he a chess player or a couch potato?
 
I want to know the amount of ambient and/or traffic noise in his bedroom. I want to know his body mass index, what music (if any) he listened to, whether he used binaural beats, how "electrically isolated" he was (how exposed he was to RF noise), what vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter and prescription meds he had taken. I want to know how many hours of sleep he got and how broken or interrupted it was. I want to know how stressed he was. I want details, lots of details! These are all things I wish I had tracked all these years, for the sake of research. Still, I can't fault him: in general, he documented things like that better than I did. And most readers probably don't care about such things, right?

He gives theories, all based on his personal data and observations, about the effects of diet, exercise, drinking beer and/or other alcohol. Despite all his attempts at analysis, he didn't find any strong correlations.
"They occur randomly and I can't determine the reasons or triggers. I also have not meditated in about two months." (pg. 103)
I did the same thing with my early OBEs, tracking moon cycles, biorhythms, and everything else I could think of at the time, and I came to the same conclusion: the only thing that mattered for me is the amount of time I spent practicing.
 
But just because the author and I never found a correlation, does not mean there isn't one. It can just as easily indicate the correlations are not influenced by the day's events as much as the previous day's events, right? Maybe it was that Bran Muffin he had for breakfast the day before, right? That's why I want so many details. I know I'm just being too analytical here. Still, the book had more details than other authors, and I appreciated that.
 
I personally think a lot of his experiences were encouraged by broken sleep: he describes getting up in the middle of the night to feed and/or care for a baby. In one place he even notes:
"It seems like my intermittent sleep of 3 hours sleeping, 1 hour up with the baby, then back to sleep may be triggering more experiences. The frequent physical exhaustion of running may be contributing as well." (pg. 77)
Here's an interesting note: For me (and others, including Buhlman), it's hard to induce an OBE state when my wife is in bed with me, but many of Vardøger's experiences happen with his wife by his side.

In his OBEs, he tries some interesting experiments. Some of these were trying to establish proof that his OBEs were "real" i.e. veridical. For example, he tried to pinch his wife the same way Robert Monroe claims to have done in Journeys Out of the Body. Vardøger's wife was unaffected by the attempt, had no bruises, etc. He also talked to his wife and other people during OBEs and they had no memory of the conversation. So for the most part, his attempts are validation failed. To his credit, he is honest and doesn't sugarcoat his feelings:
"The vibrations, vividness of sight and touch, my conscious lucidity, the length of the experience, and the sensations of floating and separating from my body were very real. The details inside and outside of my home were not accurate. I still don't fully understand these astral OBEs but I'm happy to explore and experience them. They are more than a lucid dream. I still haven't found proof that I am literally out of my body." (pg. 101).
I found this interesting tidbit that shoots Monroe's theory about pointing North.
"I have lived in four different locations in he last 26 months, with all my beds all facing different directions and the experiences persist." (pg. 107).
The book is interesting, but not a barn burner. As you know, I love love love OBE narratives and Vardøger gives a lot of them. As I said, they paint a pretty accurate picture of the OBE, but to the average reader, they may be a bit mundane.

The book is 145 pages with a medium-large footprint, decent margins and small font. The writing, spelling and grammar are all excellent. It seemed professionally edited. I only found a couple small mistakes. There's enough content to satisfy, but given that the vast majority of the book is narratives, I would have liked more analysis, theories, academic discussion, like, say, Frederick Aardema's book Explorations in Consciousness. I did, however, love his enthusiasm.

I'll give it 3 and a half stars out of 5, but it's almost a 4.

Bob Peterson
8 September 2020


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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Year of New OBE Tips - Part 3

 A Year of New OBE Tips - Part 3

by Bob Peterson

In my previous two articles, I wrote about the new OBE induction tips and "tricks" I learned since I published my fifth book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs about a year ago. If you missed part 1, you can read it by clicking this link. To read part 2, follow this link.

What I covered in part 1:
  • Taking naps
  • Trying different relaxation techniques
  • Harnessing unfamiliarity
  • Fasting
  • The 4-hour WBTB trick
  • Reading about OBEs before bed

What I covered in part 2:

  • Harness your expectations
  • Let go: you're probably trying too hard
  • Give yourself a break
  • Exercise your default mode network (DMN)
  • Ask for outside help

Here's my third and final installment of this series:

Roll your closed eyes up slightly

In Hacking I wrote about how you can slowly panning your closed eyes back and forth during OBE practice to pretend your body is in REM sleep:

"I also read a Facebook post from a guy who offered another trick related to the Gatekeeper. His trick is to slowly roll your eyes back and forth, as if pretending your body is in REM sleep. He claimed that the act of slowly rolling your eyes is enough to convince your subconscious that the body is in REM sleep, and that lets you sneak more awareness or lucidity across the threshold." (pg. 259)

Even though REM stands for Rapid Eye Movements, the actual eye movements in REM sleep are often not rapid at all, but somewhat slow.

Since then, I learned this additional trick from Terrill Willson's book How I Learned Soul Travel. Willson writes:

My primary attention was on keeping my eyes rotated upward as high as possible in my head yet staying relaxed; then I'd concentrate on listening to The Faint High whistle in the top of my head. If I could drift into sleep still contemplating like this, my chances of moving out of my body automatically were very good." (pg. 123)

So when you make your OBE attempts, let your eyes roll up gently. It's important not to strain them or force them up artificially. Just let them float up naturally.

Loosen your TPJ - Boating and video games

In Hacking I wrote about how the brain's temporoparietal junction (TPJ) determines your sense of spacial location and orientation by polling several sources of sensory data to formulate your "story of experience" (how you experience everything). The right-side TPJ determines your experience (what is happening to you) and the left-side TPJ determines your narrative about the experience (your running inner dialog about what you experience). I wrote about how you can directly change your experience by changing your inner dialog because both TPJs talk to each other within the Default Mode Network. That's why things like affirmations work.

I also talked about how video games make OBEs more likely because they train your brain to accept an altered story of experience.

Another thing I've found is that boating for long periods of time, with that constant rocking, messes (in a good way) with your TPJ's sense of stability. So it may help to spend quality time on a boat, train, or anything else with a rocking motion.
 
Later, when you're on land and make your OBE attempts, you can remember the rocking sensation and leverage that for your OBEs.

Ride the Transitions

In Hacking I wrote about how to effectively use vitamins and supplements to induce OBEs. One of the things I wrote was:

"Don’t take B-6 every day. Take it a few days, then stop cold turkey for another few, then go back on it again. For some reason, I seem to have better dream recall when I’m either starting or stopping vitamin B-6. If I’m on it too long or off it too long, the effect is nullified."

That's a perfect example of "riding a transition." OBEs are much more likely when you make the transition: when you start taking vitamin B-6, or stop taking it, but not so much when you're actually "on" or "off" the vitamin for long periods.

What I've learned in the last year is that it extends beyond vitamins and supplements. OBEs seem to be facilitated by when you undergo many behavioral changes: the transition of starting or stopping some behavior.

Another good example is sleeping at a friend's house, which I talked about in my article about Harnessing Unfamiliarity for OBEs: you're making a transition from your familiar residence to a new one, or rearranging your bedroom: transitioning from one bed position to another. These transitions and "non-patterning" can also lead to more frequent OBEs, but once you become too familiar, your OBEs can stop again.

The same is true with exercise: You may not have many OBEs if you exercise regularly or laze around constantly, but when you start a new exercise program or stop one, you're more likely to have OBEs.

The same goes for meditation: Regular meditation may facilitate OBEs, but I've often found that OBEs are more likely when I either start a new meditation practice or stop one. If I'm too regimented with my meditation--or don't meditate at all--OBEs are less frequent.

Non-patterning is not the same thing as sporadic

Don't get me wrong. That's not to say that "sporadic" or random use of supplements, exercise and meditation are the answer either. Your body gets used to that randomness too.
 
What I am suggesting is that you ride those transitions: exercise regularly for a week or two, then be lazy for a week or two. Meditate regularly for two weeks, then skip it for a week. Take a B-complex vitamin for a week, then skip it a week. Listen to binaural beats for a week, then skip it for a week. And don't use the same "on/off" schedule for all these things.
 
I suggest you vary the length of time you spend "on" and "off" a program. Some people may need two weeks or even three. It depends on your metabolism.
 
Learning to induce out-of-body experiences is like Tai Chi: you can do it your whole life, but there's always something new to learn.
 
Hopefully some of these helpful hints can get you unstuck or give you that initial push to get you across that delicate threshold and into a whole new level of reality. Try some of these new tips then share the results on one of the Astral Projection groups on Facebook.

If you have your own OBE induction tips I haven't covered elsewhere, share them too. Maybe I'll collect them and create a new blog article with readers' tips.
 
Bob Peterson
25 August 2020

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Year of New OBE Tips - Part 2

A Year of New OBE Tips - Part 2


by Bob Peterson

In my previous article, I wrote about the new OBE induction tips and "tricks" I learned since I published my fifth book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs one year ago. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 by clicking this link.

What I covered last time:
  • Taking naps
  • Trying different relaxation techniques
  • Harnessing unfamiliarity
  • Fasting
  • The 4-hour WBTB trick
  • Reading about OBEs before bed

Now I have some more suggestions: 

Harness your expectations

In his book Adventures Beyond the Body, William Buhlman famously suggests you improve your level of consciousness in an OBE by demanding "Clarity Now!" Great advice. In a way, it's like setting up expectations inside the OBE. But I've also learned that setting your expectations is also an important step before an OBE. Don't just demand to have an OBE, expect that you will.

An expectation is like a subconscious directive, and reality always tries to bend to meet your expectations, thanks in part to your subconscious mind. That's true both inside the body and out. If you expect a store clerk to be hostile, they are more often hostile. If you expect to be cheated in a deal, you're more likely to be cheated. If you expect to remember your dreams, you're more likely to remember your dreams.

You can harness that for OBEs: If you expect to have an OBE, you're more likely to have an OBE. Of course it's not guaranteed, but it makes it all the more likely.

If you don't feel the connection, or take the expectation for granted, you may ask: isn't that unrealistic? "Most nights I don't have OBEs, so how can I expect to have them now?" It's a valid question.

Consider this: most people who suffer from ASP (Awareness during Sleep Paralysis) are terrified by them, and the their fear sets up a subconscious expectation: They expect (or fear) so strongly it's going to happen again, that it actually does. Their worry is a form of expectation and it sets their subconscious in motion to make it happen. And it happens over and over.
You can do the same thing with OBEs. If you "worry" or even just "expect" that you'll have another OBE, it is more likely to happen.
 
Some people expect to have more OBEs during a full moon, and it does. Some people expect to have more OBEs if their bed points North, and it does. There's no scientific basis for these beliefs, but if you alter your expectations, they often become your reality.
 
So whatever you do, don't expect disappointment. Expect OBE success.
 

Let go: you're probably trying too hard

A big part of inducing OBEs is "letting go" or allowing it to happen, and just passively watching rather than trying to "do" anything. I don't remember writing this in Hacking, but the biggest mistake people make is trying too hard. They try so hard that they don't let themselves get close enough to sleep. You've got to let yourself drift down very close to sleep. Don't be afraid to fall over that edge. The worst that happens is you fall asleep and try again when you wake. But if you don't "let go" enough, you'll never get out of body.

If you have too many problems falling asleep during OBE attempts, try practicing in the morning when you're well rested, or take a long nap in the afternoon so you're not as sleepy at night. 


Give yourself a break - Insert gaps

If you've read my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, you may recall that when I started, I practiced OBEs every night for a solid month without success. My first full OBE took place only after I came home one night and decided I was too tired to practice. It was only when I took a break from OBE practice that I allowed my subconscious enough space to manifest my intent.

The lesson here is that, while it's important to inundate your subconscious with OBE messages, it's also important to give yourself a break in the action. Your subconscious works best when it's left alone to work on a problem.

Jane Roberts, author of the channeled "Seth" material wrote about "Framework 2." It's basically a workplace for your subconscious. If your subconscious is constantly kept busy processing conscious thoughts and mental noise, it doesn't get enough time and space to work the problem. To manifest anything (think "Law of Attraction" here) including OBEs, you need to send intense messages to your subconscious, then drop the subject and let it work the problem. Give it time and space to do its thing. In other words, take periodic breaks from your OBE practice. Practice intently, then take a day or three off, then repeat the cycle.


Exercise your default mode network (DMN)

In Hacking, I wrote about two neural networks in the human brain that route messages to their "hubs" to accomplish tasks: The Task Positive Network (TPN) and the default mode network (DMN.)

The TPN works on outer tasks; tasks that require focus on the physical world. When made to do an external task, like solving a math problem, the TPN takes control and does the brain work for the job.

When the brain goes idle, the DMN takes control and often consumes more energy than the TPN. The DMN works on inner space tasks like introspection, imagination, daydreaming, etc.

One of the hubs of the DMN is the Temporo-parietal Junction (TPJ--both left and right side) which, according to neuroscientists, play a big role in out-of-body experiences.

I wrote about all this in Hacking, but I didn't stress how important it is to exercise your Default Mode Network, the DMN.

Some authors (Carlos Castaneda comes to mind) teach techniques of sun gazing (use caution with this one), which exercises the DMN. Others, like Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, teach techniques of staring at a white piece of paper or blank computer screen and letting your mind go blank, which has the same effect.

I prefer to exercise my DMN by "staring off into space" with my eyes open. All of these can help you induce OBEs by strengthening the areas of the brain needed for OBEs.
 

Ask for outside help

In Hacking, I wrote about asking for help from several sources: your subconscious, your "higher self," spirit guides, guardian angels, God, etc., all suited to your belief system. But I worked out a new angle on it.

During my OBEs, there are usually "invisible guides" who are willing to help me out. They're usually stand-offish. They talk, but reluctantly. Sometimes they'll even admit "I'm here to help, but not to answer questions."

Well, it occurred to me that these same guides are hanging around regardless of whether we're in the body or out of it. Since they're already there and willing to help, it's fair game to ask them to help you leave your body. Well, duh! They're here to help, so put them to work. Appeal to them directly. It helps.

Try some of these new tips and let me know how it goes.

Once again, this article got to be a bit long, so I'm working on a third installment and hope to publish it next Blog Tuesday, 25 August.
 
Bob Peterson
11 August 2020

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Year of New OBE Tricks - Part 1

A Year of New OBE Tricks - Part 1


by Bob Peterson

Wow. It's hard to believe it's already been one year since I published my fifth book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs. It was well received in the community. So far I've sold about 2,200 books and 200 audio books so far, and readers have consistently given it stellar reviews on amazon. Thank you guys! (And if you think you're going to get rich writing an OBE book, think again!)

Many authors, like me, never seem to actually "finish" a book. They just force themselves to draw an arbitrary line in the sand, press the "Send" button and within a week, regret they didn't add one or two more little things. So what else should I have added to Hacking? With 350 pages of OBE techniques, what could possibly be missing? Unfortunately, a lot. Sigh.

In the OBE-oriented world, ours is a journey not only of discovery and growth, but of learning, so it might be more important to ask: what new OBE tricks and tips have I learned or discovered in the year since the book's release? What new advice can I offer the would-be astral traveler?

I want to share some of those with you in this article. In fact, I want to share so many that the article got too big. I decided to break it into multiple articles. If you're seriously dedicated to inducing OBEs, I know you won't mind. So let's begin.

Take naps

I've found that taking a nap in the middle of the day really helps induce OBEs. While I may have mentioned napping in the book, I don't think I placed enough emphasis on it. Napping also gives your brain a break so you can interrupt your sleep (with WBTB/Wake Back To Bed) without suffering too badly the rest of the day.

Try different relaxation techniques

One shortcoming of Hacking the Out of Body Experience is the way it presents relaxation techniques. I wrote a few pages about it in chapter 16 ("Preparing for Liftoff: Physical Preparation") but I feel I didn't go far enough. I wrote a blog article about relaxation techniques to present some of my favorite techniques, and I recommend you read it if you haven't already.

Harness unfamiliarity

Similarly, I wrote a blog article about harnessing unfamiliarity that should have been in there as an entire chapter. (Click this link to read it.) If I ever publish a second edition of Hacking, I'll definitely include it.

The bottom line is: When you're in an unfamiliar setting, such as a hotel room or a friend's house, you sleep lighter. Your conscious awareness stays just a little bit on edge, just below the surface, and ready to react to the unknown, and that makes OBEs more likely.

You can harness this principle even in your home by making some simple changes, such as turning your bed, sleeping in a different room, opening a window to introduce unfamiliar sounds, and so on.

Try fasting

In Hacking, I wrote about dietary considerations, such as the effects of wheat gluten, vegetarian diets, and other food considerations. I talked about how you should eat very lightly and how it's best to not eat anything after 3:00pm, but I didn't really say anything about fasting, and I regret that.

I remember when I was young I used to not think about food until my body insisted. Eating was an inconvenience, even an annoyance. I used to think about eating as some kind of bad habit like smoking or drinking, and how someday I'd like to give it up, even though I knew it wasn't really practical. My friends and I would skip meals because we simply "forgot" to eat. (Oshara still forgets to eat!) Nowadays my body whines and complains about not being fed for two hours, and that's not only an annoyance; it's a bad habit.

It can be very hard to resist eating a snack before bed, or eating a big dinner at 6:00pm (18:00). A lot of Europeans customarily eat supper at 7:30 p.m. (19:30) or later. There's comfort in a fully belly, but fasting is worth it because it makes OBEs much more likely, especially if you fast at least 7 hours before bed. Remember: the reason they call it "breakfast" is because you're breaking your nightly fast.

Some people have reported great success inducing OBEs after a simple one or two day liquid-only fast, which may be even more effective.

The bottom line is: having food constantly in your stomach will hold you back from having OBEs. It's definitely worth enduring the hunger. Your body is basically an animal, a creature of habit, and animals can be trained.

By the way, the converse is also true: Some people ask "How can I stop having OBEs?" My answer is: keep something, however small, in your stomach at all times, or eat a big gluten-free meal before bed.

The four-hour WBTB trick

The Wake-Back-To-Bed technique has been a staple for many authors on astral projection, OBEs and lucid dreaming, but they often disagree about how long you should allow yourself to sleep before the alarm goes off.

Different authors recommend different amounts of sleep. Some, like Albert Taylor, recommend 4 hours, while others recommend 5 or 6. While it's important to experiment and find out what works for you, I've always preferred six hours, as I wrote in this WBTB blog article, because my consciousness is still very groggy after only 4 hours of sleep.

But let me tell you a story. In the first week in July, my wife's parents invited us to stay for free at their timeshare in Las Vegas. On the last day of our trip we needed to get up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the airport for our flight back home.

Making the most of our last day, we stayed up late and didn't get to bed until about 1:00 a.m.. I was exhausted. The alarm went off 4 hours later. I sat up and tried to get my bearings. As I sat there, I let my eyes close for a minute and had some of the most vivid, fun and wild 3-D visions I've ever had in my life. Unfortunately, time didn't permit me to explore the state, but it was enough to convince me to do more exploration.

With my brain-intensive computer job, I normally can't afford to sacrifice that much sleep, but I definitely need to revisit the four-hour WBTB, and I suggest you do too.

Read about OBEs before bed

In part 3 of Hacking, I detailed a lot of different ways to inundate your subconscious with OBE messages to coerce it into giving you OBEs, including reading OBE books and narratives. But I failed to mention that the best time to do that reading is right before bed. That way, OBEs are on your mind when you go to sleep. So:
  • First thing in the morning when you wake up, try to remember your dreams and do your OBE affirmations. ("I slip out of my body easily.")
  • Throughout the day, do your suggestions and place your intentions. ("Tonight I'm going to have a conscious out-of-body experience.")
  • Last thing before you go to sleep, read a few pages from an OBE book (or, hey, my blog!).

Conclusions

When I started thinking about all the things I've learned over the past year, the article got to be too long. So I decided to break it into multiple articles. On my August 11 blog post, I'll cover more OBE tips and techniques from the past year. Until then, practice, practice, practice and never give up!

Bob Peterson
28 July 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Review: Astral Projection by Kristin Komak

Review: Astral Projection

by Kristin Komak

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection: The Ultimate Guide to Astral Projection and Having An Out of Body Experience! by Kristin Komak.

It's got a cool cover, but much like Alex Akana's book Astral Projection, this one is much too short. Akana's book was only 82 pages with large type. Komak's book is much shorter: only 54 pages, but with a better font and tighter margins. So the amount of content might be about the same.

Also like Akana's, this book has no credentials (what makes the author an expert?). There are absolutely no OBE narratives or personal experiences. So again, it feels like the author read a book or two on OBEs and decided to write one based on second-hand knowledge.

Komak only gives one OBE technique. It involves the usual prerequisites, relaxation, etc. All basic stuff. She recommends something a bit different from other OBE techniques I've studied, so I thought I'd mention it. Step 8 is:
"Now, think of one single image that you can concentrate on. For example, you could create a mental image of a chair. This image can actually be anything you can think of. Allow this mental image to move in different directions, and then add another image in your mind and allow it to move as well. Add another image and let it move in your mind too, along with the other two images. Repeat this process until you have several moving images flashing in your mind. Remember to just relax and maintain your calmness as you do this." (pg. 17)
I've never tried to cram a bunch of mental images into my visualizations. I almost always focus on a single one.

Some of the information is not explained very well. For example, Komak mentions "the vibrations" and the "vibrational state" but doesn't even attempt to explain what it is, what it feels like, how you should react to it, or anything like that. It's just a big gap.

Much of the information is accurate (better than Alex Akana's in that respect) but there's not enough attention to detail. For example, she refers to Robert Monroe's book as "Out of the Body" (page 3) accidentally dropping "Journeys" from its title. For example, she refers to St. Paul's Biblical reference to OBE as "Corinthians 12:2" (pg. 19) when, in fact, it was St. Paul's Second letter to the Corinthians, so the proper citation should be "2 Corinthians 12:2."
I only took issue with one thing she wrote:
"The astral plane is composed of seven dimensions that all play key roles in the fate of human beings. All these dimensions conform to the seven divisions of matter, namely, solid, liquid, gas, atomic, subatomic, etheric, and super-etheric." (pg. 9)
This quote displays a complete lack of understanding of basic college physics. Solid, liquid and gas are states of matter (and physicists now know there are more states of matter, such as plasma). Atomic and subatomic are artificial constructs (how physicists describe what they're studying) and etheric and super-etheric has no scientific basis whatsoever (and the author provides no citations for any of this conjecture).

Is this the "Ultimate Guide" touted by the book's subtitle? No. You don't earn the title of "Ultimate" in less than 200 pages, at least not when it comes to OBEs. I'll never describe a book with only one technique "Ultimate" by a long shot.

To give you an idea, the book's "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) chapter (chapter 10) spans 4 pages, much of which is white space, and it covers 5 questions. Compare that to the FAQ article I wrote for this blog (Click here to read it) which spans about 15 pages and covers 67 questions: more than 16 times the information.

The author's spelling and grammar are both good. She knows the difference between "its" and "it's" and "there-their-they're." Ah! Refreshing! But the writing feels immature to me, like it was written as a college paper and turned in for a writing class. I'd be surprised if the author is more than 23 years old.

Like Akana, I'll give it 2 out of 5 stars. You're better off buying a longer, more informative book from one of the big names in the genre with proven experience like Monroe, Buhlman, Bruce, Muldoon, etc.

Bob Peterson
14 July 2020

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Review: Renegade Mystic

Renegade Mystic


by Sean McNamara

Today I'm reviewing the book Renegade Mystic: The Pursuit of Spiritual Freedom Through Consciousness Exploration by Sean McNamara. The book is copyright 2020. The author sent me a copy, for which I am grateful.

I first heard about Sean McNamara at the SSE/IRVA Conference in 2018 where several researchers were talking about his book Defy Your Limits: The Telekinesis Training Method. I've had a long-standing casual interest in telekinesis (in my book Answers Within I wrote about some telekinesis experiments I did back in 1984), so naturally I had to buy it.

So I was thrilled when McNamara contacted me about his new book, Renegade Mystic, which is about meditation and consciousness exploration, including OBEs.

First I need to warn you: This is not an OBE-only book. It covers a wide spectrum of psychic topics, including OBEs, meditation, remote viewing, telekinesis, mediumship, energy healing, and even a tiny bit about UFOs. OBEs don't come into the book until chapter 15, page 120. Still, about a third of the book is dedicated to OBEs and has a lot of good narratives.

The first thing I tagged in the book is this gem:
"If you're perfectly happy with how you think life works, or how reality functions, and if you don't want anything to threaten your status quo, then you should stop reading now. You won't be the same person afterward." (pg. ix)
Indeed! Okay, let's get into the thick of it:

In a nutshell, Renegade Mystic is the autobiography of the author, Sean McNamara. He talks about being dragged from country to country by his parents as a child, exposed to many cultures, then trying so hard to be happy as an adult in the corporate world of cubicles and paperwork, but ultimately rejecting that. The bottom line is that he was always searching for a spiritual path that's right for him.

Right from the start, McNamara talks about Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, and his search for enlightenment. He joined various organizations and learn meditation techniques. Every year, many students pay thousands of dollars to learn meditation techniques, attend retreats, and attain various "levels" of achievement. He was right there in the thick of it, and it gets really juicy as he takes us behind the scenes and into the action. He talks about how these schools become money making machines, with jealousy, drama, power-struggles, politics, and in-fighting.

Remember a few years ago when renown teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, became embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal? It turns out he was sleeping with his women students. McNamara was involved with the organization while this was happening, and his own girlfriend (at the time) was involved, which led to nasty fight and breakup.

Next, McNamara talks about "Steve" who was one of Rinpoche's high-level students, who parted ways with Rinpoche and appointed himself as a Vajra Master (this title is supposed to be passed on through an initiation!) McNamara was one of his students. Again, Steve's teachings may have been sound, but the drama surrounding Steve and the new organization was both fascinating and head-spinning.

McNamara rose among the ranks and became a highly regarded meditation teacher, leading his own group in Denver. But eventually, the political drama revolving around Steve became too much to bear, so he broke away and some of his own students followed him, but as a more ordinary meditation class outside the complex framework of Tibetan Buddhism.

At one point, there was so much drama McNamara went to see a therapist. Surprisingly, he writes:
"Over time, I became pleasantly surprised to realize these therapy sessions had boosted my level of self-understanding far more than many years of devoted meditation had. Repeating endless mantras, visualizing myself as a deity, burning incense and playing my tantric bell and drum for years and years... none of this increased my level of true, practical insight the way receiving therapy from a trained counselor did." (pg. 105)
So much for self-realization! Don't get me wrong: meditation is a valuable tool, and I meditate regularly. But where do you turn when everything fails you: teachers, gurus, techniques and meditations? McNamara turned to out-of-body experiences, of course. A wise choice!

The OBE section of the book starts on chapter 15, page 120, "Leaving My Body For the First Time." He started--as I had--with Robert Monroe's book, Journeys Out of the Body (A great book!). Like me, he devoured as many OBE books as he could get his hands on (including mine!). Through experimentation and practice, he learned how to leave his body, and it was more fulfilling than all those years of meditation. I loved this quote:
"That day, many years ago when I walked into that Buddhist center in Denver and adopted their path, I had unknowingly abandoned my own." (pg. 121)
He shares some valuable insights he learned about inducing OBEs. For example:
"I made the last note realizing that whenever I paid too much attention to the odd sensations which occurred while using a technique, any progress would come to a stop. I realized I needed to basically ignore the sensations because all they did was steer my mind back toward a physical experience instead of remaining with whatever visualization I was using at the time." (pg. 131)
Here's another example:
"Reading about OBEs at bedtime is a technique in itself because it decreases fear by building confidence, conditions your deeper mind into accepting that you want to have this experience, and offers helpful knowledge. In fact, I even had an unplanned, unintended OBE during the several days I spent transcribing my journal into the first draft of this book." (pg. 137)
In chapter 17, page 144, McNamara lays out exactly what worked for him to induce OBEs:
  • Written affirmations
  • Consistent journaling
  • Afternoon practice
  • Sleep interruption
  • Reading about OBEs at bedtime
  • Listening to inspiring and relaxing music while doing the visualizations.
  • After doing a technique, rolling over on the massage table to lie on my side, and really letting myself drift to sleep.
What I loved most about this book was McNamara's OBE narratives, which should come as no surprise to my avid readers. He has a lot of them. He includes the mundane "uninteresting" OBEs as well as the extraordinary, which gives you a realistic sense of what to expect. They're well written and inspiring. Here's one small excerpt from an OBE narrative that I really liked:
"Across the street, I saw some teenage boys playing catch. I asked myself, "Are they part of my mind, or do they have their own existence? Are we 'all one'?"
With that question, I phased out and was back on the couch, opening my eyes. As with many of my other OBEs, I felt that wonderful, fulfilling sense of wholeness. I felt like I'd reconnected to a part of myself that I frequently disconnect from in the course of living this physical, stress-filled existence.
For me, this wholeness is one of, if not the most precious gifts of the out of body experience. It heals me deeply." (pg. 186)
McNamara is known for his involvement with telekinesis: moving objects with your mind. So of course, he talks about how he became involved in that, and that was also fascinating. He also touches on experiments and classes he did on mediumship and remote viewing as well. Probably his most valuable piece of advice is this:
"Whatever you do, don't get up [from the recliner, couch, bed, meditation pillow, etc.]. All you have to do to succeed in meditation is not give up." (pg. 332)
It applies not only to meditation, but to OBEs, telekinesis, and anything else you want to achieve. As much as you may be tempted to get up out of bed, don't. Never give up.

This book is honest, revealing, and very human. It's even a bit titillating at times! It portrays a somewhat ordinary guy, trying to find himself and his own spiritual path, struggling with relationships and breakups, and trying to make sense out of a chaotic world, and discovering the extraordinary.

The moral of the story, if there is one (and where I was cheering him on inside) is to follow your own path. Following someone else's path will never lead you to the truth. And one good solid OBE can teach you more about "Spirit" than years of meditation.

The book is big: 369 pages with tight font and good tight margins, which means there's a lot of content. You'll get your money's worth. The grammar and spelling were first class. McNamara's a very good writer. Other than a few minor text formatting issues, I only found one mistake in the whole book, on page 357 ("Close" Encounters.)

There aren't a lot of OBE induction techniques, but there are some helpful hints. I loved the book and I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson

23 June 2020

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews