Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bob's Best of Breed OBE Books

Bob's Best of Breed OBE Books

by Bob Peterson

Many people ask for a good book on Out-of-Body Experiences or Astral Projection. It depends on what you're looking for, right? It's a tough question because each OBE book has a different angle. I haven't updated my Top Ten OBE Books list since November, 2014, so I'm long overdue. This time, I'm going to break it down into categories.

This time I've ranked my top eight OBE books in these three categories:
  • OBE Tips, Techniques & Instructions
  • General Info, Theory, & Speculation
  • OBE Narratives & Story Telling

In addition, I've ranked my top four in these additional categories:
  • Monroe Institute Based
  • Scientific & Skeptical
  • Occult
  • Wiccan
  • Fiction
Many of the books listed are links to book reviews from my blog, so click on them for a full book review.

Disclaimer 1: I own a lot of OBE books, and have read almost all of them. Unfortunately, for some of them it's been too many years. If I don't remember a book, I didn't include it in the list. That doesn't mean it's not good; it just means I don't remember. Eventually I plan to re-read them all, time permitting, and then I might need to adjust the list.

Disclaimer 2: Some books fit into multiple categories, and it was sometimes hard to choose, but I only wanted to list one book per author.

Best of Breed - OBE Tips, Techniques & Instructions

This is what every beginner wants to know--how to do it themselves--right? These are books that have good solid OBE techniques to get you out there exploring:

1
The Phase Michael Raduga Probably the best instructional OBE book I've read. A wealth of good advice. (Book review coming soon!)
2
Astral Dynamics Robert Bruce Lots of good techniques and advice. Stresses energy work.
3
Adventures Beyond the Body William Buhlman A well rounded balance of info, theory and a variety of techniques.
4
Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience Graham Nicholls A good assortment of creative OBE techniques and general OBE info.
5
Travel Far Darryl E. Berry Jr. A well-rounded book with general information and techniques.
6
Leaving the Body D. Scott Rogo An oldie but goodie. Techniques and OBE advice abound.
7
Out of Body Experiences Akhena OBE Information, techniques, advice, excellent narratives, and validation.
8
Out of Body Experiences Robert Peterson General information, narratives and exercises after every chapter.

Best of Breed - General Info, Theory, & Speculation

These books include general information about OBEs, speculation about what is "out there" and often contain some techniques and pointers.

1
Explorations In Consciousness Frederick Aardema One of the best and yet underrated OBE books. Creative and informative.
2
The Projection of the Astral Body Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington A Classic from the 1920s, but still very much relevant today.
3
Journeys Out of the Body Robert Monroe The book that got me started. A classic in the field. Powerful.
4
Out-of-Body Exploring Preston Dennett Good solid OBE information.
5
Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience Luis Minero Solid information. Brings the subject down to Earth.
6
Exploring Your Inner Reality Jonas Ridgeway Nice. Good solid info and OBE advice.
7
Astral Projection Oliver Fox Another classic from an early pioneer in the field.
8
Out-of-Body Experiences Janet Lee Mitchell, Ph.D. Chalk full of good information. It's been many years since I read it, but I remember it was good.


Best of Breed - OBE Narratives & Story Telling

These books are more geared toward telling the personal stories of those who have had out-of-body experiences, although light on techniques.

1
Multi-Dimensional Man Jurgen Ziewe Moving, touching, inspiring. A heart-warming ride into other dimensions. Still my #1 favorite OBE book.
2
The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology Edited by Rodrigo Montenegro A great collection of OBE narratives, many of which have validation.
3
Astral Projections Michael Ross Small, but well written and heart warming.
4
The Study and Practice of Astral Projection Dr. Robert Crookall Lots of good stories and speculation about their meaning.
5
Soul Traveler Albert Taylor It's been a long time since I've read it.
6
The Astral Projection Guidebook Erin Pavlina Amusing and well written, although a little far-out.
7
Persephone's Journey Vicky M. Short A heart warming journal of personal growth and out-of-body travel.
8
Loved Mary Deioma A touching personal journey.


Best of Breed - Monroe Institute Based

These books are for proponents of The Monroe Institute and Focus Level Experiences.

1
Ultimate Journey Robert Monroe Epic. Much more grounded than Far Journeys
2
Voyages Into the Unknown Bruce Moen Moen's whole series is good. Soul retrieval in the Monroe Institute tradition.
3
Cosmic Journeys Rosalind McKnight It's been a while, but I remember it was good.
4
My Big Toe Thomas Campbell I've never read it, but it comes highly recommended. I do own a copy. Big.


Best of Breed - Scientific & Skeptical

These books were written for the scientific, and often skeptical, person.

1
With The Eyes of the Mind Glenn Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow Compares OBEs to body boundary disturbances like autoscopy and schizophrenia. Fabulous. Highly recommended.
2
Beyond the Body Susan J. Blackmore A parapsychologist's view of OBEs. Level headed, although she became quite an outspoken skeptic in later years.
3
Flight of Mind H.J. Irwin Scientific and very dry, but very informative.
4
Out-of-the-Body Experiences Celia Green It's been a long time, but I remember it was good.

Best of Breed - Occult

These books are geared toward practitioners of western esotericism, magic and the occult.

1
Between the Gates Mark Stavish Some good solid out-of-the-box thinking and techniques on OBEs.
2
Soul Flight Donald Tyson I don't remember much about it, but Tyson's books are always solid.
3
Astral Projection, Ritual Magic and Alchemy S.L.Macgregor Mathers I own it, but I don't think I've ever read it.
4
Techniques of High Magic Francis King & Skinner I don't think I've ever read this one either.

Best of Breed - Wiccan 

These books are written for practitioners of Wicca, Druidism, and such. I've never been a fan of these, but I didn't want to discriminate against them either.

1
The Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection Melita Denning & Osbourne Phillips Maybe the second OBE book I ever read, in 1980.
2
Flying Without a Broom D.J. Conway Talks about astral lovers and such.
3
Astral Projection for Beginners Edain McCoy I don't remember much about this book, to be honest.

Best of Breed - Fiction

These books are purely fiction; novels that have OBEs as a primary theme. I'm sure there are more OBE-based novels, but I'm a nonfiction guy, so I don't focus on them. I have read and enjoyed every one of these, though.

1
The House Between the Worlds Marion Zimmer Bradley A parapsychologist's OBEs lead to incursions from another dimension! Love this book. Got Anteril?
2
Kindred Spirits Alan Brennert An OBE love story: Alan Brennert also wrote touching tales for The Twilight Zone.
3
Flying in Place Susan Palwick If I remember correctly, the main character uses OBEs to escape from her sexual abuse.
4
Nightflyer Christopher Fahy A teenage boy uses OBEs to get revenge on bullies at school. Maybe not uplifting, but definitely fun.


Of course, OBE books can only take you so far. I hope you explore the state yourself.

Bob Peterson
14 March 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: Practical Techniques of Astral Projection by Dr. Douglas M. Baker

Practical Techniques of Astral Projection

 by Dr. Douglas M. Baker

Today I'm reviewing the book Practical Techniques of Astral Projection by Dr. Douglas M. Baker.

This is one of the very first books I ever bought about astral projection. It has a copyright date of 1977; a couple years before my first out-of-body experience.

The author, Dr. Douglas M. Baker, was a medical doctor who was born in London, but grew up in South Africa where he came into close contact with a large Hindu population, and the native Zulu people. Reading the book, it's obvious that he was also influenced by some older occult traditions: Theosophy and who knows what else. The book is "Gratefully Dedicated to the Master R.B." No, not Robert Bruce. I'm pretty sure he was talking about the great American playwright Robert Browning, who is quoted in the book.

The book was written in another time, when OBEs were not well known, and only a dozen or so other books existed on the subject (Bord, Battersby, Brennan, Crookall, Fox, Muldoon, Ophiel, Shirley, Turvey, and a few others.) Now there are hundreds of books out there and many years of experimentation and experience to draw from. When this book was written, no one knew much about it, and that makes it interesting.

The book is only 96 pages long, but with small font and tight margins, there's an acceptable amount of content, although some of those pages are illustrations (most of which look like the book's cover). Due to the book's age, and the formal English prose, the text is a bit difficult to read, although not that obscure. This is a more formal English; quite a contrast to the vernacular slang of the previous book, Dreamism.

Early on, Baker makes it clear that he writes from personal experience:
"It is difficult to find language sufficiently adequate to describe what happens. I have had many thousands of astral projections and know the procedures well enough, but, nevertheless, must often falter in my explanations for lack of suitable nomenclature." (pg. 14)
Nonetheless, he doesn't narrate any of his own OBEs in the book. He mostly uses other people's OBEs as examples.

Chapter 1 is Leslie Sharpe's Experience, which serves as an introduction to the subject of astral projection.

Chapter 2 is Sensations and Symptoms. He makes some curious observations about the "silver cord":
"I can only speak from experience. In all my many projections, I have never seen a cord, either linked to me or to another person. This does not mean that the cord does not exist. It may be that with my nasty scientific mind, I don't or won't accept that a piece of material like the so-called astral cord can be extended indefinitely, perhaps as much as two hundred thousand miles, say, to the moon." (pg. 19)
He admits there can be a "feeling of linkage" and a source of tugging sensations, but not an actual cord. He goes on to say that the cord is often described "near the umbilicus" by men, but well-known psychic Eileen Garrett described it as "just above the breasts." Nowadays, many people claim people astral project from one of their chakras, thus the heart/solar plexus chakra versus the sacral chakra (or "dan tien" in Chinese/Taoist traditions) (just below the belly button) or the ever popular third-eye chakra.

Chapter 3 is titled Ectoplasm and Clairvoyance. The chapter talks mostly about trance mediumship and Christian mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

Chapter 4 is Separation and the Desire Factor. Here Baker writes about how important desire is to achieving OBEs.

He also writes about two different kinds of astral projection:
"There are basically two types of astral projection. There is the projection which occurs whilst the subject is fully conscious and alert in his waking consciousness and there are the projections which happen whilst the physical body is asleep or unconscious. The types dealt with in this work fall into the second category." (pg. 35)
Or, as I like to think of it, "focus level experiences" (think Monroe Institute initiates like Rosalind McKnight, Bruce Moen, Tom Campbell. Also psychics Ingo Swann, Stuart "Blue" Harary, etc.) versus traditional "out of body experiences." So his book only applies to the latter. He breaks it down even further, saying there are five stages of astral projection:
  1. Just out of alignment with the physical (which happens to everyone when they go to sleep). This includes sensations of falling, The sudden jerk of awakening, etc., plus the fact that we are slightly out of alignment while we sleep.
  2. OBEs that occur near the physical body.
  3. OBEs where the person travels a few hundred feet to several miles away.
  4. OBEs that involve immense distances (like thousands of miles, into outer space, etc.) He claims travelers at this stage can reach the sun, but the distance they can travel depends on how spiritually advanced they are.
  5. OBEs that involve the help of an Adept or Master. He claims that this is the only way to reach very distant targets, like other stars.
Chapter 5, Distant Targets, talks about the last two stages. He writes about an experiment in which Eileen Garrett, whose body was in New York, astrally visited a man in Newfoundland. She correctly reported many facts that she couldn't have known otherwise, like the bandages on the man's head from a recent injury.

Chapter 6, Sleeping Wakefulness, is where Baker gives his first OBE technique. This is interesting because I don't remember anyone else talking about it quite this way. You make your body fatigued (like after a long day of driving), but your mind still alert. Then you lie flat on your back, close your eyes and relax yourself as quickly as you can:
"This must be done rapidly; as rapidly as your might have done at the end of that long drive in your automobile! It is just as if your body is a sack of corn that is suddenly thrown on the floor.
The next thing to do is to hold an attitude of rejection in your mind. You must reject, for the time being, the whole world and all its claptrap." (pg. 56)
Chapter 7 is another OBE technique called Visualizing the Target. This is basically the same as William Buhlman's "Target Technique" but Baker wrote about it almost 20 years before Buhlman. You pick a target object , memorize it, then use it as the subject of intense visualization.

Chapter 8 is Five Prerequisites for Success. The five are:
  • The Will
  • Reflex Visualization
  • Sleeping Lightly
  • Development of a Critical Faculty
  • Breathing
I agree that these are all very important things to bear in mind. You need a strong will and desire to get out. You need good skills at imagination (preferably visualization). The notes about "sleeping lightly" are interesting. He claims if you're a deep/sound sleeper, it will be hard to achieve OBEs:
"Sleeping lightly brings an awareness of spiritual planes. It is a prerequisite of controlled, efficient astral travel." (pg. 69)
The fourth prerequisite, "Development of a Critical Faculty" is basically a well-known lucid dreaming technique. You constantly question everything. You look for anomalies and discrepancies in life. You look for keys that might trigger lucidity when you're dreaming, then you turn the lucid dream (although he doesn't call it that) into an OBE, as famously described by author Oliver Fox in his book Astral Projection.

Oddly, Baker does not mention lucid dreaming at all, or anything remotely like it. Also, he always calls it astral projection, never an OBE. (I think my hero, Charles Tart, might have coined that phrase).

The fifth prerequisite, "Breathing" goes back to Pranayama techniques of the Yogis. He describes a technique called "Bellows Breath" which was supposedly a secret occult technique kept hidden for many years. This may be one of the earliest books to describe it in detail (although my brother Joe, who runs the website esotericarchives.com, might know of earlier descriptions).

Chapter 9, Adventures on the Astral Plane, is kind of a grab-bag of things.

On page 82, Baker writes about "The Dweller on the Threshold". Not many authors tackle this subject, but it's an important one. Basically, I've always believed the "dweller" is a variety of "fear tactics" your subconscious uses to make sure you don't achieve OBEs until you're ready to handle it. It will throw scary stuff your way, and you have to face it down and keep your emotions / fear in check. Baker writes:
"No man may take the third Initiation without confronting his Dweller, facing up to its challenge and destroying it. He destroys it when he knows it for what it is, an illusion constructed out of his own fears." (pg. 82-84).
Yep.
Chapter 10 is Astral Influence on World Affairs. He talks about trying to influence members of the British government with regard to entering into an agreement (a precursor to a European Union, which Baker was against).

Lastly, let's talk about the subject of astral sex and lucid dream sex. Lucid dream experts have written extensively about using LD for exploring sexual fantasy and how convincingly real it feels (Patricia Garfield, Robert Waggoner, Charlie Morley, etc.)

On the other hand, not much has been written about sexual encounters in OBEs. Robert Monroe wrote about some sexual encounters in his OBEs, but it wasn't much like LD sex. Experts tend to agree that sexual encounters in an OBE are more like a melting or melding of souls, or a chemical reaction between the astral bodies, or even explosions of intense energy (that's been my experience). In other words, not anything like physical or lucid dream sex. Mind-blowing, perhaps, but not much like the real thing.

On page 90, Baker makes some curious observations about "The Sexual Factor in Projection". I said earlier about how Baker never mentioned lucid dreaming. This is born out in his writings. He claims that any kind of sexual desire will send you careening back to your body.
"All men know that the male dream of life is often filled with sexual themes. They also discover, very quickly, that the culmination of a sexual theme in its logical conclusion, orgasm and ejaculation, cannot be accomplished WITHOUT WAKING. The sharpness of sensory feeling on the astral plane of the dream world is nowhere near to the refined and exquisite capacity to feel on the physical plane. A man has to come through to physical wakefulness to complete his sexual experience."
"This consideration is important because experimentists in astral projection report that if temptation is not resisted there is a hasty return to the physical body." (pg. 90)
 He also writes:
"Both Sylvan Muldoon and Oliver Fox describe how yielding to the irresistible temptation (irresistible, at least to their astral forms) to attract the attention of a charming lady, had sent them hurtling back to their physical moorings." (pg. 92)
Though somewhat short, the book does make some interesting observations. It's interesting to read it in the light of how little was known about OBEs at the time it was written.

The writing is professional; maybe a little too formal, which makes it a bit stiff and sterile. It was professionally written, organized and edited. I didn't find a single problem with the grammar or spelling.

I'll give it 3 stars: It was good; it just wasn't great. I didn't find anything I greatly disagreed with. The information was solid, but now out of date. The book was a bit short and could have gone into more subjects and had a lot more detail. It would have been nice to get some narratives from the author's many OBEs. But considering I only paid $4.95 for it in 1980, it wasn't bad.

Bob Peterson
07 March 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Deja Vu, Synchronicity, Fate, Destiny and the Law of Attraction

Deja Vu, Synchronicity, Fate, Destiny and the Law of Attraction

By Bob Peterson

Sometimes people ask me, "What exactly is Deja Vu?" And, "Why is it starting to happen to me more now that I'm learning Astral Projection?"

First, let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm constantly revising my worldview and beliefs based on new information. So everything I'm about to tell you might eventually be proven wrong. The older I get, the more I know that I don't know.

I'll tell you exactly what I believe it is, and how it relates to synchronicity, destiny (fate) and how this all relates to the "Law of Attraction." Yes, this could all be wrong, but it's also is based on years of personal first-hand experience.

What I'm about to tell you may surprise many. I suppose it depends on how far down the rabbit hole you're been. Very few people understand the depths of this fundamental truth: You are just an actor in a play: the play of your life.

Every night, while you're asleep, your "Higher Self" (for lack of a better word) has a secret "planning phase." I only say "secret" because you're almost always unconscious and unaware when it happens. The Higher Self normally makes sure it stays that way.

During that phase, you meticulously plan the future events in your physical life. You spend hours unconsciously planning future events, writing the script. Like a dedicated movie producer, director, and film editor, you rehearse future events that are "supposed to" happen. You try out different scenarios and circumstances and make tiny adjustments until you "get it right." That is, until your Higher Self is satisfied with the outcome.

During this time, you play-act. You subconsciously think, "Maybe I can achieve the correct outcome if I arrive in the room three seconds later." Let's see how it plays out. "Nope...Maybe I should take my hands out of my pockets when I talk to her." Let's see how it plays out. "Nope, it's not quite right. Let's try it this way." You rehearse that event over and over. When your Higher Self is satisfied with the outcome, it finalizes its plans. This is done not just for important events, but even tiny little events; things we consider insignificant.

How far out does it plan? Sometimes weeks, sometimes months.

Deja Vu--the feeling that you've lived this moment before--is simply when you remember the plans of your Higher Self, and it's often because you spent too much time rehearsing for that moment over and over.

In other words, Deja Vu is the memory of the plans you made in your sleep. If you feel like you've lived that moment before, it's because you have. You've rehearsed that moment over and over again in your sleep, and now is the time to actually perform that scene.

What we call "Synchronicity" is simply the result of those plans. In order to achieve some outcome, your Higher Self makes you (and your personal reality) jump through hoops. The props are carefully placed on the stage of life. Everything is put there in order to achieve the outcome of those plans. It's just that we normally don't notice. If those "hoops" become convoluted enough, we call it synchronicity.

In other words, Seth/Jane Roberts was right: You create your own reality. You put the props on stage.

So if your Higher Self wants to send you a personal message, show you a bigger portion of the puzzle,or even just mess with you (play a joke on you), it will make the "hoops" more convoluted, more complex, more absurd; so convoluted that even you can't deny it. That's synchronicity.

Synchronicity is that knowledge, for example, that "If I hadn't paused at the door for a second, I would have gotten on the earlier elevator and never met her." It's because you planned it and rehearsed it.

Some people believe in "fate" or "destiny," that the events of our lives have inevitable outcomes. I'm telling you right now: There is no such thing as destiny. There is no such thing as fate. Your future is not set in stone. It's all carefully planned, and plans can always be changed. You don't have to go through other painful life lessons. For example, you don't have to die of cancer because it's predestined. Those plans can be changed.

The problem is, your Higher Self makes all these plans for your highest spiritual benefit. Things work out the way they're "supposed to" by decree of your Higher Self. As the producer of your life's play, it has a lot more influence over the outcome than you do. You didn't write the play: you're just the actor. Yes, you can certainly ad-lib. You can refuse to act. You can go on strike or throw temper tantrums. You can fight and resist, and go through life kicking and screaming. But you (the ego you're most familiar with) are still just an actor.

Your Higher Self pours the concrete on the road in front of you, but you can drive anywhere you want on that road.

So why do we experience deja vu more when we start practicing OBEs? Simply because we start to blur the lines between waking and sleeping, between conscious and subconscious. We learn to carry over more memories from these "protected" or "secret" states of awareness. With better memory of our nocturnal events, we are more likely to recall these plans made for the future.

So how do you change the play of your life? Only your higher self has authority to do that. However, I believe if you learn the spiritual lessons "you're supposed to" and accomplish the goals of your higher self, it will be happy to accommodate changes to the script. There's no need to go through a painful lesson if you learn that lesson before you get to the painful part.

How does this relate to the law of attraction? Seth/Jane Roberts said you create your reality from your beliefs, both conscious and subconscious. Many other channelers have said similar things, each with their own personal twist. The "Law of Attraction" says that you attract the things in life you're most focused on, and what you believe in. Some insist it has to do with Sacred Contracts between souls. Others insist it depends on how much emotion you put behind those feelings. My belief is: it's all part of your life's play.

If you want to attract positive things into your life, the key is to accomplish the spiritual goals of your Higher Self. As long as the lesson is learned, your Higher Self will be happy to shower you with anything you desire in life. In other words, you can do anything and have anything, as long as it doesn't interfere with the spiritual plans of your Higher Self. Half the battle is figuring out what you're supposed to be learning, but almost everyone has repeating patterns. Look for them. They're often identified by thoughts like: "I keep attracting women who are X," or "I keep losing Y," or "I keep getting hurt because Z."

The key is greater cooperation and communication with your Higher Self.

How do you implement changes? I like to describe it in these steps:
  • Decide what you really want.
  • Affirm that you'll get it.
  • Agree to work hard on your Higher Self's spiritual goals in exchange for what you want.
  • Visualize having the desired outcome, with great joy.  
  • Follow through: work for your goals and learn those spiritual lessons.

"Manifesting is easy: Just barter with your inner voice. But be sure to keep your word."
The caveat is: you're never going to win the lottery (or anything) if that would interfere with your life's lessons. But you can win the lottery (or anything) if it won't interfere. Get it?

How do I know all this? I've seen it firsthand. I've consciously witnessed my Higher Self making plans for future events. I've remembered those plans in my waking life. Later, I've lived out those events, exactly as planned, and experienced it as deja vu.

How can you gain better access to these plans? How can you learn to see into the future? By improving communications with your Higher Self. Things like meditation, introspection, and OBE practice definitely helps. So does becoming more spiritual and less judgmental.

Bob Peterson
21 February 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: Dreamism by Jane Collings

Dreamism

by Jane Collings

Today I'm reviewing the book Dreamism: The travel journal of an astral explorer by Jane Collings (featuring Sam Gandy).

Collings and a second author sent me copies of their books at the same time. The other author's book arrived first and I started reading it, but coming from the UK, Collings' book arrived later. I was traveling and in transit at the time, so somehow I lost track of it and I couldn't find it for months. Then, late last December, my wife Kathy lost some important paperwork and I was helping her look. I looked under the car seat and found Dreamism. "Oh yeah. I wondered what happened to you." I began reading right away, but it took a while to finish.

The title, Dreamism, was a bit of a turn-off for me. I prefer books that focus solely on out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and the title made it sound more focused on lucid dreaming. It also reminded me strangely of John Lennon's song Give Peace A Chance, which starts:
"Everybody's talking 'bout Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism, this-ism, that-ism, ism, ism, ism."
Add Dreamism to the list, right? But the book was actually quite good.

Unlike the previous book I reviewed, this book is 296 pages long, has nice tight margins, and no wasted space: There's a lot of content. The first quarter of the book is general information about OBEs, but the rest of the book is exactly what the subtitle says: a travel journal. Collings details lots and lots of her experiences, both lucid dreams and OBEs. This was much more satisfying than the previous book I reviewed: You know how I love OBE narratives, and the author was writing from personal experience. It felt very genuine and warm.

In a way, it reminded me of Vicky Short's book Persephone's Journey with its emotional roller-coaster of relationship problems, self-esteem issues, and life lessons, although Persephone was just slightly better.

Chapter 1 is really the introduction. Collings was introduced to astral projection and lucid dreaming when she attended a workshop "being held by a guy called Todd, in a converted water tower in Woolwich." (pg. 14) Right away, I knew this almost had to be well-known OBE teacher, Todd Acamesis, although she doesn't call him out by name.

At the start of the book, the author sounds a bit like a party girl. Her first major breakthrough had an interesting note regarding alcohol:
"...but then out of the blue and after a long night drinking in Nottingham, I had an absolutely amazing and sustained Out of Body Experience."
"I'd always presumed that alcohol fragmented one's energy and numbed any kind of psychic skill. I still think there's truth in that, but this experience proved that there can be other things at work that override that rule..." (pg. 14)
Recently, someone in a Facebook group mentioned that they couldn't achieve OBEs unless they'd been drinking alcohol the night before. Strange, since some OBE books advise against drinking alcohol. I've never noticed a correlation, but I often do feel more "OBEish" on days after I drink. (I don't drink much alcohol. Maybe one to three drinks a month.)

One of the hallmarks of a good book is that the characters grow, mature and find new strengths, and Collings does just that throughout. Her stories start to take on a more serious tone.

Chapter 2 is "The Basics." Right away, she addresses the burning question:
"What's the difference between a Lucid Dream and an OBE and how can you tell them apart?"
"...In a Lucid Dream you mostly see and experience content from your own unconscious mind. An OBE happens in a consensus reality on another dimension. This means an environment that's formed into being by the common thoughts and beliefs of its inhabitants." (pg. 24)
I agree completely. One thing I found very odd was this:
"As soon as you gain waking consciousness within a dream, you then have a choice of staying and exploring the dream or using a command to change your frequency to that of another dimension...thus moving into an OBE. An effective command for achieving this is 'Higher Self Now'. At this point you will usually feel a lifting sensation or one of travelling [British spelling] or moving, then find yourself in a new place." (pg. 27)
The whole "Higher Self Now" idea was invented by William Buhlman (although she doesn't credit him either.) Based on Buhlman's books, I've always inferred that the command is used to merge with your Higher Self, or to achieve some kind of cosmic blissful state beyond ordinary OBEs. Collings uses it frequently, but only to re-focus, or change locations, or even to gain clarity (as opposed to Buhlman's original "Clarity Now!"). I think she might have misinterpreted his intent. Buhlman's latest book, Higher Self Now!, talks primarily about merging with the Higher Self upon death. When all is said and done, I suppose what really matters is not the words themselves, but the meaning and intent.

Although it's a bit wordy, here's a quote I really liked:
"If you cast your mind over it for a few moments whilst you're lucid, you'll often be aware of what feels like an unquestionable fact...your waking life is the actual dream. It's a dream your soul is having." (pg. 33)
Deep. I like deep, although I didn't find too many quotes like this.

Although most of the book is just one experience after another, she does give some tips for gaining lucidity, such as reality checking, tweaking your sleep cycles, keeping a dream journal, and energy work:
"So breathing into your chakras, clearing and expanding them regularly is key. Think of it as building and flexing etheric muscles!" (pg. 37)
One thing I found valuable was her discussion of how to work with the "trans-personal chakras". Instead of focusing on the crown chakra, she talks about doing energy work with three different levels of the crown chakra that extend outward six, twelve and eighteen inches above the head.

Chapter 3 is "The 'Secret Egyptian Eyelid Technique' and the Pineal Gland" which has some interesting information and even diagrams.

Chapter 5 is "Tips for Lucid Dreaming." Collings gives several good tips and techniques.

From there she launches into her OBE narratives, weaving various tales and using them to make observances about OBEs (also like Short).

Collings is from the UK, and uses several British colloquialisms / slang, which made it both endearing and difficult to read at times. Half of my teammates at work (including my manager) are based in the UK, so British phrases like "torch" versus "flashlight," or "petrol garage" versus "gas station" don't bother me. Plus I really love the British comedy "Coupling" (I have the whole collection on DVD. If you've never seen it, watch an episode; it's hysterical). So I'm used to hearing expressions like "sod on." Even given all that, Collings uses terms I had never heard before. For example, "holiday snaps" (pg. 77) or "Sooo jammy!" (pg. 104) or "full of beans" (pg. 108).

My favorite was a reference to a "tannoy." (pg. 245) Even the dictionary app on my phone threw up its hands and said, "I got nothin', man." It turns out that a tannoy is what we commonly call a "PA system" or "public address system" or overhead loudspeakers. Perhaps the most amusing was when she described herself as "Gutted!" (pg. 152) when she forgot something important in an OBE; it gave me a good laugh, both because of the slang, and because I've felt that way myself!

The stories were amusing and well written, but the book definitely needed a proof reader. I caught lots of rookie mistakes, especially with words like "its" versus "it's". And "OBEs" spelled as "OBE's" (the latter especially in Sam Gandy's chapter). For some reason, the apostrophe problems didn't bother me much; I read past it and moved on. Despite that, the writing was mature: she's a good storyteller.

There weren't any revelations in the book. She did try a few interesting experiments. For example, she tried yoga while out-of-body:
"As I attempted to flip over on my head, it struck me how strange it felt to do body-focused practices without a body." (pg. 196)

Some of her stories didn't make it clear whether she was in an OBE or a lucid dream. To her credit, she often admits (in the experience) that she wasn't exactly sure. Some of her "OBEs" sounded a bit too much like lucid dreams to me, but who am I to judge? I wasn't there.

To be brutally honest, I was a bit disappointed that Collings' OBE narratives weren't more "otherworldly." They were like "I went into a shop where a lady dressed in blue stood..." You know: normal everyday stuff. In my OBEs, everything seems very otherworldly: slipping through walls, gliding down hallways, floating atop ceilings and flying over vistas. Author Michael Ross described a "delicious feeling and sensation of eeriness'" (still one of my favorite quotes from an OBE book.) This book lacked that.

The last chapter, 10, titled "Science Chapter" was written by Sam Gandy, and it has a very different feel from the rest of the book. It's a rushed attempt to pull science, consciousness studies, quantum physics, and OBEs together. He does a rushed interpretation of the books and meta-analysis of Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake and many other scientists whom I greatly admire. This only whetted my appetite. I'd like to see Gandy write an entire book on the subject and not be so rushed.

It's an interesting read. I'll give it 3 and a half stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
07 February 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Astral Projection by Paul Kain

Astral Projection

by Paul Kain


Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection by Paul Kain. The subtitle is: The Beginner's Guide on How to Quickly and Successfully Experience Your First Out of Body Adventure.

If you asked me to describe this book in just one word it would be: "Rushed." The book is only 50 pages long, and much of that space is wasted. The height and width are okay. The margins and font are okay, but there's some unnecessary white space. It's not as bad as some, but still.

Like so many printed books in the same class, it starts out with:
"I want to thank you and congratulate you for downloading my book, Astral Projection." (pg. 1)
So obviously the author didn't take the time to make it look like a "real" book.

The book did not contain a lot of things I disagreed with, but there was just a tiny too much fear mongering. For example:
"So before we begin, what are some reasons to not learn astral projection? The most obvious being while you are out of your physical body, it could be harmed on the physical plane." (pg. 4)
Sure, your physical body can be harmed when out-of-body, but you're not any more vulnerable than when you're sleeping. So why even bring it up? As far as I'm concerned, this is just planting seeds of negativity that are counterproductive.

Chapter 2 is "The Proper Mindset." The author talks about raising your vibrations, practicing meditation, developing compassion, positive thinking, and so forth: very noble things. It's not bad, but too short.

Chapter 3 is "How to Achieve Astral Projection". This is usually where I get excited, but his description is way too vague. He talks about relaxation, visualization, and trying to reach the hypnagogic state, then:
"Now it is time for you to enter into a state of vibration. During this stage, it is possible to hear loud humming and roaring sounds in your ears." (pg. 14)
He doesn't describe what to do (or not do) to get the vibrations. You're just supposed to magically find yourself there. I'm sorry, but that isn't a technique, it's a description. Well, he does talk about relaxation and visualization, so maybe I'm just being too picky. He also doesn't describe an exit technique very well. He says:
"At this point in time, it is time for you to use your mind to move your soul from your body. You're going to imagine your surroundings while moving your body (with your mind only) to stand up. Try and look at your body that is still lying on the bed or sitting in the chair.
At this point in time you have successfully achieved your out of body experience!" (pg. 14-15)
It's vague at best (not to mention the redundancy: "At this point in time" and "it is time" mean the same thing). Yes, imagination is the leverage you need to use, but if it was that simple, people would be popping out of their bodies half their waking hours.

Chapter 4 is "Techniques." Like many other books in its class, it describes Robert Bruce's Rope Technique, but poorly. It skips over important parts while getting other parts wrong:
"The rope is going to exert pressure to a single point on your astral body in order to help force your soul and body apart. Using your imaginary hands (in your mind), you're going to grab the rope above you and pull yourself up." (pg. 17)
The whole point of Bruce's Rope technique is the tactile response: Blind people use this technique. You're supposed to imagine how it feels, preferably with (both physical and astral) eyes closed, as opposed to visualizing yourself doing it. Granted, that's still using your imagination, but I felt the description was misleading and fell short. Better to read Robert Bruce's original description.

Technique 2 is "Watch yourself go to sleep". I described this in chapter 5 of my first book.

Technique 3 is "Out of body experience from lucid dreams." Maybe it's just a poor description, but I don't think the author described lucid dreaming well at all:
"A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is actually aware of what he or she is dreaming. If you're experiencing lucid dreams, then you have already achieved an out of body experience of some sort." (pg. 19)
First of all, a lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming. It doesn't matter what they're dreaming. Second, while it's true that a lucid dream is a "sort" of OBE, that description is misleading: My personal belief is that a lucid dream is an OBE in which the dreamer is hallucinating a self-created dream scenario. But Kain doesn't say how they differ until you get to chapter 7.

Chapter 4 also contains two more techniques: "Displaced-awareness" which is actually decent, but again, it's not very detailed. It deals with trying to alter your body image and using your imagination to visualize the room from different perspectives. Good ideas, but it needs more detail. "The Jump Technique" is more like little reminders to help you realize you're dreaming and get to the lucid dream state.

Chapter 5 is "Meeting Spirit Guides and Other Entities". Again, the information seems mostly good, but cut way too short, and a little bit of fear mongering.

Chapter 6, "Reaching Higher Astral Realms," is way too short. Here's a quote I found very odd:
"The astral realm is divided into the "fourth" and "fifth" levels." (pg. 27)
Really? According to whom? This is out of the blue and no further details are given.

Chapter 7 is "The Link Between Astral Project [sic] and Lucid Dreaming"

I assume he means "Astral Projection" not "Astral Project". Everyone knows I'm a grammar Nazi, but I can overlook a typo or two (as I did with Buhlman's book which I reviewed last time). But a typo in a chapter title is just bad form. The information is alright, but in my opinion, some of the arguments were unconvincing and some important points were omitted.

Chapter 8 is "First Hand Accounts"

I assume he means "Firsthand" (one word) accounts. Sigh. Another blatant grammar issue in a chapter title. His narratives are a couple of very generic OBEs of other people. So now you know for sure he's not speaking from his own experience. If he's not writing from experience, what are his credentials?

Chapter 9 is "Tips and Tricks"

Like the rest of the book, it has decent information, but not enough of it.

So the book is alright; it's just not "good." It's too short, with too little information. Despite the things I pointed out, the grammar isn't bad, and the writing is mature. I didn't find any spelling errors.

I'll give it 2 stars out of 5. I prefer books that speak from experience, and this isn't one. If you're going that route, buy a book with more substance, like D.Scott Rogo's "Leaving the Body".

Bob Peterson
24 January, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kissing Your Way to OBE

Kissing Your Way to an OBE

by Bob Peterson

As much as I'm a fan of some heavy metal music, I've never liked the band Kiss. I didn't like them at the height of their popularity when I was in high school, and I still don't like them now. I find their talent lacking, their song writing skills poor, and their music droning and boring. I also dislike them because, for me, they represent the materialist: putting image and ego before spirituality and soul. Nevertheless, I found a way to leverage them to have OBEs.

Several weeks ago I was driving home from my sister's house late at night, and the Kiss song Rock and Roll All Nite [sic] got stuck in my head for some unknown reason. The song sucks, but the fact that it had been dredged up from my subconscious was worth pondering.

I started thinking about the subconscious and how many people think it is some kind of mindless worker drone in the back of your mind, devoid of independent thought. Not true. Your subconscious is highly intelligent and capable of independent thought. Not only that, but it can understand your thoughts and desires perfectly.

I've written before about how the subconscious can help you induce OBEs: It may take you years of effort to self-induce an OBE, but to your subconscious, it is child's play. It can get you there in a heartbeat. It just needs the right motivation (and a little less sensory input).

So I decided to try a little experiment to leverage my subconscious, using the song it presented to me. The original Kiss song repeats ad nauseum:
"I...want to rock and roll all night, and party every day."
Although I sometimes crack a sly smile at the thought that nowadays 67-year-old Gene Simmons, and his band-mates in Kiss are probably singing:
"...and potty every day."
To leverage my subconscious, turned the tables. I changed the lyrics and started repeating this to myself all the way home:
"I...want to lucid dream all night, and OBE every day."
Over and over I repeated my new version, while imagining the song playing in the background. Sometimes I'd switch the order of the message:
"I...want to OBE all night, and LD every day."

Next, I toyed with other lyrics from the song, adjusting them to my new OBE theme:
"You say you want to go for a spin.
The astral plane is open: let me in!
You drive us wild, we'll drive you out-of-body."
I did this practically the whole way home, which took about an hour.

The next morning I was dreaming that I was walking down a hallway, and I thought to myself, "Now how in the heck can I induce more lucid dreams?" Then it occurred to me: "Hey! Wait a minute! I'm dreaming right now!"

With that, I came to full conscious awareness and my dream became a lucid dream. I quickly dispelled the illusion of the lucid dream and watched it dissolve around me. Then I found myself flying in a gray void, fully in the out-of-body state, off to my next adventure.

The subconscious is highly intelligent and understands you perfectly: you just need to tell it what you want, and be serious about it. Although it can understand words, its natural language is images, feelings, thoughts, and yes, music too. So it also helps to imagine yourself in the OBE state, floating weightlessly like a ghost.

If you've never heard the original Kiss song, follow this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XfRjVo5wOE

A word of warning: Most heavy metal music is fraught with negativity, so please: be very careful with the messages you send to your subconscious. Although they're hard to find, try to stick with bands that have positive messages in their music. (I prefer European metal bands like Stratovarius, Epica, Arven, Masterplan, Angel Dust, Rhapsody of Fire, Sonata Arctica, etc.)

Bob Peterson
10 January 2017

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: Higher Self Now! by William & Susan Buhlman

Review: Higher Self Now!

by William Buhlman & Susan Buhlman

I took a few months' hiatus from my blog to enjoy a very active autumn. Now I'm starting to pick up the torch again. While December may be busy, I expect to be more active with my blog starting in January.

Today I'm reviewing Higher Self Now!: Accelerating Your Spiritual Evolution by one of my favorite out-of-body experience authors, William Buhlman, and his wife Susan. Buhlman was kind enough to send me a copy of the book so I could review it. What's funny is that he sent me an email a few days later apologizing for spelling and grammar problems, and assuring me his publisher would correct them. Surprisingly, I found very few errors in the text. Sure, there were a few, but that's not uncommon, and certainly not enough to warrant an email.

This book, in a nutshell, is about preparing for your final out-of-body experience: physical death. Death is a subject most of us don't want to face, but as a major life event, it's important to prepare and plan for it. OBEs are the perfect tool to prepare for the journey into the afterlife.

The book is split into two parts. The first part was written by William Buhlman, and it's mainly about using OBEs, meditation, affirmations and techniques to prepare for death, with a goal of merging with your Higher Self. The second part was written by his wife, Susan Buhlman, who served as a hospice worker. It's about hospice and dealing with the terminally ill and the death of others (and your own death).

Each chapter has an inspirational quote, and they're really good. Perhaps my favorite is the very first quote in chapter 1:
"If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate
all that is dark and negative in yourself.
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation." --Lao Tzu
But hey, I've always loved Taoist philosophy, and read texts like the Tao Te Ching many times.

In chapter 1, Buhlman talks about the importance of self-transformation, awakening, and how important OBEs and self-discovery are in that journey. Here's a quote I liked:
"This awakening becomes a pivotal turning point in your life. You are no longer satisfied with the status quo. You quickly discover that it can be difficult to express your driving need for answers when your family and friends have remained content to follow the established beliefs and rituals of their childhood. Many find that their loved ones don't share their burning desire for self-knowledge and soon realize that their quest is an individual path of discovery. And so begins the most important exploration of your life." (pg 6-7)
 So true. And another:
"Spiritual awakening is an individual experience. There are no leaders or followers, just you and your drive for self-discovery. It may be helpful to study the practices of others, but then make a commitment to connect with your spiritual essence through personal experience rather than man-made texts." (pg. 12)
Chapter 2 is titled "Recognizing our Physical Anchors" and it talks about attachment. I love this quote:
"Instead of instantly reacting, stop and think - what is the lesson here? What is the purpose?" (pg. 14)
I've always seen my life as a series of spiritual lessons.

Chapter 3 is titled "Becoming Aware of our Energy Attachments," and it talks about different kinds of attachments, and again, recognizing spiritual learning opportunities.

Chapter 4 is "The 21 Day Transformation Challenge" and it gives a series of steps for spiritual transformation, including asking ourselves the tough questions about our lives.

Chapter 5, "A Question of Enlightenment," is about the exploration of consciousness. Buhlman talks about different tools, such as breath work, yoga, Lucid dreaming, OBEs, Sound technology, chanting, drumming, and so forth. I loved this quote:
"The exploration of consciousness is an individual inner journey. The true nature of enlightenment is about clearing away the mountain of programming that has buried the radiance of our inner spiritual essence. Meditative practices are designed to assist in this pursuit." (pg. 49)
Chapter 6, "The Higher Self," gives some techniques on contacting your Higher Self, and many of them reminded me of my own book, Answers Within. For example:
"2. Sincerely request that your heart provide you with a clear visual symbol or image of your higher self. Be open to all impressions without judgment." (pg. 54)
He also gives an interesting OBE narrative that reminded me of an NDE that a friend of mine once shared:
"After an instant I arrived before a blazing Sun, it was close but I felt no sense of temperature from it." (pg. 55)
In chapter 8, "Achieving Escape Velocity," the author gives some information about how to obtain spiritual liberation. One of the first steps is:
"Awaken to the raw reality of your existence. Seek the truth; reject all forms of religious and intellectual indoctrination." (pg. 72)
I couldn't agree more. One of my favorite quotes of the whole book is in chapter 11, "Navigating Nonphysical States of Consciousness":
"As explorers we must be prepared for rapid shifts of consciousness and the reality changes that will result. As we raise our internal vibration we are essentially moving our conscious awareness inward. As this occurs your current "solid" reality will often appear to quickly melt or morph before you. Your state of consciousness will always determine your perceived reality." (pg. 118)
That's sounds like something Seth/Jane Roberts would say, and I totally agree.

The second half of the book, written by Susan Buhlman, is about hospice, dealing with terminal illness, the death of another person, and preparing for your own transition. The information is not only rock solid and practical, it's also touching and heartwarming. A lot of it is down to Earth common sense: what to expect, how to behave, and how to treat the dying with love and respect. But common sense often flies out the window when we're faced with losing a loved one, so I found the information very warm and comforting. What I loved most about Part 2 were the many stories Susan shares from her hospice work. I loved her heartfelt writing style. It left me wanting more.

I once attended a lecture by Dannion Brinkley, author of Saved by the Light (and others) where he talked about his life-changing Near Death Experiences (NDEs). He also talked about volunteering as a hospice worker, and it was very moving. Susan's Part 2 brought me back to that special place.

Make no mistake: If you're looking for an OBE book, this is not it. There are no OBE techniques, and just the one narrative. However, it is important information about something we all need to know: how to prepare for our ultimate OBE, our final exit from the physical body: death.

The book is 323 pages long, with good text, good margins and good size. So there's a good amount of text. You won't feel shortchanged. And despite Bill's email, there were very few spelling and grammar problems.

The only negative thing I can say about it is that the first half had some redundancy and he spent a little too much time touting his previous work. But as a fellow author, I can relate: When you need to say something as important as this, is it better to cite a previous work (at the risk of pissing off people who don't own it) or be redundant (at the risk of pissing off people who do own it)? It's a delicate balance, and a game I've played myself.

All in all, it was a good read. I give it a thumbs up. Now I'm psyched to get back to OBE books.

Bob Peterson
13 December 2016