Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The "Feet Zoom" Technique

The "Feet Zoom" Technique

by Bob Peterson

This is relatively new OBE technique; I developed it in the past year or so. It really messes with your sense of "up" and "down." It's similar to my motion-based OBE techniques.

Be forewarned: I'm going to get really technical in this article.

According to neuroscientists, our brains have a mechanism (evidence suggests it's the right-temporo-parietal junction, or rTPJ) that determines our spacial location and orientation. It does that by making educated guesses based on input from our senses, plus a bunch of assumptions (like what's up and down and how gravity behaves.)

Other parts of our brains take the sense data, plus information compiled by the rTPJ, and formulate what I call a "story of experience." This is true whether you're dreaming and waking.

At this point, we normally use our "internal dialogue" to repeat our "story of experience" to ourselves. I believe the inner dialogue is fed back to the rTPJ to help determine spacial location. For example, if your story of experience is "I am standing," your body must be vertical in its orientation.

To induce an out-of-body experience, you need to temporarily redirect that "spacial location" mechanism of the rTPJ, at least until you're completely out. To do that, you first need to reduce the data it gets from your physical senses:
  • Total relaxation greatly reduces the data from the sense of touch.
  • Darkness, near-darkness, or uniform vision (e.g. Ganzfeld redirection) reduces data from the sense of sight.
  • Silence, near-silence, or redirected sound (e.g. white noise, binaural beats, or other sounds that don't match physical reality) reduces data from the sense of hearing.
  • When analyzing spacial location, the rTPJ doesn't give much credence to the senses of smell or taste, so redirecting them isn't as important. Some occult traditions use incense to swamp the sense of smell. I believe this may be more psychological than sensory: the ritual aspect defines the story of experience with its intent, assumptions, and sense of purpose, but as long as it works, who cares, right? I could probably write another blog article on just that.

Next, you need to use your imagination to replace the missing sense data with false information that's so credible to the brain that it redirects your awareness and tricks you into a different "story of experience:" the out-of-body experience.

So after the sense data is reduced, you can use:
  • Visualizations (imagined sight; the majority of OBE techniques) to replace the missing sense of sight.
  • Tactile imagination (Robert Bruce's "Rope" technique) to replace the missing sense of touch.
  • Imagined sounds (my friend John's technique: as vividly as you can, imagine a song playing) to replace the missing sense of sound.
  • It's most effective if you can do two or more of these at the same time.

With its primary sense information reduced to a trickle, and fed with false data from your imagination, your rTPJ has to rely upon the other data I mentioned earlier: that "bunch of assumptions" I talked about. They can also be overridden with the imagination.

The Technique

The foundation of this technique is based on one simple fact:

I really never look at my shoes and feet unless I'm standing up. 

Well, maybe I do on rare occasions, but that's not important. Whenever I see my feet, especially my shoes, I'm almost always in an upright position, looking down. I'm either standing or walking. This is pretty much ingrained in my subconscious; it's one of those fundamental assumptions.

So here's the technique:
  1. Stand up (physically) and stare at your feet/shoes for a while to really get a good visual memory from that point of view.
  2. Lie down and relax completely, cutting off all sense data.
  3. Imagine (pretend) you're staring at your feet/shoes again. Visualize this as best you can.
  4. Pretend that you zoom them in and out repeatedly like the graphic above.
  5. Alter your inner dialogue to match this information. Think to yourself, "I'm standing upright, moving toward my feet, then back."
  6. Repeat this over and over.

With little sense data to go on, your rTPJ will eventually start to interpret this as reality: "I'm not lying down. I must be standing up."

Once your rTPJ has been jarred out of its normal "spacial location" and into another story of experience paradigm, you're basically in an out-of-body experience and free to roam, at least as long as you're able to maintain it. You no longer need to imagine anything. Just do whatever you want and "experience" whatever happens.

Bob Peterson
03 October 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Turning the Tables on Fear

Turning the Tables on Fear

by Bob Peterson

Whether you're dabbling with altered states of consciousness, suffering from Awareness during Sleep Paralysis (ASP), or trying to achieve OBEs, it's easy to succumb to fear, whether it's fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of getting lost, or fear of being possessed.
Many people ask me: "I can get this far (the vibrations or whatever), but I always get scared at the last minute, chicken out, and abort the OBE. How can I get beyond the fear?"
Not only can you get beyond the fear, you can actually turn the tables and harness your fear to actually induce OBEs. Let me explain.

Lessening Fear

You can't be successful at OBE if you let fear stop you. So it's important to get beyond the fear, if not conquer it completely. First, I'm going to give you several lines of defense ("defence" if you're British) against fear:

Defense #1: Fear is a bodily thing, not a spirit thing.

The first important thing to know is that fear is natural, but it's a defense  mechanism built into your body. It's a product of human evolution. In my book Answers Within I made this analogy:
"Fifty thousand years ago, the cavemen who were fearless and walked boldly into every cave were sometimes mauled to death by the bears or tigers who slept there. Their genes were taken out of the gene pool. The other cavemen, who had that uncomfortable subconscious feeling and a solid fear of the unknown, approached the cave with more caution. They're the ones who survived and that trait was passed on to their children in their genes, and eventually to you. Lucky you: now you have to overcome it." (pg. 105)
So fear is natural, and has its place in human evolution, but since it's a function of the physical body, it doesn't need to apply to out-of-body experiences. Your physical body can't be harmed by anything you encounter in an OBE. You're just too used to thinking in terms of a body image. So the more you tell yourself there's nothing to be afraid of, the less scary things you'll encounter.

Likewise, nothing in the OBE state can harm your non-physical body. It is probably misleading to say it's indestructible like many books in the genre. It probably more accurate to say it doesn't even really exist. What you perceive as an "astral body" is just a "body image" ingrained into your subconscious. You're conditioned from physical life to think in terms of a body-image that does the acting. In reality, this is just a device for a much greater reality that cannot be harmed.

Defense #2: Rationalizing your fears

When I first started doing this, I was scared too. I wrote about it in my first book in Chapter 8 - Overcoming Fear. You can't really overcome fear (which is an emotion) with intellect (which is not), but you can come close by rationalizing them. In other words, you can use your intellect to override your emotions, and move forward anyway.

You can try to reason with your fear by asking yourself what you're afraid of. For most people, there are really only four major fears about OBE: fear of the unknown, fear of dying, fear of demonic possession, and fear of getting lost (not finding your way back.) I'll address them one by one:
  1. Fear of the unknown.
    This is a tough one, and hard to get around. In an OBE, I guarantee you will encounter the unknown, the unexpected, and the unusual. With each new OBE, you will experience these things, and as you do, the unknowns become knowns. As you explore, you'll become more and more familiar with the people, places and things that are "out there." Gradually, you'll tell yourself, "That wasn't so bad. It's not scary out there at all." And if you do encounter something scary (like sudden scary faces jumping at you) and it sends you back to your body, you'll gain more confidence: Tell yourself, "See? I got through it. It was a little scary, but no harm came of it." In other words, it gets easier with time.
  2. Fear of dying.
    This is another tough one. Obviously, if anyone died during an OBE, they never got the chance to give us any warnings, right? So in a way, you just have to take this as a matter of trust until you gain confidence. Take comfort in the fact that thousands of people have reported thousands of OBEs without having died. No harm has ever come to me in the 37 years I've been doing this.
  3. Fear of demonic possession.
    When you're out of body, it's natural to wonder if someone--or something--can enter your vacated body. I had a friend once named Lisa who told me about an OBE in which she returned to her body to find the spirit of a woman unsuccessfully trying to animate it. She got angry, yelled at the spirit, and the spirit fled. The bottom line is that a portion of the subconscious still keeps tabs on the physical body and makes sure it's alright. For example, if there's any perceived threat, like if your phone rings, you'll be slammed back to your body. I believe we have a "Higher Self" that's invested a great deal of time and energy to produce your physical body for purposes of spiritual growth, so it's not going to give it up that easily.
  4. Fear of getting lost.
    This fear isn't as hard to deal with as the others. Yes, in an OBE, you can get "lost" and have absolutely no idea where you are, but you will always return to your physical body. Again, your "Higher Self" is not going to just abandon it. In one of Richard Bach's books, he talked about wanting to just induce an OBE when he felt like leaving this Earthly existence, but it doesn't work that way. In my opinion, if you're still here in this physical reality, you're going to keep waking up in this physical body as long as you still have spiritual lessons to learn. No matter how far you wander, eventually, you'll just lose consciousness and wake up in your physical body again.

Defense #3: Understanding / Knowledge lessens fear.

You can try to rationalize away your fears all day long, but in the end, only experience trumps fear. You can ease into this at first by using someone else's experiences. You can read books about other people's OBEs and find out if they're generally scary or not. Having read almost every OBE book out there, I know the general consensus is that the vast majority of OBEs are wonderful, pleasant, and not scary at all.

Yes, it may be scary to face the unknown. You don't realize how "real" it can be until you're actually standing there, facing the situation. You can try to steel yourself and  say "I'm going to be brave," but your situation doesn't hit home until you're really there. But each time you do it, your fear becomes less and less.

Defense #4: Understanding Bravery and Self-Bargaining

Someone famous once said that bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being scared and doing it anyway. You don't let your fear stop you. And with an OBE, you can do that gradually. So when you're in that situation, tell yourself "I'll just stick around a few more minutes and see what happens. If I see anything scary, I can always bail / abort."

Confront Fears Directly

Confronting fears is a lot like getting into a lake or swimming pool. If you start by dipping one toe and carefully submerge each body part, it will be a slow torture until you're completely wet. But if you jump in all at once, there will be some initial shock, but you'll resolve the situation much quicker, with less overall discomfort. It's the same with fears. It's best to confront your fears directly.

I used to be terrified of bears. I used to have nightmares several times a week about bears chasing me. My fear got better when I went to Africa in 2002 and found other much more dangerous animals to worry about; bears seemed trivial by comparison. Still the nightmares persisted.

Then one day in 2014, I had the opportunity to hand-feed an un-caged grizzly bear cub. The cub was about ten months old, and 150 pounds (68 kg) of dense muscle, and very hungry. Although it was small, it had huge white fangs capable of ripping me to pieces. Its jaws were so powerful that the apples we fed it literally exploded in its mouth with the force. It had long sharp claws that could have cut me wide open. It wanted food, it was not to be bargained with, and it was powerful enough to get its way. Still, I forced myself to do it, my heart pounding the whole time.

The whole event was so incredible and surreal that a professional magazine paid me to publish the story.

Here are two photos. The photo on the left is another volunteer, Marilyn, who also helped feed the grizzly some grapes. I was very worried about poor Marilyn as the bear started being aggressive with her, nearly climbing her torso. Lucky for her, we managed to distract him with other food.

The photo on the right is the grizzly bear's claws on my hand, reaching for an apple.

After doing this, my nightmares about bears pretty much stopped. I've only had one since. Maybe I'll repost the original version of the magazine article in my blog sometime.

The Positive Side of Fear & Harnessing It

Even if you don't resolve all your fears, you can turn the tables on it. You can actually harness your fear to induce OBEs. Let me explain.

A lot of people experience Awareness during Sleep Paralysis, or ASP. They wake up paralyzed and gripped by fear. They plead, "It's so scary it's exhausting. What can I do to stop it?" What they don't realize is that:
  1. In most cases, the fear is actually causing the ASP in the first place. They're so scared it's going to happen again that it does.
  2. ASP is just a breath away from OBE.

Keep in mind (or should I say "bear" in mind!) it's easy to turn an episode of ASP into an OBE simply by closing your eyes and pushing forward with your consciousness as hard as you can, as if you're walking underwater, while imagining that you're moving forward.

ASP: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Fear
There's a self-fulfilling prophecy with regard to ASP that goes like this:

In most cases, you can break the cycle simply by learning to not be afraid. So if you want to get rid of ASP, conquer your fear.

But if you want to have more OBEs, harness that fear: realize that your fear is actually a good thing because it can induce the ASP state, and from the ASP state you can get directly to the OBE state.

Instead of being afraid, you can take the attitude of "Ha! I know what's going on! I'm just in the ASP state!" and take control of the situation.

Harness Fear for Lucid Dreams

I also use fear as a trigger device to induce lucid dreams, and transition from there to the OBE state. In other words, I've conditioned myself to question whether I'm dreaming any time I experience any kind of fear.

If I feel afraid for any reason whatsoever, it probably means I'm dreaming. I think, "Wait a minute. If I'm afraid, so this might be a dream!" When I do the reality check, I often find that I am dreaming and become fully lucid. Once lucid, I turn the lucid dream into an obe.

So condition yourself to question reality whenever you're afraid, especially if you have frequent nightmares.

There's another fear generator called the "Guardian on the Threshold" that can throw scary (or at least very concerning) things your way. It is, in fact, your own subconscious mind, and can be safely disregarded. But this article is too long already, so that's another topic for another day.

If you do all these things, it will lessen the grip of fear, and eventually the fear goes away.

Bob Peterson
19 September 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Motion-Based OBE Techniques

Motion-Based OBE Techniques

by Bob Peterson

Recently I got an email from a guy who asked: Which of Michael Raduga's "cycling" techniques do I find most effective?

In his book The Phase, Raduga recommends the WBTB technique, then upon awakening, "cycling" for 3 - 5 seconds from these exit techniques:
  • Rotation - Imagine you are spinning around inside your body.
  • Observing images - Watch hypnagogic images that appear before you.
  • Hand visualization - Visualize your hands.
  • Swimmer technique - Pretend you're in the water, swimming.
  • Phantom wiggling - Try to imagine a part of your astral body is moving; a little at first, but then it increases. He recommends your little finger.
  • He offers some alternates, but these are the main ones.
He also recommends starting every cycle by trying to instantly relocate to your mirror, which is a variation of the "Target Technique."

Well, I never really use the Target Technique. It's never worked for me. I also don't visualize my hands. The problem with these two techniques is that there's no motion. Even the "observing (hypnagogic) images" technique alone isn't enough to take me out-of-body: I've got to use them for motion (more on that later).

The bottom line is: I've always found it most effective to use motion-based OBE techniques, since long before I read Raduga's book. I always need a feeling of motion to dislodge me from my body:


Before I begin any technique, I do three basic things:

First, I relax my body completely. I relax it to the point where I can't even feel it anymore.

Second, I approach the edge of sleep and try to hold my mind as blank/still and single-minded as I can. I "quiesce" my mind. (Do not let your thoughts wander or you'll be drawn down into sleep).

Third, I pretend I'm swaying. I imagine I'm in my astral body, gently floating and swaying inside my physical body, like a liquid sloshing back and forth inside a half-full bottle.

If done well enough, this can be enough to induce the vibrations and subsequent OBE state. More often, though, I tell myself that the swaying sensation will continue without any conscious effort, then I begin my exit technique.

My Motion Techniques

Long before Raduga, I was taking techniques like "phantom wiggling" to a greater extreme. So instead of "phantom wiggling," which I usually find too subtle, I do one of these techniques:

Rocking Motion Forward-Backward

I imagine I'm rocking more and more, like in a rocking chair or I'm taking a bow. This is an extension to the swaying/sloshing sensation I mentioned earlier.

Rocking Motion Side-to-Side

This technique is very similar, but I imagine I'm rocking from side-to-side. For example, I imagine I'm standing, but leaning to the right, then to the left, repeatedly.

Swinging Arms

I imagine swinging both my astral arms in large swooping motions (my physical arms remain immobile at my sides.) This motion is similar to what a cross-country skier does with his or her poles.

Elbow Push

I imagine someone is forcefully pushing my right elbow down into the bed, then the left elbow down, then right, then left, repeatedly. In other words, I alternate my arms so I get a sense of being rocked from side-to-side. It's almost like being rocked in a baby cradle.

Yoyo Technique

I try to imagine not so much a yoyo, but non-physical energy (chi, prana, etc.), extending from my third eye area, then retracting again, in a repeating motion.

I have another technique that involves my feet, but I'll save that for a later article.

Like Raduga, I often cycle through these techniques. If the first one gets no results, I switch to another. Raduga recommends switching every 3 to 5 seconds, but I tend to focus on a technique much longer, like 15 or even 30 seconds each.

I often cycle through many of these techniques at random, unlike Raduga, who recommends you focus on just two or three. I tend to not plan which of these motion techniques I use; I just flip randomly between them.

Often, my brain wants a reason for my (imagined) rocking or swaying. So I provide it with a "plausible enough" explanation, not with words, but with an idea, like "I'm swaying because I'm swinging my arms" or "I'm rocking because someone's pushing on my elbows."

More than Observing Images

More often than not, I fall back on the technique described in chapter 24 of my first book, which involves controlling a hypnagogic (or visualized) object and swinging it back and forth. Again, this is like Raduga's "observing images" but I'm controlling the images, not just observing them.

I imagine a strong gravity between my non-physical swaying and the object's swaying. Then I swing it closer and closer until it's close enough to pull me out-of-body with its gravity. With that method, the explanation idea is "There's an object and its gravity is pulling me out."

Technical Notes

There's no magic here. Your brain determines your spacial location and "story of experience" from the data it receives. Total relaxation cuts off almost all input from the senses, so they can't be used to determine spacial location. Your imagination provides the brain an alternate set of data to interpret.

All OBE induction techniques are just a way to trick your brain into changing its "story of experience" to trigger the separation.

Once separated, you can return your mind to its normal state of thinking and feeling, and you're free to consciously roam and explore the out-of-body state.

No, I'm not saying it's all inside your brain. I'm saying you need to fool your brain's spacial location mechanism in order to get to the proper state of mind. All these visualizations are just a way to trick your stubborn and over-conditioned brain into trading stories of experience from a physical to a non-physical one. They're just a means to an OBE-end.

Bob Peterson
29 August 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Explained

Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Explained

by Bob Peterson

I hate it when people say "just try this" OBE technique without any explanation. I'm an analyst. My analytic mind wants to know exactly what's going on so I can do it properly.

Many people talk about the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method of achieving out-of-body experience. Different people recommend different things, but few of them offer any kind of explanation of how and why it works.

After a good amount of research, I think I finally understand the procedure and how it works, so I thought I'd share.

Standard disclaimer:
Again, my understanding of all this is incomplete. This is just my interpretation at this time, and it's likely to change with time. I don't pretend to know everything. I'm not a sleep expert, but I've done a fair amount of research over the years.

The WBTB technique is something like this:
  1. Set an alarm clock to wake you up after 6 hours of normal sleep.
  2. After the alarm wakes you up, stay up for 3 to 50 minutes.
  3. Go back to bed with the intention of having an OBE. Sometimes that's all you need. But if you don't have an OBE:
  4. When you wake up again, perform some kind of exit technique (or cycle through many, as Michael Raduga suggests).
Right away I have a lot of questions:
  • Why six hours?
  • Should I stay up 3 minutes or 50 minutes?
  • Why does the length of time you stay up vary so much? 
  • Does it matter if I wake up naturally or with the alarm?
  • If I wake up naturally in the middle of the night can I do it?
  • What exit technique should I use?
  • Why do I have to set the alarm so far ahead? Can't I just interrupt my sleep at an earlier point?
I think I've found answers to these questions, and the key is understanding what's actually going on. Be forewarned: Sleep is a complex thing. The human brain is a complex thing. I don't pretend to be an expert on either, but I'm going to try to simplify this as much as possible.

Sleep Cycles 

First you need to know some basics about sleep cycles.

Every night, we go through several (often five) sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 - 110 minutes (the first cycle is often longer). Each cycle contains these stages:
  1. Hypnagogic imagery (alpha through theta brainwaves).
  2. Non-REM (nREM) sleep ("wash cycle").
  3. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. (Dreaming)
  4. Hypnopompic imagery.
  5. Waking up, or "almost" waking up and the cycle repeats again.

Where do OBEs and Lucid Dreams occur?

Science has proven lucid dreams occur during step 3, REM sleep. My OBEs occur mostly in step 1 or 4, the hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery stages.

Here's a good analogy: these sleep cycles are analogous to washing (laundering) dirty clothes: Your brain needs to be "washed" five times every night.
  1. Hypnagogic imagery is like when the tub fills with water.
  2. Non-REM sleep is like when soap is added and your brain is "agitated."
  3. REM sleep is like the "rinse" cycle.
  4. Hypnopompic imagery is like when the tub is drained.
  5. Then the washing machine resets itself and start over
We leave our body every sleep cycle. This is just like taking your clothes off before you launder them: you can't wash your clothes while you're wearing them, right? But that's another topic for another day.

Since the brain is "washed" in each cycle's nREM stage, it's a little "cleaner" each time, and therefore the nREM sleep gets shorter and shorter. But since the length of the cycle (90 - 110 minutes) doesn't change much, REM sleep gets longer and longer with each cycle. A typical night looks something like this:
It's interesting to note that brain waves during REM sleep are actually as "loud" or even "louder" than waking consciousness; a veritable storm of electrical activity.

Interrupting Sleep

Spending some time awake bypasses the hypnopompic imagery. Your brain chemicals are forced into a "waking" pattern.

When you interrupt sleep, it's like stopping the washing machine in the middle of a cycle. Your body has a tendency to restart the cycle where it left off. But since REM sleep (step 3) is chemically/electrically similar to waking consciousness, your brain can either just skip over that part (drain/wake up) or start the next cycle (step 1).

The Brain Chemical Dance

The next thing to understand is the rise and fall of various brain chemicals. I won't go into great detail here, but here are the basics:
  • After the sun sets, the pineal gland in your brain produces the hormone melatonin, which makes you sleepy. (This is largely controlled by the light that enters your eyes, but that's also another topic for another day).
  • With all that melatonin in your system, it's hard to retain consciousness.
  • Throughout the night, the melatonin is depleted.
  • By morning, you've used up most of the melatonin.
  • For the sake of my "laundry" analogy, let's say that melatonin is the laundry detergent. Your pineal gland produces a certain quantity at the beginning of the night, and a little is used up with each sleep cycle.
  • When light hits your eyes the next morning, it triggers the production of other brain chemicals that bring back consciousness.
Here's a diagram to show roughly how it's used, along with some other brain chemicals:
So if you combine these charts, you'll see where they overlap: About six hours into sleep, your level of metatonin is still relatively high (sleep/laundry is still needed) but your brain is relatively "clean" and ready for consciousness.

The Answers

So to answer my own questions:
  1. Why 6 hours?
    The 6 hour figure is optimal because it interrupts one of the later sleep cycles. That ensures your brain is as "clean" as possible and therefore nearly ready for full consciousness. If you interrupted an earlier cycle, you'd most likely drop into non-REM sleep and not be able to retain consciousness. Plus there's still too much melatonin in your blood, which means you'll be too drowsy.
  2. Should I stay up 3 minutes or 50 minutes?
    It varies depending on whether you're a light sleeper or heavy sleeper. If you're a light sleeper, it will probably take less effort to retain consciousness during your attempt. If you're a heavy sleeper, you need more time to ensure you won't just fall immediately back to sleep. You may need to experiment with this until you find a length of time that works for you.
  3. Why does the length of time you stay up vary so much?
    It has to do with brain chemicals. At night, melatonin builds up in the brain and makes you sleepy. Meanwhile, other brain chemicals associated with conscious awareness wear off. When you sleep, it's just the opposite: the melatonin is used up and the chemicals necessary for consciousness are built up. If you're a heavy sleeper, you need to give your body more time to balance your "consciousness" brain chemicals up to a point where full conscious awareness will stay with you for the duration.
  4. Does it matter if I wake up naturally or with the alarm?
    Yes, I think it does. You want to interrupt non-REM (nREM) sleep, not REM sleep. If you interrupt REM sleep, your brain will often just start a new sleep cycle from the beginning (and you fall asleep and lose your OBE). If you interrupt nREM sleep, your brain will tend to restart the "cleaning" cycle where it left off, but the interruption gives you time to build enough of those "consciousness" chemicals to retain conscious awareness, thus an OBE.
  5. If I wake up naturally in the middle of the night can I do it?
    While it's possible, it's not ideal. Your body is conditioned to automatically start new sleep cycles from start to finish. I think it's more OBE-productive to interrupt nREM in the middle.
  6. What exit technique should I use?
    Almost any exit technique will work, but everybody is different. What works for one person may not work for another. I prefer techniques that give me a sense of motion, such as pretending I'm swinging my astral arms back and forth. Some people prefer to imagine they're running as fast as they can. Still others like to pretend they're climbing a rope. You may need to experiment to see what works best for you. There are many to choose from.
  7. Why do I have to set the alarm so far ahead? Can't I just interrupt my sleep at an earlier point?
    While it's technically possible to interrupt an earlier cycle and get results, there's a good chance your brain won't be "clean" enough to give you full conscious awareness. Your body is more likely to drop you back into another sleep cycle.

Bob Peterson
15 August 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

God's Eyes and God's Hands

God's Eyes and God's Hands

by Bob Peterson

I believe we are all carefully guided by a "Higher Power." It doesn't matter whether you call that  higher power "God," "Tao," "Krishna," "Allah," "Yahweh," "Ahura Mazda," "Great Spirit," "All That Is," "Spirit Guide" or any other name. What's important is that I've seen it in action many times throughout my life, so I know it's real.

It often presents itself in the form of synchronicity: events that seem to conspire to accomplish some spiritual goal. In these cases, it feels as if "God" is using us as tools to accomplish spiritual work: we are literally God's hands.

In June 2010, I was working on my fourth book, Answers Within, but I felt I needed someone to help me proof-read. At the same time, my good friend, Phil Bolsta--who lives in California--was putting the final touches on his powerful book, Through God's Eyes and he needed a proof reader too.

So I came up with this idea: I would proof-read Phil's book, and he would proof-read mine. We'd exchange a few chapters at a time so neither of us would be rewarded unless we both were. My progress on his book fueled his progress on mine. I called this idea "Mutually Assured Creation."

Little did I know that we were all being carefully guided by that Higher Power. (Although Phil got the better end of the deal, because Through God's Eyes is a much bigger book.)

Each paragraph of Phil's book is a quote from a famous person followed by an important spiritual lesson. For every quote, there's a lesson, and for every lesson, a quote.

So on Sunday, June 6, 2010, I was at my sister's house in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, taking care of my mom, who needed constant care. I had been proof-reading Phil's book and came across this quote from one of my favorite authors, Paramahansa Yogananda. Phil's spiritual lesson / commentary that followed was:
"Your spirit is the angel on your left shoulder, reassuring you that we are all perfect creations of God, that you already are everything you need. Spirit shares and is always content; ego takes and is never satisfied."
Hold it right there, I thought, stop the press! At 12:44pm, I sent Phil an email that said:
"Phil, the second sentence is so powerful and poignant that I'd like to see it in its own paragraph, with a quote [from a famous person] of its own to support it."
Eleven minutes later, at 12:55pm, before he could even respond, Phil received another email from a friend named Lori, which contained this quote:
"For I can see in your eyes that you are exquisitely woven with the finest silk and wool, and that the pattern upon your soul has the signature of God. And all your moods and colors of love come from His divine vat of dye and gold." ~Hafiz 
"Hey Phil! Read this and thought of you, so I always follow my intuition and am sharing it with you."
Lori's quote from Hafiz perfectly fit the first sentence of Phil's lesson. Phil's original quote from Yogananda perfectly fit the second sentence. It was like "God" conspired to tell Phil--through me and Lori--to split the paragraph and to fill the prose with a perfect quote.

Phil, Lori and I were all flabbergasted. I was deeply moved by these events and it sent shivers down my spine. It only took eleven minutes for "God" to bring three people together from three different parts of the world to make this happen. I literally felt like I was a spiritual tool, guided perfectly to this place and time.

This has happened to me other times too.

I remember one particular Tuesday evening Kathy and I decided to go play Bingo in the nearby town of Aitkin, Minnesota. When we arrived in Aitkin, we were a half-hour early. Kathy asked me what I wanted to do in the meantime. I thought about it for a moment, then said, [my brother-in-law Dan's mom] "Helen is in the nursing home in Aitkin, isn't she? Maybe we should drop by and say hi." So I turned around and drove a half-mile (~one kilometer) back to the nursing home. We went inside and asked for Helen's room. This was the one and only time we ever visited her.

We walked into Helen's room and greeted her. She was smiley and warm, as always. I asked her how she'd been and she said fine, but she had a problem: Her laptop had stopped working a short time earlier, so she couldn't play her games. Without her laptop, she was bored and very frustrated.

I'm a computer professional by trade, so it only took a couple minutes and I had the laptop working perfectly again. Soon our half-hour was up and we left for Bingo. But as I walked out the door, I was struck hard by that same feeling of synchronicity: Helen's laptop stopped working and as if by magic, "God" placed a computer professional--me--in her room without bidding, to fix it. I've never felt more "used," and yet more good inside.

The next time Dan visited his mom in the nursing home, she had quite a tale to tell: Last Tuesday evening, her laptop stopped working. But strangely, enough, Bob and Kathy came in out of the blue and fixed it for me!

The message of Phil Bolsta's book is that we are more spiritually enriched when we learn to see life through God's Eyes. But I also believe we are God's hands. We just need to learn to pay attention to the guidance we're given, and act on it.

When Through God's Eyes was published, Phil put my endorsement on the back cover:
"One of the most important books I've ever read.  An incredible compilation of spiritual wisdom and insight.  It's the owners manual God should give you when you're born." --Robert Peterson, author of "Out of Body Experiences"

I stand by that.

Bob Peterson
25 Jul 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review: Astral Doorways

Astral Doorways

by J.H. Brennan

Today I'm reviewing Astral Doorways by J.H. Brennan.

This is another book that I read a very long time ago. It was one of the very first books I ever bought on astral projection back in the early 1980s. It was originally published in 1971, so the information is a little dated.

I remember reading Graham Nicholls' [very good] book Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience a couple years ago, in which he hailed "Herbie Brennan" as an important mentor and influence. I thought to myself, "I should probably re-read Astral Doorways, because I've forgotten pretty much everything in it. So I put it in my "to read" stack and it eventually bubbled up to the top.

Before chapter 1 even starts, Brennan states:
"Several techniques outlined in this book are dangerous. Readers are advised to take this fact into consideration before attempting to experiment with any of the Doorways."
Well, that's foreboding. That's scary. Either that, or he was just trying to protect himself from lawsuits from irresponsible dabblers in the occult. I prefer the latter explanation.

Brennan is a curious mixture of occultist and scientist, much like Dr. Douglas M. Baker. Much of his information comes from occult traditions, but he's very pragmatic, practical, and scientific about it all. There's no air of the secret, mysterious, or hidden occult knowledge here; it's just the facts as he sees it. There are even a few points of humor. This is unconventional for an "occult" book.

Chapter 1 is "Understanding the Astral" where Brennan lays out the foundation of his beliefs in astral projection and what it is. Curiously, he says:
"The use of the word 'astral' in occult literature never really added up either. It became obvious that the term had more than one meaning. Muldoon's 'Astral Body'* for instance, had no real connection with the Astral Plane. His meanderings had really taken place in the Etheric Body, which was something else again." (pg. 2)
He insists the astral body (as many other authors say):
"...is used only on the Astral Plane. But the trained occultist can use it on the physical as well." (pg. 10)
Chapter 2 is "A Pathway To The Doors". Here the author--much like Salvatore Caesar Scordato--talks about how astral projection all hinges on vivid visualization and how well you can do that:
"Your mental pictures must become crisp and clear. Their colours must be vital and alive." (pg. 11)
He gives exercises to help you develop your ability to visualize, and he stresses practice, practice, practice.

Chapter 3 is "The Ultimate Protection." Here he talks about rituals of protection, complete with a practical example taken from occult sources. I laughed out loud when I read this:
"The Medieval grimoires especially seem to have been composed exclusively by psychopaths." (pg. 19)
ROFL! See what I mean about unconventional? I think my brother Joe, who runs the site Esoteric Archives would probably disagree. The bottom line, he says, is this:
"I cannot over-stress this point. If you run into something nasty on the Astral, it is because something nasty already exists in your mind. The Astral Plane does nothing more than give it form." (pg. 24)
In other words, as Jane Roberts/Seth so famously put it, "You create your own reality" and that applies even more so to the astral plane which is even more flexible. Therefore, Brennan stresses "purity of motive, emotional control and self-awareness."

Chapter 4 is "The Elemental Doorways." Here Brennan explains:
"There are five basic Elemental Doorways to the Astral Plane."
He equates them with various traditions, such as the Golden Dawn, the Hindu Tattvic versions of Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Apas, and Prithivi, and the alchemical versions of Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. He gives techniques for first visualizing, then stepping through, these astral doorways.

He stresses that you need to retrace your steps back to the physical (both symbolically and ritualistically) and close the astral door after you return, so no entities can follow you back and become attached.

Chapter 5 is "The Visions and the Dreams". Here he talks about his friends Nick and Bea Van Vliet, who participated in some experiments using his techniques and also with hypnosis. Bea was able to go into trance quite easily and narrate what was happening in her projections. She was even able to gather information that would later be verified.

Chapter 6 is "The Tarot Doorways." Here Brennan gives another technique that involves using a card from a Tarot deck as the source of visualization, and acts as your doorway.

Chapter 7 is "The Qabalistic Doorways." Brennan talks about the Qabala; an ancient system of Jewish mysticism, and its "Tree of Life."

Chapter 8 is "The Oriental Doorways." Here he talks about harnessing the I Ching, which is an ancient Chinese form of divination (like Tarot) in which you use coins or yarrow sticks to form a variety of hexagram figures. These hexagrams, may likewise be used to answer questions, but Brennan suggests using them as astral doorways.

Chapter 9 is "Hypnosis and the Astral." Here he gives some techniques for using hypnosis and self-hypnosis (responsibly) to achieve astral projection.

Chapter 10 is "The Hypno-Astral Experience." Brennan talks about using hypnosis to induce astral projection in various friends and acquaintances. He got some interesting verifiable information. The quality of the experience was interesting. Some people experience a total feeling of relocation, whereas:
"To Sam, the whole thing was rather like going to the cinema [movies]." (pg. 77)
Chapter 11 is "The Objective Astral" which is more theory than anything. He gives a diagram with concentric rings to represent the material world, surrounded by the astral plane, which is itself surrounded by the "mental" plane, and then the "spiritual" plane. This is similar to what Theosophy teaches.

Chapter 12 is "Astral Entities" where he talks about astral shells (discarded astral bodies, etc.), Artificial Elementals, and similar non-physical entities, like John Kreiter's "Moths."

Chapter 13 is "Heightening the Astral Experience." This is a grab-bag of occult lore, like using "Elemental Doorways", how words are really just vibrations, and using the [Qaballistic] names of God to improve your experiences.

He also talks about several other OBE techniques such as those taught in Tibetan Buddhist traditions, fasting, sleep deprivation, the techniques of the Whirling Dervishes, and Yogic traditions. I found this curious:
"And on no account try to mix visualizations with Yoga postures. Combining the two is a technique on its own. To try it without knowing what you are doing is asking for psychosis." (pg. 98)
I'm not sure I agree, but whatever. And here's something I don't recall reading in any other OBE book: using mantras (spoken or imagined words and phrases) to induce OBEs (which is common), but repeating them faster and faster until they gain their own momentum, take on a life of their own, and throw off all extraneous thoughts. I definitely need to try that out!

Chapter 14 is "Astral Credo". Here Brennan talks a little bit about his philosophy about occultism and astral projection.
"But religion, to be worth anything at all, has to go beyond the Astral Plane. Consequently, a vortex is built up, drawing down power from spiritual levels." (pg. 103)
There are also two appendixes. The first, oddly enough, is about developing psychometry. The other is "Etheric and Astral" in which he tells a few amusing stories about his wife's experiences.

The book was heavy on techniques, but despite that, I was somewhat disappointed. Most of the techniques weren't "practical" in my mind. It covered a lot of ground, but it wasn't very "deep" and it could have been bigger. He had a few narratives from people he knew, but none of his own personal experiences.

The book is 115 pages long, but the margins are tight and the font is small, so there's a "fair" amount of content. The writing and grammar are professional grade. I didn't find any mistakes at all. Not a single misspelled word or grammar problem. None.

I'll give it three and 1/2 out of 5 stars. It was fair to partly cloudy.

11 July 2017
Bob Peterson

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Oshara Factor

The Oshara Factor

By Bob Peterson

Sometimes we all get discouraged and need a little kick in the rear to get our "spiritual" asses in gear, if you know what I mean. And the Universe is happy to oblige.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling down in the dumps and disheartened. I felt like nobody cared. Well, maybe one or two people. Somebody asked me when I was going to write a second book. Seriously? A second book? I've written four. The problem is: nobody knows about them. I've sold so few copies of the last three that I felt like writing a fifth book would be a complete waste of time; nobody's going to read it anyway. Most of it was my own damn fault, too: I was lousy at self-promotion. It's part of that desire for "ego-death," right? (Oh, the irony, since the desire itself is ego-based).

Inwardly, I bargained with "God," the "Universe," my "Higher Self," my "Spirit Guides" or whatever divine force might hear:
"I feel so unmotivated. Give me some kind of sign. Let me know the work I'm doing is valuable; that I'm helping at least one person. Give me a direction."

I began to worry about whether it was the start of a mid-life crisis. Then something magical happened. I got an email from Alexander De Foe, a professor in Australia who wrote the excellent (free) book Conscious Beyond the Body, to which I had contributed a chapter. He asked me if I wanted to be part of an online education program. He wanted me to design and teach an OBE class.

I agonized over my decision. I'm not a good speaker and my voice burns out quickly. I'm not a dynamic personality. And Lord knows I'm not handsome, nor do I have a silky voice like William Buhlman, Jurgen Ziewe, Neale Donald Walsh, or most other "new age" teachers. There's still this "I'm not "worthy," "qualified," or "good enough" crap going around. Still, I've taught OBE classes before (rarely), and I already knew the material. Something inside said it was the right thing to do, so I reluctantly said yes, even though it seemed like a lot of work, and equally a waste of time.

Then about a week ago, something else magical happened. I got a message from Oshara, an old friend I knew back in 1986 when I lived in Phoenix. Back then, she was one of my favorite friends from the two "Jane Roberts / Seth" discussion groups I attended (her name was different back then). I remembered she was tall, blonde, cute, and smiley, with bright mischievous eyes (and nice hips!). She also had a witty sense of humor and no "tact filters" (like the characters on Big Bang Theory). Back then I had even asked her friends if she was available, but they gently let me down and told me Oshara was "not my type." We did, however, become good friends. Then I got a job offer I couldn't refuse and quickly moved back to Minnesota (I don't do "starving" well).

Oshara's message said she happened to be in Minnesota and if I was still there, maybe we could get together and talk about cosmic things and old times. It sounded fun, so I invited her to stay with Kathy and I for a while. I told her upfront that, since I work from home, I was unavailable during business hours, and she respected that. So she came to visit last Sunday, 11 June.

I asked her what she'd been doing since 1986. It turns out she left Phoenix about the same time I did, and like me, had traveled all over the world. She lived in California for a while, and started several magazines and meetup groups. She did odd jobs for money: radio and voice work, acted as an "extra" in many Hollywood movies, and anything related to metaphysics. She even developed her own advanced "Ouija" board to help develop channeling. She even lived in Europe for a while. Eventually she found herself back in the United States, living in Elmira, New York.

If you're a true Seth fanatic, you probably already know that Jane Roberts and her husband, Rob Butts, lived in Elmira when most of the Seth books were channeled, starting with their very first experiments with the Ouija board. Now, through a strange series of "coincidences" Oshara found herself living in the same house that the Seth material was channeled!

As a life-long fan of Seth, she was thrilled about all this, but sadly, she was alone and like me, it seemed like nobody cared. Jane Roberts had died in 1984. Rob Butts had died in 2008, and they didn't have kids, so there was nobody to carry on her legacy. The house had been sold, split into apartments, and fallen somewhat into disrepair. Thousands of pages of unpublished Seth manuscripts were still sitting in boxes in the house of Rob Butts' second wife, Laurel Butts.

I asked Oshara what brought her to Minnesota, of all places. She said she got a call from a friend who lived in Minnesota who had gotten really good results with the new Ouija board, and she wanted to continue that work. But oddly enough, when she got there, her friend mysteriously changed her mind. It seemed Oshara had driven a thousand miles for nothing. Then she remembered me.

When I asked about her future plans, she said she didn't know. She had made some friends in one of the Seth groups in Minneapolis, and thought she might like to move to Minnesota. She even talked about finding a life partner or soulmate here. She seemed kind of lost and didn't know where to go, or what to do.

Now, deep in the woods in Northern Minnesota, it seemed like nearly thirty years had been erased, and we were as comfortable as lifelong friends could ever be. Night after night, we had really good, really deep conversation. We talked about Seth, channeling, OBEs, paranormal investigations, neuroscience, chem trails, the Federal Reserve Bank, Aliens, and conspiracy theories. We shared stories of our lives, our adventures, and our travels. We laughed and joked until almost midnight every night. Poor Kathy could hardly get a word in edgewise. I sure wish I had recorded our conversations because they were magical.

The three of us even (haltingly) did the Ouija board, and meditated together. She and I spent a whole night just listening to each other's favorite music while Kathy had another obligation. Oshara introduced me to Kate Bush, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and others. I introduced her to Arven, Dream Theater, Timo Tolkki, and others. The television sat unfulfilled in silence the whole week, forgotten and ignored; a sad monument to mind-numbing entertainment and commercialism. Oshara encouraged me, and I encouraged her. It was comfortable and it was magical.

She cheered me up, raised my vibrations, and encouraged me to follow my bliss and keep writing the many unpublished books I had started. More importantly, to keep working on the classes I'd started for Alexander De Foe. I cheered her up and encouraged her spiritual work too.

She was my message from the Universe, and I was hers. We picked up each other's pieces and charged each other's spiritual batteries. We laughed that we should start our own Internet radio show and even came up with a few catchy names for it.

Then, as if by magic, Oshara's life turned around too. She got a call from her best friend in Elmira: Laurel Butts had contacted her. The word on the street was that she might be interested in renting an apartment in the old Seth house too, and maybe even share some of the unpublished Seth manuscripts. She wanted to meet Oshara and attend the local Seth group. Her fire was lit. Suddenly she was being pulled back home as quickly as she had come. She left yesterday.

Whether you call it God, the Universe, your Higher Self, or Spirit guides, I believe there are spiritual forces that conspire for your highest spiritual good.
Something drew Oshara to Minnesota--under false pretenses--so we could cheer each other up and encourage each other's life work. And who knows? Maybe we will start that Internet radio station someday.

Remember to always cherish your friends, because they are also the hands of God. But that's a different topic for a different blog post.

Bob Peterson
20 June 2017