Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Astral Projection: The Amazing Secret of Astral Projection

Review: Astral Projection:

The Amazing Secret of Astral Projection

by Michele Gilbert

Today I'm reviewing the book Astral Projection by Michele Gilbert.

This is a very short book: I counted only 15 double-sided pages, but most of them were not helpful: title page, dedication, table of contents, about the author, and so forth. Needless to say, there's not much content.

The pages are a decent size, but the font is so tiny I could barely read it. The pages aren't numbered, which makes it hard to reference.

The book was obviously converted to a book from a web page, because it says things like, "You are just one click away! Follow the link below and sign up to start receiving awesome content".

The chapter titled "The History of Astral Projection" briefly talks about the ancient Egyptians, the Bible and the Koran in passing, but really says nothing about the modern history: Sylvan Muldoon, Oliver Fox, Robert Monroe, or any of the research that's been done. It's just basically says it has a long rich history, but doesn't give any concrete details.

Gilbert talks about two main ways of achieving astral projection: Through lucid dreaming and through meditation.

The chapter on lucid dreaming is pretty useless. The author spends more time saying "You're going to learn about this" than actually teaching anything, and what she's teaching is dubious at best. For example, she writes:
"By lucid dreaming, you're accessing the astral plane and you're capable of finding some very real and some very tangible answers that you may have questions to. By travelling out onto the astral plane, you're going to find a lot of strange things that are going to be described later on to you, but just take my word for it right now. You're going to find it weird. But, I want to start out with the beginning, because that's where everything should start out."
...But she never does. She really says nothing about what to expect; she doesn't even talk about the vibrations, or pre-OBE phenomena such as hypnagogic imagery. She doesn't talk about spirits, or about anything really.

Her instructions on how to induce lucid dreams is nonsense at best:
"Fall asleep and dream. When you finally hit a moment where you're dreaming, there's a part of your mind that knows you're dreaming. While your subconscious is running amok and you're reacting to everything around you, your mind and your awareness is still turned on. You have to be able to hone in on this awareness. You might find that you already do this on occasion. All you have to do is be aware that you're dreaming. Rather than running through the door or walking around the room where no one has pants on, stop and just take everything in."
Really? These aren't instructions; if I was already aware I was dreaming, the dream would already be a lucid dream by definition. She doesn't say anything more than to "hone in" on the awareness.

The chapter on "The Meditation Route" is almost as bad. She doesn't even tell you to quiet your mind. She doesn't suggest any specific visualizations. She only gives four tips: (1) Seek out someone who has done astral projection and ask for their help, (2) Look into the power of crystals, (3) Look into chakra work, and (4) Test yourself. Gilbert doesn't go into details on any of these things.

There are no concrete OBE techniques. There are no OBE narratives. There's just...nothing.

The writing was very unprofessional: full of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. The sentences are often painfully wordy, and use passive voice; the hallmarks of a bad writer. Perhaps the best example of this is:
"At first, you might find out that you're going to be creating the world that you're experiencing as you're projecting. So the best way for you to see if you're really projecting is to test yourself with studying things around your house when you're just starting out."
In her "Conclusion" chapter, she thanks you multiple times for downloading her book. Later, she tells you all about her upcoming book on Wicca. Next, she gives you a list of other "books" she's written and invites you to "click" the links below. And to leave positive feedback on amazon.com.

The last page has "Additional Recommended Reading" which contains a list of five books: Erin Pavlina's book, The Astral Projection Guidebook, and William Buhlman's book Adventures Beyond the Body, and three others that have absolutely nothing to do with astral projection: One on angels, one on astrology, and one on palmistry. Really? Is that all the research she could do?

Finally, there's "About Michele". It actually says:
"...she enrolled at Brooklyn College and majored in English."
Really? Really? Gilbert obviously makes money by mass-producing books by doing minimal research, throwing together poorly written draft documents, then throwing them onto amazon.com for money.

The only good thing I can say about this book is that the cover is beautiful.

Thumbs down. Don't waste your money on this book. They can't all be good, folks.

Bob Peterson
02 February 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Astral Projection by Oliver Fox

Review: Astral Projection

by Oliver Fox

Every now and then I like to go back and re-read the classics in out-of-body experience (OBE) literature. This is one. This is probably the second or third book I ever read on Astral Projection, so I didn't remember anything about it.

It's unclear to me exactly when the book was written. The earliest copyright date in my copy is 1962, but Fox's earliest written articles about his OBEs appeared in Occult Review in 1920 and his OBEs were from around 1902, which predates even Sylvan Muldoon's OBEs. Some might argue Muldoon was the first, but while Muldoon's book may have preceded Fox's, I think Fox's articles in Occult Review preceded Muldoon's classic 1929 book The Projection of the Astral Body.

Back then, OBEs were considered so far beyond the norm that authors often hid their identity lest they be ostracized. OBEs were considered so rare that only a handful of people in the world had ever written about them: two Frenchmen named Charles Lancelin and Marcel Louis Forhan (who wrote under the pen name "Yram") and "Oliver Fox", whose real name was Hugh George Calloway. Fox/Calloway was really the first guy to write about it in a somewhat scientific fashion. In other words, Fox didn't try to make it out to be some kind of esoteric occult super-power. Like Muldoon, Monroe, Buhlman, and other good OBE reporters, Fox just reported what he had experienced, and advanced theories about it. Although he studied Theosophy, the book doesn't really digress into occult beliefs. In fact, near the end of the book he says:
"So hard it is to kill the sceptic in me, nor do I want to altogether; for scepticism is very useful as an aid to preserving mental equlibrium." (pg. 157) [The British spellings are his, not mine.]
The first thing that struck me about this book is something I don't recall reading in any other OBE book: a nightmare from Fox's childhood that is eerily similar to one from my childhood. Here is Fox's description:
"I dreamed that my grandfather and I were sitting at the supper-table. Suddenly he took a threepenny-bit [coin] from his pocket and held it between his finger and thumb across the table for me to see. 'A little threepenny-bit!' he exclaimed, 'but it will grow and grow and grow and nothing can ever stop it!' His voice grew steadily louder until it ended in a scream: 'It will grow and grow and grow until it cuts the world in two!' Now, in my dream, though the threepenny-bit did not increase in size, something in me seemed linked with an invisible coin and was being stretched as it grew larger and larger in obedience to my grandfather's horrible monologue. There was the same awful sense of inevitability and helplessness, ending in panic. I echoed his scream, and that broke the nightmare." (pgs 16-17)
Compare that to my own childhood nightmare:
"When I got sick, I only remember a strange sensation that used to terrify me: When I drifted off to sleep, I had a terrifying "nightmare." I would "dream" that I held a tiny grain of salt in the palm of my hand. Then my consciousness would shrink to a terrifyingly small size until the grain of salt looked like a skyscraper. Terrified of being crushed by the salt, I would wake up screaming." (Out of Body Experiences, Peterson, pg. 10)
One of the earliest OBE pioneers, Fox discovered three different methods to induce out-of-body experiences:
  1. A "Dream of Knowledge" (What we now call a Lucid Dream)
  2. The Pineal Doorway, and
  3. The "Instantaneous Projection" Method
Although most of the book is centered on Fox's OBE narratives, he does give several pieces of advice for inducing OBEs (although not as much as some books, for example Jonas Ridgeway's Exploring Your Inner Reality which I previously reviewed.) The book is very similar to Robert Monroe's first book, Journeys Out of the Body in that respect.

Fox's advice for lucid dreaming ("dreams of knowledge") is basically this:
"Before going to sleep I must impress upon my mind the desirability of not allowing the critical faculty to slumber; it must be kept awake, ready to pounce on any inconsistency in the dream and recognize it as such. It sounds simple; but in practice I found it one of the most difficult things imaginable." (pg. 34)
As for the Pineal Doorway method: he basically just vividly imagined his entire awareness is concentrated in the pineal gland. [The pineal gland is a tiny gland in the center of the brain, which produces melatonin, a brain drug related to sleep. It is the size of a pea, and shaped like a pine cone.] He found that if he did that long enough, his entire awareness would suddenly whoosh up and seemingly go through some kind of doorway, after which he had incredible clarity of consciousness. But this method came at a cost:
"Until one has become accustomed to it, the actual process of passing through the 'Door' in the pineal gland produces an effect of extreme mental confusion and a terrible fear. Indeed, one feels that one is heading straight for death or insanity." (pg. 87)

Eventually, this method stopped working, though he tried many times over the course of ten years. Some people in OBE circles talk about the pineal gland and its supposedly magical properties. There are even products designed to "decalcify" the pineal gland [calcium buildup in the pineal gland over time is well known in the medical world, but I don't I buy into these; don't waste your money]. Fox doesn't let occult beliefs cloud his discussion:
"The reader is warned not to take my statements on the pineal gland too literally; indeed, if it please him, he is welcome to look upon the Pineal Door as purely imaginary; but, at least, this conception forms a very useful aid to a mental exercise which undoubtedly leads to a new form of consciousness--even if the [astral] projection theory is rejected. The result I obtained is beyond all question; but my explanation of the actual process involved may be more symbolical than accurate." (pg. 76)

The third method is the "Instantaneous Method" which is more like traditional methods of inducing OBEs: The use of active imagination to trick your awareness away from the body. This would include Robert Bruce's "Rope" technique, William Buhlman's techniques, and many others, mine included.

Another thing that's very interesting is that Fox learned to detect when his body was calling him back, and resisted that call, especially from lucid dreams. As he fought the pull of his body, he'd feel a pain in the center of his forehead. The more he fought, the worse it became:
"I fought against my body by steadily willing to remain in the Dream World. The pain in my forehead gradually increased, reached a maximum, and then, to my delight, suddenly ceased. As the pain vanished, something seemed to "click" in my brain. I had won the battle. My body pulled no longer, and I was free." (pg. 38)
But then he discovered a terrifying consequence: He couldn't reanimate his body again! Well, at least not for some time. Eventually it was like Sleep Paralysis sufferers: the body eventually woke up and pulled him back in.

Another noteworthy thing is that Fox talks about "skrying" but he has his own interpretation of what that means. To most occultists, skrying means something akin to crystal ball gazing (for example, see Donald Tyson's book Scrying for Beginners). To Oliver Fox, it meant shooting into space like a rocket, in an out-of-body state.

Another interesting topic is that of projecting while in bed with someone. I've always found it extremely difficult (but not impossible) to induce the OBE state from my bed if my wife is sleeping beside me. William Buhlman has told me the same thing. But Fox didn't seem to have any problem with it at all.

The book also has some of the earliest descriptions of pre-OBE symptoms, and good advice on how to deal with them:
"There may also be flashes of light, apparitions, and (almost certainly) terrifying noises. He may have the illusion that someone is trying to wake him or dissuade him from making the adventure. He should tell himself that such apparitions are subject to his will and powerless to harm him; and he should disregard any interrupting influence--even if it seems to proceed from his wife!" (pg. 127)

The writing is very eloquent and flowery; the polished work of a seasoned writer. In fact, Fox tried to make a living as a writer, but was never very successful.

The book is 160 pages, but with large margins. So there's a decent amount of content. It's not as good or as long as the books in my top ten list. But it's a classic, and an important look into OBE history; a "must have" for all serious OBE book collectors like me.

Bob Peterson
19 January 2015

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: Exploring Your Inner Reality

Review: Exploring Your Inner Reality

by Jonas Ridgeway

Today I'm reviewing the book Exploring Your Inner Reality by Jonas Ridgeway. Although it isn't on the front cover, the back cover clearly says A Guidebook For Out-of-Body Travel.

I enjoyed this book very much. It's 167 pages, but its small margins and decent font gives it a lot of content. I apologize in advance if this article runs long, but I put tabs on lots of pages, so there's a lot to talk about.

The book doesn't have any fluff, nonsense or wasted space, although the order is a bit confusing. The author starts out describing his first OBE, which is great, but the second chapter jumps directly to Questions and Answers, which I thought was a bit strange. The questions and answers are very helpful though. One of the questions is "How will I know that I had an out-of-body experience and not dreaming?" In part of his answer, he says:
"If I were to tell you right now that you are asleep and lucid dreaming, you would laugh and say "hogwash!" because you know with every ounce of your being that you aren't dreaming - YOU KNOW THIS - and no one would be able to convince you otherwise. It is the same with a fully conscious OBE - you are certain that you aren't dreaming. The level of consciousness one uses with a lucid dream is not of the same quality as that of an OBE." (pg. 28)
Question 16 is "My OBEs are too short - how can I stay out longer?" His answer is kind of humorous; something I'd never heard of before:
"I have never heard of any projector doing this, but my best technique for staying out longer is by singing." (pg. 34)
Question 24 is "Are things solid to the touch while out of body?" His answer has some interesting observations:
"As far as the etheric body itself, it is solid to the touch. I've touched and pulled on my tongue, stuck my fingers in my ears, licked my arm to see what it tastes like (yes, it was salty, extremely so that it startled me; I'm not sure if I detected the salt in my physical body via an inner sense or if this was a prank from my subconscious)." (pg. 42)
Ridgeway has lots of interesting observations. For example:
"Robert Bruce, in his online "Treatise on Astral Projection", says that if you look at your hands, for example, they will melt away quickly (as a rule, he seemed to be saying). However, I have never experienced any melting of any of my body parts - on close inspection it remains solid, and no mental effort is exerted whatsoever in order to keep it this way. If anything, I would think looking at your hands would reinforce its form, not dissipate it, as you are drawing your attention to what you expect to be there - your hands." (pg. 46)
Chapter 3 is Out-of-Body Predicaments, which is basically about OBE problems and problem solving. Some of these display the author's unique sense of humor, which gives him a warm approachable feeling. For example, he notes:
 "You can put too much emphasis on a command and get more than you bargained for. Usually you will need minimal thought power to get the job done. For example, when you initiate the rolling out of the body method of projection, you may just keep on rolling...off the bed, onto the floor, through the wall or door, and into the next room or even outside. You could even keep on rolling way beyond your house if you don't get a grip and tell yourself to stop. Of course, if you enjoy rolling rather than walking or flying, then fine, be a freak." (pg. 65)
Another interesting observation is this. I've always maintained that trying to consciously increase the vibrations only makes them fade away, and that you need to remain completely passive. Not so, says Ridgeway:
"Some have taken the position that increasing the rate of the vibrations by mental impetus is not possible - that thinking (pushing) the vibrations to increase doesn't do anything. I maintain that it does, as it is obvious the rate of speed accelerates as soon as I "lock in" and exert my will for a quicker pace, nudging it along incrementally, persuading it to gather momentum." (pg. 78)
Readers of my first book may remember the problems I used to have with out-of-body transportation. Ridgeway has some sound advice for that:
"[With regard to flying] You have to learn that proper thinking is your only savior. Thus, a courageous, high-spirited disposition will keep you airborne; a spineless, lily-livered inclination will drop you with no remorse." (pg. 81)

Another interesting and insightful thing is this: Ridgeway normally deliberately flies backwards as a tool to keep his conscious mind from getting distracted and/or interfering with his goals.

Chapter 4 is "Preparations / Preliminaries" and it contains a lot of good advice. He says something I've maintained for a very long time:
"To go through [the astral "doorway"], you must be able to fit - meaning, you must shrink your mental girth (fears, mainly) to an appropriate size. Since you will be conscious, getting a handle on thought control is what will enable you to move out and beyond the body for any extended period." (pg. 87)

I did encounter this oddity:
"Another requirement is a warm environment. Your room temperature should be around 68 degrees [Fahrenheit]. Your body needs to be moderately toasty and comfortable." (pg. 91)
He's right that you need to be warm and comfortable, but to me, warm and toasty is about 73F. If the room is 68F, I'm uncomfortably cold.

Chapter 5 talks about vegetarianism and veganism. Like author Graham Nicholls and others, Ridgeway says that it helps to not eat meat. (I've always been on the other side of the fence, along with author William Buhlman).

Chapter 6 is "Techniques for Out-of-Body Travel" and I found it to be very good, as OBE books go, although much of his chapter is not so much technique as it is general tips and advice. For example:
"You need to become obsessed with OBEs and the idea that YOU can experience them. This is important. You can't just want to leave your body, you must desire it. You should read everything of quality you can about OBEs. You should think about it every free moment that you have. Pound it into your head!" (pg. 107)
This chapter also includes tips for when you achieve the OBE state. This paragraph also shows the author's unique sense of humor:
"Now, once your basic awareness and I-AMness has been acknowledged, in order to turn on the total waking self you should do the following (in addition to the above): realize that while your physical body is asleep, YOU are awake; affirm that you are completely conscious and in complete control; state your full name, address, phone number, and your parents' names; do a few jumping jacks (I'm not kidding), shouting "I'M OUT OF BODY!", and then, finally, when arms akimbo, throw your head back and laugh maniacally (okay, you may skip the cazed laughing part). Yes, I actually do all of these things. The idea here is to reinforce that you have your critical faculties full operating, kind of locking it in, so you don't slip into a regular dream mode again (which is easy to do if you're not careful)." (pg. 112)
Here's another important piece of advice from the "techniques" section that I never gave thought to previously:
"As you feel yourself coming out of sleep do not move your physical body and keep the eyes closed." (pg. 116)
This is a very powerful piece of advice.

The next chapter is "Summary: 7 Steps to a Conscious Projection." It's basically just a bunch of more advice and helpful hints. The 7 steps, which are accompanied by lots of good dialogue, are:
  1. Belief reconstruction
  2. Keep a journal
  3. Read OBE literature
  4. Affirmations (planting the seed)
  5. Body relaxation
  6. Don't try too hard
  7. Separation
The book also talks about the author's attempts at validation. He did some experiments that reminded me of author Frederick Aardema's. He created a deck of 25 pages of notebook paper labeled "1" through "25". Every night for a week, he shuffled them, then put them in a pile with one face up, under his bed. After leaving the body, he crawled down there and tried to see the number. Unfortunately, his attempts at validation failed every time.

It occurred to him that his own expectations might be interfering with his out-of-body perceptions, or perhaps there was bleed-through from the other pages. He even tried to pick up the top page once, and:
"...the target number began sliding around on the paper like an egg in a frying pan." (pg. 148)

He had some pretty insightful discussion about why his attempts failed (although I thought Aardema's discussion about this topic was more fascinating). He noted, for example, that the room appeared quite foggy, which makes me wonder if the problem was due to being too close to his physical body (i.e. inside "cord activity range").

Ridgeway's attempts at validation were not as persistent as some authors (Fred Aardema, and Eddie Slasher come to mind), but he comes to the conclusion that the best evidence always comes when you're not really trying:
"By randomly discovering proof, you have not created any expectation beforehand and are seeing the environment mostly unmodified. Your psyche has not been given the chance to overlay the proof with a false envisage because you have already seen and noted the proof (the grubby paws of expectation was simply not in attendance to mess with your evidential data)." (pg. 145)
This interference caused by expectations is one of the main reasons he likes to fly backwards.

Despite his failed attempts at validation, he shares a few awesome validation stories. In one, he traveled in an OBE to his parent's home, and into his brother's bedroom. He saw a piece of paper atop his dresser with a phone number and a girl's name: "Catherine". He didn't try to memorize the phone number, but later, when he checked with his brother, he confirmed that there was indeed a piece of paper on top the dresser with a phone number and a girl's name. Oddly, the name on the physical piece of paper was "Cathy" not "Catherine," which brings up more interesting discussion.

Ridgeway's mother also had occasional OBEs. The first one was so realistic that she insisted doctors perform a brain scan (which showed nothing unusual). Another piece of validation came from one of his mother's OBEs. She projected from Oregon to Arizona to visit her daughter, Ridgeway's sister. She found her daughter, but was surprised to see that she was now shockingly overweight. A few weeks later, when she visited the daughter in Arizona, she discovered the daughter was pregnant; a fact that she had kept concealed.

Another fascinating report by the Ridgeway is something he calls "The Astral Jukebox." Basically, he discovered that in an OBE, he could listen to any song he wanted, with absolutely perfect reproduction. Eventually, he discovered that he could also play songs (in their entirety) that hadn't been recorded physically. This brings up some interesting discussion: If you hear a Janis Joplin song that was never recorded, is it (a) manufactured by your own subconscious mind? (b) recorded on the astral plane by Joplin herself, (c) a song she recorded once that was lost? or (d) something else? It's all very fascinating. It's definitely added plenty to my astral "to do list."

The grammar, punctuation and spelling were nearly perfect.

This book is very fascinating, insightful, and very helpful for people who want to have OBEs. I found very little with which I disagreed. This is one of the better OBE books out there. It doesn't have many narratives, but every page has lots of good information. I give it a big thumbs up.

Bob Peterson
05 January 2016

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face

Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face

by Bob Peterson

Let me just start out by saying that I do not consider myself a Christian, nor do I subscribe to any religion or religious organization. I consider myself "Spiritual" rather than religious. In my opinion, "religion" is the belief in someone else's experiences, and "spirituality" is the belief in one's own direct experience. Experience trumps faith.

One of my facebook friends recently read an earlier blog article ("Are OBEs Against Christianity?") in which I wrote:
"The bottom line is: If you're a Christian, with OBEs, you don't need to merely pray to, or worship Jesus Christ, you can actually meet the man face to face. Is there precedence for that? Absolutely. Some people, myself included, have gone out-of-body and stood in the presence of Jesus Christ."
So he asked me: "I'm interested to know where in the astral it was? And what he said to you." 

I wrote about some of my more religious OBEs in my second book, Lessons Out of the Body in a chapter titled "Chasing God". So far, only one of my religious experiences involved Jesus Christ. It was in May, 1996. Here's what I wrote about it in the book:
"When I went to bed, I was wide awake and couldn't sleep at first.  At home, I was lying on my right side on the waterbed. For no particular reason, I started thinking about Jesus Christ and God, and wondering about Christ's relationship to God. It was probably because I had started reading a book that deals with this topic. As I was lying there immobile, I started focusing my mind in OBE fashion, but instead of visualizing an ordinary image, I held the image of Christ in my mind, plus an icon that I used to represent God. The image of Christ was on the left side of my visual field, and the icon of God was on the right side. As my mind focused into the OBE state, I had the passing thought, “No, Jesus should be at the right hand of the Father.” Then I realized that “right” and “left” are relative to “forward” and “backward,” and since I believed that God was everywhere, comprising all that is, God didn't have a forward or backward. I decided it didn't matter if Christ was to the left or right of my icon of God."
"As I pulled myself down into the OBE state, my image of Christ seemed to become very real, and so did the icon or idea of God. It seemed as if I actually felt the presence of Jesus Christ, and through Jesus, a connection with God. Now, I'm not a very religious man outwardly, so this is very much out of the ordinary for me.  It seemed as if Christ was helping me, sending me his love."
"I started to swing my consciousness forward and backward in my usual fashion, and tried to maintain that crucial state of single-minded focus, but as I rocked, I could feel the presence of Christ, and that distracted my mind.  I tried to swing away from my body in a forceful motion, but I didn't have enough momentum built up yet; therefore I swung back and hit the body, which made me go back to the normal in-the-body state." (Lessons Out of the Body, pp. 96-97)
So there you have it. It wasn't in any particular part of the astral plane, and he didn't really say anything to me. In fact, the OBE lasted just a few seconds. Jesus's presence was just too distracting to maintain my focus.

Although it's very rare in the OBE literature, other people have had much "better" encounters with Jesus, where they've seen him preaching to a crowd of people, etc.

My encounter was just enough to affirm to me that OBEs are not against Christianity and that people who seek to know Jesus can do so through OBEs. 
 For the record: I think Jesus Christ is one of the most misunderstood and enigmatic figures in human history. I wish more people would use OBEs to learn more about him and other historical religious figures. Maybe the more we can learn about all our religions, the less we (as a society) will fight and kill in their names.

Bob Peterson
08 December 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology

Review: The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology

Edited by Rodrigo Montenegro

One my facebook friends, Mr. Nélson Abreu of the IAC (International Academy of Consciousness) was kind enough to send me a review copy of this relatively new book, The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology, edited by Rodrigo Montenegro.

For people who don't know about the IAC, it's a non-profit, multicultural, and universalistic (i.e. not religious) organization dedicated to the research and education in "conscientiology" (the study of consciousness) and its subdisciplines, one of which is out-of-body experiences. They give classes all over the world, and their work is mainly based on the teachings of the late Waldo Viera (author of the hefty tome Projectiology) of Iguazu Falls, Brazil. One of the main things they teach is out-of-body experiences.

If you've been following my blog, you know how much I love OBE narratives, and this book is mainly just that: a collection of OBE narratives from a plethora of people from all walks of life.

Many of the OBE narratives come from people who have taken the IAC's OBE classes. Consequently, they often use IAC terminology. For that reason, many pages have (by necessity) footnotes from the editor, explaining various words, ideas or concepts from IAC. The IAC-speak is the only drawback to this book. I've written about this in book reviews from other IAC authors (Luis Minero and Sandee Gustus come to mind.) In fact, there are so many terms tossed around, the book's glossary of terms is 37 pages long! But don't worry: not all those terms are used in the book. The terminology is actually not heavy, nor confusing. It's tastefully done, and explained well by the editor's footnotes.

I've said it before: I never get bored reading OBE narratives because they bring back the excitement of discovery, plus I use them to train my subconscious (as explained in my previous blog post).

I especially enjoyed the narratives where there was verifiable evidence to suggest the OBE was "real" (i.e. more than just a hallucination). My favorite one involved a guy named Ron Smedts from the Netherlands. In his OBE, he floated out the window of his second-story apartment. Looking for proof that he was seeing the physical world from a non-physical perspective, he drifted down to the parking lot and tried to find his car. He couldn't find his car, then became disillusioned when he noticed that every car in the parking lot was white; a very unlikely scenario. But after he returned to his body:
"As I passed a window I glanced out and stopped in my tracks: I was shocked. Every car in the lot was entirely covered with a fresh and uninterrupted layer of pure white snow." (pg. 65)

I also really enjoyed a narrative from Jean-Pierre Bastiou, an 84-year-old man of Brazil in which the author met with his dead mother, who appeared young and radiant.

Now comes the surprise. The OBE narratives end on page 227. On page 228 is an article about Near-Death Experiences (contributed by Nelson Abreu, guy who sent me the book). After that is another article that explains the IAC's "projectarium" which is a special facility they set up for the purpose of inducing OBEs. I've always wondered what the IAC facilities were like; now I know. (I've never taken their classes.) These are special small spherical buildings, each of which is like the Monroe Institute's CHEC Units, but perhaps given more forethought.

I really enjoyed this book. As OBE books go, this one meshes well with my belief system. It didn't say anything I strongly disagreed with. For example, their whole concept of an "existential program," in other words, life-lessons and life-plans matches my beliefs rather well.

The margins are small and the font is small, which means there's a lot of content, but it's a quick read; not heavy at all. The book is a good size--336 pages--but a lot of that can be skipped, like the glossary, the index, descriptions of the IAC's programs, and so forth. There are a few grammar problems (especially "OBE's" vs. "OBEs") but all-in-all it was very well done and professional.

You won't find any "secret" teachings, stern warnings, superstitions, or esoteric nonsense. In fact, there weren't any OBE instructions or techniques. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining collection of OBE narratives that demonstrates the wide diversity of the out-of-body experience.

I give it a thumbs up.

Since this book is not available in amazon.com (at the time of this writing), I'll just mention that you can buy a copy directly from the IAC at the U.K. IAC's book store or by sending email to: california@iacworld.org. Hopefully in the future, it will be available for sale at: store.iacworld.org.

Bob Peterson
24 November 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Using OBE Narratives To Induce OBEs

Using OBE Narratives To Induce OBEs

by Bob Peterson

The last OBE book I reviewed was Boundless: One Woman's Journal of Her Out-of-Body Experiences by Anita Gamba, which was basically a collection of OBE narratives from the author and what she learned from her OBEs.

I never get tired of reading OBE narratives, even though I've read thousands with the same basic features. Why? I've said a few times in my blog that I read OBE books and use OBE narratives to program my subconscious. You can also leverage OBE narratives to increase your own OBEs.

Your subconscious is a powerful thing. It has much more control and intelligence than most people realize. It's not a mindless zombie waiting to be programmed. It is another part of you, a real living, breathing "you" who sits back behind the scenes and watches what you do.

But don't think of it so much as a process running in the back of your mind, even though it is. Think of it like a full grown dog who is holding your leash. It's very intelligent and has a will of its own. Even though it's still technically "you," it can think and act independently. It has its own motivations and desires.

The first important thing to realize is that your subconscious can pull you outside your body any time it sees fit. While the "conscious" you may need to spend hours carefully quieting the mind, relaxing the body and tricking your awareness away from the body, it's child's play to the subconscious. It can pull you out almost instantaneously. The problem is: it's not motivated to do so. That's where the programming comes in.

So how do you program your subconscious for OBEs? In many respects, it's like training a dog. There are several methods. One way (not applicable to dogs) is hypnosis. Another way is rewriting your self-talk / internal dialog; you know, the little things you say to yourself throughout the day, like "Man, I'm tired," or "I'm really bad at this." A third way is direct communication, and that's what I want you to start doing. It's not too different from the self-talk; it's blatant reminders to the subconscious. And since you are really one person, its will is your will. As long as your goals and its goals are compatible, it won't have a problem helping you out.

So here's what you do. Read a book or website that has a lot of OBE narratives. It doesn't matter which one; almost every OBE book has them. Gamba's book is a good example. Author Robert Crookall studied OBEs and wrote several books about it, and a lot of his books contain hundreds of OBE narratives, such as The Study and Practice of Astral Projection or Case-Book of Astral Projection, 454-746.

Just read OBE narratives one by one and as you do, perform these steps for each:
  • Read the OBE narrative.
  • As you read, imagine yourself doing the same things. So if the narrative talks about feeling the vibrations, imagine yourself feeling vibrations. If the person puts their arm through a wall, imagine you do the same. If the person walks through a wooden door and floats down a hallway, imagine yourself doing that too. If they did some flying, imagine yourself flying too. Imagine every little detail and aspect of the OBE, including exit and reentry.
  • Next, silently tell yourself, "Yes! That's what I want to do!" Be exuberant.
  • If you read a narrative that's scary or uncomfortable, think to yourself, "That really doesn't apply to me" then imagine yourself having a fun OBE instead, flying around, exploring the astral world.
  • When you get to the end of the narrative, think to yourself, "Yeah, I'd like to have an OBE like that too."
  • It helps to ask yourself, "Do I really want to do that?" Then answer, "Yes! That's exactly what I want to do. I'd like to have an OBE tonight, and I'll be fully conscious and remember everything!"
That's basically it. The important thing is that you imagine yourself out of your body, performing OBE actions, and stay focused on it for a while. Don't just brush it off with a "Yeah, that'd be cool." Use your imagination as much as possible, and use as much detail as possible because, like a dog, the subconscious doesn't think with words as much as it thinks in terms of your imagination. (Although the subconscious can understand words, much like a dog can understand words.)

Performing these steps can increase your OBEs dramatically.

One last thing: I recommend you also give yourself one last affirmation (or five!) before you go to sleep. Tell yourself, "I really should really have a conscious OBE tonight."

See you out there.

Robert Peterson
10 Nov 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Boundless by Anita Gamba


by Anita Gamba

Today I'm reviewing the book Boundless: One Woman's Journal of Her Out-of-Body Experiences by Anita Gamba.

This book is simple. It is almost entirely OBE narrations. There's also some theory and basics, plus a few notes about her primary OBE technique (which is more about relaxation and setting intentions than anything), but mostly it's just narrations. That's okay because I've always loved OBE narrations; they always take me back to that magical thrill of discovery. It also helps program your subconscious mind to induce OBEs.

Gamba's OBEs started when she gave birth to her son. Since then she's recorded "over one hundred and fifty out-of-body experiences." At first, she tried to figure them out in terms of quantum physics (as did William Buhlman in Adventures Beyond the Body), which led her to more research than the average person. She became quite knowledgeable in the stuff, which is not an easy task. In the end, she gives a curious mixture of science and philosophy.

She is honest, genuine and up-front about her OBEs. She openly admits her shortcomings and when she doesn't understand something. Her OBEs are pretty basic and typical. She experiments with floating and flying. She finds out she can breathe underwater. She looks in the mirror. She encounters other people and animals. On the one hand, they're not quite thrilling to someone who's been studying and practicing OBEs for 35 years. They're certainly not tedious though. On the other hand, there's nothing startling, controversial or surprising in there either, so I know she's not making this stuff up: she's really been there.

What I liked most about the book is that she always tries to find lessons in her OBEs, even the ones that are mundane. Maybe it's my vanity/ego because it reminded me of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, although she doesn't get too "heavy" or preachy with her lessons. They are often quite simple, like "Social Masks: Be Real." Sometimes there are many lessons to be learned from a simple OBE. For example, she writes:
"This OBE journey has reminded me that:
  •  When I am patient and stay focused I am successful at anything I choose.
  • I know how to hold my focus whilst the world is trying to pull me back to its reality.
  • I need to trust my own judgment and I can always call on my inner power to protect me.
  • I have always had the courage to move through doors of change, not knowing what is on the other side.
  • I have always had the presence of mind to make firm decisions about moving on if the present situation proves to be too macabre for me.
  • The voice that told me not to go to the past reminds me that the voice of my inner wisdom should be listened to even if it sounds harsh.
  • Furthermore, I must leave behind the skeletons of my past because they will kill me if I continue to give them validity." (pg. 64)
The book is pretty basic. You're not going to find any startling revelations or the depth of, say Jurgen Ziewe or Frederick Aardema. Perhaps I'm a bit jaded because I recently read and reviewed Ziewe's latest book, Vistas of Infinity, and that's a tough act to follow.

This book is 119 pages long. The size is normal, the typeset and margins are good. It's quick and comfortable (not heavy) to read, but there's enough content that I didn't feel short-changed. I don't recall any grammar or spelling errors, so the book is well executed. There was nothing offensive, nor anything I disagreed with.

I'll give it a thumbs up, but there are better narration books.

Bob Peterson
28 October 2015