Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OBE and Time Travel

by Bob Peterson

In the Questions and Answers section of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, I wrote that I had never had a time-travel OBE. In the same year the book was published, 2001, that changed. Sigh.

The truth is, I never believed in time travel. It seems like a bogus concept; too far afield, even for me. My skepticism was off the charts. Then it happened to me. Too many times I've heard myself say: I'd never believe it if it hadn't happened to me, and I'd never expect anyone else to believe it either way.

It was Saturday, 21 Apr 2001. I put the dogs outside early, then climbed back into bed to make an OBE attempt. I found the properly state of mind pretty easily and slipped out. I floated out of the bedroom and did some minor casual gliding just to experience weightlessness. I affirmed how real the experience felt; my consciousness was very clear.

I didn’t have any particular goals in mind. As I assumed a standing position, a kind of door formed in front of me. It wasn’t like a physical door, but I perceived it to be some kind of portal or tube. A very subtle thought was sent to me: “Let’s go.” As I stepped toward the door I asked, “Where am I going?” As I passed through the door, a disembodied voice replied, “To the year 2049.”

As I felt myself whooshed away, I thought, Yeah, right. I was even pretty skeptical about time travel but I try not to judge my experiences until I'm back in the body.

I found myself in a big city. There was no helper in sight. Whoever or whatever had brought me here was now gone. I assumed I was in Minneapolis, but I didn’t recognize anything, so there was no hope for finding any kind of validation. I decided I should go to a place I might recognize.

I willed myself to the area where I grew up and found myself on the corner of Lowry Avenue and Polk street in Minneapolis. The neighborhood was recognizable, but things had changed. I decided I wasn’t going to trust that I had traveled in time, so I decided to find proof. I wanted to find a calendar or some kind of computer screen that would have the date on it. With that thought in mind, I started walking east on Lowry toward Central avenue. I walked into a few businesses and tried to look at their computer screens. The computers looked old, like the basic design hadn’t changed much in 48 years. I wondered if maybe they were using these really old computers for some strange reason. It struck me as odd; didn't the technology advance? Or were these people using old computers because that was their only option?

Was there a manufacturing problem or hardship that had forced everyone to use antiques for their computing power?

I couldn’t find any calendars or dates anywhere for a long time and when I did, the numbers seemed fuzzy. I was either having a hard time perceiving them or my consciousness was not as clear as I'd like it. I found one reference to 1994 and another to 1996. Very strange indeed, since this was 2001. I didn't trust my perceptions, and went back outside to find better validation.

I continued to walk toward the intersection of Lowry and Central Avenue. When I got there, a found a huge concrete walkway had been erected over the road. The road--what is today Central Avenue--looked like some kind of mini-freeway. It had concrete walls to keep pedestrians out, but it was too small to be a freeway by today's standards. It looked like some kind of strange single-lane mini-freeway. I wondered if it was for bicycles or motorcycles, or some kind of miniature mass-transit. Or perhaps it was some kind of automated transportation system for small people-sized vehicles.

That should be easy to tell, I thought, if there were any vehicles. I looked around and didn’t see any vehicles anywhere. No cars or motorcycles parked anywhere. Very strange.

I continued to explore. There were people milling about the area, and they looked normal in every respect, but there were very few of them. That struck me as odd too. I expected the year 2049 to be crowded with lots of people, but instead, the place looked almost abandoned, with only a few people out walking. I wondered, “What happened to all the people?” I had been reading Bruce Moen’s third book, Voyages Into the Afterlife and he had predicted that some great disaster will cause the majority of people on Earth to die. I really didn’t buy into what Bruce was saying, but now I wondered if I was seeing proof. Or was it a manifestation of subconscious fears generated by the book? Hard to say without any validation. If I could only find proof of what year it was...

I wandered into what appeared to be a drug store so I could see what calendars they were selling, but my consciousness started to deteriorate. I was losing lucidity and tried to make myself more alert.

I couldn’t find any calendars in the front of the store, so I wandered to the back. In a back room, I passed by two women sitting at a small table, one blonde and one brunette. As I walked by, the blond’s head turned slightly toward me. Now that was odd. I stopped and turned to look at her, and she seemed to be looking directly at me. That was odd; I’m usually invisible to physical people during my OBEs.

Looking around, it appeared that she was apparently giving some kind of psychic reading to the other woman. She had Tarot cards spread out on the table. I walked back to her and bent down close to her face. I asked, “Can you see me?” She slowly nodded yes, as if afraid to speak and appear, from her client's point of view, to be talking to thin-air. I asked, “Are you psychic or something?” This time she spoke: “Yes.”

Then my consciousness disappeared altogether and I woke up in bed.

I didn't know what to make of this experience, and I'm still just as baffled by it today. I've never believed in time travel, and there are very few credible reports in the OBE literature. It's definitely an area worth exploring, but unfortunately, I've never had another OBE quite like it.

2012 December 19

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Four Out-of-Body States

by Bob Peterson

You are an out-of-body traveler. We all are. I agree with the majority of OBE authors that we pop out of our bodies every night during sleep. Of course, most of the time we're not aware of it because we're unconscious.

As a matter of fact, based on personal experience, I believe there are four distinct states in which our identity is separated from our body. It depends on whether or not we're conscious and whether or not we're hallucinating.

The four states are as follows:

1. Ordinary dream = unconscious + hallucinating

During ordinary dreams, we are outside our bodies, but as I said, we're not conscious, so we're not aware of what's happening. We also are hallucinating, which means we're watching and experiencing the fantasy dream-world that plays in front of us, which is a construct of our own mind. According to Sylvan Muldoon and others, while we're dreaming, we're usually floating a couple inches above our physical body, watching the dream hallucination play out. I've personally watched the entire creation of a dream from start to finish, so I've seen this first-hand. With dreams, the illusion takes on a life of its own and the dream progresses and tells a story within your mind, whether you want it to or not.

2. Shared dream = unconscious + not hallucinating

Some authors, most notably Robert Moss, have written about shared dream experiences. In these experiences, two or more people can, for example, meet in a well-known location, see the same things, do the same things. Later, when they're awake, they can describe the dream to one another, and verify what actually took place in the dream. It's as if they are sharing the same experience, in some objective non-physical reality, but they're unconscious. When they wake, they clearly remember the experience as a dream.

3. Lucid dream = conscious + hallucinating

Many people think OBEs are the same as lucid dreams, and I acknowledge that unless you've done them both and seen the qualitative difference yourself, it's hard to tell. In a lucid dream, you're completely conscious and you know you're dreaming. However, since you're hallucinating, your environment is an artificial construct of your own mind. Since it's a complex fantasy created by your own mind, you have complete control. You can make a dancing purple elephant appear if you want, and do so as a conscious act. You are God of that dream-world. Some people use it to enact elaborate sexual fantasies or deep mystical experiences, but still, you know it's not real, both during the experience and when you wake up.

4. Out-of-body experience = conscious + not hallucinating

OBEs, on the other hand, are also conscious experiences, but you're not hallucinating. Like waking reality, you know you're not dreaming. You can even transition from am lucid dream into an OBE by "waking up" from the lucid dream, or dissolving the dream hallucination. It can be tricky to do without waking up your body in the process. When you do, you can watch the illusion of the dream hallucination dissolve, and often find yourself floating comfortably above your physical body. I'm not saying that you see the physical world; I'm only saying that what you see is not a dream hallucination. Unlike a lucid dream, you can't easily manipulate the objects in front of you. In fact, except for traveling somewhere, things that happen are often unexpected and out of your control. If you want, you can sit there bored and nothing would happen; in other words, there isn't a story that keeps unfolding in front of you like there is in a dream.

Understanding the four out-of-body states is an important step in learning to control your consciousness and induce the various states.

11 December 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience by Graham Nicholls

By Bob Peterson

As I pointed out in my Sylvan Muldoon blog entry, one important key to having OBEs is convincing the subconscious mind to do it. For that reason, I've amassed a collection of more than 150 OBE books (OBE-only books, not including books on related subjects like NDEs). I like to re-read these books occasionally to keep both my conscious and subconscious motivated. Recently, I decided I should start writing about these books and what I got from them. That way, years from now, I can revisit the books and what I thought of them quickly, plus I can share my opinions on them with the world.

I recently finished reading Navigating the Out-of-Body experience: Radical New Techniques by Graham Nicholls. It's a very good book. Here's my report.

What I liked most about this book is the author's holistic approach to the subject. It's not a step-by-step "Here's what you've got to do" method to achieving an end. Rather, it views the human being as a system, and it talks about different factors that influence the system: diet, sleeping habits, meditation, subconscious programming, transforming beliefs, breath work, etc. The reader is urged to determine which personal profile best describes them, then they are given several techniques to mix and match, based on that profile.

Another good thing about the book is that the author takes a healthy and informed middle-ground between old-school (occult traditions) and new-school (pseudo-scientific). I've read way too many OBE books that peddle occult practices with "matter of fact" assumptions, most of which I dismiss as superstition. As in religion, it's hard to discern the grains of truth buried beneath the dogma. On the other hand, most other OBE books completely ignore the occult traditions, even though they may give us valuable history and insights.

At several points throughout the book, I found myself surprised that I had been doing many of the things Nicholls recommends for years, some of which I did with no regard to an OBE connection. A non-OBE related example is a "push hands" technique he gives, which I used to do when I practised Tai Chi Chuan years ago. Regarding OBEs, he extensively talks about manipulating visualized geometric shapes. He suggests moving visualized triangles, pyramids and spheres. In my first book, Out of Body Experiences, in chapter 24 "How to have an OBE" I recommend using a cube, which I sway back and forth toward you and away from you. In Lessons Out of the Body, I refined that a bit and suggested keeping the cube spinning to solidify the image. Often times I use an octahedron (which can be thought of as two pyramids glued top to bottom, similar to the 8-sided die used in role-playing games) in my visualizations.

I made another interesting observation. On page 186, Nicholls gives his "Introductory Vibrational State Technique" in which you imagine floating a beach ball in front of you, glowing with light and energy. Although he didn't say it, I immediately thought of repeatedly bouncing the ball up into the air. At some point you move it directly above your head. What strikes me about this technique is its similarity to Robert Monroe's technique, from Journeys Out of the Body, of visualizing two lines of force that are pushed outward, then pivoted to the point of being on top your head. In my technique, I use the cube or octahedron in a similar way, but I push it out and back rather than up in the air.

I thought the similarities between Monroe's technique, my technique and Nicholls' technique was pretty interesting. Really, these visualizations are all just ways to accomplish several things at the same time:

1. Focusing your mind inward.
2. Achieving a state of heightened focus.
3. Focusing psychic energy at the crown chakra.
4. Creating momentum to carry your awareness away from your body.
5. Creating a kind of pivot point, a fulcrum against which you can pry your awareness away from the body.
6. Calling the vibrations.

Nicholls also writes about time travel within OBEs, a subject that not many books have breached. In Lessons Out of the Body I mentioned that I had never had a time-travel OBE. That changed in 2001. But that's another story for another day.

The only thing negative I have to say about the book is the fact that I found the subtitle, "Radical New Techniques" a bit misleading. I found nothing radical in the techniques. As for "new" there are some good ideas. Some of these, such as audio-visual subconscious programming, ganzfeld, etc., are not new to parapsychology, but are a new approach to OBE. He suggests using immersion in the form of sensory deprivation, and while that's a great idea not covered in other books, my brother Joe was doing that in the 1980s with his own home-made float tank, so it wasn't new to me. Using physical exercise to shapen the mind while tiring the body is something I suggested in exercise 19 of my first book, but Nicholls carries it a bit further. He also talks about massage and partner exercises, which is a different approach. His 3D Tattva approach is very cool.

His approach was fresh and insightful. All in all, a very good book.

2012 December 5