Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Onion Ring

The Onion Ring

By Robert Peterson

Kathy and I drove to Wisconsin last weekend to visit her father. We knew the drive was long--more than seven hours--so we didn't want to stop very long for dinner. As much as Kathy hates fast food, we decided to expedite the trip and stop at the Hardee's restaurant in Hinckley, Minnesota. Among other things, I ordered some onion rings, and they were the first item to be delivered.

As we stood in the restaurant waiting for the rest of our order to be filled, I reached inside the box and pulled out an onion ring. I'd never seen an onion ring like this: it had a bridge of batter on the inside.

I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Anyone who has read my book Answers Within will tell you that I love to find spiritual metaphors in everything around me. The Universe is sending us messages all the time, disguised as ordinary things; we just need to pay attention to the signs.

So when I looked at this odd onion ring, I immediately thought that it resembled the Greek letter Theta. That made me think of Theta brain waves, which signify the bridge between sleeping and waking. Often, out-of-body experiences occur during Theta sleep. Was the Universe telling me something? Perhaps to focus more on my theta brain waves?

But maybe it wasn't a Theta after all. It seemed to me that the onion ring also looked kind of like the Greek letter Omega, in lower case. In the Bible, Revelation 1:8, God reportedly said, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" so maybe this was a message from God: We are infinite beings, and we can stretch our consciousness to infinity.

I pondered all these deep thoughts, then I pointed to the onion ring and said, "Hey, look at this onion ring!"

Kathy saw the ordinary object with an unusual feature. "So?"

The cashier gave a bubbly laugh and said, "That's a 'Do Not' symbol! You know: a circle with a diagonal slash through it." Realizing the negativity she was implying, she added, "It means 'Do not leave the store without eating it!'" and we all laughed.

I pondered how remarkable it was that we can all see the same things, and yet interpret them different ways. I chose to see the OBE potential, the spiritual--even God--in that simple onion ring. Kathy chose to see the ordinary; the food. The cashier chose to see a message of negativity, and then she had to release everyone from her negativity.

As the metal band Savatage puts it, you "see what you want to see". You do it all throughout your life. You can choose to see the negative, the positive, or even the sacred in all things. And all those thoughts will draw you to negative, positive or even sacred experiences.

2013 May 30

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Should I Say to the World?

What Should I Say to the World?

by Robert Peterson

Due to its sales history, my publisher, Red Wheel/Weiser/Hampton Roads recently published a second edition of my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect. I was thrilled. Naturally, they wanted me to help them promote the book so they could make some money on the deal. I've never been all that interested in the money or self-promotion, but getting my message out is important, so I agreed.

I was contacted by Red Wheel's publicist, an enthusiastic woman named Kat. She asked me to call the producers of the famous radio show Coast to Coast AM, and somehow between the two of us, I managed to get on their schedule.

I remembered back in March, 1999 when I met William Buhlman (author of Adventures Beyond the Body), Albert Taylor (author of Soul Traveler) and Patricia Leva (author of Traveling the Interstate of Consciousness). Buhlman and Taylor had both been on c2c several times when the host was still Art Bell. They told me, "Bob, you should send them your info and try to get on the show!"

After that I was all fired up with enthusiasm. I sent Coast to Coast emails, resumes, credentials, even a copy of my book. Unfortunately, I never got a response. Not even a thank you. Oh, I did probably a dozen or more other radio interviews, but I never got on c2c; that was the holy grail. Well, it's probably just as well, I told myself; I'm not a polished speaker like Buhlman, Taylor or Leva.

Fast-forward fourteen years, and I was going to be on the show. Despite the large audience, I wasn't nervous at all. In 1999, I would have been. But while I was waiting for the night of the show, I kept thinking to myself: This is my chance to speak to the world, maybe even change the world. I may not get another chance like this. It might be my only chance to give a message to the world; my proverbial 15 minutes of fame, my last and final message. So what should I say?

My friends know I've got thousands of song lyrics locked inside my head, and music plays a big role in my life. So I remembered a song by the 80s hair band Poison called The Last Song, that posed a similar question. Some of the lyrics went like this:
If this were my last breath,
Or my last day,
My last chance,
This is what I'd say:

I thank you for the laughter,
Sorry for the tears,
Time to say goodbye,
After all these years
The metal band Megadeth had a different solution to the problem. In their well-known song A Tout Le Monde, Dave Mustain's last words are:
A tout le monde (To all the world)
A tout mes amis (To all my friends)
Je vous aime (I love you)
Je dois partir (I must leave)
I liked that so much, I quoted it in my novel, The Gospel According to Mike.

My life has been such a jumbled collection of lessons, I didn't even know where to begin. Ever since my first out-of-body experience, OBEs have been my passion, so the most prominent message, of course, is: "You are more than your physical body." But with that knowledge comes enormous implications. I could think of ten lessons off the top of my head, all worthy of a last message:

The first lesson is that prejudice is just stupidity because we're all just souls. When you're out-of-body, you're not black, white, yellow or red; that's your physical body. You're not male or female, straight or gay, old or young; that's your physical body. Judge a person by his or her character, his or her soul, not their physical body.

The second lesson is that there is no death; it's only a shedding of the physical body, that's all. There's nothing to fear, and nothing to cry about. It's like changing into your pajamas before bed.

The third lesson is that materialism, hoarding and consumerism are futile and a waste of time. You can't take anything with you but your experiences, your life-lessons and your love. Got it?

The fourth lesson is that your time is not infinite; OBEs or not, sooner or later you're going to have to leave that physical body. So you better stop wasting your time and do what you came here to do.

The fifth lesson is that you are infinite. When you're out of body, you can go anywhere and do anything. You have no limitations.

The sixth lesson is that privacy is an illusion. When you're out of body, you can silently witness people's private lives. In fact, there have been times when I've left my body and found my bedroom crowded with spirits. You might think you're alone, but you're not. When you do something immoral, eyes are watching you all the time.

The seventh lesson is like the sixth: You are never alone. So even when you're depressed and feeling like you're alone in the world, it's not true. Not by a long shot. You're surrounded by loving spirits all the time.

The eighth lesson is that death is not a tragedy. So your loved one has died, and you miss them, and that hurts. It's not this huge tragic thing; in most cases they're still right there beside you, but you can't see them. They can hear you, but it's not their fault you can't hear them!

The ninth lesson is that visiting someone's grave is useless: believe me, your dearly departed is not lying in a hole in the floor of the cemetery, waiting for you to visit. That's just their decaying physical body. They're not in it anymore! If you want to talk to them, just talk to them here, now!

The tenth lesson is not to believe everything you're told by the religious authorities. The sum of our beliefs in the afterlife are all based on someone else's out-of-body experiences. For the most part, organized religion is a game of power and control. Don't let anyone tell you what to believe; you have the power to go out and find out for yourself, so do it.

My OBEs have taught me so much. How could I pick just one for a final message?

Then I remembered my "parting message" from chapter 13 of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body. The chapter is called "A Parting Gift" and it was all about a powerful dream I once had where I dreamed that I died. My final message to the world was, and I quote: "Love!" And compacted into that final word came multiple meanings: Love is the most important thing. Love God. Love one another. I love you all. Love is eternal. On and on.

My inner voice finally stepped in and simply said, "Don't worry about a message; Just be yourself." Sage advice. And I think the show went very well.

May 22, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Less Incomplete by Sandie Gustus

Less Incomplete by Sandie Gustus

Book review by Bob Peterson

I just finished reading the book Less Incomplete: A Guide to Experiencing The Human Condition Beyond the Physical Body by Sandie Gustus, and wanted to share my thoughts.

Sandie Gustus is another instructor and proponent of the IAC, the International Academy of Consciousness, which is a non-profit organization based on the work of Waldo Vieira. The IAC teaches out-of-body experiences and explorations of consciousness. They approach this as scientifically as they can, preferring to call them "projectiology" and "conscientiology" respectively.

As I was reading the first half of the book, it struck me as too much like Luis Minero's book, Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience, but as I got deeper into the book, I revised my thinking. Yes, Gustus comes from the same perspective as Minero, but it's much more personable. Minero's book reads like a text book, with lots of new off-putting terminology (the information, however, is good). Gustus's book only uses the new IAC terminology sparingly, and subtly (and I was grateful for that). In my opinion, it's a bit easier to read for that reason. And it's very well written. She's a good writer.

Again, this is my opinion only: Like Minero's book, this one spends way too much time on peripheral topics: intrusion, bioenergy, karma, reincarnation, precognition, retrocognition, past lives, the evolution of consciousness, life plans, holomaturity (basically, ethics), and so forth. She even talks about finding your life's purpose. Yes, the information is good. Yes, it's important, but when you buy an OBE book, you want to read about OBEs, not other topics. I kept reading and reading, waiting for her to "get to the good stuff" but it took a very long time to get there. Maybe I was just impatient because I had recently read Minero's book and he had covered a lot of the same topics.

That's not to say there wasn't good OBE-related content. She had good information on the non-physical bodies, non-physical beings, and the importance of energy work. She definitely filled in some blanks left by Minero's book, such as preparing for an OBE, places that you shouldn't visit out-of-body, beings you should not approach while out-of-body, and such.

Gustus also gives some solid projection techniques, but in my opinion, she could have had a lot more. It was all pretty basic stuff. She did, however, have a lot of good common-sense tips above and beyond those in Minero's book.

One thing I found disappointing was the lack of personal point-of-view. It's clear from Minero's book that he's had many out-of-body experiences and he even shares some of them, which gives his book a certain feeling of authenticity. With Gustus's book, there are no personal OBE stories, and no personal perspective, so I didn't feel "close" to the author as a fellow experiencer. I was left wondering if she even did OBEs herself, or if she was just teaching them (i.e. if it was all "book learning"). In my opinion, a more personal perspective would have made the book better. Full disclosure: I've never taken a class from Gustus, Minero, or the IAC. People who have would likely gain that personal perspective, and not share my disappointment.

I'd have to say: yes, this is a good book. It's certainly better than many I've read. It's more "user friendly" than Minero's book (which is also good), but in my opinion, both spend way too much time on side-topics.

It's good to get the IAC perspective and approach to out-of-body experiences. The average reader probably doesn't need to read both books, since a lot of the material is similar. At this point, it would be hard to choose which one is better. Minero's book has more information and good solid references to back up his statements. Gustus's book is easier to read and doesn't get bogged down in terminology. Pick one. Flip a coin, or whatever you have to do, but read at least one of them. Or, if you're a fanatic like me, read them both!

2013 May 08