Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: Out-of-Body Exploring by Preston Dennett

Review: Out-of-Body Exploring

by Preston Dennett

Not long ago I went into my metaphysical library and spotted an OBE book I couldn't recall ever reading. It was from 2004, a book called Out-of-Body Exploring by Preston Dennett. I just finished it, and here's my review.

First of all, there's a good amount of content. This is not one of those lightweight OBE books. It's 182 pages. The font is a little on the small size, but that's a good thing: there is lots of information packed in, and no wasted space.

I liked Dennett's style and what he was saying right from the start. First, he agreed that OBEs and Lucid Dreams are two distinct things, although they're related. As early as page 2, he states:
"The main difference between the two, I think, is that with out-of- body experiences, you perceive the environment outside of you as being externally created and independent of mental influences. In lucid dreams, your environment is internally created, and is composed of mental projections." (pg. 2)
That's very well put and it's what I've been saying for years. Later, he echoes my sentiments exactly:
 "In the lucid-dream state, we become aware that we are in fact manifesting our thoughts, and we can manipulate the dream state, thereby exploring the inner world. The out-of-body state is the flip side--you explore the outer world." (pg. 45)
Another important point he makes is that it's easy to transition from a lucid dream to an OBE. So one way to have an OBE is to first induce a Lucid Dream, then dispel the self-created hallucination of the dream. He offers solid advice on the first part, inducing the lucid dream:
"I am convinced that critical thinking is essential to becoming lucid and having out-of-body experiences. By keeping a constant awareness of where you are and what you are doing, you carry this attitude into the dream state, and hopefully not only remember what you are doing, but become aware of it while it is happening." (pg. 10)

He also talks about inducing OBEs that don't start as LDs. For example:
"What worked best for me seems to be a combination of intense willpower, desire, focus and intent. Only by obsessing myself with the subject was I able to generate out-of-body events." (pg. 8)
This goes back to the subject of motivating the subconscious mind. That's why I like to read so many OBE books: it feeds my obsession and keeps my subconscious mind trained on the idea of leaving my body. It really does help, especially for beginners.

Dennett gives lots of very short OBE narrations to illustrate the points he makes. It's not only effective at driving his point home, it also brings OBE images to your mind that influence and motivate your subconscious. I really appreciate that, and it's uncommon in the genre. I can't stress this point enough: Reading OBE narrations like this makes you imagine yourself in out-of-body scenarios, and that goes straight to your subconscious mind and helps make OBEs more likely.

In the beginning, many of his narrations illustrate the same kind of beginner problems I wrote about, like (1) difficulty maintaining lucidity and control, (2) encountering barriers, (3) learning to control emotions, (4) the almost irresistible joy of flying, and so forth. That gave the book a feeling of genuineness. It was quite amusing to hear about his playfully gobbling up astral food or going berserk and destroying things in a grocery store. At least until he learned control.

The book has many fascinating experiments, ranging from the simple to the complex. Some of his many experiments include trying to sing, making his astral arms melt away, trying to visit the site of the Titanic, flying to the moon, visiting the Akashic library, time travel, talking to his dead mom, trying to meet God, and many many more. They're all very fascinating. It's not simple wish-fulfillment or fantasy, because most of the experiments yielded unexpected results and in many cases, he did not achieve his goal.

One of his experiments had veridical evidence: on page 75, he described flying under a bridge at the L.A. river which has banks lined with concrete. In the out-of-body state, he saw what looked like two feet of dirt lining the banks. After the OBE, he visited the site physically and was shocked to find dirt lining the banks at that exact spot. This seemed to suggest that his OBE was "real" because what he witnessed directly contradicted both his knowledge and his expectations.

Also, I like his style. Dennett isn't dictating facts as an expert. He writes like we're all on the same team, and he often quotes several other OBE authors (William Buhlman, Robert Bruce, Sylvan Muldoon, and much to my surprise, even me!) to explain a point. It makes the discussion seem very homogeneous and not self-centered.

Dennett gives some very good (but basic) advice for achieving OBEs. He crams it in a bit tight, but it's more than most. He includes several basic foundations (such as relaxation) and techniques found in other books, plus a few of his own tricks, such as "The Flash" where you imagine that you are running extremely fast, like the comic book (& movie) character The Flash. It was solid, although it could have been twice as long.

The part I liked best (besides the narrations) was actually the epilogue. It's kind of like an "Oh my God, I almost forgot to say this" section. He tightly crams a lot of spiritual stuff in that one small chapter. Here's just one small example to give you the flavor:
"Today, nearly twenty years of out-of-body experiences has taught me many things. Like most projectors, I learned early on that privacy is an illusion. I learned that the universe is far more vast than I can possibly imagine. I learned that beliefs unsupported by experience can lead to delusion and retard your spiritual growth. I learned that thoughts and emotions have far-reaching effects." (pg. 174)

From the office of the grammar Nazi: this book is very well written, clear, concise, and easy to understand. The flow and organization are professional. Its grammar and spelling at both perfect; I did not find one single mistake or typo, and believe me, that's very rare indeed.

I really enjoyed this OBE book and give it a big thumbs up.

25 November 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bob's Top Ten OBE Books

Bob Peterson's Top 10 OBE Books

by Bob Peterson
11 November 2014

I've been doing OBE book reviews for two years now. I've done 32 to date. That's still only 18 percent of my collection, which is now up to 175 OBE books. That's just OBE books and does not include books on NDEs, lucid dreaming, remote viewing or other peripheral topics.

Someone recently asked me what my top ten OBE books were, so I thought I'd try to figure that out. It's really a tough call because there are different categories of OBE books. I love some of them for their spirituality, some for their scientific analysis, some for their narrations. So it's really hard to quantify; it would be much easier to give my top 3 of several categories, but I'll do my best.

Just a reminder that this is a moving target: I may have to revise my picks as I keep reading and reviewing books.
1.  Multidimensional Man by Jurgen Ziewe
When it comes right down to it, I guess this is my number one favorite OBE book. I loved it for its spirituality. Ziewe really pushes the OBE to the limits and shows us where it can take us, spiritually. It doesn't have a very scientific approach, but it is an excellent view of the non-physical dimensions. In my book review, I wrote something to the effect that if this book had been written 2000 years ago, it would have changed the course of history and the face of the world's religions. I think today's religions are mostly based on ancient people's OBEs and their opinions of the afterlife, but its been clouded by the distortions of time and language. Today they're so cast in stone that people are unwilling to examine the evidence on which these beliefs are actually based. This book exposes the afterlife for what it is: a multidimensional multiverse. And if today's religions had been based on it, I'm convinced this would be a happier, more enlightened world. It's truly inspiring. Its biggest shortcomings are the lack of scientific method and lack of instructions.
2. Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe

This is the book that started it all for me, so I have a certain fondness and nostalgia for it. It has a more analytical approach to the OBE. This is a book of discovery. Monroe stumbled onto the OBE by accident and explored it in depth. He didn't judge it. Like an explorer standing on the brink of a new world, he explained what he had encountered and what he could conclude from it. I loved his scientific approach. He used plenty of examples and his personal OBE narratives to make points. Best of all, he said not to take his word for it, but to try it yourself; that's the best proof. It's well worth reading. I view this book as the 1970's answer to Muldoon's first book (#3).
3. The Projection of the Astral Body by Sylvan Muldoon & Carrington

This is one of the earliest books ever written about the out-of-body experience, from the 1920s. Muldoon had lots of OBEs and he explored the state in great detail. He did this at a time when little was really known about the subject. Looking at the subject objectively (as opposed to the occultism of his contemporaries), he blazed a trail for all of us and reported his findings. I'm sure Monroe read this book when he started having OBEs, and it influenced him greatly. It was groundbreaking and fundamental in our modern understanding of the OBE, and is still very much relevant.
4. Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman

I kind of view this book as the 1990's answer to Monroe's first book (#2). Like Muldoon and Monroe before him, Buhlman gives OBE narratives and explains what he discovered in his numerous OBEs. He points out many things that aren't explained well in prior books. This book was published around the same time my first book, which I wrote for the same reasons: to point out observations overlooked by most OBE books. Since our books point out many of the same things, I've always said that if it had been published two or three years earlier, I might not have felt the need to write mine.
5. Astral Dynamics by Robert Bruce

Aussie Robert Bruce was on the Internet promoting OBEs and methods to achieve it for a long time (for free) before publishing this book. It quickly became a classic. The book is big and chock full of good solid information about the subject. He approaches the subject with a certain amount of occult lore (and possibly some superstition) and I don't agree with everything he says, but he is an expert at OBEs and his methods are valid. This is a must-have for every OBE book collection.
6. Explorations In Consciousness by Frederick Aardema

I loved this book, probably because it shares many of the same traits as Monroe's, Muldoon's and Buhlman's. It's one of the most underrated OBE books in the genre. Aardema induced numerous OBEs, did many very creative experiments and took OBEs further--scientifically--than the others. His narratives and discoveries were fascinating, insightful and unique. He approaches the OBE with the heart of an explorer, but the critical mind of a scientist. It displays incredible insight into the OBE.

7. Out of Body Experiences by Akhena

Akhena has been described as the William Buhlman of France. She's been teaching OBEs for a very long time. She's adept and very knowledgeable. Her book contains some of the best evidence in the genre to indicate that OBEs are "real." It's big, and it's good. Its only shortcoming is some minor grammatical issues. Don't let that stop you from buying it.
8. Leaving the Body by D. Scott Rogo

This book is not very big, but it's entirely dedicated to presenting OBE tips and techniques, and it explains them well. It goes into the background or history of each technique, explains how to do it, and why it works. If you want to learn how to induce OBEs, this book is a good place to start.
9. Soul Traveler by Albert Taylor

It's been many years since I read Dr. Taylor's book, but I remember I was impressed (and as an long-time OBEr, it takes a lot to impress me). Dr. Taylor was an aeronautical engineer and scientist working on top secret government projects (such as the F-117A Stealth Fighter) when he came across out-of-body experiences. He prefers to call it "soul travel" (I don't think it's related to Eckankar which uses the same term). Taylor gave up his high-dollar career in engineering to focus on exploring OBEs and doing motivational speaking and many other things. To my knowledge, this book is the only pure-OBE book to reach #1 on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list. (I could be wrong about that). I've met Al and heard him speak in front of audiences, and he's very inspiring.
10. Out of Body Experiences by Robert Peterson

I gave this a lot of thought: Should I include my own book in the list, or will that be tacky? People who know me know that I'm not arrogant. And I'm not trying to sell you a book here: The entire text of this book is available on my website for free. I wrote the book between 1986 and 1995 (published in 1997) because I felt like the OBE books available at the time were inadequate: There was so much overlooked, so much more that needed to be said. So I wrote the book to be as good as I could. The problem now is that it's dated. There have been a lot of good OBE books written since, and they fill in a lot of the gaps I thought needed filling. Buhlman's, Bruce's, Aardema's, Akhena's, Ziewe's and many others were all published after this one, and probably do a better job. Still, I put my heart and soul into this book, so it's still one of my favorites. Besides, it's my list and I'm allowed to like my own book! If I didn't like it, I wouldn't have put my name on it.

There are lots of other good OBE books out there. This list is by no means exhaustive and it doesn't mean the others are bad. It just means these are my top picks.

Bob Peterson
11 November 2014