Behind the Veil
by Daniel Kelley
Today I'm reviewing the book Behind the Veil: The Complete Guide to Conscious Sleep by Daniel Kelley. The author, Daniel Kelley, was kind enough to send me a copy of his book a couple months ago, and it's a good one. I put a lot of flags in the book, and that's a very good sign. The information is based on Kelley's twenty years of experience, so apparently he has good credentials.
Think of this book as the other side of the coin of my previous review. An Adjacent Place was all narratives and no techniques, whereas this one is all techniques and no narratives to speak of.
Kelley's goal is to teach you become a competent "Veiler." In other words, someone who lives life behind the veil. The theory is sound: most people spend 8 hours a day sleeping, so a third of their life is wasted. A true "Veiler" tries to squeeze 24 hours of consciousness, taking advantage of all stages of sleep.
So in one sense, this book isn't about Astral Projection or out-of-body experiences. It's about attaining conscious sleep. But it's a slow progression, and the ultimate result at the end is, in fact, astral projection.
The book is very systematic. It suggests a 120-day curriculum in which you learn new techniques every week, then put them into practice. Every week you become more proficient, and every lesson builds on the previous. So in that sense, the material is very well organized, concise, instructive, and even somewhat entertaining. Though I'm overly simplifying things, the progression goes something like this:
- Learn about dreams and the different dream types.
- Start keeping a dream journal.
- Develop internal energy (Chi / Qi) to fuel awareness.
- Make your dreams more vivid.
- Develop lucidity and make your dreams lucid.
- Develop conscious awareness during nREM sleep.
- Progress from lucid dreaming to astral projection.
- Progress from astral projection to astral travel.
Some of Kelley's techniques are fairly innovative and some are more traditional, but re-branded with a new name (or possibly an older name I'm not familiar with). It's almost like a movie with lots of twists and turns: It's very easy to miss things that are vitally important. For that reason, I actually recommend you read this book twice. The first time will give you a basic understanding, but you might get more benefit from the second reading where things may just "click" and make more sense.
Kelley won my heart right away. Early on, he states that he began practicing Tai Chi, and leaned toward Taoism, like I did in the early 1980s when I started having OBEs. I can't remember any other book in the genre that touts the virtues of Tai Chi. (Graham Nicholls teaches the "Push Hands" technique, and Robert Bruce teaches Taoist Chi / Qi circulation, so they're close).
Unlike most books in the genre, Kelley insists that not everyone is suited to be a Veiler. Like learning to play piano or any other skill, you can learn and practice the motions and techniques and make some accomplishments, but it really helps to have some level of built-in skill.
Throughout the book, he makes some very insightful observations. For example, he compares our consciousness to the weather. He writes:
"...the mind and it's [sic] objects are like the weather, whereas our overall consciousness is like the sky in which the changing weather occurs. The problem is that we tend to identify with the changing weather and forget that we're the unchanged sky." (pg. XX).Kelley has obviously done a lot of research on consciousness, and presents a good amount of science regarding sleep. He talks about the details of brain waves, brain hormones, sleep cycles, and neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to rewire itself. Kelley says:
"The take-home message is this: Unless you rewire yourself to make it happen, you won't succeed." (pg. XX)
He admits upfront that:
"Many of the methods offered here are pulled directly from the Taoist, Yogic, Tibetan, and Tantric traditions I've personally used in my own quest." (pg. XX)He talks about Taoist meditation, embryonic breathing, Chi/Qi circulation; the same "microcosmic" and "grand circulation" orbits I learned in Tai Chi as an energy building exercise. He doesn't teach Tai Chi or Qi Gong per se, but he teaches the energy systems they use, and he goes into good detail about them.
He doesn't call out the WBTB (Wake Back To Bed) but he suggests a similar thing: wake up and practice at 4:00am.
He also stresses that:
"It's your consistent and firm intention to step behind the Veil that unlocks the mysteries behind it!" (pg. XX)However:
"When trying to grasp the Trance state it helps to know that intention isn't the same thing as effort. An intention carries it's [sic] own energy and that energy has a movement all its own. Effort, on the other hand, is a form of tension. Obviously, there's a place where effort is needed, but when it comes to the attaining of Trance, manipulating Qi, or going Astral, it only gets in the way." (pg. XX)Kelley has some very unique ideas that are not found in other books in the genre. Here a some examples of unique ideas from this book:
- He says the ideal position is keeping the upper body at a 45-degree angle, much like a hospital bed. Too often, we're pre-programmed to fall asleep whenever we're lying down, so this helps to retain consciousness.
- Unlike other books in the genre, Kelley talks about the different veils. He says lucid dreaming is related to the "Veil of Dreams" whereas the veil related to astral projection is "The Veil of Ghosts." Cool name, but unfortunately he doesn't go into much detail about these labels.
- I have my own theory about the four OBE states, but Kelley sees awareness mostly as a progression of states. For example, he says the Physical has more in common with the Etheric, and the Dream has more in common with the astral.
- He recommends you completely ignore exit-symptoms. He says to pay no attention whatsoever to the vibrations, voices, or visions.
- He talks about "The Psychic Mote" which is a psychological wall that forms between the part of us that perceives subtle-realm experiences and the part that interprets those perceptions.
- He talks about how many people have simple blockages or bad habits that keep them from OBEs, such as drinking too much coffee, consuming too much alcohol, or eating too close to bedtime.
- He talks about neurotropic supplements like Huperzine, L-Theanine, etc.: a subject sorely lacking in most OBE books.
- He introduces an exercise called "Channeling Intensity" which is kind of like intensifying your awareness, feelings and raw emotions, so that you feel everything more deeply.
- Sharpening your imagination, trying to create a sense of realism. For example, don't just imagine a scene. Imagine you're staring into the scene.
- Working on intensifying your imagination one sense at a time: focusing on sight one time, sound another time, touch another time, etc.
- He talks about three different levels of lucid dreaming, LD-1, LD-2, LD-3.
- He talks about four different levels of pellucid dreaming: PD-1 thru 4.
- He talks about training the dissociative reflex.
Another thing I liked: In my first book, I described childhood experiences in which my consciousness would shrink to an incredibly small size, which terrified me: I remember watching a single grain of salt tower over me. Kelley described a similar thing:
"The image of a huge boulder rolling over a toothpick comes to mind, but that's not quite it. It's as if your very soul is rapidly shrinking to the point where at any moment it'll be extinguished. In its place grows a terrifying feeling of fear and amnesia followed by blackouts and a pervasive sense of danger." (pg. XXX).
The book is fairly big. I can't tell you exactly how many pages because--and this is the book's only shortcoming--it has no page numbers! But bear in mind I got a pre-release copy; the book has since been professionally edited. So I expect that to have changed. The book is about a half-inch (1.25 cm) thick, but wider and taller than most books. The footprint is about the same as Nanci Trivellato's book, but not as thick. So there's a good amount of content.
The writing is very good. Mature. The grammar, spelling and organization are almost professional quality. Only a few cases of "its" versus "it's" that should hopefully be fixed in the final version. Kelley obviously took a lot of time and care with this book.
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's a great book, very innovative, and well worth the money.
29 May 2018