Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Review: Out of the Body Experiences

Review: Out of the Body Experiences

by Robert Alvery

Today I'm reviewing the book Out of the Body Experiences by Robert Alvery.

This is a very obscure and hard-to-find OBE book that is copyright 1975.

The author, Robert Alvery, was a salesman in the UK who grew up in the early 1910s or so. In 1933, he became a spiritual healer, eventually joining the Spiritualist Church. He hooked up with his teacher, a spirit medium by the name of Estelle Roberts, and received much of his OBE training from her spirit guide, Red Cloud.

He had many out-of-body experiences, some of which are in the book. A few of them involved him meeting with dead loved ones, like his brother who had died several years prior. He makes some interesting observations. For example, he looked for his silver cord and never found it, even though he fully expected it to be there. Unfortunately, most of his OBEs were not very interesting, at least to me.

At the time this book was written, there weren't many books about astral projection. He didn't get around to reading Sylvan Muldoon's book until around 1965, but he was unclear which of Muldoon's three books he read. Alvery simply calls it "Astral Projection" but it could have been any of the three Muldoon books:
  • The Projection of the Astral Body
  • The Case for Astral Projection
  • The Phenomena of Astral Projection
But before all that, Alvery became part of a Spiritualist healing circle, and decided to try some interesting experiments. Using hypnosis, he started putting his patients into a deep trance, then he would instruct them to go out-of-body and explore while the circle did their healing. Some of the patients came back with interesting stories of being out-of-body, many of which are in the book. Some of these OBEs had veridical evidence to suggest the OBEs were "real" although more modern books have better evidence (Graham Nicholls' books come to mind).

I found this quote interesting:
"These Laws [of being able to leave the body] must not be misused and it is for safety's sake most necessary that intelligences in the next world should control all out of the body experiences for us amateurs." (pg. 99)
In other words, Alvery thinks OBEs should always be controlled by spirits, not by us. Unfortunately, I didn't find much else of interest.

The book seems somewhat disorganized and rambling. It reads almost like some kind of strange manifesto. He goes from saying logical things like:
"Make no mistake about the fact that what stupid people call magic and miracles are but the operation of laws they do not yet understand." (pg. 97)
But then he randomly cites references in the Bible related to dreams, visions, and spirit visitations, which I didn't think were relevant.

The book is 118 pages long with small margins and tiny font, so there's actually a lot of content packed into a small package. The spelling and grammar are top-notch, although I did find one mistake. His British English is somewhat encumbered and hard to read, although I've seen much worse. I only had to look up two words in the dictionary. One of them was "groyne" which is apparently an alternate spelling of "groin."

There are absolutely no OBE techniques, tips or suggestions in there. It's simply a collection of OBE narratives from both him and patients of his healing circle. And not very interesting narratives at that. But it is interesting from a historical perspective, given the book's age.

If you're looking for OBE narratives, I recommend Jurgen Ziewe's book Multidimensional Man instead.

I'll give the book 3 out of 5 stars.

Bob Peterson
10 September 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Should I Share My OBEs With Friends?

Should I Share My OBEs With Friends?

by Bob Peterson

I recently saw a very good question on one of the astral projection Facebook groups:
"Should I share my astral projections / out-of-body experiences with friends or family?"
Let me tell you what happened to me.

Telling My Family

In my first book, I wrote about how I got into OBEs when my brother, Joe, bought Robert Monroe's first book, Journeys Out of the Body for my dad in 1979. My dad didn't talk about the book, but I borrowed it from him and read it. To say it profoundly impacted my life is certainly an understatement! It shook my entire world view to the core and my life was never the same again. I was only 18; just out of high school and into college.

I felt like I had literally just set foot in an undiscovered new non-physical world, so naturally, I wanted to share my new profound discovery.

I knew I couldn't share my OBEs with my mom. She was Catholic, and went to church every Sunday. I figured she'd think I was playing with fire, putting my soul at risk, or dancing with the Devil. And at that point, I had had some pretty scary things happen, so my stories would only scare her more, and she didn't need that.

At one point, I tried to tell my dad. He had read Monroe's book, and books on Edgar Cayce, so he leaned toward the metaphysical. Unfortunately, he really didn't seem interested. He kind of brushed me off. I was the youngest of five kids, and his life was busy, so he really didn't seem to want to talk about it.

I knew Joe would be more receptive to the concept; he had studied (but not practiced) Esoterica and occultism all his life (and hey, he still does: visit esotericarchives.com if this interests you.), so I told him and his wife about my first few OBEs.

At first, they seemed to believe me. They acted excited and wanted to try it themselves. They tried a lot of techniques, but didn't get the results I had. To their credit, they even leveled up and built a full-sized working flotation tank in the spare bedroom of their apartment. In the end I think they may have induced one or two OBEs, but it was a struggle. Eventually they gave up, and at that point, I didn't have enough experience or know-how to help them.

After sharing a few of my OBEs with them, they started giving me "the look." They never actually said anything negative, of course. It was all non-verbal communication. Maybe it meant they didn't believe me, they doubted my sanity, or worse, they thought I was hallucinating or losing touch with reality. It's more likely just that they thought I was just making it all up to get attention. Either way, it was a negative reaction, so I vowed to shut up and keep my experiences to myself. I never shared another OBE with them.

My other brothers were out of state and I thought my sister wouldn't be receptive to it at all. I knew I could only tell one person: myself. I wrote my OBEs down in a spiritual journal. When that was full, I filled another, then another, and another. And I vowed not to talk about it unless I knew for sure the person was receptive to it.
Even when my first book was published many years later, I was still afraid of "the look" and how my family would react. I never told them about the book, but eventually they found out anyway. Surprisingly, my mom was very supportive. She didn't talk about my OBEs, but she said she was proud of me for writing a book, and hugged me.

It's still hard for me to talk about my OBEs with my family.

Telling My Friends

As the months passed, I became more and more desperate to talk to someone--anyone--about my OBEs, which were piling up rapidly.

One day I was walking through the University of Minnesota campus toward my Physics 1001 class with my best buddy in college; a blunt, smart, and crude man named John Fitzsimmons. He had a brilliant mind, but he disrespected all women and referred to them all (including his sister and mother) as c*nts. In a moment of fool-hearted bravery, I mustered all my courage and told him about my OBEs as we walked.

At first, John listened patiently, then he stopped abruptly. He spun me around, put his hands on my shoulders and looked deep into my eyes. He didn't say a word. He just looked into my eyes. I asked, "What are you doing?" He said, "Trying to figure out if you're serious." Then he looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. Then we continued walking in an uncomfortable silence.

Finally I said, "You know me, Fitz. You're my best friend. I'd never lie to you. Do you believe me?" He stopped and stared into my eyes again. Then, after an uncomfortable pause, he said, "You know I don't believe in all that crap. But I believe that you believe it happened."

That was basically when our friendship ended. I wasn't hurt that John didn't believe me. I wasn't even looking for his support. I just needed to tell someone. But at that point I had to face the stark fact that John are I were just too different: He was a staunch materialist, and like it or not, I was becoming more and more spiritual. By force, it seemed. He was a stubborn student of physics, and I had seen firsthand proof of a non-physical world with my own non-physical eyes.

At that point a light bulb came on. I realized I didn't have to put up with his misogynistic rants and negativity. I asked myself, What do we have in common? Not much. Thus ended our friendship. John and I didn't have a fight or a falling-out; it's just that I got busy, he got busy, and we never went out of our way to hang out together anymore.

It was about that time I joined a student-organization called MSPR: the Minnesota Society for Parapsychological Research. There I met good friends who were more receptive to my OBEs. When one door closes, another one opens, right?


Many years ago I got an email from a woman who told me her story. She said she made the mistake of talking to her family about her out-of-body experiences. To make a long story short, her family did an "intervention" and had her committed to an insane asylum where she was forcibly held and over-medicated. She remained in captivity for more than five years until they finally decided she was not a danger to herself or anyone else. She deeply regretted having told anyone about her experiences and gave me a stern warning to keep my mouth shut and never share any stories with anyone. It would have saved her five years of her life.

Robert Monroe's doctors found him quite sane, so I wasn't too worried about my mental health. It wasn't for another few years that I obtained Gabbard and Twemlow's book With the Eyes of the Mind which analyzed in detail just how "sane" OBEs are [I had to write to the publisher to buy a copy. And in case you're wondering: No, OBEs have nothing to do with insanity. But that topic is beyond the scope of this article.] Still, her warning was a stark reminder not to go blabbing about them to just anyone.

Of course, that didn't stop me from publishing a damn book about it and telling the whole world, right? But by then, times had changed and people were a little more receptive to the idea. And by then, I didn't give a crap what people thought of me. Talk about facing fears! But I digress...

Religious Conservatives

Obviously, if you were raised by religious conservatives, you should probably keep your experiences to yourself and not share. You can almost guarantee they're going to judge you and try to tell you it's a sin, or the work of Satan, despite the fact that there's absolutely no evidence to back up that statement. It doesn't matter if they're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other religion. A closed mind is a closed mind, so don't waste your time.

Of course, I make one exception to the rule, and that is for Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and any other religious zealots who come to my door to peddle their religion. That's when I let the crazy out! I tell those...ahem...bastards... everything!
"Let me ask you something: Would you rather watch a ball game on television or live at a stadium? Would you rather hear your favorite artist on the radio or at a live concert? Okay...So would you rather read about Jesus Christ in the Bible or meet him in person? Have faith in him, or shake his hand and give him a hug?"

"When it comes to building your house, whose advice would you trust more: a guy at Home Depot who's done it themselves, or a guy who wrote a book about it two thousand years ago? Okay...Now what about a religious experience?..."
You get the idea. Have fun with those guys! Don't hold back. You may just open their minds. Just be sure you know the Bible better than they do. (I almost always do, and I often send them home with Bible homework!)


So if you feel like sharing your out-of-body stories, my advice is: be cautious and know your audience. Make sure they'll be receptive. Most people are still not ready for the truth.

It's frustrating not being able to tell anyone about your OBEs. It can be lonely as hell. As someone recently pointed out, it's not a good conversation starter for a first date!

Sometimes it reminds me of the old Black Sabbath song, "Lonely Is the Word" from the Ronnie James Dio era:
"I've been higher than stardust
I've been seen upon the sun
I used to count in millions then
But now I only count in one
Come on, join the traveler
If you got nowhere to go
Hang your head and take my hand
It's the only road I know
Yeah, lonely is the word"

Bob Peterson
27 August 2019

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Review: Fast Astral Projection for Beginners

Review: Fast Astral Projection for Beginners

by Didi Clarke

Today I'm reviewing the book Fast Astral Projection for Beginners: Your Guidebook of Astral Traveling Techniques by Didi Clarke.

In my opinion, this is a run-of-the-mill self-published astral projection book with nothing to distinguish itself and nothing significant to add to the genre. I have the same gripes about this book as I have many others like it:
  • It's way too short, at just 58 pages, although the last 10 are just promotion of her other books.
  • She doesn't seem to speak from personal experience and gives no narratives or examples of her experiences in astral projection.
  • Her techniques are basically a parroting of other techniques, and not explained as well as the original versions.
  • There are no unique new ideas or techniques.
Clarke gives four astral projection techniques:
  • The rope technique, but a poorly implemented visualization-oriented version, unlike Robert Bruce's original technique that uses only "tactile imagination." Clarke actually asserts that the "rope" you use to escape your body is the "silver cord" so many talk about. Well...as far as I know, that's pure fabrication. I don't recall anyone else in the genre who asserts this. As far as I'm concerned, the rope itself is pure imagination: a device to trick your mind out of it normal physical paradigm and into the OBE paradigm.
  • The Monroe Method, but again, not explained as well as Monroe did. This is not Monroe's "Lines of Force" technique that I've talked about in the past, but another.
  • The Point-Shift Method, which is just trying to shift your point of view to a slightly relocated point of view.
  • The Self-Visualization Method, which is a poor take on an old staple of Occult astral projection techniques: creating and using a "simulacrum" or imaginary double to focus your consciousness. Clarke writes this about the technique:
    "I've found that this method works best when you're standing up, as opposed to sitting or lying down." (pg. 26)
Seriously? Standing up? If your body has enough muscle tension to keep you standing, you're not really out-of-body, right? And if you're standing, your body will hold too much tension to allow you to let go. If you induce an OBE from a standing position, your body would probably collapse in a heap. Mine would, anyway. Yes, there have been cases in which people have left their body and it keeps right on walking and such. Mary Deioma's book, Loved comes to mind. It's even happened to me, but purely by accident. Still, it certainly seems like an odd thing to recommend. I would recommend total relaxation instead.

Clarke also dedicates a chapter to remote viewing, and one to lucid dreaming, but neither is given proper attention, and neither is an OBE.

She also gives her own variant of Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) which she calls the REM Disruption, but unlike the conventional 6 hours of sleep, she recommends setting an alarm for 4 hours of sleep. Maybe she got this from Albert Taylor's book, Soul Traveler?

Curiously, she offers instructions on how to return to your body when you're done. Well, that right there sounds like the voice of inexperience to me: OBEs end automatically, and usually way too early. The trick is staying out as long as you can before you get automatically sucked back in. In other words, getting back in your body is not something you should ever need to worry about.

Clarke does give some sound advice with regard to practice. For example, she warns against practicing halfheartedly (pg. 40). This is very true. But advice like this is scant.

She seems to be yet another author trying to make a living from writing lots of tiny books on a lot of topics. I can't fault her (or anyone) for wanting to make money from writing, but it demonstrates that astral projection is not the primary focus in her life. You'd do better to get a book that displays passion for Astral Projection / OBEs from someone who has made it their life's work, like William Buhlman, Robert Bruce, or Graham Nicholls.

On the plus side, the book is well written and organized. I didn't find any glaring grammar or spelling problems.

I'm sorry, but I just can't recommend this book. It's better than some, but it's way too short, and doesn't go into enough depth on any topic. And as far as I can tell, the author doesn't write from experience. It's just a restating of what other people have written on the subject, but better.

I'll give it 2 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
13 Aug 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

by Bob Peterson

I just wanted to let everyone know that my new book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs, is now available to purchase on amazon, both in print and for Kindle. I tried very hard to make this the best OBE "How-To" book ever written.

The paperback version is available in the United States by Clicking on this link but it's also available in the U.K., Canada and elsewhere.

The Kindle version is available by Clicking on this link.

Instead of reviewing my own book, which seems kind of lame and self-serving, I'll let the book stand on its own. I will, however, provide a table of contents so you can see the variety of techniques in the book. It should be no surprise that several of the books chapters have appeared in my blog already, because I've shared a lot of the information here first.

Table of Contents
Introduction 11

Part 1 - Out-of-body Basics 17
1. So Many Questions 19
2. Becoming an Ideal Candidate for OBEs 31
3. The Science of OBEs, the PFC, and the TPJ 41
4. Robert Monroe’s Lines of Force Technique 53
5. The Vibrations 59
6. OBEs, Sleep Cycles, and Brain Waves 101 63
7. Sleep Paralysis and OBEs 69
8. Overcoming Fear 79
9. The Guardian of the Threshold 87
10. The Four OBE States 93
11. The Three Strategies to OBE Induction 101

Part 2 - The Direct OBE Induction Strategy 103
12. Harnessing the Hypnagogic (Pre-Sleep) State 105
13. Harnessing the Hypnopompic (Post-Sleep) State 111
14. The Five Approaches to the Direct OBE Induction 115
15. Preparing For Liftoff: Mental Preparation 123
16. Preparing For Liftoff: Physical Preparation 131
17. How to Focus Your Mind for an OBE 149
18. The Cloud or I Am Elsewhere Technique 153
19. The Target Technique 155
20. Simulacrum, Cube and Black Box Techniques 159
21. The Spinning Disc Technique 161
22. The Floating Beach Ball / Sphere Technique 163
23. The Pineal Doorway Technique 165
24. Rocking and Swaying Techniques 167
25. The Yoyo Technique 169
26. The Falling In A Well and Cone Techniques 171
27. The Feet Zoom Technique 173
28. The Swinging Arms Technique 175
29. Ab Crunch, Tai Chi and Exercise Techniques 177
30. The Almost Move Technique 179
31. The Flash or Running Technique 181
32. Rolling, Spinning, and Tornado Technique 183
33. The Rope Technique 185
34. The Washing Hands Technique 187
35. The Feel for Buzzing Technique 189
36. Heavy / Light Technique 191
37. Brain Crush and Straining the Brain Techniques 193
38. The High Pitch Whine Technique 195
39. The Song Replay Technique 197
40. Imaginary Shouting for OBE 199
41. Mantras for OBE 201
42. The Heartbeat Technique 203
43. The Candle Flame Technique 205
44. The Orange Peel Technique 207
45. The Swinging Hypnagogic Image Technique 209
46. Problem Solving for the Direct Strategy 213

Part 3 - The Indirect OBE Induction Strategy 221
47. Introduction to the Indirect OBE Strategy 223
48. Chi Circulation, Energy Bouncing, and Chakras 227
49. Hypnosis and the Christos Technique for OBEs 237
50. The Desire Factor and the Thirst Technique 239
51. OBE Affirmations and Prayers 243
52. Self-Labeling and Self-Talk 247
53. OBEs and Music 251
54. OBE Narratives and Walk-Throughs 255
55. Sneaking Past the Gatekeeper 257
56. The Sleep Directive Technique 261
57. The Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Technique 263
58. WBTB and Technique Cycling 267

Part 4 - Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs 271
59. Lucid Dreaming 273
60. Keeping Dream and OBE Journals 275
61. Appointments, Trigger Mechanisms and Anchors 283
62. Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs 289

Part 5 - Brain hacks and Assisting Technologies 291
63. Introduction to Brain Hacking 293
64. Breath Work and Proper Breathing 297
65. Sound Technologies and Binaural Beats 301
66. Sound and Light Machines 303
67. Vitamins, Supplements and Probiotics 305
68. Aromatherapy and Scented Oils for OBEs 315
69. The Pineal Gland, Contaminants, and Boron 317
70. OBEs, Celibacy, Masturbation and the Sex Drive 321
71. Dietary Considerations 325
72. OBEs and the Default Mode Network 331
73. Odds and Ends and Superstitions 335
74. Putting It All Together 339
75. When All Else Fails: A Formula for OBE Success 345
76. The Future of OBE research 349
77. Conclusions 351

Bob Peterson
01 August 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: Soul Traveler

Review: Soul Traveler

by Albert Taylor

Today I'm reviewing the book Soul Traveler: A Guide to Out of Body Experiences and the Wonders Beyond by Albert Taylor.

Soul Traveler is copyrighted 1996 and that's probably the first time I read it. Now it's one of those classics in OBE literature. It also gained a fair amount of popularity: it's the only OBE book I know that made it to #1 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list.

Part of its popularity, I think, is that Taylor was a guest on the famous paranormal radio show, Coast to Coast, back when the late Art Bell was doing the show. I think he became friends with Bell, who invited him back on the show many times. And for good reason: Al is a very dynamic and smooth speaker. And his laugh and smile are infectious. His enthusiasm for OBEs really shows.

But Taylor is not a spacey "woo-woo" new age guy or an occultist. In fact, he has a degree in aeronautical engineering. He used to be an engineer for the American space agency, NASA. So he's more of a "techie" science-minded guy like I am.

I first met Albert Taylor when I was graciously invited to "tag along" at an OBE conference in Boulder, Colorado in 1999, featuring Taylor, William Buhlman and Patricia Leva. Here's a photo of me (left) and Al (right) from that event:
The best thing about this book is the OBE narratives. If you follow my blog, you know how I love narratives. Taylor is a good writer and his narratives portray the excitement of OBE discovery. You really feel part of his journey; the trepidation, the cautiousness, the excitement. All of it.

Taylor mostly gets to his OBEs through the Awareness during Sleep Paralysis (ASP, sometimes simply called SP) state, which is a bit unusual as OBE books go. If you don't know what ASP is, click on this link. He says he's had ASP all his life, and so have a lot of the members of his family. It's not unusual for superstitions to pop up around ASP:
"'The witches are riding you!' is what my grandmother would say whenever someone complained about the paralysis. This so-called paralysis, I found out later, was my own personal doorway to what may be the 'ultimate truth.'" (pg. 2)
Before he learned to turn ASP into OBE, he learned to make grunting distress sounds whenever he had an episode of ASP, and he got his wife, Kathy, to shake him until he woke.

He spoke about his ASP episodes with a friend, Doctor H, a voice of reason, who suggested some experiments. Soon Taylor learned how to turn his ASP into OBE, and started exploring.

He makes many good (and accurate) observations in his OBEs, such as:
"I would later learn that the soul can communicate with other souls but not necessarily with the awareness of the 'personality self.' The 'personality self' is the part of us that interfaces with our every day material world. It is this part of the psyche that hates, fears, envies, and judges--some of our best qualities!" (pg. 12)
That exactly matches my experience: in an OBE, you can talk to someone who is in their physical body, but it's like you're talking to their subconscious, not their conscious self, and they have no memory of it afterward.

Hungry for knowledge, he started reading lots of books (like I did). At someone's suggestion, he visited the local "Eckankar" group, which is where he acquired the term, "Soul Traveler." They suggested some more techniques to improve his OBE ability, some of which he describes. (I'm avoiding the subject of Eckankar here because it's beyond the scope of this review. Some day I'll dedicate a blog article to the subject. For now, let's just say that I treat it as an OBE-based "cult"--and for good reason.)

Like me, Taylor was enthusiastic and tried to share his discoveries with friends and family. That immediately backfired. Like me, he learned the hard way to keep his mouth shut.

One of my favorite moments of the book is when he meets with his dead aunt:
"With two parts courage and one part fear, I curiously inquired, 'Aunt Vera, aren't you dead?'
'Yes, I am!' she said smiling at me.
I stared at her in partial disbelief. Yes it was her--a part of me knew it. I also could feel an intense sensation of love emanating from her. It was wonderful! I returned the feeling without hesitation." (pg. 77)
Although Taylor doesn't really give any OBE techniques in the book, he shares a few valuable insights, such as:
"Note to the would be traveler: The feeling of anger is extremely pernicious to the chain of events which lead to an OBE. Any and all negative emotions will likely stifle any attempts you make to achieve a higher state of consciousness." (pg. 90)
He reinforces this teaching later, stating:
"...emotions like stress, anger, envy or negative thoughts hamper if not sever of the chain of events leading up to an OBE. So, get rid of them...
Remember, inner peace is the goal, and that peace should reflect in as many areas of your life as possible." (pgs. 120-121)
I also really liked this quote:
"Thus, fear becomes an impenetrable curtain between the personality self and the God within. So, simply put, fear is for people who don't know God! If you arrive at this realization you will have very little difficulty during your own soul travels." (pg. 126)
Taylor teaches a basic progressive relaxation technique in the book. In other words, where you tense and relax each of your muscle groups working from the bottom up.

I only found one thing in the book I disagreed with: On page 116, he has a diagram of various planes of existence, and it curiously portrays the astral plane just above the physical plane. But here's the thing: it shows the "etheric plane" highest on the chart, right next to the "Oversoul" which can escape the cycle of reincarnation. This runs contrary to the more popular belief that the etheric plane is just above the physical, and the astral above that. I'm not sure if this is what Eckankar teaches, but it's contrary to what most occultists teach. Other than that, Taylor seems "on the money" with his OBE observations.

Before almost every OBE, he goes through a procedure he calls the "Taylor Pre-flight." This basically consists of these steps:
  • Lie on your back
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for about four seconds.
  • Release the breath through slightly parted lips as you sing the Hu in a low vibrating tone. [Eckankar teaches a chant of "Hu" (pronouced Hugh) whereas most Hindu-based meditation uses "Om".]
  • Relax your whole body again (this time without the tensing)
  • Breathe normally and think about floating or rising upwards. (Pg 129)
Taylor also teaches some energy work in which you visualize a ball of energy above you, then draw energy from the ball, circulate it to your feet, then up your body, out through your head, and back into the energy ball.

He also suggests the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) technique, which he calls the Interrupted Sleep Technique, or IST. In Taylor's version, you go to sleep about 9:00 p.m. (21:00), setting the alarm for 1:00 a.m. When the alarm goes off, get out of bed and stay up until 3:30 a.m. Then lie down on your back again, and do the Taylor Pre-flight.

The book is 138 pages, with decent font and margins, so there's an "okay" (not great) amount of content. There's a lot of white space, so those 138 pages go very quickly: it's a short read. Or maybe it's just that I was glued to the book and couldn't put it down! I finished it in less than a week of casual reading. Compare that to the previous book I read, Blindsight, which is 140 pages, but, as fascinating as it was, took me two months to read because I needed time to digest the material.

My biggest complaint about the book? I wanted more. It's highly entertaining, but it feels short. Taylor really needs to write a sequel: It's been about 25 years; what's happened since?

I'll give it four stars out of 5.

As a side note: It's not really important, but Taylor and I are polar opposites when it comes to politics (full disclosure: I'm Libertarian). At one point we were Facebook friends and he actually asked me if there was a way he could hide only my political posts from his Facebook news feed. I admit, I got a bit over-zealous with politics, and I've tried to tone that done in recent years. In all seriousness, I suggested he "unfriend" me and just follow the posts on my "Robert Peterson" page, where I purposely avoid politics. I love Al Taylor and respect his views, even if I disagree with a lot of them. When it comes to OBEs, we are brothers.

Bob Peterson
16 July 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: Mindsight by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper

Review: Mindsight

 by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper

Today I'm reviewing Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind (second edition) by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper.

I saw this in a bookstore one day and just had to buy it. This book poses several fascinating questions: Do blind people actually "see" in out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and near-death experiences (NDEs)? If they're blind from birth, what is it like? Is it more like their normal mode of perception (centered around hearing, touching, smelling) or something entirely different from their normal mode of perception (centered around sight)?

To answer these questions, the authors contacted schools for the blind and arranged to interview several blind people who had OBEs and NDEs. Then they presented the evidence and some fascinating observations in the book. The book is more than just a bunch of interesting stories. In fact, it's rather dry, scientific, and analytical, but it's fascinating, in a good way.

In a nutshell, the answer is: Yes and no. They seem to be no different than OBEs and NDEs of people with normal sight. Sometimes people with normal sight report a strange mode of sight that doesn't exactly correspond with regular eyesight: they report being able to see in all directions at once: spherical sight. They sometimes report being able to sense an entire room with crystal clarity, but it's not exactly the same as physical eyesight.

One woman named Claudia who could see as a young child, but was blind by age 5, described it this way:
"It's kind of like vision but it's not vision...It was seeing but it wasn't vision...because vision is really sharp and it wasn't like that." (pg. 98)

This really piqued my interest. I devoted an entire chapter of my first book to the subject of OBE eyesight and its different modes and peculiarities. The chapter is called "Fight for Sight." You can read the chapter by clicking on this link. What Ring and Cooper found about the blind perfectly matches what I called "Astral Mind-Sensing" in the book. It's almost like you're remotely sensing everything in the room at once in great detail. For example, you "sense" that a chair is six feet (2 meters) in front of you and "sense" every detail about it, at a distance, but it's qualitatively different from "seeing." In fact, this seems to be the normal mode of operation for my OBE eyesight, and I often have to make an effort to switch my mode of perception to "astral sight" in order to get a more visual representation of things; one that more closely matches my physical sight.

Other times, the blind do seem to be able to "see." People who have extreme visual impairment can, in an OBE, suddenly "see" everything with crystal clarity.
It often startles them to be able to suddenly see clearly. For example:
"Interviewer: And was it a visual perception?
Nancy: Yes.
Interviewer: And could you tell me the clarity with which you saw too?
Nancy: Extremely clear. And to this moment it's just like it happened five seconds ago. Or it's happening right now, I can just see the whole thing." (pg. 74)
I guess I'm biased when it comes to this topic, given my experience, so by all means: read the book and judge for yourself. But a lot of the evidence is pretty compelling.

For example, one woman, Vicki, was congenitally blind (blind from birth), but she claimed to be able to see during her 1963 NDE. In her interview, they asked her what it was like. She said:
"I was shocked. I was totally in awe. I mean, I can't even describe it because I thought, 'So that's what it's like!' But then I thought, 'Well, it's even better...than what I could have imagined.'" (pg. 26)
But that might just be her interpretation or expectation, right? Or is there something more? Later, she goes on to describe things in detail like:
"I saw the metal chairs that we sat on as children and the round tables in the dining room, and they had plastic table cloths on them. I didn't have to touch the plastic table cloths to be aware of them." (pg. 32)
Another man, Brad, who was blind from birth describes:
"I remember seeing what we could call the backyard which was on one side of the building, and I remember that I could see a hill that I used to scamper up and down just for exercise in the part of that yard that was farthest from that particular building. Those are the sights that I can particularly remember seeing. I wondered, even then, how I could know them without touching them. I could actually point to them." (pg. 40)
Another man, also blind from birth, found himself:
"In an enormous library during the transcendental phase of his NDE and saw 'thousands and millions and billions of books, as far as you could see.' Asked if he saw them visually he said, 'Oh, yes!' Did he see them clearly? 'No problem.' Was he surprised at being able to see thus? 'Not in the least. I said, 'hey, you can't see,' and I said, 'well, of course I can see. Look at those books. That's ample proof I can see.'" (pg. 49)
Then there's the story of "Frank" who asked his friend to pick out a tie for a wake of a mutual friend who had died. Later, he took a nap and had an OBE in which he saw the tie: It was red with gray circles on it, and he was surprised to find out what it looked like. His friend was shocked when Frank described the tie to his friend. This incident was independently verified by his friend (pg. 70).

The book presents some very interesting insights: For example, a man named Jeff was severely visually impaired in his left eye, and completely blind in his right eye. During his NDE, he was surprised to find he could see perfectly through both eyes. He saw his path through the tunnel, for example. (pg. 82)

Another thing I found fascinating: People who are congenitally blind do not have visual images in their dreams at all. Their dreams are just like their waking life: they can hear, touch, etc., but they cannot see. Children who lose their eyesight before the age of 5 also tend to not have visual imagery in dreams. Kids who become blind between 5 and 7 may or may not retain visual imagery in their dreams, and people who become blind after age 7 seem to have "visual" dreams. (pg 84)

And yet they all still seem to "see" during OBEs and NDEs. Here's the thing: Congenitally blind people describe their NDEs and OBEs as qualitatively different in that they can actually see whereas their dreams always lacked a visual element. (pg. 84)

Another thing I found absolutely fascinating: There have been several cases in which a congenitally blind person had their physical eyesight restored by doctors. In those cases, they have an extremely hard time dealing with their newfound eyesight, learning to identify and recognize shapes and such. But when a blind person has an OBE or an NDE, they don't: they're not only able to instantly "see," they can instantly grasp what they see. Wow, that's mind-blowing.

The authors approached this scientifically, seeking other reasonable explanations. They consulted vision specialists. They shoot down Susan Blackmore's theories regarding "retrospective reconstruction." (pg. 86) They discuss "blindsight" and "skin-based vision" theories. They do all their homework.

They also address the language problem: Our society is so geared toward normally "sighted" people that our language interferes with our descriptions. For example, blind people often say they were "watching television" even though that's physically impossible. Could all this just be a big misunderstanding? Could they be using the words metaphorically? There's a long, fascinating discussion, but the bottom line is: no. It's more than that. Blind people seem to "see" things that are later verified to be true.

Here's another interesting thing: blind people, with no possible experience of sight, describe their NDEs and OBEs with concepts like color, as different frequencies of light they perceived. When you think about it, that's pretty darn accurate. One blind woman described the different colors of the flowers she "saw." Another described how the doctors and nurses in the Operating Room all wore green outfits.

Some of these blind people seemed genuinely surprised at how their own physical body "looked." One woman described her body as a gray outline, which is how I normally see mine. Another described her body as looking very black.

The bottom line is that "sight" seems to be simply an "interpretation" of a set of data, and that remains the same regardless of how you gather that data, whether it comes from your eyes or another source. The book's authors call it "transcendental awareness." And it seems to be the same data for both sighted and blind people alike. It's all just data and our mind's interpretation of that data, right?

The book is 140 pages, professionally written, with "smallish" text and margins, so it's not a big book, but there's a fair amount of content. In places, it's a bit dry, even for my tastes. They use a lot of long scientific words. At times, it's difficult to read, so it took me a while to get through it. I didn't find any typos or mistakes in the text.

I'm give the book 3 and a half stars.

Bob Peterson
25 June 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

My Five Unconventional Meditations

My Five Unconventional Meditations

by Bob Peterson

In my never-ending pursuit of out-of-body experiences, I've tried a lot of types of meditation. But you know I'm an unconventional guy: I'm not one to follow the rules and do the stereotypical Transcendental Meditation (TM) or Kriya yoga. I'd rather try new things, explore and reinvent.

Inducing an OBE is a special kind of meditation itself, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about "support meditation," in other words, meditation to make OBEs more likely and your OBE attempts more fruitful.

I basically do five types of meditation. They are:
  1. Silent meditation
  2. Binaural beat meditation
  3. Musical meditation
  4. Left-right meditation, and
  5. Vibration raising meditation
On most days, I meditate twice every day: Once in the morning and once in the evening. Every morning, I meditate for about twenty minutes, and I always do a silent meditation. In silent meditation, no music is playing. I just sit in complete silence and try to quiesce or "turn off" my mind completely. What often happens is that as soon as my mind is completely shut off, I start seeing things, literally, in my mind's eye.

In the late evening I meditate again. Depending on my mood, I pick one of the other four types at random. I always, without exception, listen to binaural beats or music under good quality over-the-ear noise canceling headphones. A couple years ago I broke down and invested in a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth headphones. They were expensive, but I have no regrets.

Binaural beat meditation

I listen to a lot of binaural beat meditations. I've got a collection of them on my phone. I always wear my headphones. My current favorites are:
  1. "Winds Over the World" by Richard Roberts (not to be mistaken for the idiotic Christian evangelist with the same name). You can buy this from the Monroe Institute at this link: https://www.monroeinstitute.org/node/1085. The track is 30 minutes long, but you can hear a two-minute sample here: https://www.monroeinstitute.org/sites/default/files/Winds%20over%20the%20World%20Sample.mp3?uuid=5cb2172ae1eeb
  2. "The Far Countries: Multidimensional Man" by Jurgen Ziewe. You can listen to this track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVshec6YL_Y
  3. "Maha Mrityeonjaya Mantra" by Hein Braat. You can listen to that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmsPdQlEy2c
  4. You can also find a variety of binaural beat meditations on youtube. Jason Bannister has created several nice ones.

Music meditation

When I don't feel like listening to binaural beats, I sometimes listen to "ordinary" music that makes me feel "spacey," "entranced," or "otherworldly." I'm not talking about "trance music" as most people like to think about it (I've never cared much for that). I've got a large collection of songs for this. Some of my favorites are:
  1. "Awaken," "Ritual" or "Close to the Edge" by Yes.
  2. "State of Independence" or "The Mayflower" by Jon and Vangelis.
  3. "One of These Days" followed by "Echoes" by Pink Floyd
  4. "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin.
  5. "Rajah Khan" by Renaissance.
  6. "Little Neutrino" by Klaatu.
  7. "Cygnus X-1" by Rush.
  8. "One of These Days" followed immediately by "Echoes" by Pink Floyd.

Left-Right music meditation

Out-of-body mogul Robert Monroe developed his "Hemi-sync" technology when he discovered that binaural beats synchronized the two hemispheres of the brain. The brain tries to synchronize what it hears in the left ear with the right ear.

I've always thought he didn't take the technology far enough: While Hemi-sync has a long list of benefits, I believe it doesn't go far enough to aid in inducing OBEs. In my experience, it's more effective to jar your brain's sense of location by deliberately feeding it false auditory information, and hopefully in such a way that confuses it.  If you scramble that so it doesn't make sense, you can kick it out of its normal patterns. What I mean is to close your eyes and:
  • Feed different-but-similar music into each of your ears. This is similar to Hemi-sync, but for example, play the same song with two different instruments, and pipe the two separately into each ear.
  • Listen to music that unpredictably "bounces" the music from one ear to the other.
  • Visualize the music as best you can.
  • Imagine energy or "chi" moving through your body and around your body in harmony with the music.

This is probably my favorite type of evening meditation, and I've amassed a large collection of songs that do this, and I'm always looking for more. I listen to them a lot, and I love them. Here a just a few of my favorites, in no particular order:
  1. "Merlin the Magician" by Rick Wakeman.
  2. "I Robot" by Alan Parsons Project.
  3. "Magnum Opus" by Kansas.
  4. "Nucleus" by Alan Parsons Project.
  5. "Yours is No Disgrace," "Long Distance Runaround," "Face To Face," "Astral Traveller," "Arriving UFO," or "The Ancient: Giants Under the Sun" by Yes.
  6. "How it Hits You" by Jon Anderson.
  7. "Toward the Within" or "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" by Dead Can Dance.
  8. "Too Much Time On My Hands" or "Lights" by Styx.
  9. "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk. 

Vibration raising music meditation

I'm not talking about "The Vibrations" associated with OBEs. I'm just talking about music to change my mood to be more positive, optimistic, and uplifting. A lot of OBE experts say that having a bad, sour, or negative mood lowers your vibrations and makes it impossible to induce OBEs. So this is one way I try to improve my own attitude and lift my spirits.
  1. "Are You The One," "Key to the Universe," or "Silence of the Night" by Timo Tolkki.
  2. "In Perfect Harmony" by Within Temptation
  3. "Street Spirit" by Stream of Passion (Yes, I know it's a remake)
  4. "I'm Okay," "Sing for the Day," or the entire album "The Grand Illusion" by Styx.
  5. "Holy Light" by Stratovarius.
  6. "Bound for Infinity" by Renaissance.
  7. "I'll Sing You Home" by Timo Tolkki.
  8. "The Answer Lies Within" by Dream Theater.
  9. "And You And I" by Yes. I love to visualize my vibrations getting higher and higher, then kundalini energy shooting from my base chakra out through my crown chakra while this plays.
Don't try to do anything else. Just close your eyes, listen to the music and let it do its magic. Whenever possible, try to visualize the music dancing in front of you.

After doing this for years, I still think the most effective of these for me is the "Left-Right" music. For me, it seems more effective than listening to binaural beats. I listened to a few of these last night creating this blog article and had an OBE this morning. Enough said.

Bob Peterson
11 June 2019

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Ten Commandments of OBE

The Ten Commandments of OBE

by Bob Peterson

Over the years, I've developed habits to help me induce OBEs. Lately I've been thinking I should try to figure out what these are and share them. I thought it might be fun to present these as a Ten Commandments of OBE. There are no rules, of course. In fact, these are not commandments at all; they are simply guidelines or "best practices."

When I thought about it, there are two different categories of "best practices": Those done during normal waking life, and those done during the actual OBE attempts. So I broke up my "commandments" accordingly.

Ten OBE Commandments of everyday life:
  1. Thou shalt write down your dreams as often as you can.

    Hopefully you should do this every morning when you wake. If you don't have time, just jot a keyword or two down to jog your memory. Once in a while, go back through and re-read your past month's dreams. Doing this reinforces the connection between this world and the other side of sleep. It trains you to maintain a tiny thread of awareness and to bring back memories from the other side.

  2. Thou shalt do positive OBE affirmations every morning when you wake up and every night before bed.

    Just a simple sentence or two will do. "Out of body experiences are easy and effortless for me." "I allow myself to have OBEs and I'll remember them in the morning." These are just simple positive messages to your subconscious.
  3. Thou shalt do energy-moving / chi bouncing exercises every day.

    Again, nothing long, drawn-out or complex. Just imagine energy bouncing around your body for ten to thirty seconds. I recommend the "microcosmic" and "grand circulation" orbits from T'ai Chi. Robert Bruce has a lot of these in his book Astral Dynamics. Also, the "Velo" technique of the IAC is good.
  4. Thou shalt use your active imagination as often as you can.

    No matter what you're doing, occasionally pause to imagine you're flying out-of-body, putting your hands through the walls, floating weightless, or whatever. Just literally two or three seconds. Daydreaming is good for OBEs; it strengthens your brain's default mode network, which is key to focusing on inner events rather than outer events.
  5. Thou shalt practice your OBE techniques as often as you can.

    Take the time to practice OBE techniques. Don't short-change it. Even if you can't afford to take a half-hour off to do this, just take a few minutes before bed to close your eyes and try to imagine you're floating, swinging, bouncing, or vibrating.
  6. Thou shalt meditate every day if you can.

    There's an old saying I love: You should meditate for 20 minutes everyday, unless you don't have the time, in which case you should meditate for an hour. I'm not talking about making OBE attempts; I'm talking about trying to relax and hold your mind completely still and blank. Silence the monkey-chatter.
  7. Thou shalt not give in to fear or let fear stop you from trying.

    Scary things may happen when you approach the edge of sleep. Don't let it stop you. Spiritual progress is on the other side of fear.
  8. Thou shalt obsess about OBEs.

    Apply pressure to your subconscious by reading about it, watching movies about it, fantasizing about it, etc. Strong-arm, coerce and cajole the subconscious.
  9. Thou shalt never give up, get discouraged, or think negatively.

    For example, don't think things like "I can't do this" or "Nothing works." If you find yourself getting discouraged or negative about OBEs, counter it by doing more positive affirmations.
  10. Thou shalt do reality checks.

    Periodically ask yourself, "Am I dreaming right now?" Train yourself to do this automatically throughout the day. Because if you can become lucid in a dream, you can turn that dream into an OBE.

There are lots of other things you can do to improve your odds. For example, listening to binaural beats or hemi-sync tracks can improve your overall odds.

Ten Commandments of OBE attempts:
  1. Thou shalt focus only on the OBE attempt.

    During your OBE attempts, don't think about what you're planning to do once you're out. Focus only on inner events, not outer events. Don't let your mind drift, worry about the time, or your phone, or appointments, commitments, or future plans.
  2. Thou shalt mute (or block out) all input from physical senses.

    Ignore all sounds, sights, touches, etc. Forget about all bodily sensations. That means relaxing thy body completely (to the point where you can't even feel it), practice in complete silence, and near-total darkness.
  3. Thou shalt mute (or block out) all external distractions.

    Keep animals like cats and dogs from jumping up on you and disrupting your practice. Prevent televisions from playing, radios playing, lawnmowers in the background, clocks ticking, cell phones beeping, etc. If silence isn't possible, use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. If total darkness isn't possible, use a sleep mask to block the light.
  4. Thou shalt not practice when you're tired, stressed, rushed or under a deadline.

    If you practice when you're tired, you're just going to fall asleep and sabotage your own attempt. Go into it fresh, unless there's absolutely no other time to practice.
  5. Thou shalt stop all wandering thoughts and emotions and keep them stopped.

    Just become single-minded and focused, while minimizing your thoughts at the same time.
  6. Thou shalt get as close as you can to sleep without actually going over the edge.

    Try to see how close you can get to sleep. Wait and watch for hypnagogic images to appear, then try to take control of them and manipulate them. The biggest mistake most people make is not getting close enough to sleep.
  7. Thou shalt remain calm, relaxed and passive, no matter what happens.

    Block out the real world and stop paying attention to it completely. Become "entranced." Become so single-minded in your focus that someone could slap you on the face and you would barely even notice it. Or at least strive for that level of focus.
  8. Thou shalt ignore alarming feelings.

    If it seems like your body stops breaking, just ignore it and continue. If it seems like your heartbeat goes crazy, ignore it and continue. If you hear voices, see monsters, or whatever, just ignore them and continue. Don't let these distract you from your single-minded focus. If you feel vibrations, that's another matter: follow these instructions.
  9. Thou shalt not eat big heavy meals before OBE attempts.

    Eat light, not heavy, meals, and eat early.
  10. Thou shalt not play "What If" with hypnagogic images.

    If you try to play "what if" with a hypnagogic image, you'll quickly get sucked down into a dream state. That's what we do when we fall asleep. Just think, "That is mine" and try to take conscious control of the image. If the image dissolves, wait for the next one to appear, then do the same thing.

There are probably a lot of other general guidelines I could add. For example, you should visualize or imagine sights, sounds, touches, and movements as realistically as possible, but I wanted to keep it simple. These are a good start for your OBE practice.

Bob Peterson
28 May 2019

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

OBE Frequently Asked Questions

OBE Frequently Asked Questions

by Bob Peterson

This article is a compilation of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about astral projection and out-of-body experience (OBE). It includes the Questions and Answers chapter from my first book, the Questions and Answers chapter from my second book, and other questions I've seen since. I tried to put newbie questions near the top, but the rest appear in no particular order.

Can anyone please teach me how to astral project?

That's a lot like asking, "Can anyone please teach me how to ride a bicycle?" The answer is yes, but there's a big difference between describing the mechanics and actually doing it yourself. Like any skill, you need to learn the techniques, then do a lot of trial and error before you become any good at it.

There are tons of online resources for learning OBEs.

  • There are lots of Facebook groups related to OBE and Astral Projection where you can find help.
  • There are lots of full-length books about OBEs in the "Files" section of the "Astral Projection" group page on Facebook.
  • There are also videos available on youtube.
  • I've got tons of free information on my website, including the entire text of my first book and much of the second, plus helpful articles: http://www.robertpeterson.org.
  • Michael Raduga has free information, including the entire text of his primary book, "The Phase": https://obe4u.com/
The information is out there. You just need to do some research, then try some of the techniques.

What's the easiest method or technique to achieve astral projection?

It varies from person to person. What works for one person may not work for another, which is why I don't recommend any one in particular. You've got to try different approaches and techniques and see which one(s) work best for you. There are many to choose from.

What's the best book on astral projection?

It depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for OBE techniques, my favorite is The Phase by Michael Raduga. I've broken it down into several categories and listed the best books from each category in a blog article titled "Bob's Best of Breed OBE Books": Click here to read it.

Not all OBE books are created equal. If you're thinking about buying a particular OBE book, you might be able to read a book review of it. I have book reviews for many OBE books: Click this link for a list.

Does anyone teach AP? Are there classes I can take?

Yes. The best is probably William Buhlman's class, offered by The Monroe Institute, but it's often full, and it's not cheap. There are also classes offered by other organizations, like the International Academy of Consciousness. Again, do some research.

I've been trying to achieve astral projection for years; nothing works. What should I do?

The biggest mistake people make is trying the same thing over and over. You need to change it up and try different techniques until you find one that works for you. I wrote a blog article about this. Click on this link to read it.

I can get the vibrations, but they just fade away and nothing happens. What should I do?

I always recommend that you wait until the vibrations reach their peak intensity, then try to physically stand up, sit up, roll out, or whatever, just like you would in the physical body. If you've got the genuine OBE vibrations, your physical body won't move, but your non-physical body will, and thus you escape the body.

I can get out of my body, but then I can't see. Totally blind. What should I do?

You're probably within what author Sylvan Muldoon called "Cord Activity Range" which is about 15 feet (5 meters). My best advice is to (1) close your eyes, (2) try to get at least 15 feet (5 meters) away from your body, then make an effort to open your eyes.

What position should my body be in when I practice?

I've had OBEs in all positions. There's no problem with lying on your back, stomach, or either side. However, research tells us that people are more likely to have OBEs when they lie on their back.

When I practice I need to swallow, have problems with saliva or itching. How can I get past that?

My usual response to that is: When you fall asleep at night, you don't have any of these problems, do you? You just fall asleep. When you have one of these problems, it probably means your physical body is too wide-awake. You need to do the same thing when your body falls asleep, but retain conscious awareness.

When I practice, I see and hear weird things. Is that normal?

Yes. Everyone has similar hallucinations when they fall asleep--known as "hypnagogic" imagery--but the vast majority of people are no longer conscious when they occur. When you start to practice OBE, you learn to retain conscious awareness deeper into these states, so this is normal and expected.

Do certain foods affect my ability to have OBEs?

I wrote a blog article about dietary considerations. Click on this link to read it.

Are there any supplements that will help me achieve OBEs?

This is a complex topic. I wrote two blog articles (part 1 and 2) about it. Click on this link for part 1 and this link for part 2.

What are the dangers of astral projection?

This is another complex topic, and one that should not be short-changed. Most people believe there are no dangers: your physical body cannot be harmed while you're out of it, and your non-physical body is immortal. Just remember this: The only thing you have to fear is fear itself, and your best self-defense is to be fearless. If you do have a scary encounter, just remember that it's better to be angry than afraid in an encounter. I devoted a chapter of my second book to this topic. You can read it by clicking on this link.

How do you get past the fear?

You just need to endure it, and as you have more OBEs, you should gain confidence. Just tell yourself you'll just watch a little longer and see what happens, and rest assured that you can always end the OBE. If things get too rough, you'll automatically be pulled back inside.

Can someone proficient pull me out of my body?

I honestly don't know if this is possible, but if it is, it's extremely difficult. I've tried it many times, and always failed. William Buhlman, author of Adventures Beyond the Body, has also tried it several times and failed.

Are OBEs "real," i.e., can you observe verifiable real-world proof? 

There's a really good book devoted to this topic called "Consciousness Beyond the Body" edited by Alexander De Foe. Full disclosure: I contributed a chapter to it. The good news is that it's free and can be downloaded from amazon.com. The bad news is that it's e-book (kindle reader, etc.); there's no printed copy. Here's a link to where you can download it.

Will you travel to my house and tell me what's on my nightstand?

No. Every astral projector goes through a phase of needing to obtain proof. Once satisfied, they often have no interest in doing this. In my second book, I wrote a chapter about how difficult this is to do.

What do you do during an OBE?

Mostly, I explore. I experiment. I have an insatiable curiosity, so I just go out and try things. I also love to fly.

Can you lose your body or get lost?

If anyone has lost their body, they obviously hadn't lived to tell about it. But all indications are that you can't lose your body for good. I believe that your "Higher Self" has invested a great deal of time and energy in creating and maintaining a physical body for a purpose. It's not going to give up your body until your purpose has been fulfilled. Thousands of people have experienced OBEs, and wandered thousands of miles away from their body. After a certain period, they usually just lose consciousness and find themselves back in their body again.

What about possession?

Perhaps if you're a spirit medium (IOW, your etheric body isn't bound as tightly to the physical body as most other people) spirits can temporarily inhabit your body while you are out. However, spirits cannot possess your body long-term unless you give them permission to do so. My clairvoyant friend, LD, told me of an OBE where a spirit of a woman entered her body without permission. The woman was trying to animate LD's body, but couldn't. LD returned to her body to find it occupied. She was so angry that she yelled at the spirit to get out "or else." The spirit said no, but LD got furious and yelled "Now!" The unhappy spirit quickly left the body, and LD entered it again. The point is, even when you are out of your body, your oversoul has a "claim" on that body. Other spirits do not have the power to animate your body.

Can you encounter something evil like a demon?

I don't believe in evil. There are only two kinds of demon. The first kind is the demon we create from our own fears. If you don't believe in evil, you cannot encounter these demons. If you understand and face your fears, you can face these demons and destroy them with an act of will. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

The second kind is the spirit of a dead person who is playing the role of a demon to make him/herself appear more intimidating. But that's different from evil. Remember this: They are just a spirit like you and me. They have no more power than you do, despite how they look or act. If you are a gentle soul, just visualize a white light around the spirit and send feelings of love to the poor misguided spirit. If you're ornery, tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, and walk away. If you're playful, make yourself into a big demon and give them their own treatment. They can't harm you, and they can't possess your body unless you give them power over you by being afraid.

What are the psychological effects? Can you go insane? Is it a disorder?

Again, I can only speak from personal experience. One common definition of "sane" is when a person is an integrated person functioning normally in society. I can say this much: I haven't had any problems holding a job or functioning in society. As a computer programmer and analyst, stress levels are high and my brain functions are constantly taxed. My OBEs haven't done any noticeable harm, and I've been doing this since 1979; nearly forty years.

There is an excellent book called With the Eyes of the Mind by professional psychiatrists Glen Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow that contains an in-depth study of the psychology of OBEs. It compares the OBE to other psychological phenomena. In short, they found that the OBE shouldn't be grouped with psychological disorders such as dissociation, schizophrenia, autoscopy, and other body boundary disturbances. OBE falls into a category of its own.

When is the best time to practice?

The best time to practice is in the morning, when you are awake, refreshed, and not likely to fall asleep. I mostly practice Saturday and Sunday mornings because I can sleep in late, wake up refreshed and then have plenty of time to practice. I also recommend you take a nap sometime during the day, and use that time to attempt to leave your body. Naps are better than bedtime, because you're usually not as tired. You can relax and really get into it, without being so tired that you just fall asleep right away. If you only practice before bedtime, make sure to go to bed early so you won't fall asleep immediately.

What's the difference between an OBE and a lucid dream?

There are a lot of differences. I cover that in a separate article. Click here.

What's the difference between meditation and OBE?

In some forms of meditation, the goal is to clear your mind of all thoughts, which is very similar to quiescing your mind for an OBE. Some people report accidentally leaving their body during meditation. Others go into a state of meditation when trying to induce an OBE, but never leave their body.

When I meditate, my mind becomes empty, and I go into a kind of trance that I can't explain. In this trance of meditation, I don't have any perception. I don't have dreams or hypnagogic images. It is as if the world has completely stopped, and my consciousness has been extinguished. When I come back from meditation, I have no memories.

When I induce an OBE, I don't induce nearly as deep a trance. I retain a thread of alert consciousness the whole time. Once I reach the OBE state, my consciousness becomes normal again. After the experience, I have complete memories of the experience.

How do I know if my experience was real or just a dream?

My general rule of thumb is: If you're not sure, it was probably not a real OBE. A true OBE should leave you with little-to-no doubt in your mind. In a genuine OBE, you should literally feel as if you are separate from your body. It won't seem like a dream, a daydream, a visualization, or a fantasy. It will feel absolutely real.

Is consciousness as clear during an OBE?

In an OBE, as in life, consciousness can be crystal clear or muddy. I've had OBEs where my consciousness was more intense than normal waking life. I've also had OBEs where my thinking was more "muddy."

What's the difference between OBE and Near Death Experience?

This is how I think of it: The out-of-body experience is one typical feature of a Near Death Experience (NDE). Typical NDEs have some other common features that aren't usually found in an OBE (although that doesn't mean they can't happen). Some of these features are: Gliding down a tunnel, having your life flash before your eyes, seeing a bright light, meeting dead relatives or friends, and being told it is "not your time."

Also, NDEs usually happen during times of bodily trauma. OBEs often happen from a state of perfect health.

Has anyone seen God, Jesus, etc., during an OBE?

Yes, but it is more common to see deities during NDEs rather than during OBEs. It's interesting to note that when this happens it seems to be based on the person's religious convictions. Christians tend to see Christ. Buddhists tend to see The Buddha. Hindus tend to see their deities. I believe there is only one God. Perhaps certain powerful spiritual entities on the other side can appear in a form makes the participant most comfortable. Personally, I've never seen a deity during an OBE, except the childhood experience in chapter 2 of my first book.

Some people, including me, have reported seeing Jesus in an OBE. For an article I wrote on the subject, click here.

When you leave your body, aren't you technically dead?


Why doesn't brain damage or rigor mortis occur?

Your body does not die during an OBE. It goes into a deeply relaxed state.

Is OBE related to UFO phenomena or alien abductions?

Many victims of "alien abductions" describe symptoms similar to OBE phenomena. They describe tunnels, vibrations, weird sounds and sights, and total paralysis. They describe how aliens appear out of thin air beside their beds or walk through walls. Victims are levitated out of bed and are pulled outside through the wall. I believe many such victims are merely misinterpreting symptoms of typical OBEs. I think a lot of "abductees" would be relieved to know the true nature of their experiences!

I must also add that not all claims of alien abduction can be dismissed as OBEs. Some UFO cases have compelling physical evidence that wouldn't be left after an OBE. OBE's don't leave burn marks on your front lawn!

I devoted an entire chapter of my second book to this subject. You can read it by clicking on this link.

Can you inhabit the body of a spirit medium during an OBE?

Around 1903, a disabled (bed-ridden) guy by the name of Vincent Turvey learned how to induce OBEs to free himself from his disabled body. Spiritualism was very popular then, so Turvey started visiting seances during his OBEs. A few times he actually sent messages through the medium during the seance. In his book, The Beginnings of Seership, Turvey has signed testimonials from people who were present at these seances. I believe him because he had witnesses and because he was too physically ill to stage such elaborate hoaxes. I've never tried it, and I don't know of anyone who has, other than Turvey. But I believe it can be done.

Is there a such thing as astral sex?

Yes. Only a few books in the genre have references to astral sex. Astral sex is very different qualitatively than physical sex. It's more "spacey," or "etheric;" more like an exchange of energy or an electrical discharge. Lucid dream sex is convincingly real, just like physical sex because your body schema is a replica of your physical body. In an OBE, your body is more "on demand." Here's an entry from my journal:
03/08/83 Thu
Last night I had an interesting experience that I'd like to share. Last night before I went to sleep at midnight, I prayed to God. I asked to have an experience where I would reach my soulmate through a dream...Some time in the middle of the night I found myself in a dreamlike state and was semiconscious. I was not in a recognizable place. I was with a woman with light hair, and I don't know if she was my soulmate or not. We got very close to each other, and just before we embraced I became conscious. The intensity of the experience is what caused me to be conscious. We embraced and at first I thought we were hugging. Then her body became less defined and started melting into mine. I was surprised and my body started melting too! As we melted into each other, energy started shooting out in all directions with the intensity of the sun.

I can't remember any more.
What do you see when you look in a mirror?

The following is an OBE where I looked into a mirror. What I saw was surprising.
12/25/85 - OBE #121
...I stayed in bed, practicing OBE. I used the rock-my-consciousness method to loosen myself from the body, but I felt somewhat attached to it, even as I was swinging away. On one outward swing, I twisted to my left, reached out with my astral arms, grabbed onto the bed and pulled myself completely out of my body. I paused there, crouched down on my bed, looking at the drapes on the bedroom window. Everything looked normal from that point of view.

I had been planning to try to visit Cherie, and I paused to think about visiting her. I thought, "There's plenty of time for that. First, I want to experiment a little bit." My eyes were closed because of the previous two OBEs.

I paused, trying to think of a good experiment. "I know," I thought to myself, "I'll try looking into a mirror!" As soon as I thought that, I felt a strange shift of consciousness and I opened my eyes.

I found myself in a strange room with a mirror. I walked over to the mirror and looked at it. At first I saw my own image, but without a beard--I only had a mustache. I thought to myself how much I looked like Brad (Cherie's husband). My image slowly turned into Brad's image and I thought, "Hmm. Maybe I'm a counterpart of Brad. But I have a beard and a mustache, and my image doesn't reflect that." I looked into the mirror again, trying to fix the image. I noticed the image wasn't smiling; it had a very serious look on. So I smiled into the mirror and watched my image change.

My image changed slowly into the image of a woman I've never seen before, and then slowly turned into an image of DS, smiling! (DS is a member of our discussion group). I thought, "Whoa! That's not me. I wonder if DS is a counterpart too!" I bid DS's image farewell, and looked into the mirror and saw myself. This time I looked normal in all respects. I was smiling, and I noticed I was wearing the same clothes my body had on in bed. I thought, "Good."

I wondered whether I should visit Cherie, or do another experiment. I tried to think of other experiments I could do, but I lost consciousness and immediately came to in my body.

This story had an interesting aftermath. The next day, I narrated the OBE to the discussion group and Brad was there. As nearly as we could tell, Brad was just getting up and dressing during my OBE. He most likely was in the bathroom looking at a mirror! Was the image I saw of him real? I'd like to think so, but I guess there's no way to tell for sure.

How long does it take to learn OBE?

This varies from person to person. Some books claim to be able to teach you to leave your body in thirty days or less. That depends on a lot of factors, like the reader's belief system, how often they practice, the methods they try, and their attitudes during practice.

Some people have tried for ten years or more before having their first OBE. Others have done it on their first try. Don't be discouraged if you don't get results for several months. Everyone can learn this skill with practice and patience.

What's a typical OBE practice session like?

On a typical practice session, I wake up naturally around 6:30 a.m.. I'll get up, visit the bathroom, then drink something with caffeine. I'll stay up for about a half hour to clear my mind. I'm usually too tired at that hour, so I'll go back to bed and sleep for another sleep cycle. Around 7:30 a.m., I'll wake up naturally, stretch and start my first OBE attempt. After about twenty minutes of trying, I will give up, roll over and go back to sleep.

When I wake up from that sleep cycle, I'll make my second attempt. Again, I'll keep at it for about twenty minutes before giving up. I'm usually successful on my second or third attempt. If I'm not successful by the third try, I give up for the day.

How long does it take to induce an OBE?

Typically, it takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to induce an OBE. My fastest induction took around thirty seconds. My longest induction took more than an hour.

What's the most common mistake during practice?

The most common mistake people make is trying too hard. Many people try so hard to induce an OBE that they never reach that totally passive state of mind I mentioned in chapter 24, step 2. If you "try hard" instead of letting go, you'll never be able to quiesce your mind enough to induce an OBE.

Why do it? What is it good for?

I wrote a blog article on this topic. You can read it by clicking on this link.

How many OBEs have you had?

Hundreds, possibly thousands.  It depends on how you count them.  In many of my early OBEs, I would exit and reenter my body several times over the course of a morning.  In my journals, I only counted it as one OBE when, in fact, there were several.

There were several years in the 1990s where I neglected my OBE journals and didn't write any down, even though I still had them. It's no coincidence that I began dating my wife around 1989 and was married in 1992. Wives can be such a distraction!

The number keeps increasing too, so it's a moving target.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many OBEs you have.  What’s important is what you learn from them.

Can average people have OBEs?

Yes.  In fact, most OBEs happen to normal, ordinary, average people.

Can average people learn to induce OBEs?

Yes.  I wasn’t born with any special gifts.  I learned everything the hard way.  So can you.

Are some people more likely to have OBEs than others?

I don't think that certain people are more likely to have OBEs than others. OBEs happen to people of all ages, religions, races, cultures and sexes.  It happens to spiritual and unspiritual people alike.

If people can leave their bodies, why isn't it more common?

Actually, it is common. Conservative estimates indicate that OBEs happen to 20 - 25% of the population.

Can you die during an OBE or because of an OBE?

Nobody can possibly rule out the possibility of dying during an OBE, because obviously if anyone has died during an OBE, they haven't been around to warn us; therefore, all we can do is speculate.  I think we all chose to come to this Earth for a purpose, and we're not going to die until that purpose is fulfilled; therefore, I don't think it's possible to die before our appointed time.  If you die during an OBE, it would only be because it was your time to die, and the OBE would not have changed the time-table of your death.

In my experience, no matter how long you want to stay “out,” your body will automatically suck you back in when it needs attention.  So I don’t even think you can commit suicide by trying to remain outside your body.

Can two people switch bodies during mutual OBEs?

If both people agree, it might be possible.  We can only speculate until it's been tried.  My guess is that, even if it were possible, it wouldn't be a permanent switch.  You probably couldn't control the other person's body for very long.  It would probably be like traditional mediumship.

Outside of fictional books, movies and television, I’ve only heard of two accounts of people who may have actually switched bodies.  The first case was Vincent Turvey’s account of his controlling a spirit medium’s body during a seance.1  Turvey supposedly had signed testimonials to this feat.

The second account was from Robert Monroe who may have temporarily entered the body of a strange man.  In an OBE account dated March 11, 1961, he wrote, “...and I thought I had made a normal return to the physical.  I opened my eyes, and I was in a strange bed.  A strange woman was beside the bed, and she smiled as she saw me awaken.  An older woman stood behind her...They helped me get out of bed...and I knew for sure I wasn’t the person they thought I was.  I tried to tell them this, but they only humored me and seemed to think I was still in some form of delirium...”2

What are the factors that encourage OBEs?

The most important factor is the amount of time and energy you spend studying and practicing the techniques and how much time you dedicate to it.

What am I doing wrong during OBE practice?

Since I can't be inside your head during practice, I can't tell you what you're doing wrong.  Most beginners make the same mistakes: They try too hard, and don’t let go enough.  In other words, they don’t let themselves slip close enough to the unconscious state; they remain too “awake.”

Should I attempt OBE with my eyes open or closed?

Your eyes should be closed when practicing OBE.

How important is chakra development to OBE?

When I developed my ability, I did not do any chakra work directly.  At the time, I didn't much believe in chakras.  However, these days I've decided that chakras are real, since mine have been noticeably very active.  Chakra development is probably time well spent, but I learned to leave the body without it, so it's not mandatory.

Why am I suddenly jolted awake when falling asleep?  Does it have anything to do with OBE?

This happens to a lot of people.  I believe that we leave our bodies every night during sleep.  I believe that this jolt is caused when we enter the dream state before we are ready for it.  I think that this happens because our subconscious or superconscious self realizes that it's mistakenly allowed too much of our conscious personality into that dream state, so it aborts the dream sequence and causes us to awaken with a jolt.

So in a way, yes, this has something to do with OBE, but it's not abnormal or paranormal.  My theory is that if you can teach/convince your subconscious “it's okay to take me with when you go out of body” then this might lead to conscious OBEs instead of jolts.

Has it gotten any easier to travel by thought since my first book?

Most OBE books claim it’s easy to travel during an OBE simply by thinking about a person or place.  During my early OBEs, I tried everything I could to travel by thought, but nothing worked.  I'm happy to report that eventually I figured out how to travel with a thought.  It took a lot of trial and error, and it's not always accurate.  Also, it's virtually impossible to explain.  I just pull myself to a location.

Do your OBEs happen in real-time or is time distorted?

As far as I can tell, the OBE seems to happen in real time.  Although some people report experiences where they seem to be in touch with events of the past or future, it has never happened to me.

Have you ever experienced time travel during an OBE?

Once. I wrote a blog article about it. Click here to read it.

Should I worry about hitting power lines during OBE?

I haven't hit any power lines, so I'm not sure.

Have you ever seen extraterrestrials during an OBE?

No, but others have. It's very uncommon in the OBE literature. One notable exception is Darryl Berry's book "Travel Far".

Sometimes I wake up and can't move.  Is this related to OBE?

This is a well-known phenomenon called “Awareness during Sleep Paralysis.”  Many people have it, and most people are afraid of it until they understand what is happening.  Basically, your mind wakes up before your body wakes up.  Your mind is awake, but your body is still in the middle of the natural sleep paralysis that occurs when we all sleep.  It's very difficult to break free of this paralysis, but if you do break free, either your body becomes active and you wake up or else your body stays there, and you have an OBE.  It has happened to me many times, and it's nothing to be concerned about.

I wrote a short article about it many years ago titled "What Everyone Should Know About Sleep Paralysis, ASP and OBEs." Click here to read it.

What happens if you pass through a living object such as a tree?

Not much, really.  Usually I get a slight shiver, but other than that, it feels the same as passing through other physical objects.

Can you manipulate matter on the astral plane and what occurs there? If so, how will it impact physical reality?

You can try to manipulate astral matter, but it won't do you much good.  I've never been able to affect physical reality during my OBEs.  Most of the time, your hands just pass right through the objects you see. If you do manage to move a non-physical object, when you go back to your body, it will not have moved.

Can out of body experiences be used for wrong doing?

I suppose OBE can possibly be used for wrong doing, but it would be extremely difficult.  Just thinking about the wrong-doing would either keep you inside your body, or else cause negative experiences.

What about privacy?

There is no such thing as privacy. Privacy is an illusion. You are always surrounded by entities, some in and some out of their body. You can inhibit them to a degree, but that's only temporary. If you are spiritual and have pure thoughts, you will not attract negative entities (they would find you boring) and you would have no secrets from anyone. I've had entities visit me while I was naked in the shower, and so forth, and it can be surprising and unnerving.

What part of us travels in an OBE?

To address this question, we have to define the soul and the mind.  These are all things that can be described, but not as easily defined.  If my OBEs have taught me anything, they've taught me that the soul and consciousness extend way beyond what we experience in everyday life.

I think of the part that travels out-of-body as my consciousness. I think that the astral body only exists because we are so deeply ingrained with our body image.  I think that our Higher Self always transcends our physical body and is probably very amused by how trapped we feel inside our birdcage bodies that have a wide-open door.  As someone astutely pointed out, whoever said you were in your body at all?  We're just so accustomed to carrying the body around with us that we take it for granted.  You can call it spirit, or soul, or whatever makes you feel comfortable, but it's all the same thing; the real you that is independent of your physical body.

Can others see you when you are in an OBE?

People who are dead or otherwise out of their bodies can usually see me.  I can't always see them, but that's another topic.  People who are inside their bodies never seem to see me at all.  I remember one OBE where I stood in front of my wife Kathy, trying to get her attention.  Despite all my efforts, she didn't see me.  Perhaps someone who can see auras could tell when I was visiting them astrally, but I've never been in a position where I could try that.

The bottom line is this: can ordinary people see ghosts?  Under ordinary circumstances, no.  Maybe once in a while something causes someone to see a ghost.  We may be able to see someone having an OBE under those same circumstances.

What should I do if I meet a spirit for the first time? 

Act the same way you would when you meet a stranger off the street: cautiously.  Remember, spirits are just people like you and me. Some are good. Some are not so good.

Can (and should) we contact dead loved ones in an OBE?

Yes.  For example, you can use astral projection to meet with and speak to your dead wife.  However, I caution you that it's extremely difficult.  The problem is, you are likely to be very emotional about your wife's death.  It will be hard to induce the proper OBE state until you can set aside these emotions completely during the process.  That’s easier said than done.  After you're out of your body, if you get too emotional, it can also bring you back to your body.

I wrote a blog article about it contacting the dead: click here.

Are there any drugs that can induce OBEs?

Some people claim that certain drugs can intermittently induce OBEs.  For example, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or certain hallucinogens. Author and skeptic Susan Blackmore had an intense OBE when she smoked marijuana. Since drugs interfere with the brain’s normal functioning, I don’t trust the reality of drug-induced experiences.  It’s better to induce OBEs the natural way.

Bob Peterson

14 May 2019