Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Lesson of the Glass Monk

The Lesson of the Glass Monk

by Bob Peterson

Many of my friends know that, besides out-of-body experiences, I also do stained glass art. Recently I created the stained glass window you see above, which is 18.5 inches (47cm) per side.

One day my inner voice asked me to walk out to our deck and take a photo of the piece from outside the house (shown on the left) and another from inside the house (shown on the right) and compare them. Then it launched into a lecture about how the window is a metaphor for our physical body versus our soul. Anyone who has read my book Answers Within knows that my inner voice likes to draw metaphors from life to illustrate points about spirituality, so this was no surprise. The lecture went something like this:
Everything in our physical lives is a metaphor of our lives, our lessons, our mission, our spirit. The monk window is also a metaphor of your life (and everyone's life as well). The value of the window comes not from the glass itself, but from the light that passes through it, just as the value of your life is not from the physical body, but what we do with it; its utility, like the light that we let shine from within our souls. The physical body is just an expression or tool for the soul: its hammer and chisel.
In the dark, both sides of the window look equal. Even though you may see no value, the value is still there: it is never diminished. Likewise, in the darkest hours of our lives we may feel worthless, but our worth is always there, even when eclipsed by total darkness. Just know that everything is cyclic and the light always returns.

The back side of the window [left photo] represents physical life: the physical body. The front side [right photo] represents spiritual life: the soul.

From the outside [left photo], you see dirt and grime from outside. You see reflections of your surroundings and even optical illusions of things that are not really there. This is a metaphor for physical life, where we perceive all kinds of troubles, but most of them are illusions or path steering mechanisms.
The light from outside the glass [left photo] obscures its beauty and causes it to appear dull and lackluster. You can't even see the blue panes at the bottom. From the inside [right photo], the dirt doesn't show. It appears shiny and clean. We clearly see the light pour in to show us the true image.
From outside you see the reflection of the boards of the deck, showing you a path, but the path isn't clear and it obscures the truth. Similarly, in life, your path may seem meandering and chaotic but the reality is much simpler. The path is not the person. From within, you see there is really no path, no "doing" but simply "being," "oneness."
From outside, the inner aura surrounding the monk seems almost gone. The outer aura appears green, rather than its true color. The chakras look almost black. The lotus flower appears white and colorless. From inside, the inner aura is clean and bright. The outer aura sparkles and shines. You see the true color of the chakras shining through. The rich blue base is clear to see. The lotus flower is a colorful pink. 
So too in life, if you focus on outward appearances, you only see the distortions, the artificial, the washed-out, stressed-out; the physical animal struggling to breathe, eat, drink, mate, and survive. If you focus on the inside, you see the clear light of the soul, reflecting the eternal, the blissful, the peaceful: the reflection of God within.
From outside the monk's skin looks pale and ghost-like: a metaphor of your Caucasian physical body. From inside the skin reflects all of humanity, all colors, all cultures. Like many people, you have lived many past lives in many cultures and religions, but don't recognize it from appearances. We are all multi-colored. 
Learn to see everyone else as they appear not from an outside perspective, but from within. You may only see their physical body, the outside perspective, but realize the light of their soul lies within.
Similarly, learn to perceive yourself as the soul inside. Do not accept people's distorted ideas of you, for most will only see the distorted, poorly reflected outside image. They only see the physical.
Regardless of what they think and what they say, believe in yourself as the inner being, not the outer reflection. Learn to let your light shine the right direction. Show everyone the cosmic Light Being within. Don't let their droning false narrative drown out the song of the soul within.
Therein lies the value of out-of-body travel: you can see beyond the pale reflection of life and gain a better understanding of the soul, both yours and everyone else's. 
Remember that if you focus on the physical, you only see the pale reflection, like the photo on the left. If you focus on the non-physical you learn to understand the greater depths of the soul.
And to gain out-of-body experiences, learn to un-focus from the physical senses and focus your complete attention on "the other side of the glass." That is the lesson of the Glass Monk.

Bob Peterson
21 Sep 2020

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: The Vibrational State

Review: The Vibrational State

by Maverick Vardøger

Today I'm reviewing The Vibrational State: Three Years of Out of Body Experiences by Maverick Vardøger. The copyright is 2019, so it's pretty recent material.

Like all OBE/AP books, there are both good things and bad things about this book. Unlike many of my recent reviews, I actually bought this book.

The first thing that grabbed me about the book is the author's name: Maverick Vardøger. I'm pretty sure it's a pseudonym or pen name. In the first two paragraphs of the introduction he talks about how OBEs can sound crazy to someone who's never had them. He writes "This is the justification for a nom de plume."

And his name is very fitting. According to the dictionary, a maverick is:

  1. a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates:
  2. a person pursuing rebellious, even potentially disruptive, policies or ideas.

I've known the word "Vardøger" for a very long time. It refers to an entity from Scandanavian mythology, much like a doppelgänger, but with a less sinister connotation. It has been likened to a phantom double, or a form of bilocation. For years, many of my close friends and family have heard me call my dog, Spirit, "Fur Dogger" as a tongue-in-cheek play on this word.

So who is Maverick Vardøger? I'm pretty sure he is an American: I've worked closely with Brits for many years and I'm well versed in British colloquialisms, and there just wasn't any in this book. Not a single "whilst," "fortnight," "lorry," or "petrol." I didn't pick out any Canadian phrasing either, so the writing is American. I'd bet his real name is Rick, but that's just a guess.

The next thing I noticed about the book is on the front cover where, in small print, appears an endorsement from William Buhlman, author of some very good OBE books like Adventures Beyond the Body. That's a pretty good authority!

The book starts back on February 29, 2016, when at the age of 30, Vardøger had his first spontaneous out-of-body experience. The book spans the period from then until August 2, 2019: a little over three years.

Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to out-of-body experiences. Chapter 2 is some example OBE narratives from Vardøger's journals. Chapter 3 is dedicated to techniques. His OBE techniques are:
  • Breaking the Glue
  • Roll-out Method
  • Sit-Up Method
  • Burst Method
  • Float-Up Method
  • 4-Hour Method (A 4-hour Wake-Back-To-Bed/WBTB Variant)
  • Eject Method
  • Hover Method
  • Rope Method
  • Observer Method (similar to the Target Technique)
  • Mirror Method
  • Ramp Timer (programmed audio beeps to trigger awareness during sleep)
  • Hair Pull Method
Most of these rely on how to break free from your body once you've achieved the vibrations, or the "vibrational state." Unfortunately, he doesn't offer a lot of advice on how to get the vibrations. He does give some pre-vibration techniques; just not a lot.
 
Chapter 4 is Tips and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This is pretty solid. It contains a bunch of OBE best practices found in many OBE technique books, such as:
  • Meditate daily
  • Eat light meals several hours before bed
  • Do affirmations
  • Do reality checks throughout the day
  • Eat a vegetarian diet
  • Sleep on your back
  • Exhaust your body with physical exercise
  • Perform mantras
  • Reduce fluoride intake
There are only 8 questions in the FAQ, and they're all pretty basic.

Chapter 5 is "The Astral Log". This is the longest chapter in the book, spanning 103 of the book's 145 pages. This is basically a well edited journal of all his experiences, including all the near-misses, encounters with the vibrations, sleep paralysis, finding himself "out" but glued to his body, and occasionally, a full-blown OBE. The journal spans from February 29, 2016 to August 2, 2019. It details experiences numbered from 1 to 52, but a lot of these he isn't fully out-of-body.

Although some people may find it a bit "slow," I loved it because it gives a very realistic idea of what OBE practice is like: Lots of near-misses, encounters with the vibrations, brief OBEs, explorations that get cut way too early.

It's also contemporary: you're not hearing about a dead guy's OBEs from 70 years ago; it's very current.
 
One nice thing is that it's fairly detailed. He documents many things about the OBE, like how long it's been since he meditated, how long since he ran (he's a runner), his sleeping position, and other particulars.
 
He also talks about when he transitioned his diet from meat to Pescatarian (fish but no other meat) to Vegetarianism, to Veganism. He also wore a smart watch to bed for many of his OBEs, and interestingly, the watch indicated he was in REM sleep during the OBE. I don't know how good these smart watches are, nor what they base their data on. They certainly don't measure rapid eye movements. Do they measure galvanic skin resistance? Do they just measure heart rates? How do they tell Delta sleep from Theta waves from sleep spindles? I may need to do some research.

This was all very interesting, at least to me, but I would have loved to seen it carried much further. I wish he would have documented everything for the two days prior to each OBE: everything he ate and drank at every meal, including every snack and handful of nuts. I want to know how active he was physically and mentally. Was he a chess player or a couch potato?
 
I want to know the amount of ambient and/or traffic noise in his bedroom. I want to know his body mass index, what music (if any) he listened to, whether he used binaural beats, how "electrically isolated" he was (how exposed he was to RF noise), what vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter and prescription meds he had taken. I want to know how many hours of sleep he got and how broken or interrupted it was. I want to know how stressed he was. I want details, lots of details! These are all things I wish I had tracked all these years, for the sake of research. Still, I can't fault him: in general, he documented things like that better than I did. And most readers probably don't care about such things, right?

He gives theories, all based on his personal data and observations, about the effects of diet, exercise, drinking beer and/or other alcohol. Despite all his attempts at analysis, he didn't find any strong correlations.
"They occur randomly and I can't determine the reasons or triggers. I also have not meditated in about two months." (pg. 103)
I did the same thing with my early OBEs, tracking moon cycles, biorhythms, and everything else I could think of at the time, and I came to the same conclusion: the only thing that mattered for me is the amount of time I spent practicing.
 
But just because the author and I never found a correlation, does not mean there isn't one. It can just as easily indicate the correlations are not influenced by the day's events as much as the previous day's events, right? Maybe it was that Bran Muffin he had for breakfast the day before, right? That's why I want so many details. I know I'm just being too analytical here. Still, the book had more details than other authors, and I appreciated that.
 
I personally think a lot of his experiences were encouraged by broken sleep: he describes getting up in the middle of the night to feed and/or care for a baby. In one place he even notes:
"It seems like my intermittent sleep of 3 hours sleeping, 1 hour up with the baby, then back to sleep may be triggering more experiences. The frequent physical exhaustion of running may be contributing as well." (pg. 77)
Here's an interesting note: For me (and others, including Buhlman), it's hard to induce an OBE state when my wife is in bed with me, but many of Vardøger's experiences happen with his wife by his side.

In his OBEs, he tries some interesting experiments. Some of these were trying to establish proof that his OBEs were "real" i.e. veridical. For example, he tried to pinch his wife the same way Robert Monroe claims to have done in Journeys Out of the Body. Vardøger's wife was unaffected by the attempt, had no bruises, etc. He also talked to his wife and other people during OBEs and they had no memory of the conversation. So for the most part, his attempts are validation failed. To his credit, he is honest and doesn't sugarcoat his feelings:
"The vibrations, vividness of sight and touch, my conscious lucidity, the length of the experience, and the sensations of floating and separating from my body were very real. The details inside and outside of my home were not accurate. I still don't fully understand these astral OBEs but I'm happy to explore and experience them. They are more than a lucid dream. I still haven't found proof that I am literally out of my body." (pg. 101).
I found this interesting tidbit that shoots Monroe's theory about pointing North.
"I have lived in four different locations in he last 26 months, with all my beds all facing different directions and the experiences persist." (pg. 107).
The book is interesting, but not a barn burner. As you know, I love love love OBE narratives and Vardøger gives a lot of them. As I said, they paint a pretty accurate picture of the OBE, but to the average reader, they may be a bit mundane.

The book is 145 pages with a medium-large footprint, decent margins and small font. The writing, spelling and grammar are all excellent. It seemed professionally edited. I only found a couple small mistakes. There's enough content to satisfy, but given that the vast majority of the book is narratives, I would have liked more analysis, theories, academic discussion, like, say, Frederick Aardema's book Explorations in Consciousness. I did, however, love his enthusiasm.

I'll give it 3 and a half stars out of 5, but it's almost a 4.

Bob Peterson
8 September 2020


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