Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Multidimensional Traveler by Khartika Goe

Multidimensional Traveler

by Khartika Goe

Today I'm reviewing the book Multidimensional Traveler: Finding Togetherness, or How I Learned to Break the Rules of Physics and Sojourn Across Dimensions and Time by Khartika Goe. What kind of name is Khartika Goe? Well, she's an upbeat young woman of Indonesian heritage. She's witty, intelligent, spiritual, and well-traveled (both physically and astrally!). She also had help writing this book from her friend Katy Kara.

Let me just say that this book started out fabulous, but by the end I was disappointed.

The book starts out with Goe's earliest "multidimensional travels," in other words, out of body experiences. She's unexpectedly pulled out-of-body and gets taught a few things by various non-physical beings. Things like:
"Never fear, for fear is the worst destruction of the self. We are always within you, never fear." (pg. 19)
and this:
"But every life is simply a lesson and a cycle. You have to see it as a mere lesson, quite like a classroom." (pg. 31)
Naturally, she doesn't understand what's going on, so she hides her OBEs from her friends. But through them she finds her calling, and she stresses the need to be of service:
"In order for you to embark on a journey that will unleash the greatest knowledge of the universe, you must make it your intention to be of service to humanity." (pg. 52)
Throughout the entire book, Goe stresses the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and "high vibrations." This is the one recurring theme of the book, and it's the biggest point I took from the book. For example:
"It's worth noting here that if your emotions and thoughts are not positive and your subconscious is not tamed after an out-of-body journey, you will retain little to no memory of the experience upon returning to your physical body." (pg. 59)
She occasionally gives some good pointers and helpful hints for the would-be out-of-body traveler. For example:
"An important component of this exercise relies on your ability to create scenarios and inner narratives that are actually possible, as opposed to those that are obviously fantasy...The key is to construct scenarios that make you feel lost in the moment and that drawn [sic] on all your senses. My closest friends have found that the most useful and successful scenarios for tricking the mind are those that incorporate real people from their daily lives, such as their annoying mother screaming at them during breakfast or their crush taking them on a date and kissing them under a tree." (pg. 98)
I think this goes back to a concept I called "The Fantasy Trap" in my first book: If you start playing "What if" and fantasizing scenarios while attempting to have an OBE, you'll likely get sucked into the fantasy and lose consciousness. That's how dreams start. But if you use "goal-directed" and planned scenarios, you're more likely to stay focused, which is key to achieving OBE.

She talks about hypnagogic hallucinations, although she doesn't call them that:
"As you are falling asleep and changing into your energetic body, at times you may hear snippets of different types of music in the background, for only a few seconds or possibly longer. This music should not be ignored, as it serves as a useful and accurate signal for detecting which dimensional existence your energy body is slipping into." (pg. 102)
Again, I'd say that's good advice, just because you want to maintain focus and not "lose yourself."

Goe gives several somewhat scary OBEs, but luckily, she keeps her head and reacts appropriately. For example:
"I quickly looked over my shoulder in search of the source of the pain, only to find the same woman I had seen earlier on the balcony of the house, staring sickeningly at me. I telepathically ordered her to let me go, to which she viciously declared that I was hers to keep." (pg. 132)
But she always manages to make it back safely to her body.

She describes several interesting OBEs in which she meets interesting people, and even seemingly travels to the future. One of the most interesting things I thought about the OBEs to "the future" was when a man told her:
"Currently, earth is much less populated than it was during your time. In fact, we learned that earth was most densely populated during the clouded period that you live in." (pg. 163)
That matched my own observations in a "Time Travel OBE" in which I was supposedly taken to the year 2049: I expected to see overcrowding, but despite that, I saw very few people (and no vehicles). Goe didn't give any year for her OBE. She was told "There is no year; we don't count by year anymore." I found that hard to believe.

About two-thirds of the way through the book, the narrative of the book seems to change. It kind of devolves into what sounds like a conspiracy theory. (I've met a lot of OBE fanatics; why does it always seem to draw the conspiracy theorists?) She starts talking about psychic "weapons" and "brutal technologies" designed to lower everyone's vibrations, steal our energy, and keep us inside the body. She talks about energetic leeches and the need to do energetic shielding exercises every night before bed.

Then she starts receiving lessons from a soul "collective" who calls itself "Togetherness." At that point the book degenerates into the same kind of narrative I disliked so much in Astral Projection as a Bridge to the Spiritual by Luiz Roberto Mattos. In other words, it was a series of her asking "My great being, can I ask one more thing?" followed by a spiritual discourse that would be too impossibly long for anyone to remember from an OBE, unless you have eidetic (photographic) memory.

She doesn't say how she's able to remember such large amounts of dialog. She just mentions near the beginning of the book that she used some special technique to recall it word for word, verbatim. Hmm.

In other words, her experiences at the beginning of the book seem genuine, but at the end of the book, they seem highly implausible, even bordering on paranoid. She dwells on the negative way too much, in my opinion, even while reminding us readers to remain positive.

The book was, however, very well written. She's a good writer and a good story teller. Goe's command of English was flawless, elegant and even flowery. I only found two or three tiny mistakes in the entire book, which says a lot. It seemed professionally written and edited. That made it mostly enjoyable.

As for the book's subtitle: Does she find togetherness? If you count the "collective" called "Togetherness" then yes, otherwise No. Is she breaking the laws of physics? No such thing, as far as I'm concerned. Did she sojourn across dimensions and time? Well, maybe.

The book is 263 pages, so there's a good amount of content. Unfortunately, there was almost nothing in there for OBE techniques, except for a one-page appendix in which she says to keep your vibrations high and do the energy shielding exercises and such.

I'll give it 3 stars. It's entertaining, but I've read better: it just wasn't satisfying.

Bob Peterson
19 February 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Becoming the Ideal Candidate for OBEs - Part 2

Becoming the Ideal Candidate for OBEs - Part 2

by Bob Peterson
Here is the second half of the previous blog article. Enjoy! If you missed part 1, here's a link: Becoming the Ideal Candidate for OBEs - Part 1.
Develop Synaesthesia: Bleed-thru of the senses
People who use hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, psilocybin, or cannabis often “hear” colors or “see” shapes in sounds. The technical term for when the senses bleed together like this is synaesthesia, and it’s not confined to hallucinogenic experiences. I bring this up because according to scientists, there’s a high correlation between people who experience synaesthesia and people who rate high on the Tellegen Absorption Scale.

What I’d like to suggest is that while you listen to music, try to visualize its ups and downs. Some music apps made for phones and computers have a “visualization” mode that changes colorful patterns on the display with the music. Close your eyes and try to do that in your head. Again, I’ll talk more about that in chapter 53.

Visualizing music is like practicing or developing a kind of self-induced synaesthesia, which increases your level of absorption to more easily achieve OBEs.

Play Video Games
Scientists have known for a long time that people who play video games tend to have more OBEs. That’s because video games train you to change your focus from the body’s five physical senses to a computerized experience, an alternate “story of experience,” which is a subject I’ll cover in the next chapter. The same goes for virtual reality (VR) apps and games, or drones that feed real-time video data to a VR mask.

Engage in Creative Activities
People who have mystical experiences are often more creative. So one of the things you can do to bolster your creativity is to draw, doodle, or paint (without a template). If you’re more auditory than visual, you can try to compose music. Another exercise is to make up gibberish nonsense sentences.5 In my book Answers Within I give lots of different exercises designed to teach you how to get your subconscious to communicate, and since the subconscious is usually the source of creativity, many of them are helpful exercises for OBEs as well. For example:
  • Ask yourself, “If I was a guru on top the mountain, (or the Dalai Lama, Jesus, or some other wise person), how would I answer this question?”
  • Ask yourself, “What is love?” and try to make up a “wise answer.”
  • Ask yourself to “Say something wise” and think up the wisest thing you can imagine.
  • Go on a “metaphor walk” and ask yourself the “meaning” of the things you see. For example, “What’s the meaning of this street light?”
  • Look at people and try to guess their story: “Where did she grow up?” “What’s his favorite sport?” “What will she be doing when she’s 85 years old and what will she look like?”
Keep a Dream Journal
People who keep a dream journal are more prone to having (and remembering) out-of-body experiences. When you keep a dream journal, it trains your brain to retain a small thread of awareness during sleep. It learns to pay attention to what happens (your "story of experience") while you're dissociated from your body, and to carry those memories across the boundary between waking and sleeping. (More details in this blog article: Why Keeping A Dream Journal Helps OBEs.)

Lose Some Weight
If you’re overweight, it might help to trim up and lose some weight. I’ve always had better luck when my weight is down. I’ll go into more details about that in chapter 70.

If you’re a left-brained logical thinker like me, it may seem unproductive, tedious, uninteresting or unappealing to spend hours engaging your creative mind, daydreaming, reading, playing video games and such, but they will make you a better candidate for OBEs.

Don’t do any of these exercises halfheartedly or they simply won’t work. A single event, like reading a novel, may exercise the right neural pathways, but it won’t rewire your brain unless you do it repeatedly. It’s a lot like physical exercise: you won’t develop strong muscles by going to the gym (or biking, hiking, etc.) once a month. You’ve got to develop a habit and keep at it. Every time you do it, the neural pathways get stronger, making you a better and better candidate for OBEs. And of course, you also need to give it some time to take effect. Experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

Whether you’re naturally a good candidate for OBEs, or became one with these exercises, that may still not be enough to attain them because you still need to tweak your brain to make it happen. First, we need science to tell us what happens to the brain during an OBE, then we can develop exercises to replicate that. That’s the subject of the next chapter.

22 January 2019
1 What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Compassion, Carolyn Gregoire, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-neuroscience-can-tea_n_5268853
2 Out of Body Experiences, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 1997, pg. 40.
3 Seeing Myself, Susan Blackmore, Robinson, 2017, pg. 117.
4 Lessons Out of the Body, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2001, pg. 221.
5 How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, Penguin Random House, 2016, pg. 124.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Becoming the Ideal Candidate for OBEs - Part 1

Becoming the Ideal Candidate for OBEs - Part 1

by Bob Peterson
For this blog article, I'm presenting another excerpt from my new book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience, which is still unpublished. Due to its size, I've broken this chapter into two articles. This is the first half.
Can we use science to transform ourselves into ideal (or at least better) candidates for OBEs? I believe the answer is yes. We start by examining what scientists know about the people who are predisposed to OBEs. Then we change our habits to “reprogram” our brains for OBE using a concept neuroscientists called neuroplasticity: the brain’s ability to rewire itself.

There are two kinds of OBE habits we can develop: habits that make OBEs more likely to occur (which I’ll talk about throughout the entire book), and habits to make you a better candidate for OBEs, which I’ll cover now. There are also bad habits you should break (like watching too much television) but we’ll get into those later.

Daily Meditation
The first way to become a better candidate for OBEs is to meditate daily. There are literally hundreds of meditation techniques, and all of them can make you a better candidate for OBEs.

In a way, direct OBE induction itself is a very specific kind of meditation where you focus your mind in a certain way (more about that in chapter 17). Some OBE authors achieve their OBEs entirely through meditation. For example, pretty much all of Jurgen Ziewe’s OBEs were the result of his meditation, even though his goal in meditating wasn’t specifically for that (he was after more lofty goals like Nirvana, Satori, oneness with God, or whatever you want to call it.)

While it’s important to practice OBE techniques, that’s not what I mean here. Here I want to talk about “normal” meditation; the kind where you just sit quietly, clear your mind and still your thoughts. For example, one of the most simple and powerful meditation techniques is “mindfulness meditationin which you simply sit and cultivate a focused awareness on the present moment, and extend a loving awareness toward others.

I usually meditate twice a day: A fifteen-to-twenty minute silent “mindfulness” meditation early in the morning after I wake up, and a “binaural beat” meditation under headphones in the evening. I’ll go into more details about binaural beats and other sound technologies in chapter 65.

There’s ample scientific evidence that meditation rewires your brain. For example, a 2014 article in the Huffington Post1 talks about the work of psychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel, executive director of the Mindsight Institute. According to the article:
As Siegel explained, the concept of "neural integration" refers to the interaction between various disparate parts of the brain. And through mindfulness practices like meditation, we can actually grow integrative fibers in the brain -- studies have shown that mindful awareness increases the connectivity of separate areas of the brain.”
Can that make you a better candidate for OBEs? Everything I know about OBEs says yes. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have OBEs. Renown skeptic Dr. Susan Blackmore has meditated every day for more than 30 years, and she claims it hasn’t helped her induce any OBEs. So think of meditation as just one piece of the puzzle.

Strengthening your active imagination
Another thing science tells us is that OBEs happen more often to creative people, people who use their imaginations. In other words, people who focus on “inner events” more than “outer events.” In terms of brain science, they spend a lot of time on “task negative” brain events (mind-wandering, daydreaming) and less time on “task positive” brain events (focused tasks). In terms of neuroscience, this means they exercise, or even over-use, the “default mode network” (DMN) which I’ll cover in more detail in chapter 71.

A lot of people tell me, “I used to have OBEs when I was a child, but then they stopped.” So what changed? Why do children have more OBEs? I believe it’s because they use their active imagination more than adults. Kids use their active imagination constantly. I once read an article about a 9-year-old girl who could self-induce OBEs. Someone asked her how she did it. She said something like, “It’s easy. Just pretend you’re on a roller-coaster, then try to move but don’t really move. Eventually, you’ll start to get faster and faster, and you’ll actually feel like you’re shaking. At some point, you’ll just pop out of your body.” She figured out that using her active imagination while she’s relaxed is a key factor. Her instruction to “move but don’t really move” sounds very much like an OBE technique I developed called the “Almost Move Technique” which I explain in chapter 30.

As we get older, our brains and belief systems tend to, for lack of a better word, “solidify” and become more rigid. Our brains develop habitual patterns (think of them as ruts) and we use our active imagination less. So the first step is to break out of these ruts.

The more you use your active imagination, the easier it will be to achieve OBEs. In my first book, I have an exercise calledPretend Day.”2 The whole point was to get you to use your active imagination as much as you can by pretending weird things happen. For example, imagine you pull out a gun and shoot a stoplight that’s holding you back. Or pretend there are purple dragons circling in the sky above you, or balls of light encircling your head. It doesn’t matter what you fantasize about; just that you do fantasize.

So to become a better candidate for OBEs, make every day “pretend day.” Learn to actively engage in playful fantasy. Don’t consider this a waste of time; consider it a necessary part of rewiring your brain for OBEs.

Developing absorption
Science tells us one of the most important attributes of OBE-susceptible people is absorption.3 I wrote about this in my second book.4 Absorption is commonly measured by the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS) by psychologists to test how absorbed people get in their own mental imagery, or how focused they are on inner events. According to scientists, people who rate high on the TAS also tend to be more easily hypnotized. They’re also typically better at an important OBE skill: visualization. Absorption is also strongly correlated with openness to experience. (This may suggest drugs used to treat ADD might help you focus more on OBEs.) So another way to rewire your brain for OBEs is to develop absorption.

Many scientists seem to treat absorption and suggestibility as a static and unchanging trait, but I know of at least two ways to develop absorption. The first is to read (or write) fiction stories and books. I especially favor science fiction and fantasy novels that conjure up images of strange new worlds and the creatures that inhabit them, like elves, trolls and gnomes. You can lose yourself and become absorbed in a television show or a movie, but they don’t have the same effect because they feed your brain with both visual and auditory data: there’s not much creativity left for the viewer. They lead you by the nose and tell you exactly what to think and feel. When you read fiction, you do something different: you create a mental image of the events occurring in the story.

As you read, try to imagine the faces of the people in the story. Try to visualize the circumstances they’re in. Try to become absorbed into the story’s plot to the exclusion of everything else in the outside world. Again, this is not a waste of time; it’s a technique to rewire your brain.

The second way to develop absorption is to listen to music. I’m not talking about background music; that’s actually counterproductive. Listen intently, under headphones. Don’t combine it with anything else. Put your phone down and give it your full attention. Try to get totally lost in the music. Focus on its ups and downs, and how the music makes you feel. It’s better to listen to instrumental songs rather than songs with lyrics. Some genres of music are more conducive to this process than others. For example, as appealing as they might be to you, Country and Folk music might be poor choices for this because they tend to emphasize stories conveyed in words, using the music only to emphasize the story. Classical / Baroque music emphasizes the music only, which is better for this purpose. It’s is highly creative and can drag you up and down in wonderful ways. Unfortunately, I find most Classical music boring, so I tend to favor music with some lyrics, but where the music overpowers the lyrics, and not the other way around. I like long progressive rock songs by Yes that are heavy on music, with lyrics that are nothing more than poetry (like “Close To The Edge”), or the earlier, more progressive songs by Pink Floyd (like “Echoes.”) I also listen to progressive metal that’s music-heavy (like Dream Theater), and symphonic metal (like Epica). Bands that are “trippy” like “Dead Can Dance” are also good for getting entranced. I’ll talk more about OBE music in chapter 53.

(To be continued)

Bob Peterson
22 January 2019
1 What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Compassion, Carolyn Gregoire, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-neuroscience-can-tea_n_5268853
2 Out of Body Experiences, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 1997, pg. 40.
3 Seeing Myself, Susan Blackmore, Robinson, 2017, pg. 117.
4 Lessons Out of the Body, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2001, pg. 221.
5 How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, Penguin Random House, 2016, pg. 124.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Book Review: The Initiation by Tom Llewellyn

Book Review: The Initiation

by Tom Llewellyn

It's been a long time since I've done a book review for my blog. That's probably because I was so busy last summer that I hardly took any time to read. I always read more in the winter months.

Today I'm reviewing The Initiation: A Progressive Spiritual Manual by Tom Llewellyn. The author was kind enough to send me a review copy. While it's not specifically about lucid dreaming, OBEs, or astral projection, the book progresses toward that end. The last couple chapters are about those things.

I really liked this book. It's spiritual, but well grounded. It's practical, meaning it has lots of easy to understand instructions. It's progressive, meaning each chapter builds on the next and the whole book is a step-by-step journey of becoming.

The book presents something the author calls "The Initiation," which is broken into four doors that have keys, although I don't remember him saying exactly what that is. But each chapter contains part of a key, and builds on the last. Every chapter ends with a sentence to describe which part of which key it represents. For example, chapter 3 ends with this one:
"If you feel you have a clarity about the nature of the false self and an inner commitment to awaken your humanity and see through the illusions of the false mind-matrix then you have in your hands the third part of the key of the first door of The Initiation." (pg. 36)

Llewellyn has good "deep" philosophy based on a number of different spiritual traditions. For example, I really liked this quote:
"In this mysterious paradoxical world, losing yourself and finding yourself go hand in hand. You become lost to the false self and you find the true self. The kind of seeming contradiction that states that, as human beings, we are both nothing and all, can be resolved within the simplicity of our soul's inner smile and child-like understanding." (pg. 5)
"The purpose of the darkness is to make the light stand out." (pg. 7)
It's not about what to do, but also what not to do. No one's more guilty of this than me:
"Spending too much time on the computer or smart phone would also be strong modern examples of habits that lead to unconsciousness." (pg. 16)
It's not just about the practices, but how to integrate it:
"If we are finding it hard to process the weight of our experiences and sense input we will find practices like meditation, time spent in nature, creative art work, therapy and relaxation helpful, as they will help us to sift through our unconscious mind and regain contact with the present moment." (pg. 20)
Here's another quote I liked:
"Searching for a playfulness of heart can help, so that you can learn to rekindle that child-like understanding, which knows and appreciates the sacredness and interconnectedness of life." (pg. 23)
The book isn't so much about exploring out-of-body states, but a complete transformation of the self. For example, I really liked chapter 4, Transcendence, because it talks about shaking ourselves out of our normal patterns:
"In this chapter I will show that there is a lot of suffering in this world and that a normal material life can leave you empty of energetic resources and so you need to have transcendence through turning to the world of spirit." (pg. 37)
I also liked this quote:
"It seems like a paradox, that when we take ourselves out of the net and seemingly put distance between ourselves and others, we actually bring ourselves much closer to them. It's as if only when we free ourselves from the mud, can we see the mud and see how others are caught in it." (pg. 39)
A lot of people resist a spiritual path because they feel like they have to give up their comfortable lives and start living a life of sacrifice and discipline. Llewellyn shows us some middle-ground:
"Although it is clear that sense desire can cause people a lot of suffering we must beware of concepts such as becoming 'desire-less'. Perhaps we should talk more about 'refining' desire. Not only for the above reasons, but also because there is a great need for social and environmental action in this world, and so what we don't necessarily need is a lot of people feeling 'desire-less', 'goal-less', and lacking motivation to positively act in this world. The core principle should always be, in our practice helping us to feel more conscious, awake, connected and loving." (pg. 42)
"The reality is that the more you help others on this planet the more the world of spirit will help you. If you isolate yourself from others, it would be naive to assume that your emotional wellbeing will be supplied by your connection with spirit alone." (pg. 47)
Most of the chapters also contain aphorisms, or things to meditate and reflect on, or affirmations to consider. For example, I liked this one:
"Let the word 'transcendence' pass your lips a thousand million times, yet know that you do not need to transcend the 'True Self', for the nature of the 'True Self' is transcendence itself." (pg. 54)
Chapter 6 is titled "Prayer" and it contains gems like this:
"Prayer in a sense is only a clarifying of the intention that we can then express in action. Prayer will always have power but it gains a far deeper divinity if we are actually expressing our sentiments in our actions." (pg. 69)
I also liked this aphorism:
"For every prayer you say for yourself, say ten for others." (pg. 71)
I've always believed that if we change our beliefs and attitudes, we change our circumstances (as in the Jane Roberts / Seth adage "You create your own reality.") Here's one of the author's "Eckhart Tolle" moments:
"In other words we always want things to be other than what they are. If only that person or situation was a bit different, if only the weather was better if only I was more attractive or younger, if only...then I would be happy. There is a bright light that we can bring into this situation and that light is an 'acceptance of the present moment.' Once you accept the nature of your present moment experience you take a huge chunk of the ego's power away." (pg. 78)
Chapter 9 is "The Path." Llewellyn lists these elements of the path: Fasting, Giving, Discipline, Ethics, Love, Pain, Fear, Persistence and Positive Attitude.

I especially liked what he said about love. He told the story of a well-known Indian Baba called Neem Karoli Baba:
"Once a western disciple came up to him and asked him 'How to meditate.' Initially the Baba told him to go away but as the Westerner was leaving the Baba said "Just meditate like Christ."
"Later the disciple came to him and asked him what he meant. The old Baba closed his eyes and seemed to disappear for a few minutes. When he came back and opened his eyes, he had tears in his eyes. "He lost himself in love. He loved everyone, even those that crucified him. That is the way to meditate, just be like Christ or Gandhi. Just lose yourself in love." (pg. 105)
As for pain, he wrote:
"We always hold one jewel in the face of suffering and pain. This jewel, is the way we can respond."
I also loved this quote about death:
"It is not possible to be really vividly alive unless you are aware of death, because death is woven up into the very fabric of life. The essence of everything is eternal but at the same time transience is woven into all. Death is the other side of the coin of awareness. Everything brightly shivers in the transience of this world." (pg. 122)
In the "third door" section, Llewellyn has lots of meditation exercises, and he's got a lot of them. He has dynamic energy exercises like Robert Bruce. He has breathing exercises like Bhastrika: Bellows Breath, and Kapalabhati: Cleansing Shining Skull Breath. He has lots of exercises, mostly geared toward different kinds of meditation. They're all very solid, and different from most exercises you find in ordinary OBE books, but he uses a lot of these exercises to supplement his OBE techniques.

The "fourth door" is all about inducing lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences. He makes some interesting observations. I've always believed that lucid dreams are basically OBEs with a hallucinated dream environment. Llewellyn has a different take:
"Lucid Dreaming body of consciousness and the Astral body of consciousness are like different zones in the same sea. The experience will be different depending on the vehicle and level of consciousness that is being utilized." (pg. 187)
I think he comes closer to the truth when he tries to clarify it later:
"[Lucid dreaming] is like a man sitting in a room watching events on the TV that are happening in the street outside. The events are being represented very well on the television screen, but still it is not the same as being outside." (pg. 189)
That's not to say lucid dreams are less valuable:
"It is wrong to believe that astral projection experiences are necessarily always superior in some way to lucid dream experiences, as this is not the case at all. Lucid dreaming offers a safer, more usual and more protected route of exploration than astral projection, at least in its initial stages does..." (pg. 190)
I really only disagreed with one thing the author said:
"There is no real clear boundary between lucid dreaming and shamanic journeying, so both states, which may very well be the same in essence can be used to explore the same terrains of the spirit." (pg. 193)
In my opinion, lucid dreaming is completely different from shamanic journeying. Lucid dreams occur when the body is completely asleep and inanimate, and your conscious awareness is firmly anchored in the self-created hallucination called the dream. Shamanic journeying is more like Robert Monroe's "Focus Level" experiences in which your conscious awareness remains centered mainly in the physical body, but you observe and even interact using a remote mechanism, much like remote viewing.

Llewellyn also writes about being careful when interacting with spirits, especially those who claim to be guides or masters. He also talks about the need to stay grounded and centered:
"Having said that we should not fall into the trap of abandoning our human spiritual friends and community in some kind of persuit [sic] of a purely non-physical community of enlightened friends." (pg. 199)
This is what he says about transitioning from a lucid dream to an OBE:
"If you want to shift from a lucid dream into an astral projection experience, all you need to do is activate and bring your astral body with you." (pg. 215)
I found that confusing, but he does say that as you get more experience with both, lucid dreaming will start to "phase" into the astral projection state.

The last chapter of the book is about astral projection, and he does give some good exercises. For example, he gives a technique called "Pulsing" which is basically the same as Akhena's "The Fire and the Diamond" technique in which you shift your attention from chakra to chakra, but Llewellyn uses multiple chakras whereas Akhena only used two: the root chakra (Fire) and the third eye (Diamond). He also recommends doing hundreds of "perineum mula-bhanda contractions."

Beginners often ask what to do when "the vibrations" hit. Llewellyn basically recommends the same thing I do, which is:
"Just allow the vibrational waves and energy to build up until it has reached its peak, perfect pitch tone, and this will shift you to the threshold. When this happens you can now exit." (pg. 258)
Achieving OBEs represents the final door of "The Initiation." There's one more chapter about psychic self-defense (or as they say in the UK, "defence") which is largely based on Robert Bruce's teachings.

I liked this book. The writing is mature and well done. It's 282 pages, so there's a good amount of content, and it's high quality. And there are lots of practical exercises.

My only complaint is that there are a lot of small mistakes. I didn't even notice it in the first half of the book, but by the last third I found a mistake on almost every page. I'm not talking about grammar-Nazi mistakes like spelling or even grammar; things like the wrong word (like physic where he meant psychic),  missing words, extra words, etc. Things that a good editor would have caught, but it's easy for authors to miss because they get too close to the work. Still, the content and principles are solid.

I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Bob Peterson
08 January 2019

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fod the Mule

Fod the Mule

by Bob Peterson

I wasn't going to post this, especially so close to my last post, but I decided to anyway, just for fun. I figured this will probably be my last blog article of 2018, so why not? It's kind of my Christmas present to my readers and I hope you enjoy it.

I'm in a local writing group called Brainerd Writers Alliance. Last Saturday, at our December meeting, one of our members gave everyone a "writing exercise." It was basically a fun, lighthearted ten (or so) minute exercise for your creative mind. The challenge was to write some creative story (fiction or nonfiction) from a short list of categories. When the time was up, everybody read their story aloud.

Most of the categories revolved around Christmas, so I decided to write a story about the first Christmas. The problem was, we could only use pen and paper. This was "lightning writing" or "speed writing." I couldn't pause to think. I just wrote words down on the paper as fast and furious as they'd come to me. In other words, this was very close to "automatic writing" where the story just kind of flowed from my head to my hand, and then to the paper. You should have seen my hand fly across the paper as I wrote.

So here's my Christmas story. Just don't expect much because ten minutes isn't much time to write anything, especially hand writing it on paper, let alone a cohesive story! I did a small amount of editing to clean it up, but it's mostly unchanged.

* * *

Fod the Mule

The caravan stopped at the stable. His journey had ended. Fod was exhausted to the point of breaking. He felt undernourished, hungry and dejected, and his feet ached. He was alone and it seemed that nobody cared about his burdens. He felt unloved, just another beast of burden, but that’s not unexpected for a Persian mule.

His masters had piled up huge boxes of supplies on all the animals’ backs, but his was the heaviest; they were filled with gold. Why couldn’t he have gotten the spices or incense which weighed so much less? But that would have shifted the weight to one of his friends—the other mules—and he didn’t want that either.

It seemed like his masters didn’t care about him. “Follow the star. Just follow the star.” That’s all they ever cared about. They were the world famous Magi, Zoroastrian priests, so why did they take us so far away from Persia?, he wondered. What good would come out of it? Dressed in their priestly robes, they looked like kings, and no one would dare question their wisdom; not even a mule.

The high priest opened the manger door and Fod noticed a small baby lying in a bed of straw. The baby didn’t cry, but was surrounded by an air of peace and calm. The humans exchanged words, but it wasn’t mule-talk, so he didn’t understand. Was this the reason for the eleven hundred mile journey? What was so special about this child? He wanted to know.

The slaves took the boxes of gold off his back and he felt so much better, so much lighter, like he could walk on air. He wanted to investigate further, but he was afraid to intrude. He needed the right opportunity.

As the slaves hauled the last of the boxes inside, they left the door ajar just a little. Then they shuffled to the far side of the building to talk without disturbing the baby. That was the moment Fod had been waiting for. He nudged the door further open with his bulbous nose and stuck his head inside, then craned his neck into the straw enclosure and sniffed the child.

The child was so quiet he thought he was asleep, but he wasn’t. The baby reached a tiny hand up and touched Fod’s nose. Suddenly, he understood. He was embraced and flooded with God’s divine love. He knew his purpose was fulfilled. He had played an important part in God’s plan and would go down in history. Suddenly, he knew the journey was worth the pain, worth the toil, worth all the back-breaking hardship and labor. Maybe he was just a simple mule, but without him, the journey would have ended in failure.

He thought about it a minute. Then he decided it was the same for everyone.

15 December 2018
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Happy Holidays to all my readers of all genders, races, colors, religions, and walks of life. Here's to overcoming what separates us.

Bob Peterson
18 December 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Arguing with Fundamentalist Christians

Arguing with Fundamentalist Christians

by Bob Peterson

I'm sorry if this comes off as a rant, but it's one of those things that drives me crazy. If you're a fundamentalist Christian, you may want to slowly back away.

After all these years, I should know better than argue with fundamentalist Christians. I guess I brought it on myself. You'd think I'd have learned by now. A guy named Vince posted a meme on Facebook that was divided into four squares. The first had a photo of some marijuana that said "This is not the answer." The second was alcohol and said the same thing. The third was drugs and said the same thing. The last panel showed a man holding a Bible. It said, "This is the answer." Vince posted "Thank you God for taking away my addictions."

I shouldn't have done it, but I took the bait. I responded by saying "You're substituting one addiction for another. But some people need that." After all, we all need different belief systems to get through life. Do what you need to do to get clean, right? Or as John Lennon once said, "Whatever gets you through the night...s'alright." If God or the Bible help you, go for it. I applaud that.

But it's funny how people (including me) cling to their rigid belief systems, and if you point out any little flaw, they will lash out like a wounded animal and even fight you to the death to defend them, rather than admit the truth and give them up. And so our argument started. Vince lashed out by saying:
"All people need that Bob, including yourself. Your addiction to OBEs is something I once had too, and it's against God's will. Put your faith in Christ and repent. You've been deceiving yourself for too long."
Apparently Vince took my simple statement as a personal attack on his belief system (it was not meant to be). He responded by attacking my belief system and man, he knew how to push my buttons. He actually had the audacity to assert that OBEs are against God's will, and that I should repent and turn to Christ. As they say, "Them's fightin' words!" First, I politely pointed him to my blog article titled "Are OBEs Against Christianity?" in which I present my case for OBEs being compatible with Christianity. Then I responded with:
"OBEs are not my addiction, they're my passion. There's a difference.

And as for Christ, don't get me started. There are too many problems with it. First of all, Christianity has very little to do with Christ or his teachings, because his entire cult (yes, he was a cult leader like all religions begin) was misappropriated by the apostle Paul, who went off into all kinds of idiotic misogynistic rants and teachings. Christ taught us (rightly) to love God above all things. Paul taught us (wrongly) to worship Jesus as a God. I've read the Bible, and the more I learn about Paul, the more I'm convinced he was a lunatic cult leader.

As for Jesus himself, he was the real deal. He had a connection with God, but he was also the most misunderstood man in history.

Besides, what makes you (or anyone) value the misinterpreted, poorly-translated mystical experiences from somebody 2000 years ago, from a completely different culture, who thought the world was flat, as opposed to the modern contemporary mystical experiences (like OBEs) of people who are living today and write about it in your own language, own culture and modern context, with 2000 years of revised scientific knowledge? Just to give an example, I think Jurgen Ziewe's books can teach you (and mankind) more about God and the afterlife than the Bible.

Okay, end of rant. Have a nice day. :)"
Okay, maybe I over-reacted. Maybe I lashed out like he did. I guess I just couldn't resist pushing his buttons the way he pushed mine. But really...He's okay with "John had a really cool OBE 2000 years ago [ref: Book of Revelations]" so now he's "John The Divine" but "John down the street has a really cool OBE, but yesterday" and it's got to be Satan? Really? Vince responded:
"I came from a new age background and practiced astral projection for 15 years. Believe me that I was not delighted when I discovered that it was against God's law. I tried to find a way around it but His word is clear and can't be denied... witchcraft (astral projection has long been a practice of witchcraft) and contact with spirits is against His will, and for good reason. I've had some nasty encounters with deceptive spirits and demonic entities, one that even resulted in a painful physical injury. An involuntary experience initiated and guided by God, as Paul had and speaks of in Corinthians, is much different than willingly entering the spirit realm to satisfy the desires of the ego.

You've read the Bible but it seems you haven't understood it. Perhaps you've been under demonic influence for too long to see clearly, an unfortunate side effect of messing around in the spirit world for too long. Paul teaches exactly what Christ did, and yes, Jesus did claim to be God.
"I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)

Here he was clearly claiming to be equal with God, as the Jews responded..

"The Jews answered Him (Jesus), 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make yourself out to be God.' ? (John 10:33)
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (John 8:58)
"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am." (John 13:13) (The Greek word for "Lord" is Kurios, meaning God supreme in authority).

Jesus received worship as God (Matthew 14:33; 28:9) and sometimes even demanded to be worshipped as God (John 5:23; compare Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:8?14).

Nice double standard by the way. My passion is an "addiction" but not yours? The term addiction implies detrimental consequences. My passion leads to eternal life, yours results in death. Thus it's clear who has the addiction."
Wait. Did he just say that Paul taught exactly what Christ taught? What a ridiculous claim. Jesus taught reasonable things like "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Paul taught "My judgement upon the man who did this thing is already given, as if I were indeed present." (1 Corinthians 5:3) and "It is God's people who are to judge the world; surely you know that." (1 Corinthians 6:2)

Paul taught that "As in all congregations of God's people, women should not address the meeting. They have no license to speak, but should keep their place as the laws direct. If there is something they want to know, they can ask their own husbands at home. It is a shocking thing that a woman should address the congregation." (1 Corinthians 14:34) Where exactly did Jesus teach that?

I responded:
"When you discovered it was against God's law? Where exactly does it say that? Where exactly does it say that astral projection is witchcraft? This is just Christian hysteria and assumptions with no backing. As I wrote in the article, Paul's own words affirm that it is perfectly okay for a Christian man to have out-of-body experiences.

As for John 10:30, Jesus had a real connection to God, so he knew that we are *ALL* one with God. Separation is an illusion. So of course he's going to say that. Some have called into question whether this passage is even original or if it was added. Plus there are plenty of quotes to refute that statement. Jesus said Why do you call me good? Only God is good, etc.

As for the Bible, it's way too self-contradictory and messed up to even apply. For example, it condones slavery. Do you condone slavery? It doesn't say slavery is wrong, it says how you should treat your slaves. That's your holy book. Time to wake up.

Paul said that women should be quiet and not teach. Do you stand by that? Is that what Jesus taught? Paul was an misguided cult leader."
Vince said:
"The contradictions you speak of are an indicator that you don't understand the Bible. Context is key. Taking two verses out of context and comparing them is a sure way to misunderstand the text; this applies to anything."
In exactly what context can you read "And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, [slaves] whom thou shalt have; of the nations that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondman and bondmaids" (Leviticus 25:44) if slavery is wrong?

In exactly what context can you read that women should be kept quiet and aren't allowed to teach, while still holding modern beliefs that women should be treated the same as men? Does Vince have a wife, and does she agree to this nonsense? Then he told someone else on the thread:
"He gets high on new age occult practices. He actually helped me get started on them myself back when I was a boy when I read his book detailing his out of body experiences. It was around the same time that I lost faith in the one true God of the bible. The connection is not just a coincidence. Thank God that I eventually came to my senses and realized the deception I was involved in. I think he is too invested in the experiences and lifestyle to be open minded enough to realize the deception he is a part of."
Well, I'm glad to hear I helped Vince open his eyes for a while, but it looks like he either got scared because he encountered some of the "astral wildlife" or the demons of his own subconscious fear, or something. Too bad he fell asleep. OBEs are not related to the occult, witchcraft, or any other path. Those paths choose to use OBEs to gain knowledge of the afterlife, as any spiritual path is free to do. I responded:
"Astral Projection is not an occult practice (even though some occultists practice it) nor a part of witchcraft (even though some witches practice it), nor a part of Islam or any other religion (even though some of those followers practice it). There's absolutely nothing in the Bible denouncing it, but Paul's note about it confirms it's okay for Christian men to do it. Most OBEs happen to normal average people of all ages, cultures, religions and belief systems. The Bible does denounce consulting with spirits, but you can choose whether or not to interact with spirits inside the body or outside the body; that's a separate issue.

You still haven't told me whether you condone slavery. You still haven't told me whether women should be allowed to teach.

You want some examples of contradictions? How did Judas die?

You want to think that Jesus was God? John 14:28 "For the Father is greater than I." Luke 18:19 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Read what it says.

Does it make any logical sense to (blindly) believe the religious experiences someone had 2000 years ago, in a completely different culture, in a completely different language, with a completely different set of core beliefs, rather than the religious experiences of someone in your own time, in your own culture, in your own language, in your own core set of beliefs?

I understand the Bible very well. You call me blind, but you don't see the plank in your own eye. Suppose your thirteen-year-old daughter told you she's pregnant. What would be your reaction? What is easier to believe: That she's been having sex or that God magically impregnated her with the Messiah? Guess how old Mary was?

Did you ever stop to consider that with OBEs, you can actually MEET Jesus face to face rather than spirits? Talk to him, listen to him, touch him? Have people done that? Absolutely. Experience trumps faith every time, brother."
And I pointed him to my blog article titled: Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face.
He responded with:
"Astral projection is most certainly a practice within the realm of witchcraft, just do a google search and you'll see the majority of witchcraft websites feature astral projection as one of their practices: http://www.witchipedia.com/def:astral-projection
Do a search on occult practices and you'll likewise see astral projection featured in the majority of them. How don't you know this? The very definition of the occult is "supernatural or mystical beliefs and practices" which is exactly what astral projection is. Again, how don't you know this? Are you lying to try to win an argument?

Repeating over and over that Paul affirms that OBEs are okay doesn't make it true. The fact is that he doesn't. You're welcome to post scripture that supports your case.

I have sought out Jesus while out of my body, many times, and have met an individual who responded to my intent who appeared to be him, many times. But there was nothing about these experiences that indicated that it was really him. For all I know it was a deceptive spirit playing dress up, or possibly even a manifestation of my subconscious mind. The fact that he looked like the popular image of Jesus (white, long hair, short beard) is an indicator that it was not the true Jesus, as he looked nothing like this during his life on Earth. It would be foolish to trust these experiences.
For any contradiction you claim within the bible, there is a corresponding answer which explains the context of the verses in question and demonstrates that no contradiction exists when the scripture is properly understood. Trust me, I've already been down this path. I used to make the same claims that you are making now until I put my bias aside and did some honest research, investigating BOTH SIDES of the issue. If you are capable of looking up contradictions from anti-biblical sources, you are also capable of researching answers to these alleged contradictions from a Biblical viewpoint that show there is no contradiction. Are you honest and brave enough to do it?"
Okay, so google searches pull more weight than his own holy book, the Bible?

And what exactly does he think is a lie? The words in the Bible that I pointed out? Did he actually say he put aside his bias and actually did honest research? Sounds to me like he talked to some other fanatical Christians who gave him reading material (other than the Bible) that explains it all away as witchcraft.

And is he actually trying to say that Paul doesn't affirm OBEs are okay? Then why exactly did Paul write:
"I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them." (2 Corinthians 12:2)?

Suppose instead that Paul was talking about fishing. "I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether fishing or not, I do not know--God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether fishing or not, I do not know--God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them." Doesn't that imply it's okay for a Christian man to go fishing? What exactly is the difference? What Paul meant is "This Christian man may have been having an out-of-body experience." But that doesn't make him any less Christian, nor met with God's disapproval. Like slavery, OBEs were known to the early Christian world, yet Paul does not call it out nor condemn it. He talks about OBEs in a rather matter-of-fact way, like fishing. Doesn't that tell you something?

Then Vince resorted to personal attacks:
"This guy Bob's initial comment says it all. Look where a lifetime of occult practice gets you- a bitter old man putting down people who have overcome a horrible problem simply because he doesn't agree with their religious beliefs. He says "oh well your faith is just an addiction but you weak-minded people need that!" What a joke. You are transparent Bob. Astral projection doesn't make for a kind and loving person. Nor an honest one."
Bitter old man? LMAO! He does have an active imagination, I'll give him that. I never "put down" anyone, as I see it. I never called him weak-minded. I applaud people who overcome addiction. People with addictive personality types often do need a substitute, whether it be Christ, Buddha, Mohammad, or any other faith. That's not a judgment. That doesn't mean you're weak, inferior or worse than anyone else. It just means you're human like the rest of us.

After that, I pointed out the logical fallacy of his argument: just because witches or occultists practice astral projection doesn't mean astral projection is witchcraft or occultism. That's as ridiculous as saying, "Macs are computers. Bob uses a computer. Therefore, Bob uses a Mac." No. Wrong. That's the fallacy of generalization. Any grad student who passes "Logic 101" class can tell you that.

I told Vince I've never practiced witchcraft, nor occultism a day in my life. And I asked him specifically: Where exactly in the Bible does it say that astral projection is witchcraft? Where in the Bible does it say that if an OBE is spontaneous it's alright, but if initiate it yourself, it's a sin? Paul's example from 2 Corinthians isn't even that specific. Paul never specified if it was a spontaneous or self-induced OBE.

Maybe you can guess his response.


He deleted my post.

That's right. Like any closed-minded thick-skulled fundamentalist, he covered his eyes and ears like the first two monkeys in the famous trio: "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

When the foundations of any faith start to crumble under the unbearable weight of the truth, the closed-minded shore them up anyway they can. It's easier to retreat to your safe zone than actually do the necessary research, deductive reasoning, and soul-searching. I guess some people just can't handle the truth.

I posted again to say something like, "Sure. Just delete my posts and ignore the truth." Naturally, he deleted those replies too.

It was Vince's post, so he has the right to delete my replies. Two thousand years ago, I would have been silenced more harshly. I'd have been tortured and killed without a second thought. That was the primitive mentality of those times. But this is 2018, and I refuse to be silenced, especially when it comes to misinformation about OBEs.

The sad thing is that Vince is still an addict but won't admit it. His addiction to Fundamentalist Christianity is plain to see in how he denies it, defends his actions fiercely, blocks opposing information, and refuses help. Addicts can't be changed from the outside. But I guess it's still better than addiction to drugs or alcohol. It's still a positive step in his spiritual evolution.

God doesn't take away your addictions. I've talked to various addicts and AA people, and they'll tell you upfront: You need to admit you're always an addict. The first thing they say at AA meetings is something like "I'm John, and I'm an alcoholic."

Vince wants to believe that astral projection is against God's law. That's his right, but he hasn't proven his case, nor will he ever. It's just an illogical, unsubstantiated belief he's been spoon-fed by his fanatical Christian handlers.

The truth is: There's nothing in the Bible that says out-of-body experiences are wrong or sinful, and there's nothing in the Bible that equates it with witchcraft. The only reason he (or anyone) has to believe OBEs are "witchcraft" is because some faith-tainted closed-minded ignoramus told him it was, whether it was by mouth, video, book, or website. It's certainly not in the tenants of the religion.

The problem with most fundamentalist Christians (and fundamentalists of all religions) is that they deal in absolutes, in black and white. They claim the Bible is the absolute word of God and that every word of the Bible is true. They insist you cannot "pick and choose" what to believe in the Bible. But then they blatantly ignore it and blind themselves to the numerous laws they themselves break daily and the contradictions, then come up with absurd stories to explain them away, like how Judas died. And almost all of them are content to study passages of the Bible selected by their handlers, but not read the entire Bible, which paints a more complete story. Why? Because reading the Bible is a lot of work. It's a big book. But how can they believe their soul depends on it, but still treat it as not important enough to actually read it?

For the record, Matthew 27:1-10 states that Judas committed suicide by hanging himself. The Acts of the Apostles doesn't mention any suicide, but says he "Fell headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." (Acts 1:18) So which is it? Fundamentalists who argue this say that both happened: He hung himself, then his body fell and he became disemboweled. Yeah. Right. Nice story. Reminds me of the guy who committed suicide by shooting himself in the back of the head, twice. Or the guy in the show "Chicago" who "accidentally" ran into his wife's knife--ten times.

What? You want other examples? How about this one: In one place it says that Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days (Matthew 4:1), but in another it says that God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). If Jesus is God, how do you reconcile that? There are many examples, but don't take my word for it: Do your own research. Read the Bible, but read the whole thing. Not just bits selected by fanatics. We all pick and choose what wisdom to gather from what sources, as it should be.

If you don't pick and choose, if you believe every word of the Bible is God's truth, you have to accept all of its teachings, right? The Bible does not teach that slavery is wrong. It instructs you on how you should treat your slaves. In other words, it condones slavery. So unless you "pick and choose" what to believe, you need to accept that it's okay to own slaves. The Bible also teaches that women should be quiet and not teach. The Bible forbids getting a tattoo. It also forbids wearing clothes with mixed fabric types. And eating pork. And a lot of things. So put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

I do not have a problem with people practicing Christianity or believing in Jesus as their lord and savior. People should be free to believe what they want to believe. I'd much rather see that than the countless people today who have no respect, no morals, and no conscience, and go around shooting up schools.

What I have a problem with is people imposing their beliefs on others: trying to silence the honest seekers by spreading lies, quashing the truth, discouraging people from finding out for themselves what's really "out there," as Vince tried to do when he deleted my replies. Or trying to scare people into the blind obedience, like telling them OBEs lead to death, damnation, and that you need to repent and turn to Jesus.

In Matthew 6:33 it says "Seek first the kingdom of God" and throughout history, humankind's views of the "kingdom of God" has always been based on someone's personal experiences, mostly their near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences.

If you believe in someone else's mystical experiences, that's secondhand knowledge, which is often fraught with misinterpretation and misinformation. Especially when those experiences are hopelessly removed from your current situation by thousands of years of cultural changes, language translations, editing by various religious authorities, and plain old lack of words they had to describe their experiences (in any language) when it happened.

If you have your own personal experiences, that's firsthand knowledge, and seeing is believing. As I said, knowledge trumps faith every time.

To discourage people from discovering their own truths is just plain old dark-ages thinking. It's caveman thinking. This same kind of "Christian" thinking is why the Catholic church burned Giordano Bruno alive at the stake for teaching that the Earth travels around the sun (as Galileo proposed), even though he was right. It's the kind of idiotic thinking that leads suicide bombers to commit mass murder to get their 72 virgins.

End of rant. Sheesh. I warned him not to get me going. :)

11 December 2018