Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Getting Started With Astral Projection

Getting Started With Astral Projection

by Bob Peterson

A lot of people want to learn astral projection (AP) or out-of-body experiences (OBEs) but they have no idea where to start. So I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Where to go for answers

First, you may have questions about OBEs. The best place to get answers is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) article I wrote for this blog. You can read it by clicking this link. Scroll through the questions until you find what you're looking for.

Find out what to expect

If you're not sure about leaving your body, you may want to learn what astral projection is really like. Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusing terminology. If you want to find out what astral projection is really like, read books that contain OBE narratives or listen to some youtube videos that have narratives.

My favorite OBE narrative book is Jurgen Ziewe's book Multidimensional Man. Another good one is Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. Many people also like William Buhlman's books, especially his first book, Adventures Beyond the Body. Another good book that illustrates what it's really like is The Vibrational State: Three Years of Out of Body Experiences by Maverick Vardøger. It's not the best "technique" book out there, but it will give you a good idea what it's like. A lot of people also liked my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, which you can either buy or read for free on my website at this link. Sometimes you can find these books at book stores like Barnes and Nobel, but all of these books may be purchased at amazon.com.

If you don't like books, watch some videos. For example, Todd Acamesis has some interesting OBE narratives in this video and others. Do your research and see what youtube has to offer.

Don't believe the lies and misinformation

There's a lot of misinformation about astral projection. For the most part, these are pushed by religious organizations. Fundamentalist Christians may tell you astral projection is sinful or a form of witchcraft despite the fact that the Bible doesn't support that. Although witches, occultists, and other organizations may use astral projection, it has nothing to do with witchcraft. If you're concerned about this, please read my blog article titled "Are OBEs Against Christianity?" and maybe the one titled "Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face." If someone tells you astral projection is a sin or witchcraft, ask them to cite a reference in the Bible to support that belief, because there aren't any.

For other religions you may need to do your own research. I'm not aware of any religion that expressly forbids OBEs.

Beware of cults and religions like Eckankar that "sell" astral projection or "soul travel" as their private little secret. Religious and mystical experiences like astral projection are available to all people of all demographics. It does not favor any age, gender, race, culture or creed. It does favor people who persist in their efforts. It may favor people who test high in "absorption" such as people who are more easily hypnotized, but that's another subject for another day.

You don't need a cult or guru to teach you. You just need to do your own research, do the homework, and practice a lot.

Once you start having your own mystical experiences, you may find you become more "spiritual" than "religious." I wrote an article about that too.

Learn some AP/OBE techniques

There are many AP/OBE induction techniques; probably as many as a hundred. I've documented several in blog articles, such as:

Other techniques are well documented in various books and other AP/OBE resources.

AP/OBE Resources

Different people learn in different ways. There's a plethora of information out there: books, videos, and live classes. Some of these are good and some not so much. Many charge money, but some do not. In some cases, the price may be worth it, but there's ample free information on the Internet to teach you how to do it. You don't need to spend a lot of money as long as you have access to the Internet.

  • Books - There are more than 200 books about astral projection, and many claim to be "The Ultimate Guide." Some are good but many are not. Some of the good technique books are The Phase by Michael Raduga, Astral Dynamics by Robert Bruce, and Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman. In 2019 I published my own book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience, which I tried to make as comprehensive as possible, and it's gotten good reviews.

    In 2017, I published an article called "Bob's Best of Breed OBE Books" that contains a list of my favorite books for different categories. This list is still not far off.

    Before you buy any book about astral projection or out-of-body experience, check to see if I've written a book review for it: this link has an alphabetical index to all the book reviews I've written.
  • Videos - There are some good instruction videos out there on youtube. I even did a "step by step" video for my blog which you can watch by clicking here.
  • Classes - Some organizations offer classes to teach astral projection. Some are good and some are bad. Often, the better they are, the more money they cost. The Monroe Institute offers a variety of very good classes, but they come at a high cost. Some reputable OBE teachers in the United States are:
    1. William Buhlman
    2. Darryl Berry
    3. Patty Avalon
    4. Sean McNamara
    Some reputable OBE teachers in the UK are:
    1. Graham Nicholls
    2. Jade Shaw
    3. Todd Acamesis
  • Blogs - There are some blogs, such as Alison Wylie's and mine. Again, search for them.
  • Podcasts - There are some podcasts about astral projection. For example, Maverick Vardøger has an audio-only podcast called Evidence of the Afterlife.
  • Other websites: There are hundreds or maybe thousands of websites out there. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with them all, so I can't say which are good and bad. Start with consciousness studies sites and non-profit (501c3) organizations like IANDS (International Associated for Near-Death Studies), IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences), INACS (Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Studies), ICRL (International Consciousness Research Laboratories), SSE (Society for Scientific Exploration), and IAC (International Academy of Consciousness).
Beware of pay walls and inexperienced teachers

Nowadays, lots of people pretend to be experts in astral projection and will offer classes, information, and books for a price. My blog and website are free to everyone. My first book, Out of Body Experiences, has been available for free on my website since 1997 to prove I'm not "in it for the money." Michael Raduga's book "The Phase" is also available for free on his website. There's also nothing wrong with rewarding an author for their efforts by buying their books, but again, check for a book review.

If you find an astral projection teacher or class, don't pay any money until you research the instructor to find out where they got their information. It's way too easy for unscrupulous people to read a few books about it, or take an astral projection class, then dupe people into believing they are the experts, taking classes, or buying their books based on secondhand or "book-only" knowledge. Find a teacher who has their own firsthand experiences and a proven track-record, especially the authors with four and five-star books in my book reviews.

Conquer your fears / protect yourself

Astral projection might sound a bit scary at first. Fear is definitely a show stopper. You may want to read my article titled Turning the Tables on Fear. You may "chicken out" a few times, but don't let that stop you.

Practice practice practice

Do the time. A book or teacher can only point you in the right direction. You still need to set aside time to practice the techniques. Take a lot of time, usually in a quiet place where you can be alone, and do it right. The best time to practice is in the early morning when you're refreshed after a good night's sleep.

Most importantly, be persistent and never give up. Unless you're a prodigy or born with natural abilities, astral projection is a complex skill like golfing, playing the piano, or flying a 747. You need to learn the controls, then practice it over and over until you get the hang of it. You can't expect to be good at it without lots of practice and countless failed attempts. It's like walking a knife edge: easy to fall off. One side of the knife is "fully awake" and the other side is "falling asleep." I've fallen off that knife edge at least 25 times or more for every successful OBE. Learn through practice what works best for you.

Prepare to lose some sleep

Learning to induce OBEs takes not only time and effort, but lost sleep. You may find yourself frequently interrupting your sleep or spending hours riding the edge between waking and sleeping, which means you might lose a lot of sleep. I suggest practicing on weekends so you don't impact your job. Don't forget to occasionally take breaks from practice too.

Establish Good OBE Habits

There are lots of little things you can do to improve your OBE chances, such as:

  • Keep a dream journal. I wrote a blog article about it here.
  • Give yourself OBE affirmations every morning.
  • Saturate your subconscious with OBE intent.
  • Read OBE narratives (stories, books, Internet articles, etc.) right before bed every night. This plants it very deeply into your subconscious.
  • Believe in yourself and your ability to produce an OBE.
  • Give yourself lucidity triggers throughout the day, like constantly questioning reality. "Am I dreaming?" And like "The next time I see this (typical dream situation which is different for everyone), I'll know I'm dreaming."

Use Common Sense

Above all, please use common sense. Don't believe everything you read or hear about astral projection. There's a lot of misinformation out there. Don't let anyone tell you what to believe. Experience is your best teacher. Induce your own experiences and draw logical conclusions from what you observe. Believe what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste.

Do research

There's a lot of crap out there, so use the Internet to find articles and videos about it and to separate fact from fiction and information from misinformation. Find astral projection groups on Facebook and other websites. Look for other articles on my blog. There's an index to them at the bottom of this article.

Keep Calm and Carry On

When you start to practice altered states of consciousness, you will probably encounter some really weird things. Sometimes you will "see" strange things, like flashes of light or pieces of paper with writing in front of your closed eyelids. Sometimes you will hear things, like your name being called, or threats. It may seem like your heart starts beating insanely fast. You may want to read my blog article about the Guardian of the Threshold to get an idea. Sometimes you may feel paralyzed and helpless, scared, and out of control. You may want to read my short article about Awareness during Sleep Paralysis (ASP). Just try to remain calm if you can and tell yourself, "I'll just watch a little bit longer to see what happens." Ride it out until you're completely free of your body.

React Properly to the Vibrations

The most obvious precursor to an OBE is the vibrations that may seem like you're being electrocuted. When they hit, don't panic. Remain calm and wait for them to build to a crescendo. When they reach peak intensity, try to physically sit up, roll over, stand up, etc. If it's the real thing, your physical body won't move, but your astral body will. Follow this link to an article about how to react to the vibrations.

Find some friends

Lastly, remember that you're not in this thing alone. No matter what weird things happen to you, trust that you're not going crazy. Many other people have walked this path before you.

When I started learning astral projection, I had no one to talk to about it. I felt isolated. I lost friends. Thanks to the Internet, you can now connect to like-minded people. There are many groups on Facebook and other social media where you can ask questions and find friends. A couple years ago I compiled a list of Facebook groups and put them in this article. Some of them are defunct and some have changed names, but most are still valid.

Conclusions

Learning to self-induce out-of-body experiences / astral projection can be a slow, frustrating and sometimes scary journey. It may crush your religious beliefs and force you to reevaluate what you believe and what you know. You may lose friends. You may alienate family. But I've always believed that Truth, no matter how difficult, is far better than blissful ignorance. The journey is well worth the effort. I believe astral projection / out-of-body experience is not just an important step, but an essential step, in our spiritual evolution.

Bob Peterson
19 Jan 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lessons Out of the Body

Lessons Out of the Body

by Robert Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Lessons Out of the Body: A Journal of Spiritual Growth and Out of Body Travel by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books for the past 8 years. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing. So here it is.

In my first book, Out of Body Experiences, I tried to be as objective and scientific as possible. I basically reported my observations about the out-of-body experience, but I didn't talk about where it has led me in life. People really liked that.

In Lessons Out of the Body, I wrote about how out-of-body experiences have changed my life, made me a more spiritual person, and the life-lessons they taught me. Whereas the first book was the scientific side of OBEs, this book is the spiritual side of OBEs. As the subtitle implies, it is more geared toward "new age" and "spiritual" people. Readers who bought it with different expectations were disappointed. It's also a collection of things I had learned about OBEs in the two years since the first book's publication, and all the little things I regretted not mentioning in the first book.

Like the first book, this one is divided into two parts. Part one is "Life Lessons." This includes narratives of some of my most spiritually impactful out-of-body experiences. The chapters are as follows:

1. The Next Step
2. Perspective
3. The Wolf’s Lesson
4. Meeting With A Master
5. Astral Lynch Mobs
6. The Soulmate Experience
7. The JoAnn Lessons
8. Peggy's Gift
9. On Soulmates
10. Cathy
11. The Edge of Thorns
12. Cathys and Kathys
13. A Parting Gift
14. Helping
15. The Test
16. Chasing God
17. The OBE Outlook on Life

Part two is "Twenty Years of Out-of-Body Research." The chapters are:

18. Explore Your World...And Others!
19. The Continuum of Consciousness
20. OBEs and Organized Religion
21. The Problem of Obtaining Proof
22. How OBE is Like Tightrope Walking
23. OBEs and Psychic Protection
24. Are Alien Abductions OBEs?
25. Out-of-Body Experiences versus Lucid Dreams
26. Keys for Inducing an OBE
27. Using Desire to Achieve Out of Body Experiences
28. State of Mind Required to Induce an OBE
29. A Simplified Technique for Inducing an OBE
30. Improving Your OBE Ability
31. Overcoming Problems During an OBE
32. Questions and Answers

The book is 271 pages. It was published in 2001.

I'm giving it 3 and a 1/2 stars out of 5, just because readers didn't like it as well as my first book.

Bob Peterson

10 January 2021

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

by Bob Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books for the past 8 years. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing.

This book is a detailed guide on how to leverage science to induce out-of-body experiences. It goes into great depth and detail on techniques and how to do it. Therefore, it avoids most conjecture about what OBEs are and focuses strictly on techniques. It's divided into 5 parts and 77 chapters, as follows:

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

The book is 351 pages, which means there's lots of content. It's massive. On the plus side, it's relatively up-to-date, published in 2019 and has everything you should ever need to induce OBEs. On the minus side, there are no OBE narratives and it gets a bit heavy on science; mostly neuroscience (brain science).

I'm giving it 5 stars out of 5, but like I said, I'm biased.

Bob Peterson

09 January 2021

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Friday, January 8, 2021

Out of Body Experiences

Out of Body Experiences

by Robert Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Out of Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing.

I will say this: Out of Body Experiences was my first book, and it got pretty good reviews in the genre. It contains OBE exercises after every chapter, plus an entire chapter devoted to my most successful OBE technique.

It's divided into two parts. Part 1 is the story of how I became interested in out-of-body experiences, and my early out-of-body experiences and what I learned. It has lots of narratives to illustrate points. The chapters are as follows:

1. Background
2. My Childhood
3. First Contact
4. Beliefs Blown to Bits
5. Pokes and Prods
6. My First Out-of-Body Experience
7. The Party
8. Overcoming Fear
9. Scared to Death
10. The Small Still Voice Within
11. The Clairvoyant
12. Flight School
13. "Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed"
14. A Helping Hand
15. What Astral Programmers do in their Sleep
16. To Believe

Part 2 is "What the Books Didn't Tell Me" and it contains everything I've observed about OBEs, such as how the sense of vision works in an OBE, how the mind works, etc., plus questions and answers. The chapters are as follows:

17. What the Books Didn't Tell Me
18. Fight for Sight
19. The Mind During OBEs
20. The Fantasy Trap
21. People and Animals
22. Out-of-Body Reality
23. Environmental Factors
24. How to Have an OBE
25. Psychic Experiences
26. Questions and Answers
27. The Final Frontier!

On the plus side, the book has a lot of good information. On the minus side, it was published in 1997, so it's a bit old by today's standards. Still, I'm giving it 5 stars. I feel the information is still relevant.

Bob Peterson

08 January 2021

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Astral Projection by Mari Silva

Astral Projection

by Mari Silva

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection: A Guide on How to Travel the Astral Plane and Have an Out-Of-Body Experience by Mari Silva. The book is copyright 2020. I chose this book because it's being widely advertised on amazon and has recently appeared in their best sellers list for "astral projection." It's also got a very cool cover.

Like every book in the genre, this book is a mixture of both good and bad. I was immediately impressed with the book's subtitle: It proclaims itself "A Guide," not "The Ultimate Guide." I guess I've been disappointed by too many "Ultimate" guides. My hopes were very high. Then the author dashed all those hopes on page 2:

[This book] "...contains everything you have ever wanted in a book on astral projection." (pg. 2)

Uh, sorry, no. Not quite everything. Then Silva got my hopes up in the very next sentence:

"This book is different from every other text on the market as it includes up-to-date, relevant information that will make your astral projection dream a reality." (pg. 2)

Poor choice of words, perhaps ("dream"), but ignoring that: I had high hopes of finding new breakthrough, maybe scientific, information about astral projection and out-of-body experiences based on the latest research. Instead, it turned out to be pretty much a rehash of very old new-age and/or occult beliefs about the OBE.

Silva doesn't document where her information comes from at all. Like so many lackluster OBE books, she doesn't give any credentials whatsoever. She doesn't cite any sources. She doesn't say where, how or from whom she got any of her information. She doesn't say why she should be considered an authority on the subject. She doesn't say how much experience she's had, and the book has no OBE narratives. Instead, she immediately launches into chapter 1, Essential Energy Concepts, in which she asserts that there are seven energy layers of the auric field, subtle bodies. She lists them as follows:

  1. Etheric Layer
  2. Emotional Layer
  3. Mental Layer
  4. Astral Layer
  5. Etheric Template Layer
  6. Celestial Layer
  7. Ketheric Template

Again, she doesn't say where she learned this or why she thinks this is true. She just asserts it as fact. She also doesn't elaborate much or give details on these planes. So why should we believe her? We could just as easily choose to believe the cosmology Theosophy, which predates Silva by 100 years:

  1. Objective
  2. Astral
  3. Psychic (Pranic-Kamic)
  4. Kama-Manasic, Personal Ego, or Higher Psychic
  5. Manasic, Higher or Individual Ego
  6. Buddhic, Inner-Ego
  7. Atmic Consciousness, Para-Ego

At least the Theosophists claimed to have sources, experiences, rationales, and teaching traditions to back up their claims. My copy of C.W. Leaderbeater's book The Inner Life has 373 pages of explanations. My copy of A.E.Powell's The Astral Body has 252 pages of tiny font. So they go into a lot more detail and justification. Not that I agree with them either; it's just that warning bells go off in my head when people make unsubstantiated claims like this. But I digress.

Silva distinguishes astral projection from out-of-body experiences. Many authors claim that astral projection is an OBE in which you visit the astral plane. Silva says something different:

"Many people refer to astral projection and OBE as the same thing; however, they are different. Astral projection is an intentional OBE. It involves everything that happens in a usual out-of-body experience." (pg. 12)

Confusingly, she later adds:

"You can say that OBE is the scientific term, while astral projection or astral travel is spiritual. But they all refer to the same practice or experience, with only slight differences." (pg. 12)

Near the end of chapter 2, she talks about the mechanism to achieve OBEs:

"There is a physical switch that can be activated at will to trigger a state of astral travel. You activate this switch when you engage in intentional and conscious astral travel or an out-of-body experience. It is located deep in the brain and is referred to as your pineal gland. When the pineal gland is activated, it releases dimethyltryptamine (DMT). This DMT is the chemical that alerts and propels your soul out of your body." (pg. 16)

I'm sorry, but this is just way too unscientific for me to swallow. Silva's belief may stem from Dr. Rick Strassman's book DMT: The Spirit Molecule in which Strassman proposes that the pineal gland may produce small amounts of DMT, a powerful but short-lived hallucinogen, in addition to its primary job of manufacturing the sleep drug melatonin. But Strassman never asserted anything about it propelling your soul out of your body. That's too much extrapolation.

Here's another point of contention. In chapter 3, she distinguishes between astral travel and dreams. She writes:

"In dream travel, the experiences don't feel as vivid. Instead, they feel mundane and vague." (pg. 21)

That directly contradicts conventional wisdom, scientific scrutiny, and experience. Lucid dreams often have more mystical qualities, and tend to be more realistic, vivid and intense than OBEs. OBEs tend to be more mundane. There is, however, a qualitative difference of consciousness between the two. Ordinary dreams seem hazy because we're unconscious. Perhaps that's what the author meant?

In chapter 5, "8 Things You Should Know Before Attempting an OBE" Silva states:

"Astral Projecting Can Be Dangerous." (pg. 31)

I found this to be little more than fear mongering, and not very helpful. Nobody has proven that, and the majority of OBE books claim that it's not dangerous at all. If you go into OBEs confident and fearless, nothing can harm you. But she doesn't really say that. She does, however, offer advice about protecting yourself, creating an astral sword and such, right out of Erin Pavlina's playbook.

Then she asserts:

"Nevertheless, many controlled tests have shown that OBE is real and astral travel is, in fact, real. People who have successfully had out-of-body experiences have explained how it felt and what it seemed like. So many people cannot hallucinate the same things and have such similar experiences in the astral realm. So, yes, astral travel is real, and it works." (pg. 32)

Again, this is way too unscientific. Where are these "many controlled tests?" If true, cite some. Why should we believe her if she cites no references and offers no proof? I recently published six articles on my blog about the evidence of whether OBEs are "real." I've made it my business and my mission to search out evidence. But I've found no "controlled tests" beyond those. We're supposed to just take the author's word for it? Aside from that, why can't millions of people have the same hallucination? We all have human DNA, similar foods, similar upbringings, etc.

As you can tell, at this point I was getting pretty cynical and negative about the book. But it got better. Chapter 6, "Preparing for Astral Projection" offers some decent advice, including:

  • Positive Affirmations
  • Visualization
  • Hypnosis and Subliminal Suggestions

She also offers some decent tips for getting ready:

  • DND - Do Not Disturb
  • Make Yourself Comfortable
  • Don't Set Time Limits
  • Choose the Right Timing
  • Be [as opposed to trying to "do" something]

Silva also has a decent take on fear:

"The key is not to let that fear overwhelm your mind to a crippling point. Some people may tell you that you have to get rid of fear completely before you can astral travel--that's impossible, especially if this is your first time and you fear the experience. You are bound to be scared. However, don't be scared to the point where you let your fear overwhelm you." (pg. 37)

Chapter 7, is "Basic Astral Projection Techniques." This is where the book starts to be redeemed. The author gives a decent set of OBE techniques, although none that are new or game-changing. The techniques are:

  • Rope Technique - This is the author's variant of Robert Bruce's original. Like countless other authors, she suggests visualizing a rope rather than Bruce's original technique which is tactile: all about feeling the rope.
  • OBE from Lucid Dreaming - She gives some basics of inducing a lucid dream, but to transition from LD to OBE, she simply suggests visualizing that you're in your bedroom.
  • Displaced-Awareness Technique - This is an ages-old technique similar to the "body of light" occult technique in which you visualize your astral body and try to transfer your point-of-view to the astral body's perspective.
  • Watching yourself Sleep - I talked about this in my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, chapter 5, chapter 13, and elsewhere.
  • The Monroe Technique - Robert Monroe gave a couple OBE techniques in his first book, Journeys Out of the Body. One has to do with visualizing the lines of force, which is the technique I first used. This is another. This technique has more to do with progressively putting your body to sleep while your conscious awareness stays alert. Monroe called the phases Condition A, B, C, D and such.
  • Muldoon's Thirst Technique - This is where you try to motivate your subconscious to separate from your physical body by leveraging thirst. This is a bit dangerous because you can do a lot of physical harm with dehydration.

She gives several more brief techniques under the heading "Other Basic Astral Projection Techniques":

  • The Jump Technique - This is a well-known basic lucid dreaming technique that involves you doing reality checks in real life, like trying to defy gravity, on the hopes that you'll continue it when you're dreaming.
  • The Stretching Technique - This is a very abbreviated version of G.M. Glaskin's "Christos Technique" that eliminates all the helpers and massages.
  • The Hammock Technique - This is a motion-based "rocking" technique in which you visualize yourself rocking in a hammock, not unlike some of my favorite techniques.

Chapter 8 is "Advanced OBE Techniques". The techniques are:

  • Target Technique - This is well documented in several OBE books, which first appeared as the "Little System" in the 1961 book The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel (Edward Peach). I still prefer William Buhlman's version from Adventures Beyond the Body.
  • Sound Frequency Technique - This involves chanting OM, focusing on how the sound resonates in your skull, then trying to focus your attention on the sound and away from your body.
  • Higher Self Connection Technique - This involves visualizing a symbol of your "Higher Self" then trying to merge with the symbol. This isn't too much different from the symbol-based techniques in J.H. Brennan's book Astral Doorways except that you associate the symbols with your higher self.
  • The Mirror Technique - This technique seems to be popular with Wiccans and a few other books. It involves studying yourself in a mirror, then closing your eyes and visualizing yourself as a separate entity and trying to merge with this other self.
  • REM Technique - From what I can gather, this is supposed to be the author's variant of WBTB (Wake Back To Bed), although it isn't explained very well.

Chapter 9 is "What to Expect When Astral Projecting." It actually gives a decent array of exit symptoms, such as paralysis, vibrations, increased heart rate, buzzing, sinking, floating, loud noises.

Oddly, chapter 9 also contains "3 Frequently Asked Questions about Travel in the Astral Plane." The three questions are:

  1. Can someone else take control of my body in the astral plane?
  2. Do I communicate with people on the astral plane?
  3. What does the astral plane look like?

This only takes up a page and a quarter; certainly no match for the FAQ I did for this blog in 2019. I didn't find any of her answers particularly appealing or satisfying. For example, she recommends not talking to people in an OBE unless they talk to you.

"The best thing to do is to mind your own business." (pg. 68)

I believe in a cautious approach, but I've never had a problem talking to people in an OBE, both in-the-body people and out-of-body people.

Chapter 10 is "Protecting Yourself in the Astral Plane." It's actually a pretty decent chapter. For example, she gives some very practical advice on raising your vibrations, such as:

  • Be grateful
  • Love
  • Be generous
  • Forgive
  • Meditate regularly

Chapter 11 is "Meeing Spirit Guides and Other Advanced Astral Travel Adventures." This chapter disappointed me. It didn't talk about the invisible helpers I often encounter in my travels. Instead, she talks hypothetically about the various kinds of spirit guides; all taken from new age playbooks. She also talks about the Akashic Records in this chapter. (Something I've never seen.)

Chapter 12 is "How to Return to Physical Body." The author suggests that everyone has a silver cord, and all you need to do to return to your body is turn around and follow it back to your body, although the journey back will likely be only a second or two. In a way, that's kind of a cool idea, and innovative. On the other hand, getting back to my body has never been a problem for me. For me, it's always a matter of trying to prolong the experience as much as possible. Why would you want to go back? I return when my body absolutely demands it, and I'm yanked back by force, and not one second earlier! Plus, many people don't see a silver cord, even when they look for one.

Chapter 13 is "After-Effects and Integration." This is more of a hodge-podge of things, such as Out-of-Body Meditation, Journaling, etc. I disagreed with this statement:

"Astral projection is one thing that may feel intangible, but writing it down makes the experiences feel more real." (pg. 92).

That's not what science says. According to professional psychiatrists Glenn Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow, in their book With the Eyes of the Mind, out-of-body experiences usually feel more real than dreams and lucid dreams. Sometimes they feel more real than waking life. People often remember OBEs in great detail even when they don't write them down. (But note that you should always write them down to strengthen the connection between awareness "here" and awareness "there".) If it doesn't feel real, you probably aren't as "conscious" as you could be for the experience.

The last couple chapters were about energy healing and increasing your clairvoyant abilities. I didn't find them particularly helpful.

The book is 100 pages, with decent format, medium font and narrow margins, which means there's a medium amount of content. The writing, grammar and spelling are all pretty good. Silva consistently misspelled the word "hypnagogic" as "hypnogogic" but I can overlook that: I had several instances of that mistake in my first book. Which makes me wonder if she read it...hmm.

On the plus side, there are some good techniques in there, but nothing you can't find elsewhere. On the minus side, the information is clouded in outdated new-age beliefs. It's forgivable in a book like, say, Ophiel's book from 1961 (which I'll review next time), but that was written sixty years ago. This is 2021.

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

Bob Peterson
05 January 2021

---------------------------

If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Are OBEs "Real?" - Part 6

 Are OBEs "Real?" - Part 6

by Bob Peterson

This is the last of a series of articles that examine whether out-of-body experiences are "real" or veridical. Full disclosure: Much of this is based on the chapter I wrote for Alexander DeFoe's eBook Consciousness Beyond the Body which is available for free in many countries from amazon.

To read part 1, Introduction, click here.

To read part 2, Laboratory Experiments, click here.

To read part 3, Anecdotal Evidence, click here.

To read part 4, Evidence from OBE Adepts, click here.

To read part 5, Indirect Evidence, click here.

In my previous article, I talked about indirect evidence (evidence gathered from a third party) and new evidence since DeFoe's book was published.

So far I've been making a case to support that OBEs are real. But let's face it: it isn't fair to talk about the evidence supporting the theory unless we also talk about counter-evidence; that is, evidence that does NOT support the claim that OBEs are real. 


Evidence against objective OBEs

Despite the mounting evidence to suggest that a non-physical component exists and interacts outside the body, the data is not consistent. The things witnessed in an OBE don't always correspond to physical reality. Success stories like those cited in previous articles are relatively rare and countered by reports of inconsistencies. People often see doors, windows, or curtains open (or closed) in an OBE, only to find that the physical doors or windows are not that way "in real life." They see things sitting on tables that aren't really there, and so forth.

Sometimes even deliberate attempts to obtain verifiable evidence fail miserably. This last article will explore some of the attempts by OBE adepts to obtain veridical evidence that ended in failure.


Eddie Slasher's time travel OBEs

In his 1997 book Explorations Out of the Body, author Eddie Slasher conducted some interesting experiments regarding time travel. He attempted to travel into the future to determine lottery numbers. To keep it simple, he used the Georgia Cash 3 Lottery, which consists of three numbers drawn daily. Every day during the experiment, he induced an OBE and tried to travel forward in time to the next day's lottery drawing. He then stood in front of his television and tried to read the numbers. Later that night, he would watch the live lottery drawing on television. 

The experiment started on August 24, 1993. He induced an OBE and attempted to travel to the next day's drawing on August 25. The numbers flashed quickly in the OBE state, and he wasn't quite sure if they were 2-8-3 or 2-9-3. He wrote down 2-8-3 and bought a five-dollar ticket for those numbers. When the drawing came, they were 2-9-3. 

Undaunted, he tried again. For the next two weeks he induced an OBE almost every night, attempting to travel one day into the future. He never got the numbers right, but he was often very close. Eventually, as the experiment went on, the numbers became more and more inaccurate until the odds were no better than chance. 

Eventually, he came up with another idea. Instead of watching the televised drawing in his OBE, he tried to travel to the nearest gas station in his OBE and stare at the posted lottery numbers. This also ended in failure and he ended up either lost or misdirected. He tried a few more things, but his conclusion was:

“To date I have not yet been able to foretell the future for my own financial gain, but I am still trying.” 

That doesn't necessarily mean it's impossible, but it's certainly not a straightforward task. One of Slasher's conclusions is that the future isn't fixed; that there's only a set of probable futures. That still fits in with what a lot of modern scientists think. Still, failing to travel into the future doesn't necessarily refute OBEs done in the present.


Frederick Aardema’s experiments 

In his fascinating 2012 book Explorations In Consciousness, author Frederick Aardema described experiments he conducted in an attempt to obtain physical verification of his OBEs. His honesty and candor are commendable and his theories are among the most insightful in the literature. 

First, he tried the suggestion of OBE author Robert Bruce: to look at a random playing card from the OBE state. After several failed attempts (seeing the wrong card or no card at all), he abandoned that method, deciding it relied too much on the sense of sight, which is often distorted in an OBE.

Undaunted, he devised a new test that relied more on the sense of touch. He made five wooden blocks, each of which had a different number of nails protruding (from zero to four). His wife would take one of the five blocks at random and place it inside a box on the nightstand next to the bed. Later that night, he would induce an OBE and reach his nonphysical hand through the box, feel for the block and try to count the nails. After many failed attempts, he managed to get the correct answer once, but his success rate was no better than chance. 

Then he designed a different experiment; one that involved identifying one of six colors. The targets were different in color and shape, and each had the color written below. For example, he had a orange square with the word “ORANGE” printed underneath. After three failed attempts, he abandoned that method too. 

Aardema returned to the tests with the wooden blocks, this time using a different box that had mirrored glass. He had a much better success rate this time. He estimated the probability was 1 in 150, admittedly not enough to draw any scientific conclusions. In his book, he concludes, in part: 

"OBE adepts have so far failed to convincingly prove the existence of veridical perception in the out-of-body state. While a few successful experiments have been reported in the scientific literature, these results do not seem to replicate very well." (Aardema, Explorations in Consciousness, 2012, p. 149)

His book goes on to present a fascinating discussion of perception (both in and out of the body), body image, how sensory information is transmitted from the senses to the brain, and some theories as to why it works the way it does. 


My own counter-evidence

In the winter of 2019, my wife and I rented a very old house in "old town" Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the roof had several leaks. One night, it had been raining hard and we placed buckets strategically on the floor to catch the dripping water. One of those buckets was in our bedroom near the foot of our bed.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up and sat up in bed. I felt perfectly normal and I didn't know it at the time, but I was out-of-body. It was really dark outside and I couldn't see anything, so I stood up and took a few steps toward the foot of the bed where our dog, Spirit, sleeps. I didn't want to trip over her, so I knelt down to feel her location. I found her with my hands and patted her soft fur. I was curious if the water bucket was full and needed to be emptied, so I felt around the floor and was surprised to find the bucket was gone. I reasoned that my wife must have moved it when she came to bed.

Just then I was sucked back into my physical body. Curious, I got up to verify my findings. Not only was I surprised I had been out-of-body and didn't know it, I was very surprised to see that the bucket was still there on the floor, near Spirit's sleeping body. Clearly, my out-of-body perceptions were "wrong."

My conclusion was that I must have perceived an "imprint" or an "echo" of the physical world overlaid onto the non-physical, rather than the physical world itself. After all, the house had stood there for more than 100 years, and Spirit had been sleeping there regularly for many weeks, but the bucket had only been there a couple hours, and would be removed in the morning. Maybe the bucket hadn't been there (or wouldn't be there) long enough to make an "imprint" on the non-physical.

Now might be a good time to point out one of the major differences between OBEs and lucid dreams: lucid dreams tend to be heavily influenced by our expectations, whereas OBEs often defy our expectations. In this case, I fully expected the bucket to be there and it wasn't in my OBE.


Conclusions

So how can we account for discrepancies between our OBE perceptions and the "real world?"

Author William Buhlman (Adventures Beyond the Body, 1996, and other books), once told me about an experiment he conducted regarding a certain home remodeling project. He had drawn up plans and paid contractors to resurface a fireplace in his family room where he often induced OBEs. For several weeks, he examined the fireplace from the OBE state and found it to be different from the physical fireplace. Weeks before the final resurfacing and brickwork had been done, the fireplace strangely started to take on the appearance of his plans. It was almost as if his plans had solidified some kind of thought-form5 before the actual work had been done. Was this just a case of Buhlman projecting his wishes onto his experience or was there really a preconceived influence on the physical structure?

Several other authors have also suggested that the non-physical world perceived in an OBE is merely an ’echo‘ or reflection of the physical world, and is somehow more malleable or pliable. Occultists insist that objects in an OBE are often thought-form counterparts of the "slower-to-react" physical world.

So which is it? Do the physical objects imprint on our non-physical perceptions? Or do non-physical objects act as templates or "thought-forms" that predate changes to the physical world?

Or is it something else? Can it be that my own subconscious memories of the location are all I perceive? That seems unlikely, since both my memory and expectations included the bucket.

Perhaps there's a clue in lucid dreaming. I believe that the difference between OBEs and lucid dreams is that in a lucid dream, we become totally absorbed in a dream-hallucination, whereas with OBEs, we're observing some kind of objective reality (which may or may not have anything to do with the physical world). My theory is that the discrepancies in OBE reports may be due to bleed-through (or unintended intrusions) from these hallucinated dream environments into the OBE. 

One thing is certain: ordinary people are having out-of-body experiences every day and struggling to understand them. Regardless of what we believe they are, more scientific study is needed. If the validity of the OBE is to be demonstrated, we need to set up and conduct controlled scientific experiments. Unfortunately, setting up sleep labs with modern equipment is very expensive. 

One key step is to get more active participation from competent scientists. Getting more mainstream scientists involved in OBE research would be ideal, but OBEs, along with other paranormal phenomena, carry a large amount of stigma within the scientific community. Until that stigma is lifted, it's going to be a hard sell. In the meantime, scientists like Dr. Charles Tart, Rupert Sheldrake, and Dean Radin, whose thirst for knowledge outweighs the stigma, are still making progress. Even some skeptical scientists like Olaf Blanke and Michael Persinger are trying to study it from a neuroscience point of view, and still making progress. Even physicists like Thomas Campbell, who worked with Robert Monroe, are publishing theories to explain it (Campbell, My Big TOE, 2007). 

Despite the lack of scientific study, the mountain of evidence continues to grow, and with it, our understanding. The number of OBE books and OBE adepts continue to grow exponentially. As modern medicine saves more lives, the number of NDE-related OBEs grows exponentially as well. All these OBEs are causing an increasing amount of overlap between scientists, skeptics, experiencers, and believers. It may take a while to get there, but eventually our knowledge will trump superstition and belief.

Bob Peterson

22 Dec 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Are OBEs "Real?" - Part 5

 Are OBEs "Real?" - Part 5

by Bob Peterson

This is part 5 of a series of articles that examine whether out-of-body experiences are "real" or veridical. Full disclosure: Much of this is based on the chapter I wrote for Alexander DeFoe's eBook Consciousness Beyond the Body, which is free in many countries.

To read part 1, Introduction, click here.

To read part 2, Laboratory Experiments, click here.

To read part 3, Anecdotal Evidence, click here.

To read part 4, Evidence from OBE Adepts, click here.

In my previous article, I talked about evidence from OBE adepts. That is, people who claim to be able to self-induce OBEs. In this article, I'll cover indirect evidence. That is, gathered from a third party. I'll also talk about more recent evidence.

Indirect evidence

In the previous sections, I wrote about "direct" experiential evidence of OBEs. That is, evidence obtained by the experiencer. Indirect evidence is when a third party obtains evidence of a subject’s OBE, and it's also important to consider. An earlier case in which the witnesses claimed to see Vincent Turvey's spirit body at a séance exemplifies this well.

My personal indirect evidence - JH

In my first book, (Peterson, Out of Body Experiences, 1997), I narrated an experience in which my roommate, J. H., saw my astral body during an OBE where I had walked through the bedroom wall into his bedroom.

09/07/85 Sat - OBE #116
     JH [my roommate] and I were discussing OBE last night until 2:00 a.m. after watching a horror movie on television. We both decided to try having OBEs, and we agreed that if either had an OBE, he would try to contact the other in the OBE state.
    ...

    [After inducing an OBE and finding myself glued to my body] I thought, "I am out of my body, and I am control­ling this reality entirely. I should be able to get away from this body." I decided that the only way I was going to get anywhere was to close my eyes and walk, relying entirely on my other senses. So I closed my eyes and bent my knees down until my legs were through the bed and my feet were touching the floor. I used my arms and a kind of swaying motion to stand up. I took a few steps toward JH's room. Then I stopped and wondered whether it would be best to walk into the living room, and through JH's bedroom door, or through the physical closet [between our bedrooms].

    I decided to walk through the closet and straight into JH's room. So I kept going toward JH's room and I approached JH's bed. Just as I started to look around, I was picked up and forcefully pulled back to my body.

    The next thing I knew I was back in my body, and my eyes were closed. I felt as if I were still out of my body, only I felt very stiff and rigid. I forced my eyes open, and as I did that, I became more physical, until my physical eyes opened and I was again completely in my physical body.

    I turned to look at the clock and it felt great to be able to turn my head. The time was slightly after 10:00 a.m.. I recalled the whole incident in my mind. Then, I got up to type it into the computer. JH heard me get up, and came out and asked me if I had an OBE.

    JH said that he was experimenting with the hypnagogic state when he saw me in his bedroom. Other people have felt my presence too.

My personal indirect evidence - Stephanie

In a more recent instance from 2013, I was at an astral projection group in Austin, Texas during a group meditation. While I was preparing to induce an OBE, I perceived (through closed eyelids) a black shape moving past me. Instinctively, I visualized a protective silver shield of energy surrounding my body (this is a common technique used for the purposes of psychic self-defense). After the exercise, the participants shared their experiences. One of the participants, Stephanie, said that she had exited her body and walked past me, at which point she saw a silver shield appear around my body. In this case, I perceived her astral body (as a black shape) and she had perceived the energy shield I had visualized. 

This was a double verification: I perceived her astral body and she perceived my shield.

Akhena’s indirect evidence

Akhena's book Out of Body Experiences also provides some great examples of indirect evidence. For instance: 

"There have been occasions where I have myself been seen by other people who were not aware of my astral presence, and their accounts match up completely with my own recollections. One night I leave my body and go straight to the bedroom of a clairvoyant with whom I have an appointment the next afternoon. I must emphasise [sic] that I had never met this person. I stand at the foot of her bed and tell her the reason I want to see her the next day. When she comes to my consulting room, she exclaims, 'Well, you must have something important to ask me, since you came to see me during the night. Your astral being was fully formed and stood at the foot of my bed.'" (Akhena, 2013, pg. 169) 

Evidence Since DeFoe's Book

Since the publication of Alexander DeFoe's book, new evidence has come to light, so I thought I'd add some of that.

The White Car

One of my favorites pieces of evidence comes from Rodrigo Montenegro's book The Out-of-Body Experience: An Experiential Anthology. It involved a guy named Ron Smedts from the Netherlands. In his OBE, Smedts floated out the window of his second-story apartment. Looking for proof that he was seeing the physical world from a non-physical perspective, he drifted down to the parking lot and tried to find his car. He couldn't find his car, then became disillusioned when he noticed that every car in the parking lot was white; a very unlikely scenario. But after he returned to his body:

"As I passed a window I glanced out and stopped in my tracks: I was shocked. Every car in the lot was entirely covered with a fresh and uninterrupted layer of pure white snow." (pg. 65)

The Ugly Jacket

In Paul Elder's book Eyes of an Angel the author talks about visiting his home in the out-of-body state during a trip. In his OBE, he saw a strange ugly jacket in his house. Once home, he saw the same ugly jacket, which his wife had bought for him.

Evidence from Blind OBErs

The 2008 book Mindsight by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper discusses OBEs reported by blind people, and in many cases, people who have been blind since birth. Some of the evidence is pretty remarkable, such as the case of "Vicki" who, despite being blind since birth, was able to "see" metal chairs in a room during her OBE.

What about evidence to the contrary?

For five articles, I've examined some of the evidence that suggests OBEs might be "real" or veridical. In the sixth and final installment of this series, I'll examine some counter-evidence. That is, evidence that doesn't support the theory that OBEs are "real," and what conclusions we can draw.

Bob Peterson

15 Dec 2020