Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Review: Eckankar: the Key to Secret Worlds

Eckankar: the Key to Secret Worlds

by Paul Twitchell

Today I'm reviewing Eckankar: the Key to Secret Worlds by Paul Twitchell. The copyright on my copy is 1969. This book has been reprinted dozens of times with different covers, but my copy looks like the above.

I grew up in Minneapolis, which is where the "religion" of Eckankar was started by the late Paul Twitchell in 1965. Today you can find followers in about 40 countries and about 3000 members. What does Eckankar mean? According to Twitchell the word "Eckankar" means "Co-worker with God" (pg. 46) and the religion is supposedly very ancient, although no record of it exists prior to Twitchell himself.

Some time around 1980, after my first few out-of-body experiences, I was attending the University of Minnesota and hungry for answers. One day I was walking on Fourth street near the University campus toward a used bookstore when I spotted a small shop that had books and posters for Eckankar, the "ancient science of soul travel." "What's this?" I thought, "A religion based on out-of-body travel? Just what I'm looking for!" Naturally, I had to go in.

Once inside, I met some very nice people who told me their "soul travel" was superior to normal astral projection or out-of-body travel in what you can do. Their founder, Paul Twitchell, wrote several books and they encouraged me to buy some. They even gave me a free book called Your Right to Know by Darwin Gross, their "Living Eck Master" at the time. It seems Twitchell had died in 1971 and had passed the torch on to Gross. Since I was a broke college student, I decided to only buy this one book by Twitchell until I knew more.

I read Your Right to Know right away and was shocked to discover all the hallmarks of a cult. Gross's book was filled with the lunatic ravings of a cult leader: new terminology to isolate members from the rest of the world, encouraging members to forsake their family and friends who just can't understand, surrendering your will to the Living Eck Master. Gross claimed that as "Living Eck Master" he was the "Sole representative of God on Earth." What's worse, he contradicted himself several times in the book.

Run away. Run far, far away.

So I never read this Paul Twitchell book Eckankar until just recently in 2022.

Many years later I discovered Darwin Gross had been kicked out of Eckankar for scandals and abuses. But that's not all. There was another Living Eck Master, Jerry Glaskin, who was similarly kicked out of Eckankar for scandals and abuses. And their current Eck Master, Harold Klemp? I don't know much about him. I've seen shows in which he sounds reasonable, but I'm still too wary. At least Klemp has been around for many many years without scandals.

And what about the author of this book, Paul Twitchell? In a personal conversation, author William Buhlman told me Twitchell was the "real deal." He really could travel out-of-body and visit higher planes of existence. But does that make him any less of a cult reader? You decide...

This book is a curious mixture of reasonable, unreasonable, and yes, absurd teachings.

Twitchell claims to have traveled around the world and studied many spiritual traditions, but eventually found a guru in India who taught him the "ancient" "secret knowledge" and techniques of Eckankar. "Hmm," I thought, "Sounds like a Helena Blavatsky (the founder of Theosophy) wanna-be." Twitchell also claimed to have taken personal instruction from non-physical Eck masters with weird (some would say ridiculous) names like Rebazar Tarzs and Fubbi Quanz. And Eckankar, he says, may be used to dissolve karma, escape reincarnation, and travel the higher planes of existence.

Like Darwin Gross, Paul Twitchell does display some traits of a cult leader. For example, he says things like:

"Just as the moth in its desire to be near the flame is willing to destroy itself, so must we in becoming the new self be willing to destroy the old self." (pg. 14)

And this:

"The mind and heart of anyone who wishes to travel to the inner worlds will go through the threshold, or door, of the inner self, and undergo the necessary purification with the help of the ECK Master. We must put aside everything and have complete trust in him. We must bring to a halt the shaking of the mind by terror. All attachment must drop from our minds and leave only one thing for us, the love for the inner teaching, a love for the light and sound of the cosmic worlds." (pg. 40)

And this:

"You must understand then that the spiritual guide is actually the ECK master, and yet he is not the ECK master. He is the highest and the lowest and no man can resist him, should the guide reach out to take charge of the neophyte if the latter ask for such assistance. This is because he has the attitude of a father's loving care toward his child. Every soul that reaches perfection can testify to this." (pg. 42-43)

Twitchell seems to preach "Charity" or Biblical Agape (impersonal love) rather than love for other people. For example, "Rebazar Tarz" supposedly said this:

"Since the human element in man doesn't have the capacity, then he must give his impersonal good will to all, but love only those whom you must!" (pg. 21)

Other times he sounds quite reasonable and gives reasonable out-of-body advice. For example:

"When preparing to leave the body for a spiritual journey, you must deliberately focus your attention on the feeling of the journey fulfilled until such a feeling fills the soul and crowds out all other ideas in the consciousness. With this deliberate concentration the soul will slowly leave the physical body and explore other spheres before returning to its temple of flesh. Therefore, the power of attention is the measure of your success in getting out of the body the first few times you attempt soul travel." (pg. 14)

Well, I can't argue with that. Focus of attention is probably the most important thing. But then he makes claims like this one, which describes seeing your body from an out-of-body perspective:

"Having fixed ourselves in a certain position in the room, we can stand there looking down and examining the strange lump of clay on the bed. It neither breathes, nor moves, from lack of reflexes. The color of the face is usually gray, the eyes wide, staring lifelessly, and the radiation of the aura gradually fades." (pg. 212)

That's nonsense. When out-of-body, your body continues to breathe normally. Your body is in sleep paralysis, your eyes are usually closed, and the aura remains the same. When I look at my body on the bed, I normally don't see my body at all; I just see its energy field.

Chapter 3 is titled "The Perplexing Techniques of Soul Travel" and it's not bad at all. Twitchell claims there are four basic techniques: The emotional, the sound, the secret, and the master technique. Despite that, he proceeds to give more than that, and they seem unrelated to those descriptions:

Technique 1

The first technique is also called the Imaginative technique. It's basically the "Target Technique" taught by countless other authors. You close your eyes and focus on the spiritual eye (third eye), and:

"All of a sudden you will find that this is reality. You are standing in the center of that place that you were thinking about. This is the old law of the astral world which says, and I repeat here, that wherever you place your thought body, the rest of you is bound to follow." (pg. 50)

He also tells you not to be afraid, but in a cultish way:

"No harm will come to the body, for the ECK master is always near to see that nothing happens other than for your own good." (pg. 51)

Technique 2

Concentrate on a bright object like a coin. Then begin to concentrate on going out of body. As you drift off, repeat to yourself the affirmation "I am leaving the body. I am going to (whatever place desired.)" Do this over and over until it becomes reality. William Buhlman also gave that technique in his first book.

Technique 3

Sit on the floor, eyes closed, feet stretched out in front, knees stiff. Take a deep breath, and touch the feet with your fingertips by leaning forward, just as if you were performing a calisthenics drill. At the same time, chant the word SUGMAD (Eckankar's word for God). Perform this over and over.

Technique 4

The fourth technique is: Sit in an easy chair, eyes closed, and chant the word "Gopal," supposedly one of the names of the guardians of the Temples of Golden Wisdom.

Technique 5

Take a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Look at a spot between the eyebrows and allow hypnagogic images to flow. Establish a blank screen and the "inner ECK master" will appear in the same shape and form as "myself" (Twitchell.) Only think of the "living ECK master" and traveling with him.

In true cult-like fashion, he writes:

"He is the only vehicle through which one can reach the higher worlds, so take care and practice this technique correctly. An added feature is that you can chant his title, which will give great emphasis to the encounter with him. His title is the Mahanta, which means the sat guru or great guru, the light-giver...This will bring the living ECK master faster into your orbit to escort you into the other worlds." (pg. 59)

Later, Twitchell bolsters this title by saying:

"In other words, he is a true light-giver and an instrument of the Supreme SUGMAD which makes contact with this world of humanity. The head of ECK is called the Mahanta--which means spiritual leader, or Godman." (pg. 71)

How's that for cult-like delusions of grandeur? It gets worse:

"The ECK master is the only man, or should I say being, who is capable of manifesting individualism and universalism in their full expressions. He is a law unto himself, does what he pleases, has what he wants, comes and goes absolutely at his own will, and ask no favors of any man. No man can hinder him in the execution of his will, nor does he ask favors of others. All things are at his command." (pg. 72)

Although not as disturbing as Darwin Gross's claims, Twitchell does have some absurd teachings. For example, I found this to be completely wrong:

"It is generally understood that no man with a defective body or any serious deformity can ever become a real spiritual traveler." (pg. 72)

I call bullsh*t on that one. Here's another strange out-of-place thing I found in this book, which I happen to agree with:

"This is why socialism never works. Man must pay for everything that he gets; all debts, whether or not they are financial, must be paid in full. We cannot get something for nothing." (pg. 140)

Like Theosophy, Twitchell teaches that there are several planes of existence, subplanes, and multiple chakras in the body (although he only names six of them).

He claims there is a holy sound, but instead of the Yogic sound of "Aum" he says:

"Hu" that is "The sound Hu is the beginning and the ending of every sound in all life." (pg. 105)

In additional, Twitchell lays out a great deal of cosmology, starting with:

"There are three levels of independent workers in eternity which cooperate in the running of the worlds. First, the SUGMAD, the All-Supreme Being; second, the silent ones, who are his messengers; and third, the ECK masters who are agents of both the SUGMAD and the silent ones. The three work together." (pg. 111)

This includes a grand hierarchy consisting of a galaxy of lords, rulers, creators, and governors of all the heavenly spheres.

Twitchell also talks about nonphysical beings he calls "spiritual travelers" that are very powerful and assist people in their out-of-body journeys.

He also describes the different planes of existence in great detail. For example, he talks about the "Capital of the Astral Plane" and gives it the name Sahasra del Kanwal.

Then he says the physical plane has a capital too, a city called Retz, located on the planet Venus. (pg. 197) Oh, come on. Really? The average surface temperature on Venus is 847F / 452C. On a cold winter's night it can get as low as 820F / 437C.

The name of the Lord of this physical universe, he says, is Elam, whom many have mistaken for Sugmad (God).

He says there are seven spiritual cities on Earth named Damcar, Agam Des, Shamball, Sat Dham, Akeviz, Kimtaved, and Nampak (pg. 197). These are located respectively in the Gobi desert, the Himalaya Mountains, India, the Pyrenees Mountains, Central America, South America, and Africa. Quick, call Google Earth. On and on he gives names to different worlds, planes and places. It's not an insignificant part of the book.

To bolster his claims he cites other famous "soul travelers" such as Hafiz, the aforementioned Blavatsky, Padre Pio (famous for bilocation, not OBE) and many others, all of whom predate Eckankar itself, and none of whom taught anything resembling Twitchell's bizarre cosmology.

Again, some of the claims in the book seem reasonable, but they are overshadowed by dubious or outright absurd claims. I have no doubt Twitchell had OBEs, but I think maybe he just went off the rails at some point and got caught up in his own delusions.

Don't get me wrong. I've met some very nice people who claimed to be followers of Eckankar, so it's not all bad, and maybe Harold Klemp turned the organization around for the better (one can only hope).

The writing is good, the content is plentiful, and the OBE techniques are decent, but it's like mining in the mud for an occasional gem (or cleaning out a horse stall). I give the book 2 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
24 May 2022


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, May 3, 2022

OBEs and the Gut Microbiome

OBEs and the Gut Microbiome

by Bob Peterson

The Golden Rule of OBE Eating

If you've been following my blog, you know the basic rule of eating for out-of-body experiences:
  • Eat early, eat light.
Some even use fasting for OBEs. But there's a lot more to it than that. Your diet plays a very important role in your ability to induce OBEs. The older I get, the more I learn how important it is, and it all goes back to something scientists call the "gut microbiome," the trillions of microorganisms that live inside our intestines/guts. These friendly bacteria help us break down food into nutrients needed by our bodies. In return, we provide them a steady supply of food and a safe place to live.

Dietary Considerations

In the past I've written several articles about dietary considerations and how your diet influences your ability to induce OBEs, including:

Many authors of astral projection books (Graham Nicholls comes to mind), recommend a vegetarian diet to induce out-of-body experiences. (I've never had a problem eating meat, but it may help some people).

Author D. Scott Rogo takes it a step further. In his book Leaving the Body he dedicates an entire chapter to “Astral Projection through Dietary Control” (AKA the “Keeler system.”) In short, Rogo suggests fasting or cutting down food intake ("The Golden Rule" above), not eating meat (like Nicholls), but also eating more carrots, fruits, vegetables and eggs, plus drinking plenty of liquids. But the thing that caught my attention is: no nuts of any kind are to be eaten. Rogo says peanuts are especially bad. (Peanuts aren’t technically nuts, but they should still be avoided).

And why should you avoid nuts? Constipation. In my opinion, eating a lot of cheese is also bad for OBEs, for the same reason.

And why is constipation bad for OBEs? It screws up the Gut Microbiome.

Hacking The Gut Microbiome

When people talk about "gut instincts," "following your gut," or "going with your gut" they usually mean following your intuition. But that's just the beginning. The more scientists study the gut microbiome, the more they realize how it influences our bodies and our brains. For example, a recent article in Neuroscience News (neurosciencenews.com) explains the critical role it plays in regulating sleep. (Click here to read it). The human body is not just an amazing machine; it's also a very complex ecosystem. The brain and the gut influence each other dramatically.
I first learned about this many years ago from a "body hacking" article about how you can drink a cocktail of raw potato starch and water (perhaps in a tea) before bed to increase the productivity of your sleep: You sleep better, have longer and more vivid dreams, and wake up feeling more refreshed.
The reason it works is because it feeds one particular type of bacteria in your gut microbiome. The bacteria eat the raw potato starch and produce more of an enzyme used by your body to "launder" your brain of contaminants during sleep. That cleans your brain more efficiently, which causes a shorter non-REM (nREM) sleep phase. That, in turn, causes a longer and more vivid REM phase. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Gut Microbiome Problems

Constipation slows down your gut microbiome and causes problems, and stops your OBEs, but eventually your intestines recover and straighten out.
But what if your gut microbiome is completely destroyed, for example, by radiation used to treat cancer? Then you can't digest food properly. In fact, as gross as it sounds, when this happens doctors often have to do a "fecal transplant." Resorting to the crude vernacular, they literally put shit from someone else's guts into your guts to kick-start the regrowth of your gut microbiome. And it works.

Antibiotics Hurt the Gut Microbiome

In the past, doctors loved to treat almost every ailment with antibiotics, but antibiotics take a huge toll on the gut microbiome. I believe they can completely stop your OBEs. Your guts will eventually recover, but again, this takes time.

Good Gut Microbiome Practices

So if you want to induce OBEs, maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Here are some things you can do to improve your guts with OBEs in mind:

Be Gut-Friendly

  • Avoid constipation by eating enough fiber (or "fibre"), and avoid nuts and an excess of cheese.
  • I've even gone so far as to not drink almond milk anymore. (I also avoid cow milk because I believe it's not good for you, due to hormones, antibiotics, excess fat, etc.). I use oat milk instead.
  • Avoid antacid tablets like Tums, which can also cause constipation.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners. I've experimented with many different artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose, Monk Fruit, etc. I don't like the taste of Stevia), and they all seem to take a toll on my OBEs. Recent studies show they are bad for the gut microbiome. Don't drink diet soda/pop (most contain Aspartame) and don't use flavored water squirts like Mio (most contain artificial sweeteners). I've never had a problem with sugar or corn syrup.
  • Drink lots of water, preferably not tap water, because it often contains Fluoride. I have a well, but reverse osmosis water is good too. Be careful with distilled water because too much can leech all the nutrients out of your body.

Feed your Gut Microbiome

  • Eat pro-biotic foods like yogurt every day (but not if they contain artificial sweeteners).
  • Drink pro-biotic drinks like kefir.
  • You can also buy various "pro-biotic" products in health stores, pharmacies and even grocery stores.
  • Some people recommend Kombucha.

Go for regular walks or runs

Walking (or running) helps your digestive tract move, which is good for the gut microbiome. Make it a regular practice.

Be Patient

Don't expect your gut microbiome to change overnight. It takes me about four days to recover from artificial sweeteners. And if your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be patient and give your gut microbiome time to heal.

Some people try for years to produce OBEs, unsuccessfully. For many, the problem might be due to mismanagement of their gut microbiome. It's definitely an avenue to explore. So carefully examine your diet and make adjustments as needed.

Finally, be patient, follow best practices (like the Golden Rule above), meditate regularly, and follow the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Astral Travelers. Above all, keep up your regular OBE practice sessions and never give up.

Bob Peterson
03 May 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Marie's OBE Technique

Marie's OBE Technique

by Bob Peterson

In this article I'm passing along an immersive OBE technique from one of my readers; a woman who calls herself Marie. I've edited it from the original, but the essence is unchanged.

First, sit in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed, hands to your side, and relax. Start slowly tapping the side of your thigh with one finger. Imagine you are at a physical location you know well on the side of a big hill with friends (or family). It must be an place felt happy and relaxed as a child, like a park.

In your imagination, take in the environment: the orange and blues of the sky as the sun sets, the summer breeze in your hair, the laughter of your family or friends. Imagine a pleasant smell in the air, like flowers (or even cigarettes if that appeals to you). Imagine you feel a paper cup in your hands with your favorite drink. Imagine the green color of the trees. Imagine your clothes flowing in the breeze flapping against your leg. Imagine the sound of a distant dog barking. You're having a good time and feel safe, happy, and carefree. Stay this way for a while and act out conversations with your friends (or family), knowing you've got all the time in the world.

Check in with your physical body for a second and tap your thigh then disregard it and get back to your imagination.

Imagine your friends play Frisbee and laugh with each other. After a while, imagine there are stone steps going down the hill (even if they don't exist in that physical location).

Check 1: Remind yourself you're still in the room, sitting in a chair, so you don't fall asleep or go into a lucid dream. Then return to your imaginary park.

Imagine you and your best friend go down the steps to get away from the main group and talk about your experience as kids on that hill. Pretend that you dare each other to go faster and faster as you go down the steps and it starts declining steeply downward.

Pretend you see your other friends rolling down the hill in a race and giggle as they all reach the bottom, laughing and pushing each other in the distance. In your imagination, you decide to take a short cut and run on the grass to beat your friend on the steps. As you run, you laugh and feel the wind in your hair.

Your best friend waves at you from the steps. Pretend you look toward the bottom and cannot see your other friends. You begin to wonder if they reached the bottom of the hill first. They must have gone to get ice cream (or some treat) and you don't want to be left out.

Check 2: you're still awake can feel the chair on your back.

Pretend you run faster to catch up. You feel the blades of grass on your ankles. Your best friend on the steps starts clapping and cheering you on. You reach the peak where it starts going very steep and down toward the bottom of the hill where there's a forest of trees.

At this point, your physical body has stopped moving so you're not tapping your thigh anymore. As you run down hill in your imagination, feel your stomach flip and a feeling of lightheadedness as you get faster.

Fully immerse yourself in the feelings of excitement. Feel the rush of energy as you stop thinking about winning now and start to think about flying.

In your imagination, run faster, smelling the air, feeling the ground beneath you, then pretend you do a nosedive, but rather than fall down the steep hill, you float up horizontally and fly. All of a sudden you head upward into the sky where you soar around like a bird.

At this point, your imaginary park scene may take on a sense of realness. You may also find your sense of motion come to a complete sudden stop. You may be in total darkness, and the vibrations may sweep into your body. The separation should be complete, so you should put some distance between you and your physical body by walking, running, swimming, or flying in any direction. Don't worry about your eyesight until you're at least 15 feet / 5 meters away from your body.

For instructions for what to do when the vibrations hit, read this article.

Bob Peterson
19 April 2022

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Ten OBE Techniques From My Blog

Ten OBE Techniques From My Blog

by Bob Peterson

Many people ask which astral projection/out-of-body technique is the best? The answer is: the one that works for you. Everyone is different and requires different approaches to jar them out of their normal stubborn in-the-body programming.

In this blog article I want to share ten OBE techniques from ten years of this blog. These are in no particular order.

  1. Hypnagogic Object Swinging Technique
    This is still my favorite AP/OBE technique because it engages the imagined sense of motion.
  2. Sneaking Past the Gatekeeper
    This is one of the oldest techniques I posted on my blog, from 2013.
  3. Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs
    Everyone always wants to know "What is the easiest AP/OBE technique? Well, this is it. Simply induce a lucid dream, then transition it into a full-blown OBE. This article explains how.
  4. The "Almost Move" Technique
    I developed this technique many years ago and have used it many times. It's quite effective. I didn't publish it on my blog until March, 2016. One year later, when I read Michael Raduga's book The Phase, I realized the technique is very similar to a technique Raduga calls "Phantom Wiggling."
  5. Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)
    I don't know who invented WBTB, but it has become one of the most widely-used astral projection techniques of the modern era. It's been quoted in several modern books on the subject. That's because it's very effective.
  6. Motion-Based Techniques
    This article has several motion-based techniques like: (1) rocking forward-backward, (2) rocking side-to-side, (3) Swinging arms technique, (4) Elbow push technique, and (5) Yoyo technique.
  7. Feet Zoom Technique
    This is another motion-based technique.
  8. Lines of Force Technique
    This one is from Robert Monroe's first book, Journeys Out of the Body, and it the technique that gave me immediate results (the vibrations) on my very first attempt in 1979.
  9. Harnessing Unfamiliarity
    This isn't exactly an exit technique, but I feel it's important to try, especially if you've been unsuccessful for a long period of time.
  10. Clean Room Gloves technique. Some people may find it easier to leave the body by engaging as many non-visual senses as possible.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of out-of-body techniques. I recently sat down and wrote out a list of techniques and came up with almost 100.


If you want to have an OBE, here's what you should do:

  1. Learn and practice rapid and total relaxation. To get started, read my article on Relaxation techniques.
  2. Learn how to focus your mind for OBEs. To get started, read this article.
  3. Get into some good OBE habits like the habits explained in this article. 
  4. Try one of the techniques in this article. If that doesn't work, try another, and another, until you find one that works best for you.
  5. Practice practice practice. Never give up.

There are many other important things to consider, such as conquering your fear and changing your belief system, but they're out of the scope of this article.

Bob Peterson
05 April 2022

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Review: Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming

Review: Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming

by Vincent Field

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming by Vincent Field. The subtitle is Spiritual Revelations and Out-of-Body Experiences in Higher Dimensions. The cover also says it is "A Complete Guide On Exploring Nonphysical Reality." It was published in January, 2022.

My first question is: Why didn't he call this--or even title the book--The "Field" Guide to Astral Projection? Now that's just an opportunity lost!

When this book was published, it was hyped. A lot. It made quite a splash. Lots of people were singing its praises. And of course, I was very skeptical. So how good is it? Well, it is actually quite good. In fact, I loved it. Not enough to give it 5 stars, but not far off.

I always like to start off with the negatives so I can end on an positive note. So let's get right to it.

The book is obviously self-published, because it's missing the normal dates, copyright notices and all that legal stuff at the front. Second, there were a few small-but-glaring mistakes that a publisher would have caught. I can't fault him for that; my self-published books have the same problem. And nowadays, publishers don't seem interested in this kind of book anyway. But I must say, for a self-published book, he did an excellent job. The mistakes I found were few, and the book was very well written.

The biggest down-side is that Field does not give many solid astral projection techniques, nor much advice on how to induce them. If he had, it might have merited a five-star rating. The closest he comes is to mention using Hemi-Sync recordings, Wake-Back-To-Bed, and other types of meditation, but no real details. He does, however, stress the importance of keeping a dream journal. He also talks about practicing Mindfulness. He does, however, describe a technique he calls "fall asleep fake-out."

"The person essentially tries to fall asleep for several seconds, all the while holding the intention of reawakening the mind before it slips into total unconsciousness. This usually always causes an immediate deep internal shift into the out-of-body state. It's recommended that this is done immediately upon awakening from sleep as the first technique used to attempt an OBE, and it can be combined with other techniques for maximum effectiveness." (pg. 187)

He also mentions several motion-based techniques, including climbing a rope (while not crediting inventor Robert Bruce), (imagined) swimming, rotating (one of Robert Monroe's staples), and several techniques popularized by Michael Raduga (without crediting him): observing images, phantom wiggling, listening to internal noises, and creating various visualizations. I just wish he gave more details, and more credit.

I was disappointed that Field never mentions how he learned astral projection. He does some scant name-dropping, mainly Robert Monroe and The Monroe Institute, and some mysterious "other books." Why don't these authors want you to know who taught them? Was it William Buhlman? Michael Raduga? Robert Bruce? Inquiring minds want to know! Why can't they give credit where credit is due?

Why did I love the book? Because the whole book is pretty much all narratives, and you know how much I love OBE narratives. Field gives loads and loads of them, all of which lend credibility to what he says, illustrate the author's key points, and give you a good idea of what OBEs are like. The narratives are followed by an explanation of what he had experienced and what conclusions can be drawn from them. And they're very honest. He doesn't jump to absurd conclusions about his OBEs and openly admits there may be possible alternate explanations. For example, he openly states:

"I personally have never visited the same exact nonphysical location twice that I have been able to distinguish, so I can't comment on the objective nature of the astral dimension." (pg. 58)

And they're not just straight-up OBE narratives; they often show a progression from a dreaming state to a lucid dream state, to a full-blown OBE.

Field's OBE narratives span from March 23, 2000 to March 3, 2019: an impressive span of 19 years, and they're basically in chronological order to give the reader a good sense of progression.

I can tell from Field's narratives that his experiences are genuine and not made-up or over-the-top. He describes things "out there" in such a way that he had to have been "out" himself; there are small clues that can't easily be faked. Here's an example:

"I decided to look to see if I had a body anyway, and found a pair of perfectly formed, solid-looking arms and hands reaching out in front of my field of vision. I was able to feel energy within these appendages as I observed them, but when I put them down and they were out of my field of vision, I could no longer sense them. It seemed as if my mind had temporarily created an illusory pair of arms and hands out of my desire and expectation to see them." (pg. 185)

This gives you a good idea of what I mean when I say "Schrödinger's Astral Body"!

I also like Field because his experiments were a lot like mine. He gives several OBEs in which he tries to make contact with God and Jesus Christ, and always with very interesting results. In other OBEs he tries to contact his "Higher Self." In at least one case, it seems like Jesus communicates to his Higher Self and the message is translated from there to his normal conscious self.

Unlike most OBE books, many of Field's OBEs are encounters with what he believes to be aliens / extraterrestrials, and almost all of them are the same kind of E.T. with triangular-shaped heads, big eyes, and orange skin. In fact, he writes:

"It's my belief that many alleged abductees are actually having out-of-body experiences involving nonphysical entities." (pg. 80)

I wrote a whole chapter about this subject in my second book, Lessons Out of the Body. If you're interested, you can read it at this link. Many of these Alien-Encounter OBEs are quite scary and concerning.

He has some good advice about overcoming problems, such as screaming out your intentions, forcing a change of expectations, and so on. For example, if you can't get through a wall or door, he recommends you visualize yourself on the other side of it, and that seems to work.

The book also contains many observations that mesh with mine. For example, most occult-oriented books assume you "inhabit" a non-physical body and use it to interact with a different dimension. But I agree with Field when he wrote:

"Usually a projector is only aware of one dimension of experience at a time, so it seems that one is merely shifting from one level of reality to another, when in reality one is engaged in multiple levels of reality simultaneously and simply shifting one's focus from one level of experience to another within the wider range of one's consciousness that expands throughout multiple dimensions." (pg. 170)

And elsewhere:

"OBEs are essentially a shifting of one's frame of reference from the body into the other areas of the wider system of consciousness in which one is intimately connected." (pg. 188)

Here's another revelation I completely agree with:

"There is a translation process between the higher mind and the conscious mind that converts non-physical experiences and knowledge into concepts and sensory data that can be related to and comprehended by one's base level consciousness, in a way dumbing down the true nature of these experiences, which my intuition tells me are far more convoluted than they appear to be." (pg. 205)

Hear hear! This is exactly why I hate books that have narratives that are too Earth-like: "My astral guide pulled me out-of-body and took me to a city, where we sat down at a table with pink roses and golden cutlery. He handed me a drink, then instructed me thus"...followed by four pages of new-age teachings from an "ascended master." Sorry, but it's just not like that. OBEs are otherworldly and in my mind it's not okay to give them Earthly trivialities. Field has been there and he gets it, and he portrays that well in the book.

This one also exactly matches my beliefs based on my own experiences:

"It seems there are higher aspects of my non-physical self that actively engage in various experiences and interactions totally hidden from my conscious mind. I believe I shifted into a more expanded state of consciousness in which a higher aspect of my mind was engaged in another level of reality. This experience supports the theory that there are multiple aspects of one's consciousness that exist in a spectrum or gradient, and that there are always multiple dimensions of experience simultaneously taking place throughout the spectrum, even though one is usually only aware of one level of experience at a time." (pg. 211-212)

Right on. This is true.

Field had a particularly troubling encounter with a negative entity in 2019, which caused him to end the book with this negative and cautionary note:

"It is also important to exercise caution and understand that malevolent entities exist in non-physical reality and can cause real harm, whether you believe it or not. I have heard many people downplay the reality and dangers of negative spirits, claiming that simply sending love and light will provide all the protection needed. However it is not as simple as that....Because of these dangers, I do not recommend the practice of out-of-body experiences, although that's not to say that one cannot benefit from them if approached wisely and carefully." (pg. 227-228)

Well, I'm not sure I agree with that. I think there's a lot to be gained through astral projection, and rare negative encounters just go with the territory: part of the challenge is learning how to deal with them. Would you stop camping because you had an encounter with a bear? Some might, but I wouldn't.

The book is 228 pages with small-ish font and pleasant margins, which means there's no wasted space and plenty of good content. The writing is mature and honest. I only wish he'd have given some OBE technique details. I don't think it was an oversight. I think he left them out because he didn't want people to dabble and have encounters with aliens and potentially negative entities.

I give the book 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5. The book is excellent.

Bob Peterson
22 March 2022


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, March 8, 2022

Overcoming Problems During OBEs

Overcoming Problems During OBEs

by Bob Peterson

Out-of-body experiences/astral projections don't always go as planned. In fact, they often defy our expectations and we have problems. Like an infant thrust suddenly into a new world, we find ourselves in a sticky situation without skills and without a clue how to proceed. Here are some common OBE problems and how to overcome them.

Disclaimer: large sections of this article are take from chapter 31 of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body.

If you get stuck to your physical body

During my early years of OBE exploration, I used to get stuck to my body often.  It was frustrating to go through an hour-long procedure to leave my body and then be unable to go anywhere. When this happened, I usually struggled against it for a while, but it was useless; my astral body would just not move. Luckily, I found a two-part solution.

Part of the problem stems from our belief systems, so the first part of the solution is to work on your beliefs. If you get stuck, you may be identifying with your body too much. Your beliefs and/or fears may be holding you back. The solution is to work with affirmations that will help you move away from your body even when it is paralyzed. For example, use this affirmation:

“I can travel freely during my OBEs.”

This affirmation should be used throughout the day, not only when you have the problem.

Part two of the solution is to properly deal with the problem whenever it arises. I’ve used this technique many times. When you find yourself stuck to your body and unable to move, try to just forget the astral body completely, then try to push your consciousness forward, without the astral body. Yes, without it.

Pretend you're walking under water. Try to move the location of your consciousness to leave your astral body behind. Don’t try to move your astral body, try to move your mind forward instead. When you do this, your consciousness will move forward. Try to keep up the momentum until you are at least fifteen feet away from your physical body.

OBE pioneer Sylvan Muldoon wrote about a “cord activity range” of about 10 feet/3 meters to 15 feet/5 meters that acts like a strong gravity between you and your physical body. Once you are outside that range, you will be free to travel at will. Curiously, you will still have an astral body. Why? Some researchers have described an "etheric body," or "energy body," a dense semi-physical “vehicle of vitality” (in the words of author Robert Crookall)–that acts like a vehicle for consciousness–that is related to “ectoplasm” used by "physical spirit mediums." It’s possible that this etheric body might occasionally get stuck to your physical body, and perhaps that is what gets left behind when you try to force your mind forward. Some people insist the etheric body is permanently attached to the physical body and will never move until you die. Others say the ability to move the etheric body is why spirit mediums are different from normal people. But I digress.

I’ve also used another method to get unstuck, which is recommended by William Buhlman and Eddie Slasher: demand very firmly that you be released. Focus very strongly and forcefully on the thought, “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” and repeat this until you literally feel yourself pried away from the physical body, unstuck.

Astral blindness

At times when you leave your body you can find yourself completely blind. In my experience this is usually also related to Muldoon's "cord activity range." The way to get around it is:

  1. Make an effort to close your (non-physical) eyes.
  2. Do your best to walk, glide or otherwise move 15 feet/5 meters away from your physical body.
  3. Make an effort to open your (non-physical) eyes.

Body sight

Another annoyance is when you make an effort to open your eyes, but your physical body's eyes open instead, giving you a completely different and confusing perspective that's not related to your astral body's position and orientation in space. The solution is the same as with blindness: Move away from your physical body and out of cord activity range.

Losing focus or consciousness

It’s not always easy to maintain consciousness during an OBE. If you feel yourself getting drowsy or losing focus, you can try to perk yourself up that same way you would when you’re feeling sleepy while inside your body. If that doesn’t work, William Buhlman suggests you ask for, demand or even scream, “Clarity now!”

Another trick comes from author Michael Raduga, and that is to engage your sense of touch: palpation. If you think you're starting to lose awareness, use your (non-physical) hands to touch everything in sight, including touching your own arms, face, and so forth. Engage your sense of touch as deeply as possible until your focus is stronger.

Problems traveling

Most authors of OBE books made out-of-body traveling sound as easy as thinking about a place. It's not as easy as all that. When I first started having OBEs, I encountered many problems when trying to get around. Luckily, I learned to overcome these problems by doing three things:

  1. Repair a damaged belief system
    Many of my early traveling problems were caused by flaws in my beliefs. Flying seemed unnatural and I doubted I would get to my destination. Traveling by thought-power alone didn’t make sense to me. My stubborn scientific mind was convinced couldn't be that simple. After all, there is no room in the laws of physics for thought-based propulsion. The best way to combat these problems is with affirmations. Repeat several times affirmations that empower your ability to travel freely. For example, “When I’m a spirit, it is easy and natural to travel by thought.”
  2. Ask for help and accept it
    I never used to ask for help from spirits because I didn’t trust them. Plus, I’m a man, and men never ask for directions, right? Gradually, I learned that there are plenty of spirit helpers out there who are willing to help you travel where you want to go. Once you get over the fear and distrust, you’ll find out it’s okay to ask for help. These helpers are there whether you see them or not, and they can read your thoughts. To ask for help, simply think, “Can someone please help me get to...[your destination]?” Most likely, you will be assisted by a helper who may not even speak to you, or speak briefly, like "Sure."
  3. Think yourself there
    Eventually I learned how to “think” myself to another location, as described in other OBE books. The process isn’t easy to explain, but it's easy to do. To travel this way, focus your mind on the desired location, almost as if tuning my mind to a new frequency. It feels like setting an anchor at a distant location and suddenly pulling yourself to the anchor. It doesn’t always work, so keep trying until you get it right.

Persistence is key to overcome OBE problems

The following OBE illustrates how to overcome OBE problems: Many years ago induced an OBE in which I had lots of problems.

I tried to sit up, but could only partially. I struggled to my right to get out of bed and stand up, but I was stuck. I tried to rotate around but I was zapped back to the body.

Round 2. I induced the proper state with extreme ease again, opened my astral eyes and saw the ceiling. I thought I heard some noises as if someone were in the room, playing with the things on the table near the foot of the bed. I tried to listen, and finally decided to sit up to see what was there, but I had no control. I could only sit up a foot off the bed, but not enough to see if someone was there. I tried harder until I lost consciousness and woke up in the body again.

Round 3 was the same as round 2, but this time I got brave and asked, “Who's there?” No reply. I still couldn't move.  I was quickly zapped back into my body again.

Round 4.  I got out of my body and tried to free myself again. I felt stuck, but then I felt a gentle pair of hands grab my feet gently and help me separate from the body. Unfortunately, I lost consciousness soon afterward and found myself back in my body again.

Round 5. I separated from my body again and decided to peel myself away from it with a backward-somersault. I peeled off awkwardly, floated about three feet off the bed. I didn't see anyone. I thought about what I wanted to do next. I decided to float/fly. With that thought, I started floating up to the ceiling. Then I decided to try to visit Julia, a friend I know from the Internet. I wanted to see if she could detect my presence, since she is psychically sensitive. I wondered how I should go about trying to get to her when I received a thought-communication from an unknown invisible source who said, “It's easy. Just think yourself there.”

I “thought” myself up through the ceiling and over the roof of the house. I tried to get my orientation so I could decide which direction was east. I started flying east at a great speed, perhaps as fast as an airplane, but decided “This might not work, or at least not quickly enough.” The same source said, “Just think yourself there.” So I thought, “With Julia.” It worked! My consciousness shifted. My eyes were closed but I mind-sensed a light/energy in front of me and knew it was her. I reached my astral arms/hands out and cupped the light/energy between my hands, as if holding her head. I tried to telepath to her, “Julia, this is Bob. How are you?” Then I lost consciousness. I decided against making a sixth attempt.

As this OBE illustrates, persistence is a key to solving OBE problems. If you get thrown back into your body, try to induce the OBE state again immediately before you move your body. Do this as many times as you need. If you get stuck to your body during an OBE, try different methods to pry yourself free until you find one that works. Approach unknown entities with caution, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spirit guides. If you’re having problems moving to your desired destination, close your eyes and reach out mentally to your desired location, then tell yourself to be at that location by force of will.

Be persistent and never give up.

Bob Peterson
08 March 2022

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Review: Astral Projection Plain & Simple

Astral Projection Plain & Simple

by Osborne Phillips

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection Plain & Simple: The Out-of-Body Experience by Osborne Phillips. The copyright is from 2003.

This book falls into the category of modern esoteric, which means it claims from the onset that there are several (in this case four) different planes of existence: physical, astral, mental, and spiritual. Humans, then, have four corresponding bodies that may be used to experience these planes.

Like many occult-oriented books on the subject, its techniques center around creating a simulacrum, an artificially created astral body built from the non-physical energy of the upper abdominal region (the solar plexus). The simulacrum is then used to experience the astral plane. Like some other occultist writers, Phillips suggests you first send it out on its own (without your conscious awareness) to explore the astral and bring back its impressions to you. He gives a technique called "Creating and Sending the Watcher" that ends with:

"You should know allow the Watcher to go about its business while you go about yours." (pg. 51)

Later, you learn to integrate the two (another ritual called "Recalling and Reading the Watcher") and basically download the simulacrum's otherworldly experiences in real time to create the out-of-body experience. He calls this "Reading the Active Watcher." (pg. 53)

I don't know about you, but all this seems counterintuitive, cumbersome, and unnecessary to me. In my OBEs, I'm both the actor and experiencer.

Also, like many occult books, its astral projection techniques are centered around rituals, but they're not too excessive. His four astral projection techniques start with the same two rituals: "Setting Apart of the Place" and "The Foundation Technique."

Setting Apart of the Place (page 19)

In this technique, you:

  • Stand in the center of your room, facing east.
  • Contemplate "The Source of Light and Life"
  • Reaching upward and outward, imagine yourself growing and expanding until you are immeasurably vast.
  • Maintaining the sense of immensity, formulate imaginatively a globe of brilliant white light just above, but not touching, your head.
  • Visualize its luminosity increasing to an intense radiance that falls upon you and through you, permeates your whole being and surrounds you as an aura of white brilliance.
  • Imagine a wall of white light slowing revolving counterclockwise about your room.
  • Mentally say to yourself, "By the power of the divine light of my higher self, be this place free from all hindrances and from every shadow of doubt and illusion.
  • Visualize a second wall of pale blue light just within the first wall, revolving clockwise.
  • Mentally say to yourself, "By the power of the divine light of my higher self, be this place filled with peace and with the blessings of love and goodness."
  • Allow the visualizations to fade from your awareness.

(See the book for more details.)

Foundation Technique (pg 27)

In this technique, you basically do this:

  1. Assume a well-balanced standing posture in which your feet are together and your arms are held loosely at your side.
  2. Maintaining this posture, visualize the sphere of brilliant white light--your crown center--just above your head.
  3. On an in-breath, imagine a beam of white light being drawn down from the crown center to your breast, where it forms your heart center as a brilliant white globe.
  4. On an out-breath, imagine a beam of white light descending from your heart center to your feet, where it forms another center in white light, radiant but less brilliant than the crown.
  5. On an in-breath, see a flash of golden light rise from your feet center and pass upward into your heart center.
  6. On an out-breath, the movement of the light rests, and you mentally affirm the three centers and their connecting shaft of white light.
  7. Now repeat several times steps 3, 4, 5, and 6 above.
  8. Finally, you see your heart center emitting a powerful radiance, to encompass you in an aura of golden light.

The Techniques

The problem I have with Phillips astral projection techniques is that the critical steps are vague. For example, he gives "Method 1: The Stepping Forth" (which, as always) starts with the "Setting apart of the place" and "Foundation Technique" followed by an affirmation, a visualization, and then:

"5. Transfer your awareness into the astral simulacrum of yourself that you have thus formed, so that your awareness of your physical body is lessened and your consciousness of the silver-gray figure and the golden aura is heightened." (pg 56)

But how exactly is that accomplished? He writes as if you already know how to transfer your consciousness out of your body. If you knew that, why would you need all the rituals and such?

Likewise with "Method 2: Change of Perspective". He writes:

"6. Now, transfer your awareness to a point outside your body, say about eight feet above you and facing toward yourself." (pg. 58)

For "Astral projection method 3: The going forth" he gives a little bit more detail:

"8. Now make a mental resolution to transfer your consciousness into the astral figure above you.
"9. Immediately after making this resolution, imagine yourself--gathered as it were at your point of consciousness--gliding swiftly upwards to the astral figure and entering it at the corresponding point of consciousness." (pg. 58-59)

Astral projection method 4 is "The revolving formula." Similarly:

"6. Transfer your awareness into the simulacrum of yourself that you have thus formed, so that your awareness of your physical body is lessened and your consciousness of the astral figure and the surrounding aura is heightened." (pg. 59)
I'm sorry, but don't just tell the reader to "Transfer your awareness into your astral body." If they knew how to do that already, they wouldn't need your book.

The Guardian of the Threshold

Phillips addresses a subject covered by very few other authors, and that is the Guardian of the Threshold, which he calls "The Lurker on the Threshold," and how it tries to frighten you to keep you from going out-of-body. He talks about how some of this is caused simply by fear instilled by other authors who are inexperienced in the subject. His advice on getting rid of it?

"You'll need a great combination of sympathy, encouragement, and firm determination to help fight it." (pg. 33)

Well, yeah, I guess I can't argue with that. The most important thing is not to let it stop you or even slow you down.

The book has some excellent advice concerning breathing: Instead of trying to breathe in a particular forced way, counting seconds or heartbeats, it suggests a common sense approach:

"What is needed is breathing from the diaphragm. Standing, seated or lying, in the posture of a person who is wide awake, alert, but relaxed, one should imitate the breathing, deep and unhurried, of one who is soundly sleeping." (pg. 18)

I disagreed with Phillips' view of the unconscious mind. He writes:

"Your unconscious, remember, is rather like a child: it will take delight in shared endeavors and will aim to please you, but it needs to know the rules." (pg.50)

In my experience, the subconscious is very sophisticated and intelligent; not childlike at all. As a matter of fact, I often feel like a child that my subconscious just barely tolerates and it would rather get on with non-physical life without my bothering it.

Phillips talks a bit more in-depth about astral sex. He makes an interesting observation that was posed to him as part of a question from one of his readers:

"Although I've kept all my other astral activities entirely secret, everything I do that's concerned with astral sex gets back into my twin's dreams. Naturally this is causing a lot of curiosity and joking." (pg. 108)

He also gives details on how to pull someone else out of their body, once you've become advanced enough. This is the only book I can remember that gives instructions on how to do that, although again, it's steeped in ritual, and involves convincing them to go with you. What's the critical step here? No surprise:

"5. The subject then transfers awareness into the astral simulacrum of the self thus formed, so that awareness of the physical body is lessened and consciousness of the silver-grey figure and the golden aura is heightened." (pg. 136)

Ahem. Not helpful. Interestingly, he also claims that it's not possible to pull an animal out-of-body like you can a human, although pets can astral travel.

Oh, and my pet peeve: the book doesn't give any clues as to where Phillips got his knowledge or his level of experience. In fact, there are no astral projection narratives in the book.

Don't get me wrong. The book has its good points. I expected to hate this book, but it was actually much better than I expected. 

The book is 151 pages with good font and margins, which means there's a good amount of content. On the good side, it's very technique oriented and informative, despite the shortcomings mentioned above. On the bad side, the writing is a bit cumbersome and hard to follow. I'll give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
22 February 2022


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