Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Religious OBE Experiments

 Religious OBE Experiments

 by Bob Peterson
 
Many of my readers may wonder: Why don't I share more of my OBEs in my blog? There are several reasons:
  • Many of my OBEs are just plain uninteresting. The OBE literature is chock full of authors with much more interesting experiences than mine. A book like Jurgen Ziewe's Multidimensional Man is enough to make me think my OBEs are mostly rubbish.
  • I shared several of my more interesting OBEs in my first two books.
  • I'm saving up my more recent the OBE narratives for another book, which is still a long time away.
  • Many of my OBEs, especially more recent ones, are deeply personal and I'm not sure I'm ready to share them.
  • Even now after 40 years I still feel like some of my experiences make me sound a bit loony.
Still, I feel like I should start sharing more of them.
 
I believe that most (or all) of mankind's religious beliefs are the result of someone's personal experience of the divine, and out-of-body experiences offer an ideal way to conduct religious experiments.
 
Over the years I've done several "religious experiments" from the out-of-body state. In December, 2015, I detailed one of those experiments in a blog article titled "Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face." It was largely excerpted from my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, which is out of print and hard to find.

Here, then, is another religious experiment I did back in 1997, most of which appears in the same chapter in Lessons, titled "Chasing God"):
Kathy and I were at her parents' cabin with some friends. In the mid-afternoon, I lay down to attempt an OBE. I induced the trance, but couldn't sit up, even though I was separate from my body. I struggled a while, then came back.

I decided to try again, so without moving my body, I immediately tried to induce an OBE again. My consciousness was pretty clear. I used a relatively new method that involved intensely imagining that my body was swaying back and forth, swiveling my hips, as if I were standing up and shifting my weight from foot to foot repeatedly. The method worked, and within minutes, I was free from my body again. I made a mental note that I should use this in the future as a method of teaching OBEs.

As soon as I got out, I said, “Yes!” and thought about what I wanted to do. Once again, I tried to sit up and was unable to do so. I struggled a while, then came out of it again.

I induced the OBE state again, reached my arms out in front of me and opened my eyes. I couldn't see my arms, so I knew I was out-of-body for sure. This time I decided to try to contact God.

I stood up, this time successfully. I looked up to the heavens and prayed. I said something like, “God, Almighty, Creator of all things, I reach out for you.” As I said that, I reached up toward the sky with my mind. My soul became charged with energy, and I felt my aura expand in rings of energy out from my astral body.

My energy rose, and reached up to the sky higher and higher. Almost at once, a single bolt of energy came shooting down from above and hit me. The force of the energy bolt was so powerful that it knocked my astral body to the ground. It was just raw power; there was no feeling behind it. I lay there stunned for a second, wondering why I didn't encounter something more religious or loving or holy. Then I came back to my body again. I didn’t feel I was being punished at all; it was more like I had touched an energy force too powerful for me to handle.
I had expected to experience "Transcendence," see "The Light," or maybe some other kind of intense religious experience, but all I got on that particular occasion was raw power, as my astral body lay crumpled on the ground. But it was not my last experiment, and it's not the only one I'll share.

One way to tell the difference between an OBE and a lucid dream is that your expectations are often met in a lucid dream but OBEs usually defy your expectations. Religious OBEs especially seem to defy my expectations every time.
 
By the way: My physical body was not affected by the experience.

Bob Peterson
21 September 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Review: Astral Projection by Michael Marr

Review: Astral Projection

by Michael Marr

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection by Michael Marr. The subtitle is Experience Lucid Dreaming, Hypnogogic [sic] State, Meditation and Prove Your Immortality Ultimate Guide Master to the Art of Lucid Dreaming and Discover Your Own Expanding Consciousness. Whew! That's a mouth full. It was published in January, 2021.

I've complained many times about books that are just knowledge dumps and don't give you any idea the author's level of experience, and this is no exception. There are no personal astral projection narratives or stories. There are no mentions of teachers, gurus or classes. It's just a knowledge dump.

The information Marr gives is actually pretty decent, and most of the book is techniques. Chapter 1 is titled "History of Astral Projection" and like many similar books, this does not go into much detail.

Chapter 2 is how to astral travel. Marr gives very basic instructions including relaxation, meditation, then a few basic techniques:

  1. Climb on the Rope - Imagine a rope and slowly climb on it.
  2. Float Away - Visualize yourself floating away from your physical body while staying relaxed.
  3. Reach for the Object - Imagine a fixed or stationary object.
  4. Listen to a binaural beat. (Odd use of the singular instead of beats.)
  5. He also gives Sylvan Muldoon's "Thirst" technique.

At first I was disappointed. Then I moved on to chapter 3 which is "Advanced Astral Projection Techniques." Here he gives a couple of Robert Monroe's techniques that involve rolling out of your body as in the hammock. Oddly, he says remember not to roll physically, but rather to visualize your astral body rolling out of your physical body. In my opinion, that's often not enough. What I often recommend is that you wait until the vibrations reach their peak intensity, then try to roll out of your body (or stand up, etc.) physically. If you're in the right state, your astral body should move and your physical body should not.

In spite of having described a rope technique in Chapter 2, Marr also gives a more detailed version in chapter 3. This is more like Robert Bruce's original rope technique where you imagine what it would feel like to reach up with your hands grab the rope and pull yourself upwards. Most books don't describe the tactile nature of this technique, so I've got to give him some credit there.

Chapter 4 is "What to Expect in the Astral World" and it's pretty basic stuff.

Chapter 5 is "Water, a Lifeline for Astral Projection!" Now this technique is unique in the genre. Marr gives the following steps for this technique:

  1. Creating a Charge - Basically you take a glass of water place it in your hands relax and get comfortable imagine that your right hand is positive and left hand has a negative charge when you hold the glass with both hands placing them on opposite sides of the glass you basically charge the water.
  2. Feel the change - Try to feel warm spreading all over through your wrists and hands this is the generation of energy required to "magnetize" the water.
  3. Feel the vibrations - Focus on the glass: the increased pulsing sensation makes you feel a vibrating sensation emitting from the glass.
  4. Drink the water - And imagine the water charges you.
  5. Practice - Repeat the above four steps for about a week.
  6. Charge the Water again on the 8th day - Charge the water again as before.
  7. Cover yourself with white light
  8. Deep breathing breath 1 and 2 - breath deeply and holding the breath for about 10 to 12 seconds and then releasing it slowly.
  9. Deep breathing breath 3 - On the 3rd breath count up to 12 then release the breath as quickly and forcefully as you can.
  10. Practice that over and over.

Chapter 6 is "Chakras Expanded." Ho hum.

Chapter 7 is "Acetylcholine Supplements and Memory."

Chapter 8 is "Psychic power is real".

Chapter 9 is "Understanding the Different Planes That Make Up The Human Nature."

Chapter 10 is "Protecting Yourself In The Astral World."

Chapter 11 is "Best Astral Projection Techniques And How To Perform Them." Here he gives some decent information, such as charging up the chakras and:

"You must work to keep your mind active and engaged in the process, or you run the risk of simply falling asleep and missing out on the astral projection experience." (pg. 109)

But the most interesting technique Mar gives is chapter 12 - "The Anchor Technique." I liked this technique best because it reminds me of my own favorite technique: the one I described in chapter 24 of my first book. In my version I:

  1. Imagine myself floating and swaying in my bed.
  2. Visualize a moving object, like a cube or octahedron floating in space.
  3. I pretend the object has a gravity that pulls me toward it.
  4. I pretend the object and I swing in an opposite rhythm.
  5. When the object gets close to me, I grab onto the object and let the gravity pull me out-of-body.

Marr's version is similar, but you visualize or imagine a non-moving stationary object, like a tree. Then you imagine reaching out and pulling yourself toward it. The tree is stationary, so it does not move, and therefore your astral body must move when you pull.

In the same chapter, he gives a variant called the "Moving Anchor Technique" that's even more like mine. You visualize an object, like a television, and imagine it repeatedly swaying back and forth toward you, then away from you. He doesn't give me credit, but this is almost the same as mine and I wonder if he got it from one of my books. (I later revised this technique to use hypnagogic images rather than visualizations because they're easier.)

Chapter 13 is "Protecting Yourself."

Chapter 14 is "Lucid Dreaming." In this chapter he gives some solid lucid dreaming techniques, such as reality checks. Another technique he gives is called "The Diamond Method."

"In this you meditate and visualize your dream life and awake life as facets on a single diamond. Whatever you call the diamond, the aim is for you to realize that everything is happening at once. It is your perception that arranges the events of your life into a linear order.
So therefore your life is like the diamond, each facet can be viewed as a separate experience meaning your waking life and dreaming life exist simultaneously. As you are meditating, shift your awareness from the waking facet to the dreaming facet and you should be able to enter a lucid dream very easily." (pg. 142)

There are a couple more chapters, but basically that's it. The book is 154 pages. The format is somewhat small and the font somewhat large. That means you're getting an adequate amount of content. Still, it's better than a lot of books out there.

I'll give the book 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

07 September 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, August 24, 2021

Getting Out of an OBE Slump - Part 2

 Getting Out of an OBE Slump Part 2

by Bob Peterson

In my last article, I gave several suggestions on how to break out of an OBE slump or dry spell. These included:

  • Adopt Healthy OBE Habits
  • Harness unfamiliarity
  • Adjust your weight
  • Adjust your beliefs
  • Adjust your gut microbiome
  • Try fasting
  • Use the lucid dream portal
  • Try broken sleep or WBTB

Here are some more things you can try to break out of a slump:

Try my formula for success

This is best explained in my article When All Else Fails: A Formula for OBE Success. Basically, you go to a friend or relative's house, stay up late playing strategy games that require a lot of analytical thinking, then allow yourself to sleep in late. Every time you wake up after six hours of normal sleep, practice your OBE techniques until you're either successful, or fall asleep. If you fall asleep, resume your practice the next time you wake up.

Stay positive

Some authors say that OBEs are nearly impossible if you have "low vibrations" including, but not limited to:

  • Being discouraged
  • A negative "I can't do this" attitude
  • Anger
  • Sorrow
  • Self-pity
  • Sadness
  • Depression

So do whatever it takes to raise your vibrations. I often find that music is a good way to raise my vibrations. I talked about this in my blog article Raising Your Vibrations.

Eliminate distractions

Some people have a difficult time achieving an out-of-body experience because there are too many distractions: outside noises, lights coming through the windows, cats, dogs or other pets jumping on the bed, self-imposed deadlines.

Try to eliminate these distractions, at least temporarily. For outside noises, use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. For lights, use a sleep mask that blocks out all the light. Close the door so the pets can't get into your practice room. And practice when you don't have any deadlines.

Reduce your exposure to electronics

Some people claim that electronics, like cell phones, interfere with OBEs. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that when you attend a program at The Monroe Institute, they ask you to shut off all electronic devices, and only use them when necessary. So don't stay up late playing Candy Crush on your phone or iPad before bed, and don't stay up late reading Facebook on your desktop. Remember: this is just temporary until you break your dry spell and induce another OBE. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices.

Do more slow-moving exercises

According to How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, many extraordinary states of consciousness occur when there's a sudden drop of neural activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. One of the best way to ramp up that neural activity is with slow-motion exercises like Tai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, or Yoga. Consider doing a half-hour to an hour of exercises like these, then lie down and go into a state of deep relaxation. When William Buhlman taught OBE classes at the Monroe Institute, most of the students did yoga stretching before their first morning OBE practice. I went to a different room and practiced Tai Chi, which I prefer.

Avoid music the day before OBE practice

I'm a music lover. I love to listen to music under headphones, and I do it a lot. But one of the helpful hints I penned into my early OBE journals is this: For some unknown reason, I'm much more likely to have an OBE if I stop listening to music the day before. So I'd listen to music Monday through Thursday, then I'd have "Music-Free Friday" and I'd perform my OBE attempts on Saturday morning.

Try a hypnotist

Some people can induce an OBE simply by being hypnotized. That goes for self-hypnosis, hypnosis tapes, or a professional. It's worth a shot.

Boat Time

My favorite OBE techniques start with me imagining that my body is gently being rocked forward and backward or side-to-side. That sense of imagined motion is key to letting go of my body. So sometimes if I'm in a slump I'll spend several hours on a boat. I'll go boating or fishing, or maybe just close my eyes and feel the rocking sensation as the boat is rocked with the waves. When I get back on shore I feel "sea legs": the sensation that I'm still rocking when I'm really not. The next time I lie down to perform my OBE technique it's easier to recall the rocking sensation from memory and imagine I'm still rocking as I relax and focus my mind.

Energy Bouncing

In his astral projection books, Robert Bruce recommend "energy bouncing" to loosen yourself from your physical body. This is not part of an exit technique. It's  just a way to loosen the tight grip you have on your physical body. In a way, these are not too different from "Boat Time" above. For example, he suggests:

  • Close your eyes and imagine reaching out with nonphysical hands and touching the wall in front of you, then retract and imagine reaching out and touching the wall behind you. Then imagine touching the walls to your sides, etc.
  • He also recommends imagining your non-physical energy (instead of your arms and hands), like chi or Qi, extending away from your body and back. 
  • He also recommends an energy exercise much like the "microcosmic" orbit taught in Tai Chi in which you imagine nonphysical energy circulating around your body in a full circle, starting from the "Dan Tien" (chakra just below the belly button) down to the root chakra, then back up the spine to the crown chakra and back down to the Dan Tien again.

Eliminate roadblocks

Eliminate the common roadblocks that may be keeping you from success. In my next blog article, I'll talk about eliminating roadblocks.

Bob Peterson
24 Aug 2021

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Getting Out of an OBE Slump - Part 1

Getting Out of an OBE Slump Part 1

by Bob Peterson

Even the most accomplished out-of-body explorers (myself included) have slumps or dry spells: periods of time where you don't have any OBEs. Slumps can go on for weeks, months, or even years. It can be discouraging or even downright depressing.

One saving grace is that every OBE, no matter how short or insignificant, seems to make it easier to produce the next one, at least for a week or two. So once you're in the zone, you can stay in the zone, at least for a while. The problem is producing that slump-breaker OBE to get back on track.

So how can you break out of an out-of-body slump and get back in the zone? If I knew a secret formula, I wouldn't have slumps myself. However, I have spent a considerable amount of time studying what works and what doesn't, so I thought I'd share some ideas in this article (and the next).

Try some of these things on a temporary basis to induce that ice-breaker OBE to get you back in the zone:

Adopt Healthy OBE Habits

Bad habits hinder your efforts and good habits reward your efforts. So make sure you do the things I recommend in my article The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Astral Travelers, namely:

  • Keep a dream journal
  • Learn to accept an alternate body schema and "story of experience"
  • Meditate Daily
  • Eat early and eat light
  • Do OBE/Astral Projection affirmations every morning
  • Read OBE/Astral Projection narratives before bed
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Harness unfamiliarity

One of the best slump-breakers I know is unfamiliarity. I wrote about this in my blog article Harnessing Unfamiliarity for OBEs. The most effective is to sleep at an unfamiliar location, like a hotel room. If you can't do that, try these things:

  • Practice in a different room
  • Practice from a couch or recliner
  • Change your environment. For example, change the position or orientation of your bed.

Trim up

Try to lose some weight. I've said before that if I get too heavy, like more than 185 pounds (84 kg), my ability to induce OBEs seems diminished. When I get back down to 185 or under, OBEs seem easier.

Adjust your attitude and beliefs

Rick Stack's book Out-of-Body Adventures primarily focused on changing your belief system. It's simple: your OBE ability can be blocked by negative beliefs. If you believe it's difficult to achieve, it will be. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own way. Improve your beliefs to improve your reality. Positive affirmations can help.

Adjust your gut microbiome

The gut microbiome are the trillions of friendly bacteria that live inside our intestines which help us digest food. Thanks to these bacteria, scientists estimate there is more non-human DNA inside our bodies than actual human DNA. Those bacteria are essential to our survival and if they accidentally die (due to radiation or whatever) they need to be replaced: people sometimes need "fecal transplants" to restore a normal microbiome.

Scientists now know the microbiome heavily influences our sleep and dreams. The same goes for lucid dreams and OBEs. Try these hacks:

  • Take raw (I repeat: raw, not cooked) potato starch mixed with water to feed your gut bacteria. It will give you more restful sleep and more vivid dreams. Mix it with something flavorful to reduce the chalky flavor.
  • Reduce (or altogether eliminate) foods that cause constipation, like nuts and cheese. Make sure you eat enough fiber/fibre.
  • Don't overeat: Eat early and eat light.
  • Eat pro-biotic foods (like yogurt) or drink pro-biotic drinks (like kefir or lassi) every day.
  • Drink lots of water (not soda), but avoid tap water that contains flouride.
  • Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners aspartame (Nutrasweet), sucralose (Splenda), and Saccharin. In my experience, Monk Fruit-based sweeteners are okay. I haven't done much study of the effects of Truvia or Stevia.
  • Try eating more wheat gluten unless your body reacts negatively to it. I know this may sound unusual, but I describe why in my article OBEs, Pasta and Wheat Gluten.

Try fasting a day or three

Some people insist that short periods of fasting help induce OBEs.

Use the lucid dream portal

In his book Astral Projection, Oliver Fox wrote that when he was young, he used his "Pineal Doorway" technique to astral project, but as he grew older, it stopped working. Luckily, he found another way, and that is to leverage lucid dreams. There are many techniques for lucid dreaming, but the simplest is to first, analyze your dreams (from your dream journal) to find common themes. For example, do you often find yourself in the same situation or setting when you dream? Second, condition yourself to question reality (and whether you're dreaming) whenever you find yourself in that situation. Here are a few examples:

  • If you often dream you're back in college, tell yourself whenever you find yourself in college, you'll question whether you're dreaming.
  • If you have nightmares, tell yourself that whenever you're afraid, you'll question whether you're dreaming.
  • Tell yourself whenever you walk through a doorway or threshold, you will question whether you're dreaming. It helps to actually do this in real life. In other words, (1) Tell yourself "Every time I walk through a doorway, I will question whether I'm dreaming." (2) Walk through a doorway, (3) Question whether you're dreaming or actually awake and really give it some thought, then (4) Reaffirm to yourself "Every time I walk through a doorway, I will question whether I'm dreaming."

Third, periodically check whether you're dreaming throughout every day. Fourth, several times throughout the day, think to yourself, "Bring me to awareness!"

Once you find yourself lucid in a dream, learn to dispel or dismiss the dream hallucination and enter the OBE state. I describe this better in my article Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs.

Try broken sleep or WBTB

Many people find success with both astral projection and lucid dreaming by interrupting their sleep. For example, they use an alarm clock or app to wake them after 4 to 6 hours of sleep, then, after staying awake a short period of time to make sure they're not too sleepy, go back to bed and practice their OBE technique. This is described better in my article Wake Back To Bed Explained. If that's not practical, try taking midday naps. And make sure you get plenty of sleep.

Conclusions

I'm not asking you to change your lifestyle. These are all things to try temporarily, just long enough to break your dry spell. I'll share more ideas for how to break out of an OBE slump in part 2.

Bob Peterson
10 Aug 2021

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Review: Astral Projection by Peter Longley

Review: Astral Projection

by Peter Longley

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection by Peter Longley. The subtitle is: The ultimate astral projection guide with tips and techniques for astral travel, discovering the astral plane, and having an out of body experience!

I ordered this book a long time ago, so it's been sitting on my book shelf a while; so long, in fact, that I forgot who the author was. The author's name is not on the cover and there's no copyright notice. In fact, it's not anywhere in the book. There's also no information about the author, his level of experience, or where he acquired his knowledge of astral projection. None.

Is this book the "Ultimate Astral Projection Guide" as claimed on the cover? Hardly. The book is only 26 pages long. It's so small, it has no room to cover anything in depth.

The book does have some decent recommendations, like:

  • Keep a dream journal and learn to remember your dreams
  • Practice in the morning, not at night
  • Practice while lying on your back

Longley only gives one technique to induce astral projection, but it's a bit unique, so I thought I'd talk about it. It's basically a variant of my "Almost Move" technique or Michael Raduga's "Phantom Wiggling" technique. The technique is basically this:

After the prerequisite relaxation and such (Longley says to use progressive relaxation) he suggests you focus on any body part and vividly imagine it's moving without actually moving it (as per "Almost Move") but then you switch to a different body part and do the same: imagine that body part is now moving, without actually moving it. So basically, you keep switching body parts upon which to focus the phantom movement. In a way it's almost like Raduga's "Technique Cycling" except you're just cycling through which body part does the "phantom wiggling." Interesting.

There are a few points of confusion in the book. For example, he writes:

"The hypnotic state is also referred to as the 'hypnagogic' state." (pg. 18)

I disagree. The "hypnotic state" is a state of hypnosis, which is a state of high suggestibility. The "hypnagogic" state is a precursor to sleep where people often experience vivid visual and auditory hallucinations. Two very different things.

Another thing I found confusing and mostly irrelevant was in chapter 2 where he describes the 7 sub-planes of the astral plane. He simply numbers them 7th to 1st, but oddly he says the 7th is the lowest sub-plane (he names it "avichi" and says this corresponds to "hell") and the highest is 1st. This is confusing and contradicts most other books.

His frequently asked questions section, chapter 5, is only 2 pages long, and only covers 5 questions, and inadequately. Compare that to the FAQ on my blog from 2019 which is longer than this entire book.

This is not a horrible book, but it's much too small to be of much value. I did find his "almost move cycling" technique interesting, though. I'll give it 2 stars out of 5. Save your money.

Robert Peterson
27 July 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. (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 OBE Book reviews or

check out other past blog articles.

 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Review: Handbook of Astral Power

The Handbook of Astral Power

by Richard A. Greene

Today I'm reviewing The Handbook of Astral Power: The revised edition of The Handbook of Astral Projection by Richard A. Greene. The copyright is 1979, 1987. As it says on the cover, this is the revised edition of a another book called The Handbook of Astral Projection.
The author states upfront his level of experience and sets up our expectations (Yay!):

"This book is a handbook (one in a series) based on over 30 years of experience, research and practice that will teach you how to astral travel." (pg. 7)

Unfortunately, the book does not live up to this promise. I found it disappointing.
 
Like many books on astral projection, Greene gives his own interpretation of the various "planes of existence." He lists them as:
  1. The Soul Plane. Green says this cannot be understood through perceptions. It can only be experienced.
  2. The Mental Plane. This is the realm of thoughts.
  3. The Astral Plane. This is the realm of emotions, imagination, visualization, and psychic potential.
  4. The Physical plane. This is the material world where we all live.

He asserts that we operate bodies simultaneously that correspond to these four planes. So even when you're firmly inside your physical body, when you experience thoughts, they come from the mental plane. When you feel emotions, they come from the astral plane, and so forth. I disagree with his assertion, but whatever.

Chapter 3 is called "Exercises to develop the imagination and concentration" and this makes up his primary out-of-body technique. Greene advises us to visualize five symbols as follows:
  1. A blue circle
  2. A black oval egg
  3. A yellow square
  4. A white (or silver) crescent

He calls these the occult "Tattwa" symbols, and doesn't go into any detail as to their Hindu origins, or as much detail as, say, J.H.Brennan's 1975 book Astral Doorways does.

In chapter 4, "Prana (Energy) Accumulation," Greene talks about consciousness as energy, and therefore increased awareness requires increased energy. To develop that energy, he recommends "pranayama" breathing. He recommends "4-6-4-6" breathing:

  1. Inhale for a count of four.
  2. Hold for a count of six.
  3. Exhale for a count of four.
  4. Hold for a count of six.

He says to do this about a half-hour. The counting should be done "at your own speed." The most important point is that the breathing should be consistent.

Chapter 5 is "Transference of Consciousness." On the one hand, he says this helps you develop the ability to project your consciousness out of the body, but on the other hand, he says it's "A form of mental projection" (pg. 37) (as opposed to astral projection.) The technique is basically to take a cup and place it on a table on one side of the room, then sit on the opposite side of the room and with eyes closed:

"Imagine that you are taking on the shape of the cup and that you actually become the cup...Once you can create this identification with the cup, try to feel yourself in its exact location. In other words, try to see everything from the cup's point of view. For example, since the cup is on the other side of the room from where your physical body is located, you should be able to "see" or perceive your physical body from the cups position or point of view." (pg. 37-38)

That's basically it. He doesn't say how to transfer your conscious awareness outside your body, except for imagining that it happens. Now granted, for some people, it's just that easy. But not for me. Sure, I can very easily imagine my awareness on the other side of the room, in a cup or whatever, but that doesn't coax the seat of my consciousness to move.

So...If that's "mental projection"--which I think most people today would call "remote viewing"--then what about astral projection? He says:

"Astral projection (or travelling) is the ability to attune your consciousness to the Astral Plane's vibratory frequency. To accomplish this, you take your consciousness and attention out of the physical body and refocus it into the astral body." (pg. 46)

Say what? How vague is that? I mean, in a way, he's right: it is all a matter of focus. But he doesn't tell you how to accomplish it. He basically says to just do it. 

Later, he talks about "Combined Astral/Mental Projection" in which you place your consciousness (mental body) into the energy image or form (astral body).

"This type of projection ties the Astral and Mental Planes together, creating a conscious (Mental Plane) awareness of being in the astral body (Astral Plane) so that you feel your astral sensations directly." (pg. 48).

But how? He doesn't say how. I'm sorry, but this is starting to sound way too vague, hokey and made-up. It gets worse. He says things like:

"I asked the student about his experience with astral projection and particularly in comparison with the mental projection; he answered that he felt that astral projection was easier to do since all that was necessary was to visualize the astral body and then project it out of the physical body." (pg. 61)

Oh, if only it was that easy! Greene makes it sound easy, like all you need to do it pretend, and it just magically happens. But I'm a professional computer analyst: I want concrete steps and detailed instructions. I cannot simply close my eyes and make it happen. I simply do not accept "Imagine you're out-of-body...okay, now that you're out of body, try this." Vague vague vague.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get any better. Chapter 12 is "Attaining Soul Consciousness" but he basically says to leave your body (temporarily ignoring the fact that he doesn't really say how to accomplish that) then visualize that your consciousness becomes a white ball of light, then rise straight into the air, then:

"At this point either think mentally, or if you want, say it verbally, that you now desire your higher divine intelligence (also known as the Holy Guardian Angel, the Higher Self, the personal daemon, etc.) to appear to you." (pg. 79)

Then you ask your Higher Self to manifest as a large yellow sphere, about the size of the sun. (He says to ask, but then he says to visualize it). Next, you "Project yourself into the yellow sphere." (pg. 80)

I'm sorry, but I don't get the point of the yellow sphere. In visualizing the yellow sphere, aren't you basically affirming that your Higher Self is separate from you? It's not something you need to project yourself into. Your Higher Self has been with you all along; you just need to expand your conscious awareness to that level, no? I much prefer William Buhlman's "Higher Self Now!" technique in which you leave your body, then basically demand to experience Oneness with your Higher Self: no assembly required; yellow sphere not included.

And why does he call your higher self the "Holy Guardian Angel?" He doesn't say much about that. Angels are a whole other topic for another day.

Chapter 14 is "About Travelling- Odds and Ends." The first sentence of the chapter is:

"The most frequently asked question about astral or mental projection is, 'How do I know that I am really projecting my consciousness?'" (pg. 87)

Wait. I'm confused. Is he asking whether the experience is "real?" That's not what his answer implies. For example, he says:

"Another way of knowing if you are travelling is by feeling certain physical sensations." (pg. 87)

That's not proof, now, is it? So maybe he's asking how you know if you've really had the experience, as opposed to just imagining it? Well, believe me: that's not even a valid question. If you've been out-of-body, there will be no doubt in your mind. If you're just experiencing flights of fancy or creative visualization or imagination, then it wasn't an OBE at all. I've said it many times: if this is a real OBE, you won't need to ask this question. Even if your awareness is cloudy, murky or groggy, it will be just like firsthand conscious experience. (You might question whether it was an out-of-body experience or a lucid dream, but neither are flights of fancy.)

A bit further on, Greene writes:

"Every time you visualize or imagine something, you're actually astral traveling. In other words, whenever you dream, daydream, or visualize something, you are actually traveling on the Astral Plane." (pg. 89)

Okay, again, this is a vague and misleading statement. If you're rooted squarely in your physical body and think of a friend, it's true that a small portion of your being, like a tiny thread, actually travels to, or connects with, that friend. But that's not the same as astral projection. That's not astral travel. That's just misleading, and another topic for a different day.

He does offer some good advice about OBEs. For example, if you cannot push yourself through a wall or a window, turn around to face away from it, then step backward and back your way through it. This is a simple psychological trick that works very effectively. Still, Greene comes up with an absurd explanation:

"By turning around, the magnetic force field of the astral body was changed enough to be able not to get repelled. This allowed the body of light to enter where it at first had been repelled." (pg. 108)

Nonsense: magnetism is a feature of physical nature, not non-physical. Magnetic fields do not seem to affect the astral body.

The other problem I have with the book is that several times it mentions a follow-on book, and where to write to purchase it, and other books he has written. At the end of the book, there are even eight pages devoted to listing all his books, what they're about, and their prices. Sell, sell, sell. No thanks.

In short: This book is not all bad, but it is very vague and misleading. It's 177 pages long, but the font is big, paragraph spacing is big, and there's a lot of wasted white space. The whole thing could be reformatted into 100 pages, given a good font, margins and spacing.

I'm only giving this 2 stars out of 5, and that's being generous. There are much better books out there, with better instructions, more reasonable explanations and less nonsense.

Robert Peterson
13 July 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, June 29, 2021

Review: The Secret of the Soul

The Secret of the Soul

by William Buhlman

Today I'm reviewing The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True Nature by William Buhlman, copyright 2001. This is the first follow-on to his famous first book, Adventures Beyond the Body. It's hard to imagine the book is already 20 years old.

One of my blog readers asked me to review it, but in a way I already did! If you look closely on the back cover you can find this quote from me:

"Empowering and insightful. Contains important new information and techniques." --Robert S Peterson, author of Out of Body Experiences.

I stand by that. The first time I read this book was well before its publication. Buhlman and his publisher sent me a draft copy so I could offer my assessment, and that's where the back-cover quote came from.

According to Buhlman, out-of-body exploration is not just a novelty or some form of entertainment. It's an inevitable step in our spiritual evolution. He sets the stage with a brief preface in which he states:

"Eventually we must master the ability to explore beyond our dense limits, for transcending these limits is at the very heart of our spiritual evolution." (pg. xi)

Much later, he goes into more detail:

"Remember, the ultimate journey of soul is not death but the self-realization of our spiritual essence. Eventually we must make the important transition from religious believer to spiritual explorer. This is the path we all must travel sooner or later." (pg. 132)

And still later:

"It is essential that we take spiritual action in order to propel our consciousness away from the dense gravity field of matter. The great spiritual masters throughout history were well aware of this fact. Buddha instructed us to detach from the physical world and release the attachments and desires that bind us to matter. Jesus taught us to seek first the kingdom of God with all our heart and our entire mind. If you examine the teachings of any spiritual master you will hear a resounding call for spiritual action. Belief and faith are only the first steps of spirituality. Granted, belief is an important first step, but belief alone was never intended to be the sole core of religion and spirituality. Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and other enlightened spiritual leaders never taught us to become dependent upon man-made beliefs. Their lives were vibrant examples of personal spiritual action and spiritual exploration." (pg. 141)

Buhlman also addresses the popular yogic teaching that OBEs are just distractions (or "siddhis") from the path of true spiritual evolution. Buhlman writes:

"Some assume that out-of-body experiences are simply a psychic development or power of the mind. As such they are considered a side step in our spiritual development and to be avoided. This narrow view of out-of-body experiences is not only inaccurate but also extremely detrimental to the ultimate goal of self- and God realization." (pg. 183)

I stand firmly with Buhlman on this.

The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 is "The Testamonies" in which the author primarily covers the results of his public out-of-body survey. The survey results themselves are detailed in appendix 1 and 2, but part 1 is a really good summary of the results and what we can learn from it. Best of all, each of the results is followed by an OBE narrative or two that drives his point home. For example, chapter 1 is all about encounters. There's a section on sexual encounters, contact with spiritual beings, contact with animals, and so forth. On pages 4 and 65 he talks about how people often describe consciously meeting departed loved ones in an OBE, both accidentally and deliberately, and each of his points is immediately followed by narratives from people to illustrate his point.

The survey results are interesting. For example, he found that young children often report a Biblical silver cord, suggesting it may really exist, despite the fact that many people insist it's not. (Pg. 42)

He cites sources not only from his survey, but other historical accounts. For example, he discusses a possible OBE by Charles Lindbergh on his historic transatlantic flight.

On page 75 he talks about "Higher-Self Experiences," foreshadowing his follow-on book "Higher Self Now." He also gives his powerful "Higher Self Now" technique.

In chapter 5, The Thought-Responsive Universe, Buhlman writes about the benefits of out-of-body exploration. I liked this quote:

"It is critically important for us to recognize that our thoughts shape and mold our personal reality." (pg. 81)

He's not just talking about our reality during an OBE, but in physical life as well. I've always believed this is true ever since I read my first Jane Roberts "Seth" book in the 1980s.

He talks about how blind people can apparently "see" during OBEs (as per the book Mindsight) but I found this narrative equally fascinating:

"It was night, and the stars were shining beautifully. Suddenly I heard a voice--I am deaf, and I cannot hear anything--for the first time: "Did you know that you don't have to fly, you just have to think and then you will immediately be there?" When I heard the voice, I panicked, which caused me to return to my body. Darn!" (pg. 87)

So apparently deaf people can hear in OBEs, and I don't recall reading that in any other OBE book.

In chapter 6, Buhlman talks about extraterrestrial contact and abduction, which is a fascinating subject. When I was writing my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, I also devoted a chapter to this fascinating topic. As a source for my comparisons, I used Dr. John Mack's book Abduction. Coincidentally, Buhlman uses the same book for his comparisons. At the time, I had given Buhlman a copy of my book to review at the same time he gave his to me, and I often wondered if he got some of his ideas for this chapter from me. Or could it just be that Buhlman and I are on the same wavelength? I've said many times that he and I are very much alike. Maybe he wondered the same about me!

Part 2 of the book is called "The Techniques" and it's roughly the same size as part 1. Here Buhlman writes detailed instructions for many out-of-body techniques. This is where the book really shines. It has a wider range of techniques than his first book.

Buhlman writes about inner-motion techniques on page 173. These have always been the most effective for me. This includes climbing ladders (and yes, ropes; a staple of Robert Buce), floating, ballooning, rocking (described in my first book), rolling (described in Robert Monroe's first book), rotating, whirlpool/whirlwind (described in D. Scott Rogo's book), elevator, bouncing and extreme-motion techniques. He also talks about chanting and mantras, breath control, visualization techniques, drumming, fasting, Shamanic techniques, sound-and-light technologies, and even plant medicine. This is a very well-rounded technique section: far better than the vast majority of books out there.

In the last chapter, Conclusion: The Courage to Be a Spiritual Explorer, Buhlman gives one of my favorite quotes:

"Eventually you will find that all beliefs are anchors to illusion and that you must break free in order to experience the truth of your existence." (pg. 241)

Exactly!

The book is 264 pages with smallish font, good margins and no wasted space: There's plenty of content to satisfy. It's well-written and professionally edited.

This is an outstanding book, chock full of out-of-body information and techniques. I'm giving it 5 stars out of 5.

29 June 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