Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OBE and Time Travel

by Bob Peterson

In the Questions and Answers section of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, I wrote that I had never had a time-travel OBE. In the same year the book was published, 2001, that changed. Sigh.

The truth is, I never believed in time travel. It seems like a bogus concept; too far afield, even for me. My skepticism was off the charts. Then it happened to me. Too many times I've heard myself say: I'd never believe it if it hadn't happened to me, and I'd never expect anyone else to believe it either way.

It was Saturday, 21 Apr 2001. I put the dogs outside early, then climbed back into bed to make an OBE attempt. I found the properly state of mind pretty easily and slipped out. I floated out of the bedroom and did some minor casual gliding just to experience weightlessness. I affirmed how real the experience felt; my consciousness was very clear.

I didn’t have any particular goals in mind. As I assumed a standing position, a kind of door formed in front of me. It wasn’t like a physical door, but I perceived it to be some kind of portal or tube. A very subtle thought was sent to me: “Let’s go.” As I stepped toward the door I asked, “Where am I going?” As I passed through the door, a disembodied voice replied, “To the year 2049.”

As I felt myself whooshed away, I thought, Yeah, right. I was even pretty skeptical about time travel but I try not to judge my experiences until I'm back in the body.

I found myself in a big city. There was no helper in sight. Whoever or whatever had brought me here was now gone. I assumed I was in Minneapolis, but I didn’t recognize anything, so there was no hope for finding any kind of validation. I decided I should go to a place I might recognize.

I willed myself to the area where I grew up and found myself on the corner of Lowry Avenue and Polk street in Minneapolis. The neighborhood was recognizable, but things had changed. I decided I wasn’t going to trust that I had traveled in time, so I decided to find proof. I wanted to find a calendar or some kind of computer screen that would have the date on it. With that thought in mind, I started walking east on Lowry toward Central avenue. I walked into a few businesses and tried to look at their computer screens. The computers looked old, like the basic design hadn’t changed much in 48 years. I wondered if maybe they were using these really old computers for some strange reason. It struck me as odd; didn't the technology advance? Or were these people using old computers because that was their only option?

Was there a manufacturing problem or hardship that had forced everyone to use antiques for their computing power?

I couldn’t find any calendars or dates anywhere for a long time and when I did, the numbers seemed fuzzy. I was either having a hard time perceiving them or my consciousness was not as clear as I'd like it. I found one reference to 1994 and another to 1996. Very strange indeed, since this was 2001. I didn't trust my perceptions, and went back outside to find better validation.

I continued to walk toward the intersection of Lowry and Central Avenue. When I got there, a found a huge concrete walkway had been erected over the road. The road--what is today Central Avenue--looked like some kind of mini-freeway. It had concrete walls to keep pedestrians out, but it was too small to be a freeway by today's standards. It looked like some kind of strange single-lane mini-freeway. I wondered if it was for bicycles or motorcycles, or some kind of miniature mass-transit. Or perhaps it was some kind of automated transportation system for small people-sized vehicles.

That should be easy to tell, I thought, if there were any vehicles. I looked around and didn’t see any vehicles anywhere. No cars or motorcycles parked anywhere. Very strange.

I continued to explore. There were people milling about the area, and they looked normal in every respect, but there were very few of them. That struck me as odd too. I expected the year 2049 to be crowded with lots of people, but instead, the place looked almost abandoned, with only a few people out walking. I wondered, “What happened to all the people?” I had been reading Bruce Moen’s third book, Voyages Into the Afterlife and he had predicted that some great disaster will cause the majority of people on Earth to die. I really didn’t buy into what Bruce was saying, but now I wondered if I was seeing proof. Or was it a manifestation of subconscious fears generated by the book? Hard to say without any validation. If I could only find proof of what year it was...

I wandered into what appeared to be a drug store so I could see what calendars they were selling, but my consciousness started to deteriorate. I was losing lucidity and tried to make myself more alert.

I couldn’t find any calendars in the front of the store, so I wandered to the back. In a back room, I passed by two women sitting at a small table, one blonde and one brunette. As I walked by, the blond’s head turned slightly toward me. Now that was odd. I stopped and turned to look at her, and she seemed to be looking directly at me. That was odd; I’m usually invisible to physical people during my OBEs.

Looking around, it appeared that she was apparently giving some kind of psychic reading to the other woman. She had Tarot cards spread out on the table. I walked back to her and bent down close to her face. I asked, “Can you see me?” She slowly nodded yes, as if afraid to speak and appear, from her client's point of view, to be talking to thin-air. I asked, “Are you psychic or something?” This time she spoke: “Yes.”

Then my consciousness disappeared altogether and I woke up in bed.

I didn't know what to make of this experience, and I'm still just as baffled by it today. I've never believed in time travel, and there are very few credible reports in the OBE literature. It's definitely an area worth exploring, but unfortunately, I've never had another OBE quite like it.

2012 December 19

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Four Out-of-Body States

by Bob Peterson

You are an out-of-body traveler. We all are. I agree with the majority of OBE authors that we pop out of our bodies every night during sleep. Of course, most of the time we're not aware of it because we're unconscious.

As a matter of fact, based on personal experience, I believe there are four distinct states in which our identity is separated from our body. It depends on whether or not we're conscious and whether or not we're hallucinating.

The four states are as follows:

1. Ordinary dream = unconscious + hallucinating

During ordinary dreams, we are outside our bodies, but as I said, we're not conscious, so we're not aware of what's happening. We also are hallucinating, which means we're watching and experiencing the fantasy dream-world that plays in front of us, which is a construct of our own mind. According to Sylvan Muldoon and others, while we're dreaming, we're usually floating a couple inches above our physical body, watching the dream hallucination play out. I've personally watched the entire creation of a dream from start to finish, so I've seen this first-hand. With dreams, the illusion takes on a life of its own and the dream progresses and tells a story within your mind, whether you want it to or not.

2. Shared dream = unconscious + not hallucinating

Some authors, most notably Robert Moss, have written about shared dream experiences. In these experiences, two or more people can, for example, meet in a well-known location, see the same things, do the same things. Later, when they're awake, they can describe the dream to one another, and verify what actually took place in the dream. It's as if they are sharing the same experience, in some objective non-physical reality, but they're unconscious. When they wake, they clearly remember the experience as a dream.

3. Lucid dream = conscious + hallucinating

Many people think OBEs are the same as lucid dreams, and I acknowledge that unless you've done them both and seen the qualitative difference yourself, it's hard to tell. In a lucid dream, you're completely conscious and you know you're dreaming. However, since you're hallucinating, your environment is an artificial construct of your own mind. Since it's a complex fantasy created by your own mind, you have complete control. You can make a dancing purple elephant appear if you want, and do so as a conscious act. You are God of that dream-world. Some people use it to enact elaborate sexual fantasies or deep mystical experiences, but still, you know it's not real, both during the experience and when you wake up.

4. Out-of-body experience = conscious + not hallucinating

OBEs, on the other hand, are also conscious experiences, but you're not hallucinating. Like waking reality, you know you're not dreaming. You can even transition from am lucid dream into an OBE by "waking up" from the lucid dream, or dissolving the dream hallucination. It can be tricky to do without waking up your body in the process. When you do, you can watch the illusion of the dream hallucination dissolve, and often find yourself floating comfortably above your physical body. I'm not saying that you see the physical world; I'm only saying that what you see is not a dream hallucination. Unlike a lucid dream, you can't easily manipulate the objects in front of you. In fact, except for traveling somewhere, things that happen are often unexpected and out of your control. If you want, you can sit there bored and nothing would happen; in other words, there isn't a story that keeps unfolding in front of you like there is in a dream.

Understanding the four out-of-body states is an important step in learning to control your consciousness and induce the various states.

11 December 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience by Graham Nicholls

By Bob Peterson

As I pointed out in my Sylvan Muldoon blog entry, one important key to having OBEs is convincing the subconscious mind to do it. For that reason, I've amassed a collection of more than 150 OBE books (OBE-only books, not including books on related subjects like NDEs). I like to re-read these books occasionally to keep both my conscious and subconscious motivated. Recently, I decided I should start writing about these books and what I got from them. That way, years from now, I can revisit the books and what I thought of them quickly, plus I can share my opinions on them with the world.

I recently finished reading Navigating the Out-of-Body experience: Radical New Techniques by Graham Nicholls. It's a very good book. Here's my report.

What I liked most about this book is the author's holistic approach to the subject. It's not a step-by-step "Here's what you've got to do" method to achieving an end. Rather, it views the human being as a system, and it talks about different factors that influence the system: diet, sleeping habits, meditation, subconscious programming, transforming beliefs, breath work, etc. The reader is urged to determine which personal profile best describes them, then they are given several techniques to mix and match, based on that profile.

Another good thing about the book is that the author takes a healthy and informed middle-ground between old-school (occult traditions) and new-school (pseudo-scientific). I've read way too many OBE books that peddle occult practices with "matter of fact" assumptions, most of which I dismiss as superstition. As in religion, it's hard to discern the grains of truth buried beneath the dogma. On the other hand, most other OBE books completely ignore the occult traditions, even though they may give us valuable history and insights.

At several points throughout the book, I found myself surprised that I had been doing many of the things Nicholls recommends for years, some of which I did with no regard to an OBE connection. A non-OBE related example is a "push hands" technique he gives, which I used to do when I practised Tai Chi Chuan years ago. Regarding OBEs, he extensively talks about manipulating visualized geometric shapes. He suggests moving visualized triangles, pyramids and spheres. In my first book, Out of Body Experiences, in chapter 24 "How to have an OBE" I recommend using a cube, which I sway back and forth toward you and away from you. In Lessons Out of the Body, I refined that a bit and suggested keeping the cube spinning to solidify the image. Often times I use an octahedron (which can be thought of as two pyramids glued top to bottom, similar to the 8-sided die used in role-playing games) in my visualizations.

I made another interesting observation. On page 186, Nicholls gives his "Introductory Vibrational State Technique" in which you imagine floating a beach ball in front of you, glowing with light and energy. Although he didn't say it, I immediately thought of repeatedly bouncing the ball up into the air. At some point you move it directly above your head. What strikes me about this technique is its similarity to Robert Monroe's technique, from Journeys Out of the Body, of visualizing two lines of force that are pushed outward, then pivoted to the point of being on top your head. In my technique, I use the cube or octahedron in a similar way, but I push it out and back rather than up in the air.

I thought the similarities between Monroe's technique, my technique and Nicholls' technique was pretty interesting. Really, these visualizations are all just ways to accomplish several things at the same time:

1. Focusing your mind inward.
2. Achieving a state of heightened focus.
3. Focusing psychic energy at the crown chakra.
4. Creating momentum to carry your awareness away from your body.
5. Creating a kind of pivot point, a fulcrum against which you can pry your awareness away from the body.
6. Calling the vibrations.

Nicholls also writes about time travel within OBEs, a subject that not many books have breached. In Lessons Out of the Body I mentioned that I had never had a time-travel OBE. That changed in 2001. But that's another story for another day.

The only thing negative I have to say about the book is the fact that I found the subtitle, "Radical New Techniques" a bit misleading. I found nothing radical in the techniques. As for "new" there are some good ideas. Some of these, such as audio-visual subconscious programming, ganzfeld, etc., are not new to parapsychology, but are a new approach to OBE. He suggests using immersion in the form of sensory deprivation, and while that's a great idea not covered in other books, my brother Joe was doing that in the 1980s with his own home-made float tank, so it wasn't new to me. Using physical exercise to shapen the mind while tiring the body is something I suggested in exercise 19 of my first book, but Nicholls carries it a bit further. He also talks about massage and partner exercises, which is a different approach. His 3D Tattva approach is very cool.

His approach was fresh and insightful. All in all, a very good book.

2012 December 5

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The New Introduction, Blanke, Persinger and Skeptics
by Bob Peterson

I got a call from my publisher a week ago. They're gearing up for the second edition of my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect and they wanted me to write a new introduction. I was given two restrictions: First, I was only given one week to write it, and second, it needed to be around 500 words (but if need be, as many as 1000).

I didn't realize it would be so difficult. Where should I begin, I wondered? There's so much I wanted to say, and so few words. Should I make it (a) an introduction to the new edition and what's new in my life? (b) a description of what is new in the field of OBEs in general? Or (c) an introduction to OBEs and the book itself?

The subject of OBEs is so vast and there was so much I wanted to add to that book that I could write a whole second book on the subject. Wait, I already did that. It was called "Lessons Out of the Body." So how do I begin to narrow down my focus to 500 words? I certainly couldn't rehash that.

So I took a step back from the situation and asked myself, "What do people want to know? What's the first thing people ask me?" The answer was simple. It's been fifteen years since the book was first published and people always ask me what I've been up to lately. What new, exciting things have I learned in my OBEs? Where has it taken me?

So I set about writing my introduction and what I've been doing since the book was first published. Then I thought to myself: No, I can't do that. The book has a chronological order. To talk about the latest fifteen years first is just wrong. Plus, it's not supposed to be about me, it's supposed to be about OBEs. So I scraped that version and went back to the drawing board.

I decided I should write about what's happened in the field of OBEs in the past fifteen years. And what's happened? Well, for one thing, researchers Olaf Blanke and Michael Persinger conducted experiments where they electronically stimulated an area of the brain called the right temporal-parietal junction. They found they could artificially cause hallucinations, disorientation, floating sensations and affect a subject's perception of their body position. Parapsychologist and OBE author Susan Blackmore tried Persinger's "God Helmet" and came away convinced OBEs are all in the mind. Pretty soon the mass media was pointing to this research as clear proof that OBEs are merely hallucinations. But as Graham Nicholls aptly points out in his book Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience: they are “...relying upon the logical fallacy that producing a hallucination or illusion disproves something about the object of the hallucination or illusion.” You can't prove, for example, that UFOs are fake no matter how many faked Photoshop images you produce of them.

But I couldn't bring up the subject of skeptics discounting the OBE without talking about some of the other parapsychology work that's been done lately. Skeptics came out with an argument that nothing needs to ever leave the body to explain OBEs: it could be a combination of (1) completely turning off the normal senses, (2) having complete absorption in extraordinarily vivid visual, tactile and auditory hallucinations, (3) a phenomenal combination of psi talents. Two things struck me when I read that paper: First, it admits that psi is a fact (which seems at odds with the very principles of this kind of skepticism). Second, it ignores Occam's razor, a principle that states that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be favored. Seeing is believing, folks.

Likewise, I couldn't talk about these two forms of skepticism without addressing the most common argument: that OBEs are just lucid dreams. So I added something about that too. Then I hacked it back to 700 words.

I proudly gave a copy of the rewrite to Kathy to critique. She said that it was too negative. She was right; it was. It was too focused on the detractors and why I think they're wrong. An introduction should draw the reader in, talk about the positive, and where OBEs can take us. This is not about the skeptics and naysayers. This is about OBEs and what to expect. And so I scraped that version too.

So last night I finished my third complete rewrite of the introduction, and this one is much better than any of its predecessors. I shipped it off to my publisher this morning before work. It's a good thing I have Kathy to give me perspective! Like Deep Purple's "Woman from Tokyo" she makes me see.

2012 November 28

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Second In Eternity by Gary L. Wimmer

Bob Peterson,

Today's blog entry is about Gary Wimmer's book "A Second In Eternity" which I finished reading last week. The subtitle is "The true story about a voyage beyond time and space and into the Infinite."

The whole book is about a particular set of events that happened back in 1977. It starts with Gary staying with a group of friends. His main problem is that he can't sleep. Then he notices that his psychic awareness is increasing: he's taking the words out of people's mouths. He knows who is on the telephone when it rings. He has many deja vu experiences. Soon things get wild: Over the course of several days, his psychic abilities increase beyond reason. He can tell what people are going to say, what they're wearing before he sees them. He becomes more and more aware of the interconnectedness of the entire universe.

Soon this psychic tsunami sweeps him into an ocean of awareness to the point where he can't function properly. He becomes aware of a group of spirit guides that visit him. He calls them "The Monitors". He knows when they're near, but he can't actually see them. In due course, he starts to trust their guidance.

To any sane person, it would seem like Gary had completely lost his mind: he's behaving strangely, doing crazy things, saying crazy things, even SEEing crazy things. At one point, to prove a point, he picks up a pan of boiling hot water and pours it over his own head, with absolute knowledge that he won't be harmed: he is protected by the forces that led him up to this point. And he's right: He isn't burned by the boiling water. But he his buddies are even more distressed about his sanity.

His level of awareness keeps increasing throughout the book. One day, while he's taking a walk, he is able to actually see "The Monitors". They ask him if he trusts them completely, and he says yes. Then they tell him to jump into the street in front of a oncoming car. He does! When the car hits him, he is propelled into his "Second in eternity." He has an amazing out-of-body journey where he experiences complete Union/Oneness with the Universal Mind: God. Instantly he sees and understands the complete mechanics of the Universe and everything in it. He perceives everything: all the people in the world, all the worlds in the solar system, all the solar systems in the galaxy, all the galaxies in the universe, all the universes and all the layers of reality within the eternal mind of God. He is one with it all.

Gary's experience reminded me of an OBE account I received by an acquaintence, Chris Hazlitt, many years ago. Chris's experience had moved me so much that I included it, in its entirety, in my second book, "Lessons Out of the Body", in chapter 16: "Chasing God". At the time, Chris had said he had a terrible problem after he returned to normal in-the-body consciousness: For a long time he had a hard time distinguishing himself from others. His sense of "Self" was blown so far out of the water that he referred to everyone as "I": He'd be in a meeting at work and say "I did X" when, in fact, someone else had done it. It took him weeks before he could think in terms of "me" and "you" again.

Getting back to Gary Wimmer's book: Eventually he comes back from his God-experience and is squeezed back into his tiny body, which strangely seems unharmed (except for a few scrapes and bruises) by the collision with the car. The driver's car has a lot of damage, however. Gary goes through a big ordeal that includes jail time and being committed to a psych hospital. But it was all worth that one second of total awareness.

What I liked most about this book is Gary's descriptions of his psychic awareness. He made a long series of crazy events sound perfectly logical and normal from his point of view. The book is very well written: You can see and understand both his line of thinking and at the same time understand why people would think he had gone mad.

I was particularly struck by a portion of the book where he wrote about being able to influence the minds of other people: putting thoughts into their heads, experimentally manipulating them. To the average reader, this might seem way over the top. I've said this many times, but I'll say it again: I wouldn't have believed his claim except for the fact that it actually happened to me. There was a point in my life, too, where it seemed like my psychic abilities went out of control. Like the author, I wondered just how important my thoughts were and whether I was really influencing people or just intimately knowing what would happen next. Or maybe my will was becoming in tune with the divine will of the Creator; I honestly didn't know.

This sounds so totally insane that I didn't even dare put it in any of my books, except for small snippets: Like Gary Wimmer, I found I could influence people psychically. It started out slowly: I began doing little things, like psychically telling slow drivers to speed up or take the exit ramp on the freeway.

I even demonstrated the ability to friends. I remember one day I was sitting in a restaurant with my friend Scott and a few others, and I was trying to explain how I had learned to manipulate people by planting ideas inside their heads. I could see in Scott's mischievous grin he wanted me to prove it. I looked around and saw a group of beautiful girls chatting outside the restaurant preparing to come inside. I said, "I want a better look at them. Watch this." I reached into their minds and planted the idea that they should sit at a particular table near us. They walked into the restaurant and sat down exactly where I wanted. I smiled at Scott. He said, "You did that, didn't you! You made them sit there!" And like Gary, I started to seriously question my sanity.

This became pervasive in my life. Then one day it even entered my dreams: I found myself manipulating a dream character in the same way. When I woke up, I knew it had gone too far and it had to stop. What kind of arrogant son-of-a-bitch was I, anyway, messing with people's minds? It was wrong.

I just couldn't handle it anymore. This was just too much along side the pressures of college and I found myself praying several nights for God to take this ability away. I also vowed to stop manipulating people psychically. My prayers were answered and it went away.

Many years have passed and now I question whether that was the right decision. Maybe if I had let it go on, maybe I would have had an experience like Gary or Chris. Maybe I would have jumped out in front of a car and been killed. Or maybe I would have lost my mind altogether; there's no telling.

Having seen through the veil myself, I believe Gary is telling the truth. His descriptions are just too realistic not to be. I enjoyed his book very much and I think you will too. Thumbs up!

2012 Nov 21

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Projection of the Astral Body

The Projection of the Astral Body

by Sylvan Muldoon

Bob Peterson, 2012 Nov 14

A few days ago, I finished re-reading one of the great classics of out-of-body experience literature: "The Projection of the Astral Body" by Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington. It's been about 30 years since I first read it, so I thought it was time to revisit the book, and I hope you do too.

The book was first published in 1929. At that time, information about OBEs (or astral projection as it was known) was scarce. The phenomenon was known in both psychology and occult circles, but very few had really studied it before. It was usually treated lightly, and that's because nobody knew much about it.

Back in the early twentieth century, one of the big fads to hit England and the United States was the religion of Spiritualism and its sister Spiritism. (They're basically the same, except that Spiritists believe in reincarnation and Spiritualists do not). Soon people all over the United States were holding seances in their living rooms, trying to contact dead relatives. As the two religions spread, there was in increase in demand for teachers. Many of the mediums said they left their bodies when the spirits took control, so naturally there was a small boon in the subject of out-of-body experience as well.

It wasn't just the spiritualists and spiritists who started teaching and making claims about OBEs at that time. There was also a wave of occultists who took their beliefs from much older teachings, morphed them and called them their own. The prime example of this was the Theosophists like A.E. Powell and C.W. Leadbeater. 

Along side all these believers came the skeptics to dispute their claims. And to try to settle the disputes were waves of parapsychologists to study the claims.

As a result of all this chaos, there was scant information circulated about out-of-body experience, but it was mostly unreliable. For example, some people claimed OBEs were more likely when you were healthy while others said they were more likely when you were sick. And because the subject was non-physical by its very nature, it was nearly impossible to separate facts from rumor, superstition or outright fiction.

Most of the information was lore passed down from ages past. "It must be true because my teacher told me so, and his teacher told him, and on and on." Amidst all this rampant conjecture came a voice of reason: Sylvan Muldoon. 

Muldoon was a boy of twelve when he had his first OBE. You might say he was born with a natural ability, which gave him the opportunity to study it his whole life.

Like a scientist, he wasn't content to take somebody's word on it. He induced hundreds of OBEs and learned about them from his own first-hand experience.

He also studied what others wrote about the topic. One day he read an article about OBEs by prominent parapsychologist and author Hereward Carrington. The article talked about an OBE author, a Frenchman named M. Lancelin and his experiences. Bordering on outrage, Muldoon wrote a letter to Carrington telling him he (Muldoon) "...can write a book on the things that Lancelin does not know!...I have been wondering whether M. Lancelin is in fact a conscious projector. From what you have given, I have concluded either that Lancelin does not project at all, or that his subjects are not in the clear conscious state while exteriorized". Translation: "This guy (Lancelin) doesn't know what the hell he's talking about."

Intrigued, Carrington called Muldoon's bluff and tasked him with writing a book on the subject. Armed with his vast experience, Muldoon laid it all on the line: what worked, what didn't and what he actually found during his OBEs. And with Carrington's help, the book was born.

In my opinion, some of Muldoon's most important observations were as follows: (1) That the most important key to leaving the body is motivating your subconscious mind to do so, (2) the subject of "cord activity range": If you're too near the physical body, you will have no end of problems; getting stuck, getting sucked back in, being encumbered. The lesson: Once you're in the out-of-body state, the most important thing to do is immediately get at least 15 feet (5 meters) away from the body. Only then will you have true freedom to think and act independently, without encountering lots of problems.

I didn't realize how much of an impact Muldoon had on my own development. My first book, "Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect" is philosophically very similar to Muldoon's. Like Muldoon, I felt the need to dispel some of the misinformation and tell people what I had learned through personal experience. And like Muldoon, I've spent my whole life trying to study the OBE and pass that on to others. I owe him (as well as Robert Monroe) a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

If I had had a daughter, I would probably have named her Sylvia. If I had had a son, maybe Sylvan, but that would be harder to get past Kathy. We never had kids, so I guess it's a moot point.
Robert Peterson, 14 Nov 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Epica Concert

The Epica Concert

by Bob Peterson

This morning before work I spent about a half hour writing a blog about the presidential election and my feelings about it. Then I filed it away but didn't publish it; I decided I needed more time to let the reality of it sink in before I blog about it. Maybe I'll publish it another day. In the meantime, I'm going to write about the concert I went to Monday night.

Let me first explain that I've been to a LOT of rock concerts in my life, starting with Blackfoot and Journey when I was still in high-school. I've been to so many that I can't even count them. To list a few in no particular order: Yes (several times), Boston (several times), Kansas (several times), Styx (several times), Heart (several times), Dream Theater, Savatage, Dio, Loverboy, Rush, Nightwish, Joe Perry Project, Alan Parsons Project, AC/DC, Yngwie Malmsteen, Cheap Trick, America, and The Moody Blues. I'm no stranger to the rock concert scene.

Last Monday was one of those rare metal concerts I went to. The concert featured four bands. I'd never heard of the first two, but the the second two were bands I really enjoy: Alestorm and Epica.

Alestorm is best described as Scottish Pirate Metal: all of their songs are about pirates looting, plundering getting drunk and meeting their ends. This is all very tongue-in-cheek and I find it hilarious. My favorite Alestorm song is Keelhauled. "Make that bastard walk the plank, with a bottle of rum and a yo ho ho!"

Epica is completely different: they're an odd combination of Opera (complete with a woman mezzo-soprano singer for lead vocalist, the beautiful Simone Simons), Baroque (complete with symphony orchestra) and Death metal. Yes, death metal (complete with cookie-monster growling). Most of their songs have elements of all three. Their lyrics are always deep and philosophical. You can't pin me down on a favorite Epica song, there are so many I love, but I tend to favor their soft ballads: Solitary Ground, Tides of Time, Trois Vierges, Twin Flames, Chasing the Dragon, Safeguard to Paradise, Run For A Fall (Acoustic version), Quietus. Their harder stuff is usually about duality: the struggle within between good and evil: the death metal growling portrays symbolic inner demons who argue for negativity and self-destruction while Simone's opera singing argues against the negativity.

As much as I love some heavy metal music, I've usually avoided many metal concerts for two reasons: First, they hurt my ears, and second, because I'm somewhat empathic and pick up too many negative feelings. I gave some serious thought to not going to this one too. I gave myself all kinds of justification for not going: they'd probably focus on the music from latest two CDs (which I don't like). It would be crowded. It would be loud. I'd be wasting too much gasoline. I'm too old for that crowd.

And then there was the driving issue: I knew it was a two and a half hour drive to St. Paul, and another two and a half back home: five hours of driving. I knew I wouldn't get home until late. Plus I hate driving at night up north with deer waiting to pounce in front of my car.

Any other day I'd just get a hotel room after the concert and work out of the Minneapolis branch office in the morning, but this was not just any day: it was election eve. I knew if I didn't drive home Monday night, I likely wouldn't get home on Tuesday in time to vote, and I couldn't accept that. Voting is that important to me.

By 2:00pm I had convinced myself I should just skip it, but my inner voice stepped in and suggested that my presence there was needed to help raise the vibrations of the place. Plus there was an added bonus: I could buy a T-shirt for each band!

So Kathy and I got into our Prius and headed for the Twin Cities. We ate dinner at my favorite restaurant: India Palace in Roseville. Yummy!

We had a great time at the show. Alestorm was just plain fun. Epica was epic. What I love Epica is that they show great depth of character, great depth of thought and philosophy (with their lyrics) and emotion (e.g. screaming), and creativity and complexity of music (sometimes performing with a full symphony orchestra) even if it may sometimes be grating.

It's kind of like life: There are hidden messages and meanings everywhere. There are conflicts, and we must learn from them. There are struggles within, and difficult choices. But that's how we learn.

I'll end this blog with excerpts from the Epica song "Consign to Oblivion" which was how they ended their show:

Too much thinking goes at the cost of all our intuition
Our thoughts create reality
But we neglect to be!
So we're already slaves of our artificial world
We shouldn't try to control life
But listen to the laws of nature
Selfishly we're venomous
But you know the time tells us
There is more to life than our
Higher positions, race for perfection
Better, faster
We must return to the laws of the nature
Free ourselves from madness
2012 Nov 07

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The OBE Outlook on Life

The OBE Outlook on Life

by Robert Peterson

This is my very first blog! I've often thought about doing a blog, but never taken the time. As a writer, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with whomever might want to read them, and I think I have a unique perspective, which I'll explain below.

In 1979, I started studying out-of-body experiences, or OBEs. As quickly as time and money would permit, I amassed a collection of more than a hundred books on OBEs, and eagerly read them all. That was just OBE books. I also collected books on similar topics: Near-Death Experiences (NDEs), Shamanism, Remote Viewing, Life After Death, Mediumship, Channelling, Psychics and on and on.

It took lots of hard work and dedication, but I eventually learned how to induce them myself. What I discovered was a lot of misinformation, and buried deep within, grains of truth. I felt compelled to right this wrong and write my own book on the subject.

In 1997, my first book, "Out of Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect" was published by Hampton Roads Publishing.  It's done quite well. It's even been translated into German, Japanese, Russian and Czech.

I also put the entire book on my web site for free, just to prove I'm not "in it for the money." The money is not important to me; it was much more important to share my information with the world. Not just Americans, but anyone in the world, rich or poor, who wanted the information.

In the first book, I treated the OBE very scientifically, explaining what I had learned about them from personal experience. But shortly after the book came out, I felt a lot of regret: the fact of the matter was, my out-of-body experiences had changed my whole life. I had been transformed from a shallow Catholic who only paid lip-service to God, into a person with a unique spiritual perspective. There's something about looking at your own inanimate body lying on the bed that makes you think about your own mortality and what lies beyond the grave. And those thoughts naturally lead you to think about God, Angels, Mediumship, Religion, Life-after-death and lots of other things. What had really changed was my perspective on life, on death and everything between. There was a spiritual side of the OBE that I had completely neglected in the first book.

To right that wrong, I wrote a second book, which I called "Lessons Out of the Body". It was about the spiritual side of OBEs and what I had learned from them. It was published by Hampton Roads Publishing in 2001.

In that book, chapter 17 was called "The OBE Outlook on Life", which is what I decided to call my blog. The chapter was divided into sections. The sections--which pretty much summed up my outlook on life--were:

Life is a school
Self-Identity: You are not your body
A greater reality
We're never alone
Privacy is an illusion
Don't judge others
Physical objects lose their glitter
Death is an illusion
Death is a friend
What if people misunderstand me?

I firmly believe that we're born in this world in order to learn certain lessons, which we decide upon before we're even born. To that end, our subconscious, out "higher self" and even non-physical guides (what most people call angels) conspire to bring us those spiritual lessons. Sometimes (but not always) the lessons are painful and the ride is bumpy. More so if we try to resist the lessons we came here to learn.

This blog will cover a lot more than out-of-body experiences. It will be about life, spirituality, life-lessons, my favorite music, computers, philosophy and whatever. I hope you enjoy it.

Bob Peterson
Sunday, 2012 November 4