Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Boundless by Anita Gamba


by Anita Gamba

Today I'm reviewing the book Boundless: One Woman's Journal of Her Out-of-Body Experiences by Anita Gamba.

This book is simple. It is almost entirely OBE narrations. There's also some theory and basics, plus a few notes about her primary OBE technique (which is more about relaxation and setting intentions than anything), but mostly it's just narrations. That's okay because I've always loved OBE narrations; they always take me back to that magical thrill of discovery. It also helps program your subconscious mind to induce OBEs.

Gamba's OBEs started when she gave birth to her son. Since then she's recorded "over one hundred and fifty out-of-body experiences." At first, she tried to figure them out in terms of quantum physics (as did William Buhlman in Adventures Beyond the Body), which led her to more research than the average person. She became quite knowledgeable in the stuff, which is not an easy task. In the end, she gives a curious mixture of science and philosophy.

She is honest, genuine and up-front about her OBEs. She openly admits her shortcomings and when she doesn't understand something. Her OBEs are pretty basic and typical. She experiments with floating and flying. She finds out she can breathe underwater. She looks in the mirror. She encounters other people and animals. On the one hand, they're not quite thrilling to someone who's been studying and practicing OBEs for 35 years. They're certainly not tedious though. On the other hand, there's nothing startling, controversial or surprising in there either, so I know she's not making this stuff up: she's really been there.

What I liked most about the book is that she always tries to find lessons in her OBEs, even the ones that are mundane. Maybe it's my vanity/ego because it reminded me of my second book, Lessons Out of the Body, although she doesn't get too "heavy" or preachy with her lessons. They are often quite simple, like "Social Masks: Be Real." Sometimes there are many lessons to be learned from a simple OBE. For example, she writes:
"This OBE journey has reminded me that:
  •  When I am patient and stay focused I am successful at anything I choose.
  • I know how to hold my focus whilst the world is trying to pull me back to its reality.
  • I need to trust my own judgment and I can always call on my inner power to protect me.
  • I have always had the courage to move through doors of change, not knowing what is on the other side.
  • I have always had the presence of mind to make firm decisions about moving on if the present situation proves to be too macabre for me.
  • The voice that told me not to go to the past reminds me that the voice of my inner wisdom should be listened to even if it sounds harsh.
  • Furthermore, I must leave behind the skeletons of my past because they will kill me if I continue to give them validity." (pg. 64)
The book is pretty basic. You're not going to find any startling revelations or the depth of, say Jurgen Ziewe or Frederick Aardema. Perhaps I'm a bit jaded because I recently read and reviewed Ziewe's latest book, Vistas of Infinity, and that's a tough act to follow.

This book is 119 pages long. The size is normal, the typeset and margins are good. It's quick and comfortable (not heavy) to read, but there's enough content that I didn't feel short-changed. I don't recall any grammar or spelling errors, so the book is well executed. There was nothing offensive, nor anything I disagreed with.

I'll give it a thumbs up, but there are better narration books.

Bob Peterson
28 October 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Review: Vistas of Infinity by Jurgen Ziewe

Vistas of Infinity

by Jurgen Ziewe

Today I'm reviewing the book Vistas of Infinity by Jurgen Ziewe.

If you read my blog, you may already know that Jurgen Ziewe wrote my favorite OBE book, Multidimensional Man (MM) and its sequel The Ten Minute Moment. You may also realize that it's been a long time since I've posted an OBE book review. That's because I wanted to read this book slowly, a little at a time, savoring each sentence. Consequently, this book review is a bit long winded. The book covers a lot, so I have a lot to say about it; sorry!

This book is about the author's further explorations into the non-physical realms, afterlife territories, and cosmic consciousness. It's a natural progression from Multidimensional Man (aka MM) explaining where the author has gone and what he's witnessed firsthand (mostly) since the first book was published. This book builds on and complements the first two books perfectly.

Ziewe took this opportunity to rectify several shortcomings of the first book. For example, on page 11, he lays it all on the line and spells out exactly what he used to judge his out-of-body experiences:
"1. I had to have full waking Consciousness while out of my body.
2. I had to be fully aware that my physical body was in another place.
3. I had to have full awareness of my waking life's social identity.
4. I had to be fully aware that the experience was not even part of a lucid dream, let alone a dream." (pp 11-12).
Those four statements say a lot about the clarity and awareness of his OBEs. It's more than apparent that his OBEs were not dreams or flights of imagination. As it was for MM, it's amusing how he almost runs himself out of superlatives to describe his experiences and level of awareness. For example:
 "The richness and complexity I discerned was staggering, seeing swirling particles of matter. This is how deeply our minds can view without the use of an electro-scanning microscope....The only thing more staggering was the exhilaration that my waking awareness had reached a new peak level. It had arrived at a super-level of clarity, something never to be found in physical wakefulness. The physical world, I pondered, is a clear second when it comes to an experience of clarity and reality awareness." (pg. 65)

Here are some more examples of how the book goes the extra mile:
  • Although he doesn't describe the techniques themselves, he does describe the procedures or meditations he used to induce each OBE, whether it started as a lucid dream, a meditation or other induction technique.
  • He goes beyond normal reporting of what he saw: he advances some theories as to how the multidimensional reality works and its structure.
  • He compares and contrasts his observations with the few historic reports of higher (beyond the astral) states of consciousness, such as Theosophists like author C.W. Leadbeater.
  • He describes OBE encounters with alien life forms, which is rare in the literature (also see Darryl Berry's book).
  • He also talks about his "Silent Companion" and where that's led him. This perfectly fits what I call my "inner voice."

I came across many really good quotes that exactly matched my beliefs about life, OBEs, and religion. For example:
"The Out-of-Body state in full waking Consciousness is undoubtedly the biggest miracle in human Consciousness we can ever experience, and every time I am blessed with this miracle my life is transformed anew." (pg. 19)
I've always maintained that experience and knowledge trump belief and faith, and OBEs can provide direct experience that religions only hint at. Ziewe is unafraid to challenge religious dogma (and not just Christian) with direct experience.
"Traditionally, religion rather than science has claimed the authority of knowledge of what our future beyond the physical has in store, but all too often our religions have been misunderstood and misappropriated, uncompromisingly, for propaganda purposes to serve invested power structures and control its followers, often with horrendous consequences." (pg. 22)
In his latest adventures, he separates fact from fiction with regard to karma, and visits many of the places people go after they die. This includes places most Christians would be quick to call "Heaven" and "Hell," even if they are still on the Astral Plane.
"I assume that some church mystics might have honed in on these extended stays in a negative mindset and referred to them as eternal hell. On closer inspection these are just illusions and states of mind." (pg. 50)

He even visited the afterlife of a suicide bomber, which is a fascinating encounter. Mostly what he found was ordinary people living ordinary life-after-death in very exotic places, places that best fit their own vibrational level. His adventures sometimes lead to some humorous encounters:
"I approached and mixed with the group. Trying clumsily to strike up a conversation with a couple next to me, by asking them whether they knew that they were dead, they looked at me as if I was some kind of simpleton, so I simply took that as a 'yes' and moved on." (pp. 107-108)

He also talks about encounters with the dead, including his own deceased mother, which is very interesting.

His OBEs also go far beyond the Astral Plane to some hard-to-reach places, Heaven-like worlds that some would describe as higher planes of existence. To do that, he had to abandon all concepts of "self."
"Getting into these levels beyond the Astral is an undertaking that requires a mindset free of all its previous identification and attachments. It is simply impossible to enter this state still connected to any of our cherished fixations of self-importance. If we are not prepared to do that, it would be like attempting a balloon ride with all the heavy weights and ropes keeping it anchored to the ground." (pg. 194).
Ziewe uses direct firsthand experience to correct misconceptions about OBEs. For example:
"There was plenty to learn from this short episode. For a start, the old belief that there are seven levels on the Astral plane needs to be instantly deposited into the bin of misinformation." (pg. 50)
The reality of it is much more complex:
"Sometimes it is possible to approach these elevated regions from the air during OBEs and they show themselves up first as a bright light in the distance, like dawn breaking in the morning. As we get closer, we find increasing discomfort when facing these brighter territories until we get acclimatised. This is another reason why I found it hard to accept that dimensional levels are in some way stacked vertically on top of each other. Although we can enter higher dimensions via a shift in Consciousness, we can also literally travel towards them." (pg. 186).
His descriptions of helpers and guides also matches my experience perfectly. For example:
"Other Out-of-Body experiencers have reported meeting a very specific personal guide, who was dedicated to them and always appeared as the same entity. Except for one stage during my OBEs, where I had a regular Chinese sage training me to reach higher dimensional levels, I seemed to be blessed with different helpers more on the basis of whoever happened to be available or suited for the specific nature of my request." (pg. 120)

Another thing that struck me when reading this book is how some of his experiences matched the movie Astral City, both in the scenery and the people he encountered.

Ziewe's OBEs also partly explain an oddity reported by author Robert Bruce: he talked about how the astral plane can appear with repeating patterns, almost like it had floor tiles. (See the cover of his book Astral Dynamics for example.)
"Frequently, when choosing to go for a stroll in these pre-Heaven realms and looking at the ground, a number of curious phenomena may be observed, such as the ground organising itself in a geometric and symmetric pattern, so it may appear as if one is walking on some kind of Persian rug, but these patterns will keep changing in accordance with one's feelings. I noticed the same phenomena when walking on our physical Earth after an hour or so of deep meditation. My explanation is that the inner experienced symmetry during meditation is projected through the eyes into the world and reorganises everything more symmetrically." (pg. 191)

Where does this all lead us? To Consciousness with a capital C, and something I've always maintained: The person you think you are is really only a very tiny fragment of who you really are. As Ziewe puts it:
"Consciousness was clearly showing me that my physical life was just a small part of many other life experiences and that, at night, possibly in deep dream state, or even parallel to my waking state, I had been busy pursuing one or more alternative existences. With this thought, I sank into a semi-meditative state and I began to remember more and more detail with astonishing clarity; I gained the realization that the life I am leading back in my physical body is only the tip of the iceberg, one of many lives I am leading - or, perhaps better, Consciousness is leading - each one of equal significance." (pg. 169).

So what is at the core of Consciousness when you drill down deep enough?
"From the viewpoint of Singularity this lonesome being that we consider to be us, which struggles to survive, has in reality never been an independent unit, but always been part of a whole, no matter how it perceives itself or on which level of reality it is focused on. It has always been part of a greater unifying Consciousness, but as long as we struggle, want, desire (even desiring to be united with our Singular Source), we experience ourselves as separate. In this state of perceived division, Singularity cannot reach us and bestow its blessings of reunion because we've erected the artificial barriers of separation via our personalised viewpoint. When the barriers are gone, the blessing starts flooding in and we then firmly experience our natural connection to our original and authentic Source. As far as Source is concerned, we have never been separated, not for a single moment, even if we were to dwell in abject spiritual poverty and darkness." (pg. 195)
Here's another quote I liked a lot because it reminded me of my novel, The Gospel According to Mike:
"In reality we are all 'chosen ones', linked to our Source. but because we are all, it doesn't make us anything special." (pg. 197)
So how can we get there ourselves? Ziewe suggests daily meditation, and gives us a lot of important clues. For instance:
"We may be meditating until the cows come home, but we cannot will ourselves into the position because the thing that wills is the very thing that needs to be surrendered. Singularity decides when we are ready to receive it and it does so by administering an intense experience of ecstasy and rapturous blessing. All we are then able to do is completely surrender any trace of our old mocked-up or inauthentic persona." (pg. 199)
Still, according to Ziewe, this experience is open to anyone:
"We also need to liberate ourselves from the idea that this is a state of Consciousness reserved for some spiritual elite. Quite the opposite: it is humility and surrender that will grant the humblest of people residency here if their heart is pure, committed to authenticity and surrendered to its Source." (pg. 226)
If Multidimensional Man left you hungry for more, Vistas of Infinity will satisfy you, but please read MM first. MM is still at the top of my OBE book list, but only because it touched on some nerves that actually made me cry. More than once. (I did not cry for Vistas of Infinity.) Nonetheless, Vistas transformed me as I read it. Somehow it brought about subtle changes in my awareness. I feel like a different person; more authentic, more connected. It's like an old friend has been whispering in my ear, reminding me who I am; who I want to be, who I can choose to be again. I can't promise it will do the same for you, but it has that potential.

The book's content and length are both good: it has both quantity and quality. The grammar is flawless. The presentation is professional and the writing is eloquent.

In short: Vistas of Infinity is exactly the book I was hungry for when I read William Buhlman's book Adventures In The Afterlife. Buhlman's book is mostly hypothetical and fictionalized, whereas Vistas is a firsthand eyewitness account. (Not to say that Buhlman's book isn't good; I still recommend it; it just didn't meet my admittedly high expectations.)

Thumbs way up.

Bob Peterson
13 October 2015