Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Black Hole of Cygnus X-1

The Black Hole of Cygnus X-1

By Bob Peterson
"In the constellation of Cygnus, there lurks a mysterious, invisible force: the black hole of Cygnus X-1...
Six stars of the Northern Cross
In mourning for their sister's loss
In a final flash of glory
Nevermore to grace the night..." (Rush, Cygnus X-1)

Today I'm going to share a completely unconventional OBE technique, and I hope you enjoy it.

Ordinarily when I induce an out-of-body experience, I do not use music, hemi-sync, or even binaural beats. I use total silence. (My OBE trance is very different from my normal meditation). In fact, in some of my early notes from the 1980s, I say don't even listen to music the day before your OBE attempts.

However, as an additional exercise I do sometimes meditate to longer trance-like songs, like "Echoes" by Pink Floyd or "Awaken" by Yes. While the music plays, I like to do energy bouncing, not too different from some of Robert Bruce's exercises.

I've only gotten "the vibrations" listening to two songs. The first is Close to the Edge by Yes. The second is Cygnus X-1 by Rush. For this article, I want to focus on the Rush song.

First, let me explain a bit about the song. Cygnus X-1 is the story of a man flying in a space ship (The "Rocinante," which I assume is named after Don Quixote's horse). He is headed toward the black hole of Cygnus X-1. He is driven by curiosity: What is the black hole? What will happen when he gets there? As he nears his deadly goal, he starts to wonder about what will happen. The lyrics say:
"Through the void, to be destroyed, or is there something more? Atomized at the door, or through the astral door--to soar?"

If I just listen to the song, I don't get the vibrations. It's not as simple as just. Here's what to do:
  1. Put on headphones. (This is important)
  2. Start the song.
  3. Close your eyes and visualize yourself floating in space, weightless.
  4. About one minute in, as the bells in the song chime, let yourself drift into a slight trance.
  5. Pay attention to the bass track. As the bass line bounces repeatedly from high to low, imagine a ball of energy at the bottom of both feet.
  6. As the music bounces up, I imagine the ball of energy quickly whoosh to the top of your head (crown chakra).
  7. Imagine the energy whooshes up and down with the pitch of the music.
  8. As the music picks up tempo, around 5:50, imagine yourself accelerating faster and faster through space, toward the black hole.
  9. Around 7:15, imagine yourself drifting through space at high speed, with stars rushing by you.
  10. At 8:10, the pitch of the bass guitar bounces in a repeated pattern:
    On every down, imagine the energy shoots down to your feet. On every up, imagine the energy shoots up to your crown chakra. This is very much in rapid succession.
  11. At 8:37, the pitch of the music takes the energy to some mid-way points in your body, in rapid succession:
    Heart chakra, Crown charka, Tan Tien (just below the belly button), Feet, repeat.
Listen to the song several times to learn it before trying to synchronize your energy to its shifts in beat. This is progressive rock, so don't be surprised or shocked at abrupt changes in pitch or tempo. And remember to keep it fun.

If you feel a tingling or vibration, try to hold your mind blank and let yourself surrender to the feeling while the music plays in the background.

You can listen to the song on youtube at this link: Cygnus X-1.

I was doing this "bouncing non-physical energy" exercise way back in the early 1980s, but it's not too different from a more modern technique called "VELO" taught by the IAC (International Academy of Consciousness). If you want more information about "VELO", here is a good video from IAC instructor and OBE author Luis Minero: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxwm6sQ2P_w

Bob Peterson
May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review: Astral Projection Mastery

Astral Projection Mastery

by L. Jordan

Today I'm reviewing the book Astral Projection Mastery by L. Jordan. The website astralism.com lists this book as #3 of "The 3 Best Astral Projection Books On The Market." (#1 was Erin Pavlina's Astral Projection Guidebook and #2 was Robert Bruce's Astral Dynamics) So does it live up to their claim?

The book is a decent size, with decent font and small margins, but it's only 89 pages, so kind of small.

The information is solid, for the most part. The biggest problem I had is that the book was difficult to read. I've read many books in my lifetime, but this one was just cumbersome for me, and I couldn't quite tell why. I can't accuse it of being immature, or having poor grammar, spelling or structure, but for some strange reason, I found myself having to re-read every sentence two or three times to make sure I understood the meaning.

Part of the problem is that the author often used unexpected words. Like "on the world" when my brain expected "in the world." He often wrote about astral projection as if it's a noun rather than a verb. For example, he'd write "when you're having your astral projection" like the British "when you're having your tea." My brain expects something different, say, "When you're astral projecting" or some such.

Or maybe it was sentences like this:
"No single human being has the onus of dishing out the outstanding energies that traverse your different planes, both physical and celestial." (pg. 45)

Maybe the author is British, so the sentence structure was not what my brain expected. I'd literally read a sentence, then my brain would go, WTF did that just say? I'd re-read the sentence and say, Oh. Right. Got it. Then I'd look at the sentence again and wonder, "Why did that sentence trip me up?" Beats me; it makes perfect sense the second time through. I felt this way about literally every sentence in the entire book. So it's accurate to say I read this book twice; I just did it a sentence at a time!

Several of my colleagues at work are British, so I'm well versed in British colloquialisms and phrases, like "In due course," "straight away," "there we go." So it's not that. I've read some very fine books by British authors, such as Graham Nicholls, and never had this problem before. So I'm not quite sure why I struggled. "Going for an astral travel."

The other problem is that instead of making points and building one sentence on the next, the author asks way too many questions. For example, chapter 4 starts like this:
"Astral Projection does really feel like a dream, doesn't it? You being physically immobile and mute, yet you are seeing yourself walking or driving and chatting with people you know you in real life... It does really feel like you are dreaming. But are you really in a dream state? The answer is no -- dreaming is dreaming and astral projection is what it is." (pg. 26)
A few times is charming, but Jordan does it way too often.

By the way, I disagree. In a dream, you're unconscious. In astral projection, you are conscious (which the author later admits). But no, it doesn't feel much like a dream to me. It doesn't feel like a lucid dream either. In a lucid dream, you're conscious, but the scenery is often more vivid, realistic, vibrant, colorful, and seems more solid, like a vivid, detailed dream. In an OBE, the scenery is often heady, foggy, trippy, or otherworldly. But Jordan doesn't give much explanation to justify his views.

After a few chapters I found myself imagining a man with a thick British accent reading it aloud, and it flowed a little better in my mind. (I don't know if L. Jordan is a man or woman. I imagined a man's voice simply because my British co-workers are all men, so that's what I'm used to hearing.) However, I also noticed that the author used American spellings. For example, "color" instead of the British spelling, "colour." Go figure.

The book has no OBE narratives, and I don't like that either. You don't get any sense of the author's experiences or credentials. Like so many average OBE books out there, Jordan just gives you information about astral projection and you're expected to accept it at face value.

On the positive side, the book is chock full of OBE techniques:
  • The Rope Technique (invented by Robert Bruce)
  • The Ladder Technique
  • Thirst Technique (invented by Sylvan Muldoon)
  • Point Shift Technique
  • Visualizing Your Double (taught by occultists)
  • Monitoring yourself slipping into sleep (appears in my first book)
  • Rolling Method (taught by Robert Monroe)
  • Driving System Technique
  • Tunnel Technique (taught by Salvatore Caesar Scordato)
  • Monroe Technique (taught by Robert Monroe)
  • The Running Technique (Imagining yourself running)
  • The Train Technique
  • The Tornado Technique
  • Doing some phantom wiggling
  • The Listening Technique
  • Putting a strain on your brain
  • Sensory motor visualization
  • Technique of Eye Movement 
  • (and several others)

These techniques are not short-changed, but they're also not explained as well as the original authors.

It also has a decent section on preparation, and some unique and creative ideas. For example:
"Make your body boring and your astral body beautiful.
This is the trick when you want to coax your astral body out. You need to visualize your body in a color that is pretty dull, and then have yourself focus on your astral body, in its very attractive and bright color, pulling itself out of that boring place that is your body." (pg. 43)
I disagreed with the author on a few points. For example,
"Remember time and distance are very different on the different planes. An hour on the physical world could be covered by a minute on the astral plane--or something like that." (pg. 44)

To me, it seems like time passes pretty much normally, with a few exceptions.

On page 83, Jordan talks about the scientific community's view of OBEs:
"Even in the early '70s, there was this lady parapsychologist, Susan Blackmore, from Oxford University, who researched and studied about out of body experiences. As a bonus, she even had her own personal experience in astral travels....And as we are wont to say, it was all in a day's work!" (pg. 83-84)
But Jordan fails to give the other side of this discussion: Susan Blackmore later went on to become quite an outspoken skeptic on the matter, as made clear by her subsequent books (several of which I've read). Jordan says nothing about that. (It's okay to support your views, but in nonfiction, you should at least tell the whole story and let the reader decide.)

The grammar and spelling aren't bad, but like I said, the writing seemed cumbersome and hard to read.

This is not a bad book, but my personal opinion is that there are a lot better books out there. It's certainly a lot better than my previous book review, but still not in my Top Ten OBE Books, let alone the top 3. I don't know what the reviewers at astralism.com were smoking when they listed it in the top three. In my opinion, it's not even close. I'll give it 3 stars.

Bob Peterson
10 May 2016