Review: The Phase - Part 2 of 3
by Michael Raduga
This is part 2 of my review of Michael Raduga's book The Phase. Due to the length, I had to split the review into 3 parts. Click here to read part 1.
In part 1, I talked a lot about the book's content and its shortcomings. In this review I cover his OBE induction techniques. Fittingly, part 2 of the book is called "How to Enter the Phase Today." This is the technique section, where the book really shines. This includes:
- The Indirect Method
- The Direct Method
- Becoming Conscious While Dreaming
- Non-Autonomous Methods
"The instructions laid out in this section will help most people to experience this amazing state within only 1 to 3 days of trying." (pg. 57)So what does Raduga bring to the table that isn't in other OBE technique books? Actually, plenty. As far as I know, his "technique cycling" is unique. No other OBE book I've encountered recommends it. And it's good. Let's break it down:
The Indirect Method
Raduga says the indirect method is the most effective technique, and the only one beginners should use.
Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) with Exit Technique Cycling
First, let's talk about Raduga's starting point, the Wake-Back-To-Bed (WBTB) technique. Other books talk about WBTB which, as I understand it, was largely invented by Stephen LaBerge for inducing lucid dreams. I don't want to get sidetracked giving subtleties of the technique (it's all in the book), but I did want to give you the basics. This isn't quite how the author breaks it down, but as a computer guy, it's what I took home:
- Choose 2 or 3 "exit techniques" to be used in step 10
Select two or three exit techniques from the list given below.
- Set an alarm clock for six hours after you go to bed.
Since normal dream cycles are about 90 minutes long, six hours is timed to coincide with the end of the fourth sleep cycle. This maximizes the chance of maintaining lucidity when you drift back down.
- Wake up with the alarm. It's best to have your sleep interrupted, not to wake naturally (not critical, but recommended).
- Stay awake 3 to 50 minutes.
Stay awake more time if you're a heavy sleeper, less time if you're a light sleeper.
- Set the intention not to move when you wake.
As you drift back to sleep, hold the intention that when you wake up again, you will not move your physical body. If you do move, don't worry; it's not critical.
- Go back to sleep another full sleep cycle
Because your body is mostly well rested, you may also have several short (abbreviated) sleep cycles rather than a full 90 minute cycle. But be prepared to spend the next 2 to 4 hours in bed.
- Allow yourself to wake up naturally this time.
Remember: Try not to move when you wake up.
- Try for immediate relocation: to your mirror.
Imagine you are standing at your bathroom mirror. Try to imagine yourself there. This is pretty much the "target technique" described by Buhlman and others. It doesn't have to be your mirror, but that's Raduga's first choice. Don't spend much time on this; only a few seconds. If that doesn't get you out of body, go on to step 9.
- Try for immediate separation from your body.
Try levitating, standing up, or rolling out, with your astral body only (but be careful not to move your physical body). Again, don't spend more than a few seconds on this. If that doesn't work, go on to step 10.
- Start "technique cycling."
Try each of the techniques you chose in step 1 for three to five seconds, then move on to the next one. If a technique it gets results, focus on it a bit longer and try to encourage those results. For example, if you feel vibrations, or feel like your astral body is moving, keep working that technique. If it doesn't get results after three to five seconds, switch to the next technique. If none of these exit techniques get results, repeat the process again, starting with the first technique. Cycle through them regardless of whether you moved or didn't move your body.
- Perform at least 4 complete technique cycles.
Don't give up until you've spent a full minute cycling through all pre-chosen exit techniques, for 4 complete cycles (or until you're out of body).
- After a minute, go back to step 5
If you didn't get out of body within a minute of trying, go back to step 5. Go back to sleep for another short period, with the intention of not moving when you wake up, then repeat the process.
Raduga says you don't want a long laundry list of techniques to have to remember. Don't waste time thinking, "Gee, which technique should I try next?" Don't think about it; just act. Just pick two or three ahead of time, and then cycle through them repeatedly. Choose from the following:
Imagine that you are spinning around inside your body.
- Observing images
Try to watch hypnagogic images that appear before you.
- Hand visualization
Visualize your hands.
- Swimmer technique
Pretend you're in the water, swimming.
- Phantom wiggling
Try to imagine a part of your astral body is moving; a little at first, but then it increases. He recommends your little finger.
The Direct Method
Raduga's "direct method" is similar to the indirect method, but he emphasizes that this should not be attempted by beginners or anyone without considerable experience using the Indirect Method. You still ride the cycles of sleep, but can also use nap time to induce "micro-sleeps".
What time of day should you practice the direct method?
Raduga's not exactly clear when it should be done.
"Naturally, the best method for finding the right time to perform direct techniques is the same as indirect techniques - the deferred method. However, there are some serious differences here. First of all, one may interrupt one's sleep at practically anytime of the night or early morning (much better). Second, after having woken up (3-50 min.), one should not fall back asleep, but should immediately proceed to the techniques." (pg. 132)Hey, wait a minute. Doesn't that make it the same as the Indirect Method? Not exactly, he says, but others have apparently thought so:
"There is a theory that there is no such thing as a direct phase entrance method, and that all direct methods are actually a subcategory of the indirect method. The only difference would be that direct techniques involve inducing micro-sleep, which authentically mimics falling asleep, creating a physiological state close to natural awakening, when it is easy to enter the phase." (pg. 138)Later he says you can practice this during the day, when your body no longer needs REM sleep. Then he seems to contradict the earlier statement:
"Since the most effective window of time for using direct techniques occurs before sleep and at night, and lasts only 10 to 20 minutes in any case, additional time should not be wasted on trying to relax, nor should time for relaxation be subtracted from the requisite 10 to 20 minutes." (pg. 135)Strangely, he then seems to contradict himself again:
"The second most effective window of time is before falling asleep at night. During this period of time, the brain needs to shut down the body and mind in order to renew its strength, which has been expended over the course of the day. This natural process can be taken advantage of by introducing certain adjustments to it." (pg. 133)First "before bed" is the most effective time, and then it's the second most effective? I've always discouraged people from making OBE attempts at night before bed because your "consciousness" brain chemicals are too depleted and the subconscious is too pre-programmed to pull you into sleep. In other words, it's too easy to lose focus then. I recommend early morning when your "consciousness" brain chemicals are regenerated and you are not sleepy (which is compatible with Raduga's preferred method, the Indirect Method). He does say:
"The key to the successful use of direct techniques rests in achieving a free-floating state of consciousness." (pg. 131)
Raduga also says that body position is very important with direct techniques (and unimportant with indirect, since you're coming out of natural sleep). Whereas most OBE books recommend a "wand" or "corpse" position (facing up, arms at your side), he contradicts conventional wisdom:
"...this position seriously impairs the efforts of the majority of practitioners." (pg. 134)I disagree. Facing straight up can pose some difficulties (like if your body starts snoring), but can help keep you from falling asleep. Instead, he recommends:
"If a practitioner experiences difficulty falling asleep and is constantly awake while performing direct techniques, then the most comfortable position for the individual should be used." (pg. 134)
"If sleep comes quite easily to a practitioner, a less natural position should be taken." (pg. 134)I personally think a slightly uncomfortable position is the way to go.
In my opinion, Raduga doesn't stress the importance of relaxation enough. He does, however, say things like this:
"Complete, peaceful relaxation may only be coerced by those with specialized, in-depth experience. Generally, these are people who have spent a great amount of time and effort mastering trance and meditative states. Relaxation in these cases should take no more than 1 to 3 minutes and no longer, as when a practitioner is expert at relaxation it is sufficient to just think about it, and it occurs." (pg. 135)
Although Raduga doesn't say much about programming the subconscious, nor self-conditioning, he does talk about desire:
"For more practitioners, a key piece of advice is to let go of a burning desire to enter the phase no matter what when using the direct method." (pg. 139)Given the context in which it was written, I think what he's trying to say is: it's good to have a burning desire to have OBEs in general, but while you're actually trying to induce it, let go of that desire (and everything else on your mind, I might add).
Quiescing the Mind
In my first book, I talked about how important it is to quiesce the mind, or force it to a completely stopped or empty state, while attempting to separate. Raduga seems to agree somewhat:
"Until a practitioner learns to have stillness in his approach to the direct phase entrance methods, he cannot hope to obtain any real practical experience." (pg. 139)
Becoming Conscious While Dreaming
Raduga's third major way to induce "the phase" is through lucid dreaming. I don't think he adequately covers the techniques of lucid dreaming. He gives some of the basics, but you'll get much more depth from books like Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple by Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready. He does mention a cool idea I'd never heard before:
"Another way of remembering dreams is to create a map of the dream world. This is called dream cartography and is similar to keeping a journal, through an enhanced level of awareness is developed by connecting dream episodes on a map." (pg. 147)The trick to lucid dreaming, he says, is properly forming the intention:
"Once again, everything depends on correctly forming an intention. An experienced practitioner forms an intention in a fundamentally different way than a novice." (pg. 264)
Raduga mentions non-autonomous (i.e. assisted) methods of achieving "the phase," but like the section on lucid dreaming, these are not given much attention. They include:
- Cueing Technologies.
For example, sound and light machines that detect REM sleep and signal the dreamer with flashing lights.
- Working in Pairs.
For example, a partner waits for you to fall asleep, then they whisper in your ear.
- Hypnosis and Suggestion.
For example, the Christos Technique.
- Physiological Signals.
- The Coffee Method.
For example, sleep for 6 hours, drink coffee, then go back to sleep with the intention of having an OBE when you awaken.
Again, this is a world class OBE technique book. Don't take my word for it. You'll gain a lot more insight by reading the book than just reading my review of it.
In part 3, I'll cover some of Raduga's tips and hints for inducing the phase, techniques for deepening (improving the experience), maintaining (making it last longer), and lots of other things.
11 April 2017