Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fod the Mule

Fod the Mule

by Bob Peterson

I wasn't going to post this, especially so close to my last post, but I decided to anyway, just for fun. I figured this will probably be my last blog article of 2018, so why not? It's kind of my Christmas present to my readers and I hope you enjoy it.

I'm in a local writing group called Brainerd Writers Alliance. Last Saturday, at our December meeting, one of our members gave everyone a "writing exercise." It was basically a fun, lighthearted ten (or so) minute exercise for your creative mind. The challenge was to write some creative story (fiction or nonfiction) from a short list of categories. When the time was up, everybody read their story aloud.

Most of the categories revolved around Christmas, so I decided to write a story about the first Christmas. The problem was, we could only use pen and paper. This was "lightning writing" or "speed writing." I couldn't pause to think. I just wrote words down on the paper as fast and furious as they'd come to me. In other words, this was very close to "automatic writing" where the story just kind of flowed from my head to my hand, and then to the paper. You should have seen my hand fly across the paper as I wrote.

So here's my Christmas story. Just don't expect much because ten minutes isn't much time to write anything, especially hand writing it on paper, let alone a cohesive story! I did a small amount of editing to clean it up, but it's mostly unchanged.

* * *

Fod the Mule

The caravan stopped at the stable. His journey had ended. Fod was exhausted to the point of breaking. He felt undernourished, hungry and dejected, and his feet ached. He was alone and it seemed that nobody cared about his burdens. He felt unloved, just another beast of burden, but that’s not unexpected for a Persian mule.

His masters had piled up huge boxes of supplies on all the animals’ backs, but his was the heaviest; they were filled with gold. Why couldn’t he have gotten the spices or incense which weighed so much less? But that would have shifted the weight to one of his friends—the other mules—and he didn’t want that either.

It seemed like his masters didn’t care about him. “Follow the star. Just follow the star.” That’s all they ever cared about. They were the world famous Magi, Zoroastrian priests, so why did they take us so far away from Persia?, he wondered. What good would come out of it? Dressed in their priestly robes, they looked like kings, and no one would dare question their wisdom; not even a mule.

The high priest opened the manger door and Fod noticed a small baby lying in a bed of straw. The baby didn’t cry, but was surrounded by an air of peace and calm. The humans exchanged words, but it wasn’t mule-talk, so he didn’t understand. Was this the reason for the eleven hundred mile journey? What was so special about this child? He wanted to know.

The slaves took the boxes of gold off his back and he felt so much better, so much lighter, like he could walk on air. He wanted to investigate further, but he was afraid to intrude. He needed the right opportunity.

As the slaves hauled the last of the boxes inside, they left the door ajar just a little. Then they shuffled to the far side of the building to talk without disturbing the baby. That was the moment Fod had been waiting for. He nudged the door further open with his bulbous nose and stuck his head inside, then craned his neck into the straw enclosure and sniffed the child.

The child was so quiet he thought he was asleep, but he wasn’t. The baby reached a tiny hand up and touched Fod’s nose. Suddenly, he understood. He was embraced and flooded with God’s divine love. He knew his purpose was fulfilled. He had played an important part in God’s plan and would go down in history. Suddenly, he knew the journey was worth the pain, worth the toil, worth all the back-breaking hardship and labor. Maybe he was just a simple mule, but without him, the journey would have ended in failure.

He thought about it a minute. Then he decided it was the same for everyone.

15 December 2018
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Happy Holidays to all my readers of all genders, races, colors, religions, and walks of life. Here's to overcoming what separates us.

Bob Peterson
18 December 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Arguing with Fundamentalist Christians

Arguing with Fundamentalist Christians

by Bob Peterson

I'm sorry if this comes off as a rant, but it's one of those things that drives me crazy. If you're a fundamentalist Christian, you may want to slowly back away.

After all these years, I should know better than argue with fundamentalist Christians. I guess I brought it on myself. You'd think I'd have learned by now. A guy named Vince posted a meme on Facebook that was divided into four squares. The first had a photo of some marijuana that said "This is not the answer." The second was alcohol and said the same thing. The third was drugs and said the same thing. The last panel showed a man holding a Bible. It said, "This is the answer." Vince posted "Thank you God for taking away my addictions."

I shouldn't have done it, but I took the bait. I responded by saying "You're substituting one addiction for another. But some people need that." After all, we all need different belief systems to get through life. Do what you need to do to get clean, right? Or as John Lennon once said, "Whatever gets you through the night...s'alright." If God or the Bible help you, go for it. I applaud that.

But it's funny how people (including me) cling to their rigid belief systems, and if you point out any little flaw, they will lash out like a wounded animal and even fight you to the death to defend them, rather than admit the truth and give them up. And so our argument started. Vince lashed out by saying:
"All people need that Bob, including yourself. Your addiction to OBEs is something I once had too, and it's against God's will. Put your faith in Christ and repent. You've been deceiving yourself for too long."
Apparently Vince took my simple statement as a personal attack on his belief system (it was not meant to be). He responded by attacking my belief system and man, he knew how to push my buttons. He actually had the audacity to assert that OBEs are against God's will, and that I should repent and turn to Christ. As they say, "Them's fightin' words!" First, I politely pointed him to my blog article titled "Are OBEs Against Christianity?" in which I present my case for OBEs being compatible with Christianity. Then I responded with:
"OBEs are not my addiction, they're my passion. There's a difference.

And as for Christ, don't get me started. There are too many problems with it. First of all, Christianity has very little to do with Christ or his teachings, because his entire cult (yes, he was a cult leader like all religions begin) was misappropriated by the apostle Paul, who went off into all kinds of idiotic misogynistic rants and teachings. Christ taught us (rightly) to love God above all things. Paul taught us (wrongly) to worship Jesus as a God. I've read the Bible, and the more I learn about Paul, the more I'm convinced he was a lunatic cult leader.

As for Jesus himself, he was the real deal. He had a connection with God, but he was also the most misunderstood man in history.

Besides, what makes you (or anyone) value the misinterpreted, poorly-translated mystical experiences from somebody 2000 years ago, from a completely different culture, who thought the world was flat, as opposed to the modern contemporary mystical experiences (like OBEs) of people who are living today and write about it in your own language, own culture and modern context, with 2000 years of revised scientific knowledge? Just to give an example, I think Jurgen Ziewe's books can teach you (and mankind) more about God and the afterlife than the Bible.

Okay, end of rant. Have a nice day. :)"
Okay, maybe I over-reacted. Maybe I lashed out like he did. I guess I just couldn't resist pushing his buttons the way he pushed mine. But really...He's okay with "John had a really cool OBE 2000 years ago [ref: Book of Revelations]" so now he's "John The Divine" but "John down the street has a really cool OBE, but yesterday" and it's got to be Satan? Really? Vince responded:
"I came from a new age background and practiced astral projection for 15 years. Believe me that I was not delighted when I discovered that it was against God's law. I tried to find a way around it but His word is clear and can't be denied... witchcraft (astral projection has long been a practice of witchcraft) and contact with spirits is against His will, and for good reason. I've had some nasty encounters with deceptive spirits and demonic entities, one that even resulted in a painful physical injury. An involuntary experience initiated and guided by God, as Paul had and speaks of in Corinthians, is much different than willingly entering the spirit realm to satisfy the desires of the ego.

You've read the Bible but it seems you haven't understood it. Perhaps you've been under demonic influence for too long to see clearly, an unfortunate side effect of messing around in the spirit world for too long. Paul teaches exactly what Christ did, and yes, Jesus did claim to be God.
"I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)

Here he was clearly claiming to be equal with God, as the Jews responded..

"The Jews answered Him (Jesus), 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make yourself out to be God.' ? (John 10:33)
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (John 8:58)
"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am." (John 13:13) (The Greek word for "Lord" is Kurios, meaning God supreme in authority).

Jesus received worship as God (Matthew 14:33; 28:9) and sometimes even demanded to be worshipped as God (John 5:23; compare Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:8?14).

Nice double standard by the way. My passion is an "addiction" but not yours? The term addiction implies detrimental consequences. My passion leads to eternal life, yours results in death. Thus it's clear who has the addiction."
Wait. Did he just say that Paul taught exactly what Christ taught? What a ridiculous claim. Jesus taught reasonable things like "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Paul taught "My judgement upon the man who did this thing is already given, as if I were indeed present." (1 Corinthians 5:3) and "It is God's people who are to judge the world; surely you know that." (1 Corinthians 6:2)

Paul taught that "As in all congregations of God's people, women should not address the meeting. They have no license to speak, but should keep their place as the laws direct. If there is something they want to know, they can ask their own husbands at home. It is a shocking thing that a woman should address the congregation." (1 Corinthians 14:34) Where exactly did Jesus teach that?

I responded:
"When you discovered it was against God's law? Where exactly does it say that? Where exactly does it say that astral projection is witchcraft? This is just Christian hysteria and assumptions with no backing. As I wrote in the article, Paul's own words affirm that it is perfectly okay for a Christian man to have out-of-body experiences.

As for John 10:30, Jesus had a real connection to God, so he knew that we are *ALL* one with God. Separation is an illusion. So of course he's going to say that. Some have called into question whether this passage is even original or if it was added. Plus there are plenty of quotes to refute that statement. Jesus said Why do you call me good? Only God is good, etc.

As for the Bible, it's way too self-contradictory and messed up to even apply. For example, it condones slavery. Do you condone slavery? It doesn't say slavery is wrong, it says how you should treat your slaves. That's your holy book. Time to wake up.

Paul said that women should be quiet and not teach. Do you stand by that? Is that what Jesus taught? Paul was an misguided cult leader."
Vince said:
"The contradictions you speak of are an indicator that you don't understand the Bible. Context is key. Taking two verses out of context and comparing them is a sure way to misunderstand the text; this applies to anything."
In exactly what context can you read "And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, [slaves] whom thou shalt have; of the nations that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondman and bondmaids" (Leviticus 25:44) if slavery is wrong?

In exactly what context can you read that women should be kept quiet and aren't allowed to teach, while still holding modern beliefs that women should be treated the same as men? Does Vince have a wife, and does she agree to this nonsense? Then he told someone else on the thread:
"He gets high on new age occult practices. He actually helped me get started on them myself back when I was a boy when I read his book detailing his out of body experiences. It was around the same time that I lost faith in the one true God of the bible. The connection is not just a coincidence. Thank God that I eventually came to my senses and realized the deception I was involved in. I think he is too invested in the experiences and lifestyle to be open minded enough to realize the deception he is a part of."
Well, I'm glad to hear I helped Vince open his eyes for a while, but it looks like he either got scared because he encountered some of the "astral wildlife" or the demons of his own subconscious fear, or something. Too bad he fell asleep. OBEs are not related to the occult, witchcraft, or any other path. Those paths choose to use OBEs to gain knowledge of the afterlife, as any spiritual path is free to do. I responded:
"Astral Projection is not an occult practice (even though some occultists practice it) nor a part of witchcraft (even though some witches practice it), nor a part of Islam or any other religion (even though some of those followers practice it). There's absolutely nothing in the Bible denouncing it, but Paul's note about it confirms it's okay for Christian men to do it. Most OBEs happen to normal average people of all ages, cultures, religions and belief systems. The Bible does denounce consulting with spirits, but you can choose whether or not to interact with spirits inside the body or outside the body; that's a separate issue.

You still haven't told me whether you condone slavery. You still haven't told me whether women should be allowed to teach.

You want some examples of contradictions? How did Judas die?

You want to think that Jesus was God? John 14:28 "For the Father is greater than I." Luke 18:19 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Read what it says.

Does it make any logical sense to (blindly) believe the religious experiences someone had 2000 years ago, in a completely different culture, in a completely different language, with a completely different set of core beliefs, rather than the religious experiences of someone in your own time, in your own culture, in your own language, in your own core set of beliefs?

I understand the Bible very well. You call me blind, but you don't see the plank in your own eye. Suppose your thirteen-year-old daughter told you she's pregnant. What would be your reaction? What is easier to believe: That she's been having sex or that God magically impregnated her with the Messiah? Guess how old Mary was?

Did you ever stop to consider that with OBEs, you can actually MEET Jesus face to face rather than spirits? Talk to him, listen to him, touch him? Have people done that? Absolutely. Experience trumps faith every time, brother."
And I pointed him to my blog article titled: Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face.
He responded with:
"Astral projection is most certainly a practice within the realm of witchcraft, just do a google search and you'll see the majority of witchcraft websites feature astral projection as one of their practices: http://www.witchipedia.com/def:astral-projection
Do a search on occult practices and you'll likewise see astral projection featured in the majority of them. How don't you know this? The very definition of the occult is "supernatural or mystical beliefs and practices" which is exactly what astral projection is. Again, how don't you know this? Are you lying to try to win an argument?

Repeating over and over that Paul affirms that OBEs are okay doesn't make it true. The fact is that he doesn't. You're welcome to post scripture that supports your case.

I have sought out Jesus while out of my body, many times, and have met an individual who responded to my intent who appeared to be him, many times. But there was nothing about these experiences that indicated that it was really him. For all I know it was a deceptive spirit playing dress up, or possibly even a manifestation of my subconscious mind. The fact that he looked like the popular image of Jesus (white, long hair, short beard) is an indicator that it was not the true Jesus, as he looked nothing like this during his life on Earth. It would be foolish to trust these experiences.
For any contradiction you claim within the bible, there is a corresponding answer which explains the context of the verses in question and demonstrates that no contradiction exists when the scripture is properly understood. Trust me, I've already been down this path. I used to make the same claims that you are making now until I put my bias aside and did some honest research, investigating BOTH SIDES of the issue. If you are capable of looking up contradictions from anti-biblical sources, you are also capable of researching answers to these alleged contradictions from a Biblical viewpoint that show there is no contradiction. Are you honest and brave enough to do it?"
Okay, so google searches pull more weight than his own holy book, the Bible?

And what exactly does he think is a lie? The words in the Bible that I pointed out? Did he actually say he put aside his bias and actually did honest research? Sounds to me like he talked to some other fanatical Christians who gave him reading material (other than the Bible) that explains it all away as witchcraft.

And is he actually trying to say that Paul doesn't affirm OBEs are okay? Then why exactly did Paul write:
"I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them." (2 Corinthians 12:2)?

Suppose instead that Paul was talking about fishing. "I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether fishing or not, I do not know--God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether fishing or not, I do not know--God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them." Doesn't that imply it's okay for a Christian man to go fishing? What exactly is the difference? What Paul meant is "This Christian man may have been having an out-of-body experience." But that doesn't make him any less Christian, nor met with God's disapproval. Like slavery, OBEs were known to the early Christian world, yet Paul does not call it out nor condemn it. He talks about OBEs in a rather matter-of-fact way, like fishing. Doesn't that tell you something?

Then Vince resorted to personal attacks:
"This guy Bob's initial comment says it all. Look where a lifetime of occult practice gets you- a bitter old man putting down people who have overcome a horrible problem simply because he doesn't agree with their religious beliefs. He says "oh well your faith is just an addiction but you weak-minded people need that!" What a joke. You are transparent Bob. Astral projection doesn't make for a kind and loving person. Nor an honest one."
Bitter old man? LMAO! He does have an active imagination, I'll give him that. I never "put down" anyone, as I see it. I never called him weak-minded. I applaud people who overcome addiction. People with addictive personality types often do need a substitute, whether it be Christ, Buddha, Mohammad, or any other faith. That's not a judgment. That doesn't mean you're weak, inferior or worse than anyone else. It just means you're human like the rest of us.

After that, I pointed out the logical fallacy of his argument: just because witches or occultists practice astral projection doesn't mean astral projection is witchcraft or occultism. That's as ridiculous as saying, "Macs are computers. Bob uses a computer. Therefore, Bob uses a Mac." No. Wrong. That's the fallacy of generalization. Any grad student who passes "Logic 101" class can tell you that.

I told Vince I've never practiced witchcraft, nor occultism a day in my life. And I asked him specifically: Where exactly in the Bible does it say that astral projection is witchcraft? Where in the Bible does it say that if an OBE is spontaneous it's alright, but if initiate it yourself, it's a sin? Paul's example from 2 Corinthians isn't even that specific. Paul never specified if it was a spontaneous or self-induced OBE.

Maybe you can guess his response.


He deleted my post.

That's right. Like any closed-minded thick-skulled fundamentalist, he covered his eyes and ears like the first two monkeys in the famous trio: "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

When the foundations of any faith start to crumble under the unbearable weight of the truth, the closed-minded shore them up anyway they can. It's easier to retreat to your safe zone than actually do the necessary research, deductive reasoning, and soul-searching. I guess some people just can't handle the truth.

I posted again to say something like, "Sure. Just delete my posts and ignore the truth." Naturally, he deleted those replies too.

It was Vince's post, so he has the right to delete my replies. Two thousand years ago, I would have been silenced more harshly. I'd have been tortured and killed without a second thought. That was the primitive mentality of those times. But this is 2018, and I refuse to be silenced, especially when it comes to misinformation about OBEs.

The sad thing is that Vince is still an addict but won't admit it. His addiction to Fundamentalist Christianity is plain to see in how he denies it, defends his actions fiercely, blocks opposing information, and refuses help. Addicts can't be changed from the outside. But I guess it's still better than addiction to drugs or alcohol. It's still a positive step in his spiritual evolution.

God doesn't take away your addictions. I've talked to various addicts and AA people, and they'll tell you upfront: You need to admit you're always an addict. The first thing they say at AA meetings is something like "I'm John, and I'm an alcoholic."

Vince wants to believe that astral projection is against God's law. That's his right, but he hasn't proven his case, nor will he ever. It's just an illogical, unsubstantiated belief he's been spoon-fed by his fanatical Christian handlers.

The truth is: There's nothing in the Bible that says out-of-body experiences are wrong or sinful, and there's nothing in the Bible that equates it with witchcraft. The only reason he (or anyone) has to believe OBEs are "witchcraft" is because some faith-tainted closed-minded ignoramus told him it was, whether it was by mouth, video, book, or website. It's certainly not in the tenants of the religion.

The problem with most fundamentalist Christians (and fundamentalists of all religions) is that they deal in absolutes, in black and white. They claim the Bible is the absolute word of God and that every word of the Bible is true. They insist you cannot "pick and choose" what to believe in the Bible. But then they blatantly ignore it and blind themselves to the numerous laws they themselves break daily and the contradictions, then come up with absurd stories to explain them away, like how Judas died. And almost all of them are content to study passages of the Bible selected by their handlers, but not read the entire Bible, which paints a more complete story. Why? Because reading the Bible is a lot of work. It's a big book. But how can they believe their soul depends on it, but still treat it as not important enough to actually read it?

For the record, Matthew 27:1-10 states that Judas committed suicide by hanging himself. The Acts of the Apostles doesn't mention any suicide, but says he "Fell headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." (Acts 1:18) So which is it? Fundamentalists who argue this say that both happened: He hung himself, then his body fell and he became disemboweled. Yeah. Right. Nice story. Reminds me of the guy who committed suicide by shooting himself in the back of the head, twice. Or the guy in the show "Chicago" who "accidentally" ran into his wife's knife--ten times.

What? You want other examples? How about this one: In one place it says that Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days (Matthew 4:1), but in another it says that God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). If Jesus is God, how do you reconcile that? There are many examples, but don't take my word for it: Do your own research. Read the Bible, but read the whole thing. Not just bits selected by fanatics. We all pick and choose what wisdom to gather from what sources, as it should be.

If you don't pick and choose, if you believe every word of the Bible is God's truth, you have to accept all of its teachings, right? The Bible does not teach that slavery is wrong. It instructs you on how you should treat your slaves. In other words, it condones slavery. So unless you "pick and choose" what to believe, you need to accept that it's okay to own slaves. The Bible also teaches that women should be quiet and not teach. The Bible forbids getting a tattoo. It also forbids wearing clothes with mixed fabric types. And eating pork. And a lot of things. So put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

I do not have a problem with people practicing Christianity or believing in Jesus as their lord and savior. People should be free to believe what they want to believe. I'd much rather see that than the countless people today who have no respect, no morals, and no conscience, and go around shooting up schools.

What I have a problem with is people imposing their beliefs on others: trying to silence the honest seekers by spreading lies, quashing the truth, discouraging people from finding out for themselves what's really "out there," as Vince tried to do when he deleted my replies. Or trying to scare people into the blind obedience, like telling them OBEs lead to death, damnation, and that you need to repent and turn to Jesus.

In Matthew 6:33 it says "Seek first the kingdom of God" and throughout history, humankind's views of the "kingdom of God" has always been based on someone's personal experiences, mostly their near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences.

If you believe in someone else's mystical experiences, that's secondhand knowledge, which is often fraught with misinterpretation and misinformation. Especially when those experiences are hopelessly removed from your current situation by thousands of years of cultural changes, language translations, editing by various religious authorities, and plain old lack of words they had to describe their experiences (in any language) when it happened.

If you have your own personal experiences, that's firsthand knowledge, and seeing is believing. As I said, knowledge trumps faith every time.

To discourage people from discovering their own truths is just plain old dark-ages thinking. It's caveman thinking. This same kind of "Christian" thinking is why the Catholic church burned Giordano Bruno alive at the stake for teaching that the Earth travels around the sun (as Galileo proposed), even though he was right. It's the kind of idiotic thinking that leads suicide bombers to commit mass murder to get their 72 virgins.

End of rant. Sheesh. I warned him not to get me going. :)

11 December 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dietary Considerations

OBE Dietary Considerations

by Bob Peterson

In my previous blog entry, I gave an excerpt about wheat gluten from my forthcoming book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience, chapter 69. Because of recent discussions on Facebook about vegetarian diets and such, I decided to post the rest of chapter 69, "Dietary Considerations." Enjoy.
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A lot of authors have theories about what works and what doesn’t to induce OBEs, but that’s only what works for them, not you. This especially applies to diet. D. Scott Rogo dedicated an entire chapter to “Astral Projection through Dietary Control”1 which, he says, dates back at least to 1916. He names it the “[Minnie] Keeler system” and credits amateur psychic investigator Prescott Hall for documenting it. He says to combine the diet with a routine of visualizations like the techniques in part 2 [of this book]. The system, Rogo says, is this:

  1. The student should begin by either fasting or cutting down food intake.
  2. No food of any sort should be eaten just before an OBE attempt. Overeating may bar any success at OBE travel.
  3. No meat should be eaten during the training program.
  4. The diet should consist mainly of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Carrots are extremely beneficial.
  6. Raw eggs are favorable to the diet and to OB release.
  7. No nuts of any kind are to be eaten.
  8. Peanuts are especially bad. (Peanuts aren’t technically nuts, but belong to the pea family).
  9. Liquids of all types are beneficial, but are not to be used in excess.

As far as I can recall, this is the only OBE book that mentions not eating nuts. What’s so special about nuts? Many people become constipated when they eat nuts, and I’ve had friends tell me they can’t induce OBEs if they’re constipated. I’ve also had friends tell me they can’t induce OBEs if they don’t drink enough water, and lack of water also leads to constipation. I believe it all goes back to the bacterium in the gut. In chapter 66 I talked about how raw potato starch gives you longer REM sleep because it feeds bacterium in your gut. I think they influence OBEs more than anyone realizes

The human body is a very complex ecosystem packed with not only human cells, but lots of other chemicals, hormones, nutrients, and bacteria. In fact, scientists in the UK recently discovered that we have more non-human DNA in our bodies than human DNA!2 Normally, this ecosystem works just fine and we live normal “physical” lives, but if you tip some of those factors out of balance, OBEs may result, or at least become more likely. You may need to experiment with some of the factors below until you “tip the balance” in favor of OBEs.

The Effects of a Vegetarian Diet

Like Rogo’s book above, many in the genre recommend a vegetarian diet to induce OBEs.3 Graham Nicholls recently conducted an informal study of his OBE students in which he created a index value based on both frequency per month and duration of OBEs for a ten-month period. He found that students with plant-based diets consistently scored higher than those with non-plant-based diets.

Other experts say meat has no bearing on OBEs4 unless you believe it does, in which case the placebo effect kicks in. So which is it? Scientists are now learning that there are multiple body types. They recently found that any given weight loss diet might work for one person but not another because different body types metabolize foods differently. Maybe the same holds true for OBEs: maybe a vegetarian diet benefits some body types and not others. I’ve always been a meat eater, and it’s never affected my OBEs, but maybe other dietary considerations are more important than meat.

Body Mass

A vegetarian diet might work due to having less body mass: have you ever met an obese vegetarian? Or maybe they tend to eat more wheat gluten than meat eaters (more on that below.) I have reason to believe your weight or body mass may influence your ability to induce OBEs. Although it might be purely psychological, I have problems inducing OBEs if I get too heavy: 200 lbs (91 kg) seems to be my upper limit. More study is needed, of course, but I’ve generally found it much easier when my body weighs around 185 lbs (84 kg) or less. Since I’m 5’10” tall (177.8 cm), that makes my ideal body mass index 26.5. Maybe the brain chemicals and hormones needed for an OBE are too “spread out” if your body mass is too high, similar to how a small person becomes more quickly impaired by alcohol than a large person.

Fasting, Meal Quantity, and Dinner Time

Some religious and spiritual traditions teach that fasting can help induce altered states of consciousness like OBEs. Sylvan Muldoon wrote that “Fasting is promotive of astral projection.”5 He believed that without food, the astral body needed to spend more time away from the physical “to collect a greater charge of cosmic energy to balance the loss.” Other teachers dismiss this idea.6 For example, Akhena writes, “There is no point in suggesting that you fast in order to increase your chances of leaving your body.”

Several sources say that OBEs are more likely if you’ve only had a light meal for dinner. A friend told me he is much more likely to have OBEs if he doesn’t eat anything after 3:00pm (15:00). I’ve never tried with this, but fasting after 3:00 may work for some people. It’s certainly worth trying.

Pasta and Wheat Gluten
(I already posted this section into this blog article: https://obeoutlook.blogspot.com/2018/11/obes-pasta-and-wheat-gluten.html)
If you take all these things into consideration, you might be able to increase your OBEs by following these recommendations:
  • Eat only light meals, and nothing after 3:00pm.
  • Eat less meat, nuts, and cheese, and more carrots and other vegetables.
  • Eat more wheat gluten.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and stay trim.
  • Drink lots of water.
1 Leaving the Body, D. Scott Rogo, Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1983, chapter 4.
2 More than half your body is not human by James Gallagher, BBC News, Health, 10 April 2018.
3 For example, Navigating the Out of Body Experience by Graham Nicholls, and Exploring Your Inner Reality by Jonas Ridgeway.
4 For example, Out of Body Experiences by Akhena. William Buhlman also eats meat and even offers meat dishes at his OBE classes at The Monroe Institute.
5 The Projection of the Astral Body, Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington, Weiser, 1929, pg 147.
6 Out of Body Experiences, Akhena, Channel Soleil Publications, 2013, pg. 47.
7 Out of Body Experiences, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 1997, pg. 37 – 38.
8 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/how-psilocybin-works-addition-by-subtraction/
9 Measuring Brain Blood Flow Change by fNIRS during an Out-of-Body Experience, Yasuhiro Inui and Hideyuki Kokubo (2009).
10 How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, Penguin Random House, 2016, pg. 204. This drop in blood flow to the PFC may partly explain why OBEs are often experienced during an Near-Death Experience (NDE), especially in cases of cardiac arrest.
11 For example, Wheat and Schizophrenia, Psychology Today, by Emily Deans, M.D. (March 28, 2011)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

OBEs, Pasta and Wheat Gluten

OBEs, Pasta and Wheat Gluten

by Bob Peterson

Here's another short excerpt from my forthcoming book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience. It's taken from chapter 69, "Dietary Considerations." I chose this excerpt because my friend Jason Kish recently posted in the Facebook group "The Lounge" about an experience with eating pasta before bed.

* * *
Unless you have gluten intolerance, you probably don’t give much thought to eating foods that contain wheat gluten, like breads, pasta, and some cereals, etc. But for a few years now, I've suspected that wheat gluten can actually help you induce OBEs. As far as I know, nobody has made this connection before, but bear me out and consider the following:

If you’ve read my first book, Out of Body Experiences you may remember that I had my very first full-blown OBE after I came home late from the University and ate a big slab of lasagna: lots of wheat gluten right before bed.(1) That should have been my first tip-off, but wheat gluten wasn't on anyone's radar back in 1979.

I also theorized earlier [in the book] that the infamous OBE "vibrations" might be a "milder" form of a migraine headache. Remember that all three of my brothers and my sister, my mother and my grandmother all had severe migraines. I'm the only one in my family who escaped this genetic curse, but I'm also the only one who has OBEs. Also bear in mind that some people who have debilitating migraines are cured when put on a gluten-free diet.

Now consider this: A few years ago I read an article on how psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms” affects the brain, based on an analysis of brain blood flow.(2) It caught my interest because many people report OBE-like “trips” when they take psilocybin. The study correlated the “trips” with decreased blood flow to two key areas of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). The lower the blood flow to these two regions, the harder you trip.

Then I read a Japanese study(3) that found brain blood flow was decreased to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during an OBE. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman’s information also suggests that profound states of consciousness are associated with a sudden drop in neural activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC).(4)

Other articles suggest that wheat gluten similarly reduces blood flow to the brain’s frontal cortex.(5)

If that's not convincing enough, consider this: Some people have a disease known as “wheat schizophrenia.” Although I’m no expert, my understanding is that wheat gluten causes a drop in blood flow to the frontal cortex of people with the disease, causing a form of temporary schizophrenia, complete with vivid hallucinations. If the patient is put on a strict gluten-free diet, their symptoms go away and they behave normally.

Based on all these things, my theory is that maybe wheat gluten in the right quantity can cause a similar drop in the PFC of ordinary people (without the aforementioned disease) causing an OBE as the result.

To test my theory, I did some experiments where I ate shredded wheat cereal or pasta before bed. I haven't produced an OBE this way yet, but I definitely feel more OBE-prone the next morning.

Not everyone shares my theory. Daniel Kelley, author of Behind the Veil suggests a gluten-free diet, among his many recommendations, so take this discussion with a grain of salt. I don’t recall any other OBE books mentioning gluten-free diets. More testing is needed to determine if my theory is correct, but it's sure worth giving it a try.

Bob Peterson
13 November, 2018

1 Out of Body Experiences, Robert Peterson, Hampton Roads Publishing, 1997, pg. 37 – 38.
2 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/how-psilocybin-works-addition-by-subtraction/
3 Measuring Brain Blood Flow Change by fNIRS during an Out-of-Body Experience, Yasuhiro Inui and Hideyuki Kokubo (2009).
4 How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, Penguin Random House, 2016, pg. 204. This drop in blood flow to the PFC may partly explain why OBEs are often experienced during an Near-Death Experience (NDE), especially in cases of cardiac arrest.
5 For example, Wheat and Schizophrenia, Psychology Today, by Emily Deans, M.D. (March 28, 2011)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How to Have a Successful Relationship

How to Have a Successful Relationship

by Bob Peterson

Out-of-body experiences can really make you feel un-grounded, otherworldly, and disconnected, so it's easy to lose touch with other people, especially your mate, partner, spouse, etc. So it's good to have set of ground rules to keep you connected. This article isn't about OBEs. It's about something more important and valuable than OBEs: loving relationships. In my opinion, there should be a class on loving relationships in everyone's basic high school education, but sadly, there isn't. So here are some things I wish someone had taught me when I was young.

As for my credentials: I've been happily married to my wife Kathy for 26 years and counting, so I think I'm qualified to talk about it. I once had a string of about nine years where Kathy and I literally spent 23 hours of every day together. We were a computer department of 2 in a small 25-person company: We carpooled to work together every morning, worked in the same office, carpooled home together, and were pretty much inseparable, except for doctor's appointments and such. The other hour? A half-hour for each of us to shower and get ready for work in the morning while the other ate breakfast. And we're still best friends.

The subject of loving relationships is very deep and complex, so this article can do nothing more than scratch the surface. I could write a whole book on subject. In fact, hundreds of books have already been written on the subject. So forgive my brevity.

Somewhere around 1988, I had a relationship fail because I didn't know anything about intimacy, and I did everything wrong. After the break up, I worked very hard to learn about relationships and improve myself. I read lots of books and attended many classes; classes on interpersonal communication, showing emotions, and so forth. One particular class on loving relationships was taught by a medical doctor at the world famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He taught the class as a community service (he certainly didn't need the money!) and I still remember a lot of it because I live by it every day. This, then, is a collection of advice I have learned about loving relationships from many sources. None of these tips originated with me; I'm just passing them along. Some of these might be more geared toward men, partly because I'm a man (and men are often clueless) and partly because I think women are naturally better at communication, and that's an important skill.

Disclaimer: Most of the discussion and examples below are geared toward hetero relationships, because that's what I'm familiar with. I assume they apply equally to gay relationships, but I may be overlooking things that apply to those as well.

In no particular order:

Love Yourself

You really need to love yourself and find yourself worthy of love. You can't find yourself in another person. Nobody else can validate your existence. Remember that everyone is a mirror, and they reflect your own image back to you. If you think you're loathsome, people will see you as loathsome. So another person can't really love you unless you truly love yourself and love who you are. Also, you can't make anyone love you. The best you can do is make yourself more loving and more lovable. If you don't love who you are, change who you are. Improve yourself. Become somebody you can love, and the right mate will automatically be attracted to you. Become the person you really want to be. And always remember: We all deserve love. If necessary, do affirmations like, "I love who I am" or "I am lovable."

Physical appearance doesn't matter

Physical appearance doesn't really matter much. I don't care if you're short or tall, slender or fat, beautiful or ugly: there is nothing in this world more attractive than self-confidence, happiness, a smile, and a little bit of attitude. If you don't have it, develop it or learn to fake it. The spirit is more important than the physical body: my OBEs taught me that. Attraction goes way beyond appearances.

Find the Right Partner

It's important to find someone who's on the same wavelength. I credit a lot of my successful marriage to the fact that Kathy and I are very similar: we're both left-brained logical computer programmer-types, and we grew up in the same community, so we think a lot alike. She knows what I mean and I know what she means.

As much as I tried to make it work with my previous girlfriend, we just couldn't communicate. Whenever I said anything, she would hear something completely different. Every sentence became hopelessly twisted because she was all right-brained and emotional and I'm not. So if you're an intellectual person, find another intellectual person. If you're driven by emotions, find someone who's also driven by emotions. Otherwise communication will be a major challenge, if not downright impossible.

Marry your Best Friend

Maybe some people can be successful in a relationship that's somewhat competitive, adversarial, or just a mutual agreement, but I can't. I live by this rule: If your partner isn't your best friend in the world, don't marry them. Your partner should be someone who you can trust implicitly, who's always got your back. They should be someone you can tell anything, even your deepest, darkest secrets, someone who won't judge you unfairly. They should be someone who accepts your character flaws and sees the real you. In other words, your best friend. Sure, you can have other good friends. Sure, you can go out with "the boys" or "the girls" but you should feel closer and more emotionally attached to your partner. Remember that your partner should be someone you're most comfortable with, who makes you feel at ease. If it's adversarial, it will never work.

Fight Fairly

Fighting is okay, but always fight fair. Never stockpile grievances. Share your feelings as soon as you can. Never tell your partner what they are thinking, feeling, or doing. You may strongly believe what they're thinking or feeling, but don't presume. Even if you're an empath, a psychic intuitive, and an first-class AAA-rated telepath, don't do it.

Use "I feel" messages as much as you can. It's better to say "I feel hurt" than "You hurt me" and "I feel angry when you do X" than "You're making me angry." Never say "You don't love me" when you can say "I feel unloved because..." That kind of thing.

Ask your partner how he or she feels. Never ever use sarcasm. Never be cruel or hurtful. Never mock them. Never belittle them or make them feel worthless or small. Never point out their flaws or make them feel stupid. Never resort to name-calling. Never go to bed angry. Never dredge up shortcomings from the past.

Also remember: it's okay to be angry, and it's okay to express your feelings, but don't hold on to anger and pain, and don't hold grudges. Learn to let go. Express it, then let it go. Never withhold affection because you angry an hour ago.

Try to see both sides

Your partner may not be good at communicating. Be patient and try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to see things from their point of view.

Remember the "emotional bank account"

I know it sounds trite, selfish, maybe even childish, but we all keep a little "score card" or "emotional bank account" in the back of our minds for every person close to you, especially your partner. It's an automatic reward/punishment system we unconsciously set up. Whenever your partner does something positive for you, (for example, they buy you roses) you unconsciously add a number of points to their emotional bank account. When they do something negative or hurtful (for example, calls you stupid) you unconsciously subtract a number of points. When the balance of your "emotional bank account" gets down to zero, you start to think, "Why the hell am I staying in this relationship?" and "Someone else would treat me better." In other words, you become unhappy in the relationship.

The thing is: They're keeping an emotional bank account for you too. So always bear this system in mind when dealing with them. Treat them with love and respect, and always try to do more positive things than negative things for them.

Do little things to brighten their day, to let them know you're thinking about them. Put gas in their car. Buy them a small gift, like a lottery ticket. Help them unload the car when they come home with groceries. Share the chores. Keep their account balance positive.

Never assume anything, except good intent

Never assume that you know what your partner needs, wants, or is feeling. Always ask them what they need, what they want, and what they're feeling.

The only assumption you should make is: Assume that your partner means well, or they wouldn't be in the relationship. If they say hurtful things, assume they're not meant to hurt you. Maybe it's a reaction to something you said or did, but assume their intent is good. Negativity is often a defense mechanism, so maybe you just hit a sore spot.

Never think that you can change your partner

You cannot change someone, and you cannot go into a relationship thinking, "They're flawed in this way, but I can change them." For example, "They've got a drinking problem, but I can fix that." You just can't. People only change from the inside. Either accept them and love for who they are, unconditionally right now, or find someone else you can accept and love. That doesn't mean they won't change. It just means you don't expect them to, and you're okay with where they're at. It's okay to encourage growth and change, but not okay to expect it.

Never take your partner for granted.

Never expect that your partner will launder your clothes, wash your dishes, clean your kitchen, serve you food, or whatever. Don't take them for granted. When they do things for you, thank them. Even if you've been married a hundred years and they've done it 36,500 times, thank them. Nobody wants to be taken for granted.

Learn to listen and pay attention

Be a good listener. Never interrupt your partner when he or she is talking. Even if they're just on the phone to someone else, don't interrupt them, unless it's life-and-death important: it's disrespectful. Even if you disagree with them, and even if it makes you furious, give them a chance to speak their mind before you respond. Listen intently to what they say. Pay attention. When you talk to them, look at them. Don't just turn your head to face them; turn your whole body to face them. Look them in the eye. Don't talk while you're facing away. Don't talk while you're staring down at your phone. Make sure they know you're paying attention to them. Repeat back what they just said so they know you understand. "So you're saying we should [fill in the blank], right?" Try to see things their way. One of the biggest complaints is "He/She never listens to me." Don't give him/her that impression.

Learn to respond appropriately

Along the same lines, acknowledge your partner's feelings. Don't just grunt a response. Always respond to what they say to you with a sentence that acknowledges and affirms that you understood what they said. You don't need to agree with what they said; you just need to affirm that you heard it.

If you're not good with quick quips or how to respond, take enough time to formulate a proper response. At the start of my relationship, I was bad at this. I wasn't very good at formulating a thoughtful response, so I was slow to respond. But I got better with practice. I'm not talking about anything deep here.

For example, just now as I write this, I heard a gunshot from a hunter in the woods nearby. Kathy heard it too and said, "It is not dawn yet." (Hunters aren't allowed to hunt until dawn.) I responded by saying, "It's so dark, I can't even imagine a hunter even being able to see an animal at this hour." My response was automatic. I wasn't being a "yes man", but I did affirm that I heard and understood what she said. I could have easily ignored her statement or grunted an acknowledgement, or whatever, but I responded in a way that validates what she said. Learn to do this. We all want to be heard.

Share your dreams, goals, ambitions and secrets

Don't hold back on your partner. Don't hold back your feelings because the feelings seem stupid or trivial or inconsequential. That's part of what makes us human. Don't be stoic, and don't be afraid to share your feelings. It's okay to say, "I feel hurt (or angry, or whatever) because this happened."

There's one exception to this rule. It may not seem fair, but if you're a guy, do not share lustful thoughts or feelings about another woman, or how beautiful another woman is. Don't say "She's got nice boobs" or "She's got gorgeous eyes" even if it's true. Women don't want to hear it. Trust me on this. It's a fact that straight men have lustful thoughts about other women, even if they're as satisfied as they can possibly be in a relationship. Man's brains are programmed for lust. Accept it but don't promote it. This is the one thing you cannot share with your mate.

Stand up for yourself

There is usually a dominant person in the relationship and a quiet one. If you're the quiet one, you still need to stand up for what you want and what you believe. If you're an introvert, it may be tempting to clam up and not say anything, or to say "I don't know." It may be tempting to let your partner dominate you. But if you feel strongly about something, you need to push back and speak your mind. Don't let your partner bully you.

For example, if you really wanted to watch the football game Sunday afternoon, don't accept it if your partner says, "We're going to a play Sunday afternoon." That should have been negotiated, not thrust upon you. Stand up for yourself and tell her that you don't want to go to a play or whatever. Tell her how you feel. "What? I feel hurt that you made these plans without even asking me." If you don't speak your mind and let your opinions be heard, she won't respect you. She'll think you're weak. She'll continue to bully you.

If you're the dominant person in the relationship, you may need to draw your partner out and drag out responses. "I'd like to go to a play Sunday afternoon. Are you interested or do you have other ideas?" But don't be a bully and make decisions on your own that apply equally to you both.

Never lie

Women know when you're lying. They've literally got a million years of evolution geared toward spotting lies. They know. Trust me: they just know. The truth may be painful, but a lie erodes the foundation of the relationship.

Or to think about it another way: she may be hurt by the truth, but she'll get over it. But if you lie, she'll never get over it.

Learn to say you're sorry

When you're wrong, admit it. Don't be stubborn. When you're right, don't gloat, boast, or parade it in front of him/her. Move on.

Determine exactly what your needs are

Take some serious time to figure out (1) exactly what your needs are in the relationship, and (2) what your wants are in the relationship. You can live without a "want" but you can't live without a "need," so determine which falls into which category. You need to figure out what your top five needs are and communicate them to your partner. If your needs aren't being met, your partner needs to know that. Communicate it to them, painful or not.

Everyone is different, and we all have different needs and wants. There are often things in common in most men and things in common in most women, but men's needs are often different from women's needs. Men tend to need things like sex, to feel important or useful, touching, and to feel respected. Women tend to need things like affection, emotional connection, communication, to be payed attention to, etc.

For example, maybe you "want" to spend 8 hours a day with your partner, but your basic "need" is to spend at least one hour per day with them. Any less than that, and you're starved for attention.

Ask your partner what they need in a relationship

You also need to find out your partner's needs in the relationship. There's an immutable law of relationships that says: A partner will only cheat or go outside the relationship if their needs are not being met. A man who needs sex isn't going to cheat if his needs are met, unless they're really a scumbag. A woman who needs emotional connection in a relationship isn't going to try to find that in another man if her emotional needs are met, unless she's a real psycho.

For example, if you're a man, you need to know exactly what her emotional needs are. She may "want" you to spent 24/7/365 with her, but that's not realistic. But what are her actual "needs"? Only she can tell you what she can and can't live without.

For example, if you're a woman, you need to know exactly what his sexual "needs" are. I can probably already tell you his sexual "wants": He wants to have sex five times every day, but that's not realistic. But what are his actual "needs"? Only he can tell you what he can and can't live without.

Meet your partner's needs - or else

If you simply cannot meet your partner's needs, stop fooling yourself and end the relationship, and do it early. Likewise, if your partner simply cannot meet your needs, and you've given it a fair try, face facts and end the relationship, and do it early. If you try to fool yourself and tell yourself you can live without some basic need, you'll only grow to resent it, and in time, the resentment turns to anger, pain, and disillusionment. Likewise, if you can't be there emotionally or physically to meet your partner's needs, don't force yourself and become resentful.

Never try to sacrifice your needs for the sake of the relationship

Your needs are your needs. If you try to "do without" you'll only become resentful. For example, if one of your needs is "I need him to spend an hour a day with me" and he can't because he's always working or drinking with his buddies, or whatever, one of your basic needs isn't being met. Don't try to tell yourself you can "do without" that need. Sure, there can be business trips or illnesses that make it impossible for a time. But you can't change who you are, and you can't force your partner to satisfy your needs against their will. All you can do is communicate, tell them when your needs aren't being met, and try to be there for each other. If you're not willing to do that, get out. Don't get married until you know for sure they will satisfy your needs, and you know for sure you are able to satisfy their needs. It's so important to learn your needs and your partner's needs. And never never never try to be someone you're not. "I'd love you if you'd just..." doesn't work.

Conditional love vs. unconditional love

There's a fine line between "conditional love" and having needs in the relationship. You need to find a balance. You need to have your needs met, but at the same time, you want to love them unconditionally. In a way, your needs are a condition under which your relationship will work. You can still love someone "unconditionally," even if your needs are not met. If your needs aren't met, there's a point at which you either try to abandon your needs (which won't work) or curse yourself for thinking your needs make your love "conditional" (which doesn't help.) You've still got to love yourself. You need to find a balance.

Tell your partner you love them

It may seem obvious to you, and even to them, but say it anyway. Sometimes your partner just needs to hear it from your lips. Affirm your love. Don't just say it, but show them. Shower them with affection. And when you're angry or they hurt you, remind yourself of the good times, and how much you love them.

Cuddle daily

Take at least 15 to 30 minutes every morning for "cuddle time" where you just hold each other, hug, cuddle, and share each other's warmth. You don't need to say a word. Just silently affirm your love for your partner. Set your alarm clock earlier if you have to.

It's not "Me" anymore, it's "We"

A relationship is comprised of two people, but you need to start thinking in terms of "We" rather than "Me." Don't plan a trip "you" would like; plan a trip "we" would like. Don't go to a movie "you" would like; go to a movie "we" would like. Negotiate everything.

Work hard, but be lighthearted

Having a relationship can sometimes feel like a burden and a lot of work, so make sure to keep it lighthearted. Take some time to have fun together. Hold hands. Feel the warmth of connection.

Break the monotony

Similarly, don't just sit in front of the television night after night and watch sports or whatever. Break the monotony by getting out and having fun. Go on a date. Go to a movie. Go for a walk. Go to the mall. Play a game. Go camping. Keep it fresh. Keep it new.

Give your partner the space he or she needs

Sometimes we all just get "peopled out". We all wear masks, even to our partner. But we all need a break once in a while. We need time to do our own personal stuff. We all need space to meditate, listen to our music, play our games, to wind down. Give yourself the space and time for "you." Give your partner time and space to do their own thing too.

This can be a problem when one partner works and the other doesn't. If your partner works and you don't, remember you've had 8+ hours of personal time away from them, and they need some personal time too. They also need 8 hours of sleep. So don't completely fill up the remaining 8 hours without giving them at least a little time to themselves.

Make decisions together

When it comes to important decisions, make them together. Agree on which car to buy, which house to buy, what debts to have.

As for minor decisions, figure out "what works best" as a compromise. For example, Kathy is a planner: she needs to have a plan for every day, especially on the weekends. I, on the other hand, love to be spontaneous. I'd rather not have it all planned out. I want to watch the parade of life. For us, "what works" is a compromise: She makes plans and either includes me in the decision-making process, or she reserves time for spontaneity, (for example, "This Sunday is planned to be 'do your own thing' day.") I've even given her permission to make plans and not tell me so that it seems spontaneous to me: She may say "Hey, let's go to a play tonight" even though she planned it days ago, but to me it seems spontaneous. "Sure. Sounds fun!" It works. Got it? Over the years, I've gotten better at making plans and she's become more spontaneous.

Don't fight over money

Most fights are about money. So be careful with your money. Remember it's not "my" money, it's "our" money. You cannot be blamed for money issues when the money decisions are made together.

Perception is everything

I know it's unfortunate and unfair, but it's a fact of life: perception is everything. I can best illustrate this with an example: Suppose your partner is away on some errand and you've got exactly one hour alone to yourself. And suppose that in that hour, you've agreed to clean the kitchen and the bathroom. It ought to take a half-hour to do both, which leaves you with a half-hour to spend on your favorite past-time; for example, playing your favorite video game.

Logic dictates that as long as you get both tasks done, the order you do them doesn't matter. Logic might also dictate that you should do your chores first: get the unpleasant work out of the way first, then you'll have some leisure time to play. Logic is dead wrong. The reason is perception: If she comes home from her errands and sees you playing video games, she perceives you as a lazy bum, regardless of whether you got your chores done, or how well you did them. It doesn't even matter if you did extra chores: You're sitting on your lazy ass now, playing that game, and that's all she will see. Even if you spent 55 minutes cleaning the house and the last 5 minutes playing, that's the only thing she will see.

You should play your video game first, then do your chores. Just don't lose track of the time and forget the chores. If she comes home and sees you still cleaning a bathroom or cleaning the kitchen, she perceives that you're a hard worker, doing your chores, industrious, productive, or whatever. You're doing "us" tasks, not "me" tasks. You'll shine in her eyes.

Even though it's exactly the same amount of effort, she will perceive something completely different, and what she sees will make you either a hero or a villain in her eyes.

Just remember: Nobody ever got yelled at for vacuuming, washing dishes, or cleaning the bathroom.

Relationships are hard work, but worth the effort. The secret of being in a successful relationship is 10 percent finding the right partner and 90 percent being the right partner.

I hope my relationship tips can help someone out there. They work for me, anyway. I'm probably forgetting a hundred things, and the more I write, the more things come to mind. But this article's already too long, so I'll end here.

Bob Peterson
23 October 2018