Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Review: Renegade Mystic

Renegade Mystic


by Sean McNamara

Today I'm reviewing the book Renegade Mystic: The Pursuit of Spiritual Freedom Through Consciousness Exploration by Sean McNamara. The book is copyright 2020. The author sent me a copy, for which I am grateful.

I first heard about Sean McNamara at the SSE/IRVA Conference in 2018 where several researchers were talking about his book Defy Your Limits: The Telekinesis Training Method. I've had a long-standing casual interest in telekinesis (in my book Answers Within I wrote about some telekinesis experiments I did back in 1984), so naturally I had to buy it.

So I was thrilled when McNamara contacted me about his new book, Renegade Mystic, which is about meditation and consciousness exploration, including OBEs.

First I need to warn you: This is not an OBE-only book. It covers a wide spectrum of psychic topics, including OBEs, meditation, remote viewing, telekinesis, mediumship, energy healing, and even a tiny bit about UFOs. OBEs don't come into the book until chapter 15, page 120. Still, about a third of the book is dedicated to OBEs and has a lot of good narratives.

The first thing I tagged in the book is this gem:
"If you're perfectly happy with how you think life works, or how reality functions, and if you don't want anything to threaten your status quo, then you should stop reading now. You won't be the same person afterward." (pg. ix)
Indeed! Okay, let's get into the thick of it:

In a nutshell, Renegade Mystic is the autobiography of the author, Sean McNamara. He talks about being dragged from country to country by his parents as a child, exposed to many cultures, then trying so hard to be happy as an adult in the corporate world of cubicles and paperwork, but ultimately rejecting that. The bottom line is that he was always searching for a spiritual path that's right for him.

Right from the start, McNamara talks about Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, and his search for enlightenment. He joined various organizations and learn meditation techniques. Every year, many students pay thousands of dollars to learn meditation techniques, attend retreats, and attain various "levels" of achievement. He was right there in the thick of it, and it gets really juicy as he takes us behind the scenes and into the action. He talks about how these schools become money making machines, with jealousy, drama, power-struggles, politics, and in-fighting.

Remember a few years ago when renown teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, became embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal? It turns out he was sleeping with his women students. McNamara was involved with the organization while this was happening, and his own girlfriend (at the time) was involved, which led to nasty fight and breakup.

Next, McNamara talks about "Steve" who was one of Rinpoche's high-level students, who parted ways with Rinpoche and appointed himself as a Vajra Master (this title is supposed to be passed on through an initiation!) McNamara was one of his students. Again, Steve's teachings may have been sound, but the drama surrounding Steve and the new organization was both fascinating and head-spinning.

McNamara rose among the ranks and became a highly regarded meditation teacher, leading his own group in Denver. But eventually, the political drama revolving around Steve became too much to bear, so he broke away and some of his own students followed him, but as a more ordinary meditation class outside the complex framework of Tibetan Buddhism.

At one point, there was so much drama McNamara went to see a therapist. Surprisingly, he writes:
"Over time, I became pleasantly surprised to realize these therapy sessions had boosted my level of self-understanding far more than many years of devoted meditation had. Repeating endless mantras, visualizing myself as a deity, burning incense and playing my tantric bell and drum for years and years... none of this increased my level of true, practical insight the way receiving therapy from a trained counselor did." (pg. 105)
So much for self-realization! Don't get me wrong: meditation is a valuable tool, and I meditate regularly. But where do you turn when everything fails you: teachers, gurus, techniques and meditations? McNamara turned to out-of-body experiences, of course. A wise choice!

The OBE section of the book starts on chapter 15, page 120, "Leaving My Body For the First Time." He started--as I had--with Robert Monroe's book, Journeys Out of the Body (A great book!). Like me, he devoured as many OBE books as he could get his hands on (including mine!). Through experimentation and practice, he learned how to leave his body, and it was more fulfilling than all those years of meditation. I loved this quote:
"That day, many years ago when I walked into that Buddhist center in Denver and adopted their path, I had unknowingly abandoned my own." (pg. 121)
He shares some valuable insights he learned about inducing OBEs. For example:
"I made the last note realizing that whenever I paid too much attention to the odd sensations which occurred while using a technique, any progress would come to a stop. I realized I needed to basically ignore the sensations because all they did was steer my mind back toward a physical experience instead of remaining with whatever visualization I was using at the time." (pg. 131)
Here's another example:
"Reading about OBEs at bedtime is a technique in itself because it decreases fear by building confidence, conditions your deeper mind into accepting that you want to have this experience, and offers helpful knowledge. In fact, I even had an unplanned, unintended OBE during the several days I spent transcribing my journal into the first draft of this book." (pg. 137)
In chapter 17, page 144, McNamara lays out exactly what worked for him to induce OBEs:
  • Written affirmations
  • Consistent journaling
  • Afternoon practice
  • Sleep interruption
  • Reading about OBEs at bedtime
  • Listening to inspiring and relaxing music while doing the visualizations.
  • After doing a technique, rolling over on the massage table to lie on my side, and really letting myself drift to sleep.
What I loved most about this book was McNamara's OBE narratives, which should come as no surprise to my avid readers. He has a lot of them. He includes the mundane "uninteresting" OBEs as well as the extraordinary, which gives you a realistic sense of what to expect. They're well written and inspiring. Here's one small excerpt from an OBE narrative that I really liked:
"Across the street, I saw some teenage boys playing catch. I asked myself, "Are they part of my mind, or do they have their own existence? Are we 'all one'?"
With that question, I phased out and was back on the couch, opening my eyes. As with many of my other OBEs, I felt that wonderful, fulfilling sense of wholeness. I felt like I'd reconnected to a part of myself that I frequently disconnect from in the course of living this physical, stress-filled existence.
For me, this wholeness is one of, if not the most precious gifts of the out of body experience. It heals me deeply." (pg. 186)
McNamara is known for his involvement with telekinesis: moving objects with your mind. So of course, he talks about how he became involved in that, and that was also fascinating. He also touches on experiments and classes he did on mediumship and remote viewing as well. Probably his most valuable piece of advice is this:
"Whatever you do, don't get up [from the recliner, couch, bed, meditation pillow, etc.]. All you have to do to succeed in meditation is not give up." (pg. 332)
It applies not only to meditation, but to OBEs, telekinesis, and anything else you want to achieve. As much as you may be tempted to get up out of bed, don't. Never give up.

This book is honest, revealing, and very human. It's even a bit titillating at times! It portrays a somewhat ordinary guy, trying to find himself and his own spiritual path, struggling with relationships and breakups, and trying to make sense out of a chaotic world, and discovering the extraordinary.

The moral of the story, if there is one (and where I was cheering him on inside) is to follow your own path. Following someone else's path will never lead you to the truth. And one good solid OBE can teach you more about "Spirit" than years of meditation.

The book is big: 369 pages with tight font and good tight margins, which means there's a lot of content. You'll get your money's worth. The grammar and spelling were first class. McNamara's a very good writer. Other than a few minor text formatting issues, I only found one mistake in the whole book, on page 357 ("Close" Encounters.)

There aren't a lot of OBE induction techniques, but there are some helpful hints. I loved the book and I give it 4 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson

23 June 2020

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews

 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Review: Astral Projection by Alex Akana

Review: Astral Projection

by Alex Akana

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection: Your Personal Guide To The Astral World by Alex Akana. This book is copyright 2017.

The first thing I need to say about this book is that it's short. It's only 82 pages long, and while the format is a decent size, there's also a lot of white space and the font is big, which means there's not a lot of content. In the author's own words:
"This brief book was only meant to be an introduction to the topic, so by all means, please keep studying to expand your understanding of this amazing opportunity to experience the incredible and transcendental." (pg. 81)

The second thing to note is that the author, Alex Akana, doesn't give any credentials: he doesn't say anything about how he gained his knowledge of astral projection, and he doesn't give any personal experiences: I always trust firsthand experience more than book-learning.

Most of the information in the book is pretty decent, although there were several things I disagreed with. For example, Akana seems to think that astral projection will drain your energy:
"Leaving your body will take a higher toll on it than you might expect. If flying on an airplane can leave your body with jet lag what do you think leaving it energetically will do." (pg. 21)
"Any psychic activity can leave you feeling drained and exhausted because you are training yourself to interact with energies that vibrate at a higher frequency than what you're used to." (pg. 22)
This is counter to my experience: when I return from an out-of-body experience, I come away feeling energized and exhilarated. I literally never feel drained. Oddly, Akana suggests the solution is to eat and drink:
"Before you settle in to begin your meditation, you'll want to make sure that your body is properly nourished and hydrated. The amount of energy you will expand could cause your blood sugar to drop suddenly, and if you're running on empty, this could compromise your ability to maintain full control over the astral projection process. Expending so much energy without helping your body to get the nourishment it needs could lead to fatigue and even illness. It is far better to take the time to eat and hydrate before you begin than to spend several days recovering from your astral travel." (pg. 22)
Again, that's completely opposite of my experience. Conventional wisdom--most authors--agree that fasting or eating very light meals is best for inducing OBEs. As for proper hydration, veteran projector Sylvan Muldoon suggested the exact opposite: using thirst to produce OBEs. And again, I've never needed recovery time after my OBEs. I'm usually bouncing off the walls with energy after an OBE.

The book contains a handful of astral projection techniques, but they're all parroted from other authors:
  1. The "Rope" technique made famous by Robert Bruce, although he makes the same mistake as many authors in assuming the technique is more about visualizing a rope rather than using tactile imagination: the imagined sense of touch.
  2. The "Monroe" technique. Actually, Akana doesn't really give any of Robert Monroe's techniques, but he talks briefly about the need to focus your mind, and he even suggests using the "rope" again after attaining the proper focus. This is confusing at best.
  3. The "Stretch Out" technique, which is an old technique, the basis of which became the Christos Technique, where you visualize your astral body is stretching past your head in one direction, and past your feet in the other.
  4. Lucid Dreaming, but he doesn't give this the attention it deserves: it's only described for 2 pages, whereas many long books have been written about it.
  5. Shamanic Journeying, which really isn't the same thing as astral projection at all. (It's more like focus level experiences).
Akana doesn't say much about prayers or pre-OBE psychic protection, but he does talk about setting proper intentions and setting up a "sacred space." When negative entities are encountered, he suggests using white light to fend them off:
"Before you travel for the first time, practice with white light energy to prepare yourself for any possible encounters. You can shape the white light into a spear or sword if that works best, or you can simply practice shooting it out of your hands. A quick burst of white light to the face will stun and disable any lower vibrational being trying to hurt you, giving you the chance to get away." (pg. 67-68)
Lastly, he warns against staying in the OBE too long. I find this very odd.
"To prevent staying longer than you want or is safe for your body, set a timer with a loud alarm to alert you when your journey must come to an end. When first starting out, you'll want to set the timer for a shorter amount of time and work your way up to a longer time, never exceeding 2 hours before you come back for a break." (pg. 71)
This tells me how inexperienced the author really is. The problem is never staying out too long because your body will always pull you back before you're ready to leave. The problem, in fact, is prolonging the experience as much as possible. Conventional wisdom--most authors--insist you should never use an alarm or set a time limit because thinking (or worrying) about when your time is up will keep you rooted firmly in your physical body and unable to leave it.

In short, this isn't a bad astral projection book. It just isn't a good one. It's way too short and too basic. It doesn't go into enough depth on any subject. It's introduction to OBEs 101, and there's enough misinformation to turn me away.

You'd be much better off reading one of the classics, like Muldoon, Monroe, Buhlman, Bruce, or Nicholls. Or one of mine. Why buy a "fast-food" OBE book when you can buy a "gourmet" book for the same price?

The writing is decent. I only found a few small typos; nothing to complain about in the grammar department. I'll give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Bob Peterson
09 June 2020

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: Three Planets by Paul Banham

Review: Three Planets


by Paul Banham

Today I'm reviewing Three Planets: Out of body and spiritual events of my odd life by Paul Banham. The author sent me a copy, for which I am grateful.

I just finished reading the book, and I'm kind of at a loss for words here. This book is unlike any other I've read, but in a good way.

If you're looking for an OBE technique book, this is not it. There are no OBE tips, tricks or techniques. As a matter of fact, it's only peripherally related to OBEs at all. Still, I found the book both fascinating and entertaining. It's also weird.

The first thing you should know about the book is that it's really two books: one fiction and one nonfiction. However, they're intertwined and even kind of reflect one another: every other chapter is fiction and every other chapter is nonfiction. The fiction chapters are given chapter numbers from 1 to 18. The nonfiction chapters are given titles, like "Moon of OOB" and "Planet Hm."

The fiction chapters weave a complex tale of several different eras: a somewhat dystopian future where humans are forced to live underground due to the extreme heat above ground, a flooded world similar to "Waterworld" and a world where scientists race to study consciousness and interface with people's dreams in order to study dreams, record them, alter them, and even change their content. In a way it reminded me of Cloud Atlas. Some of these may have actually been dream worlds in the scientists' study. I was especially amused and entertained by his description of someone living in California, but through the eyes of a Brit: the scene from an American life described in proper British writing was beyond endearing.

The fiction chapters have some of the most descriptive writing I've ever read. Either Paul Banham is an accomplished writer of many years, or he's spent years getting ideas and suggestions from writing groups. He comes off as a "master of simile." For example, chapter 16 starts with this:
"Two blocks alone, gin scented hangover sweat was soaking through Edgie's shirt smelling like your average aftershave. The sky was jean blue, scored and scribbled on by the streetcar cables overhead." (pg. 180)
The nonfiction chapters describe significant / spiritual events ("Planets") from the life of the author. They describe everything from OBEs to ghostly encounters to spiritual life-lessons gleaned from his Simon-and-Garfunkel like relationship with his musical partner, and other people in his life. They read almost like confessions of a half-guilty (but definitely not tortured) soul. Or, as the author puts it:
"I think my experiences have made me reasonably well balanced. You might have other opinions having read this book, but don't forget that this book is 'concentrated oddness.'" (pg. 199)
Indeed it is. The writing in the nonfiction chapters are almost as descriptive as the fiction. I especially loved this passage near the end:
 "The Minotaur was trapped by King Minos in a labyrinth designed by Daedalus and fed a healthy diet of sacrificial Athenian sports personalities and dusky maidens." (pg. 206)
If I was forced to compare this book to another, the only one that comes to mind is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (if you've never read that, you should).

It wasn't very "enlightening," but it's so honest, so mature, so raw, and so well-written that I couldn't put it down. It's like getting dragged down a wormhole and getting dashed along the sides as you go. I'll give a short example:
"I'm starting to fear the more I divulge to you the less you'll like me but, as I said, I'm compelled to tell my stories. What I haven't told you is I'm also compelled to keep some stories back and this one was borderline." (pg. 179)

Banham's philosophy seems very much in line with mine: he walks a thin line between hard science and spirituality, affirms that consciousness exploration and mind-travel are more important than space travel.

In short: I loved it, and honestly, I don't know why. It wasn't very good, but I couldn't put it down. It was strangely enthralling and engaging.

The book is 209 pages long with decent size, font and margins: There's a good amount of content. The writing is more than just "mature." It's honest, gritty, philosophical, and deep.

I'll give it 4 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
26 May 2020

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

My Favorite OBE/AP Memes

My Favorite OBE/AP Memes

by Bob Peterson

This time I decided to share some of the astral projection / out-of-body memes and comics I've seen on Facebook, including some I made myself (Mine are all at the bottom of the article).

































Excuse the language.



Old people problems!

So that's what they do in their spare time!
Truth bomb.














Here are some OBE/AP memes I made myself:

I took this really bad photo of William Buhlman, so I made it into a meme:
I actually spotted this bus in Turkey and had to take a photo.
When I spend too much time at my computer and start to get flabby:
The little things you notice when you're up at the ceiling!
Faith is blind. Learning is second-hand. Knowing is firsthand. Direct experience trumps them all.
At the beginning, too many of my OBE attempts were aborted because I was afraid. Don't succumb to fear!
I usually intend to do some interesting experiment when I'm out-of-body, but sometimes I can't resist doing some joyful, wild, erratic loop-the-loops in the sky.
Organized religions are all based on someone else's direct experience of the divine. Astral projection gives you the ability to get your own experience.
This one got a lot of Likes. Even William Buhlman himself liked it!
This happened to me so many times when I lived in the Twin Cities.
Remember to do your reality checks as often as you can, because lucid dreams can be transitioned into OBEs.
This is just like me, once I get to the other side.
Get rid of that pesky Sleep Paralysis demon the Samuel L. Jackson way!
Speed dating!

I bet they never made this episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants.
We leave our bodies every night, but we're unconscious.
I'm often asked "Why would anyone want to leave their body?" Well, here's my answer: Because (like this owl) free flight is our nature and our birthright, but (like the cage) our physical body keeps us locked up (for a reason). But eventually we learn to get away, if only for a few minutes.
I made this a long time ago when Lu Banyon's son was just a baby. She met her kids on the astral before they were born.
One day I had to take a poke at our friends from Eckankar who use "Hu" as an OBE mantra.
One day I had some idle time, or should I say (Billy) Idol time, so I made this meme.
One of Ozzy Osbourne's best songs.
 Here's my Star Trek meme. Star Trek is fiction, but OBEs aren't.
Here's a rock and roll affirmation for you from Kiss.

Bob Peterson
12 May, 2020
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If you have ideas for blog articles related to astral projection and out-of-body experiences, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

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