Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Relaxation Techniques for OBEs

Relaxation Techniques for OBEs

by Bob Peterson

To induce an out-of-body experience, you need to turn your focus completely inward, away from the physical senses, and you can't do that if there's any tension in your physical body. So quick and deep relaxation is of paramount importance. Many books ignore or under-emphasize this important step. In this article I will share some relaxation techniques you can use while inducing OBEs.

Progressive Relaxation Technique

Almost all technique-oriented OBE books recommend that you use “progressive relaxation.” It's almost cliche'. With this technique, you systematically work (or progress) from your feet to your head and relax the muscles of each body part, one at a time. Many books recommend that as you focus on each body part, you briefly tense the muscles then let them go. In other words, (optionally tense and) relax your feet, then forget about them. Then (optionally tense and) relax your calves, then forget about them. Then move to your hamstrings, etc. Eventually make your way up your torso, systematically relaxing each body part. Many books spend extra time relaxing the individual muscles in your head and face because we hold so much tension there: separately relax your neck muscles, jaw muscles, cheeks, forehead, and so on. Then go back to the start and verify they're all still relaxed.

It's effective, especially for beginners, but it has a down side: it's slow and it turns your focus, at least temporarily, to the physical body you're trying to exit. I tend to use other methods like these:

"Pseudo-VELO" Relaxation

I think of this as "pseudo-VELO" because it reminds me of the IAC's "VELO" energy movement technique. "VELO" is an acronym that stands for "Voluntary Energetic Longitudinal Oscillation." It's a technique in which you imagine a "plane" (almost like a round cutting board made of psychic energy) or "slice" of soothing, pulsing energy sweeping up and down your body repeatedly. Or imagine your body is enclosed inside a big tube with energy pulsing up and down the entire length, slicing through your body. Eventually you try to build a kind of harmonic resonance with the sweeping energy wave. (Author Nanci Trivellato wrote a nearly 500 page book that devotes a lot of time explaining the technique, so I can't possibly explain all its subtleties here; sorry.)

My "pseudo-VELO" relaxation is similar to VELO, but instead of energy, you imagine a "plane" of soothing relaxation traveling up and down the tube. As the plane slices through your body, it relaxes all the muscles it touches.

Hospital Blankets Technique

If you've ever had surgery, you know the operating rooms are kept cold to prevent bacteria and disease from growing. To keep patients warm, though, the assistants drape them with a comfortable but very warm (or even hot) blanket.

This relaxation technique is similar. I just lie down and imagine a nice warm soothing hospital blanket is being draped over my body, filling it with relaxation. I imagine the blanket pervades and melts into my entire body, like sugar in coffee. As soon as the blanket melts into my body, another blanket is draped on me, followed by another, so I have a continual supply of nice warm blankets of relaxation. This has become my favorite relaxation technique lately. It's fast and effective.

Optimizing Practice Time

The easiest way to achieve complete relaxation is simply to perform your OBE exit techniques when you first wake up, before you move any muscles. At that time you're already completely relaxed and don't need to do anything. This takes advantage of your body's natural state. You can do it when you first wake up in the morning, or take a short nap, then practice when you awaken. It can be difficult to remember not to move your muscles right away, but you can learn it with a little practice.

Although it's uncommon in the literature, another trick--at least if you're a man--is masturbation. Orgasm can cause an instant feeling of relaxation. Author Salvatore Caesar Scordato recommends this in his book You Can Fly. Michael Raduga also gives a "Sex Technique" in his book The Phase that leverages this fact. Although I've never studied it, I suspect that the ancient Indian Kama Sutra also hinges on this fact.

The Importance of "Speedy" Relaxation

The "speed" at which you relax may also be important. In his book Practical Techniques of Astral Projection, Dr. Douglas M. Baker writes that relaxation:
"...must be done rapidly; as rapidly as you might have done at the end of that long drive in your automobile! It is just as if your body is a sack of corn that is suddenly thrown on the floor."
In their book How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain, neuroscientists Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman emphasize that many mystical experiences and "enlightenment experiences" are associated with a rapid drop in neural activity to the brain's prefrontal cortex, and quick relaxation is also associated with it. This need for quick relaxation is also mentioned by Darryl Berry in his book Travel Far in which he gives a technique where you change body positions, or "asanas" (yogic body positions) frequently. With his "Relax-Move" technique you relax then switch positions, then relax again, and repeat. This trains you how to relax as quickly as possible.

Another note about rapid relaxation: Michael Raduga also says you shouldn't waste a lot of time relaxing: the more time you spend on relaxation, the less you can devote to doing the actual OBE exit techniques.

So go out and practice quick and thorough relaxation, and then you'll be ready to perform your preferred OBE exit techniques.

Robert Peterson
18 Feb 2020

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Review: Apprenticeship to a Ghost

Review: Apprenticeship to a Ghost

by Don Sanger

Today I'm reviewing Apprenticeship to a Ghost by Don Sanger. The author was kind enough to send me a copy a while back.

The book features many out-of-body experiences, which makes for a great backdrop. Like all books, there's both good and bad. I always like to start with the bad first so I end on a positive note.

The spelling, grammar and writing were actually very good (except for a few out-of-place commas) and the writing is mature, but the book needed serious proofreading. There are several instances where the wrong word is used, probably due to a lack of proof-readers and a spell-checker that was done in haste. So "might have had" appears as "might have hand." A "pint of lager" is presented as a "pint of larger." And "I was rather hoping" is now "I was rather hopping." Which makes for some interesting visualizations! "Exercise" becomes "Excise." "Morale" becomes "Moral." Even "astral plane" is given as "astral plain" in a couple places.

There were lots of these, and I know how it happens: when authors spend a lot of time editing a book, they get "too close" to the work and stop seeing mistakes that are glaringly obvious to everyone else. I'm as guilty of this as Sanger with every book I've ever written. Even my latest book has several mistakes like this. Authors are human and we make mistakes. Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it than most.

This book is visionary fiction (VF), and I tend to not like that genre in general. Oh, sure, there are a few outstanding VF books. Richard Bach's book Illusions is probably my favorite, and worth every penny, but Jonathan Livingston Seagull? Meh. Thea Alexander's 2150AD was also good. The problem I have with VF books is that there's often no plot, no conflict, and no tension. It's all about the message, not the story. That's what drove me nuts about James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy books: I'm just not a fiction lover, and when I take the time to read a novel, I want heart-pounding, blood-pumping, page-turning, nonstop, action-packed drama. Think Stephen King's Rose Madder or Firestarter. (One of my favorite OBE-oriented novels is The House Between the Worlds by Marion Zimmer Bradley, but it's not VF and it has no underlying spiritual messages. But I digress.)

In Apprenticeship to a Ghost Sanger tries to wrap the inspirational messages around some tension but it was not enough to enthrall me. There just wasn't enough conflict in the story.

There were several lead-ins where Sanger could have blasted the conflict, but didn't. For example, he could have made the out-of-body experiences themselves more tense and fearful (at first), playing on the apprehension of the main character, Don, but he didn't. I guess I can't blame him for not wanting to paint OBEs with a canvas of fear because OBEs are usually not like that.

He could have made the encounters with the ghost more scary and tense (at first). He could have made Don's relationship with his girlfriend, Sharon, more strained with bickering, fighting and threats. His family could have accused him of losing his mind, and threatened to have him committed. He could have heard scary noises, gotten dark alley beatings, and acquired stalkers. His grades could have suffered and his future jeopardized. He could have lost his job. He could have questioned his sanity. But nope. There was not enough tension. It didn't "grab" me with in-your-face "story" I wanted.

Still, I read the whole thing and I did enjoy it. The last third of the book was actually much better than the first two thirds. Sanger's descriptions were rich and colorful, and his musings were deep. You just need to go into it with certain expectations.

Plot or not, a good VF book should inspire you and make you see things in a brand new light. It should open your mind to new ideas and new possibilities. It should be mind-expanding. Apprenticeship to a Ghost does do all that. Much of the book takes the form of inner dialog, where Don is thinking to himself, and he thinks deep philosophical thoughts, and interesting thoughts: Thoughts about God, about communication with the spirit world, about reincarnation of animals and people, planes of existence, vibrations, spirits, over-souls and about the hierarchy of souls. Lots of deep thoughts, and I liked that.

The book has a feeling of honesty and authenticity, and I often paused reading to ponder whether Don Sanger went through some of the things his main character does. It helps that the main character's name is Don.

One of my favorite quotes of the book is:
"Ignorance is the root of all evil." (pg. 150)
Agreed! Another great quote is:
"We are beings living in different worlds. We are living on the same planet of course but living in different worlds." (pg. 233)
I was pleasantly surprised about two thirds of the way into the book when "Don" is taught a valuable energy technique: You hold your hands in front of you and repeatedly push and pull a "chi ball" or "energy ball" between your hands.

For many years I've actually done this exercise in bed while preparing for sleep. Not every night, but many nights. Here's my version: Lying face up, I lift my arms in front of me and push and pull on an imaginary chi ball between my hands. I actually hold my hands so all fingers point at each other, and try to manipulate the energy in the space between them. (This is a variation of an exercise I used to do many years ago in Tai Chi class while standing up). I also circulate the energy around my arms from left to right arm and across my shoulder blades. Then I imagine the energy accelerating. After maybe 30 seconds of this, I put my hands down, roll over to my side and go to sleep. That's what I do.

So imagine my surprise to find a similar technique in this book! In Sanger's version, the hands are held up like in prayer, and the space between them is pushed and pulled. It's a very similar technique, and I was quite surprised to find it here.

I also found another valuable technique in this book that I use regularly. In this one, you try to create an ever-expanding bubble of love that starts out small and grows to encompass the entire universe. I actually gave the details of this in my previous blog article, Raising Your Vibrations before I saw it in this book. The book also stresses the need for developing positive energy, as I did in that article. Funny how the pieces of the puzzle always fit together so nicely!

I resonated with the main character, Don who, like me, is changed because of his experiences. For example, develops a distaste for horror movies, similar to me.

The book is 249 pages with a smallish font and narrow margins, which means there's plenty of content. You'll get your money's worth.

I'll give it 3 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
04 February 2020

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/AP advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Review: Astral Projection by David H. Lewis

Review: Astral Projection

 by David H. Lewis

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection by David H. Lewis.

This is an obscure book, and I doubt you'll find it in any stores, or even amazon. So this review is mostly just for fun. The copyright notice is 1980, but it doesn't even have a proper ISBN. It simply says "Library of Congress number reserved" at the front.

It's probably one of the first astral projection "books" I ever bought, probably in 1980. In fact, it might have been the first AP book I bought, considering that I had only borrowed Robert Monroe's book Journeys Out of the Body from my dad (and later inherited it from him when he died.) I probably picked it up at some obscure new age bookstore in Minneapolis that's long since gone out of business, like "Evenstar."

I'm sure it was self-published before today's "self-publishing" or the Internet even existed. It was self-printed too, as evidenced by the staples holding it together.

The book credits "Grand Marshal Sir Bobby Ferrel and other astute members of science." Who is Bobby Ferrell? I've never heard of him. The book claims:
"Grand Marshal Sir Bobby Farrel is known to possess the highest degree in Astral Projection from its beginning stages to universal travel in all area of the planes. It is the testimony of many astute members of science to be an enlightenment of knowledge that has been long sought in this present day era..." (pg. 1)
Alrighty then. I don't know about you, but my alarm bells went off: either he's trying to artificially bolster his credibility or someone's having a big ego trip. And that makes me lose all respect.

The book is very short: only 23 pages. It contains some solid advice and a few decent "best practices" but there's nothing new or surprising: it can all be found in other (better) books on the subject.

The book contains only one exit technique, and that is the "Target Technique" described in many OBE/AP books. One of the earliest accounts of the Target Technique comes from occultist Edward Peach, AKA "Ophiel," in his 1974 book Astral Projection (which I bought at about the same time as this). My favorite explanation of the target technique appears in William Buhlman's book, Adventures Beyond the Body.

In this technique, you choose a route (usually one you know well) with various stopping points, almost like stations in which you engage the senses. Buhlman recommends starting at the front door of your residence. Raduga recommends your bathroom mirror. Once chosen (while still in your physical body), you perform a "walk through" traveling from station to station. At each station you try to fully engage your senses and commit it to memory: You see the place, listen for any sounds present, touch things, and so forth.

Later, once you've done several of these rehearsals and fully memorized your path, you lie down, relax your body completely, and try to replay the walk-thru in your imagination, aided by your memory. If you're successful, the imaginary walk-thru leads to an actual sense of being at the location in your non-physical/astral body, at which point you can stop using your imagination and start interacting "for real."

Lewis does a good job describing the technique. In fact, most of this book's 23 pages are devoted to it. Lewis recommends you do the target area walk-thru from start to finish, then backward, from finish to start. He says to do this once per day for at least 12 consecutive days, without ever skipping day. He suggests engaging every one of the senses, so create a "sight" station, a "sound" station, a "touch" station, etc. After 12 or more days of physical walk-thrus, you're ready to lie down and try to replay it in your imagination. It's a solid technique.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"You will also, for the first time in your life, come to the startling realization of what death is like and that what your minister has taught you is now going to be flushed right down the drain. However, it will take you many years to UNDO their idiotic teachings." (pg. 14)
Lewis recommends you keep complete secrecy about your out-of-body adventures, but not for fear of negative reactions or ridicule. It's because your friends and family might have negative thoughts about OBEs/AP and the telepathic nature of their stray thoughts might work against your progress.

I disagreed with the author on this point:
"As a special note of interest, traveling throughout the entirety of our universe is accomplished in a time equivalent to only several earth minutes, for in this universe, time does not exist nor speeds measured in relation to time." (pg. 17)
That may be true, but I still have a problem with this concept of instantaneous travel of the entire universe. Maybe I'm held back by my own self-limiting belief system, but I'm too science-oriented to accept that.

He also seems very cautious with regard to where you travel on your first attempts. He gives stern, dire warnings that until you've reached advanced stages, you must stay in your home or apartment because of "other forces" that lie beyond your immediate domain. This was just too much fear-mongering for me.

The book has some other strange fear-mongering as well. I found this one both interesting and amusing:
"CAUTION: Do not attempt to visit women of child bearing age until you can do so with a NEUTRAL MIND. There are entities out there that will use your life presence to obtain an incarnation. These entities ARE ALWAYS EVIL though not necessarily demonic (befitting a demon or evil spirit.; mad; violent or frenzied) but I assure you that they will sink their claws into you once they are sparked to life and will never let you go. At this point of your digestive reading, you could think this portion is one big joke but you will only do it once....I assure you." (pg. 21)
Perhaps this goes back to the author's experiences with a succubus: an opportunistic sexual demon that supposedly steals your energy. But those experiences are normally associated with ASP (awareness during sleep paralysis.) This kind of fear mongering is never helpful: don't be afraid to visit anyone, including women, and interact as you would normally. If you're some kind of pervert, sexual deviant, or sex addict, maybe you'll attract some of these kinds of negative experiences, but normal people have nothing to worry about. Just remember this:
  1. Nothing in an out-of-body experience can harm or kill you or your physical body.
  2. If you feel threatened, you can simply abort the OBE at any time.
  3. Fear attracts negative experiences, so just remain positive.
  4. You've got the power to overcome such things, even if you do encounter them. Believe in your own power, and they will cower in fear rather than face you.
The book has some good information and helpful hints and only one OBE technique, all of which may be found in other books. It's way too short, and it has way too much fear mongering and dire warnings. I'll give it 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
21 January 2020

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, January 7, 2020

Raising Your Vibrations

Raising Your Vibrations

by Bob Peterson

Warning: This article leverages new age theories and ideas, not scientific principles, so take it with a grain of salt.

People often ask me how to raise their vibrations. The first question I ask is, do you mean "the vibrations" which are a precursor to an out-of-body experience? Or do you mean your soul's "vibrational level?"

Pre-OBE Vibrations

If you want to know how to induce the pre-OBE vibrations, they usually come rushing in as the result of intense relaxation followed by one of the many exit techniques, such as:

That's a very deep subject, but it's not the topic of this article. What I want to talk about here is the other type: the vibration level of your astral body ("soul," or "spirit" if you prefer).

The Soul's Vibration Level

In his book, Soul Traveler, author Dr. Albert Taylor writes that negative emotions will quash your ability to induce OBEs. He says:
"Any and all negative emotions will likely stifle any attempts you make to achieve a higher state of consciousness." (pg. 90)
If Taylor is right, the converse may also be true: switching from negative emotions (anger, despair, etc.) to positive emotions (love, gratitude, etc.) in general raises your soul's vibration level, and therefore makes OBEs more attainable. But why is that?

Many new age teachers equate your emotional state with your soul's "vibration level." It goes back to the astral body's relationship to the physical body. So let's take a deeper look at the mind/body relationship.

Science says that all atoms of all physical matter vibrate, as do physical molecules. That includes the atoms that make up your physical body. When you heat something, you actually raise its molecular vibration. For example, a microwave oven heats things like food by blasting microwaves at an object; the microwaves excite the water molecules in the food, causing them to vibrate faster, so the food gets hot. In a way, you might say that heat is the physical body's vibration level, or at least one component of it.

Similarly, your astral body also vibrates, but at a much higher rate (wavelength) than physical molecules. The important thing to remember is that it resonates with the vibration level of your physical body. Many new age teachers see the astral body as tightly bound to the physical body under normal circumstances, and it is this resonance that keeps us glued so tightly to it.

You can compare your vibrations to notes (sound vibrations) in different octaves: your physical body might vibrate at a low "C1" on a piano keyboard, and your soul might vibrate at a higher pitch "C8" on the same keyboard. And if you play C1 and C8 at the same time, they sound good together because they resonate with each other: several wave forms of C8 fit perfectly inside the bigger/slower wave form of C1. But if you go up a note and play D8 together with that C1 it will sound horrible because the sound waves don't fit nicely into one another: C1 and D8 don't resonate, so what you hear is a discordant sound.

Some people believe we feel (or hear) the "out of body vibrations" when we increase the vibration level or pitch of the soul: it's like our body is at C1 but we raise our soul from C8 to D8, and what we hear--"the vibrations"--is a similar kind of discord: The waveform of your soul's vibration no longer fits perfectly within the waveform of the physical body's vibration.

Raising Your Body's Vibration Level

This is pure speculation, of course, but perhaps this is why a few OBE experts recommend being just a bit uncomfortably hot when you make OBE attempts. Kensho's book "Out of Body Experiences" recommends using an electric blanket to make your physical body a little bit uncomfortably warm. This raises the temperature of your body a little, and maybe that helps knock your astral body out of alignment with the physical.

It may also explain why it can be easier to induce an OBE when you're sick: when you've got a fever, so your body's vibration rate is higher and therefore a bit out of alignment.
[Bob briefly considers cracking a joke about the many women astral projectors who seem to have "smoking hot bodies" like Jade Shaw, Lu Banyan or Jacki Sidney, but decides it's in poor taste. Ahem.]

Raising Your Soul's Vibrations

Earlier I talked about raising your vibrations by changing your emotions from negative to positive. Here are a few exercises to raise your vibrations:

Exercise 1 - "Increasing Soul Pitch"

This is an OBE induction technique in which you simply relax completely, then imagine the "pitch" or vibration level of your soul increasing steadily until the lack of resonance forces the soul out of alignment with the physical body. Imagine your soul getting higher and higher in pitch until it's ready to shatter glass. But be careful not to let physical tension creep in.

Exercise 2 - "Music"

Another easy way to raise your vibrations is to listen to positive, uplifting music. I've made playlists of positive music on my phone. I wrote about this in this blog article from 2019: My Five Unconventional Meditations. Really, any positive uplifting music will do.

Exercise 3 - "Love meditation."

Imagine yourself encased by a bubble of positive, loving energy. Try to feel love for everyone and everything inside the bubble. Not just physical people, but non-physical entities that might be sharing that space. Not just the people, but the plants, animals and even the inanimate objects.

Slowly increase the size of that bubble to include the people in your house, then your neighbors, then your whole neighborhood.

Keep expanding the bubble until you feel love for the entire region, then the whole continent, then the whole Earth.

Keep expanding until you feel love for the whole solar system, galaxy, and Universe, and finally, All That Is: the totality of everything on all planes of existence.

"Doesn't Lowering Your Vibrations Also Cause Discord?"
Actually, yes, it does. If you lower vibrations on a keyboard from C8 to B8, you'll also hear discord.

Negative emotions like anger and hate will lower your vibrations, and also cause discord with your physical body, but it doesn't often cause OBEs. Occultists believe that the physical plane is comprised of lower vibration matter, so lowering your vibrations tends to anchor you to the physical.

However, fear is one exception: Fear lowers your soul's vibration level, and that kind of discord can lead to a feedback loop of ASP (Awareness during Sleep Paralysis) which can be harnessed to induce OBEs. If you're deathly afraid of sleep paralysis, it's very likely to happen again, and once there, you can turn it into an OBE. I talked about that in the second half of this blog article: Turning the Tables on Fear. However, fear-based OBEs often lead to negative encounters, so that's probably not a good approach.

Eliminate Negativity

You can also raise your vibrations just by eliminating most of the negativity in your life. Here are some things you can do:
  • Stop watching television news.
    The evening news can give you the idea that the world is filled with bad things and bad people. Most of the news programs directly or indirectly tell you who to hate. Don't listen to them. Believe in the inherent goodness of people.
  • Stop watching crime dramas.
    Crime dramas like "Criminal Minds" and "Law and Order" program you to see the bad in life. It's easy to believe that the world is full of rapists and serial killers. In reality, these things are rare. Again, be careful about how you let yourself be programmed by the media.
  • Eliminate negative self-talk / inner dialogue.
    This is important. Don't give yourself unconscious beatings or think negatively about yourself. If you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself (e.g. "I can't do this," "I'll never be good at this," etc.) then counter it with positive self-talk. (e.g. "I'll get this eventually," "I'm determined to get there," etc.) and make sure your positive self-talk outweighs the negative self-talk.
  • Delete negative music from your phone or music player.This is a tough one for me. I'm a music lover, and I like certain kinds of heavy metal music, but the vast majority of that is negative programming. I forced myself to part ways with some of my favorite music. But it's well worth it. If you want to hear the very best example I know of music that portrays negativity and bad self-talk all-in-one, listen to "When" by Megadeth. Delete it, and everything like it.
  • Listen to positive music.
    It doesn't need to be flowery new-age crap-music to raise your vibrations. If you want a good example of heavy metal music that's positive and uplifting, listen to "Spirit Never Die" by Masterplan. But my absolute all-time favorite vibration-raising song is still "Awaken" by Yes because of its long length, ever-increasing crescendos, and uplifting imagery.
  • Give yourself positive affirmations every morning.
    For example, "I am a warrior of Light and my vibrations are high," "I allow only positive energy to enter my aura." And of course, "Out-of-body experiences come naturally and frequently to me."
  • Believe in yourself.
Of course, this article is a gross oversimplification of what's really going on. In reality, your physical body and astral body have multiple levels of vibration. For example, your brain waves are a type of electrical vibration too. Each cell has its own vibration, but they resonate in harmony with one another. Each atom has its own vibation too. And since your body is really a "system" more than a "thing" there's cooperation between the various components. The important thing is to focus on the positive emotions more than the negative.

So go out and raise your vibrations and hopefully that will increase your OBEs.

Bob Peterson
07 January 2020

If you have ideas for blog articles related to OBEs, 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.

Return to the index of my blog articles