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