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


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.

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