Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Convergence

Convergence

by Barbara Mango and Lynn Miller

Today I'm reviewing Convergence: The Interconnection of Extraordinary Experiences by Barbara Mango and Lynn Miller.

I'm Facebook friends with both of the authors, but I've known Lynn Miller for many years. In fact, Lynn asked me to contribute my personal reflections to the book, which I did. It appears on page 213.

As the subtitle implies, this book is all about the interconnectedness of non-ordinary experiences. In my second book, Lessons out of the Body, I wrote a chapter about how "alien abduction experiences" are very similar to out-of-body experiences (OBEs). In fact, except for a few features, they're almost indistinguishable from one another. Convergence takes this concept a step forward: it clearly demonstrates a common connection between out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) related contact", and past-life recall (PLR) experiences (both spontaneous and obtained via past-life regression.)

This is a very "academic" book. In other words, it reads like a guide to not only experiencers, but clinicians, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals. As such, it has tons and tons of references to back up the authors' claims. There's no outlandish claims, just evidence from numerous sources. In fact, the book's references section consumes 53 pages, which is bigger than some OBE books I've read! It makes the book a little "dry" but still very fascinating and insightful.

For example, in chapter 2 the authors describe a personality type, the Anamalously Sensitive Person (ASP) who tends to score higher on the HISS (Holistic Inventory of Stimulus Sensitivities) questionnaire. According to David Ritchey:

"Additionally, they demonstrate an inclination to be creative, curious, insightful, incorruptible, iconoclastic, non-conforming, and anti-authoritarian." (pg. 28)

Doesn't that just describe me to a Tee?

What I loved most about this book is that it gives lots of narratives, not only of OBEs and NDEs, but also UAP (alien abductions) and PLR (past-life recall). And it's not just random "patients" but also the authors, who are themselves experiencers.

Although I've known Lynn Miller for many years, she's a very private person and has never shared her many OBEs with me. It was awesome and refreshing to see this side of her.

Convergence is not written for people who wish to have OBEs, alien abductions and such. There are no induction techniques. It's written for the intellectually curious, the science-oriented, therapists, and other professionals who work with people who've had these experiences. For experiencers it offers a consistent message of "You're definitely not crazy and you're not in this alone." Or to quote Miller:

"The more I accept my inter-dimensional nature, the more I feel alienated from humanity. The most valuable thing I've realized is knowing that I am not alone in this--knowing that there are [other] people like me. I go to work and hide who I truly am, but it's all good, knowing that I have my own "tribe" of like-minded people who share and listen. Let your weird light shine bright so the other weirdos know where to find you." (pg. 42)

The authors put all the cards on the table: all the judgment, ridicule, and misdiagnosis we "experiencers" endure, from professionals, as well as our own friends and families. It also brings up some fascinating scientific insights, such as this: 

"A recent study conducted by Lopez and Elziere, entitled "Out-of-Body Experience in Vestibular Disorders - A prospective study of 210 patients with dizziness," was published in the journal Cortex. It proposed that individuals suffering from vestibular disorders have a "significantly higher occurrence" of OBEs than the general public." (pg. 74)

As far as the "interconnectedness" of the experiences, each chapter addresses symptoms or features that link these non-ordinary experiences. For example, chapter 6 is all about spontaneous healing, and it demonstrates cases in which spontaneous healing has occurred in all of them: NDEs, OBEs, UAP and PLR. This is fascinating stuff!

It also talks about the life-altering effects of these experiences, changes of personality, and so forth. For example, I found this really interesting statistic about relationships:

[After having these experiences] "Separation becomes common-place. Approximately 75% of NDEers divorce within seven to ten years." (pg. 184)

I guess it's a good thing I married my wife Kathy long after my OBEs started, so she knew what she was getting into!

And I absolutely loved this analogy:

"When you're higher in frequency, you're higher in consciousness, your perception is heightened, and you see things more clearly the higher you go. Just as when you ascend in an airplane, you see a larger picture the higher you climb, and the brighter it becomes as you break through the clouds." (pg. 204-205, quoted from Reverend Edwige Bingue)

The book is professionally written. I only found one mistake in the whole book, which is very rare. Weighing in at 323 pages, with good size and margins, there's plenty of content to satisfy. There are no OBE tips or techniques in the book, but good narratives, not only of OBEs but the other subjects as well. I was never bored. I'm giving it 4 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
13 April 2021

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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, March 30, 2021

Explorations Out of the Body

Explorations Out of the Body

by Eddie Slasher

Today I'm reviewing Explorations Out of the Body: A Beginner's Roadmap to the Universe by Eddie Slasher. The book is copyright 1997.

Eddie Slasher (it seems to be his real name, not a pen name) sets up good expectations and credentials right from the start: the introduction. He comes across as an ordinary guy, a self-described "nerd in every sense of the word" who kind of fell into OBEs by chance. In sixth grade of his school, the class was given assignments to do a research project. Eddie chose the subject of lucid dreaming and started by reading Stephen LaBerge's classic book, Lucid Dreaming. Then he learned to induce lucid dreams. It wasn't long before he discovered he could dispel the illusion of the dream and find himself in an out-of-body environment. From there he started to explore. He quickly discovered "False Awakenings" which he curiously calls "Breakthrough Dreams," in which you wake up and get on with your day, only to discover you're still dreaming.

Years later, when he was 18, Slasher found the book that got me started: Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe, and it reignited his interest in OBEs. So we know where he got his knowledge about OBEs: his own personal experience, which is really the best way. In fact, he brings up several good points about OBEs throughout the book and always follows them with OBE narratives from his journal to show exactly what he encountered and led to his conclusions.

One of his most important conclusions is that some things--even some people--in his OBEs were hallucinations. And if he focused on them too long, they sucked him back into an ordinary dream state. This is something I described in my first book as "The Fantasy Trap." He also discovered he could dispel these hallucinations simply by questioning their reality. For example:

"The teenager looked very familiar to me. Then it struck me that he was a character in a fictional book I was writing. I asked him if he was Lance from my book and watched as he instantly disappeared. A few other people also disappeared. They were other hallucinations." (pg. 8)

He uses this trick in many of his OBE narratives: he asks whether certain things are real or imaginary, and they disappear, leaving him with a more objective OBE environment. He describes being in a room full of people and watching half of them disappear because they were dream characters. The "real" people stuck around.

The writing is unpretentious; it's honest, upfront and not at all conceited or superior. He's not a new age yoga-instructor vegan activist. He's an ordinary guy; sometimes unemployed, sometimes doing odd jobs like car salesman. He says things like:

"Pigs have no great worries, and don't concern themselves with such abstract thoughts as what is the meaning of their lives which, by the way is for the noble cause of great bacon. Incidentally if you're an animal rights activist or vegetarian I don't care. Throw down my book if you don't want to read it. Survival of the fittest is the rule in life, and the fitter eat the less fit both literally and figuratively." (pg. 13)

He doesn't hide or down-play some "less than noble" or morally questionable OBE experiments, such as mind control, which he talks about in chapter 10 (ref: page 151).

He found an easy way to visit any person, a process he calls "Indenting" in which you recall to mind a feeling or image of the person and literally screaming his or her name several times (in the OBE). I don't know where Slasher came up with the term "indent" but I suspect it's a mis-reading of Robert Monroe's "Ident" (short for identity: a mental frequency or address of a person) from Monroe's second book, Far Journeys, which he mentions in passing. Slasher says with a little practice and effort, he learned (and you can learn) to "indent" on places as well as people. (This matches my experience on the matter, but I never scream; I just "pull" myself to the identity of where I want to go.)

Here's one of his more interesting assertions:

"Thought is the Ultimate Reality. If you remember this one key phrase you will never go wrong in your OOB explorations. In simple terms, this is also The Secret To The Universe. Yes, You read it right. I said this is The Secret To The Universe, and no, I'm not on drugs. It's that simple." (pg. 21)

Later, he also asserts:

"Second, the Meaning of Life is that we exist in a physical universe in order to gain more control of our thought processes." (pg. 27)

Where this book shines is the numerous out-of-body experiments Slasher did. In a recent blog article, Are OBEs "Real?" - Part 6, I wrote about some of Slasher's (failed) attempts to prove whether OBEs were real by using his OBEs to predict the Georgia "Pick 3" lottery. But he did several other fascinating experiments. For example, he tried to photograph and even film an OBE while trying to make his non-physical body as dense as possible. (It didn't work; he couldn't see anything on film).

As for OBE techniques, Slasher strongly recommends you keep a dream journal. I agree wholeheartedly, and wrote about it in my blog, here. He also recommends Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) setting your alarm to wake you after 3 or 4 hours of sleep. He advocates a technique he calls "Reach Out" in which you focus on a physical object in the room that's at least 7 feet (2.13 meters) away and pretend to reach out and pull on the object with non-physical arms and hands.

Another technique is "Indenting out" which is basically the same as Micheal Raduga's "immeditate relocation" from his book The Phase.

Another technique is trying to imagine walking through the room and seeing from your non-physical body's perspective. As a visual aid, he talks about the old television show "Tales From the Crypt" in which they would slowly move and pan a first-person point of view. This really isn't too different from the Target Technique.

He also talks about hypnosis and the importance of changing your belief system, much as Rick Stack recommended in his book. Slasher writes:

"If you convince your subconscious that OOBEs are simple to induce and that you will have one, in all probability you will." (pg. 69)

By far his most used technique is upgrading from a lucid dream into an OBE, which he often does just by asserting, "Wow, I'm out of body!" and dispelling the dream hallucinations. He asserts that:

"The mere Act of questioning whether you are out-of-body or not guarantees that you are actually out-of-body." (pg. 60)

As for other tips and techniques, he mentions that a good workout before sleep increases your OBE ability. This matches my experience (as noted in chapter 19 of my first book) as well as a few other authors.

He has some interesting observations about OBEs that aren't found in other books, such as the effects of drugs on his OBE ability. For example, he claims that aspirin interferes with his ability to induce OBEs. 

"Although aspirin isn't a strong drug, it took away a degree of my conscious control making it very difficult to get out of body. When I did finally manage to get out I experienced difficulty in seeing and in controlling my motions." (pg. 71)

He also claims drugs like Ritalin, Phenobarbital, and Tegretol inhibited or neutralized his OBE ability.

His take on the silver cord is pretty simple and straightforward:

"Your silver cord is not going to sever because it doesn't exist. It's only an hallucination created by your mind." (pg. 79)

Like me, he tried several times to visit friends and family in an out-of-body state, talking to their subconscious mind. He writes: 

"I have yet to visit a consciously awake person who later remembered the visit." (pg. 90)

He experimented with using an OBE to do "mind control." For example, he claims to have used an OBE to influence a HR (Human Resources) person to hire him for a job. He writes at length how this is pretty easy and could be abused in the future. He even gives instructions on how to do it, much like the "Jedi Mind Trick" from the Star Wars movies.

In another fascinating experiment, writes about using his OBEs to inject himself into another person's dream, and strangely, he had no control over that persons dream objects. Unlike his own dreams, he couldn't simply dismiss the other person's hallucinations. He even felt "trapped" by the hallucination and unable to get out.

He talks a lot about using OBEs to time travel: to visit both the past (which he says is permanent) and the future (which he says is "probable" and can be changed.)

He also experimented with trying to change physical reality. He did several experiments where he would place an object, like a knife, on a piece of paper and write on the paper "Knife is on the paper" and the date. Then he'd induce an OBE and try to move the object, or knock it off the paper. In his OBE, the object would seem to move, then go zipping back to its original position on the paper. When he woke, the object was in the same place he'd left it. For a long time he was convinced the object was really moving and teleporting back to its original location, and he even tried to capture that on film (it didn't work). Then he tried to push an analog camera's exposure button from an OBE, but that also ended in failure.

He also mentions that his OBEs caused numerous electrical problems. For example, he blamed his OBEs for burning out the electronics of several televisions he bought. He had to return multiple televisions to the same store multiple times because of his OBE experiments were apparently causing their electronics to break. (A similar claim is common among psychic healers and Near-Death Experiencers).

Perhaps the most interesting experiments Slasher did was trying to locate missing children. He mentioned an OBE in which he tried to find "Jacob W. of the Jacob W. Foundation." Because I'm a Minnesota boy, I assume he refers to the famous Jacob Wetterling abduction case. Slasher's OBE took place on January 12, 1994. In his OBE, he was transported to a large field and could tell Jacob was dead, but then he had a moral dilemma: What should he do with the information? The true fate of Jacob Wetterling wasn't known until October, 2015 when authorities learned that the boy had been killed shortly after his abduction, in 1989. So Slasher's OBE observation (again, published in 1997) was, in fact, correct.

The book is 178 pages with good font and margins, so there's plenty of content to satisfy. The spelling and grammar are good. The writing is personable and non-assuming, but there were several typos that should have been caught by the editor.

I loved this book when I first read it, and I love it even more now. I give it 4 and a half stars. This book is a rare gem and well worth the money, if you can find a copy.

Bob Peterson
30 March 2021

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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, March 16, 2021

Lightworker's Guide to the Astral Realm

Lightworker's Guide to the Astral Realm

by Sahvanna Arienta

Today I'm reviewing Lightworker's Guide to the Astral Realm by Sahvanna Arienta. The book is copyright 2019.

One thing I wished Arienta had done differently is this: The epilogue should have been chapter 1, before everything else, not an after-thought. For me it was the best part of the book. In the epilogue, the author explains how she started to have spontaneous "soul travel" as a child, how it was accompanied by loud humming, vibrations, sleep paralysis, and such. She explains how she would leave her house, in her astral body, like a kid who sneaks out the window in the middle of the night to go off with friends. Later in life, she became involved with a Spiritualist church and studied under legendary medium Emily Hewitt. These are the credentials I need to see--and you should demand--in every astral projection / out-of-body book.

She also talks about being influenced by Jane Roberts, author of the "Seth" books, which I like. She even gives a taste of her philosophy:

"So, when you experience soul travel, be open to all possibilities and scenarios. You never know where your soul will carry you. As conscious beings, our abilities are without limitation. The practice of soul travel is an adventure that can show you the limitless potential of the universe and how you share in that potential." (pg. 155)

That really sets the stage for the rest of the book. But since she didn't start out with the epilogue, the reader is instead forced to take her word for everything (or not) without any credentials or hint of where she got her information, at least until the very end.

The book is more about new age philosophy than it is about astral projection or out-of-body traveling. It's good philosophy. I do like it, but it's not quite what I was hoping for.

Part 1 of the book is "The New Age Soul Traveler" and it's pretty much setting up expectations, and yes, new age philosophy. Here's an example:

"As humans, we tend to adopt a bit of an attitude of greatness and power. This feeling of greatness will quickly diminish when you get a glimpse of the higher planes." (pg. 4)

That's true. Traveling out-of-body is exhilarating, but it also kind of puts you in your place. I agreed with most of what she wrote, but I did disagree with this:

"When practicing lucid dreaming, there is no separation of astral body and physical body. Astral projection (or soul travel) is a true out-of-body experience..." (pg. 27)

In my experience, we are in an out-of-body state when we're both dreaming and lucid dreaming, often floating a few inches above the body. The difference is that we're completely trapped in (or focused on) a hallucinated dream environment.

In chapter 4, she gives her one and only "Soul Travel" technique. Unfortunately, it's a simplified version of Robert Bruce's "Rope" technique, but visualizing the rope rather than feeling for the rope. This is so common in OBE books that it's tiresome. If you're looking for out-of-body induction techniques, this book isn't it.

Part 2 is "The Realms." This is where the author describes the various planes of existence, according to her worldview. She lays them out as:

  1. The earth plane (where we all live now)
  2. The astral plane (the buffer zone: the world between the living and the dead)
  3. The third plane (the turning point: where spirits and guides reside)
  4. The fourth plane (leveling up: a place of healers, artists and love)
  5. The fifth plane (divine intelligence: where the akashic records are)
  6. The sixth plane (the multiverse: think celestial beings walking around in crystal cities)
  7. The seventh plane (the power generator: aka "God")

She claims to have visited all of these planes, but the seventh only for a split second.

Part 3 is "Beings of the Realms." This is where she describes what goes on in the various planes. She talks a bit about spirit guides, spirit-guide turn-over, and even her own spirit guides.

Part 4 is "The Lower Realms." I liked her philosophy about this too. For example, she wrote:

"Those of us who subscribe to love and light may not want to acknowledge what I have to say here, but the simple truth is: knowledge is power, and when you have the power, nothing can ever harm you." (pg. 115)

Part 5 is "The Keys to the Multiverse." Here the author focuses on more new age philosophy. For example:

"If you find that you constantly focus on negativity or what you don't want, it starts to dominate your thoughts. Change your focus to something that is much more positive, and your thoughts will be more positive." (pg. 134)

That is coupled with the Seth / Jane Roberts notion that you create your own reality based on your beliefs and thoughts. She even says:

"Through your consciousness and intention, you will seamlessly create your own subjective reality." (pg. 147)

This example hit home for me:

"For example, you can set an intention that you will find a great parking space at the store. If you focus (put thought behind it) on that intention, you will find the best parking space." (pg. 140)

I laughed out loud when I read that because I always do this. My wife and friends constantly shake their heads in wonder at how I always get the best parking spaces; usually the spot next to Handicap parking. They often ask me to drive to crowded events (like parades or Independence Day fireworks) because they know I always get a good parking spot.

She also shares things like:

"Commitment to creating a higher frequency means repetition of practical application of whatever it is you want to commit to. If you want to expand your spirituality, if means committing to a routine of practical exercises that will help you grow spiritually." (pg. 151)

The book is well written and organized. I found no mistakes in grammar or spelling. It's 155 pages with good size, font and margins, which means there's a good amount of content. I expected the book to be more about astral projection and it turned out to be mostly new age philosophy. It's not bad philosophy; it's just not as focused on astral projection as I expected. It only had the one (abbreviated "rope") technique, and very little about actually traveling out-of-body. So I'm only giving it 3 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
16 March 2021

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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, March 2, 2021

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Astral Travelers

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Astral Travelers

By Bob Peterson

In this article, I'd like to share some habits of successful out-of-body explorers (astral travelers--or "travellers" for my British friends). At the same time I thought I'd poke a little fun at the "7 Habits" books by Stephen R. Covey. (The book cover above is fake. There's no such book; but if Mr. Covey wants my help writing it, I'm willing to give it). This kind of goes hand-in-hand with another article I wrote called "The Ten Commandments of OBE." Without further ado, here are the seven habits I recommend:

  1. Keep a dream journal
    First, learn to keep a dream journal. This establishes an important brain connection between experience "here" and experience "there." It trains your subconscious to be more lucid at night and pay more attention to what happens when we dissociate from our bodies at night. I wrote a more in-depth article about this. Click this link to read it.

  2. Learn to accept an alternate body schema and "story of experience"
    Every conscious moment your brain formulates two things: an idea of your body's boundaries and orientation (your "body schema") and a running story of what's happening to you, something I call the "story of experience". To get to the out-of-body state, you need to alter both of these things. To alter your body schema, it helps to do regular T'ai Chi or Qi Gong energy circulation, "energy bouncing" exercises as described in Robert Bruce's book Astral Dynamics, or similar things like closing your eyes and imagining your hands, arms, or other body parts are in a different position.
    To learn to accept an altered story of experience, you can do things like play video games, or use virtual reality (VR) goggles, read books, and don't forget to engage your active imagination throughout the day.

  3. Meditate Daily
    Successful astral travelers usually do some form of meditation. It doesn't matter what kind of meditation you do as long as you relax and make your mind as quiet and still as possible. Some people prefer binaural beats like hemi-sync, while others prefer "mindfulness" meditation, transcendental meditation, deeply focusing on your breath, or other meditation techniques. I wrote an article about some of my unconventional meditation techniques in another blog article. Click here to read it.

  4. Eat early, eat light
    Some people, especially Americans, seem almost programmed to keep their stomachs full. In general, that's bad for inducing out-of-body experiences. It's best if you eat an early dinner, or at least avoid eating late at night. Some claim it's best to eat nothing after 3:00 p.m. (15:00). You don't want hunger to be a big distraction either, so there's a balance.
    It also best to eat light. Stop eating before you're full and never over-stuff. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day.

  5. Do affirmations every morning
    Because our brains are divided into two halves, there's a constant interplay between your "story of experience" (your idea about what's happening--which is mostly right-brained) and your verbal translation of that story (your "inner dialog"--which is mostly left-brained). If you change your inner dialog (the "self-talk" or running inner commentary about your life) it will alter your story of experience as well. The best way to do that is with affirmations. Successful astral travelers do affirmations, especially early in the morning when you first wake up. Affirmations should be positive and simple. For example, "I can easily and safely leave my body" or "OBEs come naturally to me." I wrote a blog article about affirmations. You can read it at this link. Affirmations also help eliminate limiting beliefs, something author Rick Stack stresses.

  6. Read Astral Projection/OBE narratives before bed
    I've always found that my OBEs increase when I read about out-of-body experiences, especially narratives ("This is what happened to me" stories), and especially if you read them right before bedtime. This ingrains in your subconscious how important OBEs are to you.

  7. Practice astral projection in the mornings
    All the other things are useless unless you set aside time to practice, practice, practice. Early mornings are the most effective time to make your OBE attempt, especially after interrupted sleep. Never get discouraged. Be persistent. You may have negative subconscious beliefs that need to be overcome. You'll have an OBE when your persistence and "will" overpowers these self-imposed limitations.

It can take a lot of time and effort to learn to induce OBEs, but it's time well spent. Put these seven habits into daily use and it will make OBEs more easy to attain.

Bob Peterson

02 March 2021

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Out-of-Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel

The Out-of-Body Experience

by Anthony Peake

Today I'm reviewing The Out-of-Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel by Anthony Peake, copyright 2011.

The subtitle, "The History and Science of Astral Travel" is perfect, because that's exactly what it is. Part 1 is the history and part 2 is the science. Peake won my heart right away in the prologue when he wrote:

"My experience made me realize that I had been asking the wrong questions. To try to discover if the out-of-body experience is real or imagined is to miss the point entirely. What I should have been doing was enquiring into the very nature of perception itself and, by implication, the nature of the phenomenal world that our senses tell us is so real." (pg. xvii)

In the first few chapters, Peake covers all the basics of the history of astral projection, out-of-body experiences, and near-death experiences, and he does so with a scientist's perspective. He talks about various religious traditions, like the Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism), Tibetan Dream Yoga, Blavatsky and the Theosophists, and so forth. He also talks about his own experience and how he became interested in the subject.

In chapter 4, he talks about Robert Monroe, although he seemed to treat Monroe's early OBEs from Journeys Out of the Body the same as his later "Focus Level" experiences, whereas I always had the impression they're quite different. He talks about the laboratory experiments Dr. Charles Tart did with Monroe and so forth.

In chapter 5, he talks about the remarkable Ingo Swann and the experiments he did with Dr. Karlis Osis [typoed as "Otis"] and Dr. Janet Mitchell, which leads into the discussion of remote viewing and non-local perception. In one experiment, Swann correctly identified 8 out of 8 objects placed out of sight in the room, the odds of which were calculated to be more than 40,000 to 1. He also talked about Swann's mission to visit Jupiter in an OBE state. Still, there were problems with controls and protocols that hardened skeptics would scoff at, but that's treated fairly. IIRC, the meow-counting experiment with Swann's cat, Spirit, wasn't mentioned.

In chapter 6 he talks about some of the modern-era OBE groups, such as:

  • International Academy of Consciousness (IAC) and its founder, Waldo Veiera.
  • Tom Campbell of "My Big Toe" fame who worked with Robert Monroe.
  • Eckankar and its founder Paul Twitchell.

In chapter 7 he talks about Lucid Dreaming, false awakenings, and such. He talks about the relationship between lucid dreaming and OBEs and the work done by Glenn Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow that compared OBEs with lucid dreams and other body-boundary disturbances. This chapter had some mind-blowing observations related to dreams and deja vu. He talks about a guy named Ian Wilson, who had deja vu and whose dreams often came true. According to Peake, Wilson taught himself to lucid dream, then manipulated his dreams from the lucid dream state. In this way, he was able to induce his own deja vu and actually change the outcome of physical reality, essentially making his lucid dreams come true! This is astonishing, and it fits with observations from my 2017 blog article titled "Deja Vu, Synchronicity, Fate, Destiny and the Law of Attraction".

After a while, I noticed Peake repeatedly saying things like "The implications of this are staggering." It became almost cliche'. And indeed they are.

I would have liked more OBE history, covering the early pioneers like Sylvan Muldoon, Oliver Fox, Charles Lancelin and such. Peake mentions a lot of it in passing, but let's face it: it's a lot of information and to do it justice would have made the book a lot bigger.

I felt Peake didn't do enough to examine the evidence of whether OBEs are "real" or hallucination. He did point out the lack of concrete evidence and how OBE perceptions are often wrong, but he could have spent chapters more on this.

Part 2 is "The Science" and that's where this book really shines. Here he talks about the neurology of OBEs, the hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, the brain's TPJ (Temporo-Parietal Junction), the experiments of Olaf Blanke and Michael Pirsinger, and other scientists.

Shortly before I finished writing Hacking the Out of Body Experience, I had read Susan Blackmore's book, Seeing Myself on the hopes that it would spark some new scientific insights I could reference in the book. Blackmore's book was good, and I loved her scientific bent, but unfortunately it didn't really say much that wasn't already in Hacking. On the other hand, Peake's book is chalk full valuable scientific insights I could have used. It was everything I had hoped for in Blackmore's book.

For example, he talks about psychedelics like DMT and how they work and their relationship to Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). He talks about neurotransmitters that affect the brain, like Glutamate (think MSG--mono-sodium glutamate), and Ketamine, and how ketamine blockades the brain's NMDA receptors to prevent damage caused by glutamate floods. He talks about peptides like alpha-endopsychosin. He talks about endogenous morphines, the body's natural painkillers (think endorphins), luteinizing-hormone-releasing-hormone (LHRH) and its role in sleep paralysis. He talks about the pineal gland and how it generates the sleep hormone melatonin (and possibly DMT) and how it's broken down by monoamine oxidase (MAO). He talks about how melatonin levels are higher than normal in schizophrenic patients. And that's just the start. The book has tons of great material related to the science of OBEs.

But it doesn't end there. Peake also dives deep into the world of quantum physics in an attempt to determine how and why OBEs happen, why they seem so real, and what exactly they are. He talks about the various theories of Albert Einstein (and his "Spooky action at a distance"), David Bohm (think "Implicate Order"), Dr. John Bell, Richard Feynman and other fundamental physicists. He talks about non-locality and the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI). He talks about how things exist "in potential" until they're observed, which collapses energy waves into matter. He talks about Dark Matter and how light is both a particle and a wave, and how these light waves can mysteriously travel through the "void" of outer space. Oh, and about quantum entanglement. Amazingly, Peake explains these all things in layman's terms that make it easier to understand (by their very nature they will never really be "easy to understand").

It's not just about the science, but how it all relates to OBEs.

The book is also very insightful. One of my favorite insights concerned entanglement and Einstein's "spooky action action at a distance:" when two particles are separated by space but "entangled" and how actions done to one particle somehow mysteriously affects the other. The analogy he presented blew me away: Peake suggests we imagine an aquarium with a fish. Facing the front of the aquarium is a video camera, and there's also a side-facing video camera. If you're looking at both cameras, when the fish turns, the cameras seem to record two different fish that are somehow "entangled." It seems like we are observing two fish that have some kind of one-to-one entanglement such that a change in one immediately affects the other. But in reality, it's all the same fish from different perspectives. When I read that analogy, a light-bulb came on over my head and I got goosebumps. Sounds like many mystics and Near-Death Experiencers who claim that separation is an illusion, right?

Another light-bulb came on when I read his bit about holograms. If you look at a hologram, it shows the image of an object. But when you break a hologram into pieces, each of those pieces also shows the entire object, but smaller. It is as if each area of the hologram contains a recording of the entire whole. Doesn't that just give you goosebumps? Sounds like those same mystics and NDErs who claim that we're all just fragments of one Divine Universal Consciousness, right?

Peake offers some explanations for OBEs and how they relate to the real world, as is hinted in the quote above from the prologue above (about asking the wrong questions.) It all has to do with the nature of perception and our interpretation of it. Peake suggests that we're not really "going out-of-body" in an OBE, but rather, "going within." In other words, we're switching modes of perception to a more quantum (or subatomic) level. What's actually changed is how we interpret these new perceptions. It all gets very wonderfully messy.

I'm not sure I agree with everything Peake suggests in the book. A few times I felt like he was, scientifically speaking, prematurely jumping to conclusions. To his credit, though, he didn't state theories as facts. He often amended clauses like "if this theory is true, the implications are astounding (mind-blowing, staggering or earth-shattering, insert your favorite superlative)" then he'd forge ahead with the next revelation.

The book is 222 pages with good margins, smallish font, which means there's a good amount of content. The writing is professional with excellent spelling and grammar [sans the Karlis Osis/Otis thing]. This is a remarkable book about out-of-body experiences, written mainly for science nerds and "brainiacs" like me. It contains no OBE techniques and only a few brief narratives but I'm still giving it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I loved it. It really makes you think.

Bob Peterson
16 February 2021

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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, February 2, 2021

Review: The Art and Practice of Astral Projection

Review: The Art and Practice of Astral Projection

by Ophiel

Today I'm reviewing the book The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel.

This is one of the earliest books ever written in the modern era about astral projection. It was first published in 1961, the year I was born! So it predates even Robert Monroe's first book. It's also one of the earliest books I purchased for my OBE book collection in the 1980s. Unfortunately, I was turned off by the book back then because it takes a more "occult" approach to the subject. Looking at it with 40 years more experience, I appreciate the book a lot more now than I did when I was young.

Ophiel's real name was Edward C. Peach. Since I like pirates, a couple years ago, I made this funny meme:

This book is so old the author bemoans the lack of books and public information about astral projection. He complains about earlier authors and it even gets humorous. For example, he has a good dig at Yram:

"Yram tells all about HIS experiences and his experiments in Astral projection BUT HE DOES NOT TELL HOW TO DO IT. (He did it thru the symbol method). So what on earth good is this book to you, and your desire to learn this Art, if he does not tell HOW HE DID IT. Yram calls the method he used "An open secret" "known to all Occultists" Open indeed!!!" (pg. 97)

He also has a dig at Sylvan Muldoon:

"In my humble opinion Mr. Muldoon is a natural projector and I don't know if he can teach others to project for themselves or not. I wrote to him years ago asking this question but I received no satisfactory answer to my question and so I made no further attempts to question him." (pg. 97)

He even goes on to say:

"I have, at one time or another, tried to contact every known Occultist in the world that was living. I made contacts but none of them were worth very much. I found out very little of value. THEY WERE ALL WHY MEN. AND THERE WAS NOT A HOW MAN AMONG THEM." (pg. 97)

He does, however, give credit to the earlier authors and acknowledges them for their contributions to the study of astral projection.

So why the digs? In reading the book, I got the impression that when he was young, Ophiel wanted to learn Occult secrets, especially astral projection, so he contacted several occult societies, such as the Golden Dawn. He was turned down by all of them for various reasons, so he was forced to learn on his own. He was then greatly influenced by the articles and book by Oliver Fox, and from there learned Fox's OBE technique, "The Dream Method," which is basically inducing a lucid dream, then forcing yourself out of the dream, thus turning the lucid dream into an OBE. This turned out to be a good thing because then he wasn't bound by their rules or oaths and forced to keep their secrets. From there he developed his new OBE techniques, and presents them in this book. I might add, with a certain amount of disdain for people who would hide the knowledge away as occult secrets.

The book contains four main astral projection (out of body) techniques. The four are:

  1. Little System
  2. Dream Method
  3. Body of Light Method
  4. Symbol Method

Little System

The Little System is actually the earliest known account of the "Target Technique" as taught by William Buhlman and several other OBE authors. This is a good solid OBE technique. I've always liked Buhlman's description, but Ophiel claims to have developed it himself. So perhaps Ophiel's is the most original.

Dream Method

The Dream Method, as I said before, is Oliver Fox's technique of inducing a lucid dream, and then turning your attention away from the hallucinated dream world to a greater out-of-body perception.

Body of Light Method

The Body of Light Method is the truest "Occult technique" in the book. This is basically where you spend time visualizing and enforcing an imaginary second body, the "body of light." Ophiel's description is probably better than other versions in occult books because he's heavy on technique. For example, he has you spend a lot of time looking at your body parts and moving them physically, saying the body part's name aloud, then imagining the second body (the Body of Light) moving at the same time. This procedure reinforces that you're actually moving both bodies, astral and physical, at the same time. For example, look at your thumb, say the word "Thumb," move your thumb, and imagine your body of light's thumb moves at the same time, etc. Then you do the same thing with your eyes closed. Then you try to do the same without actually moving them physically, but still trying to "watch" the body of light move in your imagination.

He gives a detailed ritual for this technique, mostly based on the teachings of the Kabbalah (or "Cabala"): ancient Jewish Mysticism. So he has you face different directions, invoke holy names of God, etc. Rituals like this have their place, but I've never really believed in them as anything but a psychological tool. And if they work, why not use them, right?

Symbol Method

This is one of the earliest descriptions of using visualizing symbols to induce OBEs. A few authors, such as J.H. Brennan and Graham Nicholls, describe this technique. Ophiel uses Tattwa symbols. He says, in part:

"I am here going to repeat the before mentioned Truth - the basic fact – that all outer things come from the Inner and also that the Inner is the Real 'thing' while the outer is the symbol only of the Inner 'THING". I will also repeat it until it runs out of your ears that we (the fallen souls!) cannot deal, successfully, with this outer world in any way other than thru the Inner world first." (pg. 75)

He asks you to construct paper representations of basic symbols: egg-shaped, circle, triangle, crescent, oblong, etc., color them with prescribed colors, etc. Then practice looking at them, closing your eyes and visualizing them, etc.

J.H. Brennan offers a lot more options, with a lot less ritual and pretense.

Other Observations

While Ophiel is heavy on technique (which is good), he also shrouds the techniques in a fair amount of occult ritual, which for me is a turn-off.

The author offers some interesting observations about OBEs, for example:

"What I would like to have you understand for now is that, almost without exception, when you make ANY projection you first "hit" the Etheric plane." (pg. 37)

and:

"It seems to be true that there is another life 'over there' that you live when you sleep 'here.'" (pg. 38)

I have seen this myself, so I agree. I also agree with this:

"...once you have made a projection from the physical body to the etheric plane, and after you have been there for a 'time', there is a very strong tendency to continue to project again and then again to the next inner plane!!!" (pg. 44)

He also talks about exit symptoms, like vibrations and strange noises.

"The actual change–birth-over–into–the–Etheric is often accompanied by the darndest collection of noises that you've ever heard!!!! Bangs. Thumps, Bumps, Rattles, Cracks, Voices calling out names, including your own, and even loud explosions." (pg. 45)

Conclusions

The book is 116 pages with decent formatting and small font, which means there's a good amount of content.

The writing is good, and personable. In other words, it reads more like a fireside chat, not some know-it-all "do it my way" dictate-by-rote teacher. He gives just enough narrative to let you know he's genuine: not just "book learning." It doesn't feel "occult." It's feels right. But because of its age, it wasn't spell checked as well as it should have been, so there are several spelling mistakes. He uses capitalization for emphasis, and he does this WAY too much. He also uses exclamation points way too much!!!!! But all in all it's a good book. I give it three and 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Bob Peterson
02 February 2021

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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, January 19, 2021

Getting Started With Astral Projection

Getting Started With Astral Projection

by Bob Peterson

A lot of people want to learn astral projection (AP) or out-of-body experiences (OBEs) but they have no idea where to start. So I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Where to go for answers

First, you may have questions about OBEs. The best place to get answers is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) article I wrote for this blog. You can read it by clicking this link. Scroll through the questions until you find what you're looking for.

Find out what to expect

If you're not sure about leaving your body, you may want to learn what astral projection is really like. Unfortunately, there's a lot of confusing terminology. If you want to find out what astral projection is really like, read books that contain OBE narratives or listen to some youtube videos that have narratives.

My favorite OBE narrative book is Jurgen Ziewe's book Multidimensional Man. Another good one is Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. Many people also like William Buhlman's books, especially his first book, Adventures Beyond the Body. Another good book that illustrates what it's really like is The Vibrational State: Three Years of Out of Body Experiences by Maverick Vardøger. It's not the best "technique" book out there, but it will give you a good idea what it's like. A lot of people also liked my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, which you can either buy or read for free on my website at this link. Sometimes you can find these books at book stores like Barnes and Nobel, but all of these books may be purchased at amazon.com.

If you don't like books, watch some videos. For example, Todd Acamesis has some interesting OBE narratives in this video and others. Do your research and see what youtube has to offer.

Don't believe the lies and misinformation

There's a lot of misinformation about astral projection. For the most part, these are pushed by religious organizations. Fundamentalist Christians may tell you astral projection is sinful or a form of witchcraft despite the fact that the Bible doesn't support that. Although witches, occultists, and other organizations may use astral projection, it has nothing to do with witchcraft. If you're concerned about this, please read my blog article titled "Are OBEs Against Christianity?" and maybe the one titled "Meeting Jesus Christ Face To Face." If someone tells you astral projection is a sin or witchcraft, ask them to cite a reference in the Bible to support that belief, because there aren't any.

For other religions you may need to do your own research. I'm not aware of any religion that expressly forbids OBEs.

Beware of cults and religions like Eckankar that "sell" astral projection or "soul travel" as their private little secret. Religious and mystical experiences like astral projection are available to all people of all demographics. It does not favor any age, gender, race, culture or creed. It does favor people who persist in their efforts. It may favor people who test high in "absorption" such as people who are more easily hypnotized, but that's another subject for another day.

You don't need a cult or guru to teach you. You just need to do your own research, do the homework, and practice a lot.

Once you start having your own mystical experiences, you may find you become more "spiritual" than "religious." I wrote an article about that too.

Learn some AP/OBE techniques

There are many AP/OBE induction techniques; probably as many as a hundred. I've documented several in blog articles, such as:

Other techniques are well documented in various books and other AP/OBE resources.

AP/OBE Resources

Different people learn in different ways. There's a plethora of information out there: books, videos, and live classes. Some of these are good and some not so much. Many charge money, but some do not. In some cases, the price may be worth it, but there's ample free information on the Internet to teach you how to do it. You don't need to spend a lot of money as long as you have access to the Internet.

  • Books - There are more than 200 books about astral projection, and many claim to be "The Ultimate Guide." Some are good but many are not. Some of the good technique books are The Phase by Michael Raduga, Astral Dynamics by Robert Bruce, and Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman. In 2019 I published my own book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience, which I tried to make as comprehensive as possible, and it's gotten good reviews.

    In 2017, I published an article called "Bob's Best of Breed OBE Books" that contains a list of my favorite books for different categories. This list is still not far off.

    Before you buy any book about astral projection or out-of-body experience, check to see if I've written a book review for it: this link has an alphabetical index to all the book reviews I've written.
  • Videos - There are some good instruction videos out there on youtube. I even did a "step by step" video for my blog which you can watch by clicking here.
  • Classes - Some organizations offer classes to teach astral projection. Some are good and some are bad. Often, the better they are, the more money they cost. The Monroe Institute offers a variety of very good classes, but they come at a high cost. Some reputable OBE teachers in the United States are:
    1. William Buhlman
    2. Darryl Berry
    3. Patty Avalon
    4. Sean McNamara
    Some reputable OBE teachers in the UK are:
    1. Graham Nicholls
    2. Jade Shaw
    3. Todd Acamesis
  • Blogs - There are some blogs, such as Alison Wylie's and mine. Again, search for them.
  • Podcasts - There are some podcasts about astral projection. For example, Maverick Vardøger has an audio-only podcast called Evidence of the Afterlife.
  • Other websites: There are hundreds or maybe thousands of websites out there. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with them all, so I can't say which are good and bad. Start with consciousness studies sites and non-profit (501c3) organizations like IANDS (International Associated for Near-Death Studies), IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences), INACS (Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Studies), ICRL (International Consciousness Research Laboratories), SSE (Society for Scientific Exploration), and IAC (International Academy of Consciousness).
Beware of pay walls and inexperienced teachers

Nowadays, lots of people pretend to be experts in astral projection and will offer classes, information, and books for a price. My blog and website are free to everyone. My first book, Out of Body Experiences, has been available for free on my website since 1997 to prove I'm not "in it for the money." Michael Raduga's book "The Phase" is also available for free on his website. There's also nothing wrong with rewarding an author for their efforts by buying their books, but again, check for a book review.

If you find an astral projection teacher or class, don't pay any money until you research the instructor to find out where they got their information. It's way too easy for unscrupulous people to read a few books about it, or take an astral projection class, then dupe people into believing they are the experts, taking classes, or buying their books based on secondhand or "book-only" knowledge. Find a teacher who has their own firsthand experiences and a proven track-record, especially the authors with four and five-star books in my book reviews.

Conquer your fears / protect yourself

Astral projection might sound a bit scary at first. Fear is definitely a show stopper. You may want to read my article titled Turning the Tables on Fear. You may "chicken out" a few times, but don't let that stop you.

Practice practice practice

Do the time. A book or teacher can only point you in the right direction. You still need to set aside time to practice the techniques. Take a lot of time, usually in a quiet place where you can be alone, and do it right. The best time to practice is in the early morning when you're refreshed after a good night's sleep.

Most importantly, be persistent and never give up. Unless you're a prodigy or born with natural abilities, astral projection is a complex skill like golfing, playing the piano, or flying a 747. You need to learn the controls, then practice it over and over until you get the hang of it. You can't expect to be good at it without lots of practice and countless failed attempts. It's like walking a knife edge: easy to fall off. One side of the knife is "fully awake" and the other side is "falling asleep." I've fallen off that knife edge at least 25 times or more for every successful OBE. Learn through practice what works best for you.

Prepare to lose some sleep

Learning to induce OBEs takes not only time and effort, but lost sleep. You may find yourself frequently interrupting your sleep or spending hours riding the edge between waking and sleeping, which means you might lose a lot of sleep. I suggest practicing on weekends so you don't impact your job. Don't forget to occasionally take breaks from practice too.

Establish Good OBE Habits

There are lots of little things you can do to improve your OBE chances, such as:

  • Keep a dream journal. I wrote a blog article about it here.
  • Give yourself OBE affirmations every morning.
  • Saturate your subconscious with OBE intent.
  • Read OBE narratives (stories, books, Internet articles, etc.) right before bed every night. This plants it very deeply into your subconscious.
  • Believe in yourself and your ability to produce an OBE.
  • Give yourself lucidity triggers throughout the day, like constantly questioning reality. "Am I dreaming?" And like "The next time I see this (typical dream situation which is different for everyone), I'll know I'm dreaming."

Use Common Sense

Above all, please use common sense. Don't believe everything you read or hear about astral projection. There's a lot of misinformation out there. Don't let anyone tell you what to believe. Experience is your best teacher. Induce your own experiences and draw logical conclusions from what you observe. Believe what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste.

Do research

There's a lot of crap out there, so use the Internet to find articles and videos about it and to separate fact from fiction and information from misinformation. Find astral projection groups on Facebook and other websites. Look for other articles on my blog. There's an index to them at the bottom of this article.

Keep Calm and Carry On

When you start to practice altered states of consciousness, you will probably encounter some really weird things. Sometimes you will "see" strange things, like flashes of light or pieces of paper with writing in front of your closed eyelids. Sometimes you will hear things, like your name being called, or threats. It may seem like your heart starts beating insanely fast. You may want to read my blog article about the Guardian of the Threshold to get an idea. Sometimes you may feel paralyzed and helpless, scared, and out of control. You may want to read my short article about Awareness during Sleep Paralysis (ASP). Just try to remain calm if you can and tell yourself, "I'll just watch a little bit longer to see what happens." Ride it out until you're completely free of your body.

React Properly to the Vibrations

The most obvious precursor to an OBE is the vibrations that may seem like you're being electrocuted. When they hit, don't panic. Remain calm and wait for them to build to a crescendo. When they reach peak intensity, try to physically sit up, roll over, stand up, etc. If it's the real thing, your physical body won't move, but your astral body will. Follow this link to an article about how to react to the vibrations.

Find some friends

Lastly, remember that you're not in this thing alone. No matter what weird things happen to you, trust that you're not going crazy. Many other people have walked this path before you.

When I started learning astral projection, I had no one to talk to about it. I felt isolated. I lost friends. Thanks to the Internet, you can now connect to like-minded people. There are many groups on Facebook and other social media where you can ask questions and find friends. A couple years ago I compiled a list of Facebook groups and put them in this article. Some of them are defunct and some have changed names, but most are still valid.

Conclusions

Learning to self-induce out-of-body experiences / astral projection can be a slow, frustrating and sometimes scary journey. It may crush your religious beliefs and force you to reevaluate what you believe and what you know. You may lose friends. You may alienate family. But I've always believed that Truth, no matter how difficult, is far better than blissful ignorance. The journey is well worth the effort. I believe astral projection / out-of-body experience is not just an important step, but an essential step, in our spiritual evolution.

Bob Peterson
19 Jan 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lessons Out of the Body

Lessons Out of the Body

by Robert Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Lessons Out of the Body: A Journal of Spiritual Growth and Out of Body Travel by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books for the past 8 years. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing. So here it is.

In my first book, Out of Body Experiences, I tried to be as objective and scientific as possible. I basically reported my observations about the out-of-body experience, but I didn't talk about where it has led me in life. People really liked that.

In Lessons Out of the Body, I wrote about how out-of-body experiences have changed my life, made me a more spiritual person, and the life-lessons they taught me. Whereas the first book was the scientific side of OBEs, this book is the spiritual side of OBEs. As the subtitle implies, it is more geared toward "new age" and "spiritual" people. Readers who bought it with different expectations were disappointed. It's also a collection of things I had learned about OBEs in the two years since the first book's publication, and all the little things I regretted not mentioning in the first book.

Like the first book, this one is divided into two parts. Part one is "Life Lessons." This includes narratives of some of my most spiritually impactful out-of-body experiences. The chapters are as follows:

1. The Next Step
2. Perspective
3. The Wolf’s Lesson
4. Meeting With A Master
5. Astral Lynch Mobs
6. The Soulmate Experience
7. The JoAnn Lessons
8. Peggy's Gift
9. On Soulmates
10. Cathy
11. The Edge of Thorns
12. Cathys and Kathys
13. A Parting Gift
14. Helping
15. The Test
16. Chasing God
17. The OBE Outlook on Life

Part two is "Twenty Years of Out-of-Body Research." The chapters are:

18. Explore Your World...And Others!
19. The Continuum of Consciousness
20. OBEs and Organized Religion
21. The Problem of Obtaining Proof
22. How OBE is Like Tightrope Walking
23. OBEs and Psychic Protection
24. Are Alien Abductions OBEs?
25. Out-of-Body Experiences versus Lucid Dreams
26. Keys for Inducing an OBE
27. Using Desire to Achieve Out of Body Experiences
28. State of Mind Required to Induce an OBE
29. A Simplified Technique for Inducing an OBE
30. Improving Your OBE Ability
31. Overcoming Problems During an OBE
32. Questions and Answers

The book is 271 pages. It was published in 2001.

I'm giving it 3 and a 1/2 stars out of 5, just because readers didn't like it as well as my first book.

Bob Peterson

10 January 2021

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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


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

Hacking the Out of Body Experience

by Bob Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Hacking the Out of Body Experience: Leveraging Science to Induce OBEs by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books for the past 8 years. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing.

This book is a detailed guide on how to leverage science to induce out-of-body experiences. It goes into great depth and detail on techniques and how to do it. Therefore, it avoids most conjecture about what OBEs are and focuses strictly on techniques. It's divided into 5 parts and 77 chapters, as follows:

Table of Contents
Introduction 11

Part 1 - Out-of-body Basics 17
1. So Many Questions 19
2. Becoming an Ideal Candidate for OBEs 31
3. The Science of OBEs, the PFC, and the TPJ 41
4. Robert Monroe’s Lines of Force Technique 53
5. The Vibrations 59
6. OBEs, Sleep Cycles, and Brain Waves 101 63
7. Sleep Paralysis and OBEs 69
8. Overcoming Fear 79
9. The Guardian of the Threshold 87
10. The Four OBE States 93
11. The Three Strategies to OBE Induction 101

Part 2 - The Direct OBE Induction Strategy 103
12. Harnessing the Hypnagogic (Pre-Sleep) State 105
13. Harnessing the Hypnopompic (Post-Sleep) State 111
14. The Five Approaches to the Direct OBE Induction 115
15. Preparing For Liftoff: Mental Preparation 123
16. Preparing For Liftoff: Physical Preparation 131
17. How to Focus Your Mind for an OBE 149
18. The Cloud or I Am Elsewhere Technique 153
19. The Target Technique 155
20. Simulacrum, Cube and Black Box Techniques 159
21. The Spinning Disc Technique 161
22. The Floating Beach Ball / Sphere Technique 163
23. The Pineal Doorway Technique 165
24. Rocking and Swaying Techniques 167
25. The Yoyo Technique 169
26. The Falling In A Well and Cone Techniques 171
27. The Feet Zoom Technique 173
28. The Swinging Arms Technique 175
29. Ab Crunch, Tai Chi and Exercise Techniques 177
30. The Almost Move Technique 179
31. The Flash or Running Technique 181
32. Rolling, Spinning, and Tornado Technique 183
33. The Rope Technique 185
34. The Washing Hands Technique 187
35. The Feel for Buzzing Technique 189
36. Heavy / Light Technique 191
37. Brain Crush and Straining the Brain Techniques 193
38. The High Pitch Whine Technique 195
39. The Song Replay Technique 197
40. Imaginary Shouting for OBE 199
41. Mantras for OBE 201
42. The Heartbeat Technique 203
43. The Candle Flame Technique 205
44. The Orange Peel Technique 207
45. The Swinging Hypnagogic Image Technique 209
46. Problem Solving for the Direct Strategy 213

Part 3 - The Indirect OBE Induction Strategy 221
47. Introduction to the Indirect OBE Strategy 223
48. Chi Circulation, Energy Bouncing, and Chakras 227
49. Hypnosis and the Christos Technique for OBEs 237
50. The Desire Factor and the Thirst Technique 239
51. OBE Affirmations and Prayers 243
52. Self-Labeling and Self-Talk 247
53. OBEs and Music 251
54. OBE Narratives and Walk-Throughs 255
55. Sneaking Past the Gatekeeper 257
56. The Sleep Directive Technique 261
57. The Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Technique 263
58. WBTB and Technique Cycling 267

Part 4 - Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs 271
59. Lucid Dreaming 273
60. Keeping Dream and OBE Journals 275
61. Appointments, Trigger Mechanisms and Anchors 283
62. Turning Lucid Dreams into OBEs 289

Part 5 - Brain hacks and Assisting Technologies 291
63. Introduction to Brain Hacking 293
64. Breath Work and Proper Breathing 297
65. Sound Technologies and Binaural Beats 301
66. Sound and Light Machines 303
67. Vitamins, Supplements and Probiotics 305
68. Aromatherapy and Scented Oils for OBEs 315
69. The Pineal Gland, Contaminants, and Boron 317
70. OBEs, Celibacy, Masturbation and the Sex Drive 321
71. Dietary Considerations 325
72. OBEs and the Default Mode Network 331
73. Odds and Ends and Superstitions 335
74. Putting It All Together 339
75. When All Else Fails: A Formula for OBE Success 345
76. The Future of OBE research 349
77. Conclusions 351

The book is 351 pages, which means there's lots of content. It's massive. On the plus side, it's relatively up-to-date, published in 2019 and has everything you should ever need to induce OBEs. On the minus side, there are no OBE narratives and it gets a bit heavy on science; mostly neuroscience (brain science).

I'm giving it 5 stars out of 5, but like I said, I'm biased.

Bob Peterson

09 January 2021

---------------------------

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


Friday, January 8, 2021

Out of Body Experiences

Out of Body Experiences

by Robert Peterson

Today I'm reviewing Out of Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect by Robert Peterson. Actually, no. I'm not reviewing it because I wrote it, and I'm obviously biased.

Many people buy astral projection and out-of-body experience books without knowing much about the contents. To help people make an informed decision, I've been doing detailed book reviews for many of these books. And I recommend that before you buy any book about it, check to see if I've done a book review. But it recently occurred to me: my own books--the books I wrote--are not represented in my list, so it is unfair to me to keep them out and say nothing.

I will say this: Out of Body Experiences was my first book, and it got pretty good reviews in the genre. It contains OBE exercises after every chapter, plus an entire chapter devoted to my most successful OBE technique.

It's divided into two parts. Part 1 is the story of how I became interested in out-of-body experiences, and my early out-of-body experiences and what I learned. It has lots of narratives to illustrate points. The chapters are as follows:

1. Background
2. My Childhood
3. First Contact
4. Beliefs Blown to Bits
5. Pokes and Prods
6. My First Out-of-Body Experience
7. The Party
8. Overcoming Fear
9. Scared to Death
10. The Small Still Voice Within
11. The Clairvoyant
12. Flight School
13. "Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed"
14. A Helping Hand
15. What Astral Programmers do in their Sleep
16. To Believe

Part 2 is "What the Books Didn't Tell Me" and it contains everything I've observed about OBEs, such as how the sense of vision works in an OBE, how the mind works, etc., plus questions and answers. The chapters are as follows:

17. What the Books Didn't Tell Me
18. Fight for Sight
19. The Mind During OBEs
20. The Fantasy Trap
21. People and Animals
22. Out-of-Body Reality
23. Environmental Factors
24. How to Have an OBE
25. Psychic Experiences
26. Questions and Answers
27. The Final Frontier!

On the plus side, the book has a lot of good information. On the minus side, it was published in 1997, so it's a bit old by today's standards. Still, I'm giving it 5 stars. I feel the information is still relevant.

Bob Peterson

08 January 2021

---------------------------

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 5, 2021

Astral Projection by Mari Silva

Astral Projection

by Mari Silva

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection: A Guide on How to Travel the Astral Plane and Have an Out-Of-Body Experience by Mari Silva. The book is copyright 2020. I chose this book because it's being widely advertised on amazon and has recently appeared in their best sellers list for "astral projection." It's also got a very cool cover.

Like every book in the genre, this book is a mixture of both good and bad. I was immediately impressed with the book's subtitle: It proclaims itself "A Guide," not "The Ultimate Guide." I guess I've been disappointed by too many "Ultimate" guides. My hopes were very high. Then the author dashed all those hopes on page 2:

[This book] "...contains everything you have ever wanted in a book on astral projection." (pg. 2)

Uh, sorry, no. Not quite everything. Then Silva got my hopes up in the very next sentence:

"This book is different from every other text on the market as it includes up-to-date, relevant information that will make your astral projection dream a reality." (pg. 2)

Poor choice of words, perhaps ("dream"), but ignoring that: I had high hopes of finding new breakthrough, maybe scientific, information about astral projection and out-of-body experiences based on the latest research. Instead, it turned out to be pretty much a rehash of very old new-age and/or occult beliefs about the OBE.

Silva doesn't document where her information comes from at all. Like so many lackluster OBE books, she doesn't give any credentials whatsoever. She doesn't cite any sources. She doesn't say where, how or from whom she got any of her information. She doesn't say why she should be considered an authority on the subject. She doesn't say how much experience she's had, and the book has no OBE narratives. Instead, she immediately launches into chapter 1, Essential Energy Concepts, in which she asserts that there are seven energy layers of the auric field, subtle bodies. She lists them as follows:

  1. Etheric Layer
  2. Emotional Layer
  3. Mental Layer
  4. Astral Layer
  5. Etheric Template Layer
  6. Celestial Layer
  7. Ketheric Template

Again, she doesn't say where she learned this or why she thinks this is true. She just asserts it as fact. She also doesn't elaborate much or give details on these planes. So why should we believe her? We could just as easily choose to believe the cosmology Theosophy, which predates Silva by 100 years:

  1. Objective
  2. Astral
  3. Psychic (Pranic-Kamic)
  4. Kama-Manasic, Personal Ego, or Higher Psychic
  5. Manasic, Higher or Individual Ego
  6. Buddhic, Inner-Ego
  7. Atmic Consciousness, Para-Ego

At least the Theosophists claimed to have sources, experiences, rationales, and teaching traditions to back up their claims. My copy of C.W. Leaderbeater's book The Inner Life has 373 pages of explanations. My copy of A.E.Powell's The Astral Body has 252 pages of tiny font. So they go into a lot more detail and justification. Not that I agree with them either; it's just that warning bells go off in my head when people make unsubstantiated claims like this. But I digress.

Silva distinguishes astral projection from out-of-body experiences. Many authors claim that astral projection is an OBE in which you visit the astral plane. Silva says something different:

"Many people refer to astral projection and OBE as the same thing; however, they are different. Astral projection is an intentional OBE. It involves everything that happens in a usual out-of-body experience." (pg. 12)

Confusingly, she later adds:

"You can say that OBE is the scientific term, while astral projection or astral travel is spiritual. But they all refer to the same practice or experience, with only slight differences." (pg. 12)

Near the end of chapter 2, she talks about the mechanism to achieve OBEs:

"There is a physical switch that can be activated at will to trigger a state of astral travel. You activate this switch when you engage in intentional and conscious astral travel or an out-of-body experience. It is located deep in the brain and is referred to as your pineal gland. When the pineal gland is activated, it releases dimethyltryptamine (DMT). This DMT is the chemical that alerts and propels your soul out of your body." (pg. 16)

I'm sorry, but this is just way too unscientific for me to swallow. Silva's belief may stem from Dr. Rick Strassman's book DMT: The Spirit Molecule in which Strassman proposes that the pineal gland may produce small amounts of DMT, a powerful but short-lived hallucinogen, in addition to its primary job of manufacturing the sleep drug melatonin. But Strassman never asserted anything about it propelling your soul out of your body. That's too much extrapolation.

Here's another point of contention. In chapter 3, she distinguishes between astral travel and dreams. She writes:

"In dream travel, the experiences don't feel as vivid. Instead, they feel mundane and vague." (pg. 21)

That directly contradicts conventional wisdom, scientific scrutiny, and experience. Lucid dreams often have more mystical qualities, and tend to be more realistic, vivid and intense than OBEs. OBEs tend to be more mundane. There is, however, a qualitative difference of consciousness between the two. Ordinary dreams seem hazy because we're unconscious. Perhaps that's what the author meant?

In chapter 5, "8 Things You Should Know Before Attempting an OBE" Silva states:

"Astral Projecting Can Be Dangerous." (pg. 31)

I found this to be little more than fear mongering, and not very helpful. Nobody has proven that, and the majority of OBE books claim that it's not dangerous at all. If you go into OBEs confident and fearless, nothing can harm you. But she doesn't really say that. She does, however, offer advice about protecting yourself, creating an astral sword and such, right out of Erin Pavlina's playbook.

Then she asserts:

"Nevertheless, many controlled tests have shown that OBE is real and astral travel is, in fact, real. People who have successfully had out-of-body experiences have explained how it felt and what it seemed like. So many people cannot hallucinate the same things and have such similar experiences in the astral realm. So, yes, astral travel is real, and it works." (pg. 32)

Again, this is way too unscientific. Where are these "many controlled tests?" If true, cite some. Why should we believe her if she cites no references and offers no proof? I recently published six articles on my blog about the evidence of whether OBEs are "real." I've made it my business and my mission to search out evidence. But I've found no "controlled tests" beyond those. We're supposed to just take the author's word for it? Aside from that, why can't millions of people have the same hallucination? We all have human DNA, similar foods, similar upbringings, etc.

As you can tell, at this point I was getting pretty cynical and negative about the book. But it got better. Chapter 6, "Preparing for Astral Projection" offers some decent advice, including:

  • Positive Affirmations
  • Visualization
  • Hypnosis and Subliminal Suggestions

She also offers some decent tips for getting ready:

  • DND - Do Not Disturb
  • Make Yourself Comfortable
  • Don't Set Time Limits
  • Choose the Right Timing
  • Be [as opposed to trying to "do" something]

Silva also has a decent take on fear:

"The key is not to let that fear overwhelm your mind to a crippling point. Some people may tell you that you have to get rid of fear completely before you can astral travel--that's impossible, especially if this is your first time and you fear the experience. You are bound to be scared. However, don't be scared to the point where you let your fear overwhelm you." (pg. 37)

Chapter 7, is "Basic Astral Projection Techniques." This is where the book starts to be redeemed. The author gives a decent set of OBE techniques, although none that are new or game-changing. The techniques are:

  • Rope Technique - This is the author's variant of Robert Bruce's original. Like countless other authors, she suggests visualizing a rope rather than Bruce's original technique which is tactile: all about feeling the rope.
  • OBE from Lucid Dreaming - She gives some basics of inducing a lucid dream, but to transition from LD to OBE, she simply suggests visualizing that you're in your bedroom.
  • Displaced-Awareness Technique - This is an ages-old technique similar to the "body of light" occult technique in which you visualize your astral body and try to transfer your point-of-view to the astral body's perspective.
  • Watching yourself Sleep - I talked about this in my first book, Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect, chapter 5, chapter 13, and elsewhere.
  • The Monroe Technique - Robert Monroe gave a couple OBE techniques in his first book, Journeys Out of the Body. One has to do with visualizing the lines of force, which is the technique I first used. This is another. This technique has more to do with progressively putting your body to sleep while your conscious awareness stays alert. Monroe called the phases Condition A, B, C, D and such.
  • Muldoon's Thirst Technique - This is where you try to motivate your subconscious to separate from your physical body by leveraging thirst. This is a bit dangerous because you can do a lot of physical harm with dehydration.

She gives several more brief techniques under the heading "Other Basic Astral Projection Techniques":

  • The Jump Technique - This is a well-known basic lucid dreaming technique that involves you doing reality checks in real life, like trying to defy gravity, on the hopes that you'll continue it when you're dreaming.
  • The Stretching Technique - This is a very abbreviated version of G.M. Glaskin's "Christos Technique" that eliminates all the helpers and massages.
  • The Hammock Technique - This is a motion-based "rocking" technique in which you visualize yourself rocking in a hammock, not unlike some of my favorite techniques.

Chapter 8 is "Advanced OBE Techniques". The techniques are:

  • Target Technique - This is well documented in several OBE books, which first appeared as the "Little System" in the 1961 book The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel (Edward Peach). I still prefer William Buhlman's version from Adventures Beyond the Body.
  • Sound Frequency Technique - This involves chanting OM, focusing on how the sound resonates in your skull, then trying to focus your attention on the sound and away from your body.
  • Higher Self Connection Technique - This involves visualizing a symbol of your "Higher Self" then trying to merge with the symbol. This isn't too much different from the symbol-based techniques in J.H. Brennan's book Astral Doorways except that you associate the symbols with your higher self.
  • The Mirror Technique - This technique seems to be popular with Wiccans and a few other books. It involves studying yourself in a mirror, then closing your eyes and visualizing yourself as a separate entity and trying to merge with this other self.
  • REM Technique - From what I can gather, this is supposed to be the author's variant of WBTB (Wake Back To Bed), although it isn't explained very well.

Chapter 9 is "What to Expect When Astral Projecting." It actually gives a decent array of exit symptoms, such as paralysis, vibrations, increased heart rate, buzzing, sinking, floating, loud noises.

Oddly, chapter 9 also contains "3 Frequently Asked Questions about Travel in the Astral Plane." The three questions are:

  1. Can someone else take control of my body in the astral plane?
  2. Do I communicate with people on the astral plane?
  3. What does the astral plane look like?

This only takes up a page and a quarter; certainly no match for the FAQ I did for this blog in 2019. I didn't find any of her answers particularly appealing or satisfying. For example, she recommends not talking to people in an OBE unless they talk to you.

"The best thing to do is to mind your own business." (pg. 68)

I believe in a cautious approach, but I've never had a problem talking to people in an OBE, both in-the-body people and out-of-body people.

Chapter 10 is "Protecting Yourself in the Astral Plane." It's actually a pretty decent chapter. For example, she gives some very practical advice on raising your vibrations, such as:

  • Be grateful
  • Love
  • Be generous
  • Forgive
  • Meditate regularly

Chapter 11 is "Meeing Spirit Guides and Other Advanced Astral Travel Adventures." This chapter disappointed me. It didn't talk about the invisible helpers I often encounter in my travels. Instead, she talks hypothetically about the various kinds of spirit guides; all taken from new age playbooks. She also talks about the Akashic Records in this chapter. (Something I've never seen.)

Chapter 12 is "How to Return to Physical Body." The author suggests that everyone has a silver cord, and all you need to do to return to your body is turn around and follow it back to your body, although the journey back will likely be only a second or two. In a way, that's kind of a cool idea, and innovative. On the other hand, getting back to my body has never been a problem for me. For me, it's always a matter of trying to prolong the experience as much as possible. Why would you want to go back? I return when my body absolutely demands it, and I'm yanked back by force, and not one second earlier! Plus, many people don't see a silver cord, even when they look for one.

Chapter 13 is "After-Effects and Integration." This is more of a hodge-podge of things, such as Out-of-Body Meditation, Journaling, etc. I disagreed with this statement:

"Astral projection is one thing that may feel intangible, but writing it down makes the experiences feel more real." (pg. 92).

That's not what science says. According to professional psychiatrists Glenn Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow, in their book With the Eyes of the Mind, out-of-body experiences usually feel more real than dreams and lucid dreams. Sometimes they feel more real than waking life. People often remember OBEs in great detail even when they don't write them down. (But note that you should always write them down to strengthen the connection between awareness "here" and awareness "there".) If it doesn't feel real, you probably aren't as "conscious" as you could be for the experience.

The last couple chapters were about energy healing and increasing your clairvoyant abilities. I didn't find them particularly helpful.

The book is 100 pages, with decent format, medium font and narrow margins, which means there's a medium amount of content. The writing, grammar and spelling are all pretty good. Silva consistently misspelled the word "hypnagogic" as "hypnogogic" but I can overlook that: I had several instances of that mistake in my first book. Which makes me wonder if she read it...hmm.

On the plus side, there are some good techniques in there, but nothing you can't find elsewhere. On the minus side, the information is clouded in outdated new-age beliefs. It's forgivable in a book like, say, Ophiel's book from 1961 (which I'll review next time), but that was written sixty years ago. This is 2021.

I'll give this book 3 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
05 January 2021

---------------------------

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