Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Problem 2: I Just Fall Asleep

Problem 2: I Just Fall Asleep

by Bob Peterson

This is the second in a series of articles to help solve problems inducing out-of-body experiences/astral projection. These are "Pre-OBE problems." Later I'll do a series of articles on Post-OBE problem solving.

Here's a link to the previous article: Problem 1: Nothing Happens.

This time I'll address a very common problem: you fall asleep when practicing. It happens to a lot of people, even the best of us. So here are some suggestions to solve it:

Practice in the morning

You're most likely to fall asleep if you practice right before bedtime. It's always best to make your OBE attempts in the morning, preferably right after you wake up from your last sleep cycle. That's when you should be more alert, conscious, and less tired. It's best to make your attempts right after you wake up, even before you even move your physical body.

Many people, myself included, need to get up early and go to work, which restricts the mornings on which you can practice. For that reason, I try to practice on the weekends and holidays.

When I was young and single, I used to spend Saturday and Sunday mornings trying to induce the OBE state: I'd wake up around 7:00 and start my OBE practice. After repeated attempts, I'd often give up and allow myself to drift back into sleep. Then I'd wake again around 8:30 and start practicing again. If that failed, I'd go into another sleep cycle and wake around 10:00, and try again. Some days I'd even go into a fourth cycle. Many days I didn't have that option because a neighbor would start mowing his/her lawn or countless other distractions.

Don't practice from your bed

We are all conditioned through years of habit to fall asleep when we are in our bedroom and in our bed. So you're much less likely to fall asleep when you practice from a couch, recliner, a chair, a hotel bed, or a bed at a friend's house. Some authors suggest setting asleep a special place, like a favorite couch, for your practice. That will condition your subconscious to think of it as your special OBE spot, and give you the right frame of mind.

Practice sitting up instead of lying down

I've had a vast majority of my OBEs lying down, but if falling asleep is a problem, you might be better able to focus if you're sitting up. Buddhist monks and other meditators often meditate sitting up. They often use a special meditation cushion and recommend keeping your back straight. It's worth a try.

Develop single-minded unwavering focus

We fall asleep by letting our minds drift. If you strive to maintain a single-minded unwavering focus, you're less likely to fall asleep. You need to silence the "Monkey Mind" and try to keep the inner thought-chatter to a minimum. The first few times you practice you may notice lots of mind-chatter (same goes for meditation), but the more you practice, the better you get at keeping your mind quiet, still and focused. It may take years or practice before you can keep your mind from its endless chatter.

Consider Caffeine

Author Michael Raduga suggests waking up very early in the morning or even the middle of the night, and slamming (quickly drinking) an energy drink, coffee, green tea or other drink with caffeine, then going back to sleep immediately before it takes effect. He claims to have good success doing this. Caffeine affects different people different ways. It's never kept me from sleeping, except in rare case. So you may want to experiment here.

Vary the amount of light in the room.

Our sleep cycles are greatly affected by the amount of light coming into the room where you practice. The more light, the harder it is to sleep. When people can't sleep at night it's often because they have too much light in their bedroom, and the solution is to make their bedroom as dark as possible by unplugging nightlights, putting black tape over LED charging indicators, turning off their cell phone's ambient display (or turning the phone over).

The opposite is also true when it comes to inducing OBEs: If you keep falling asleep, add more light to your practice area to inhibit sleep.

Don't be afraid to fall asleep

Lastly, don't be afraid to fall asleep. One common "rookie" mistake is to stay too alert and not let yourself get close enough to sleep. You need to carefully walk that knife-edge between awake and asleep. I've fallen off that edge and fallen asleep at least ten times for every successful out-of-body experience I've ever had. If you fall asleep, just chalk it up to experience and try again. Don't get discouraged, never lose hope, and don't stop praciticing.

Bob Peterson,
22 November 2022

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Problem 1: "Nothing Happens"

Problem 1 "Nothing Happens"

by Bob Peterson

Wow, it's hard to believe I've been doing this blog for more than ten years now, having published my first article in November 2012! Time flies whether you're having fun or not.

I'm a problem solver by my nature. In this series of articles I want to help solve some common astral projection/OBE problems. OBE problems can be classified into two types: pre-OBE and post-OBE.

Pre-OBE problems are encountered trying to achieve an out-of-body experience, but before you get there such as when the vibrations fade or when your heart starts beating wildly when you're trying to exit.

Post-OBE problems are problems that occur after you've left your body, like getting sucked back in prematurely or finding yourself glued to your physical body and unable to move.

First I'll focus on pre-OBE problems.

Today's article is about a common problem: You try to leave your physical body but nothing happens. Eventually you get bored and give up in disgust. This is a common problem, but you can take several steps to solve it.

Use your active imagination

If nothing happens, try to engage your active imagination. When we fall asleep, we un-focus. We kind of let our minds wander until our control slips away.

When you try to achieve an out-of-body experience, you still need to approach sleep, but when nothing happens it may help to focus on inner events.

Robert Monroe's "Lines of Force" Technique is just one example in which you learn to focus inward; in this case by imagining a two lines of energy extending from both sides of your head. Focusing on these lines of force engages your active imagination and gives you a focus on inward events. The trick is that you need to keep that inward focus as you approach sleep.

Get closer to sleep: walk that edge

When nothing happens it often means you're too far from the edge of sleep. If you just lie there and expect something to happen, chances are it won't, at least not until you get very close to sleep. One good exercise is to try to watch yourself fall asleep. See how close you can retain awareness of what happens around you before you lose your grip on consciousness.

Wait for hypnagogia

If you get very close to sleep, you will start to naturally hallucinate: you may see visual images called hypnagogic images, like fragments of ordinary objects like a pen or a book. You may hear auditory sounds like people whispering or saying fragments of sentences. This is all normal and natural, and all it means is that you're getting very close to sleep. These hypnagogic hallucinations happen to everyone, but most people are too unconscious to notice they happen. (There are also hallucinations as you come out of sleep called hypnopompic hallucinations and you can use these to your advantage too).

After several years of practice I got to the point where I can see hypnagogic images almost immediately after lying down.

My favorite OBE technique involves taking control and manipulating the hypnagogic images. So if nothing happens, you just need to get closer to sleep.

Don't be afraid to fall asleep

One of the most common problems is that people are afraid of falling asleep during OBE practice. They keep themselves vigilant and alert so they can pay attention to the sensations like the vibrations, or to keep a watchful eye out for those hypnagogic images. The problem is: if you're too alert, it's never going to happen. If you're too wide awake, you'll never see them. So don't be afraid to fall asleep during practice.

I like to tell people I've fallen asleep at least 10 or more times for every successful out-of-body experience I've ever had. Chock it up to experience. And after you fall asleep, you may wake up after the sleep cycle and mentally scold yourself, "Well, damn, that's another attempt wasted." But it's all part of the learning process. It happens to the best of us. Like the Windows operating system: reset, reboot, and restart.

When I was young I used to spend hours trying over and over: walking that edge, falling asleep, waking up and trying again. It's easy to get discouraged, but don't despair: just accept it and try again later.

Again: If you're too alert you'll never get to the OBE state. Nothing will happen. You need to "let go." You need to get very very very close to sleep, and you need to straddle that thin line of sleep. It's a razor's edge, but once you get there, you only need to maintain that "thin line" for a few seconds, like seven or so seconds until the vibrations hit and you're home free (of your body).

Don't be afraid to move

Many people don't realize that you actually need to initiate movement like you do in the physical body. Some astral projection books say to leave your body, just imagine yourself floating and you will float. Maybe that works fine for some people but for me it usually doesn't. I need to initiate movement. Just like Michael Raduga's "Phantom Wiggling" technique, it's more than using your imagination. It's like actually moving your non-physical body.

My rule of thumb is: Wait for the vibrations to reach their peak, then try to either physically get up, physically stand up, physically roll over, or my personal favorite, swing your arms. This is identical to moving your physical body. There is no difference. If your physical body moves, you weren't in a deep enough trance and need to go deeper for your next attempt.

If you don't try to physically move, it's very likely that "nothing will happen." You need to initiate that non-physical movement.

What should happen is that sleep paralysis will keep your physical body frozen. Your physical body should stay put and your non-physical body (astral body, whatever) should move.

Many people just lie there and do nothing, not even realizing they have left their body until they eventually fall asleep. You need to be proactive about this.

In my next article, I'll cover another common pre-OBE problem: "My OBEs are too short."

Bob Peterson,
08 November 2022