Tips for Remembering OBEs
by Bob Peterson
A while back someone in one of the Facebook astral projection groups asked how he could better remember his astral projections / out-of-body experiences (OBEs). That's the topic of this article.
According to scientists (e.g. Irwin, Gabbard and Twemlow, Crookall, etc.) OBEs are normally much more memorable than ordinary dreams. Most people who have had OBEs have had only one, and it was so remarkable they never forget it. However, people who learn to self-induce OBEs (have multiples) sometimes have trouble remembering them.
There are a few reasons. First, as they learn to prolong the state, they're left with longer periods of time to remember. A forty-five minute OBE can be filled with hundreds of little "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." The struggle it real!
Second, after a while, OBEs can become less remarkable and unique, so they don't stand out as much in your mind. ("I flew over the city for the hundredth time. Yawn.")
Third, OBEs can become more like waking life, so they're more subject to your "subconscious wastebasket" which I talk about below.
Very few astral projection authors address the subject of retaining OBE memories. One of them is Robert Bruce, author of Astral Dynamics. Bruce put a lot of emphasis on memory, insisting that we often have lots of astral projections, but we forget most of them. He wrote that we have "shadow memories" during astral projections that need to be "downloaded" to the physical body when we return to it. He blames most memory problems on a "mind split" during OBEs in which our awareness is split between physical and astral (with even more splits possible), each of which records its own set of memories. The physical body memories can overwrite the astral memories and vise versa. Unfortunately he isn't very clear on how exactly to overcome that. He does, however, give some hints. He says:
"...But projection memories are generally easier to recapture from a tranced or semitranced state than if the physical/etheric minds are allowed to enter the deep sleep state." (pg. 71)
He seems to imply you'll remember your OBE better if you force yourself back to full body consciousness after the OBE rather than if you fall back asleep.
I don't agree with his "shadow memory" theory, but it's an interesting discussion and there's some overlap between his suggestions and mine.
Here are some more tips to help you remember your OBEs:
1. Keep a Dream Journal
I talked about this in a blog article from 2015 called "Why Keeping A Dream Journal Helps OBEs" that talks about why, when we walk into a room, we sometimes forget why. In a nutshell, when you move from one room to another, your subconscious compartmentalizes some memories as no longer relevant to your situation. Your plans were made in a different room, so they pertain to that room, and not the one you're in.
The same thing occurs when you go from waking to sleeping. Without discipline your subconscious may discard those memories on the same principle.
One way to combat the "subconscious wastebasket" is to keep a dream journal. The journal isn't as important as the fact that it forces you to exercise carrying your memories across the border between waking and sleeping. That includes dreams, lucid dreams, and OBEs.
Here's an excerpt from that article:
You've got to make it [journaling your experiences] a habit. Here are some things to jump-start the process:
- Take vitamin B-6 before bed. Don't take more than 100mg per day. Don't take it every day. Take it for a few days, then stop for a few days. For some reason, this seems to help with dream recall.
- Before you go to sleep, tell yourself, "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to remember my dreams."
- After that, imagine yourself in the morning. You wake up. You sit up in bed and recall the dreams you just had.
- Tell yourself, "Yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do."
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 a few times. Then go to sleep.
- In the morning, sit up, close your eyes and try to remember anything you can about the dreams you just had. Focus on any little fragment that comes in. "It had something to do with a man" Then follow it where it takes you. "The man was trying to take me somewhere..." And so forth.
- Once you're up, write down your dream. If you're too busy, just write down some keywords that will trigger your memory later.
- Perform these steps every day so that keeping a dream journal becomes a habit.
2. Write down OBEs immediately
People have short-term and long-term memories, and they're usually based on the importance of the event and whether your subconscious thinks you're going to need to recall them "soon." Short-term memories can fade very quickly if not written down immediately. It may be very tempting to wake up in the middle of the night and tell yourself, "That dream (or OBE) was so unusual I'll never forget it. I'll remember it for sure," and roll over, back to sleep. But guess what? There's a good chance you'll forget it. So do yourself a favor and write dreams and OBEs down right away.
3. Use memory jogs when you wake
Writing a dream journal or an OBE journal can get tedious, especially if they happen in the middle of the night. It takes time, and in the morning we're often focused on our morning routine, getting ready for work, and whatever else needs to get done.
Instead, write down short memory fragments to jog your memory later. Write down just a few keywords to help you remember, and flesh it out later in your dream journal. For example, last night I wrote down this dream jog: "Unruly iguana spinning its tail" and another: "Asking Eric about his level in Candy Crush."
The simple act of re-reading those short memory jogs helps you recall the dreams later. The value is that you've trained your subconscious to keep those memories more accessible to your conscious mind.
4. Affirmations before and during your AP
The "memory dump" is controlled by your subconscious mind, and your subconscious can be programmed by tools like affirmations. So think to yourself, "It's important that I remember my experience." The simple act of repeating this to yourself can make a big impression on your subconscious.
5. Try Galantamine
About ten years ago, researchers realized that the drug Galantamine, which is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's, often helps people induce lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences. But Galantamine is a memory booster. (Well, technically, it's an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEl), which means it blocks the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a molecule that supports memory).
At any rate, it's possible that the drug may help bridge the connection between nonphysical experiences and memory retention of those experiences.
I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the United States, it's readily available without a prescription as a supplement from vitamin shops, especially online shops like "vitacost.com"
6. Use smells / scents
Scientists have known for a long time that memories are linked to the olfactory sense (sense of smell) in the brain. Certain smells often bring back powerful memories. For example, perfumes can bring back powerful memories of a woman you used to know. That's nothing new.
What is new is that the sense of smell is more generally and widely connected to memory. I recently (August 2023) read an article from the University of California (click here) where neuroscientists were able to boost cognitive function and memory in older adults by 226 percent just by exposing them to certain smells with a diffuser while they slept. That's major. I've always kind of poo-pooed the idea of essential oil mixtures designed for astral projection, but it warrants further investigation. With that in mind, you may be able to enhance your memory by:
- Burning incense
- Burning a scented candle
- Use scented essential oils
- Use a diffuser to add smells to your bedroom
- Or even just opening a window
7. Use associations to condense the OBE
Memory experts often use little tricks like associations to jog their memories. This applies to life in the physical world as well as OBEs. One trick is to condense an important concept into something that's easier to remember.
For example, when people learn music, they're often taught "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" to remember the musical scale (EGBDF). Kids are taught the colors of the rainbow: "Roy G. Biv" (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Mechanics are taught "Righty-Tighty, Lefty Loosy."
Another example: my wife Kathy remembers one of our neighbors (whom we hardly ever see) is "Elaine" because she's like her mom's friend "Eileen" even though it's spelled differently. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes I exercise my memory by trying to remember license plates of other cars while I'm driving. I might see a license plate "VFW 731" and I think "very fine work..." It's weird, but it kind of works.
So during the experience, try to find associations like this or even just a keyword you can latch onto in the future.
8. Maximize the impact of your OBEs
Almost everyone over the age of 30 remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. Older folks remember where they were and what they were doing when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, or when US President Richard Nixon resigned, or when Princess Diana died. That's because these events made a huge lasting impression. They impacted our psyche.
So you can remember your OBEs better if they make a strong impact.
At the beginning of the article I talked about how OBEs can lose their impact if they become too ordinary. So when you have an OBE, try to enforce the memory in your subconscious by going over it (and over it, and over it) several times in your memory and think to yourself, "Holy crap! I was just out of my body!" or something even if it only lasted a few seconds. Make an impression on your subconscious.
I believe the biggest factor is just training your subconscious not to discard (or file away) your memories of nonphysical events. That comes with discipline and practice.
08 August 2023
If you have ideas for blog articles related to astral projection and out-of-body experiences, send me an email: email@example.com.
If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.