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Out-of-Body Experience

OBE img
Learning to achieve OBE opens up a world of possibilities. In addition to expanding our knowledge of who we are, where we come from, and where we're going, it also alleviates the fear of death and dispels the short-sighted delusions of Earthly life. It can also be used for exploration, meeting with spiritually advanced beings, and even direct contact with the Creator.
ROBERT PETERSON
 

Out-of-Body Experience: Is it Possible?
by Nanci Trivellato

There are numerous reports indicating that people world-wide are having lucid experiences outside their physical bodies. In fact, we all disconnect from our physical body. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs nightly during sleep, though most people do not realize that it is happening. For example, have you ever felt like you were falling while sleeping and awakened with a jerk-awake sensation? Have you found yourself unable to move while you were falling asleep or waking up? Have you ever "awakened" to find yourself floating above your body? Or, have you ever felt yourself awake outside of your physical body?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are quite normal! These are some of the sensations that can occur in the initial phase of the Out-of-Body-Experience (OBE), which is also known as astral projection.

There are two factors required to experience being out of the body. The first one is lucidity, which is maintaining the ability to be aware of what is going on, maintaining the same capacities that we utilize in our daily waking state, such as interpretation and analysis; making decisions; and having the same degree, or an even greater degree of control over what we do. The second factor deals with our ability to recall the experience upon awakening from sleep.

The out-of-body-experience is a completely different phenomenon from either an ordinary dream or a lucid dream, because the OBE is not an imaginary event. The out-of-body-experience is a real situation experienced in another dimension, or plane. Ordinary dreams take place, mainly, without our questioning the absurdities and incoherences from what we know in everyday life. In a lucid dream one begins to recognize that one is dreaming and often has some degree of control over the elements of the dream, even though it is still a dream. We could say that lucid dreams are on the path towards developing the type of lucidity and awareness needed to maintain control in the OBE.

In a conscious OBE (astral projection) one can meet a friend, who is also out of the body, and both can remember the same event. It is also possible to visit and talk to people who have passed on. It is viable to visit places and people at will, etc. Sometimes, during an OBE, it is even possible for an individual to confirm, or check, his or her experience. For example, a person could have the body sleeping, yet simultaneously be out of the body watching an incident occurring at a certain time and place. Then, the next day, this same person happens to turn on the TV and a report of the exact same incident comes over the news, matching the time and location where he or she witnessed it.

The mastering of one's energetic processes is the key to conscious astral projection. Each person moves through life with their own unique pattern of energy that constitutes their connection with the physical body ╛ this energy pattern is our Vital Energy, also known as Bioenergy, chi, or prana.

Our vital-energetic system is naturally sustained through the basic mechanisms of replenishment. However, there are techniques that human beings can learn so as to control their own energetic field at will, thereby improving the quality of energy, balance, and the quantity of energy they absorb.

Although it is possible to sense and control vital energy, most people do not consider (or are not aware of) the vital-energetic processes that go on around them, which affect the numerous interactions that occur daily. Often, a person may come into contact with another who lacks energetic balance, and doesn't realize it, yet may suddenly feel drained of energy, exhibiting fatigue, apathy, sleepiness, irritability, etc. without apparent reason. Through the existence or development of a balanced energetic field, a person can build up their self-defense against such energy drains, as well as take advantage of the positive uses of vital energies in their everyday life. The study of the OBE and vital energy are blossoming at a consistent pace. Anyone can learn how to have conscious OBE's or to increase their occurrence, as well how to master vital energies.

Developing one's vital-energetic control will lead a person to go from having spontaneous (unintentional) OBE's to producing the experience at will. Developed OBEers will gradually begin to make use of the one-third of life usually lost during sleep. Thus, they will be able to enhance their own life and the lives of others by bringing information and knowledge from expanded perceptions outside the body to their everyday waking life.

In order to clarify these phenomena, scientific research has and is being done. Hand-in-hand with the research on out-of-body-experiences is the research of near-death-experiences (NDE). The NDE, nowadays a very well-known phenomenon, is also an out-of-body-experience, yet one that has been forced through some type of trauma or accident.

The type of OBE in near-death-experiences often produces a change in the life of the individual. Some of the positive results that may arise in this experience are:

  • lose fear of death, and increased value given to life
  • increase extrasensory perceptions
  • acquire information about previous lives
  • expand the understanding of life
  • discover one's personal "mission" or purpose in life.

Through use of the OBE (either spontaneous or provoked at will) the individual can realize these same benefits and many others. The OBE is being heavily studied due to its potential. Through access to other planes of existence and understanding acquired through the experience, one can replace unsubstantiated beliefs with direct personal experience. The OBE allows the understanding of the human consciousness and human interrelationship with the invisible, yet real, dimensions of existence that surround us and affect our lives at every moment. So, it is essential to elucidate whoever is open to this phenomenon, so that they can be benefited by the experience.

Astral Travel... Is it possible? Definitely!

Nanci Trivellato is a researcher, instructor and the director of the International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology (IIPC) in London, England. She is the editor of the Journal of Conscientiology.

Visit her at www.iacworld.org
E-mail: London@iipc.org

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OBE Methods Based On Movement Imagination:
Loosening the Subtle Body And Stepping Out Of The Physical By Will
by Alfred Ballaben

Disclaimer: Trance methods, meditations and OBE techniques can be dangerous for psycho labile persons and persons with psychological diseases. Further awakened inner forces can get out of control by people with great problems and uncontrolled fears. Any attempts to perform methods as described in these articles are done at own risk!

My First Experience With This Method

Performing my yoga meditations in the early morning, I observed more and more often that my legs began to float in the air, like they were being carried by sea water. Of course, these could not be my physical legs; that was evident. Having sufficient theoretic background to know about the subtle body, I got interested in this phenomenon. Soon after the first experiences of "floating feet," I was eager to increase this kind of loosening of the subtle body. Thus, when again I felt floating in my legs, I tried to move my upper body as well. I was successful at once in loosening my upper body for some inches. Of course, I was eager to separate my soul body, but I had no success. I had the impression that I was fixed to my physical body by something that felt like many threads of rubber. It took several months to increase the distance of the subtle to the physical body by means of rocking, so I could tear these threads and leave my physical body.

This was mainly an exercise in curiosity. It was the verification for me of having a soul, of the existence of a non-physical dimension. It was the confirmation that what I have learned in yoga was right. I now had my awareness in another body, a subtle one, or so it felt.

After a while, the process of separation became easier, and at last I could step out of the physical body without any hindrance. I then went out of the room mostly in blackness, unable to see anything, but with an excellent kind of "space feeling." I had exact impressions of the form, location and color of the objects around me. After a certain distance (it commonly was exactly at the front door of the house) I at once had clear vision. The environment now mostly was different from the physical world, though the street and the side streets seemed to be identical in alignment. To my great regret, these expeditions were very short in duration.

Practicing this method for many years, I have gotten the impression that "stepping out of the body by will" can be performed in three related states of consciousness:

  • in trance
  • in the "half sleep state" (the hypnagogic state before falling asleep)
  • in lucidity or the state of false awakening

 

How It Works

The rocking method is identical for inducing all three kinds of states of consciousness:

Direct your awareness into your body. Imagine and feel warmth streaming through your body. Concentrate on your inner energies, feel how they are circling through your body, how they are strengthening the body. Distract your attention away from outward impressions like noise, etc. ("All that is far away")

Imagine rocking with your subtle body. In this part of the method, it is a mere imagination, but if everything runs well, your imagination of the subtle Img4body changes to an awareness of the subtle body. Now you do not imagine rocking with your subtle body, you actually do rock with the subtle body.

In your imaginations, you may promote the imagination of an active rocking or you may use a "passive" variation, in which you sit in a rocking chair, like in the drawing above.

If you want to have success, your imaginations of rocking must have so much interest, concentration and awareness that an auto-hypnotic suggestion is fixed into your subconscious. Later, let's say after half an hour, when you are less awake and less aware of the process, your subconscious will continue the process automatically.

The Trance Method I Use

Position:

I preferred practicing the trance method after midday. I used to sit in a comfortable armchair and lean back at approximately 60 degrees inclination. My head rested comfortably on a pillow, otherwise it would hurt after some while, because I could not move all the time (even if I was unbearably tickled, a sensation which often is registered at the border of the intended OBE state).

In addition to offering better concentration, sitting up in an armchair (as compared to lying in bed) has a further advantage: if you fall asleep, instead of going into trance, the unusual sleep position somehow alarms your subconscious. Being in a sleeping position out of your normal habit very often leads to a state of false awakening, a semi-conscious state that can be used to start OBE's as well, as I shall explain some lines below.

Method:

Pay attention to your body, feel warmth or vibrations. Try to keep your attention as long as possible. If you become aware of something unusual, like partial body separation, try to step out of your physical body as if your physical was a coat. If this is not possible to you, then try to loosen your subtle body by the rocking method.

Sensations:

I usually felt alert all the time, though sometimes I lost concentration and was drifting away for a short while. After a while (perhaps 1/2 hour), when awareness was shifting into the etheric body, I sometimes could feel the limbs of my subtle body separating from the physical counterparts. I could feel the limbs of my double floating in the air, as if I was sitting in very salty sea water. This feeling signaled me to start OBE deliberately. Later on, after having gathered more experience, I started my OBE's when perceiving the slightly different consciousness indicative of the etheric body.

When trying to separate from my physical body, for several months I was hindered by something that felt as if I was tied by many rubber-like strings to Img5my physical. These strings were elastic but not easy to tear. Therefore, I tried to separate by rocking my subtle body back and forth. When I got rid of the strings, there was still a kind of fixation to the physical body, the so-called silver cord.

Figure left: Fighting against the backward pull of many elastic cords I rocked forward, until I had the impression that I could swing far enough to have a chance for separating by a final effort. To maintain the detachment, additionally I grabbed the armchair and pushed myself out of the physical body.

When I became free from my physical body, in most experiences I could not see and was veiled in darkness. This handicap did not prevent me from searching a path through the room and outside to the entrance of the house. I always had a kind of inner "mind-sensing" that helped me to find the right way. At a certain distance from my physical body, I suddenly and instantaneously was able to see. Outside of the house I lived in, I found myself in an altered surrounding, compared with the "normal" one. I did retain my common state of mind and logical reasoning.

Stepping Out In The State Of False Awakening

The best time for this method is when you're sleeping at any hour of the night, for you will be interrupting your sleep. If you want to be successful, you have to keep your concentration on movement imagination or your awareness on any auto-suggestive intention for at least 20 minutes before falling asleep again. If you have success, you will continue your "meditation" without being aware that a time of sleep has passed in the meantime. You feel wake, but after going on with your meditation for a while, you register strange happenings and you realize that what you observe can not happen in the real world, but is in fact an imitation and typical for a state called "false awakening."

False awakening is a special category of dream. For astral projectors, false awakenings can be the starting point of a special form of OBE. In this case, you feel yourself awake, sitting in your easy chair or whatever you prefer, continuing the exercises automatically that you began before you fell asleep. You don't recognize that you are in an altered state of consciousness. Perhaps you are somewhat disturbed, because you are not in trance, as you had intended before, but instead you think you have awakened fully. I have experienced this many times. Being awake and not in an OBE state as intended, as I thought by error, I tried to make the best of the situation and continued exercising with reinforced concentration. Just in these tricky moments, I usually then heard (my eyes are closed for the exercise) some people entering the room, speaking loudly in an obviously very reckless way, switching on the radio and lamp (my visual field was brightened by the light passing the eyelids). I often got angry and protested.

I discovered two possible ways of further development from here:

  1. If I ignore all the noise and continue exercising, I slowly become aware of the situation and there is a great chance for me to have a successful OBE.
  2. Otherwise, if I open the eyes and leave the easy chair to complain about the noise and follow the imaginary people, my level of consciousness totally drops and I fall into a common dream state.

If I succeed in getting the state of false awakening under conscious control, I can choose one of two possibilities:

Stepping out of the body orprojecting by zooming one's inner sight (as in looking with the third eye). In this way, I can step out with my etheric body or start an astral projection.

"Stepping out of the body in the state of false awakening" in some ways differs in experience from leaving the physical body by "stepping out in trance." With the first, I am not likely to feel a silver cord, my distance of travel is not limited, and I have no sensory inputs from the physical body simultaneously (aka, "double consciousness"). Controlled false awakening turns into a sort of astral travel in a near-physical astral plane. Projecting with the third eye leads to astral travel at far distances. Uncontrolled false awakening turns to a dreamlike state.

I theorize that an OBE through false awakening is generally not an etheric OBE.

Some Examples

Bal.: I was exercising "swinging" to get out of the body. After some time, I felt disturbed in my intentions by An., who turned on the radio, playing music very loudly and disturbing me (this was in a dream state, not really). Leaving my eyes closed to remain in deep relaxation, I protested verbally. She argued, "Why not, last time I was playing the radio as well and now you should go to bed and have a sleep." I ignored her. The music stopped and it became silent.

I tried to leave my body, but was drawn back by these rubber-like threads. In my second attempt, I grabbed the armchair to push myself out of my physical body. At last I was free. When I was out, I looked around the room, which seemed to be somewhat different from the physical one. Then I passed the bathroom, touching the towels and feeling with full awareness the texture of the carpet on the soles of my feet, in order to get a good body feeling, which really increased. Concomitantly, my awareness also increased as intended. I went down the stairs and out the door. There was no garden as it is in reality, but instead just a ploughed field. I crossed this field heading to a distant street, which I almost could not see because it was a cloudy night. I arrived at the street and had a look around. It was dark all over, the sky without stars or moon, but there was an intimidating flashing light on the horizon. I tried sensing for danger in all directions and perceived none, but for security reasons I returned home, back into my physical body.

Another Example

Bal.: Sitting in my armchair, I had the impression of a very crowded room (though I felt awake, this was a dream state). For a short time, I opened my eyes and saw several persons feeling at home, lying in the bed, coming and going and being very noisy. I continued exercising with high concentration to shield off the disturbance. At last I was successful, stepped out of my physical body, and had a wonderful walk through an unknown, lovely countryside with meadows, rocks and waterfalls.

Third Example

Bal.: I was in a state of false awakening, but as I thought I was awake, I tried to continue my exercises. My wife it seemed was walking up and down the room, doing this and that. I felt disturbed, but did not stop my attempts. Now she turned on the light and the brightness was filtering through my eyelids (this all was not real, but in dream). Nevertheless, I continued my exercises. My wife came close to my armchair, bent down over my feet to turn on the heating. I became fully awake with no hope of falling again into deep relaxation, or so I thought, and dropped the hope of getting out of the body. I gave up and decided to have a rest and went to bed. I then had a common dream and when I awakened, I found myself in the armchair (thus, going to bed was clearly done in false awakening). The quoted sensations seemed to be so realistic that in the morning I actually was somewhat hesitant about what to think of the experience. For that reason later on I asked my wife about this event, but she told me that she was sleeping all the time.

Alfred Ballabene has done extensive work in the area of OBE's and has a comprehensive site on this subject matter - Ballabene's Astral Pages.
He can be contacted at Alfred.Ballabene@univie.ac.at

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Astral Projection and Extraordinary Life
by Julia Melges-Jablonski

We are more than our bodies. We have conscious awareness that continues beyond the death of the physical, awareness that is apart from or can separate from the body. Our language reflects our awareness that it is possible for who we are to leave the physical form. Terms such as "knocked out," "spaced out," "out of touch," "punch your lights out," etc... are prime examples. While many may associate an interest in astral projection with the "New Age," the belief in a separate astral/spiritual "body" or the ability to separate from the physical is not new, and can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Tibetans, and Hindus, and through more recent schools of thought such as theosophy. Out of body experiences are apparently universal, as they are reported in many diverse and distant cultures of the world.

Astral projection is an awareness of one's consciousness detaching from the physical body, and can be spontaneous or induced. It is a transfer of the consciousness from the physical body and senses to the astral body. This generally occurs during a state of altered consciousness, often in the state of deep relaxation that arises just before one falls asleep. The physical body is then at rest, and may be "asleep" or paralyzed in order to not move about during dreams, but the conscious mind lags behind a step, remaining awake. It is also common in experiences of trauma, such as accidents and near death experiences, or when undergoing anesthesia.

In many cases, the person projecting travels and sees others in the physical and is able to describe where that person was and what they were doing at the time, which is then corroborated by that person. In some cases, the person observed also sees the projector, either as real and solid, or in apparition form. Reports of out of body experiences tend to share some common characteristics, such as the ability to travel through walls and other physical structures, the experience of vibrations and loud noises (music or rushing noises) just before leaving the body, a snap or pop as one separates from the body, and distorted vision and/or hearing.

Some say that our consciousness is actually rooted in the astral body, and controls the physical (including the brain) from the astral plane. This seems rather unlikely, at least during waking hours, otherwise we'd have more conscious awareness of the astral plane. What we perceive generally seems to be determined by the focus of our attention, and by the frequency of our energetic vibrations. Hence, through altering our state of consciousness, we can become aware of energies on the astral plane (such as auras) and other realms of experience (such as dreams). We experience the reverse of this all the time, when we "snap out of it," or come "back to earth," and refocus on the physical plane. When we are daydreaming our conscious awareness is not on this physical reality. A person who is "spacey," forgetful or accident-prone is often said to be "ungrounded," and less than fully consciously present in their bodies.

The physical body is the densest of our bodies (so far as is known). Interpenetrating the physical and extending just beyond it is what is known as the etheric body, which transforms energy from the spiritual through to this plane. The etheric is like a blueprint for the physical body. The astral body is associated with emotion, imagination and thought forms. Beyond this (and interpenetrating it all) there are mental and spiritual bodies. Many teach about the "lower" astral versus the "higher" astral. The lower astral is allegedly the slums of the astral plane, inhabited by criminals, thieves, frightening thought forms, etc..., while the higher astral is the place of dreams and visions, and a good place to rendezvous with loved ones now in spirit and guides.

Everyone leaves their bodies at night, though few remember it. Some people claim not to even dream, but dream lab studies show that everyone does dream. Remembering one's dreams is a sign of becoming more "awake," more self-aware, or more developed spiritually. Similarly, most people do not remember their out of body experiences at night, but the more developed we become, the more we retain both knowledge of these experiences, and conscious awareness during them. We can even develop the ability to induce oobe's.

The frequency of vibrations one achieves when projecting will determine the specifics of the experience. The more in harmony we are with the finer vibrations of the astral plane, the easier it will be to get out of the body. People approaching such an experiment motivated by curiosity will likely have a different type of experience from someone who has been on a conscious spiritual path and who seeks greater knowledge of the nature of life. The spiritually developed projector is likely to have ease in getting out of the body, to experience no noise/static during separation, and no dramatic snap or pop as they lift out. Their experiences are also more likely to be positive or desirable.

The coarser one's vibration while out of the body, the more likely one is to be seen by others in the physical. The ability to pass through physical objects will also likely diminish or disappear. The "reality" perceived is also likely to be closer to that of physical reality. Paul Twitchell teaches that it is possible to travel beyond the astral plane, and to eventually achieve "enlightenment" or reunion with "God" or the divine through the practice of soul travel. More information on this can be found in his and others' writings on Eckankar.

Many astral projectors see death as an out of body experience in which the projector never re-entered the body. It is possible that through astral projection we can learn more about death, life, and the nature of consciousness. It is certainly true that people who have had conscious out of body experiences are generally transformed, having much greater faith in our existence beyond the physical. A spontaneous out of body experience launches many people on a conscious spiritual quest.

As technology has enabled us to explore the far reaches of the globe, and even out into space, a new frontier for adventurous pioneers has come to the forefront. There are many such researchers and investigators quietly at work, delving into the mysteries of consciousness and life both in their living rooms and in some of the best equipped laboratories universities and governments can supply. It's ironic that the "realities" that many people accept as the parameters of what is true or actual based on "science" were transcended years ago by the real scientists who continually move forward, opening up to question learned assumptions as they arise in experience.

The more we open up our beliefs and walk through new doors of experience, the more we realize that anything is possible. We may not live "normal" lives, but perhaps we can create extraordinary lives. To achieve this, we must be willing to abandon the limits of what is "real" that we've been taught, and explore the world with unprejudiced eyes through our own experiences.

"Those who deny the reality of the ecstasies and other spiritual experiences ... merely betray their own narrow-mindedness and shallow insight. Some allowance, however, must be made for them, for it is as difficult to believe in the reality of states of which one has no personal experiences as it is for a blind man to understand the pleasures of looking at green grass..." (Al-Ghazzali)

The best way to know the pleasure of green grass is to see it. The best way to know the reality of our existence beyond the physical is to transcend the physical, or experience astral projection for ourselves. Many ordinary people will be blessed with a spontaneous astral projection experience in their lifetimes. A few will undertake and achieve the ability to project at will.

Before concluding, I want to point out the admiration I have for people like Bob Peterson who, though rational and skeptical, decided to see for himself if there was any validity to what he'd read about out of body experiences. Peterson did not just try once or twice, fail, and decide it was baloney. He tried again and again (imagine trying every day for a month or more to achieve something you doubted was possible) and he was rewarded with a rich out of body life!

Next week we'll have an article on how you can learn to project. If you can't wait, trying checking out the exercise at MuseNet To learn more about astral projection, I highly recommend reading Bob Peterson's book, "Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to Expect". We also have a great article on relationships from Peterson in these Journal Archives. Also, try searching the net for astral projection information on or by Sylvan Muldoon, Hereward Carrington, Robert Crookall, Robert Monroe, Hornell Hart and Celia Green.

Julia Melges-Jablonski is a professional medium/clairvoyant. She is an ordained minister in the Spiritualist tradition, a prolific metaphysical author, web mistress of MuseNet and the editor at www.kajama.com

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Astral Beings and Wildlife
by Robert Bruce

The astral dimension contains a wide variety of what could be called non-physical subtle energy life-forms; or as Carlos Castaneda so aptly calls them: inorganic beings. Some of these have a positive nature (nice) and some seem have a negative nature (not so nice). The intelligence level of each type varies enormously. The vast majority of each type appear to have their own agendas, like to keep to themselves, and in general do not like being bothered or interfered with. Not counting high-level beings like demigods, angels and spirit masters, they range from friendly and helpful, to occasionally helpful, to playful, to neutral, to mischievous, to malicious, to downright nasty and evil.

Inorganic beings appear in a wide variety of illusory forms. Some of the less intelligent types seem animalistic and predatory by nature, much like the animal and insect wildlife found in the physical dimension. I call the less intelligent, animalistic and negative types simply, Astral Wildlife. Although these all appear to come from somewhere in or near the astral dimension, many of these are capable of operating in the real time zone. And some of these, unfortunately, delight in tormenting projectors, especially new ones.

You can find absolutely anything in the astral planes, given the fluid nature of its many internal environments. In a way, the astral can be likened to the ocean: there are fish, shellfish, octopus, dolphins, whales, sharks, barracuda, sea snakes, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, turtles, seals and penguins, etc, etc. Some of the ocean wildlife is friendly, some is harmless, some are only harmful when disturbed, annoyed or hungry, some can be unintentionally harmful, and others are downright dangerous all the time. There are also many travelers, some even from far off lands, found sailing, flying or swimming thereabouts.

Although many parts of the astral planes appear to be full of life, it is fairly rare to meet up with interested beings whilst traveling there, but it does happen occasionally. Just about every astral plane and realm has some kind of local inhabitants. These life forms often live in specific areas or realms, and often seem quite unaware there is any other reality or dimensional level than their own. They are often amazed when they meet an astral traveler. Other types you'll meet seem to be well aware of other dimensions, but most seem to have little patience with projectors and tend to ignore them.

In a way, approaching astral beings you do not know is very much like approaching strangers in the physical dimension. Most strangers ignore other people, even when politely asked directions or questions. Strangers will, at best, give cursory answers as they hurry away while actively trying to ignore you. Astral beings, like most strangers, don't seem to enjoy getting involved with the affairs of strangers, usually having much more important things to do with their time.

While projecting, you'll also occasionally meet up with other projectors like yourself, but most of these will not even be aware they are projecting. It seems that the awareness and memories projectors have of their physical existence, of who and what they are, varies greatly. Many seem as if they are sleepwalking or dreaming, or are just going along with the flow of life and events in an astral realm, as if they were a part of it and actually lived there. They are often quite surprised when it is pointed out to them that they can fly, etc.

I suspect this variability in awareness and memory is caused by many factors, such as: energetic development and activity, the amount of energy flowing into the projected double from its physical/etheric body, and whether or not a projector has made a conscious exit or not and has retained awareness afterwards. The conscious exit out-of-body seems to cause a much greater flow of energy into the projected double than is usually available to sleep projectors. It is also possible that the unbroken continuance of awareness provided by a conscious exit projection removes much of the dreamlike qualities associated with existing in other dimensions.

The most important thing to realize about any beings, intelligent or otherwise, you might come across in the astral is that they are not all dream beings or creations of your own subconscious mind. They usually have their own life, meaning and purpose; whatever that might be. They are, in most cases, not mere decorations to be toyed with or used by any passing astral traveler. Most astral beings do not seem to appreciate being questioned and annoyed, by what may seem like to them to be a constant stream of lost and meddlesome astral travelers.

For all the above, some astral beings will converse with and even actively help and encourage astral travelers, especially if projectors are courteous and sincere in their approach. Like attracts like in the astral planes and, if you are friendly and sincere, you are thus far more likely to meet beings who are also friendly and sincere.

Case History:

This case history shows a projector meeting and interacting with an astral being, or another projector (hard to say which) as well as showing some other interesting aspects of projection.

"Mr.R": I woke around 4:00am and couldn't get back to sleep. So turned on the radio very softly. I decided to attempt an OBE by laying on my back. Its difficult for me to fall asleep on my back, but that's the best position for me to OBE from. Every time I've been on my back and experienced paralysis and vibrations, and I'm ready to try exiting my body, my throat muscles close up and I can't breathe, which startles and wakes me up. But last night, I tried a little trick that has worked for me before. I lay on my back with my head slightly turned to one side. This prevents my throat from closing up.

After the exit, I soon found myself on a sunny rock cliff overlooking an ocean. A beautiful woman was there in a swim suit, with her back to me. I wanted her sexually and, thinking she was just a dream creation of mine and not a real person, I thought I could do anything I wanted, so put my hand on her shoulder. As she turned, I noticed she was protecting a little girl in a swimsuit who was cradled in her arms. I backed away and the scene started getting a little wavy. I remembered to look quickly at my hands and the scene stabilized again.

I thought, "Wait a minute, Robert Bruce warned me these could be REAL spiritual entities or other projectors, and not just dream-beings." As I thought this, I felt something very WARM coming from the woman. She turned around to face me, smiled and then left. I intuitively KNEW she was aware that I was new at this and didn't really mean to bother or harm her. She didn't speak, scream or cry out. She just faded away. Then I thought "I'm going to start treating all dream figures with respect from now on." and dived off the cliff, floated out into the harbor and then flew out over the sea.

I thought of going back to my room and looking at my body sleeping. Suddenly, the ocean disappeared and everything turned white. I heard two short whistle sounds and I was suddenly back in my room, opposite the bed and my body. I knew I had to stay calm, and I did. But I swear, my first thought was, "I can't wait to tell Robert!" I just floated there for some time, delighting in the feeling of floating and of being out of my body!

Then I noticed something odd. I couldn't see my physical body properly! I looked harder at the bed but could only see a faint depression, showing the outline of my body where it should be. I must have looked too hard and focused UPON THE BODY, because I was then sucked backed into it. This felt like something was rushing INTO my physical body..

My Comments:

This shows how unnoticed breathing problems like sleep apnea can affect projection. It also shows how the resting position can affect projection.

Rod shifted straight into an astral plane after his first conscious exit. It shows how he stabilized a reality fluctuation by briefly looking at his hands.

A revelation, as Rod discovers that some people in the astral may actually be real people, travelers just like himself or real astral beings, and deserving of respect and consideration. It also shows a touching empathic exchange as the woman expresses her appreciation towards him for his realization and concern (warm feeling) before leaving.

Shows how you can return close to your physical body and convert an astral projection into a real time projection if you think about or feel for your physical body.

Reality fluctuations are apparent upon Rod's return (invisible physical body). His subconscious mind may not have been able to accept the existence of two bodies at the same time. It also shows his re-entry as being perceived by his physical body rather than by his projected double. He felt something rushing into his physical body, from his physical body's perspective, and not his projected double rushing into his physical body. This shows the physical/etheric body and mind were disturbed by and became aware of his re-entry. His physical body and mind were woken up for the reentry, allowing for a perfect shadow memory download, which shows mind-split effects at work here.

More comments:

Projecting into the astral planes is a lot like going for a swim in the ocean. You'll rarely see anything big or intelligent, and even more rarely will you come across anything truly dangerous. You will, in the astral ocean, mainly come across harmless fish, seals and dolphins, occasionally meeting other swimmers like yourself in passing (swimmers = other projectors).

The best conduct and safety rule during any type of projection is to keep to yourself, always be polite, and to mind your own business unless approached or invited to do otherwise. And, always be ready to move quickly away if anything strange or threatening happens, or if you feel uncomfortable in any way.

Only very rarely will a projector come across advanced spiritual beings, and even more rarely will they encounter angels. In my opinion, angels are a race of highly advanced spiritual beings. They most definitely exist. I have seen angels many times, in OBE's and visions, as well as with my bare eyes on a few rare and precious occasions.

Angels are impossible to track down or find intentionally during an OBE. They are especially rare in the real time zone and low to mid astral planes. You will occasionally come across them accidentally, especially in the high-astral and mental dimension. Angels and other advanced spiritual beings seem to only make themselves visible when they have a very good reason for doing so. They are definitely not the type to stop and chat in passing.

Angels and advanced spirit beings, unlike most astral inhabitants, do not appear limited to any particular plane or dimension level. They have the ability, I believe, to manifest in any level, even in the real time zone and the physical dimension itself. They have the ability to enfold lesser beings in their energy and temporarily transport them into other dimensional levels. In this way, they will often be seen helping the spirits of deceased people to manifest temporarily in the real time zone, or even to help them appear visibly in the physical dimension itself. This is something like a brief visit manifestation, and this kind of thing always has very good reasons behind it, although those reasons may not be apparent at the time.

To add to the above, and purely for interest's sake: I have seen many spirits manifesting in the physical dimension, due to the nature of my mystical work and clairvoyant ability. Each time, I have seen at least one advanced being, sometimes even an angel, at work in the background. The spirits brought back in this way are always enfolded in a flood of brilliant-silver light.

Typically, a spirit manifestation like this will begin with a strong build up of energy in the room, accompanied by many silver motes and tiny sparkles of light. A tangible aura of power and presence spreads throughout the room and the atmosphere becomes electric. A narrow, vertical shaft of brilliant-silver light then appears and quickly expands, as if curtains of light were being drawn apart just wide enough for a person to walk through. A huge gush of brilliant-silver light, along with a tangible feeling of power, excitement and love spills through this parting in the dimensional veil. The visiting deceased spirit then simply walks through this opening and stands just inside the room, bathed and held within this pool of light.

At this time, if you have the sight and you look further back into the light behind the deceased spirit, you will usually see at least one advanced spirit being or angel standing there, as if patiently waiting a dozen or so feet behind the spirit visitor. A deceased relative or friend of the visiting spirit will also often be seen standing just behind and to the side of the spirit visitor, often holding their hand or resting a hand on their shoulder.

Lower Sub-Plane Wildlife:

The most troublesome types of astral wildlife appear to come from the notorious lower astral sub-planes. These contain the darker and more negative aspects of the astral planes. These can be likened to parallel shadows of the more positively oriented parts of the astral planes. While still a part of the astral planes, technically speaking, they are a distinctly separate aspect or part of it, containing all the darker qualities. Another way of looking at this is to consider this to be the night side of the astral planes, something like the dark side of the moon that never gets any light from the Sun.

Low astral wildlife are normally only capable of operating in dimensions similar to or lower than their dimension of origin. This is a reasonable suggestion, based on them having energetic limitations set by their nature and dimensional level of origin. Some of these beings do seem capable of operating in the real time zone. The real time zone can be thought of as being fairly neutral territory, dimensionally speaking.

All lower types, regardless of classification or origin, appear to be predatory loners by nature. They also appear to have varying degrees of strength, intelligence and ability. By nature, all negative beings exhibit a cold and almost insect-like nature. Higher feelings like love, compassion and mercy are totally alien to them. This does not, however, mean they are evil in the strictest sense of the word. It just means they have no higher feelings whatsoever. Just as a garden spider has no higher feelings, it is not evil for killing and eating a beautiful butterfly. It is a spider and therefore acts according to its nature, and spiders need to feed on insects to survive.

From my experience, negative types do not work well together, regardless of any possible shared origins. They usually appear to be quite aggressive and combative towards each other, which results in a distinct pecking order whenever they are found together. I believe, groups of astral wildlife only appear to be working together if they are encountered as doing such. They may sometimes be forced to work together, temporarily, through circumstances where they have a common interest or need.

Astral wildlife can manifest in an enormous variety of illusory and changeable forms. A regular favorite is the form of an ugly grinning monkey. The gargoyle and harpy forms are also quite common. Some of them seem to prefer a more traditional horned demon-type of look, while others go for a more contemporary appearance. These latter forms are possibly modeled on horror movies and TV shows, or even from the modern nightmares of mankind.

The size and appearance of an entity, as seen by a projector, or with real time or astral sight, gives no any fair indication of its actual strength and intelligence. Many small and weak entities seem to delight in looking big and dangerous. This is much like how an animal will fluff up its fur to make itself seem bigger that it really is during a confrontation. Stronger and more intelligent entities, however, do not seem to bother overmuch with pretense and may even use their original form, if they have one that is. I have seen entities the size of polar bears run screaming when "BOO!" is said to them. And, I have seen others the size and appearance of large rats that I would not interfere with by choice.

Many entities seem to choose a form they have taken from the mind of a projector, which indicates some degree of telepathic ability. They use this to generate the maximum level of fear possible. This is a very good reason for projectors to keep their minds clear and mask their true feelings when they encounter or are forced to deal with astral wildlife.

The weaker and by far the most common types of astral wildlife, those responsible for the majority of Elemental and Dweller-type scare attacks, (See Astral Dynamics), seem to have very little power of their own. These are fairly weak, timid creatures and their appearance is always a greatly exaggerated illusion. They will usually beat a hasty retreat whenever approached by a projector with a firm or confrontational attitude. Most negative entities dislike direct attention and actively avoid being seen. They will thus generally avoid direct encounters with projectors, preferring to use illusion to do their mischief for them. This is especially so with more experienced projectors who are far more likely to fight back.

Some types of astral wildlife seem attracted to, and possibly even to feed upon, the energetic vibrations generated and broadcast by overly fearful projectors. Once encountered, continued fear and timidity, on the part of a projector, seems to make astral wildlife more aggressive. Their intimidating behavior is, however, always minus any kind of direct attack. This indicates they are not capable of mounting a direct attack on a projector, and my experience supports this. Increased and continuing fear on the part of a projector will often attract others of the same type, thus increasing their numbers and making things generally worse for a projector. For all this, the appearance of these types is still quite rare.

The vast majority of astral wildlife do not, I believe, have the power to directly injure a projector, but caution is always advised in these matters. It is commonly thought that non-physical entities of any type are completely harmless to projectors, and are only capable of scaring them. While this is generally true, as with the Elemental and Dweller types discussed in 'Astral Dynamics' there are exceptions. The real time, astral and all higher bodies are virtually invulnerable, and definitely cannot be destroyed or killed. However, it is possible to suffer energetic damage and weakness through intense or prolonged attack by the stronger and more intelligent types of non-physical entities.

While cases of this are extremely rare, if the energetic substance of a projected double became damaged, this damage could reflect back into its physical body. In this case, the physical body could experience unusual tiredness. Even more rarely, swellings, rashes and strange marks could also appear on the physical body. These are much like the swellings, watery blisters and rashes that are an occasional side-effect of energetic development work, (See Astral Dynamics for more details) especially during the early stages when energetic pathways are being cleared and conditioned. All these symptoms heal unusually quickly, often disappearing within just a few hours. The energy body heals and restores itself very quickly if its substance is disturbed or damaged in any way.

Any significant attack causing energy substance loss in the projected double has a fail-safe side-effect. It causes the immediate abortion of that projection as a reflex action. Projection is a delicately balanced process involving a constant two-way energetic-cum-telepathic exchange between the physical body and its projected double. It does not take much to interfere with this process and cause it to abort, resulting in the immediate return of the projected double to the safety of its physical body.

Please keep in mind here that attacks, and especially attacks causing actual energetic damage or substance loss, are rare in the extreme and are not something to overly worry about. To draw a parallel of the risks involved, this is roughly equivalent to a recreational swimmer being seriously injured by dangerous marine life. Injuries are fairly rare events for the average swimmer, with the biggest danger being nothing more than an occasional jellyfish sting. Professionals and deep-sea divers, however, spend a great deal more time in the more unexplored and untamed parts of the ocean depths, and thus face a slightly greater risk of harm than do recreational swimmers. This also applies to frequent projectors, especially those with a natural propensity for the more occult and metaphysical aspects of out-of-body exploration. Lastly, this also applies to more experienced and adventurous projectors, most especially those who actively help people suffering from psychic/demonic attack and other such entity related problems.

The above section provides some clues as to how the relative strengths and threat potential of any type of astral wildlife or non-physical entity can be gauged. If anything manifests directly and acts in an openly threatening or intimidating manner, it can reasonably be judged as having no real strength and thus of being no actual threat. These types can thus be safely confronted and will be found easily discouraged and driven away, by even the most inexperienced and timid of projectors if they have the right attitude. If, however, anything is encountered which acts in a timid or furtive rather than an openly threatening manner, and immediately tries to hide or leaves the area, then this is best left well enough alone and not followed or interfered with. Discretion is always the better part of valor during such encounters.

To the very best of my knowledge, if a projector minds their own business, stays calm, uses common sense and projects away if they ever find themselves in a bad situation, they have very little to worry about. Out of all the thousands of projection related case histories I have been consulted on, I have only come across a very small handful of situations where really troublesome astral wildlife were involved. And, in the majority of these cases, once this situation was confronted with a braver and more positive attitude the problem entities, whether real or imagined, simply vanished. Below are two fairly typical experiences where very low orders of astral wildlife are encountered:

Low Astral Wildlife - Case Histories:

White Whirring Things: "Mr.D"

My experience can only be explained as bizarre. My first OBE (so far) happened as I was just nodding off to sleep. I was trying to leave my body in my waking state but did not succeed and so I fell asleep and began to dream. Suddenly I felt as if my astral body were being sucked out of my body through my mouth (I thought my teeth were going to fall out!). Then I'm floating above my body and my vision is all blurred. I was in shock and forgot that I shouldn't panic. I decided to try flying and so began floating through the roof but quickly willed myself to stop this as it was all getting just too weird. A little white thing suddenly flew through the wall making a whirring noise (imagination? You tell me?) and latched on to my finger, and this also was just too weird. I found a bottle of chocolate milk on my bed which wasn't there in real life, but it seemed empty when I picked it up. Then more little white things started flying in and sticking to my fingers and it all got just too weird for me. I couldn't handle this so I willed myself back into my body.

Furry Sharp-Toothed Things: "Mr.K"

My brother and I experienced what we both believed to be conscious astral projection. We both "saw" each other that night. (we were both projecting at the same time, and from the same room). I saw him through a murky vision...but what he saw on me scared him. He said he saw what looked like small, pale, hand-sized, furry little creatures all over my projected body. Their only recognizable features were fur and a mouth full of tiny sharp teeth. Either we both had the same dream, or nightmare, or our attempt at joint projection was successful. It was our first intentional and conscious attempt and because of what we experienced that night we have not tried it since. As a matter of fact, we have avoided the subject all together since then.

My Comments:

These both appear to be fairly normal first time projections, apart from the astral wildlife involved. In Dave's case, the exit sensations were felt from within the dream state. These appear to have woken Dave and he then experience the full conscious exit. The sucking pressure he felt on his mouth is a little unusual, but quite understandable. There are some fairly large secondary energy centers situated in and around the mouth and lips, and the tongue is also covered with a high concentration of energy exchange ports.

The active configuration of the energy centers of individual projectors varies quite a bit. The mouth area may, as in Dave's case, be more active than usual and thus cause more noticeable sensations during a projection exit. All new projectors should therefore expect many subtle variations of what they have heard are normal conscious exit projection sensations.

The small entities encountered in both the above cases are a very low order of astral wildlife. These are a small, energy feeding type of entity, something like a lower astral version of a mosquito or leech. These things are quite common and seem to bother some people more than others, just as mosquito's are attracted more to some people than to others. These small entities would have fed on these people regardless of whether or not they were projecting; and done them no real harm in the process. It may be coincidental that these projectors surprised them while these mosquito-like beings were feeding. It is likely these were attracted to these projectors solely because it was sensed they were sleeping at this time. They either didn't notice, or didn't have the intelligence to care, that their intended prey was consciously projecting and not sleeping at this time.

The fingers or toes are the most common attachment areas for energy feeding types, large or small. These areas both contain high concentrations of energy exchange ports and important secondary energy centers, through which energy is normally exchanged. These areas can also function in reverse, as with healing where a reverse energetic flow is generated by a healer. An energy feeding entity, in a similar way, creates an energetic demand upon the etheric body in order to drain energy from it. If the entity is hungry or low on energy, this energetic flow is probably triggered automatically through simple contact.

It is also possible the sucking sensation Dave felt in his mouth, during the exit, was caused by these small energy feeders. Some of them may have been attached to the mouth area of Dave's etheric body and were disturbed or dislodged when he projected, only to return and attempt to reattach a short time later.

The above types of experience, while fairly rare, can also be classed as something like a Dweller on the threshold kind of experience. This type of astral wildlife appears to be no more dangerous than the average leech or mosquito. They are more annoying than harmful, although they will often scare the daylights out of an inexperienced or uninformed projector. I suggest all small energy feeding types, in any possible variation of the above, be treated accordingly... as natural pests. If these projectors had actively imagined these small entities as bursting into flames, or even swatted at them with their real time hands, they would have vanished or detached themselves and beat a hasty retreat. For more on this subject (See Astral Dynamics).

Visit www.astralpulse.com to see the latest updates of Robert Bruce's work, including books such as 'Astral Dynamics' and 'Practical Psychic Self-Defense'

ROBERT BRUCE is an internationally respected mystic, researcher and arcane experimenter. *For over 25 years he has explored OBE's, Kundalini, clairvoyance and healing. He is the author of Astral Dynamics and presently resides in Australia. Visit his prolific website at www.astraldynamics.com

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Some Pre- and Post-OBE Phenomena
by Bob Lepak

Introduction

OBEs, in a strict sense, are fascinating phenomena, but I also find the states that occur immediately before and after them to be full of interesting phenomena in themselves. The events that occur in these pre- and post-OBE states have received some attention over the years, including in sleep laboratories, but probably deserve closer study by those who experience OBEs under regular conditions. Such is the focus of this article. Before proceeding, and in response to a friend's comment on a previous article, I do consider OBEs to be real but I make no judgments here on their relationship to other PSI phenomena, such as lucid dreams. It may well be that these two phenomena share certain qualities or are closely related. And it might be that both are part of a greater confederation.

Relaxation, Vibrations, Sounds and Sights

Imagine a very cold winter's day. You have to get to work on time but the old car needs the usual warm up time. So, as part of the morning routine, you run out and start it. When you next leave the house you hear the engine running at high idle, a very excited state for that engine. When you get in and give the accelerator a gentle tap the engine settles down. After a few seconds of audio perusal you decide that it's okay to shift gear and drive to work, ready for another exciting and productive day. Perhaps !

Consider, for a moment, your body to be like that racing engine. During the day it works faster so you can deal with your secular affairs. After all, it is designed to work best in the physical world. But there comes a time when you need to rest. The physical organism has to slow down to rekindle its fires, so to speak, to re-equilibrate itself. The ego needs to recharge, also. Thus, you may find yourself lying down for a nap or a night's sleep. Many sources indicate that the difference between the physical and astral worlds is simply a matter of vibration. So, when you rest you tap the pedal, so to speak, and change the frequency you're adjusted to. Whether you induce it or not, it is possible to follow the relaxation of the body and mind before you drift off to sleep. Most often you pass through this stage quickly or completely unaware of it. The relaxed state can certainly be maintained for some time with an awareness that can range from vague to keen. Indeed, some people may actively shun sleep for a while and become acute observers at this stage, aware of both internal and external phenomena. Many people would consider this to be the hypnagogic state, a condition in which the mind plays tricks on you, in which it can be hard to tell what things are really happening and what is producing them. Many would also say that the sensations are produced by the mind in a state of diminished awareness and cannot, therefore, be trusted as bona fide. This may be true in many cases but some sensations and experiences can be clearly linked to OBEs.

Commonly, this relaxed state of awareness comes over me suddenly, and it feels as if all the muscles in my body relax at the same time. It actually seems like things get quieter at that moment. The change is so profound that I instantly take notice. It┤s a wonderful feeling. In fact, it feels exactly as if vibrations have slowed down inside of me. I become more aware of what is happening inside and out. My senses seem heightened and sometimes I can feel pulses of energy move up and down my body like waves of water. I feel like I am floating inside my physical body, as if I were on water. Often the pulses are weak to moderate. Sometimes they are strong. At other times they are barely noticeable. During this stage my physical sensation of the body disappears but I am always aware that I am resting within it and that conditions favor an OBE. However, I often hold this state for some time to observe what is happening in more detail. But there are other times when this stage passes very quickly.

There is a set of sensations that I have been aware of since fourteen years of age. It is commonly reported by others in OBE literature as a rushing or wind-like sound. My version is rather typical. The vibrations become quite intense and, usually in an abrupt fashion, build up in a crescendo-like manner to the point where it is almost painful. It seems that my entire body and mind are engorged with the noise and vibrations. At this point paralysis has set in. It is from this state that the OBE starts. But, I am often able to maintain this state of rapid vibration and still think clearly. Sometimes I can even control the resonance, making it move up and down or spread evenly throughout the body. This is reminiscent of awakening Kundalini in the body. Notably, I have found that I can help control or even break this state by moving my eyes or jaw back and forth. These sensations are fairly well known in OBE literature. In my case they occur at the end of the relaxed state.

There are other sensations, most notably sounds, that I have noticed. Some of them may seem rather strange at first regard. The nature of these sounds may be linked to one┤s own personality, experiences and associations. In one case, at the culmination of the intense vibrations, I heard a sound that I instantly associated with a paper bag being slowly torn. In fact, while it was happening, I was able to rationalize that it reminded me of a lightweight bag, very unlike a grocery sac. The analogy of the tearing paper with the release of the astral body is obvious. Under the same conditions I once heard a loud bell, like a fire bell at a school.

Some sounds seem to be noticed more easily in the relaxed state, that is, before any increase in vibrational energies. As an example, in such a relaxed state, I once heard a buzzing sound and wondered what someone was doing flying an ultralight plane at this hour. It was 1:15 a.m. In some instances I have been aware of voices at a distance. One time they were in another part of the room. At another time they came from outside the house about twenty feet above the ground. I listened as carefully as I could but details were impossible to pick out. But, in both cases, they simply seemed like ordinary conversations between two or three people, the kind you might barely hear as you passed them on a busy sidewalk. In one case I heard a distinct, low intensity, ringing sound. On some occasions I have heard music which seemed to come from a distant location. It was very much like a choir but of a quality I am unable to describe. It is perhaps the most beautiful music I have ever heard and the effect was to deepen my relaxation.

A few times, upon returning, I have had some interesting experiences. Once, I felt an extreme jolt in the back of the neck. I was quite aware of this happening as well as the painful muscles I had for the next few days. Another time, I heard a soft, explosive sound when returning.

There are a few visual experiences that are of interest. Typically, during the relaxation or vibration states, I have noticed that everything in the room seems to be giving off its own light.

It's never overwhelming but bright enough to see by. The lighting of the room most resembles a moonlit night at full phase. Usually, the color is a soft blue or green. One time, in the relaxed state with eyes closed, I found myself looking at three rows of four lights. Soft and green, I slowly became aware that I was moving my attention from one to the other, left to right, in each row. By the time I was near the end of the second row I felt the vibrations commence. Perhaps this was a way of getting to that point. Once, while maintaining a mild vibration, I had my eyes closed but was careful to make observations. In front of me, with eyes still closed, I could see a swirling tunnel of blue mist. At the far end was a small, dark opening. The scene was spellbinding and it was superposed over the normal room fixtures. I managed to gain a clear focus on the scene three times, especially the dark opening.

Summary

The above experiences relate a few of the more interesting phenomena I have found to occur immediately before or after an OBE. Are they artifacts of reduced sensory input ? Perhaps they are. Maybe, when we turn our attention away from the restless world, we are more open and aware of other experiences that are happening all the time, in the background. While I believe the OBE to be real and objective I think that the pre-OBE and post-OBE sensations might be a mix of objective and subjective experiences. In the latter case they may be embellished by one's own experiences and expectations. For example, the rows of lights episode seems to be a way to get to the vibration stage and the tearing paper bag is analogous to dissociation itself. The bell, ultra light and ringing sounds seem to be an indication of the immanent OBE. Other sensations seem more objective in nature to me since they are so widely reported. I believe the rushing sound, the controllable vibrations, and the sometimes painful effects of repercussion are examples of this other category. General, low intensity light emanating from objects has been reported by many OBEers which suggests that it might also be objective. Other phenomena are more difficult to place. These include the music, voices in conversation and the tunnel experience. With me, at least, sounds seem rather noticeable.

Bob Lepak's work in the field of OBE's is extensive and his articles grace the pages of a number of websites. He can be reached at lepak@adelphia.net

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Out-Of-Body Experiences:
The Ultimate Tool For Spiritual Growth
by Robert Peterson

If you visit any big bookstore and peruse the "New Age," "Self-Help" or "Religion" sections, you are likely to find books with titles like Michael Newton's "Journey of Souls," Sylvia Browne's "Life on the Other Side," or Gregg Braden's "Walking Between the Worlds." What do these books have in common? They all have titles that evoke images of out-of-body experiences (also known as OBEs or Astral Projection), yet they have nothing to do with them. The fact is, otherworldly titles are catchy. They sell books. Yet despite all that, most people who believe in out-of-body experience consider it a waste of time, or worse, an undesirable diversion to spiritual growth. I disagree.

As an avid astral projector and author of two books on the subject, I get questions by e- mail daily. One of the most common questions is "What good is it?" Behind that simple question lie several more that are unspoken: "So you can leave your body, float around, walk through walls or snoop on your neighbors...so what? Why are you wasting your time? Aren't things like faith, prayer, service and meditation more important to spiritual growth?" They're important, but I believe OBEs are superior, and I'll tell you why.

Although faith is important, it is a form of belief. But knowledge is better than belief, and OBEs provide direct access to spiritual knowledge. Once freed from your bodily bonds, you can move unfettered through time and space or explore the afterlife. With access to nonphysical realms, you don't need faith in spiritually advanced beings like Jesus Christ, angels, or spirit guides, because you can meet them in person, shake their hands, even hug them. Why settle for faith when you can see for yourself?

Prayer is important too, but let's face it: it's one-way communication. You pray, and then hope someone's listening. OBEs provide a means of direct two-way communication, and that's better. Without the limitations of the physical body, you can ask questions and get straight answers.

Rendering service on Earth is vital to spiritual growth, but why limit it to the physical realm? Some people are already using OBEs to guide Earthbound spirits to higher realms. Others use it to perform remote healing. There is even a group called Child Finders who try to locate missing children.

Meditation is undoubtedly one of the most important tools in spiritual development, and I won't downplay its importance. The fact is, initiating an OBE is a form of meditation, but it is more active, whereas traditional meditation is more passive. One of the major proponents of meditation in the modern era was the late Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and author of several books including best-selling Autobiography of a Yogi. Although SRF initiates are taught Kriya Yoga meditation as a means of attaining unity with God, Yogananda explains a vital part of this process in his book God Talks With Arjuna (a translation of the Hindu holy book The Bhagavad Gita):

"When the yogi is able to withdraw his life force from the senses, not only does he see his astral body but he can disconnect his mind from the outer world."

"The benefit of seeing the astral body is that the experience helps the yogi to ascend–to lift his soul, as the body-identified ego–from the fleshly prison. Afterward, the devotee learns how to take his ego out of the astral and ideational bodies and commingle it with the pure soul. The yogi is then able to unite his soul with the Omnipresent, Ever Blessed Spirit." (pp. 595-596)

In other words, OBE is an important step in the process.

Learning to achieve OBE opens up a world of spiritual possibilities. In addition to expanding our knowledge of who we are, where we came from, and where we're going, it also alleviates the fear of death and dispels the shortsighted delusions of Earthly life (such as prejudices, since Spirit transcends color, gender and sexual orientation). It can also be used for exploration, meeting with spiritually advanced beings, and even direct contact with the Creator.

The possibilities are endless, but it would be unfair if I didn't explain some of the drawbacks. First, learning to induce OBEs can be difficult. For most people–myself included–it takes a lot of time, patience and practice (i.e. hard work) to learn the skill, let alone master it.

Second, OBEs tend to threaten your boundaries, and that's terrifying. You'll have to face and conquer humankind's biggest fears: fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of possession, fear of getting lost, etc. Third, OBEs tend to be short in duration, especially for beginners. Hours of setup are sometimes spent for a few precious minutes of out-of-body freedom. It may take years of practice before you're good enough to stay out for an hour or more.

I strongly believe that the benefits of astral projection far outweigh the costs and I encourage people to embark on this strange but rewarding journey.

Robert Peterson is the author of two very personal and very edifying books on the subject of OBE's - Out Of Body Experiences and Lessons Out Of The Body.
Visit his website at www.robertpeterson.org
or contact him at bob@robertpeterson.org

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Questions and Answers
by Robert Peterson

There are a few questions that are frequently asked about the out-of-body experience. Here is how I would answer them, in no particular order:

What do you do during an OBE?

Mostly, I explore. I experiment. I have an insatiable curiosity, so I just go out and try things. I also love to fly.

Can you lose your body?

If anyone has lost their body, they obviously hadn't lived to tell about it. But all indications are that you can't lose your body for good. I believe that your oversoul has invested a great deal of time and energy in creating and maintaining a physical body for a purpose. Your oversoul is not going to give up your body until your purpose has been fulfilled. Thousands of people have experienced OBEs, and wandered thousands of miles away from their body. After a certain period, they usually just lose consciousness and find themselves back in their body again.

What about possession?

Perhaps if you have mediumistic tendencies, spirits can temporarily inhabit your body while you are out. However, spirits cannot possess your body long-term unless you give them permission to do so. My clairvoyant friend, LD, told me of an OBE where a spirit of a woman entered her body without permission. The woman was trying to animate LD's body, but couldn't. LD returned to her body to find it occupied. She was so angry that she yelled at the spirit to get out "or else." The spirit said no, but LD got furious and yelled "Now!" The unhappy spirit quickly left the body, and LD entered it again. The point is, even when you are out of your body, your oversoul has a "claim" on that body. Other spirits do not have the power to animate your body.

Can you encounter something evil like a demon?

I don't believe in evil. There are only two kinds of demon: The first kind is the demon we create from of our own fears. If you don't believe in evil, you cannot encounter these demons. If you understand and face your fears, you can face these demons and destroy them with an act of will. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

The second kind is the spirit of a dead person who is playing the role of a demon to make him/herself appear more intimidating. But that's different from evil. Remember this: They are just a spirit like you and me. They have no more power than you do, despite how they look or act. If you are a gentle soul, just visualize a white light around the spirit and send feelings of love to the poor misguided spirit. If you're ornery, tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, and walk away. If you're playful, make yourself into a big demon and give them their own treatment. They can't harm you, and they can't possess your body unless you give them power over you by being afraid.

What are the psychological effects? Can you go insane?

Again, I can only speak from personal experience. One common definition of "sane" is when a person is an integrated person functioning normally in society. I can say this much: I haven't had any problems holding a job. As a computer programmer and analyst, stress levels are high and my brain functions are constantly being taxed. My OBEs haven't done any noticeable harm.

There is an excellent book called With the Eyes of the Mind by Gabbard and Twemlow that contains an in-depth study of the psychology of OBEs. It compares the OBE to other psychological phenomena. In short, they found that the OBE shouldn't be grouped with psychological disorders such as dissociation, schizophrenia, autoscopy and other body boundary disturbances. OBE falls into a category of its own.

When is the best time to practice?

The best time to practice is in the morning, when you are awake, refreshed and not likely to fall asleep. I mostly practice Saturday and Sunday mornings because I can sleep in late, wake up refreshed and then have plenty of time to practice. I also recommend you take a nap sometime during the day, and use that time to attempt to leave your body. Naps are better than bedtime, because you're usually not as tired. You can relax and really get into it, without being so tired that you just fall asleep right away. If you only practice before bedtime, make sure to go to bed early so you won't fall asleep immediately.

What's the difference between an OBE and a lucid dream?

Some people believe that OBEs are the same thing as lucid dreams. It's easy to confuse the two. I'm not an expert in the field of lucid dreams, but I can offer my opinions. Lucid dreams seem to come in two categories: The first type of lucid dream happens during the onslaught of sleep. It is possible that these experiences are actually OBEs. The second type of Lucid dream occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which researchers acknowledge as the "dream" state. Scientists have developed a few commercial devices that monitor the eyelids of a dreamer. When REM sleep is detected, the machine flashes a light or sends another signal to the dreamer. When the dreamer recognizes the signal, they can wake themselves to a fully conscious lucid dream.

Studies have shown that OBEs do not occur during REM sleep. From personal experience, I can say this much: I have experienced them both, and have seen the difference. Lucid dream scenery seems "fake" when compared to OBE scenery. In lucid dreams I realize the scenery is "fake" and can make the scenery dissolve, leaving me floating near my body.

What's the difference between meditation and OBE?

In some forms of meditation, the goal is to clear your mind of all thoughts, which is very similar to quiescing your mind for an OBE. Some people report accidentally leaving their body during meditation. Others go into a state of meditation when trying to induce an OBE, but never leave their body.

When I meditate, my mind becomes empty, and I go into a kind of trance that I can't explain. In this trance of meditation, I don't have any perception. I don't have dreams or hypnogogic images. It is as if the world has completely stopped, and my consciousness has been extinguished. When I come back from meditation, I have no memories.

When I induce an OBE, I don't induce nearly as deep a trance. I retain a thread of alert consciousness the whole time. Once I reach the OBE state, my consciousness becomes normal again. After the experience, I have complete memories of the experience.

How do I know if it was real?

My general rule of thumb is: If you're not sure, then it was not a real OBE. A true OBE should leave you with no doubt in your mind. In a genuine OBE, you should literally feel as if you are separate from your body. It won't seem like a dream, a daydream, a visualization, or a fantasy. It will feel absolutely real.

Is consciousness as clear during an OBE?

In an OBE, as in life, consciousness can be crystal clear or muddy. I've had OBEs where my consciousness was more intense than normal waking life. I've also had OBEs where my thinking was more "muddy."

What's the difference between OBE and Near Death Experience?

This is how I think of it: The out-of-body experience is one typical feature of a Near Death Experience (NDE). Typical NDEs have some other common features that aren't usually found in an OBE (although that doesn't mean they can't happen). Some of these features are: Gliding down a tunnel, having your life flash before your eyes, seeing a bright light, meeting dead relatives or friends and being told it is "not your time."

Also, NDEs usually happen during times of bodily trauma. OBEs often happen from a state of perfect health.

Has anyone seen God, Jesus, etc., during an OBE?

It is more common to see deities during NDEs rather than during OBEs. It's interesting to note that when this happens it seems to be based on the person's religious convictions. Christians tend to see Christ. Buddhists tend to see The Buddha. Hindus tend to see their deities. I believe there is only one God. Perhaps certain powerful spiritual entities on the other side can appear in a form that makes the participant most comfortable. Personally, I've never seen a deity during an OBE.

When you leave your body, aren't you technically dead?

Why doesn't brain damage or rigor mortis occur?

Your body does not die during an OBE. It goes into a deeply relaxed state.

Is OBE related to UFO phenomena?

Many victims of "alien abductions" describe symptoms similar to OBE phenomena. They describe tunnels, vibrations, weird sounds and sights and total paralysis. They describe how aliens appear out of thin air beside their beds or walk through walls. Victims are levitated out of bed and are pulled outside through the wall. I believe many such victims are merely misinterpreting symptoms of typical OBEs. I think a lot of "abductees" would be relieved to know the true nature of their experiences!

I must also add that not all claims of alien abduction can be dismissed as OBEs. Some UFO cases have compelling physical evidence that wouldn't be left after an OBE.

Can you inhabit the body of a medium while OBE?

Around 1903, an invalid by the name of Vincent Turvey learned how to induce OBEs to free himself from his disabled body. Spiritualism was still popular then, so Turvey started visiting sΘances during his OBEs. A few times he actually sent messages through the medium during the sΘance. In his book, The Beginnings of Seership, Turvey has signed testimonials from people who were present at these sΘances. I believe him because he had witnesses and because he was too physically ill to stage such elaborate hoaxes. I've never tried it, and I don't know of anyone who has, other than Turvey. But I believe it can be done.

Is there a such thing as astral sex?

I've read about astral sex in only a few books. The following experience, which I labeled a lucid dream at the time, is the closest I've been.

03/08/83 Thu

Last night I had an interesting experience that I'd like to share. Last night before I went to sleep at midnight, I prayed to God. I asked to have an experience where I would reach my soul-mate through a dream....Some time in the middle of the night I found myself in a dreamlike state and was semi-conscious. I was not in a recognizable place. I was with a woman with light hair, and I don't know if she was my soul-mate or not. We got very close to each other, and just before we embraced I became conscious in the sense of a lucid dream.

The intensity of the experience is what caused me to be conscious. We embraced and at first I thought we were hugging. Then her body became less defined and started melting into mine. I was surprised and my body started melting too! As we melted into each other, energy started shooting out in all directions with the intensity of the sun.

I can't remember any more.

What do you see when you look in a mirror?

The following is an OBE where I looked into a mirror. What I saw was surprising.

12/25/85 - OBE #121

...I stayed in bed, practicing OBE. I used the rock-my-consciousness method to loosen myself from the body, but I felt somewhat attached to it, even as I was swinging away. On one outward swing, I twisted to my left, reached out with my astral arms, grabbed onto the bed and pulled myself completely out of my body. I paused there, crouched down on my bed, looking at the drapes on the bedroom window. Everything looked normal from that point of view.

I had been planning to try to visit CRA, and I paused to think about visiting her. I thought, "There's plenty of time for that. First, I want to experiment a little bit." My eyes were closed because of the previous two OBEs.

I paused, trying to think of a good experiment. "I know," I thought to myself, "I'll try looking into a mirror!" As soon as I thought that, I felt a strange shift of consciousness and I opened my eyes.

I found myself in a strange room with a mirror. I walked over to the mirror and looked at it. At first I saw my own image, but without a beard--I only had a moustache. I thought to myself how much I looked like BA (CRA's husband). My image slowly turned into BA's image and I thought, "Hmm. Maybe I'm a counterpart of BA. But I have a beard and a moustache, and my image doesn't reflect that." I looked into the mirror again, trying to fix the image. I noticed the image wasn't smiling; it had a very serious look on. So I smiled into the mirror and watched my image change.

My image changed slowly into the image of a woman I've never seen before, and then slowly turned into an image of DS, smiling! (DS is a member of our discussion group). I thought, "Whoa! That's not me. I wonder if DS is a counterpart too!" I bid DS's image farewell, and looked into the mirror and saw myself. This time I looked normal in all respects. I was smiling, and I noticed I was wearing the same clothes my body had on in bed. I thought, "Good."

I wondered whether I should visit CRA, or do another experiment. I tried to think of other experiments I could do, but I lost consciousness and immediately came to in my body.

This story had an interesting aftermath. Here is what I wrote in my journal the next day. The next day, I narrated the OBE to the discussion group and BA was there. As nearly as we could tell, BA was just getting up and dressing during my OBE. He most likely was in the bathroom looking at a mirror! Was the image I saw of him real?

How long does it take to learn?

This varies from person to person. Some books claim to be able to teach you to leave your body in 30 days or less. But that depends on a lot of factors, like the reader's belief system, how often they practice, the methods they try, and their attitudes during practice.

Some people have tried for ten years or more before having their first OBE. Others have done it on their first try. Don't be discouraged if you don't get results for several months. Everyone can learn this skill with practice and patience.

What's a typical OBE practice session like?

On a typical practice session, I will wake up naturally around 6:30am. I'll get up, visit the bathroom, then drink something with caffeine. I'll stay up for about a half hour to clear my mind. I'm usually too tired at that hour, so I'll go back to bed and sleep for another sleep cycle. Around 7:30am, I'll wake up naturally, stretch and start my first attempt. After about twenty minutes of trying, I will give up, roll over and go back to sleep.

When I wake up from that sleep cycle, I'll make my second attempt. Again, I'll keep at it for about twenty minutes before giving up. I'm usually successful on my second or third attempt. If I'm not successful by 11:30am, I quit practicing.

How long does it take to induce an OBE?

Typically, it takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to induce an OBE. My fastest induction took around thirty seconds. My longest induction took more than an hour.

What's the most common mistake during practice?

The most common mistake people make is trying too hard. Many people try so hard to induce an OBE that they never reach that totally passive state of mind I mentioned in chapter 24, step 2. If you "try hard" instead of letting go, you'll never be able to quiesce your mind enough to induce an OBE.

Why do it? What is it good for?

I believe there are many good reasons to induce out-of-body experiences. It may help us prepare for the afterlife, and uncover the secrets that lie beyond death's door. And that, in turn, can bring a better understanding and appreciation for life; We gain the realization that life is, after all, only temporary. After an OBE or two, there is no longer a fear of death. Also, it may help us develop psychic abilities. It may also help us contact departed loved ones. Perhaps in the future, we can use it to explore the far reaches of space, or the depths of the oceans. Or maybe to find missing children and to catch criminals. Besides, it's fun. Most important, OBEs can help us to be more spiritual. We can find our own answers instead of relying on religion, superstition and dogma. We can explore our own inner space and discover our inner selves. Maybe we can experience our true oversoul, or superconscious self. Perhaps we may even reach Ecstasy, Satori, Nirvana, Christ-consciousness or whatever you want to call it. Perhaps we can even experience the divine, the infinite soul, or God. The possibilities are endless.

There are still many unanswered questions about the out-of- body experience. It seems like the more I answers I find, the more questions pop up.

Robert Peterson is the author of two very personal and very edifying books on the subject of OBE's - Out Of Body Experiences and Lessons Out Of The Body.
Visit his site at www.robertpeterson.org
or contact him at bob@robertpeterson.org

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