Our view was strictly pragmatic. We couldn’t understand why people did not simply do it, because we were quite willing to help them, and they all said they wanted to do it. It was as if people were running around with their eyes tightly shut shouting “I can’t see! I can’t see!”. We kept telling them to open their eyes and when they didn’t we assumed they wanted to stay blind, so we left them alone.
Our major interest was validation and verification, separating the real from the imagined, the truth from the wishful thinking. We found otherwise quite reasonable people by the hundred who insisted they were in contact with “Great Masters on the Inner Planes of the Astral World” or some equally silly concept, and who were adamantly opposed to any attempt to validate their experience. It was as if they were comforted by their illusions, and would cling to them at any cost.
We wanted to “prove” OOBE was “real” because to us it was. It was not so much a thing to be learned as a thing we already did, although in many cases the knowledge of so doing was hidden by our unconscious minds from our conscious minds, so that we believed we were “dreaming” or “fantasizing”.
It should be obvious that if “everyone could do it” it would be like sneezing, and not only could everyone do it, there would be no need to study or comment on it, or attempt to “prove” it exists. The reason that “proof” is so lacking is the simple fact that the phenomena most often reported as OOBE is in reality a rather simplistic hallucination.
Once that became clear we were able to isolate those techniques and ideas and patterns that actually worked. If I can separate from my physical body and go other places, the simplest way to “prove” that is to go to a specific place and interact with other people at that place, and, before “comparing notes”, write out a description of what I think happened and when, and give that description to a third party to monitor. The others do the same.
Compare this, for example, with the research in Remote Viewing. Participants were given a target, and their ability to described that target accurately were scored as a hit or miss. If you take 20 misses in a row, perhaps you should rethink your physic ability. In OOBE, anyone who imagined themselves “floating up out of their body” was considered to have “done it” successfully, with no validation beyond their “memory”.
Coincident with the interest on OOBE was a simultaneous interest in Mind Expanding Exercises, many of which exactly replicated the phenomena of OOBE … floating out of the body … “traveling” as a disembodied point of consciousness … expending … shrinking … and in general carrying on like Alice in Wonderland. Various “agencies” became interested in using OOBE for “surveillance purposes”, a polite euphemism for spying.
The major problem with surveillance use of OOBE is that the level of consciousness attained in OOBE has little relevance to the persona manifest in the everyday world. Specifically, a person may be extremely involved in business and wants to use OOBE to spy on his competitors. Once OOBE, his perception of business may be that it is trivial nonsense, not even worth thinking about, and he really doesn’t care much about what his competitor is doing or not doing. So the “planned” OOBE “fails” and instead they have a lucid dream about skiing or some such thing.
The error of the CIA approach was (is?) to expect people to be as they are in everyday life when OOBE, and they rarely are. The best example is one of my first really distinct OOBEs.
I drove from California to Oregon, and on the return trip was sitting in the back seat discussing trivia with the driver. At some point I started getting nervous, because I had a clear memory of driving, but missing was the sequence of picking up a hitchhiker or whatever and letting them drive. Travelling down the highway, trying vainly to remember who the driver was and when I had let them start driving. I literally did not know the identity of the driver. To use physical world terms, my body was driving, while “I” was sitting in the back seat, feeling little if any connection to the person who was driving, except a vague curiosity about their identity, almost overwhelmed with total and complete indifference.
That and many similar experiences lead me to believe that the carefully planned and controlled OOBEs may be closer to dreams than actual separation. The clear distinction of interaction with others that can be externally verified is a surer identification of OOBE than individual perceptions.
Another example. I was in San Francisco, Melissa R. was in Denver, 1250 miles away. We knew each other, had a number of mutual friends, but were at best casually acquainted. I was lying in bed, half asleep, when Melissa “appeared”, quite friendly, and very aggressive. I immediately woke up, as much because such action was at total odds with the personality she displayed in the “real world” as any other. I called her the next day and she denied any such event, any such intent, and stated quite firmly that she thought I was mentally unbalanced, since she and her boyfriend were completely monogamous and had lived together happily for five years, and intended to continue doing so. Further, she made it clear she thought OOBE was utter nonsense.
Two weeks later I went to Denver to visit other friends (who were Melissa’s roommates), at which time it became clear that she had modest telepathic abilities, and like many others, firmly denied those abilities because they made her seem “different”. Adamant denial of any psi ability or interest in psi effectively prevented anyone from questioning her behavior. After several days, I left with my friends on a trip to Kansas, initiating a long involved mutual OOBE with Melissa that lasted some 5 or 6 hours in the real world, while she was in Denver and I was in Kansas, culminating in our decision to live together.
To the external viewer, our behavior must have seemed totally insane (more so on her part than on mine because she had no prior experience with conscious acceptance of telepathy or OOBE), while to us it made perfectly good sense. The relationship continued for some 5 years, and the end result was what I have come to expect from telepaths who try to live with and as ordinary people. The dichotomy creates a schism or split in their minds and eventually a splinter or fragment takes over and dominates the entire personality. What she is now is as different from what she was as night is from day.
There is a basic, fundamental difference in the way telepaths think and the way the average person thinks, and exploration in this area could cause profound changes in the understanding of the phenomena of telepathy and OOBE.
The average person is out of direct contact with reality, insulated by filters of bias and perception, removed by temporal ambiguity, and has developed that lack of direct contact to a high degree as a means of coping with everyday life.
The ritualistic behavior patterns of everyday life are a good example of reality avoidance. “Good morning, Miss X, how are you today?” is not a question and is rarely perceived by either party as being an inquiry as to the current mental and physical state of the party addressed. It is a cultural behavior pattern that is a substitute for communication and almost invariably elicits the responses of “Just fine” or “Oh, I’m fine”, followed by the equally ritualistic responses of “How are you?” or “What about you?”.
Such patterns are prevalent in nearly every situation, from eating breakfast to having sex, and act as a buffer between reality and the false realty “perceived.” The rituals are of great value as coping maneuvers to allow functioning in the everyday world. They also tend to blunt perceptions to the level of a turnip.
It has been stated that women are usually in bed with their last lover and armies are fighting their last war, meaning that what worked in the past, or is familiar, is generally more acceptable and desirable than anything new or different.
OOBE is almost entirely “new and different”. All the familiar, comfortable scenes and scenarios no longer exist, and everything is strange and unfamiliar and there are new rules of behavior and conduct and communication. This is precisely why the average person is “alone” in their first OOBEs.
It is the mental orientation, the set of expectations and beliefs that cause the solo “voyages”, rather than something related to OOBE itself. The average person is almost exclusively interested in themselves, in what they want, in what they think, in what they feel, and it is this mind set that causes solo voyages.
Just as telepathy is almost impossible while thinking of your own thoughts and feelings rather than the other person’s, so can a basic premise for controlled OOBE be formulated:
RULE #1 – The more interested you are in the thoughts, feelings, and desires of others, the more likely you will be to encounter interesting, friendly people on your OOBEs.
Similarly, understand that you have spent the major portion of your life in hiding, from others and from yourself. In OOBE the hiding procedures fail quite early, and people are generally as they “really are” rather than as they would like others to perceive them. The brash businessman may in fact be shy and retiring, and the bookish nerd may be a tiger in disguise. OOBE tends to allow the “inner person” much more freedom of expression than in ordinary everyday life, and the OOBE persona tends to be the “real you”.
This is not intended to be a primer on behaviorism. It is suggested that the people who are most “in touch” with their personalities are the most able to successfully have OOBEs, and with a minimal amount of stress or anxiety. To the extent that you can be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with others, both in and out of your body.
RULE #2 – The more you learn about lucid dreaming the more able you will become to consciously control OOBE. The techniques for becoming conscious while dreaming are identical to those needed to become consciously aware of OOBE.
The two phenomena are so similar that distinctions may be more or less irrelevant… nearly all of the OOBERs we located had interpreted their OOBEs as dreams, including mutual and shared dreams. The fine distinctions between what is an OOBE and what is a lucid dream may be of interest to researchers orscholars but our view that the important thing is the doing… the thing itself… not what label you append to it afterward.
RULE #3 – Don’t waste your time re-discovering the wheel. There is a wealth of great information on OOBE and related subjects from which you can extract that which is of value to you. Robert Monroe is considered one of the best sources of information on OOBE. The work of Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D in the field of lucid dreaming is peerless. Richard Bandler (creator of NLP) is an absolute master of the intricacies of mind functioning, especially in the use of metaphor and allegory, as well as being one of the most adroit hypnotists and communicators in the world. Carlos Castaneda has written some of the most fascinating descriptions of what he terms dreaming together, that I think we would call OOBE.
What does all this have to do with OOBE? Everything. Read and absorb everything you can find by LaBerge, Castaneda, Bandler, Monroe, and Milton Erickson.
To OOBE, you need to convince your unconscious mind that (a) you really want to do it and (b) you are serious about doing it and (c) you are going to persist in your desire to do it and (d) you want you unconscious mind to help you achieve conscious OOBEs.
Next time … serious techniques. Please do your homework in the interim, so you don’t fall behind…