Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Explained

Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) Explained

by Bob Peterson


I hate it when people say "just try this" OBE technique without any explanation. I'm an analyst. My analytic mind wants to know exactly what's going on so I can do it properly.

Many people talk about the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method of achieving out-of-body experience. Different people recommend different things, but few of them offer any kind of explanation of how and why it works.

After a good amount of research, I think I finally understand the procedure and how it works, so I thought I'd share.

Standard disclaimer:
Again, my understanding of all this is incomplete. This is just my interpretation at this time, and it's likely to change with time. I don't pretend to know everything. I'm not a sleep expert, but I've done a fair amount of research over the years.

The WBTB technique is something like this:
  1. Set an alarm clock to wake you up after 6 hours of normal sleep.
  2. After the alarm wakes you up, stay up for 3 to 50 minutes.
  3. Go back to bed with the intention of having an OBE. Sometimes that's all you need. But if you don't have an OBE:
  4. When you wake up again, perform some kind of exit technique (or cycle through many, as Michael Raduga suggests).
Right away I have a lot of questions:
  • Why six hours?
  • Should I stay up 3 minutes or 50 minutes?
  • Why does the length of time you stay up vary so much? 
  • Does it matter if I wake up naturally or with the alarm?
  • If I wake up naturally in the middle of the night can I do it?
  • What exit technique should I use?
  • Why do I have to set the alarm so far ahead? Can't I just interrupt my sleep at an earlier point?
I think I've found answers to these questions, and the key is understanding what's actually going on. Be forewarned: Sleep is a complex thing. The human brain is a complex thing. I don't pretend to be an expert on either, but I'm going to try to simplify this as much as possible.

Sleep Cycles 


First you need to know some basics about sleep cycles.


Every night, we go through several (often five) sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 - 110 minutes (the first cycle is often longer). Each cycle contains these stages:
  1. Hypnagogic imagery (alpha through theta brainwaves).
  2. Non-REM (nREM) sleep ("wash cycle").
  3. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. (Dreaming)
  4. Hypnopompic imagery.
  5. Waking up, or "almost" waking up and the cycle repeats again.

Where do OBEs and Lucid Dreams occur?


Science has proven lucid dreams occur during step 3, REM sleep. My OBEs occur mostly in step 1 or 4, the hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery stages.

Here's a good analogy: these sleep cycles are analogous to washing (laundering) dirty clothes: Your brain needs to be "washed" five times every night.
  1. Hypnagogic imagery is like when the tub fills with water.
  2. Non-REM sleep is like when soap is added and your brain is "agitated."
  3. REM sleep is like the "rinse" cycle.
  4. Hypnopompic imagery is like when the tub is drained.
  5. Then the washing machine resets itself and start over
We leave our body every sleep cycle. This is just like taking your clothes off before you launder them: you can't wash your clothes while you're wearing them, right? But that's another topic for another day.

Since the brain is "washed" in each cycle's nREM stage, it's a little "cleaner" each time, and therefore the nREM sleep gets shorter and shorter. But since the length of the cycle (90 - 110 minutes) doesn't change much, REM sleep gets longer and longer with each cycle. A typical night looks something like this:
It's interesting to note that brain waves during REM sleep are actually as "loud" or even "louder" than waking consciousness; a veritable storm of electrical activity.

Interrupting Sleep


Spending some time awake bypasses the hypnopompic imagery. Your brain chemicals are forced into a "waking" pattern.

When you interrupt sleep, it's like stopping the washing machine in the middle of a cycle. Your body has a tendency to restart the cycle where it left off. But since REM sleep (step 3) is chemically/electrically similar to waking consciousness, your brain can either just skip over that part (drain/wake up) or start the next cycle (step 1).

The Brain Chemical Dance


The next thing to understand is the rise and fall of various brain chemicals. I won't go into great detail here, but here are the basics:
  • After the sun sets, the pineal gland in your brain produces the hormone melatonin, which makes you sleepy. (This is largely controlled by the light that enters your eyes, but that's also another topic for another day).
  • With all that melatonin in your system, it's hard to retain consciousness.
  • Throughout the night, the melatonin is depleted.
  • By morning, you've used up most of the melatonin.
  • For the sake of my "laundry" analogy, let's say that melatonin is the laundry detergent. Your pineal gland produces a certain quantity at the beginning of the night, and a little is used up with each sleep cycle.
  • When light hits your eyes the next morning, it triggers the production of other brain chemicals that bring back consciousness.
Here's a diagram to show roughly how it's used, along with some other brain chemicals:
So if you combine these charts, you'll see where they overlap: About six hours into sleep, your level of metatonin is still relatively high (sleep/laundry is still needed) but your brain is relatively "clean" and ready for consciousness.

The Answers


So to answer my own questions:
  1. Why 6 hours?
    The 6 hour figure is optimal because it interrupts one of the later sleep cycles. That ensures your brain is as "clean" as possible and therefore nearly ready for full consciousness. If you interrupted an earlier cycle, you'd most likely drop into non-REM sleep and not be able to retain consciousness. Plus there's still too much melatonin in your blood, which means you'll be too drowsy.
  2. Should I stay up 3 minutes or 50 minutes?
    It varies depending on whether you're a light sleeper or heavy sleeper. If you're a light sleeper, it will probably take less effort to retain consciousness during your attempt. If you're a heavy sleeper, you need more time to ensure you won't just fall immediately back to sleep. You may need to experiment with this until you find a length of time that works for you.
  3. Why does the length of time you stay up vary so much?
    It has to do with brain chemicals. At night, melatonin builds up in the brain and makes you sleepy. Meanwhile, other brain chemicals associated with conscious awareness wear off. When you sleep, it's just the opposite: the melatonin is used up and the chemicals necessary for consciousness are built up. If you're a heavy sleeper, you need to give your body more time to balance your "consciousness" brain chemicals up to a point where full conscious awareness will stay with you for the duration.
  4. Does it matter if I wake up naturally or with the alarm?
    Yes, I think it does. You want to interrupt non-REM (nREM) sleep, not REM sleep. If you interrupt REM sleep, your brain will often just start a new sleep cycle from the beginning (and you fall asleep and lose your OBE). If you interrupt nREM sleep, your brain will tend to restart the "cleaning" cycle where it left off, but the interruption gives you time to build enough of those "consciousness" chemicals to retain conscious awareness, thus an OBE.
  5. If I wake up naturally in the middle of the night can I do it?
    While it's possible, it's not ideal. Your body is conditioned to automatically start new sleep cycles from start to finish. I think it's more OBE-productive to interrupt nREM in the middle.
  6. What exit technique should I use?
    Almost any exit technique will work, but everybody is different. What works for one person may not work for another. I prefer techniques that give me a sense of motion, such as pretending I'm swinging my astral arms back and forth. Some people prefer to imagine they're running as fast as they can. Still others like to pretend they're climbing a rope. You may need to experiment to see what works best for you. There are many to choose from.
  7. Why do I have to set the alarm so far ahead? Can't I just interrupt my sleep at an earlier point?
    While it's technically possible to interrupt an earlier cycle and get results, there's a good chance your brain won't be "clean" enough to give you full conscious awareness. Your body is more likely to drop you back into another sleep cycle.

Bob Peterson
15 August 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

God's Eyes and God's Hands

God's Eyes and God's Hands

by Bob Peterson

I believe we are all carefully guided by a "Higher Power." It doesn't matter whether you call that  higher power "God," "Tao," "Krishna," "Allah," "Yahweh," "Ahura Mazda," "Great Spirit," "All That Is," "Spirit Guide" or any other name. What's important is that I've seen it in action many times throughout my life, so I know it's real.

It often presents itself in the form of synchronicity: events that seem to conspire to accomplish some spiritual goal. In these cases, it feels as if "God" is using us as tools to accomplish spiritual work: we are literally God's hands.

In June 2010, I was working on my fourth book, Answers Within, but I felt I needed someone to help me proof-read. At the same time, my good friend, Phil Bolsta--who lives in California--was putting the final touches on his powerful book, Through God's Eyes and he needed a proof reader too.

So I came up with this idea: I would proof-read Phil's book, and he would proof-read mine. We'd exchange a few chapters at a time so neither of us would be rewarded unless we both were. My progress on his book fueled his progress on mine. I called this idea "Mutually Assured Creation."

Little did I know that we were all being carefully guided by that Higher Power. (Although Phil got the better end of the deal, because Through God's Eyes is a much bigger book.)

Each paragraph of Phil's book is a quote from a famous person followed by an important spiritual lesson. For every quote, there's a lesson, and for every lesson, a quote.

So on Sunday, June 6, 2010, I was at my sister's house in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, taking care of my mom, who needed constant care. I had been proof-reading Phil's book and came across this quote from one of my favorite authors, Paramahansa Yogananda. Phil's spiritual lesson / commentary that followed was:
"Your spirit is the angel on your left shoulder, reassuring you that we are all perfect creations of God, that you already are everything you need. Spirit shares and is always content; ego takes and is never satisfied."
Hold it right there, I thought, stop the press! At 12:44pm, I sent Phil an email that said:
"Phil, the second sentence is so powerful and poignant that I'd like to see it in its own paragraph, with a quote [from a famous person] of its own to support it."
Eleven minutes later, at 12:55pm, before he could even respond, Phil received another email from a friend named Lori, which contained this quote:
"For I can see in your eyes that you are exquisitely woven with the finest silk and wool, and that the pattern upon your soul has the signature of God. And all your moods and colors of love come from His divine vat of dye and gold." ~Hafiz 
"Hey Phil! Read this and thought of you, so I always follow my intuition and am sharing it with you."
Lori's quote from Hafiz perfectly fit the first sentence of Phil's lesson. Phil's original quote from Yogananda perfectly fit the second sentence. It was like "God" conspired to tell Phil--through me and Lori--to split the paragraph and to fill the prose with a perfect quote.

Phil, Lori and I were all flabbergasted. I was deeply moved by these events and it sent shivers down my spine. It only took eleven minutes for "God" to bring three people together from three different parts of the world to make this happen. I literally felt like I was a spiritual tool, guided perfectly to this place and time.

This has happened to me other times too.

I remember one particular Tuesday evening Kathy and I decided to go play Bingo in the nearby town of Aitkin, Minnesota. When we arrived in Aitkin, we were a half-hour early. Kathy asked me what I wanted to do in the meantime. I thought about it for a moment, then said, [my brother-in-law Dan's mom] "Helen is in the nursing home in Aitkin, isn't she? Maybe we should drop by and say hi." So I turned around and drove a half-mile (~one kilometer) back to the nursing home. We went inside and asked for Helen's room. This was the one and only time we ever visited her.

We walked into Helen's room and greeted her. She was smiley and warm, as always. I asked her how she'd been and she said fine, but she had a problem: Her laptop had stopped working a short time earlier, so she couldn't play her games. Without her laptop, she was bored and very frustrated.

I'm a computer professional by trade, so it only took a couple minutes and I had the laptop working perfectly again. Soon our half-hour was up and we left for Bingo. But as I walked out the door, I was struck hard by that same feeling of synchronicity: Helen's laptop stopped working and as if by magic, "God" placed a computer professional--me--in her room without bidding, to fix it. I've never felt more "used," and yet more good inside.

The next time Dan visited his mom in the nursing home, she had quite a tale to tell: Last Tuesday evening, her laptop stopped working. But strangely, enough, Bob and Kathy came in out of the blue and fixed it for me!

The message of Phil Bolsta's book is that we are more spiritually enriched when we learn to see life through God's Eyes. But I also believe we are God's hands. We just need to learn to pay attention to the guidance we're given, and act on it.

When Through God's Eyes was published, Phil put my endorsement on the back cover:
"One of the most important books I've ever read.  An incredible compilation of spiritual wisdom and insight.  It's the owners manual God should give you when you're born." --Robert Peterson, author of "Out of Body Experiences"

I stand by that.

Bob Peterson
25 Jul 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review: Astral Doorways

Astral Doorways


by J.H. Brennan

Today I'm reviewing Astral Doorways by J.H. Brennan.

This is another book that I read a very long time ago. It was one of the very first books I ever bought on astral projection back in the early 1980s. It was originally published in 1971, so the information is a little dated.

I remember reading Graham Nicholls' [very good] book Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience a couple years ago, in which he hailed "Herbie Brennan" as an important mentor and influence. I thought to myself, "I should probably re-read Astral Doorways, because I've forgotten pretty much everything in it. So I put it in my "to read" stack and it eventually bubbled up to the top.

Before chapter 1 even starts, Brennan states:
"Several techniques outlined in this book are dangerous. Readers are advised to take this fact into consideration before attempting to experiment with any of the Doorways."
Well, that's foreboding. That's scary. Either that, or he was just trying to protect himself from lawsuits from irresponsible dabblers in the occult. I prefer the latter explanation.

Brennan is a curious mixture of occultist and scientist, much like Dr. Douglas M. Baker. Much of his information comes from occult traditions, but he's very pragmatic, practical, and scientific about it all. There's no air of the secret, mysterious, or hidden occult knowledge here; it's just the facts as he sees it. There are even a few points of humor. This is unconventional for an "occult" book.

Chapter 1 is "Understanding the Astral" where Brennan lays out the foundation of his beliefs in astral projection and what it is. Curiously, he says:
"The use of the word 'astral' in occult literature never really added up either. It became obvious that the term had more than one meaning. Muldoon's 'Astral Body'* for instance, had no real connection with the Astral Plane. His meanderings had really taken place in the Etheric Body, which was something else again." (pg. 2)
He insists the astral body (as many other authors say):
"...is used only on the Astral Plane. But the trained occultist can use it on the physical as well." (pg. 10)
Chapter 2 is "A Pathway To The Doors". Here the author--much like Salvatore Caesar Scordato--talks about how astral projection all hinges on vivid visualization and how well you can do that:
"Your mental pictures must become crisp and clear. Their colours must be vital and alive." (pg. 11)
He gives exercises to help you develop your ability to visualize, and he stresses practice, practice, practice.

Chapter 3 is "The Ultimate Protection." Here he talks about rituals of protection, complete with a practical example taken from occult sources. I laughed out loud when I read this:
"The Medieval grimoires especially seem to have been composed exclusively by psychopaths." (pg. 19)
ROFL! See what I mean about unconventional? I think my brother Joe, who runs the site Esoteric Archives would probably disagree. The bottom line, he says, is this:
"I cannot over-stress this point. If you run into something nasty on the Astral, it is because something nasty already exists in your mind. The Astral Plane does nothing more than give it form." (pg. 24)
In other words, as Jane Roberts/Seth so famously put it, "You create your own reality" and that applies even more so to the astral plane which is even more flexible. Therefore, Brennan stresses "purity of motive, emotional control and self-awareness."

Chapter 4 is "The Elemental Doorways." Here Brennan explains:
"There are five basic Elemental Doorways to the Astral Plane."
He equates them with various traditions, such as the Golden Dawn, the Hindu Tattvic versions of Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Apas, and Prithivi, and the alchemical versions of Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. He gives techniques for first visualizing, then stepping through, these astral doorways.

He stresses that you need to retrace your steps back to the physical (both symbolically and ritualistically) and close the astral door after you return, so no entities can follow you back and become attached.

Chapter 5 is "The Visions and the Dreams". Here he talks about his friends Nick and Bea Van Vliet, who participated in some experiments using his techniques and also with hypnosis. Bea was able to go into trance quite easily and narrate what was happening in her projections. She was even able to gather information that would later be verified.

Chapter 6 is "The Tarot Doorways." Here Brennan gives another technique that involves using a card from a Tarot deck as the source of visualization, and acts as your doorway.

Chapter 7 is "The Qabalistic Doorways." Brennan talks about the Qabala; an ancient system of Jewish mysticism, and its "Tree of Life."

Chapter 8 is "The Oriental Doorways." Here he talks about harnessing the I Ching, which is an ancient Chinese form of divination (like Tarot) in which you use coins or yarrow sticks to form a variety of hexagram figures. These hexagrams, may likewise be used to answer questions, but Brennan suggests using them as astral doorways.

Chapter 9 is "Hypnosis and the Astral." Here he gives some techniques for using hypnosis and self-hypnosis (responsibly) to achieve astral projection.

Chapter 10 is "The Hypno-Astral Experience." Brennan talks about using hypnosis to induce astral projection in various friends and acquaintances. He got some interesting verifiable information. The quality of the experience was interesting. Some people experience a total feeling of relocation, whereas:
"To Sam, the whole thing was rather like going to the cinema [movies]." (pg. 77)
Chapter 11 is "The Objective Astral" which is more theory than anything. He gives a diagram with concentric rings to represent the material world, surrounded by the astral plane, which is itself surrounded by the "mental" plane, and then the "spiritual" plane. This is similar to what Theosophy teaches.

Chapter 12 is "Astral Entities" where he talks about astral shells (discarded astral bodies, etc.), Artificial Elementals, and similar non-physical entities, like John Kreiter's "Moths."

Chapter 13 is "Heightening the Astral Experience." This is a grab-bag of occult lore, like using "Elemental Doorways", how words are really just vibrations, and using the [Qaballistic] names of God to improve your experiences.

He also talks about several other OBE techniques such as those taught in Tibetan Buddhist traditions, fasting, sleep deprivation, the techniques of the Whirling Dervishes, and Yogic traditions. I found this curious:
"And on no account try to mix visualizations with Yoga postures. Combining the two is a technique on its own. To try it without knowing what you are doing is asking for psychosis." (pg. 98)
I'm not sure I agree, but whatever. And here's something I don't recall reading in any other OBE book: using mantras (spoken or imagined words and phrases) to induce OBEs (which is common), but repeating them faster and faster until they gain their own momentum, take on a life of their own, and throw off all extraneous thoughts. I definitely need to try that out!

Chapter 14 is "Astral Credo". Here Brennan talks a little bit about his philosophy about occultism and astral projection.
"But religion, to be worth anything at all, has to go beyond the Astral Plane. Consequently, a vortex is built up, drawing down power from spiritual levels." (pg. 103)
There are also two appendixes. The first, oddly enough, is about developing psychometry. The other is "Etheric and Astral" in which he tells a few amusing stories about his wife's experiences.

The book was heavy on techniques, but despite that, I was somewhat disappointed. Most of the techniques weren't "practical" in my mind. It covered a lot of ground, but it wasn't very "deep" and it could have been bigger. He had a few narratives from people he knew, but none of his own personal experiences.

The book is 115 pages long, but the margins are tight and the font is small, so there's a "fair" amount of content. The writing and grammar are professional grade. I didn't find any mistakes at all. Not a single misspelled word or grammar problem. None.

I'll give it three and 1/2 out of 5 stars. It was fair to partly cloudy.

11 July 2017
Bob Peterson

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Oshara Factor

The Oshara Factor


By Bob Peterson

Sometimes we all get discouraged and need a little kick in the rear to get our "spiritual" asses in gear, if you know what I mean. And the Universe is happy to oblige.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling down in the dumps and disheartened. I felt like nobody cared. Well, maybe one or two people. Somebody asked me when I was going to write a second book. Seriously? A second book? I've written four. The problem is: nobody knows about them. I've sold so few copies of the last three that I felt like writing a fifth book would be a complete waste of time; nobody's going to read it anyway. Most of it was my own damn fault, too: I was lousy at self-promotion. It's part of that desire for "ego-death," right? (Oh, the irony, since the desire itself is ego-based).

Inwardly, I bargained with "God," the "Universe," my "Higher Self," my "Spirit Guides" or whatever divine force might hear:
"I feel so unmotivated. Give me some kind of sign. Let me know the work I'm doing is valuable; that I'm helping at least one person. Give me a direction."

I began to worry about whether it was the start of a mid-life crisis. Then something magical happened. I got an email from Alexander De Foe, a professor in Australia who wrote the excellent (free) book Conscious Beyond the Body, to which I had contributed a chapter. He asked me if I wanted to be part of an online education program. He wanted me to design and teach an OBE class.

I agonized over my decision. I'm not a good speaker and my voice burns out quickly. I'm not a dynamic personality. And Lord knows I'm not handsome, nor do I have a silky voice like William Buhlman, Jurgen Ziewe, Neale Donald Walsh, or most other "new age" teachers. There's still this "I'm not "worthy," "qualified," or "good enough" crap going around. Still, I've taught OBE classes before (rarely), and I already knew the material. Something inside said it was the right thing to do, so I reluctantly said yes, even though it seemed like a lot of work, and equally a waste of time.

Then about a week ago, something else magical happened. I got a message from Oshara, an old friend I knew back in 1986 when I lived in Phoenix. Back then, she was one of my favorite friends from the two "Jane Roberts / Seth" discussion groups I attended (her name was different back then). I remembered she was tall, blonde, cute, and smiley, with bright mischievous eyes (and nice hips!). She also had a witty sense of humor and no "tact filters" (like the characters on Big Bang Theory). Back then I had even asked her friends if she was available, but they gently let me down and told me Oshara was "not my type." We did, however, become good friends. Then I got a job offer I couldn't refuse and quickly moved back to Minnesota (I don't do "starving" well).

Oshara's message said she happened to be in Minnesota and if I was still there, maybe we could get together and talk about cosmic things and old times. It sounded fun, so I invited her to stay with Kathy and I for a while. I told her upfront that, since I work from home, I was unavailable during business hours, and she respected that. So she came to visit last Sunday, 11 June.

I asked her what she'd been doing since 1986. It turns out she left Phoenix about the same time I did, and like me, had traveled all over the world. She lived in California for a while, and started several magazines and meetup groups. She did odd jobs for money: radio and voice work, acted as an "extra" in many Hollywood movies, and anything related to metaphysics. She even developed her own advanced "Ouija" board to help develop channeling. She even lived in Europe for a while. Eventually she found herself back in the United States, living in Elmira, New York.

If you're a true Seth fanatic, you probably already know that Jane Roberts and her husband, Rob Butts, lived in Elmira when most of the Seth books were channeled, starting with their very first experiments with the Ouija board. Now, through a strange series of "coincidences" Oshara found herself living in the same house that the Seth material was channeled!

As a life-long fan of Seth, she was thrilled about all this, but sadly, she was alone and like me, it seemed like nobody cared. Jane Roberts had died in 1984. Rob Butts had died in 2008, and they didn't have kids, so there was nobody to carry on her legacy. The house had been sold, split into apartments, and fallen somewhat into disrepair. Thousands of pages of unpublished Seth manuscripts were still sitting in boxes in the house of Rob Butts' second wife, Laurel Butts.

I asked Oshara what brought her to Minnesota, of all places. She said she got a call from a friend who lived in Minnesota who had gotten really good results with the new Ouija board, and she wanted to continue that work. But oddly enough, when she got there, her friend mysteriously changed her mind. It seemed Oshara had driven a thousand miles for nothing. Then she remembered me.

When I asked about her future plans, she said she didn't know. She had made some friends in one of the Seth groups in Minneapolis, and thought she might like to move to Minnesota. She even talked about finding a life partner or soulmate here. She seemed kind of lost and didn't know where to go, or what to do.

Now, deep in the woods in Northern Minnesota, it seemed like nearly thirty years had been erased, and we were as comfortable as lifelong friends could ever be. Night after night, we had really good, really deep conversation. We talked about Seth, channeling, OBEs, paranormal investigations, neuroscience, chem trails, the Federal Reserve Bank, Aliens, and conspiracy theories. We shared stories of our lives, our adventures, and our travels. We laughed and joked until almost midnight every night. Poor Kathy could hardly get a word in edgewise. I sure wish I had recorded our conversations because they were magical.

The three of us even (haltingly) did the Ouija board, and meditated together. She and I spent a whole night just listening to each other's favorite music while Kathy had another obligation. Oshara introduced me to Kate Bush, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and others. I introduced her to Arven, Dream Theater, Timo Tolkki, and others. The television sat unfulfilled in silence the whole week, forgotten and ignored; a sad monument to mind-numbing entertainment and commercialism. Oshara encouraged me, and I encouraged her. It was comfortable and it was magical.

She cheered me up, raised my vibrations, and encouraged me to follow my bliss and keep writing the many unpublished books I had started. More importantly, to keep working on the classes I'd started for Alexander De Foe. I cheered her up and encouraged her spiritual work too.

She was my message from the Universe, and I was hers. We picked up each other's pieces and charged each other's spiritual batteries. We laughed that we should start our own Internet radio show and even came up with a few catchy names for it.

Then, as if by magic, Oshara's life turned around too. She got a call from her best friend in Elmira: Laurel Butts had contacted her. The word on the street was that she might be interested in renting an apartment in the old Seth house too, and maybe even share some of the unpublished Seth manuscripts. She wanted to meet Oshara and attend the local Seth group. Her fire was lit. Suddenly she was being pulled back home as quickly as she had come. She left yesterday.

Whether you call it God, the Universe, your Higher Self, or Spirit guides, I believe there are spiritual forces that conspire for your highest spiritual good.
Something drew Oshara to Minnesota--under false pretenses--so we could cheer each other up and encourage each other's life work. And who knows? Maybe we will start that Internet radio station someday.

Remember to always cherish your friends, because they are also the hands of God. But that's a different topic for a different blog post.

Bob Peterson
20 June 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Most Energetic Places in the World

The Most Energetic Places in the World


by Bob Peterson

Many people have read about my non-physical travels, but very few have read about my in-the-body adventures. Kathy and I have traveled all over the world, and people often ask me: "What's your favorite place in the world?" I don't have just one. Every place I've visited has its own unique psychic energy. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for, right? So I thought I'd share some of the places I found most magical, most spiritual, most holy, most beautiful, and even the most scary.

These are the places with the most palpable residual psychic energy. In other words, even if you're not naturally sensitive but you still want a taste of that metaphysical energy, visit these places, because they have powerful vibes. You don't have to be psychic to feel it. If you are psychic, be prepared to be blown away by the energy of these places.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Most scary: Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam



I love forests. I feel at ease there; one with nature. I even live in a forest in central Minnesota, surrounded by wild animals and the peaceful sounds of nature. Nevertheless, in my experience, the place with the scariest energy was a forest: the site of the Cu Chi Tunnels in central Vietnam.

Cu Chi is depicted in many war movies about the Vietnam War. Back in the 1970s, soldiers crept through this forest with guns, machetes, and grenades, trying to avoid the many spiked pits and booby-traps swinging down from trees to impale them. Those who survived the traps were usually ambushed when Vietcong soldiers popped out of the ground and gunned them down with machine guns.

You don't need to be psychic to feel the intense residual psychic energy that lingers in this place. When I visited the site in 2009, even my senses--as "unrefined" as they are--were assaulted by terror and the imagined screams of the dying. I didn't know a forest could feel this scary. You couldn't get me out of there fast enough. It was highly disturbing. (In case you're wondering, I was born in 1961, so I was much too young to be in the Vietnam war).

Later in the same trip, I visited another forest, one of the "Killing Fields" sites in Cambodia. You can still see the bones of some of the million+ people murdered by dictator Pol Pot at the memorial. Despite the violence, this forest has been deeply cleansed by daily prayers and Buddhist rituals and now exudes a sense of peace, tranquility, and well-being.
What about places like Auschwitz and Dachau, the sites of the Nazi concentration camps? I had the opportunity to visit there in 1989, but I could not bring myself to do it. I was actually afraid of the negative energy there.

Second place goes to: Hanoi Hilton, Vietnam

_________________________________________________________________________________

Most haunted: The Tower of London, England


I've been doing ghost investigations since the early 1980s when I was in college and president of a student group MSPR: the Minnesota Society for Parapsychological Research. Since then, Kathy and I have been to some of the most haunted places in the world, and on ghost investigations for about half. They include:
  • Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, KY
  • Gettyburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, VA 
  • Andersonville Battlefield, Andersonville, GA
  • Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA
  • The St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine, FL
  • Tower of London, London, England
  • The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
  • The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO 
  • The Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone, AZ 
  • The Alamo, San Antonio, TX
  • The St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio, TX
  • Villisca Ax Murder House, Villisca, IA
  • The Palmer House, Sauk Centre, MN
  • Forepoughs Restaurant, St. Paul, MN
  • Whistle Stop Inn, New York Mills, MN
  • Thayer's House, Annandale, MN 
  • Congdon Mansion, Duluth, MN
  • Billy's Restaurant, Anoka, MN
  • Milford Mine Site, Crosby, MN
  • The Pirate House, Savannah, GA
  • The Sorrel Weed House, Savannah, GA
  • The 17Hundred90 Inn, Savannah, GA 
  • The Haunted Jail, St. Augustine, FL
  • Gallipoli Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey
  • Hanoi Hilton, Vietnam
  • Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
  • Catacombs, Paris, France
  • Moosham Castle, Salzburg, Austria
  • The Winchester House, San Jose, CA
Of all these places, the one that I could "feel" the stongest energy was the Tower of London, in 1989. Ghosts must be afraid of me, because I've never been afraid at any of these places (my OBEs have rid of this kind of fear), nor have I experienced any serious ghostly activity there. (Well, okay, I did have a shadow being walk by me at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, but it wasn't scary.) But the Tower of London just gave me the creeps.
Second place: Waverly Hills Sanatorium


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Most beautiful place: Iguazu Falls, Brazil


I went to Iguazu Falls, Brazil in 2008. The beauty is breathtaking and simply cannot be captured on camera. It just goes on and on. Famous OBE author Waldo Vieira was from the nearby city of Iguazu Falls, but I didn't realize it at the time.
Second place: Machu Picchu
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Most spiritual place: Machu Picchu, Peru


Machu Picchu is incredibly beautiful and spiritual. It's a very special place. A feeling of sacredness pervades the air. We visited in 2001, and the beauty was breathtaking.
Second place: Sedona, AZ

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: Out of Body Experiences Quickly and Naturally

Out of Body Experiences Quickly and Naturally


by John Kreiter

Today I'm reviewing Out of Body Experiences Quickly and Naturally by John Kreiter.

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm jaded. After reading Michael Raduga's book The Phase, I would have been disappointed by any OBE book. Raduga set the bar too high; it's a tough act to follow. Kreiter's book isn't bad; it's just...average.

The size is okay. The book has 215 pages. The margins are nice and tight, but instead of using conventional indentation, he uses several blank lines, like a web page. The amount of information is okay, but not great. The trouble is, the writing is much too wordy. When I got to page 50, I stopped and asked myself if Kreiter had really said anything significant about OBEs. Up to that point, it was mostly just "I will be teaching you this. You will be learning that. I will...You will..." For a while there, I wondered if he was ever going to write a sentence without using the word "will". For example, just picking a random paragraph from a random page:
"You can think of it like taking a night course; so that instead of learning how to sew or fix a car for example, you will be learning how to project certain portions of your conscious ego beyond the confines of your objective physical reality. Just like a course in sewing or mechanics, this course will provide very practical benefits. These benefits will not seem as objectively real and practical to you at first,..." (pg. 15)
Three sentences, three instances of the word "will." Some of this is good setup, but it got very old, very fast. Please don't tell me what I will learn. Just teach me. Stay in the present moment. Say it and move on.

Regardless, he does make some good observations and I flagged a lot of pages, such as:
"The first thing I want you to realize then is that the first obstacle to conscious expansion and to Out of Body travel is fear." (pg. 14)
Nearly twice as many words as necessary, but true. And this:
"If this is the case, then the bodies that we think that we are trapped inside of are also symbolic constructions that hide a greater truth." (pg. 30)
And this:
"If you must look for a greater being (your spirit), you shouldn't look up to heaven to find it, you should actually look within because the doorway to Out of Body Experiences and to our complete being (our psyche) is found within our inner reality, our subjective reality, and not above." (pg. 31)
Nice, but also wordy. He could have said that with half the words. The most interesting thing in the book was chapter 2, "Fun Times With Great Grandma". According to Kreiter, his great grandmother could bilocate: appear physically in two places at the same time, and it led to some interesting situations.

Chapter 3 is "Different States of Consciousness" in which he talks about brain waves and our "deep distrust of our inner self, which creates great separations between the different levels of consciousness."
"However, as you will [There he goes with that word again!] discover in this book the only training that is required is the focus of attention." (pg. 41)
I agree. It's all about the focus of attention: inner versus outer.

Chapter 4 is called "Moving the Awareness Dial." This is an exercise in which you focus your attention completely on the "here and now" to the exclusion of everything else. Then you try to shift your focus of awareness to a slightly different point.

This is more like "mental" projection rather than a complete OBE. He gives some good pointers. Such as:
"Begin to turn your hearing inward as well so that instead of focusing on what is going on in the room around you, you begin to listen to the sounds inside, in this new place." (pg. 65)

Near the end of the chapter he says:
"In the next chapter I will [There's that word again!] show you how to have classic OBEs, which essentially means you are Out of Body and are traveling through what we consider to be the real world, the objective physical world." (pg. 68).
Given the context, he means by using a "Double body." He also says a double body is not necessary:
"If you would like to have an OBE without a Double body, then please check out Appendix B." (pg. 68)
Fittingly, chapter 5 is "Create and Solidify Your Double (Part 1)" which consists of using some basic visualization techniques (similar to what's often found in classic occult books) to construct a "double body" and transfer your awareness to it; imagining yourself seeing from that new perspective, and so on. He recommends rubbing your non-physical hands together, as Raduga did.

Chapter 6 is titled "Create and Solidify Your Double (Part 2)." This is more like an example walk-through of what you should do. The strange thing is that he says:
"One could also say that this is not a story at all but a set of procedures explained from a first person perspective." (pg. 89)

But then he proceeds to tell the story from a third person perspective: "He does this. He feels that." Sigh. First-person is "I do this. I feel that." The procedures themselves are alright, I guess.

Chapter 7 is "Taking Your Double for a Spin." He writes about alternate dimensions and what to expect. He talks about seeing images that morph, and being able to tell the difference between real images and phantom images, i.e. hypnagogic images or dream images (hallucinations) and such. Oddly, he says:
"As mentioned in the previous chapter, some people like to have a voice recorder with them and either record the OBE while it is happening, or as soon as they get back from their voyage." (pg. 114)
That tells me he's talking more about OBEs in the sense of Monroe's "Focus Level" experiences rather than traditional OBEs where your body is in sleep paralysis. As for returning to your body, he says:
"One final note that I would like to mention before closing this chapter has to do with the recommendation of just opening your eyes in order find yourself back in your physical body. This is a very good method to get back into your physical body instantly but, if you have been out of the physical body for a long time, opening your eyes instantly can sometimes get a bit problematic. There is much talk of the symptoms that you might experience within paranormal circles." (pg. 115-116)
See what I mean about being too wordy and not really saying much? When I'm out of my body but too close to it, if I try to open my eyes, my physical body's eyes will often open. It doesn't cause me to return to the physical; it just causes great confusion. For example, I'll be literally floating at the top of the ceiling, facing downward, then I open my eyes and see...nothing but the ceiling. (I'm already prone because my sense of up, down, and gravity are different in an OBE. It reminds me of Fred Astaire's famous ceiling dance. But I digress.) It's very disorienting. That's why I always recommend getting a good distance from the body before trying to open your eyes.

Chapter 8 is "Interdimensional Travel With Your Double." To travel to a distant location, he recommends imagining the place you want to visit, then looking down at your hands until you see that place solidify in the background.

I also found this curious observation:
"Another interesting thing that tends to baffle those who have been having Out of Body Experiences for a while is that there is such a great lack of life out there. What I mean by this is that even though you might run across diverse forms of alien life both within the outer cosmos and even within our own planet, these alien beings are so scattered and so few that it will make you wonder why there is so little life out there." (pg. 121)
That's not my experience at all. I once had a friend who was truly shaken by the over-abundance of life "out there." She said she was shocked at how the astral plane keeps getting more and more crowded with people. I guess it stands to reason: according to google, approximately 151,600 people die every day worldwide, so all these souls have to go somewhere, right? I suppose it just depends on where you travel. I've seen both vast empty spaces and crowds of people.

Strangely, he also writes:
"Remember that I said that there is no need to engage in some odd meditative routine to change mental states. There is no need to do some boring mental routing to get from Delta brain waves (fully conscious state) to Theta or slower brain waves. (typical dream consciousness). All you have to do is to just visualize being in your double body and experiencing the world around you through your double's senses for a little while." (pg. 127)
Well, first of all, he's got his facts wrong. Delta brain waves are usually associated with deep sleep, not a waking state. Waking consciousness is usually associated with alpha or beta brain waves. Second, it depends on the type of OBE you're after. For OBEs, you want to be in Theta. Delta is for normal dreaming and lucid dreaming. For Monroe's "focus level" experiences, perhaps alpha is all you need. I suppose it doesn't really matter. These days, it's useless to even talk about brain waves because EEGs tell you very little compared to more modern forms of brain imaging.

At this point in the book, I began to wonder if he was talking about "mental projection" more akin to remote viewing.

Chapter 9 is "Protecting Your Double Using Energetic Containment." While it is a good idea to protect yourself using energy control, he goes against traditional wisdom:
"Creating a psychic shield of energy around you for example, which is what most teachers advise to protect yourself and to stop energy loss, would not work because such shields:
  • Are hard to maintain
  • require large amounts of energy to create and maintain them; so instead of stopping energy projection, you are actually projecting even more energy which attracts even more unwanted attention." (pg. 151)
I disagree. When I protect myself with an energy shield, it's "set it and forget it." It's never been hard to maintain, nor caused me energy problems. What does he recommend? Controlling your energy and your emotions so that you go unnoticed by the "astral wildlife."

He has an interesting discussion about thoughts versus emotions. For example:
"An explorer, a seeker of truth, is not interested in thought control because thought control destroys true perception." (pg. 137)
I'm not sure I agree with this, but he makes a good case by way of examples.
"Had I changed my thoughts, had I thought anything at all at that moment, I would not have seen what I saw; I would have only seen what I thought I should see." (pg. 139)
On the other hand, emotional control is absolutely essential. If your emotions get out of control, it will end the OBE.
"Instead of thought control, the seeker of truth needs to practice emotional control; energy control. He/she needs to experience it ALL completely, with less thought if possible, not more." (pg. 140)
This is true, but I think Raduga said it better. Kreiter goes on to say:
"Because there is no physical tissue to slow down the energetic impulses, this emotional energy usually radiates in a much cleaner fashion which means that emotions are felt but they do not tend to last very long or have such great intensity." (pg. 143)
I agree that emotions are felt in a much cleaner fashion, but I disagree with them not having great intensity. I've had tremendous bursts of emotion during OBEs; mostly unbridled ecstatic joy at the unparalleled sense of freedom. I've also had emotions bordering on hysteria, as I described in Chapter 19 of my first book. I've learned to keep my emotions in check because I've lost too many OBEs by getting too emotional. I'm not alone: I remember Preston Dennett talking about this problem too. Kreiter goes on to say:
"Your emotions are your reality when you are in your double body." (pg. 144)

He has some good discussion about what he calls "the grey zone." This is the same as Aardema's "the void." According to Kreiter, the grey zone is a connecting link between all worlds.

He has some interesting discussion with regard to reality, space, time, and dimensions. He says space and time don't really exist; that everything is basically superimposed on everything else, and it's a matter of frequency. He purposely doesn't speculate about other planes of existence, such as the "Astral," "Mental," "Buddhic" planes or others described by Theosophists like Charles Leadbeater, because, like me, he's had no concrete evidence to support such claims.

Kreiter has a few interesting narratives, such as a terrifying OBE encounter with a black hole. In my opinion, he could have used a lot more narratives.

He also describes some encounters with strange beings, such as "Non-Organic Predatory Life Forms" which are basically energy vampires. (Many OBE authors claim that the legend of vampires originates from psychic-energy-sucking entities in OBEs.) Kreiter talks about another species he calls "Moths" because:
"...they are attracted to the light of consciousness. These are often multicolored jellyfish like creatures that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They are very attracted to human emotion...These creatures are mostly benign; they are just scary as hell until you get used to them." (pg. 202)
Kreiter writes from experience, but he doesn't give enough narratives. Also, he only really provides one single OBE technique, and that's not explained very well.

The writing is mature, but as I said, wordy. I did find several mistakes, but that's true about almost every self-published book. It's better than the average self-published book, but not polished like a professional publisher.

Like all OBE books, this has both good and bad. I agree with some of the content and disagree with others. It's better than some, but worse than others. I'll give it 3 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
23 May 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

OBE: Imagination vs. Experience

OBE: Imagination vs. Experience

By Bob Peterson

Before I get too far, I just want to make it clear (as I have before): These are only my opinions, but they're based on a lifetime of OBE research.

Do you want to induce an out-of-body experience? Have you spent a lot of time and effort trying, without success? You might be able to improve your technique if you understand the technical details of the active imagination and how it can be leveraged to induce OBEs.

First, imagine this conversation with a skeptic:
Me: I have out-of-body experiences.
Skeptic: OBEs are just imaginary. It's all in your brain.
Me: No, OBEs are convincingly real experiences.
Skeptic: Then how do you induce one? What's the first step?
Me: Lie down and completely relax your body until you can't feel it.
Skeptic: Then?
Me: Use your imagination to...
Skeptic: Stop right there. That's imagination. See the problem?
I can understand the skeptic's point of view: If OBEs are "experiences" why do you need to use your imagination? If you're using your imagination, why do you call it an "experience" rather than a fantasy? Is it "real" or "imaginary"? It can't be both, right?

It's not both. First, let me be clear:
  1. Although there's a sliding scale of awareness, OBEs are conscious experiences that feel as "real" as waking experiences.
  2. If you're not sure whether you had an OBE, you probably didn't.
  3. While many new-agers and occultists insist that imagination influences reality, they're not the same thing. In other words, you can't just imagine something and then say it was real (unless you suffer from schizophrenia.)
  4. If you receive psychic impressions or images from a distant location, but your conscious awareness was still at your body's location, I don't call that an OBE. It may be remote viewing, "focus level" experience, or traveling clairvoyance (or even fantasy or imagination), but it's isn't a traditional OBE.
So what's the connection between your imagination and the actual experience, and how do I explain it to the hardened skeptic who doesn't believe in a soul?

Imagination is merely a device to trick your brain into the OBE state.

Here is a detailed technical description:


To better induce OBEs, you should understand the underlying mechanisms and how it works. To understand how it works, there are six key things I want you to know.

#1: The brain responds to imagination as if it is reality

The first thing to understand is that your brain and body respond to imagination as if it was reality. This is most easily demonstrated when you dream. (It's been scientifically proven that everyone dreams, but it's common to not remember them without effort and training). When you dream, your sensory information comes from your subconscious imagination. It's a self-created fantasy or hallucination from your subconscious. Still, your body responds to those imaginary events as if they're real. If you dream of being attacked, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises, your breathing gets faster, and you naturally have a "fight or flight" response. All this is despite the fact that it isn't real. This is universal mammal behavior. My dog Spirit often wags her tail, barks, growls, or whimpers when she's dreaming.

#2: The brain's TPJ determines location from a consensus of sense data

The second thing to understand is that your physical body has five primary physical senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), and some neuroscientists believe your sense of spacial location is determined by a region of the brain called the right Temporo-Parietal Junction, or rTPJ or just TPJ for short. This is where the temporal lobe meets the parietal lobe of the brain. The TPJ manages and coordinates a consensus of information gathered from the five senses. It tells you your current location.

Scientists like Olaf Blanke, Michael Persinger and Stanley Koren have been able to fool a subject into thinking he or she is located outside their body by disrupting the TPJ with mild electrical stimulation, which interferes with its ability to analyze the sense data to form a consensus.

#3: Your brain's TPJ can naturally switch your perceived location

The brain can easily adjust its perceived location. Again, this is easily demonstrated with dreams. When we are in a normal dream, we think we are at a different physical location. Your brain has flipped a switch to think it is at a different location.

#4: The TPJ only needs data from two of the five senses for a consensus

The TPJ only needs sense data from two of the five senses to form a consensus of your location. Scientists have actually shifted the TPJ's location consensus by feeding it false data from two senses: sight and touch.

What they did was use virtual reality (VR) to feed false visual data to the sense of sight. At the same time, they force a displaced sense of touch.

For example, using a camera and computer, they show you (in VR) a displaced version of your own physical body. Then they show that displaced body image being touched while simultaneously touching your physical body at the same spot. With data from these two senses, the TPJ immediately forms a new consensus and forces your location to be displaced.

#5: Extreme relaxation cuts off sensory data from the TPJ

When you prep for an OBE, you stop moving, relax, and make your senses quiet. Only a trickle of sensory data gets to the brain, and it's all uniform, so the brain becomes numb to it. Your eyes are closed, so your brain gets a uniform gray signal to its visual processor. You try to eliminate all sounds (or use a uniform sound) with ear plugs to cut off all sense data from your ears. You don't eat, so your taste buds are not sending any data. You're comfortable and relaxed, so your brain's sense of touch is minimized too. Your sense of smell is cut off or kept uniform (e.g. with nothing, or with incense) as well.

So when you prep for an OBE, your TPJ doesn't have "much" sensory data with which to form that consensus about your spatial location.

#6: Your brain creates a "story of experience"

The brain builds a virtual world which you interpret as your "experience." In other words, you are pretty much watching a three-dimensional movie of your experience. This is true for waking, dreaming and out-of-body experience.

Connecting the Dots: What Imagination Does


Without much proper sensory data to use, your TPJ can't form a valid consensus about your location to apply to your "story of experience." When you use your imagination, you feed the TPJ with imaginary sense data, which is almost as good as the real thing. It overrides the consensus and instructs the TPJ to flip that switch.

Inducing an Out of Body Experience

Now, armed with this knowledge, let's put it to good use and induce an OBE.

Step 1. With a combination of extreme relaxation and sensory deprivation, you starve your TPJ of all sense data.

Step 2. With OBE exercises, you use your imagination to feed the TPJ imaginary sense data so that it deliberately misinterprets its spacial location. You use your imagination to pretend you are:
  • Climbing a rope. (Robert Bruce)
  • At your front door. (William Buhlman)
  • At your mirror, rotating, or phantom wiggling. (Michael Raduga)
  • Moving energy to the crown chakra. (Graham Nicholls) 
  • Focusing on the pineal gland. (Oliver Fox)
  • Flying down a tunnel. (Salvatore Caesar Scordato)
  • Oscillating energy. (Luis Minero) 
  • Swaying up and down or side to side. (Robert Peterson)
  • Swinging your arms. (Robert Peterson)
  • Swinging a hypnagogic image. (Robert Peterson)
  • Running along a train track.
  • Swimming.
  • Countless other OBE exit techniques.
Armed with only imaginary sense data that's been given enough intensity, the TPJ decides that your spacial location is not in the same location as your body. Once the TPJ forms a new consensus about your (imaginary new) spacial location, it creates a new "story of experience," and voila: You're having an out-of-body experience.

From an experiential point of view, you accomplished your goal: You tricked your TPJ, and no longer need to use your imagination. Now you just perform normal actions in the OBE until the TPJ decides to form a new consensus based on more data. (For example, the phone rings, providing auditory data which causes the TPJ to form a new consensus.)

Does this mean it's all a trick of the brain?

Certainly not. That hasn't been proved or disproved.

Scientists haven't proven whether or not something really does leave the body and interacts in some kind of alternate reality. Attempts to prove one way or another have met with mixed success. For every documented success, there's a documented failure. I documented many cases of both in a chapter in Consciousness Beyond the Body edited by Alexander DeFoe. One thing is for sure: more scientific research is needed.

What we can say is that to the experiencer (or subject) him/herself, this is a conscious experience, and it feels very real.

Armed with this new knowledge of how it works, you can now focus on how to properly use your imagination to force the TPJ into a new consensus location, and poof: you'll be out-of-body.

Bob Peterson
09 May 2017