Monroe said that fear was the biggest barrier to the out-of-body experience, and I soon found out why. If I were somehow able to leave my body, and Monroe can leave his, how many more people are "out there," and what can they do to me while I was also out there? It also made sense that when a person's body dies, they are forced to have a permanent OBE. What could they do to me? Furthermore, what could happen to my body while I was out? Could somebody else get inside my body while I was out? These were some questions that crossed my mind during the two months after my first encounter.
During those two months I had my first dream about having an OBE. I dreamed I was dreaming. In the second level dream, I was telling my brother how I often attempted OBEs, and I showed him how to concentrate. Then I felt my chest rise. I thought of it rising more and it did. My dream-self then came out of my body, which was in the bed of the first level dream. I started walking toward my door, when I was pulled back inside by my body by the cord. I thought "Good. Now I can wake up and record that I've been out of my body." However, when I woke up I knew it was only a dream. It paled in comparison to my first episode with the vibrations. Still, having a dream about an OBE was fun and I knew that later I could compare it to a real OBE. Little did I know that my first real OBE was just around the corner.
Although I didn't have another out-of-body experience during those two months, I did run into some unexpected and frightening sensations and experiences. These sensations weren't bad--just startling. They often jarred me out of the near-OBE state and spoiled the whole OBE-attempt. Sometimes it felt as if a warm hand was being placed on my body. I even felt a few pinches on my butt!
One night I followed Monroe's procedure to the letter and was making good progress toward leaving my body. Suddenly I became very aware and alert. My eyes were closed and I was moving deeper into the blackness that I saw ahead of me, into a deeper state of consciousness. Suddenly, I heard an authoritative voice say, "STOP!" How could I argue? I never expected to be hearing voices during these experiments. I panicked and did everything I could to force myself back to a normal state.
Another night I was trying to blank my mind without much success. After a while, I started to feel a swaying sensation, as if some part of my consciousness was rocking gently. I tried to increase the swaying, but the more I tried, the less I swayed. When I quit trying, the swaying would get stronger again. The swaying sensation was very much like the "sea legs" sensation that sailors experience when they've been on a ship too long and try to sleep on shore. After some experimentation I managed to change the direction of the swaying from side to side instead of up and down. The sensation was strange, but I could see no harm in it. From then on I could create the swaying sensation quite easily once I relaxed enough during practice.
Several times I induced a strange bodily vibration that stemmed from my relaxation technique of tensing and relaxing my entire body. I wondered if this bodily vibration was related to the true OBE vibrations. The answer came one night when I decided to conduct an experiment in which I tried to watch myself fall asleep.
I relaxed and just kept going deeper and deeper toward sleep. Suddenly, against my will, I was "zapped" into a state of full awareness. Then I felt a slight tingling. Then the vibrations came without my "reaching" for them. This time I noticed that the "true" vibrations were a crackling, electrical vibration. It felt as if electrical currents were disrupting my body, but not painfully, and not harming it. I tried to strengthen the vibrations with my mind. I managed to get them a little stronger, but like my first encounter, I could hear (but not feel) that my heart was pounding wildly. This broke my train of thought and the vibrations faded, as if my idle thinking (or worrying) drove them off.
One night I got to the point where my mind wouldn't wander. I heard some banging sounds in my room that I couldn't explain. Suddenly I heard a louder, more defined bang that seemed to come from the ground, about five feet from the bed. I directed my senses in that direction and "felt" a big presence there, as if a spirit or ghost of some sort were there. I was afraid, but I tried to control my emotions, and asked in my mind who it was and what its purpose was. There was no answer. I forced myself back to full consciousness and looked in that direction. I saw a filmy, undefined movement in that direction. By then, I was so afraid that I purposely started moving parts of my body, to make sure I wouldn't leave my body. I tried my hardest to find a physical, logical explanation for all of this, but was unsuccessful. Naturally, it took me a while to calm down and dare to shut my eyes to go to sleep.
At other times, I started noticing strange tugging sensations during OBE practice. It felt as if someone were pulling at my clothes or hair during practice. The sensation seemed to have something to do with the swaying motion. It felt as if something or someone were pulling on whatever was swaying. It was like my astral body was being tugged while I was still fully in my body.
I also started feeling "pressures" similar to the tugging sensations. When this happened it seemed as if heavy weights were placed on various parts of my body: my forehead, my feet, my chest. Sometimes if I didn't move, these pressures would become painful after a few minutes.
With practice I became better at producing the vibrations. I noticed that just before the vibrations came I was always "zapped" into a state of acute alertness. Sometimes it seemed as if my consciousness was focused into an oval disk at my body's face. But every time the vibrations would come, my heart would start pounding, I would panic, and the vibrations would slowly fade until I was back to normal. When I opened my eyes, they were cloudy but slowly cleared up. My body felt very heavy and stiff. My hands were stiff and hard to open. Sometimes I was also slightly dizzy after the experience.
I started noticing another strange sensation while trying to leave my body: a ringing noise in my ears. I quickly learned to reproduce the ringing, but it never got me anywhere so I learned to ignore it.
Another thing I've experienced during practice is sudden falling sensations. I would be quietly attempting OBE, and suddenly it would feel as if a trap door had sprung open, and I would panic-fall about three feet. After three feet, I would be startled back to full consciousness with a slight jump, as if my astral body was slapped back into the physical body. This had a simple variation that was more common: sometimes it seemed as if my consciousness was thrown three to five feet forward or backward.
Sometimes I heard very loud rushing or roaring noises in my head. Usually when this happened, I also felt as if my consciousness was being crushed in on all sides. It's as if the very boundaries of my awareness were forced down to a tiny infinitesimal pinpoint in the center of my head.
A friend of mine told me of a few jarring sensations that sometimes disturb her just before OBEs. The first sensation she described as feeling like her heart was "pulling apart" or expanding. The second sensation is loss of breath, as if the astral body does not breathe and she loses all awareness of bodily breathing. She also says that her whole field of vision sometimes shrinks suddenly, like a camera shutter.
Trying to ignore these sensations is like trying to ignore a slap in the face. I discovered that the best thing to do was to acknowledge them, but remain passive and not let them startle me and ruin the OBE attempt. When I finally learned to get through these sensations calmly, they started leading me to conscious astral projection!
There was a good outcome of all the frightening experiences: they helped me get over my fear. I was forced to face my fears and conquer them one by one, especially my fear of the unknown.
Much of the occult literature concerning out-of-body experiences claims that we leave our bodies every night during sleep, but we usually are not conscious during these nightly excursions. Usually the OBE only happens after our consciousness has been disabled. But sometimes something goes wrong with the process and a piece of our conscious self retains awareness during the separation. At those times, we often "wake up" abruptly with a jolt before we are fully asleep.
One of the "tricks" to having out-of-body experiences is getting your subconscious mind to wake you up after you are out of your body. Quite simply, if you can influence your subconscious mind to reinstate your conscious awareness once the process of separation is complete, you will have fully conscious OBEs.
There are several approaches to influencing the subconscious mind. In previous exercises, we used affirmations and prayers to influence the subconscious mind (and influence other things as well.) Hypnosis is another excellent approach. Early studies in hypnosis showed a lot of promise in inducing OBEs. Unfortunately, there have been very few experiments in this area to the best of my knowledge, and the literature is scarce.
There are several audio hypnosis tapes available for inducing OBEs. I'm fairly resistant to hypnosis, so I haven't had any results using these tapes; The closest I've experienced was remote viewing which, I think, isn't nearly as fun as astral projection.
Another way to influence the subconscious is through concentrated visualizations, done frequently throughout the day. Any visualization that is OBE-related is good. Here are a few I use:
Practice holding onto visualizations as long as you can. See how "real" you can make the visualization. These skills are very valuable for learning OBEs.
In some exercises for other chapters, I will be giving visualizations for inducing out-of-body experiences.
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