Out of Body
Out-of-body experiences (OBE), sometimes referred to as astral travel, have been the subject of numerous books in recent decades. This state of consciousness is generally defined as having conscious perceptions apart from their physical body. This is one of the most frequent components of near-death experiences (NDE). Many individuals in a death-like state report their awareness leaves their body and can see things from a point of view distinctly separate from their body’s location. Several NDEs that provide evidence for the veracity of OBEs are listed in the NDE section of this website.
Some of the more well-known books on OBEs are the three authored by Robert Monroe – Journeys Out of Body published in 1971, Far Journeys published in 1985, and Ultimate Journey published in 1994. Robert was an engineer who had spontaneous OBEs over many years. He objectively wrote notes after each experience, which became the subject matter of his books. What is particularly fascinating is how his understanding of the OBE state evolved. Given the frequency of his OBE states, he explored diverse environments, both physical and non-physical. He interacted with other forms of consciousness and with different incarnations of his own life. If you decide to read any of his books, you should read them in sequence. You might find some of his reporting to be difficult to accept. The Monroe Institute was created to support his research and provide opportunities for others to explore the OBE state (as well as exploring other aspects of the non-physical realm).
Beat It Out
In the early years of research, Robert Monroe recruited a group of volunteers to see if the OBE state could be replicated in others. Through the use of a sound technology called binaural beats, his team achieved altered states of awareness. One of the explorers was Thomas Campbell, a nuclear physicist holding advanced degrees in physics and math. Campbell wrote a book about his experiences working with Monroe and attempted to develop a theory to explain what he learned from those experiences. His book is My Big TOE (an acronym for the Theory of Everything.)
According to a passage in his book, Thomas and another explorer, Dennis, lay in separate rooms. They used Monroe’s technology to put them into an altered state. They planed to meet one another in this altered state and, while in this state, report what they were experiencing. Listen to the experience as read by Jim Fisher.
Exploring the Frontier
Lest you think this was a one-of-a-kind event, be assured that OBEs happen regularly with other attendees at Monroe Institute programs. Paul Rademacher was a Presbyterian minister who wrote a book titled A Spiritual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. He reports the difficulty he had reconciling the traditional Christian expectations for his religious teachings with the transformative experiences that occurred at various times in his life.
While attending the Monroe Institute’s Gateway program, Paul had some experiences he shared in his book. There are multiple sessions each day during these programs. Attendees are assigned to single rooms with a small area the size of a bed that acts as a quasi-sensory deprivation area. Headphones provide recordings with binaural beats in the background that facilitate entering into altered states of awareness. During one of Paul’s sessions, he visited a luminous city. After the session, the attendees gather to share their experiences. Before Paul shared his experience, another individual reported visiting a “city of light.” Paul then spoke up and said he had visited a similar city. Imagine his surprise when the woman said, “I know. I saw you there.”
William Buhlman is an experienced OBEr and has lead OBE programs at the Monroe Institute. He has written several books on the subject. Here’s an excerpt that appears on page 129 of his book Adventures Beyond The Body published in 1996.
Dreaming and Beyond
Some of the most extraordinary and, potentially, informative OBE reports can be found in Jurgen Ziewe’s books Multi-dimensional Man and Vistas of Infinity. Ziewe was able to achieve an OBE state relatively quickly, which seems related to his long and deep meditative practices. He also had an apparent ability to transition from a normal dreaming state into a lucid dreaming state. He would then launch into an OBE. The non-physical dimensions he visits and the people and beings he interacts with are remarkable. One gets the sense that the diversity of what can be experienced in an OBE state far exceeds the variety of what can be experienced in our limited physical reality on earth.
Author Luis Minero wrote an interesting book titled Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience – A Practical Manual for Exploration and Personal Evolution. After graduating with honors in chemistry from Florida International University, Minero participated in consciousness research and taught various related classes. The above-referenced book advances theories about OBEs – what causes them and how to achieve them. While not as entertaining a read as the books mentioned earlier, Minero provides an objective analysis of the OBE phenomenon.
There are many other books and youtube videos one can read and watch on this subject. Along with NDEs, OBEs can be an excellent source of information that helps one get a better appreciation for their spiritual nature.