Blog Series: In & Out of Body Experiences Pt.6

Blog Series: In & Out of Body Experiences Pt.6

Share The Curiosity

Part Six: Let's Get To It!

For some time now on this journey I have been throwing a word which has yet to be defined properly. That word is consciousness. Have you thought about what it means or your experience of it?

As far as I know, the truth is no one truly knows what consciousness is. Oh there are plenty of theories about consciousness, its origins, how it works, and what it means to be conscious; but no one truly knows. Isn’t that a strange thing? We humans have been conscious for perhaps a 1/4 million years and we still haven’t discovered the depth of its meaning. All of us experience consciousness and yet, the best science has to offer in terms of definition is the word awareness.

 

I have no doubt that awareness and consciousness are related but I seriously doubt that awareness is consciousness. I have no doubt that the brain has a lot to do with consciousness but wonder if source point of consciousness. No doubt materialists in the sciences of consciousness all think so. The mystics think otherwise. Now we have quantum field theorists stating that the mystics might have been right. Apparently the jury is still out.

 

That is a very good thing in my humble opinion. An open mind is what may provide the answers. Dogma and scientism certainly will fall away in the light of truth but we are a ways from that truth. Perhaps that is because consciousness is still evolving and evolution requires space in order to expand. One thing I know for sure. Human consciousness is expanding and evolving.

 

The physical mechanisms of consciousness can be observed in brainwave activity through EEG. That is a very useful thing and I have availed myself of this technological observatory to reverse engineer certain patterns of brainwave data which are indicative of varied states of consciousness and the ontology of sleep to invoke altered states of consciousness. These varied stages or altered states are considered consciousness anomalies. I find that a funny phrase given that consciousness anomalies are so natural to humans if you give them a little training. The anomalies are considered part of the psychological branch of consciousness studies and are useful in some cases. Not useful in other cases. In certain branches of psychology (most importantly the PSI branch) we find that humanity is capable of extraordinary things in the way they use consciousness.

 

There are a few things I can say with confidence regarding consciousness. First is that it exists but is only observable through the lens of living organisms. Secondly, that it is essentially a form of energy. An energy which is apparently manifested as electrical activity in the brain. Third is that consciousness can be explored, although not everyone chooses to do that. Lastly, consciousness is more than meets the eye. As energy, it flows in many forms and is still a mystery.

 

I love a good mystery. I am insatiably curious and love to discover clues through exploration. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, these clues only lead me to more questions. I have no certainty to share. That said, I can share something about how you can investigate and explore consciousness to your full advantage. Two ways have already been discussed in terms of phenomena like the OBE and LDE, but there are others which I will talk about in later articles in this series.

For now let’s talk about training in the hypnagogic and hypnopompic states. The latter being specific for the LDE, the former specificities to the OBE. The correlation once again being sleep.

 

Being we are dealing with the issue of sleep and consciousness, we have to take into consideration that most of us have to over the habit we have established over many years. That habit is that when we go to sleep, we have habituated to lose conscious awareness. This is probably a good thing. A tired mind can create all sorts of problems including hallucinations, so we need all the sleep we can get. As a matter of fact, one third of your life is probably spent without being aware. Sleep is natural and necessary to good health.

 

So before we begin to think about doing something different with consciousness during sleep, you might want to take stock of whether or not this sort of training is a good idea for you health wise. If you are sleep deprived for instance and suffer from insomnia, you might want to take your meditation practice in another direction. The LDE or OBE may not be for you. Practicing to achieve these experiences tend to mess about with one’s sleep from time to time. That is because through training ourselves to enter into hypnagogia and retain awareness, pushes the threshold of our on/off sense of consciousness. The mind/body complex doesn’t really know how to be awake and asleep at the same time, but that is precisely what we will aim to do.

 

Entering into hypnagogia and retaining awareness isn’t really hard. The recordings I make utilizing binaural beats to entrain a like kind response in brainwave patters of the average person in hypnagogia helps a lot. People tend to relax quite easily when listening. The progressive relaxation monolog tends to direct the mind towards relaxing the muscles and nerves in the body with the intention of the listener. It’s empowering for some people to know that they can consciously relax in such a way. The binaural beats support that direction of the conscious mind.

 

On average, it takes about three practice sessions for something magical to occur.  If you are prone to snoring while asleep, you might get to experience first hand what your partner has been complaining about. :-) You will still be conscious but your body will be asleep. you will find yourself in a blend of dreamlike imagery, but you are still awake. You may hear things which don’t exist on the recordings. Voices and music are quite commonly heard even though the recording at this point will in reality have no voice instructions or music. You may experience seeing faces. Sometimes they are familiar, other times strange to you. It gets more bizarre from there as the hypnagogic state is literally the threshold between the content of your conscious mind and the content of your subconscious mind. Both of which are personal in my opinion. Things from your personal subconscious will bubble up and you will have the opportunity to witness and even interact with them should you like.

 

Some people get lost in these experiences of their inner world. By that I mean, they engage. Some people assume that they are having an OBE. I can’t say if they are or not, but I suggest one remember the hallmarks of an OBE as a litmus test. The hypnagogic state is a springboard to the experience so it is possible. It is equally possible that they are simply engaging with their own personal subconscious content or fantasizing. I bring this to you attention only to make you aware of the possible experiences and to encourage you to remain curious before deciding whether or not you are having an OBE. To refresh your memory, the hall marks of an OBE are not necessarily the standard reports of vibration, loud noises and popping sound and then a sense of flying through the cosmos.

 

Bob Monroe defined an OBE as an experience of gathering sensory information in the constraints of physical time space when no sensory input could be attained due to the fact the the person was asleep. Read that again please.

 

Sensory information requires a body to be awake. So if you are in the hypnagogic state and you body is asleep but you mind is awake and you find yourself walking around your home and seeing you family pet or hearing your housemates speaking, there is a very good chance you are having an OBE. There is an equal chance you are having some sort of dream or hypnagogic hallucination. You will have to try and find some means of verifying the experience.

 

Many people who reported teach others to have OBE’s all agree, the hypnagogic state is the only thing which is consistent within OBE test subjects. That is true for most test subjects and was certainly true for Bob Monroe. That said I have met a lot of people who have had spontaneous OBE’s as a trauma response. Their psyche can’t handle the traumatic experience so they disassociate from the body. They are not hypnagogic, they are being traumatized. Much like people who have an NDE they simply leave their body without any volition or desire. So apparently, the hypnagogic state is only essential to those trying to have a conscious OBE. Perhaps for the same reason. Hypnagogia is a dissociative state, just like sleep. You are aware, just not using your body as the vehicle for awareness. If you are having a genuine OBE, you are aware of reality outside of your physical body in the physical world. If you are dreaming or fantasizing as in astral projecting, then you are most probably dealing with your personal subconscious content rather than outer reality.

 

Some people report vibrations before exiting, but not all. My recommendation is to not waste much time worrying about whether or not the vibrations will come. They either will or they won’t. Some people use this vibration and ride the wave out of their body. Some people never experience them at all and just exit softly and gracefully. Some people believe that these vibrations are the result of becoming in tune with the subtle energetic, ethereal or astral body. Some think they are the result of the muscle relaxing hormones creating these vibration in the body. No one really knows and not everyone is aware of them, so I recommend not worrying about these vibrations occurring.

 

Your goal is to remain aware and curious in the hypnagogic state. Once you master that relatively simple task of relaxed yet focused attention while your body sleeps, you will be off and running in no time. To where I cannot say. The experiences vary quite a lot and run the spectrum between the personal subconscious and impersonal super conscious. The latter being a world full of archetypes. Some people find themselves flying over vast vistas of natural beauty. Some people experience a profound nothingness. A void with nothing in it. Some come into contact with a light so powerful and simultaneously gentle, that they know they are in the presence of something divine. Experience varies. Very much like experiences vary in the body from person to person. All of this is available through training yourself to achieve awareness in the hypnagogic state.

 

Are these OBE’s? Hard to tell. If you ask someone who has had an OBE like the one’s described above they would say yes. If you ask someone who has had the experience of floating above their body and seeing themselves and their sleep partner lying in bed asleep, they would say the experience is very different from the one’s described above.

 

The key word here is experience. So as I advised in part 1 of the series, if you want to have such an experience, go take a nap. This time however, do it with conscious intention to remain aware as your body sleeps. Relax, observe and remain curious. The rest will take care of itself.