The In’s and Out’s of Body Experience Pt.5
By What Authority Do You Say These Things?
We have been on quite a journey in this series of articles. To those who have taken the time to read and consider them, I want to take a moment to thank you. I consider your time on Earth a valuable commodity and am humbled that you would spend that time reading these words.
I can only assume that you are doing so because you believe I have something of value to impart to you. Perhaps you believe this because of my experiences working closely and being friends with Bob Monroe. If so, that’s as good a reason as any. Indeed my experiences with Bob were life changing. He shared his knowledge and experiences with me in ways that I can only describe as fraternal. He was a good friend, a great mentor and I am very grateful to have known him.
My experience of knowing Bob was only part of my experience at TMI. While there, I was exposed to a great many people who were very learned in the field of consciousness. Since leaving TMI, I have met even more. While far too numerous to mention, these folks inspired my curiosity as deeply as Bob. As you might imagine, the study of consciousness is a very large field and is in my opinion, the greatest frontier for humanity to explore.
So by now you may have gotten the sense of how I approach such topics as Consciousness, The OBE and LDE. In case you missed it, here’s the full disclosure.
I am a strong proponent of both science and metaphysics which is also known as mysticism. I throw nothing away with regards to the topic of consciousness. My overview of consciousness, especially anomalous states, is consciousness is a vast territory for exploration. A veritable wilderness. This wilderness is heavily populated and needs to be explored in every way possible. I have done so for four decades and have found the experience rewarding in so many ways.
From my perspective; to fully explore consciousness, especially altered states, is to tread a path which has both benefits and pitfalls. This is an arduous and fascinating journey. One in which the weak willed, the desirous and the impressionable, can easily lose their way. This is especially true with regards to altered states of consciousness.
There is a wonderful Kabalisitc teaching story of four Rabbi’s who are looking for the Garden of Eden. Each feel that they are fully prepared to find it, given their experience in studying the Torah. The story is long so I will condense it. The end result is this: One Rabbi loses his faith. One Rabbi loses his mind. One Rabbi loses his life. The last one finds enlightenment. The moral of the story is; if you are going to take this journey, be like the last Rabbi.
In order to be like the last Rabbi, one must have what Charles Tart (another brilliant mind who’s influence was great in my thinking) called: an open mind and a discriminating mind. This was a title of one of his books which is sadly now out of print. The book was primarily written as a plea to those who study consciousness scientifically, to not thrown the baby out with the bath water. Charlie asserted that the experiences had in altered states could be of great value and are not always the byproduct of a delusional mind. Anyone who studies Jungian psychotherapy knows this.
The book also had a larger sub-context. In Charlie’s words to me during a radio interview I did with him, “Be careful. There are a lot of charlatans out there.” Many of them write books. This doesn’t mean that everyone who writes a book on the topics at hand are charlatans. It does mean that just because you are a writer, it doesn’t make you right. It is up to the reader to discern and discriminate truth from fiction. The same applies to any experience you might have in an altered state. Be open and discerning. This is your journey, your psyche and your spirit. Be responsible.
One of the great gifts Bob Monroe left in his work was the writing of his experiences in the three books he left behind. Another was a map of the vast territory of consciousness which he called focus levels. Perhaps the most important gift was the safe space he created to explore the mystery of consciousness. The Institute was a safe space to not only explore consciousness personally from an experiential level, but also a place where scientific methods could be used to understand the mechanism of consciousness from the angle of the brainwave/consciousness correlates. These gifts I freely received, and for these I am truly grateful. I left TMI with an open and discriminating mind.
Since leaving TMI in 2001, I have had countless people ask me to share some of my experiences of knowing Bob the way I did. Many phrase the question as “What was the most important thing you learned from being with Bob?”. It’s a tough question to answer which always brings up a slew of personal memories. Imagine someone asking you the same thing about your now departed friend. So many experiences to choose from right? I know what they want me to tell them is some mystical secret that Bob may have passed to me being we were close. The truth was, Bob wasn’t my guru. He was my friend.
Perhaps the single most important thing I learned from him, was to be curious and never take someones word as absolute with regards to consciousness or spirituality. This included him. His advice to me when ever I asked him questions about these important topics was always, “Don’t take my word for it Kid. Go find out for yourself.” He knew that direct experience was the highest teacher.
Bob also knew that my greatest teacher was not outside of me. It was a part of me. The same applies for all of us. He also cautioned me to question every experience, including my own. His advice was to keep an open mind and use what he referred to as the “Exquisite left brain” or rational mind, to make sense of what the experience meant for me. That’s how he approached his journey’s. They were not documented to create an OBE Bible containing ultimate understandings of the secrets of the universe. They were simply his experiences in altered states and they were of great value to him in his personal growth.
This is the standard by which you dear reader, might consider any words that any writer, channeler, or spiritual advisor might say or write. These people are sharing their experiences. They are not sharing ultimate truths even if they believe it to be so. No one, not me, not Bob or anyone else with a big theory of everything can trump the inner wisdom which reside within you. Further more, even that inner wisdom should be verified with checks and balances. After all, these experiences are nothing more than just experiences.
One of my favorite experiences was just hanging out with my friend Bob. We would sometimes spend hours in the lab just (as we used to say in my old neighborhood) “shooting the shit”. We would talk about his ideas and hopes for TMI. We would discuss how to bring those ideas to fruition. Our favorite question to ponder, whether it had to do with the ultimate truth of any experience or the work we did at TMI was, “Now what?”. Meaning, what shall we do with that experience or information. This question was often followed up with other inspiring questions such as “What if?”. What if questions led to more recordings and experiments with the technology.
These were the single most important lessons Bob taught me and the single most important things I can pass down to you as you take your personal journey into understanding and using consciousness. If you heed his words to me as I did, you may well have anomalous experiences such as the OBE or LDE. More importantly, you will also be able to convert those experiences into what I will call real “In The Body Experiences”.
Both Bob and I believed (as many do) that we are all here in third dimensional or physical reality for a reason. From our perspective, that reason is to learn to master consciousness and energy. This mastery is from my perspective, the next crucial stage in human evolution. It will also give you much more satisfying and savory “In The Body Experiences”. But don’t take it from us, go find out for yourself kid.
So far in this series of articles, I have endeavored to explain: What these experiences are and why most people fail to have them.
In this installment, I am hoping to let you know that not everyone who has such experiences fully understands what the experiences are telling them. Many people get enamored with the experience itself and fail to dig into what the experience means. Others might land on an interpretation of the experience and fail to dig deeper. In doing so, they miss some crucial information.
I also believe that not everyone is designed to have these experience. These experiences are not for everyone. It really depends on the psycho-spiritual make up of the individual. As was the case of the Rabbis, these experience can lead to problems or “enlightenment”.
Thus far, I had hoped to skillfully inspire you to be aware of the pitfalls of rushing into experiences which might create schisms within your psyche. Now I hope to skillfully help you have such experiences if you feel you are ready. Only you can know for sure. So ask yourself and be honest with your motives. If you feel you are ready, then read on. In the next installments I will give you tools and techniques that are designed to help you have an OBE or LDE.
In closing, I’d like to answer the question which served as the title for this installment: By What Authority Do You Say These Things?
Since Bob’s passing in 1995 I have continued to apply the simple yet very fundamental questions regarding the evolution of consciousness. What now? and What if? It has become my life’s work and my life’s passion. I take a very syncretic view towards the topic of consciousness and spirituality. As I said, this is a scientific and mystical view. Does this give me credibility and authority? Yes and no. Does my experience with Bob Monroe give me authority? Yes and no. If I wrote a book about my theories or my personal adventures in altered states, would that give me authority? Yes and no. The truth is, my experience is just my experience. I have had and will have many more. If my experience is helpful, then I am pleased to help. However, my job has always been and always will be, to help people have such experiences for themselves. That is my authority.
In the next series of installments we will explore what I consider to be the perfect practice, so that you too may have such experiences.