Inducing the OBE: The Vigil Method


THE VIGIL METHOD
BY
FREDERICK AARDEMA


Chapter from EXPLORATIONS IN CONSCIOUSNESS: A NEW APPROACH TO OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES


Copyright © 2012 by Frederick Aardema

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work in any form whatsoever, without permission in writing from the author or publisher.


THE IMPORTANCE OF WAKEFULNESS

So you want to join the ranks of those who, in the words of the poet John Magee, have "…slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings." You won't be flying an airplane, which inspired those words, but the rewards of learning how to project are even greater. So how do you make the OBE happen?

Clearly, the voluntary induction of the out-of-body state is associated with sleep. There are other situations in which the OBE occurs, such as during trauma or other extreme events, but the voluntary induction of the state is associated with the natural sleep rhythms of the physical body. In particular, Robert Monroe was the first to fully recognize the importance of being able to reach the MABA state (Mind Awake/Body Asleep) in order to effectuate the OBE.

The good news is that you already know how to accomplish at least half of the MABA state. You do it every night, over and over again, as your body falls asleep. This may seem rather obvious, but it is important to realize that letting your body fall asleep is not where the challenge lies.

Of course, you cannot really control the physical body falling asleep. It will do so when it is ready. Ultimately, however, letting the body fall asleep is not where the difficulty lies. The real difficulty in reaching the MABA state is to control your level of wakefulness while your physical body is falling asleep.

To realize the importance of wakefulness is your first key to success. It will ensure that your energy won't be scattered across all manner of other methods and techniques. And once awake and focused, there is really not that much stopping you from having an OBE.

Do keep in mind that staying awake is not as easy as it may sound. It requires a great deal of motivation and vigilance. Yet, it is the only thing you have any control over in order to induce the OBE. The entire method described in this chapter is geared toward enhancing that control.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

Time of Practice

Overall, the best time for practice is in the middle of the night after having slept some. Your mind will be flexible and alert, better able to hover near the borderline of sleep with less risk of immediately losing lucidity. At the same time, your physical body will have a natural tendency to fall asleep.

Ideally, you will practice multiple times at night in between sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle is known to last around ninety minutes. You will therefore be quite busy throughout the night, shifting frequently between waking and sleeping, with the goal of having an OBE never far from your mind.

Avoid practice immediately after retreating to bed. The physical body may be quite willing to fall asleep at that time, but so is your mind. There is barely any transition in between waking and sleeping. You are far better off going to sleep for a while, after which time your mind will have rested some, and then practicing.

If you like to experiment, you can also go to bed much later than usual or get up for a while in the middle of the night. This will often lead to a higher state of wakefulness as well. The phenomenon is not unlike the situation with children who go to bed too long past their bedtime and consequently are unable to sleep because their natural sleep rhythm has been disturbed. For the same reason, jet lag, insomnia, fever and sleep deprivation can all be beneficial catalysts for practice.

Finally, some people report success with practice in the morning, as opposed to practice in the middle of the night. However, it is often more difficult to establish an entirely lucid transition into the out-of-body state. Especially at around 3 or 4 am, you are far more likely to experience a full-fledged OBE straight from the waking state, without any interruption in consciousness. So if you want a bit of magic, practicing in the middle of the night is your best bet.

Position

There is no ideal body position from which to practice the out-of-body state. Some occult approaches have proposed not crossing your legs during practice because it would put a strain on energy pathways. Others have proposed that your head should point toward magnetic north. However, none of these positions will have any effect on your ability to project.

There might be some benefit to the supine position (i.e., lying on your back). The outward focus can help to increase your level of wakefulness as your body falls asleep. But there are also a few drawbacks to this position. Many people feel too exposed in this position and are unable to fall asleep because of that. This position also increases the risk that you will end up in sleep paralysis, which is a complication to avoid.

In general, therefore, the best position for practice is simply the position you feel comfortable with. This may include lying on your side, on your back, or on your belly. Once you are in a preferred position, act as you normally would before falling asleep. Tossing and turning are often part of that process. So if you experience an urge to move, react as you normally would before your body falls asleep.

Purpose and Intent

The intent to have an OBE should never be far from your mind. You will have to keep it active throughout the night. It should also be active during the day. You will want to frequently think about projecting. It has to be a major priority in your daily and long-term goals.

Without purpose and intent, the mind easily wanders off into semi-sleep, and before you know it, thoughts take on a life of their own and you begin to dream. With intent and purpose, on the other hand, your level of wakefulness will be maintained. It is one of the driving forces behind a consciousness that is aware.

Intent and purpose also serve to ensure that you will wake up after each sleep cycle. It is merely a matter of being sufficiently motivated. For example, most people are probably familiar with waking up a few minutes before the alarm clock goes off because they have a plane to catch or an important meeting during the day. If you do experience difficulty waking up naturally, there are ways to get around it, such as by using an alarm clock.

Wakefulness throughout the night is also greatly enhanced by being in a good mood. Over time, you will learn to recognize those moments and take advantage of them. In the meanwhile, you will likely have some work ahead of you. So from here on out, let's continue with the practical aspects of out-of-body induction as a skill, and perhaps a little bit of art as well.

THE VIGIL METHOD: A SIX-STEP GUIDE

Step 1: Presleep Preparation

Immediately after retreating to bed, begin by reducing your inner dialogue - the usual chatter of your mind. The reason is to slow down your thoughts a little so that affirmations will have a greater effect. Thoughts will never cease completely, but they can be slowed down enough so that reactions are not so quick and your mind is quieter than usual.

A simple technique to slow down the chatter in your mind is to focus on a few single thoughts or a repetitive action for a while. Focusing on your breathing is a good way to accomplish this, especially in combination with another action. For example, each time you breathe in, focus on the darkness in front of your eyes, and each time you breathe out, defocus on the blackness in front of you. Doing so will slow down your mind fairly quickly.

This method of quieting your mind will also serve you well later in the night. For example, take note of how, during each inhale, you will feel slight muscle tension around the eyes, whereas these muscles relax with each exhale. This relaxation represents a point at which your mind moves into itself rather than outwardly into the physical world, which is exactly what you will need to do later on a more continual basis.

Once your mind feels relatively clear and alert, it is time to combine the exercise with some affirmations that reinforce your intent to project. Tell yourself you will wake up later on and that you are going to have an OBE. Envision yourself waking up in the near future rather than in the present, just as you would if you have an important appointment very early in the morning. It is a subtle but important difference.

Do not be afraid to back up your affirmations with some force and determination. You have to feel them in your gut as opposed to them merely being a robotic mantra. Any muscle tension is not a problem at this point - or later on, for that matter. You are not meditating. You are intending to wake up later on and have an OBE.

How often you will need to do this varies from individual to individual. If you do not wake up, double the time you spend on it the next time. Repeat the instruction to yourself as often as needed until the imprint in your subconscious is strong. Then, let it all go and allow yourself to fall asleep naturally with the knowledge and conviction that you will wake up later on.

Step 2: Establishing an Anchor

Immediately after waking up, or even while waking up, your first thoughts should be about having an OBE. If you're in luck and are relatively experienced, you might be able to trigger energy sensations almost immediately. Do not count on it, however. Usually, you will need to go through a good deal of preparation first. This begins with establishing an anchor in wakefulness.

An anchor is a repetitive mental activity focused on a fixed pattern of thought. Its primary purpose is to keep your mind active enough to prevent it from falling asleep. Its secondary purpose is to prime your subconscious for the activity of projection; as you drift toward the borderline of sleep, the anchor will help you remember your original intent.

Because the anchor acts as a reminder in the event that you lose some lucidity, it can be helpful to choose an activity that you in some way associate with the OBE. For example, a common anchor used by many successful projectors revolves around "energy work," such as imagining breathing in lights or colors while simultaneously visualizing the second body being charged and filled up with energy.

There are many variations on "energy work." You might prefer imagining energy sensations or high-energy vibrations surrounding your physical body. Alternatively, you can visualize your favorite color, or a variety of different colors, moving in front of your eyes as you establish a rhythmic, repetitive pattern. Just choose something you are comfortable with. In the end, it does not really matter what you do.

It is not unlikely that "energy work" only has a beneficial effect on achieving the out-of-body state because it functions as an anchor that provides the projector with some insulation from falling asleep. So do not hesitate to try different anchoring techniques, especially if you have no firm beliefs about these matters. The only real requirement is that the activity consist of a relatively simple mental action, which, albeit requiring some effort, should otherwise be fairly automatic and rhythmic.

It is important to be aware that anchoring may initially make you feel very sleepy. This is not because the anchoring activity fails to keep you awake but rather because your mind will resist the repetitive pattern and will have a strong tendency to wander off into uncontrolled thought, leading into oblivious sleep. The step of establishing an anchor is therefore not an easy task. You will need to exercise a great deal of vigilance to keep yourself from drifting toward the borderline of sleep. Repeat your affirmations to project. Keep your mind active. If you have to, use different anchoring techniques to break any boredom.

After around twenty minutes of anchoring activity, you will find yourself less inclined to move toward the borderline of sleep, at least in any non-lucid manner. Any sluggishness or drowsiness should have disappeared. Likewise, sleepy thoughts that initially tended to jump to the foreground and try to catch your attention will no longer arrive with the same intensity. Effectively, you will have created a barrier that prevents your mind from falling asleep while your physical body, due to natural sleep cycles, will eventually begin to insist on falling asleep.

The more time you spend building this barrier, the more impervious it will become. In fact, it is possible to build up this barrier enough to create an insomniac state of mind. You may find yourself frantically tossing and turning in bed. When this happens, do not worry too much about it. Your mind may feel quite hyperactive, but the natural tendency of the physical body to fall asleep will eventually catch up with you. It almost always does, even for those with real insomnia. And once it does, provided you have remained focused on your intent to project during all this time, it may even guarantee an entirely lucid transition into the out-of-body state.

Step 3: Drifting with an Anchor

Once the anchor is firmly established in your subconscious, either before or after reaching an insomniac state of mind, depending on your preference and ability, you can proceed to the next stage, in which you allow yourself to drift a little bit toward the borderline of sleep. You will continue to anchor, but you will intermittently allow your mind to drift, as if extending the connection between your anchor and awareness. You do this by taking on an unfocused perspective toward the edges of your awareness. The activity is quite similar to the unfocused perspective you took on earlier during presleep preparation while exhaling.

You will find that taking on this unfocused perspective will happen quite naturally. It is not something that requires effort or control. The mind will have a natural tendency to wander away from the boredom induced by anchoring. Ordinarily, such wandering leads straight to sleep. However, the anchoring activity of the previous step should ensure that you never drift away too far. Still, never give up on your anchoring activity for too long or else your mind will fall asleep.

As your mind drifts, you can expect some hypnagogic phenomena to occur, which, in the initial stages, typically consist of very momentary, vague, and undefined forms, such as different shades of gray or a sense of movement somewhere in the darkness in front of you. Alternatively, you may experience brief images or incoherent patterns of thought, which are yet another sign that your mind is moving toward sleep. Each time this occurs, you should go back to your anchoring activity for a while and then allow your mind to wander yet again.

Over time, as you continue to intermittently anchor and drift, you should be able to perceive increasingly complex imagery. You will be able to drift further away, extending the link between your attention and your anchor, but without much risk of completely losing lucidity. You may experience seeing faces, landscapes, objects, houses, animals, people, or anything else you could possibly imagine. When this occurs, you may no longer need to anchor each and every time after an image occurs.

Do not concern yourself too much with the content of these images. Your purpose at this point is not to analyze all these different phenomena and wonder what they all mean. You can always do that later on. Do not try to hold onto these images, either. Early on, you will not be able to, nor is it necessary. After a while, you will find yourself increasingly lucid during the experience of these images-perhaps not as lucid as you might like, but you will know you're getting somewhere when you start to experience some level of synchronicity between your mind and the visual scenes. That is, the scenes will start to naturally follow your thought patterns, emotions, and concerns. For example, while having a thought about some work you might need to do tomorrow, you might see an office desk in front of you, or alternatively, while thinking about having forgotten to turn off the stove, you might see a house on fire.

You might even be able to invite certain selected images into awareness through your intent. Some personal favorites are looking at trees, large-scale nature scenes, lakes, seascapes, and beautiful mansions and other houses. Start playing around with seeing your favorite images in your mind's eye, but don't create the image in terms of creative visualization. Rather, you try to "see" a favorite image for only a very brief period of time as if it comes out of nowhere. If it's vague, do not try to make it more vivid. Get on with the next one.

As you continue to pick up imagery, expect energy sensations to occur every now and then. These energy sensations will often relate to the type of anchoring activity you engage in. For example, imagining light may lead to some stroboscopic effects, whereas imagining an aura around your body may lead to feeling a short burst of vibrations.

These are all good signs, but do not expect too much to come of them. For these sensations to really take off, your physical body has to fall asleep or be very close to doing so. If your body is indeed ready to fall asleep, that's great, but otherwise, just ignore these sensations. Do not try to hold onto them.

Finally, be aware that in your practice of drifting with an anchor, a yo-yo effect will take place.1 You will shift into semi-lucidity, an image will begin to appear, and as soon as you start to notice, you'll shift back to complete wakefulness. You want this to happen! There is no need to go "deep" as if you were meditating and trying to reach some elusive state of consciousness. It is simply about waiting for that moment when your physical body is ready to fall asleep while your mind is not.

Step 4: Free-Flow

So far, the anchor has served to provide you with some protective insulation from falling asleep, as well as to prime your subconscious toward the goal of projecting. In the next step, the anchor will continue to perform these functions but without the need to actively engage in any anchoring activity. Rather, you will engage in a free-flow exercise in which you allow your awareness to drift without paying any attention to your anchor.

The reason for dropping the anchor is that it has served its purpose, and it is far too rigid an activity for your body to easily fall asleep. Having gone through the activity is important, however, as the anchor will continue to exert an effect, even while not actively maintained. Only if you are highly practiced can you skip the previous steps and go straight to free-flow in your practice. Even then, vigilance will have to be maintained to prevent you from falling asleep.

Begin the free-flow exercise by once again allowing your mind to drift toward the margins of your attention. At the same time, do realize that the absence of an anchor considerably increases the risk of losing lucidity. Consequently, remind yourself often of your intent to OBE, and exercise an appropriate level of mental vigilance throughout your practice. In a sense, these reminders act as an anchor, but one that you use only to the extent that the situation demands.

As you let your mind drift, do not solely try to catch any imagery, but give yourself some leverage to engage in all manner of incoherent thoughts and feelings, as you usually do before falling asleep. This may also include tossing and turning now and then or moving your pillows to get into a more comfortable position. These things will help your body fall asleep. You might even allow yourself to lose lucidity for a while, though never so much that you find yourself unable to return to wakefulness. This is an area of practice in which projecting is more of an art than a skill. You need to be able to intuitively assess how likely it is that you will lose lucidity as you approach the borderline of sleep. It is never exactly the same.

Allowing yourself to drift further may also mean that you may occasionally experience non-lucid dream vignettes. These short dreams develop from the sort of isolated imagery you experienced during your anchoring practice. Be very careful about getting too involved in mini-dreams. They are only one step removed from oblivious sleep, and you should be more awake than is the case during mini-dreams.

For example, if you have spent the entire day working in the garden, do not be surprised to find yourself engaged in exactly the same activity during a mini-dream. These short dreams are okay to have for perhaps a few seconds, but if you lose yourself in one for any longer, it is a clear warning sign that you are about to lose lucidity entirely. Pull back into full wakefulness as soon as you find yourself engaging in a mini-dream. Repeat the anchoring exercise for a couple of minutes if you need to.

Throughout the free-flow exercise, continue to balance on the borderline of sleep, picking up imagery as you go along and watching any incoherent thought patterns develop while intermittently reminding yourself not to fall asleep. Eventually, you will reach a delightful pattern of free-flow, easily moving in and out of sleep, but without any real risk of completely losing lucidity. Your body will become increasingly relaxed, while your mind will simply be enjoying the flow. From here on out, once your body is ready to fall asleep, energy sensations are likely to ensue. You do not need to do anything specific to generate them.

Step 5: Transitioning

Once a sufficient buildup in sleep pressure has been established, energy sensations will begin to occur that are strong and persistent enough to carry you into the out-of-body state. For most novice projectors, this is more likely to happen in a semi-lucid stage of consciousness, in a partial state of sensory reduction in which an image, thought, or feeling suddenly catches your attention. Fearful imagery, an especially strong trigger in this regard, can be put to use quite successfully, although it may not be advisable to purposely seek out such imagery.

Keep in mind that energy sensations may not occur if you gain lucidity while deep inside the hypnagogic stage of sleep. You are no longer connected to the physical body in any way, and as such, there will be an insufficient level of sensory input to allow for the perception of energy sensations. This is an unproblematic phenomenon, however, since you will have largely completed the transition process without knowing it. You may still engage in some sort of separation, such as, for example, "swinging" or "rolling" out of the body, but usually there will not be much of a transition left to complete.

While semi-lucid transitions are common as you start out, do not underestimate the degree of desynchronization between mind and body that you might be able to establish during the free-flow exercise. Transitions into the out-of-body state do not need to be semi-lucid or mentally clouded affairs. Energy sensations can be triggered with complete physical body awareness.

Under ideal conditions, you can even move around physically in bed, with ongoing energy sensations, completely wide awake and yet able to project at any point in time without any lapse in consciousness. This situation is often accompanied by a sense of "quickening," a heightening of arousal that, paradoxically, does not remove you further from sleep. Instead, it brings you closer.

For example, have you ever been tossing and turning in bed, unable to get any sleep, until a point when all the chatter in your mind comes to a sudden halt and your physical body feels as if it were made out of a pleasant, warm liquid or jelly that trembles and rocks ever so lightly? Under these conditions, if you relax your mind just a little more, touching ever so slightly on the borderline of sleep, a sense of quickening will follow-a sudden increase in arousal. Once it does, energy sensations will ensue almost immediately.

The further progression of the transition process is primarily guided by your mind by nudging itself toward sleep. It is the same mental movement as when you dipped into the hypnagogic stage of sleep, except that you will be entirely lucid. It will feel like moving more deeply into the energy sensations. They will intensify as you do so.

Ignore any feelings of dread or terror that may coincide with this movement. There may be a sense of approaching the object of your fear, which is disconcerting, but once you have completed the transition process, everything will be quite calm and peaceful. Eventually, this layer of fear will disappear from your experiences, and you will be left with the accompanying heightened sense of arousal alone, now fully claimed as your own.

Until then, especially if the sense of terror is strong, you will have to be braver than you ever imagined. A great deal of courage will be required. You should feel very proud of yourself if you continue to push through. It is a significant accomplishment when a person is willing to risk life and limb for a greater goal. You are not really doing that, of course, but it will certainly feel that way, which makes it quite a heroic feat.

Finally, be careful not to move too quickly through the transition process. Your physical body is in the process of falling asleep, and if you are not careful, you will lose lucidity in the process. It is a very fine thread of consciousness on which you have to maintain your balance. Then, as you move further in the transition process, you will notice the energy sensations intensify until they reach a peak. It is here, or shortly thereafter, where you are free of physical limitations and have established the out-of-body state.

Step 6: Separation and Engagement

If you experience difficulty in separating from the physical body, you have simply not yet completed the transition process. You will need to nudge your mind closer toward the borderline of sleep until your physical body falls asleep more completely. Also, remember that you do not necessarily need to go through any "exit" technique. In theory, although it won't be so easy the first time, you should be able to simply get up out of bed in your phantom body, which will have replaced your physical body at the end of the transition process.

If you experience difficulty, it can be useful to go through an exit technique. The act of moving "out" of the body will give your mind something to occupy itself with, which is likely to further deepen the process of sensory reduction. However, always try to use a technique that is natural and effortless. For example, rolling over, as you would normally do when lying in bed, is an excellent technique that will provide you with the feeling of leaving the body. If you get stuck, try not to force it - this will only make things worse. Instead, relax your mind a little bit more, which will result in the further intensification of energy sensations, and you will find that moving out of body is much easier to accomplish.

Usually, upon exiting, if you have maintained body awareness during the transition, you will see the environment that you physically occupied moments before. If you have maintained no body awareness during the transition, the environments you encounter will tend to be of a more nonphysical nature. If you slow down the process, you may also find yourself inside of the void preceding the appearance of an out-of-body environment. When you are inside of the void, you have completed the transition process, and you will only need to get up, fly away, or engage visually in order to enter an out-of-body environment.

Welcome to the club!

SUPPLEMENTARY METHODS AND TECHNIQUES

The vigil method has been fine-tuned for more than two decades as I have become more proficient at inducing the OBE over time. It is in fact how I induced my first experience, rather accidentally, by merely preventing myself from falling asleep for a prolonged period of time. In essence, it is that simple. The stepwise approach in combination with anchoring makes it even more effective than would otherwise be the case. If properly applied, it should allow a substantial number of people to induce an OBE within a reasonable amount of time.

Of course, it is unlikely that the vigil method will work for everyone. There is still a lot that remains to be done in the area of voluntary OBE inducement. However, do not get frustrated if you're not successful right away. No energy is wasted since the efforts of the previous night carry over to the next. If you are not successful after two or three weeks despite putting in the time and effort, it's likely that another problem stands in the way, which you will need to identify in order to get any further.

If you are successful and you stick with it, you'll find that it becomes progressively easier to induce the out-of-body state. You may find yourself easily waking up with a single intent instead of having to repeat it to yourself endlessly before sleeping. You might be able to jump straight to the free-flow stage without using any specific anchor other than your intent and without the risk of falling sleep. You might wake up with ongoing energy sensations and be able to project immediately. You might also get lazy, skipping steps because you are in a rush and failing as a result.

Of course, becoming a frequent flyer does not mean you will have an OBE every night for the rest of your life. A more reasonable goal would be to have one or two each week when you're working on it, while at other times, when things get too busy in real life, you may have none at all for a prolonged period. Do not ignore your daily responsibilities.

Keep in mind that your activities in the out-of-body state and how you are in the world are not separate. As you become stronger and more effective in daily life, this will also be the case for your activities in the out-of-body state. So nothing is lost, even during periods of time when you are not focused on OBEs.

In the meantime, when you do have time to practice, a number of supplementary methods and techniques can increase your overall level of proficiency. These include 1) manipulating the transition, 2) keeping a dream journal, and 3) Hemi-Sync.

Manipulating the Transition

The type of transition you will experience primarily depends on your focus of attention during the transition process. For example, if you primarily maintain a visual focus during the transition process, energy sensations of a more visual nature, such as lightning or flashes, will occur. As a result, an asomatic transition is more likely to occur.

Conversely, if you remain focused on the physical body, you are more likely to experience tactile sensations, such as vibrations or trembling. Under these circumstances, a parasomatic transition is more likely to occur.

None of this should really concern you too much in the initial stages of your practice. However, as you become more practiced, you may wish to effectuate a specific type of transition. You might prefer an asomatic transition, which is effectuated by maintaining a solely visual focus and paying very little or no attention to your physical body. Or you might want to engage in a parasomatic transition by remaining mainly focused on energetic sensations of a tactile nature.

This may prove to be difficult to accomplish since usually, once energy sensations have been triggered, you will find yourself on a roller coaster with a clear path carved out in front of you. For example, if your experience starts out with vibrations, it is quite difficult to change them to something of an entirely visual nature. It is here where the anchoring activity you have engaged in previously is important.

For example, if the anchoring included imagining vibrations across your body, you can expect energy sensations of a tactile nature to occur. This is then naturally followed by a parasomatic transition, during which body awareness is maintained. Conversely, if your anchoring activity was more visual in nature, such as when imagining only lights or colors, you can expect energy sensations of a visual nature to occur, giving rise to an asomatic transition. You will therefore be able to make one type of transition more likely than the other, even before energy sensations have started, depending on the anchoring technique you use.

This is certainly not a foolproof method. Ultimately, the type of energy sensations you will experience depends on where your attention goes at the onset or during the transition process itself. If your attention is all over the place, as is initially the case for most, you can expect a plethora of energy sensations across different sensory modalities. However, matching up your anchoring technique with the type of transition you prefer to experience will at least give you a good head start. The following are some examples of anchoring techniques to use until you find your own:

Color Breathing: Imagine breathing in your favorite color and filling up your entire body from top to bottom. This method leads to parasomatic transitions, including many visual phenomena in the course of the transition. You may also imagine breathing in sparkling energy, in which case tactile sensations are more likely to occur during the transition.

Swinging: Imagine yourself swinging back and forth in bed or moving back and forth on a swing. This is likely to lead to a parasomatic transition with pronounced sensations of movement as well as various tactile sensations.

Flying: Imagine yourself flying over a relatively monotonous landscape such as a desert, forest, or mountain area. Increase the complexity of the environment, or the imagined flight path itself, when too much boredom begins to set in. The anchoring leads to an asomatic transition, provided that a visual focus is maintained at the onset of energy sensations. This does not mean you will automatically be flying over the imagined landscape at the end of the transition process. Flow with whatever imagery occurs when energy sensations of a visual nature commence.

Light Show: Visualize your favorite color, or a variety of different colors, moving in front of your eyes. Establish a rhythmic, repetitive pattern by allowing the colors to move in patterns. Try to remain visually focused without attention to any sort of (imagined) body. This will make an asomatic transition more likely to occur.

Walking, driving or paddling: Imagine a favorite scene that includes a rhythmic, repetitive movement where you walk down a path, driving down a road, or paddling down a river. This method tends to lead to an asomatic transition. It generally gives rise to a more gentle visual transition than an anchor involving flying.

Third-Eye Method: Imagine an infinite reservoir of purple energy at the center of your forehead, and whirl it in a band of energy around your head. Keep whirling it around your head, each time picking up more energy from the infinite reservoir, until the energy becomes increasingly vital and expansive around your head. This anchoring technique tends to lead to a powerful semi-asomatic transition. It will be accompanied by strong background awareness of the head space but without any other sort of body boundary. Expect a roller-coaster experience. It's not for the faint of heart.

Keeping a Dream Journal

In the course of your practice, especially as you are starting out, maintaining a dream journal is highly beneficial, likely even mandatory. It will thin the veil between waking and sleeping, and as a result, your intent to have an OBE will have a greater chance of getting through. It will also increase the frequency of wake-ups, which usually occur immediately after you have a dream and which provide opportunities for practice.

To maintain a dream journal, begin by writing down every sliver of a dream you remember right after waking up, even if it is only one word or sentence. If you don't remember any dreams at all, write down that you do not remember anything. Sooner or later, you will begin to remember something, even if it is just a hunch or a feeling. Write down every snippet diligently, and after a while, you will begin to remember your dreams in more detail.

Maintaining a dream journal will also increase the likelihood that you will wake up with energy sensations, which will give you the opportunity to project immediately, without any lengthy preparation. It will also make you a much lighter sleeper, and as such, it is especially helpful for deep sleepers, who are generally at a disadvantage in this area.

Another benefit of maintaining a dream journal is that it will help you to develop the skills needed to have an OBE. For example, if your goal for the night has been to have an OBE, expect that intent to bleed into your dream life. If these dreams do not already happen naturally, you can also provoke them by telling yourself to work in the dream state toward having an OBE.

Common themes in your dreams may include flying, high-speed running, and even running in slow motion. Alternatively, you might find yourself attempting to perform almost impossible tasks and actions in your dreams that would require some sort of supernatural talent to complete successfully. All of these represent situations in which your mind is coming to terms with the mobility of consciousness, which will have a positive effect on your overall ability to project.

A dream journal may also produce lucid experiences initiated from the dream state. It is not as exotic as initiating an OBE from the waking state, but it is an entirely legitimate launch pad. If you use this approach, however, developing some navigational skills will probably need to be your first order of business. As far as the purposeful induction of these experiences, I am happy to refer to other writings in this area, such as Stephen Large Berge's classic book Lucid Dreaming.2

Hemi-Sync

Hemi-Sync is a process developed by the Monroe Institute to induce a state of synchronicity between the two hemispheres of the brain through the use of audio technology. Specifically, it utilizes binaural beats delivered to each ear to create a frequency-following response in the brain in order to induce certain states of awareness conducive to the induction of an OBE.

Hemi-Sync does quite effectively induce certain altered states of consciousness, and as such, can be useful in your practice to effectuate an OBE as well. It is no magic bullet, however. Its use won't guarantee an OBE, nor is it specifically intended to do that. However, it does facilitate the exploration of consciousness in a similar way as remote viewing or meditation, during which some background awareness of the physical context usually remains.

One of the more effective uses of Hemi-Sync technology might be as a preliminary step toward establishing the out-of-body state. For example, utilizing the tapes prior to sleep, while practicing your affirmations, is quite beneficial. They also greatly assist with inducing imagery or the provocation of all manner of other sensations. You can use them as a prelude to the OBE in the middle of the night as well.

The technology is also quite useful for learning how to induce a state of sensory reduction without heavy reliance on natural sleep cycles. It is indeed quite possible to directly induce such a state of sensory reduction, although for most people it remains quite difficult to reach the required depth for an OBE to occur. I suggest you try it out for yourself to establish whether this technology is useful to you.

There are also new technologies on the horizon to assist people in reaching the out-of-body state. For example, a promising new audio technology recently released by the Monroe Institute is Spatial Angle Modulation, which is based on quantum mind hypotheses.3 Ultimately, however, technology will only carry you so far, and it is probably a good idea to not become too dependent on it. But, given the difficulty of establishing the out-of-body state, a little helping hand is always welcome. Perhaps one day, a magical device will indeed be invented.

1. Aardema, F. (2006). Focus 10: Mind Awake/Body Asleep. From: http://www.explorations-in-consciousness.com/focus10.html.