Far Out


by Michael Ross
 
(First published in "Prediction" magazine..January 2001)

Do you want to leave the body?

Are you prepared to practice the essential virtues of patience, perseverence and rigorously apply techniques to encourage an Out - of - Body experience?

If so, it is very likely that you will and have complete, undeniable verification that you are, indeed, a spiritual being, an eternal unit of consciousness.

For over thirty years I have been fortunate in experiencing many out-of-body journeys and phenomena.

Since that first (typically!) frightening experience at the age of seventeen when I found myself floating above my physical body and shouting "Get Back! Get Back!" I have been fascinated with this utterly exhilarating and fulfilling knowledge that our consciousness is an attribute that functions separately from the physical brain.

Like most people, my experiences have been spontaneous in that, despite employing many techniques , meditation practices and energy raising procedures I have found myself out of body only after falling asleep. This is unsatisfactory and obviously I have tried to develop to the point where I could leave my body at will - the earnest desire of everyone who has experienced the phenomena.

And, so far, I have failed miserably.

Like most things worth having the path is difficult and depends on many factors. I am, perhaps unjustifiably, dubious concerning reports and claims from many people who insist that they make daily excursions to all sorts of magnificent "astral planes" or extra-physical scenarios in an effortless manner. We can, and should, only go by our own experience in these matters.

Any form of scientific research and efforts to obtain proof would tend to substantiate this up to this point in time since very few attempts in the laboratory have given absolutely foolproof evidence that the phenomena has occurred.

The most evidential so far was an experiment by Dr. Charles Tart in the late 60's where a subject achieved a target 5 digit number after leaving her body.

It was later established that the subject could possibly have seen the number reflected whilst lying on the laboratory bed.

For example, when in 1967 I first experienced the phenomenon I decided to write to The Institute of Psycho-physical Research in Oxford and asked if Dr Celia Green would set up a 5 digit target which I would attempt to cognise via an out of body trip from my home in Scotland. Over a period of two years I did not succeed despite earnest efforts although lots of semi- conscious or semi- lucid dreams occurred where I seemed to be down in the Oxford area.

Although the scientific proof of O.B.E. is, like so many paranormal phenomena seemingly "Will-o-the Wisp", those of us who have experienced it subjectively have absolutely no doubt that we have been out -of-body and functioning in a spiritual body in a spiritual dimension.

Dr. Susan Blackmore, that eminent researcher into paranormal phenomenon, explicitly the O.B.E., has finally, it seems, established to her own satisfaction that the consciousness does not leave the body at all and has given up all hope that such phenomena will ever be objectively verified under a "spiritual" paradigm.

Her own experience of an "astral projection" occurred while she was a student at University after smoking cannabis ("Beyond the Body" Susan Blackmore 1982)

She was initially convinced she had ,indeed, left her physical body but subsequently came to doubt that this was the case despite it being so "subjectively real".

Personally, I admire her ruthless and essential objectivity and relentless efforts to establish the facts but I feel that her very clever materialistic explanation concerning the operations of the brain were arrived at too quickly due to a "distorted perception" while out of the body.

For example, after noticing that her trip in her astral body above the roof gave her the vision of the roof tiles in a different colour from what they were in the physical dimension she concluded that the trip was therefore not as it seemed.

To take only a few possible explanations for this distortion it is advisable to remember that (a) the cannabis intake may have distorted the perception (b) subconscious factors can also "add" to our "astral" perception of the physical environment and (c) during most projections we are barely totally lucid or fully in control.

In any case, the range of phenomena during the out -of-body experience can be so diverse- I have floated above my physical body; seen deceased relatives; experienced dual consciousness ( awareness in the physical body while being conscious at another spatial area in the "astral" body); experienced energy configurations travelling up and down my projected double; elongation of astral limbs; thrust about the environment by some mysterious force or "wind"; traversed down the most beautiful "tunnel" shaped areas; experienced symbolic "messages" (Alas!... not always understood to the future detriment of my own and other's circumstances) etc.

Increasing numbers of people are having identical experiences .

But the problem essentially remains the same. How can we produce the phenomena at will and to further investigate the potentiality of the O.B.E. and , indeed, its meaning for our evolutionary journey ?

There are many "gurus" and hugely diverse workshops in these "New Age " times offering all sorts of spiritual attainments and gifts at a price and with minimal effort.

I was accordingly, very attracted to a leaflet describing the work of The International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology which is a non-profit research and educational organisation that studies the consciousness, placing special emphasis on the out-of-body experience, vital energy techniques and other multi-dimensional manifestations.

At present the Institute has 64 offices throughout Brazil, Argentina, Canada, England, Portugal, Spain and the US.

It was founded by Dr. Waldo Vieira who apparently has had projections since the age of 9 and has published many books on his experiences and deductions concerning the phenomena.

Personally, an immediate attraction to the courses offered by The Institute was the motto apparently highlighted in every office which states "Don't believe in anything. Not even what you hear in the I.I.P.C. Experiment. Have your own experiences."

Last year I attended a course in London held by Dr Vieira where I was impressed by the strict adherence to the scientific paradigm and "non- Guru" attitude and deportment. A refreshing change.

The lectures concentrated on how to develop psychic awareness and employ techniques to instigate or improve one lucidity during an out-of-body experience.

The Institute's intention is to allow the replacement of beliefs with direct personal experience. Understanding the dynamics of OBE can enable individuals to have sound, controlled experiences. The training method used by IIPC is based on self-control and involves exercises dealing with vital energies, which lead the participant to the full control of out-of-body and psychic experiences.

There was also much discussion on what the O.B.E. is essentially for. After all, the OBE, whilst utterly "mind-blowing" in itself, must have a point - what is its implication for our spiritual evolution? Why are so many people having spontaneous experiences at this point in time? Having achieved direct knowledge that we are spiritual entities what then?

Naturally enough, religions and philosophical speculations have provided manifold accounts and descriptions but there has regrettably been a tendency towards "insularity" and "exclusivity" in many instances.

The I.I.P.C. stick rigidly to a scientific paradigm throughout...here are the techniques to achieve an out of body experience..here is some theory..this is the practice..get going! Don't get befuddled by metaphysical obfuscation and waffle. Just do it!

The Institute offers several courses - mainly 4 Consciousness Development Programmes which I decided to attend in the London office.

The courses were intense, dealing with a nice balance between theory and practical employment of techniques to engender the out of body experience.

Much emphasis is based at the outset on the need to achieve and develop the well known ( but frustratingly obscure) "Vibrational State" which initiates a projection.

As someone who has been somewhat lax in employing various techniques and energy raising methods I found that the experience in this was amazingly quick. I am hesitant to give an account of what I personally experienced at these sessions other than to state that the confirmation as to its effectiveness was more or less immediate and confirmed the existence of ,as the IIPC terminology expresses it "Extra-physical helpers". Sufficient to say that the practice of getting to the "vibrational state" led to a startling progressive development of the forehead chakra.

I am very much of the opinion that one has to rigorously employ the techniques for oneself to see the benefits in line with the scientific, experiential ethos employed by this investigative establishment.

Apart from this, did I achieve a completely lucid, fully conscious projection of the astral body or "psychosoma" in the short time I was there?

No I did not.

But I did have a number of interesting and semi-lucid projections - whilst being in no way the ultra lucid, completely conscious OBE, nevertheless throughout during the few days of the course showed a progressive development.

I can only hope that the impetus and stimulus the thoroughly enjoyable and "jargon free" environment engendered will lead to the desired aim of a fully controlled ability to leave the body at will.

A further consideration which was an attractive feature was how the personnel running the courses clearly employed what they term a "cosmoethical" approach in that it is their intention to provide the techniques and explain the theory comprehensively to all and sundry in a no-nonsense, no superfluous frills manner.

The IIPC is at the beginning of its work in the UK. As a fairly "second-rate" projector who has been so fortunate to have many wonderful experiences but has a long way to go I am delighted to see the efforts of a body dedicated to this fascinating and life-enhancing topic.

Perhaps, at last, many more people will be able to experience this utterly "ecstatic" and liberating experience which can lead to further exciting adventures on our spiritual evolutionary road.