OBE Observations

Bob Peterson, 10 Dec 1994 wrote:

The following (and all my written material) is all my personal OPINION, based on my personal experience and should be take as only that.

Background on myself:

  • I am new to the internet, but not new to OBEs or computers.
  • I am currently a senior level computer programmer/analyst.
  • I was a skeptic (I still am EXTREMELY skeptical about most new age topics).
  • Then I read Monroe's first book. He said not to take his word on the subject, but to try it yourself. I did. It worked. I was shocked. That was in 1979.
Since then I have had many OBEs and I have studied it extensively. I have kept detailed journals of all my OBEs, and have written lots of material on the subject which I may some day have published. Much of it is in book form, in two parts. The first half of the book is in story form, the story of how I got involved, etc., and some of the weird things that have happened to me. The second half of the book is informational: Questions and Answers, etc. At the end of each chapter I include simple exercises to facilitate having an OBE. The early chapters have simple exercises for people starting out, and the later chapters get more complex and detailed. If people are interested in any of my written stuff, I would be willing to post some of it here, perhaps even a chapter at a time.

For now I'd like to share some notes on OBEs:

I've studied a lot of variables concerning OBEs and what facilitates them.

There are many beliefs and superstitions which I'd like to dismiss.

Concerning environmental factors:

  • I've found that moon cycles don't affect my ability, nor does the time of year, the temperature, biorhythms, astrology, etc.
  • I've had OBEs on Halloween, with no problems or ill effects.
  • I've had OBEs while laying on my back, boths sides and on my stomach without any side-effects.
  • I have never used hallucinagenic drugs, nor alcohol to induce OBEs.
  • I believe to use drugs would at least alter the experience, and at worst damages the credibility of the person and the experience. Belief is NOT a prerequisite. And you don't have to have much of a raport with your body, either. I treat my body like my car: I use it, provide for it's minimum requirements, and try to avoid damaging it, but beyond that it's a vehicle.
  • Concerning energy: I've never done any 'Chakra' work, and I've had OBEs from both healthy and sick states. When I return, I don't feel drained, usually I feel energized. It's all a matter of focus. The greatest factor which influences my OBE ability: the amount I practice.
I have three words for doubters, coined not by myself but Nyke: Just Do It.

But a word of warning: When I started practicing OBEs, I got an unexpected side-effect: I started also having psychic experiences. I started somehow reading people's minds, having visions, some clairvoyance, etc. And I am a skeptic! And I experienced MANY things that I would never have believed, had I not experienced them for myself. Literally. And for the many people who have 'sort-of' experiences I say this: If you're not really sure if you experienced the real thing, then you probably didn't. Real OBEs leave no doubt in your mind.

I know that OBEs are not the same as dreams. I have experienced dreams, and lucid dreams (which are very fun, by the way) and out-of-body states, and various combinations thereof:

(1) I have dreamed I was out-of-body, and have woken up KNOWING it was only a dream.
(2) I have had OBEs where I have fallen asleep while out-of-body, then started dreaming, then woken up out-of-body again.
(3) I have also have lucid dreams, then I made the conscious transition to an out-of-body state where I watched my lucid dream scenery dissolve.

Also: I have had OBEs where there was no break in consciousness between normal waking consciousness and the out-of-body state. I have also had many OBEs where I have returned to normal waking consciousness without any break in consciousness. It's more typical, however, for me to have a tiny 'blackout' right before reentry.


There are some great books on the subject of OBEs (and many garbage books I may add). I collect books on OBEs. I have over 70 and my collection is soon to be growing again. I've read all but a few.

The book by Gabbard and Twemlow is great stuff when studying the OBE from a psychologist's standpoint, and how it resembles or differs from other psychological states: dreaming, dissociation, depersonalization, and many others. If anyone wants, I can post a bibliography of books. As a rule, OBE books are hard to find.

Advice Column:

If you fall asleep when trying, I have the following advice: Try practicing after you first get up, and not right before bed. My routine used to be: Wake up, visit the bathroom, drink a can of Mountain Dew, then lay down and practice.

My advice to those who wish to try an OBE is the same as for those who wish to get to Carnagie Hall: Practice, Practice, Practice.

Notes from my methods of OBE:

In my opinion, the SINGLE, most important factor in leaving one's body is that you focus your consciousness down to a single focused barely- noticable thread. This is difficult to explain, so bear with me. Perhaps I can make an analogy: Imagine two parents that have lots of small kids who make lots of noise. At night, they send their kids to bed and wait for them to fall asleep before doing adult things because they don't want to expose their kids to these adult things. They try to be covert, so they listen for the bedroom noise to quiet down, and when it does, they proceed. (The lack of noise implies, but doesn't guarantee, that the kids are asleep).

Now: In my opinion, we all have a 'Higher Self' or 'Oversoul' part of us which waits until our consciousness is completely 'quiet' or 'quiesced'. At that point, it proceeds to do other-worldly things. I have found that if I narrow my consciousness down into a single thread, (where my mind doesn't wander) then if I can hold my consciousness that way long enough, the 'vibrations' will rush in and start the separation process. It's not enough to be single-minded. I have to narrow down my consciousness until it's almost unnoticable to even myself. In computer terms, I end all subsystems, vary off all peripherals, and terminate all tasks, processes and threads until only the KERNEL is running.

(By the way, concentration is not the same as quiescing your mind.) I try to hold this quiesced state for around two minutes. At that point, the vibrations automatically rush into my body. After a certain point where the vibrations have run their normal course, I broaden my consciousness back to normal and I allow my normal thinking processes to continue, only then I'm in a fully conscious out-of-body state.

It feels like sneaking through a security door with someone, unnoticed. The problem is: When the vibrations hit, it can be quite shocking, and tends to break me out of the quiesced state of mind. If I start to think, "Oh my God--what's happening to me..." or "What should I do next?..." then I've lost the quiesced state temporarily and the vibrations will start to fade away. Luckily the vibrations take several seconds to fade away--just enough time to recover the quiesced state.

Just concentrating on them getting stronger is not enough--they will only get stronger when I get back to the quiesced state of mind. So if this happens to you, don't panic--just quiesce your mind again. So the trick is: learn to hold your quiesced state regardless of what is happening to your body. After the vibrations come, you need only hold the quiesced state for approximately 10 to 15 seconds and then you can just get up and walk away from the body. If you can train yourself to do this, you can almost (but not quite) do without the prerequisite relaxation that everyone talks about.

Things to try to develop this ability:

Here's an exercise in focusing your consciousness down to a quiesced state:

Have you ever saw a flash of lightning, and stopped to listen for the thunder? Or perhaps you heard someone knocking at your door or the telephone ringing from several rooms away? At those times, you tend to stop thinking and listen. And your mind is quiesced for a second or two. Well, pretend that some sound will occur in the near future, and just listen for it. For a short time, your consciousness will stop all processing and go into a quiesced state. As you practise, increase the length of time that you listen.

Note: I just recently got some of Monroe's Hemisync stuff, and it really DOES help to focus your consciousness into that state.

Bob Peterson

P.S. Thanks for all the great material out there.