In a previous post I discussed my flirtations with the Monroe Gateway Experience. This is an audio course that promises to help me achieve expanded awareness and out of body experiences. It is based on the original program created by Bob Monroe and the Monroe Institute. It makes use of hemi sync technology along with guided meditation. I’ve been managing on average four sessions a day for the last five weeks. I had secretly hoped that this would be a shortcut to higher states of consciousness, but in some ways it is more demanding than my normal meditation practice. This extra effort does seem worth it because of the results I’m getting.
Going Back to Square One with the Gateway Experience
When I first began using these guided meditations I got a bit carried away. To get the most out of the course it is vital to take things slowly, but I’d already reached the end of the second wave by my third week. Despite my promising start it felt like I’d stopped making progress. I felt a bit despondent and almost ready to throw in the towel, but instead I did some research online.
One of my criticisms of the Gateway Experience audio course is that it doesn’t come with enough support material. Apparently this is a deliberate decision because Bob Monroe wanted people to experiment and find things out for themselves. That does sound like a reasonable approach, but it meant that I just felt lost with the program. My investigations online led me to the conclusion that I had been approaching the course the wrong way. I’d just been lying there and waiting for things to happen and that’s not the way these things work.
I came across a forum thread with advice from a guy called Frank Kepple. It involved visualizing an imaginary world that would act as my base camp for astral travel. At first it sounded like cheating but the more I thought about it the more sense it made. By creating an imaginary world to go along with the guided meditation it takes my attention away from my physical body, and this is what makes out of body experiences/lucid dreaming happen. I gave this technique a try and I saw results right away. If the Gateway Experience documentation included these instructions it would have saved me time. By using my imagination it gives my subconscious a kick start. I create a vague imaginary scene and then just allow my subconscious to begin filling in the gaps. Frank Kepple warned about not getting too involved in creating the scene because then it just becomes a visualization technique.
I have gone back to square one with the Gateway Experience and this time I’m taking things slower. From what I’ve read online the most important session of the lot is the second guided meditation in wave one. Some people only ever use this audio track and claim that the rest of the program is surplus to requirements – I’m not sure about that. I spent the last three weeks just listening to that on session, and I’m now ready to move on. It can be a bit tedious listening to the same audio over and over again, but it is leading to better results.
My Latest Out of Body Experience
I’ve now had three experiences that I’m categorizing as out of body. I mentioned the first of these adventures in my last post. The following week I had a similar experience only this time it felt like I fell out of my body. Last night I had my most fascinating adventure to date and I’ll share it here.
I’m walking around the bedroom making a great deal of noise. It suddenly occurs to me that this commotion should waken up my wife and son. This idea is enough for me to realize that I’m dreaming and that this lucidity offers a great opportunity for an out of body experience. I feel myself rising up. In previous attempts at an OBE I became overly excited at this point and woke myself up. I’m determined not to allow this to happen again. I remembered the advice to get as far away from my body as possible so I mentally propelled myself to move outside the bedroom. I’m momentarily stunned by how real everything looks – this is definitely the corridor outside our bedroom down to the smallest detail. I decide to leave the house and explore the neighborhood. I easily fly through the wall and I’m outside.
I’m in the air above our house when I’m temporarily blinded by a bright light. I’m now flying through darkness. I’m not frightened and I don’t even mind the lack of action. I’m just satisfied with the knowledge that this is my longest lucid dream ever. I’m thinking back on what has already happened because I’m worried that I’ll forget it when I wake up. I am fully aware that my physical body is somewhere else sleeping. I start to get bored and I shout out that I would like to speak to somebody.
I’m no longer flying but instead I’m floating in water and it is dark all around me. This is a bit scary but I notice a buoy in the distance. I begin swimming towards it. As I’m getting closer to the buoy I spot another person floating in the water. I swim over to him and ask the way out of the water. He looks to be asleep so I shake him. I ask the question again and he groggily tells me to swim to the side of the swimming pool. It is then that I realize that I am indeed in a swimming pool and that there are many other bodies floating in the water. It is an unsettling image. I swim to the shore and climb out.
Lucid Dreaming, Out of Body, or Just Dreaming
There are almost certainly going to be people who will read my account above and conclude that this was just a dream. It can be difficult to explain this experience to those who have never experienced lucidity while asleep. Despite the increasing media coverage of lucid dreaming (there was even a BBC News article about it this week) there are still people who don’t believe it even happens. I don‘t blame the skeptics because it is something that has to be experienced to be believed.
There is also much debate as to the significance of this dream lucidity. The push to gain the green stamp of scientific approval means that there has been an effort to remove any elements from the experience that might be viewed as supernatural. Most resources on lucid dreaming view it as purely a creation of the subconscious – there are even lucid dreaming forums where mention of the out of body experience or astral projection is banned.
So far I would have to say that my out of body adventures are of the lucid dreaming variety. I don’t believe that my experience this morning actually involved leaving my physical body. Despite being so convincing real looking I’m fairly certain that it all happened inside my head. By saying this I don’t mean to downplay the significance of the event one bit. All our experience happens inside our head and we never do go beyond this. We assume that the sights, smells, sounds, and sensations we experience are out there somewhere, but there is no way we can be sure of this. What we do know is that if they do exist they are nothing like how we perceive them. So to say that a lucid dream is created inside our head takes nothing away from the experience.
Humans Are More than Meat Puppets
My adventures with the Gateway Experience have a purpose. I’m not satisfied with the current scientific materialist explanation for consciousness that portrays humans as little more than meat puppets. Despite the self assured attitude of many materialists such a view is far from proven – I’m not even convinced that it can be proven. It is my hope that further explorations with alternative states of consciousness will allow me to reach some conclusions. I’m not out to convince anyone else, but I do intend to share my journey. My feeling is that there are some things we have to discover for ourselves. Even if I don’t find any evidence against the idea that we are mere fleshy robots I’m still having a wonderful adventure. I love my life and these experiences while asleep are just adding to it.
BTW – I would be so grateful if people would ‘like’ the Facebook Page for my new book Muay Thai Fighter which is due for release soon.