The Monroe Technique
Relax the body. According to Monroe, “the ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself” to having an OBE. (out of body experience). This includes both physical and mental relaxation. Monroe does not suggest a method of attaining this relaxation, although progressive muscle relaxation, coupled with deep breathing exercises (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3… until about 50 or 100) are known to work well.
Enter the state bordering sleep. This is known as the hypnogogic state. Once again, Monroe doesn’t recommend any method of doing this. One way is tohold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice you can learn to control the hypnogogic state without using your arm. Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the hypnogogic
state.Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.
Deepen this state. Begin to clear your mind. Observe your field of vision through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of your. After a while you may start to notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges. They have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C– a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.
The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning just as you are getting up, or after a short nap.
Enter a state of Vibration. This is the most important part of the technique, and also the most vague.
Many projectors have noted these vibrations at the onset of projection. They can be experienced as a miled tingling, or as if electricity is being shot through the body. Their cause is a mystery. It may actually be the astral body trying to leave the physical body.
For entering into the vibrational state, he offers the following directions:
1. Remove all jewelry or other items that might be touching your skin.
2. Darken the room so that no light can be seen through your eyelids, but do not shut out all light.
3. Lie down with your body along a north-south axis, with your head pointed toward magnetic north.
4. Loosen all clothing, but keep covered so that you are slightly warmer than what might normally be comfortable.
5. Be sure you are in a location where, and at a time when, there will be absolutely no noise to disturb you.
6. Enter a state of relaxation.
7. Give yourself the mental suggestion that your will remember all that occurs during the upcoming session that will be eneficial to your well being. Repeat this five times.
8. As your breathe, concentrate on the void in front of you.
9. Select a point a foot away from your forehead, then change your point of mental reference to six feet.
10. Turn the point 90 degrees upward by drawing an imaginary line parallel to your body axis up above you head. Focus there and reach out for the vibrations at that point and bring them back into your body.
Even if you don’t know what these vibrations are, you will know when you have achieved contact with them.
Learn to control the vibrational state. Practice controlling them by mentally pushing them into your head, down to your toes, making them surge throughout your entire body, and producing vibrational waves from head to foot. To produce this wave effect, concentrate on the vibrations and mentally push a wave out of your head and guide it down your body. Practice this until you can induce these waves on command. Once you have control of the vibrational state, you are ready to leave the body.
Begin with a partial separation. The key here is thought control. Keep your mind firmly focused on the idea of leaving the body. Do not let it wander. Stray thoughts might cause you to lose control of the state.
Now having entered the vibrational state, begin exploring the OBE by releasing a hand or a foot of the “second body”. Monroe suggests that you extend a limb until it comes in contact with a familiar object, such as a wall near your bed. Then push it through the object. Return the limb by placing it back int coincidence with the physical one, decrease the vibrational rate, and then terminate the experiment. Lie quietly until you have fully returned to normal. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.
Dissociate yourself from the body. Monroe suggests two methods for this. One method is to lift out of the body. To do this, think about getting lighter and lighter after entering the vibrational state. Think about how nice it would be to float upward. Keep this thougth in mind at all costs and let no extraneous thoughts interrupt it. An OBE will occur naturally at this point.
Another method is the “Rotation Method” or “roll-out” technique. When you have achieved the vibrational state, try to roll over as if you were turning over in bed. Do not attempt to roll over physically. Try to twist your body from the top and virtually roll over into your second body right out of your physical self. At this point, you will be out of the body, but next to it. Think of floating upward, and you should find yourself floating above the body.
More on Astral Projection and Travel
This information is taken directly from the book Journeys Out of the Body by Robert A. Monroe.
Throughout this writing, I have made many references to one evident fact: the only possible way for an individualto appreciate the reality of this Second Body and existence within it is to experience it himself.
Obviously, if this were an easy task, it would now be commonplace. I suspect that only an innate curiosity will enable people to overcome the obstacles in the path of this achievement. Although there are many cases of existence experienced apart from the physical body, they have for the most part – at least in the Western world – been of a spontaneous, one time nature, occurring during moments of stress or physical disability.
We are speaking of something entirely different, which can be objectively investigated. The experimenter will want to proceed in a manner that will produce consistent results, perhaps not every time, but often enough to validate the evidence to his own satisfaction. I believe that anyone can experience existence in a Second Body if the desire is great enough. Whether or not anyone should is beyond the scope of my judgment.
Evidence has led me to believe that most, if not all, human beings leave their physical bodies in varying degrees during sleep. Subsequent reading has proved that this idea is thousands of years old in man’s history. If it is a valid premise, then the condition itself is not unnatural. On the other hand, conscious, willful practice of separation from the physical is contrary to the pattern, it would seem, in view of the limited data available.
Harmful physical effects from such activity are undetermined. I have not detected (nor have any physicians) any physiological changes, good or bad, that can be attributed directly to the out-of-the-body experience.
There have been many psychological changes that I recognize, and probably many more that I have not been aware of. However, even my friends in the psychiatric profession have not claimed that these have been detrimental. My gradual revision of basic concepts and believes is apparent in a number of ways throughout this writing. If these psychological and personality changes are truly harmful, there is not much that can be done about it now.
A note of caution is in order here for those who are interested in experimenting, for once opened, the doorway to this experience cannot be closed. More exactly, it is a copy of “you can’t live with it and you can’t live without it.” The activity and resultant awareness are quite incompatible with the science, religion, and mores of the society in which we live. History is strewn with martyrs whose only crime was non-conformity. If your interest and research become commonly known, you run the risk of being labeled a freak, phony, or worse, and of being ostracized. In spite of this, something extremely vital would be missing if you did not continue to explore and investigate. In the unaccountable “low” periods when you cannot produce this activity no matter how carefully you try, you realize this deeply. You have a strong sense of being left out of things, of the shutting out of a source of great meaning to living.
Here, then, is the best written description I can give of the technique of developing the non-physical experience.
THE FEAR BARRIER
There is one great obstacle to the investigation of the Second Body and the environment in which it operates. Perhaps it is the only major barrier. It seems to be present in all people, without exception. It may be hidden by layers of inhibition and conditioning, but when these are stripped away, the obstacle remains. This is the barrier of blind, unreasoning fear. Given only small impetus, it turns to panic, and then to terror. If you consciously pass the fear barrier, you will have passed a milestone in your investigation.
I am reasonably sure that this barrier is passed unconsciously by many of us each night. When that part of us beyond our consciousness takes over, it is not inhibited by fear, although it seems to be influenced by the thought and action of the conscious mind. It seems to be accustomed to operating beyond the fear barrier, and understands better the rules of existence in this other world. When the conscious mind shuts down for the night, this Super Mind (soul?) takes over.
The investigative process relative to the Second Body and its environment appears to be a melding or blending of the conscious with this Super Mind. If this is accomplished, the fear barrier is overcome.
The fear barrier is many-faceted. The most fearless of us think it does not exist, until, much to our own surprise, we encounter it within ourselves. First and foremost, there is the death fear. Because separation from the physical body is much like what is expected at death, early reactions to the experience are automatic. You think, “Get back in the physical, quickly! You are dying! Life is there, in the physical; get back in!”
These reactions appear in spite of any intellectual or emotional training. Only after repeating the process eighteen to twenty times did I finally gather enough courage (and curiosity) to stay out more than a few seconds and observe objectively. The death fear was either sublimated or assuaged by familiarity. Others who have tried the technique have stopped after the first or second experience, unable to suppress this first aspect of the barrier.
The second aspect of the fear barrier is also linked with the death fear: will I be able to return to the physical or to get back “in.” With no guidelines or specific instructions, this remained a prime fear of mine for several years, until I found a simple answer that made it work every time. Mine was a matter of rationalization. I had been “out” several hundred times, and the evidence showed that I was able to return safely one way or another. Therefore, the probability was that I would return safely the next time also.
The third basic fear was fear of the unknown. The rules and dangers of our physical environment can be determined to a reasonable degree. We have spent our lifetime building up reflexes to cope with them. Now, suddenly, here is another, completely different set of rules, another world of entirely different possibilities, populated by beings who seem to know all of them. You have no rule book, no road map, no book of etiquette, no applicable courses in physics and chemistry, no incontrovertible authority you can turn to for advice and answers. Many a missionary has been killed in a remote land under just such conditions!
I must confess that this third fear still crops up, and with justification. The unknown is still to a great degree unknown. Such penetration as I have made has brought forth pitifully few unalterable and consistent rules. I can say only that, to date, I have survived these expeditions. There is so much that I do not comprehend or understand, and more that is beyond my ability to do so.
Another fear is the consequent effects on the physical body as well as on the conscious mind of participation and experimentation in this form of activity. This too is very real, as our history, at least to my knowledge, does not seem to contain accurate reporting of this area. We have studies on paranoia, schizophrenia, phobias, epilepsy, alcoholism, sleeping sickness, acne, virus diseases, etc., but no assembled body of objective data on the pathology of the Second Body.
I do not know how to circumvent the fear barrier, except by cautious initial steps that create familiarity bit by bit as you proceed. I hope this writing in its entirety will provide the psychological “step” over the barrier. It may help to recognize conditions and patterns that are familiar in that at least one person has had similar experiences and survived.
The following are the necessary procedural developments.
The ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself. It is deliberately generated, and is both physical and metal. Included with the condition of relaxation must be the relief from any sense of time urgency. You cannot be in a hurry. No pending appointments or anticipated calls for your services or attention must clutter up your thoughts. Impatience of any sort can effectively stifle your prospects for success.
There are many techniques available for obtaining this kind of relaxation, and a number of good books cover the subject. Simply select the method that works best for you. There are three general methods that seem to work, two of which are applicable in these exercises.
Auto- or self-hypnosis.
Most self-study books offer this method in different versions. Again, it is a matter of which is most effective for you individually. The most efficient and speediest way is to learn self-hypnosis through the training of an experienced hypnotist. He can set up posthypnotic suggestion that will bring immediate results. However, select a tutor with care. Responsible practitioners are rare, and neophytes numerous. Forms of meditation can be converted to effective relaxation.