“Do you believe in God?” asks John Freeman of Carl Jung in a 1959 BBC interview.
“Now?” asks Jung. “Difficult to answer… I know… I don’t need to believe… I know.”
“What is the practical importance of the out-of-body experience?” asks an Italian interviewer of William Buhlman, prominent out-of-body explorer, researcher, and author, in April 2008.
“The most important thing about an out-of-body experience is the ability to obtain answers… the ability to go beyond beliefs… the out-of-body experience gives people the opportunity to verify their own immortality,” replies William Buhlman.
The out-of-body experience (OBE) is the experience of consciousness separate and apart from the physical body. This experience is most frequently first encountered in a dream state when awareness is suddenly awoken by a sensation of intense vibration that leads to the separation of consciousness from the physical body. Frequently, people report floating up from or rolling out of their physical bodies, which remain asleep and frozen, in a state of paralysis. This emergence from the body is experienced as still being contained in the body, however its movements are dictated by thought versus physical action. The shamans call this the energy body and others call it the astral or ethereal body.
This awakening to one’s energy body is experienced spontaneously by most people at some point in their dreaming life. Don Juan suggested that the experience of the self as energy, the dormant energy body, is a potential available to all, simply waiting to be called into action.
The initial reaction to an OBE can range from terror to exhilaration. My own reaction to my youthful OBE was very similar to Robert Monroe’s, a pioneer in OBE exploration in America. I feared death, as did he, and I feared a brain tumor, as did he. Like Monroe, I was cleared of tumors after neurological brain scans, and also discovered that I wasn’t going to die, however, in the absence of more knowledge I remained terrified. In contrast, as Monroe states, in a 1992 interview at his institute in Virginia, he had the benefit of a discussion with a psychologist friend who informed him that his experience would be quite normal in India. He suggested that Monroe move to India and study under a guru in an ashram for ten to twenty years to hone his skills in OBE. Though Monroe was not prepared to leave his wife, child and business for a decade or two, he obtained the knowledge that his experience was not abnormal and began his own Western exploration of OBE.
In fact, the knowledge and experience of life beyond the body is highly refined in Eastern systems of yoga and Buddhism, as well as in shamanic cultures both East and West. This has been Carlos Castaneda’s greatest contribution to our time: awakening all of us to the equal opportunity to find our energy bodies and answer for ourselves questions of immortality and life beyond the body.
There are many roads to awakening the energy body and beginning a personal exploration of infinity: trauma, sleep deprivation, drug use, yoga, meditation, holotropic breathing, Tensegrity, hypnosis, channeling, prayer, fasting, creative dreaming, near death experience—in fact, the list may be endless.
In my experience, intent is all you really need. Intend to find your energy body. Intend often; it will happen. What stands in the way for most people is the rational mind. “I don’t believe in an energy body,” the mind will say. My response, “Good! Beliefs are useless.”
Be a scientist, find out through your own personal experiment. Suspend judgment, like any true scientist. Set up your experiment. Intend your energy body, gently, persistently, every day, for weeks. Then, see what happens!
See what questions you might begin to answer through your own personal experiences and knowing.
If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.
Until we meet again,
NOTE: All cited interviews are available on YouTube. Click on the links: Carl Jung, William Buhlman, Robert Monroe. You can also read about Chuck’s experience in The Book of Us, p. 5 or in this Chuck’s Place Blog.