Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some initial thoughts on John Gillanders (Paratopia episode 73)

I skipped ahead to hear this one (still haven't listened to the prior two, or the "curtain call"), mostly because it's a subject that people in the paranormal field talk around alot, but rarely discuss in detail: the subject of OOBEs, and how (or if) the experience is different from that of "sleep paralysis" or "lucid dreams." So I have to give John Gillanders cudos for putting himself out there in that way. It took him a while to get started, and there was a bit of reverb in his recording, but once he got started, he had some interesting points to make. Haven't heard the classic Jeff and Jer after-chat yet, so my initial impression is untainted, as it were.

A slight criticism: There's a reason that the two-host paranormal podcast is better than the usual one-host--the "other" tends to keep the "one" grounded. And Gillanders probably would have benefited from some grounding. But he made some salient observations, and I have little doubt that he has experienced genuine OOBEs. (In any case, I don't have the guts to do a podcast like he did, so I have no basis for criticism.)

I got burned online about a decade ago while discussing OOBEs; it's a long story, but short story is that I got ridiculed in a very public forum for broaching my experiences (after I was sharply attacked personally), so I've never written about them since.

Nonetheless, whereas most of us may never see a UFO, or a ghost, most of us can have an OOBE, once a few basic techniques are learned. So this is the easiest (and probably the safest) gateway into an altered framework that a human can experience.

Like Gillanders, I was initiated into the craft by the late, great Robert Monroe. Surprisingly, I found his "Journeys Out Of The Body" in clear view, in my college library. I don't remember him elaborating on any techniques, but if I tried anything he mentioned, I did not have an OOBE.

I actually did not become a repeat-OOBE'r until I read Seth / Jane Roberts' "Dreams and Projections Of Consciousness" in 1986, and like Gillanders's experience, once I had cracked open the book, I had my first vivid OOBE that very night. It was as if some part of me was triggered by the book, and my conscious-aware part granted the other part permission.

Since that time I've had a number of OOBEs, which I have documented through the years. Not only have I been "observed" by others while out of the body, I've found verification for some of the more puzzling aspects of the OOBE phenomenon--such as projecting through a room and seeing, not the room as it actually physically appears--but, instead, a reverse-mirror image of it. I've traveled back (and forward) in time (though nothing quite as dramatic as Whitley Strieber's recent experience). I've put my hand up to walls and felt the slight resistance that many experiencers feel, only to feel my hand break through to the other side of it.

In a nutshell, I've had many OOBEs, and I've remembered them, and I've gathered enough personal evidence to demonstrate to me that the experience is "real." It is not a dream; it is not a hallucination. The experiences that one has in a valid OOBE are just as objectively "real" as one has in physical life.

Personally, I think that tremendous knowledge of the edges of our physical reality can be gained from observing the out-of-body experience. And once you've had a vivid OOBE, your essential orientation to physical existence is altered--because you realize that consciousness is, essentially, non-physical... and from this awareness, you can begin to question many of the root assumptions that govern our politics, our religions, and our sciences.

Hopefully this episode will be one of many.

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