Monday, December 10, 2012

The Robert Monroe recordings

Anyone who has studied the nature of consciousness has probably crossed paths with the writings of Robert Monroe. I read his seminal work, Adventures Out Of The Body, in 1976, and it had a profound impact on me. It was the first-- and probably only-- work that I've read that treats the out-of-body experience in a completely secular, non-dogmatic way.

He went on to found the Monroe Institute. I wrote the institute in the mid-80s, curious about their programs, but never got a response. In any case, I doubt that I could have afforded their programs back then. Audio recordings replicating the Hemi-Sync process are now obtainable, but they are also pricey.  But whereas I lacked the money in the '80s to join the program, I now lack the time.

The Monroe Institute has posted some recordings of actual Hemi-Sync sessions. I've just listened to "Explorer Series #4 Multidimensional Aspects of the Self," which is a recording of a Monroe Institute student as she is guided through various astral levels. Soon into the recording, a being takes control of the student's vocal cords, and the student begins to channel various messages.

I noticed a number of peculiarities about this apparent channeling. First, this being seems to have some initial difficulty operating the voice mechanism of the student, but quickly masters the process and in a matter of minutes begins to speak with a slight Queen's English accent--a phenomenon that I seem to remember exhibited by Spiritualist trance mediums. Second, the being espouses a New Age philosophy that, while probably correct, is not exactly revelatory: that we are more than our time-space focused ego, that we are instead "limitless" and powerful entities, and if we only realized our power, we could achieve much. But then comes the warning: earth changes, specifically, an "axis shift," are just around the corner. The speaker in the control room (Monroe?) asks the being when this is to occur, and the response is, "Very, very, very soon." This "shift" is vaguely described, but it is strongly hinted that this will require the transition of living humans to the astral level; i.e., a massive die- off of some sort.

Monroe himself introduces the recording. Since Monroe died in 1995, and the pole shift is described as "already happening" at the time of the recording, my guess is that 1) the recording was made in the early '90s, and 2) this pole shift is overdue.

I see this recording as an artifact of the predominant New Age weltanschauung of the late '80s.  My hunch is that the student was not channeling an elevated being, but instead, some fragment of her own personality, one that had been indoctrinated in contemporary New Age-think. In fact, I suspect that most channeled material is from the same source. Winnowing out the "real" elevated beings from the spurious ones takes some effort and is likely not to have a useful payoff.

The fact that much of recent channeled material contains almost the same warning makes me wonder what mechanism might be involved here. Is there some core truth at the heart of these warnings? Just because a lot of people predicted an earth catastrophe in the '80s--a catastrophe that seemingly did not occur then--are we safe in ignoring similar warnings by contemporary messengers? Whitley Strieber's "Master Of The Key" warns that the Northern hemisphere will be destroyed in one season due to ongoing climate change--a thesis which everyone (except Tea Partiers and Rick Perry) can easily test by looking out any given window. To what extent are such apocalyptic notions informed by misreadings of second-century topical Christian writings of unknown authority (i.e., the book of "Revelation")? And is it even possible to approach this subject as a devote secularist and Humanist, without ultimately being seduced by the dark theological undercurrent that ultimately seizes the unwary?


  1. Merry Christmas/ Happy Honecker

    It's interesting to plot a course of imminent warnings from channelers through the ages. They seem to have two main themes: flattery and warnings.

    I actually prefer your suspicion that these 'voices' are from within us as it makes sense on one hand and is more appealing than the alternative on the other.

    It would also go some way to explaining why these entities are so wedded to the key-words and concepts of the channeler and their social context.

    'Pole-shift' is an absurd idea in the sense that it doesn't involve a crustal flip. It does however feature in plenty of channeler-material and would be well-known to those attracted to channeling. Perhaps the psychology of those with an interest might be telling? Perhaps there are traits of mild paranoia and narcissism?

    It's a murky old business whatever the case.:)

  2. The magnetic poles are migrating (as they always do), and they have "flipped" in the past. Earth's magnetic poles are tied to the solar magnetic poles (I think), but I haven't seen any evidence that there is any flip of the magnetic poles in the offing. This is really the only thing that I can think of that *might* describe the much-referenced "axis shift."