The Trigger of Out-of-Body Experiences:
Robert Monroe's Out-of-Body Experience Research
(1915-1995) was the pioneer in the investigation
(OBEs) and the author of the ground-breaking
of the Body,
Far Journeys and
Ultimate Journey. Monroe had a large
number of extensive out-of-body experiences
astral realm -- an out-of-body state
unbound by time or death. His testimony
of OBE journeys have comforted millions
of people who have had such paranormal experiences
yet not fully understanding the phenomenon.
His OBE journeys began spontaneously and
without his will when Monroe would find
himself leaving his physical body and traveling
via a second body (the astral body) to locations
far removed from any physical or spiritual
reality he could comprehend. In the ensuing
years, Monroe and his group of researchers
began working on methods of inducing and
controlling OBEs and other forms of consciousness
in their laboratory. As an expert in radio
technology and in creating patterns of effective
sound, Monroe applied his expertise for
their OBE research. Monroe as his group
of researchers efforts began to produce
significant results, and attracted International
interest among people from all walks of
life. In 1974, he founded
The Monroe Institute and began conducting
learning seminars in self-control of human
consciousness. Three patents were issued
to Monroe for the methods and techniques
he developed; and the trademark,
became known worldwide. In his book,
Journeys Out of the Body, Monroe describes
a technique for triggering out-of-body states.
The following is a brief description of
Monroe's Technique for Triggering Out-of-Body
First lie down in a darkened room in a relaxing
Loosen your clothing and remove all jewelry.
Enter into a very relaxing state and consciously
tell yourself that you will remember everything
that happens at this time.
Begin breathing through your half-open mouth.
Concentrate on an object.
When other images start to enter your mind,
passively watch them.
Try to clear your mind and observe your
field of vision through your closed eyes.
Do nothing more for a while.
Simply look through your closed eyelids
at the blackness in front of you.
After a while, you may notice light patterns.
When these cease, a state of such relaxation
will happen that you lose all awareness
of the body.
You are almost in the state where your only
source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.
It is this relaxed and refreshed condition
where out-of-body journeys are triggered.
To leave your body, think of yourself getting
lighter and of how nice it would be to float
With sufficient practice Monroe claims that
a wide variety of experiences.
There are a wide variety
of psychic and spiritual states that can result
from leaving the body consciously. The traveler
can find him or herself in either formed states
(those containing objects) or amorphous states (without
a clearly defined shape) when leaving the
body in this way.
One type of conscious
transition occurs when the traveler simply disconnects
the inner spiritual self from the physical body,
and moves out and away from the physical body consciously.
This disconnection happens frequently in near-death
experiences when a person near-death moves a short
distance from the physical body and observes it.
This method of slipping
out of the body has little excitement associated
with it except for any fear aroused in the individual
who does not understand what is happening. Robert
Monroe described his experience as follows:
"In 1958, without any apparent cause, I
began to float out of my physical body.
It was not voluntary; I was not attempting
any mental feats. It was not during sleep,
so I couldn't dismiss it as simply a dream.
I had full, conscious awareness of what
was happening, which of course only made
it worse. I assumed it was some sort of
hallucination caused by something dangerous
- a brain tumor, or impending mental illness.
Or imminent death.
"It occurred usually when I would lie down
or relax for rest or preparatory to sleep
- not every time but several times weekly.
I would float up a few feet above my body
before I became aware of what was happening.
Terrified, I would struggle through the
air and back into my physical body. Try
as I might, I could not prevent it from
recurring." (Monroe, 2-3)
The out-of-body traveler
can also move directly into a visualized space that
is very much like a dream environment while maintaining
continuous awareness of his or her transition into
this space. Although the experience involves being
in a light sleep, some people have had a very similar
experience while awake when the image perceived
turns into a three-dimensional space via spiritual
Sometimes the OBE traveler's
transition to formed environments involves dynamic
movement and the traveler will enter the environment
flying above fields and cities, taking in vast panoramas.
In many cases, the body
image of the traveler is more or less identical
to the physical body but this is not always the
case. A common experience is for the traveler to
become a point of consciousness or a unit of awareness
with no sense of a body taking up space. Here travelers
identify themselves as a pure observer - more like
a disembodied set of ears and pair of eyes. Sight
and hearing are the two senses that usually dominate
during such spiritual travel.
Moving consciously into
amorphous states is more difficult to describe.
These states are usually areas of intense experience
where the dominant reality is that of light, sound,
vibration, motion or emotion.
Going from a waking state
or semi-waking state into an amorphous state is
usually the most dramatic kind of spiritual travel
experience. In one type of amorphous transition,
the traveler suddenly senses a powerful vibration
or sound and is caught up in that energy. This is
sometimes accompanied by a feeling of being drawn
or propelled by this vibration at tremendous speed
through a dark space. This experience seems very
similar to the descriptions of the tunnel associated
with near-death experiences. Numerous people who
came very close to death (no heartbeat or respiration)
have near-death experiences where they have described
different types of sounds or vibrations which propelled
them at seemingly great speed through a dark tunnel
Sometimes, there is a
feeling of being catapulted out of the body. In
these cases, the vibrations usually start at a low
pitch and continue gaining in frequency and power
until they become almost explosive in their intensity.
In other cases, there
is the feeling of the inner sounds or vibrations
but not the experience of movement and acceleration.
Often, such static experiences involve hearing spiritual
music or sounds, and can be quite ecstatic.
The above mentioned inner
sounds, along with inner lights, can sometimes act
as a means of transition between the waking state
and some formed inner world.
This transition involving
inner light starts from a waking state, moves initially
to an amorphous state of energy and movement, then
to a formed state of stability. This stable state
is usually a quasi-physical environment.
Sounds occurring during
the conscious transitions out of the body are usually
very powerful and may result in the obliteration
of the body perspective. Monroe discovered that
the nerves which inform the person of their body's
weight, size and position in space, seems to largely
quit functioning when this sound occurs.
Some of the sounds occurring
are of a spiritual or mystical nature rather than
transitional sounds carrying the traveler to a different
location. These higher spiritual sounds are of a
heavenly nature and are ecstatic beyond description.
They are aspects of the final destination of spiritual
travel rather than a phenomenon involving travel
to some other location.
Some sounds a person
may encounter include the sounds similar to a speeding
train, a loud buzzing, a flute, or sounds of nature
like the roar of a waterfall. These sounds or vibrations
are of such intensity that they seem to pass right
through the body, overpowering the other senses.
These are examples of the transition to ego-loss
during spiritual travel where the person literally
merges with the sound.
This illustrates conscious
transitions out of the body which may occur spontaneously.
They may occur due to an accident or injury, or
as a result of deliberate actions and intentions.
The main lesson to be learned here is that there
is no loss of consciousness during the transition
between the waking state and the spiritual travel;
and consciousness survives even after bodily death.