#74 Overlap between Monroe-induced OOBE and psychedelic realms

I had dinner last night with two friends. As we dealt with food coma in our own way, the topic of irregular sleep came up during conversation. First, was apnea, then breathing problems, sleeping positions, sleep paralysis, and more, all of which never really affected my sleep in a chronic way. However, one thing did come up that I know much about, and I have a feeling it has something to do with opening up parts of myself through psychedelics, perhaps tied to the so-called third eye or sixth/ajna chakra. My friend said: just before drifting into sleep he’d occasionally feel an intense, energetic sensation coursing through his body, inducing fear, because he didn’t know what it was. When he told this to his friends, they, knowing what it was, encouraged him to go with it, to let it overtake him. My friend has not been able to give into this sensation yet, nor have I to date, even though I experience it about once a month.

In my opinion, what my friend was speaking about is exactly what I have felt just before falling asleep or when I wake up suddenly during the night. This experience is also recounted by the 20th-century paranormal researcher, Robert Monroe, in his three books. Like my friend and I, Monroe didn’t ask for these experiences. For Monroe, this swirling energetic feeling is one of a series of processes a trained person does just before popping their nonphysical body out of their physical body, that is, out-of-body experiences or OOBE. Apparently, OOBE has come to represent the previously used terms of lucid dreaming and astral travel/projection. This precursory energetic feeling that my friend and I report is exactly what Monroe writes about and he even teaches readers how to do it, since, after complaining to his practicing psychologist and psychiatrist friends in the 1950s, he studied the phenomena (against his will) for 15 years before writing his first book on the topic. Again, according to Monroe, the swirling energy sensation is what you feel just before you “pop out,” and since I knew this because I read his books, I would try my hardest to awaken, reorient myself, then try to fall asleep again once the sensation wore off. I have also felt the presence of nonphysical beings who could have been there to help me pop out. I don’t want their help because I don’t want to pop out, or, at least I’m not ready to yet, so I politely tell them to leave me alone.

If you’re skeptical (as you should be) about this popping-out phenomenon and accessing some other realm whatever whenever and wherever it is, note that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contacted Monroe to teach them the technique. Bear in mind this was during the height of the Cold War and the Americans developed their own paranormal research investigations because they knew the Russians were experimenting with some, say, unconventional espionage techniques such as remote viewing among others that involved altered states.

I occasionally watch the Brian Scott YouTube Channel because he reads aloud many inspirational/motivational out-of-copyright/print, i.e., public domain, hard-to-find books. I was already aware of Monroe, his techniques, and what he claimed to have achieved. What I didn’t know, and stumbled upon recently on Brian Scott’s channel where he reads a document released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, is that the CIA asked Monroe for private instruction in 1978 (title: GONDOLA Wish Assessment Report) and later in 1983 conducted a more thorough investigation and explanation of Monroe’s claimed phenomena. It is this 29-page report from 1983 titled Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process that Scott reads for two hours. It’s a fascinating, unbiased report of what the CIA investigator thinks what happens when one applies Monroe’s techniques to apparently go out of one’s body and into some other place. Topics covered by the CIA investigator in relation to Monroe’s techniques are physics, consciousness, time travel, and holography.

So, I told all this to my friend, and he was a bit blown away. My initial attraction to Monroe’s OOBE techniques is the seeming overlap regarding my psychedelic research: otherworldly realms and beings in those realms. Are the realms that I experience on iboga or other psychedelics and the entities therein the same as the realms Monroe speaks about and teaches readers how to access? Both processes involve altered states of mind/consciousness, both are dealing with very similar phenomena. Perhaps they are the same realms. The only way to test whether they are the same is to get detailed subjective and phenomenological reportage from experiencers about each experience and then compare the results. The instructional brochure from The Monroe Institute’s Gateway Experience says not to combine psychedelics with OOBE techniques. Well, what if you did, what would happen then? I wonder whether Monroe or others in the early days of the institute tried this and things didn’t work out so well for the experimentalist. Regardless the technique, altered states of consciousness seem to produce an experience of otherworldly beings. This is what initially drew me to Monroe’s work.

I suppose my biggest fear about attempting such an OOBE excursion is the same fear that many psychedelic-naïve-but-curious people have about taking psychedelics: can I get back to baseline reality, and if so, how? And just like one cannot get back to baseline reality until the drug wears off, what does the wearing off period during Monroe’s technique involve? How do I make it stop if I hit a rough patch in that world or meet some unsavory characters that I’d prefer to avoid? For many psychedelics, once you ingest, you’re on the ride until it stops. Is it the same for Monroe’s technique, that is, once you start the experience you can’t get off until it stops, or, is there a way to wake up my physical body, since, I cannot wake up my mind because my mind is awake? Another of my hesitations is this: is Monroe’s Other World tied to the supernatural or theological, that is, to what the world religions have been saying all along about the after-death experience (e.g. Heaven; Nirvana) and the only reason we know about those places is because a few of our ancestors knew Monroe’s technique thousands of years ago, applied it, and came back to tell the tale. I must do a bit more research before allowing myself to push through the fear of the nighttime energy sensation I sometimes feel that apparently leads to some other dimension. Like psychedelics, a leap of faith is required, and although I’m as curious as a cat, I don’t want to be harmed or severely rattled in any way either.

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