Scientific experimenters were quick to discover that OBE eyesight is different from physical eyesight. They set up a simple experiment: They placed an object inside a locked room. The subject was supposed to fly into that room and identify the object. The experiment sounds easy enough, but the subjects had problems identifying the objects. The most proficient subjects, such as Ingo Swann and Keith ("Blue") Harary could make drawings of what they saw during OBE experiments. Often the drawings were unrecognizable, or at best distorted. For example, in one experiment part of the "target" was an American flag. Ingo Swann made a very impressive and accurate drawing of the target. However, the flag was drawn as a rectangle with a box in one corner and stripes on the rest of the rectangle. Ingo seemed to see the flag with some clarity, but was unable to identify it as an American flag. Why do such distortions exist?
In an attempt to tell whether some sort of clairvoyance was involved during OBEs, parapsychologists devised an ingenious experiment. They built an optical box that was computer- controlled. The computer would choose a random colors, quadrants, and patterns. The colors and patterns were displayed in the chosen quadrant. The displayed image could only be identified if the subject was standing in a certain position in front of the box, where he or she could interpret the superimposed images as a single image. The complexity of the superimposed visual images was meant to rule out clairvoyance. This experiment had a very small rate of success, but sometimes the target was "seen," as if the subject was actually viewing the box from outside his or her body. But this experiment also had many problems with the eyesight being distorted. Again, why is this?
I believe the distortions in astral eyesight are partly due to the fact that the astral body isn't equipped with eyes which process light. Astral eyes are more for appearance than function. Therefore, the physical brain is forced to give physical interpretations to nonphysical "images." Many of my experiments were devoted to exploring the astral equivalent of eyesight.
I've experienced four basic types of sight during my out-of-body experiences. I call them astral sight, body-sight, mind-sensing and clairvoyance. Of course, there is a fifth category: no sight at all. OBEs can sometimes be very difficult to describe because during the experience you may have switched several times among the four types of sight. One moment you might be mind-sensing, and the next minute you use your astral-sight to look at a particular object, and so on.
Astral sight is best explained as the astral equivalent of physical sight. A good example is OBE #52 in chapter 10. This type of sight is closer to in-the-body physical sight than the other types. With this type of sight, objects seen while out of the body may look just like they do while in the body. This is the most desirable type of sight because it is easier for the physical brain to interpret the images seen during the OBE. The sight is focused at the astral body's eyes and objects usually appear solid. Usually I have to make a special effort to employ this type of sight, and I've noticed that my peripheral vision isn't very good. Here is an example from my journals:
01/25/81 Sun - OBE #31
...Now I was fully conscious. I remembered my sight problem, and decided to look at my waving arm, not sure if it was physical or astral. I looked over, and I saw my arm waving. It seemed to be physical sight. I felt sure I was in my physical body, trying to push myself out. Then I blacked out and woke up in my physical body and found out I had been wrong. I wasn't in my physical body when I thought I was. My physical arm was wedged between my legs, so the arm I saw waving was my astral arm. I had been seeing the astral counterpart of the physical world....
The following example illustrates another important point: eyesight (among other things) is affected by our beliefs and our thoughts.
02/23/80 - OBE #9
...I looked up about 30 degrees and I didn't see my bookshelf, etc. I saw a gray area, almost as if it were a time-tunnel, like the old television show. But it was like a gray cloud.... The strangest thing I find about the astral plane is how astral sight works. It's like a truer "tunnel vision." You see only where you look, and then only what you expect or want to see. I didn't see any of the surroundings of my physical room. For example, I didn't see my dressers or bookshelf, but I could see my own astral body when I expected to see it. OBE #5 also involved the strange sense of sight. [During that experience] I saw the physical pillow, hand, etc., but not my astral hands. When I wanted to see what they were doing, I looked out in front, and slowly the VISION of them swaying gently back and forth FADED IN. They slowly got clearer until I could recognize that they were my hands....
Astral mind-sensing is the type of eyesight that I've experienced most often during my OBEs. This isn't much like true eyesight at all. You can't actually "see" things, but you can "feel" with your mind where everything is. This type of sight isn't centered around astral eyes. Objects are "felt" in all directions simultaneously, by the whole focus of consciousness. This type of sight is very hard to interpret or describe in physical terms. With this type of sight, you can flawlessly navigate a cluttered room but not "see" any particular object in the room. Here are a few examples:
08/15/80 - OBE #21
Sometime during the night I woke up in my astral body, gently swaying inside the physical body. I swayed myself and was mildly surprised when my consciousness swayed too. So I swayed myself harder until my astral feet touched the ground....I decided to try to wake up my mother. So I struggled against the pull of my cord and walked through my door. I went down the kitchen hall and into my parents' bedroom. I saw both of their bodies sleeping there. My dad's body was talking in his sleep. I looked again to see if their bodies glowed from their aura. I didn't notice any glow. I decided to wake my mother up. So I reached out and tried to rouse her by shaking her while saying, "Wake up, Ma." She finally woke up and looked but didn't see me. I tried to get her attention but she finally got up and walked through me!....
Again, my vision [had been] funny; I had thought to look to see if I could see the glow of their auras, and had made a special effort to "look" at their bodies. I couldn't really see, but I could sense things with my mind, sort of like radar. I could feel the presences of things always, but had to make a special effort to "see" with eyes. I realized that at the time, and I made a special effort to "look" so I could bring back a clear memory when I came back; the mind-vision must be very hard to translate into physical terms by the brain.
Body sight is very annoying. I never read about it happening, nor did I think it was possible until I experienced it. This happens when you try to open your astral eyes and your physical eyes open instead, giving you a completely different and confusing perspective. With this type of sight, you can only see in the direction that the body's eyes are pointing. It is often out of focus. This resembles split-consciousness, except that your consciousness is still fully within the astral body. Here are a few examples from my journals:
11/29/80 Sat - OBE #27
...I was out of my body, floating about four feet away from it. I realized at once that I couldn't see, so I made an effort to open my eyes. At that exact moment, for a split-second I had dual-consciousness! I felt my physical body had opened its eyes! While at the same time I was floating above the body, looking down! In other words, I was plainly in my astral body, and I was looking down, but what I saw was from my physical body looking up! I got really confused, was shocked, surprised, whatever, and then I lost consciousness and started dreaming....
12/17/80 Wed - OBE #29
...I was falling asleep when I noticed that I had two sets of arms! I had a lot of control, but my consciousness was not too good. I forced myself down under my bed. I couldn't see anything, nor was I "mind-sensing." But I could feel my [astral] body fine, and I knew where I was. I immediately drew myself up to the ceiling. I didn't propel myself up there, nor did I exactly "think" myself up there. I just drew myself up to the ceiling in what seemed like a natural manner. I still couldn't see. I tried to open my eyes, but it once again seemed as if my physical eyes opened, and I saw from my body's viewpoint. I recognized the danger of this (I might have gotten confused like OBE #27). So I closed my eyes again.
01/24/81 Sat - OBE #30
...I was...about three inches below my physical body. I opened my eyes, and, although my astral self was swaying, my vision was not! I noticed that my sight was normal, and not the usual distorted astral vision, and I wondered why. Then it came to me. Once again, I was seeing through my physical eyes! This has happened before, but now I decided to investigate the matter further. It didn't make sense that I was seeing through my physical body's eyes. I decided to try to figure it out. I reached out my (astral) hand in front of me and my face. I looked through my physical eyes, and saw nothing but the ceiling and the overhead light. My physical body wasn't seeing my astral arm, which I plainly felt as being right in front of my physical eyes. I didn't feel any discomfort, but I thought my physical eyes had been open a long time, and they needed blinking. So I blinked them, and it was a normal blink. I did it again. When I blinked, for that split-second, it seemed as though my astral head floated up to meet my physical head. Then when I blinked I felt my head as being physical, although my astral legs were still dangling. Well, I decided that it would remain a mystery. I decided to go do something, so I pulled myself up about five feet above my body. I also closed my eyes so they wouldn't disturb me....
"Clairvoyance" is the term I use to define a whole grab-bag of different types of sight, such as seeing auras and receiving images of people and places that aren't present. I believe that "remote-viewing" mainly uses this type of sight, which used to be called "traveling clairvoyance" years ago. I believe anyone can learn to use this type of sight, whether out of the body or in, with practice. Here are a few examples from my OBE journals:
10/24/81 Sat - OBE #52
...I was off to another excursion. When I got out, I was about one foot above my body. I sat up. I knew what I must do. I had to get to LD's house somehow. I thought to myself, "I know there are two possible routes I could take, either the back door or out through my window." But I heard the back door open and shut. I directed my attention over there, and my clairvoyant vision opened up. I saw that it was my mom coming in from outside. I also noticed the clock in the kitchen, but it was too blurry to see the time. I remember that it was more like second-sight or clairvoyant vision....
05/15/82 Sat - OBE #73
...I looked down at my swaying legs, but all I saw was my bed. I saw no legs. I thought, "Well, now is the best time to practice clairvoyant vision because I know what to look for [my legs]." So I half closed my astral eyes, and put them out of focus. I experimented with my eyes, and finally after about six tries I found how to hold my eyes so that they would get the clearest clairvoyant sight [of my legs]. I cannot possibly describe any more how I used my eyes to see that way; it is something that can only be gained through experimenting. Anyway, I was seeing clairvoyantly, and I clearly saw two identical sets of legs. One set [the physical] was resting on the bed. The other set [the astral] was swaying up and down, and the physical bed wasn't affecting it in the least. I feel now that I was actually using clairvoyant sight or "second sight" because I noticed a difference between it and the usual astral sight. The astral sight I am used to usually doesn't give me great detail. In this projection I saw my legs, the pajamas I was wearing, and the exact design on those pajamas. Ordinarily when I look at my legs astrally I either see them as bare legs, or I see clothing vaguely. In this [mode of] vision I also noticed many other details. The neatest thing was being able to see both sets of legs there. Both sets of legs looked semi-transparent, and I could distinguish color very well.
07/25/82 Sun - OBE #80
...I looked at my [astral] arms, not astrally, but clairvoyantly, as if trying to see a spirit from the physical world. My [astral] arms were transparent when I looked at them that way. They looked like transparent, dark black filmy shadows. I studied them for a while, then blacked out.
Astral travelers have always reported differences between the physical world and the OBE world. For instance, a door that is closed physically might appear open while out of the body. Why are there differences? The most common explanation is that we aren't really seeing the physical world: We are seeing the astral counterpart of the physical world. It is said that the astral world is very plastic and when left alone, it molds itself to the shape of physical objects. I've also seen some peculiar things while out of the body:
What is it we're seeing while we're out of the body? If we're seeing only the astral counterpart of physical objects, it follows that we should not be able to see our own body. After all, we are already using the astral body. I haven't looked at my physical body much during OBEs, but when I do it usually looks like a blob of gray. However, it hasn't always appeared as I expect:
04/27/80 - OBE #15
Sometime this morning I found myself conscious out of my body, but very near it. My first instincts were to get away from it. So when I thought about getting away, I drifted down, through my bed underneath my body. I could feel the bed as I went through it. I saw my body through the bed as a body-shaped mass of gray matter. I thought, "No, I don't want to go down. I want to go up." Then I drifted up above my body to the ceiling. I started to drift through the ceiling, and I could feel the layers go through my arms and head. It was so strange!
When I was halfway through the ceiling, I was sensing things with my mind and not using my astral sense of sight. I thought, "I'm supposed to see what's up here (above my room)." So I quickly turned my head to look, saw some stuff like a dresser flash by my sight and the next thing I knew I was back in my body.
01/31/81 Sat - OBE #33
...I could see okay on the astral plane. I was in the high-vibration state, swaying. I was also about five inches below my physical body. My physical body from the astral plane looked like a ghost might on the physical plane. It looked to me to be a transparent shell in the shape of a man, with nothing in the middle....
01-15-84 Sun - OBE #101
...At that time I realized that my eyes were closed and I really wasn't seeing anything at all. My vision was totally dark. So I opened my astral eyes and turned around to look back at my body. The room looked normal. I could see everything in it. I looked at my bed and it looked just like it should: all messed up. But there wasn't a body on it that I could see! I tried squinting, but I still didn't see my body. I did notice that the bed linen was flattened, as if there was some object on it, but the object was totally and completely invisible. I thought, "Oh that's interesting. I wonder why I can't see it." I closed my eyes and tried to turn on clairvoyance. I could barely mind-sense my body as a filmy, gray shadow on the bed. I just thought, "Hm. Oh well," and decided to go do something....
During several experiences I noticed clouds of gray hanging in midair. I still don't know what they are or why they exist. It seems to be undefined astral matter.
During a few OBEs I noticed a strange light that I could not explain. As far as I know, this is not common in OBEs, but many people have reported seeing similar lights during near-death experiences (NDEs). Here are some examples from my journals:
12/20/79 Thu - OBE #4
...strong vibrations came. I stayed calm. They "took over." I came out of my body about four feet away. I saw a bright light to the west. I was halfway through my wall between my bedroom and the living room. I looked back and saw my body. I was then slowly drawn toward it. I thought, "No! I'm not done! I want to go to JP's house! I want to go to JP and CA! I want to go!". I was sucked partially in my body. I kept part of me out. I could move both bodies (astral and physical). My arms were astral, but my eyes were both astral and physical! I waved my left arm right in front of my face and looked through my physical eyes. I couldn't see them! I could feel them there but I couldn't see them. I wanted to see them, so suddenly I did. I could partially move my other limbs. I decided to go back [and end the experience]....
03/07/82 Sun - OBE #66
...I looked and I saw a tiny, but concentrated, pinpoint of bright light to the West, and up a little bit. I was intrigued by it, and I stared at it. It didn't seem to be a physical light. I tried focusing my eyes in a number of different ways to try to see it more clearly. I tried to look at it with physical sight, astral sight, mind-sensing, and many other forms of sight. I tried to magnify it in my vision. I don't know why I was so fascinated with it. I started staring at it almost hypnotically. I wondered if it had anything to do with my body, or if I was waking up. Then I felt my consciousness slowly transported back to my physical body and I was still quite loose from my body. I started swaying again, but I felt all of my senses come slowly back to my body. The swaying became slower and slower, then finally stopped, and I came to.
Sometimes I've seen things that didn't make any sense:
06/27/82 Sun - OBE #76
...My eyes opened and I astrally saw a very blurry sight that did not make sense. This lasted for a split-second, and it was followed by another picture that was very clear, but it was very short in duration. This second sight [vision] looked like a square rainbow, or a square representation of the spectrum of light. I could see nothing but gray around this box of colors. In this box, leftmost, was a bigger block of pure black. To the right of the black portion were six or so other colors that were either in the order of the rainbow (red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet) or in reverse order (violet-blue-green-yellow-orange-red). I remember it clearly. This box of colors was to the right [side] of my field of vision. Anyway, this vision faded, and I again saw the blurry first vision. Then I felt a tremendous electrical shock hit my system, as if I stuck my finger in a light socket and received a full 110-volt electrical shock. This shock hit every cell of my body and I was slammed back to my body. My heart was beating wildly, beyond control, as if the shock was physical....
Through practice, it is possible to learn to control out-of-body vision. I recommend you experiment with the different types of sight to see what works best for you. I recommend using a form of sight that can be expressed in physical terms when you return to your body and want to record the experience.
Many books on out-of-body experiences claim that OBEs are completely controlled by our thoughts, beliefs, expectations and wishes. But if this is true, how "real" is it? Where does it fit in with our experience of the "real" or "objective" world? If you leave your body and travel to Jupiter, and believe the planet is blue instead of orange, will you see a blue Jupiter or an orange one? In either case, are you really seeing the "real" planet, or one which was created in your mind? This is a very perplexing question that deserves more attention.
There are many people who have reported OBEs in which they saw things that really did happen. The most common of these are the descriptions by patients undergoing surgery, who claim to have witnessed the whole procedure from outside their body. Some have reported details of the procedure that they could not have possibly known, such as where the doctors put gall stones that were removed. Some patients have accurately repeated conversations that went on during the surgery. Skeptics may dismiss such cases by theorizing that some subconscious part of the patient still had cognitive abilities during the operation, and assuming that somehow the patient accessed this subconscious memory when they awoke. This theory cannot explain the less common cases where OBE subjects have reported what was happening in a different room. These seem to suggest that the subject could actually see some part of physical reality.
There are also many cases where people saw things during an OBE that didn't correspond to the physical world. For instance, take the following OBE:
12/21/85 Sat - OBE #119
I brought myself down into the proper mental state, very easily, and I got out of my body using an older technique: I waited for a certain feeling in the pit of my stomach, moved my consciousness down to my abdomen, then lifted myself straight up at that place, and out of the body. It all happened very quickly and it seemed ridiculously easy at the time.
I was in midair floating about two feet above my physical body. I turned to my left (South), and raised myself into a standing position. I looked at the North wall, and briefly considered whether to walk through it. I decided against it.
I took a few steps toward the back of the bedroom, to the West. I felt a bit giddy and off balance. Then I took a few steps East, toward the bedroom door again. I felt unsure of my footing, and I assumed it was because I was too close to my physical body. I decided that I had to get farther away from my body, and the safest way to do that was to crawl on my hands and knees.
I got down on my hands and knees, and crawled toward the bedroom door, crawled through the bedroom door, and out into the living room. I crawled about six feet more until I was in the middle of the living room, and then stood up again, and walked over toward the kitchen.
I looked into the kitchen, and it looked different. At the time I was standing partially through the microwave oven stand, but I didn't notice it, nor any of the other nearby objects in the room. I looked toward the countertop right of the sink, and there was no countertop! It appeared as if someone had cut out the countertop at the sink, all the way back to the wall, and the wall looked somewhat dirty. It looked as if whoever cut the countertop out did a very sloppy job. I scanned the area up and down, and finally I said to myself, "It's an illusion; I know the kitchen isn't like this, but that's not important."
I walked back into the living room, stopped by JH's computer, and suddenly I became very excited. I said aloud (or so it seemed), "This is great! I'm completely lucid! This is entirely real!" I examined my own consciousness, and it was very clear, bright, lucid, and normal in every respect....
Why are there discrepancies between the physical and nonphysical worlds? Some people claim that astral matter is easily malleable, and imitates physical objects, but not completely. Others claim it's because some OBEs occur in the "astral plane" which is influenced by our beliefs and expectations. Or perhaps the people who find themselves in a thought-influenced, subjective OBE state are really having Lucid Dreams.
Another theory is that some people have a kind of "clairvoyance" which allows them to see the physical world during an OBE, much like a clairvoyant can see spirits while in the body. Again, more research is needed to answer these questions.
This is a variation of the previous exercise.
Before you attempt the exercise, sit in a rocking chair, close your eyes and rock. Memorize the feeling of rocking with your eyes closed. This is how you should feel when you are doing the exercise.
You can do this either laying down or sitting. First, close your eyes and relax. As vividly as you can, imagine that you're sitting in a rocking-chair, rocking gently forward and backward. Take your time doing this. In this exercise, it's not important to visualize at all. As a matter of fact, you can completely ignore any visual images that come to mind. In previous exercises, I wanted you to vividly pretend you were seeing images, like the yoyo exercise in chapter 9. This time, I want you to vividly imagine the feeling of rocking back and forth. Keep at it until it seems as if your consciousness is really rocking.
Once again, this is more than just a silly exercise. I've used this imaginary feeling of rocking to leave my body. Actually, I used a slight variation, which went as follows: Some good movie-theaters have seats like a rocking-chair, but they have very tight springs. The tight springs make them more "springy" than regular rocking chairs, and they rock very quickly. Anyway, I would imagine I was sitting in one of these springy theater seats and start rocking. Pretty soon the vibrations would come, and I'd use the momentum to catapult away from the body.
Again, this exercise is very important. It's probably more effective for me than some of the other exercises, because it deals directly with feelings and bodily sensations instead of visualizations or imaginary sounds.
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