Sunday, June 30, 2013

The General and The Monk

I'm not sure of the origin or accuracy, but I have always loved this tale:

In ancient times there was a conquering army going through villages wreaking havoc and mayhem. The soldiers killed indiscriminately and were especially harsh on the monks, taking special care to humiliate and torture them, before killing them. When the army arrived in a town the general asked for a report. His subordinate replied, “The population is subdued and terrified!” This gave the general some satisfaction. Then the subordinate continued, “In the local monastery all monks have fled, except one.”
Hearing this, the general became furious. He rushed to the monastery to meet the monk who dared defy him. When he saw the monk he pulled his sword out and pushed it towards his stomach and hissed in a low but terrifying voice, “Don’t you know who I am? Why, I could take this sword and run it through your belly without blinking my eye!”
The monk was not fazed, he replied gently, “And don’t you know who I am? I could have your sword run through my belly without blinking an eye.”
The general was awestruck. He sheathed his sword, bowed, and left without uttering another word.

Monday, June 17, 2013

False Awakening

Consciousness Exploration Journal

I was having and extensive dream about being in Joshua Tree. The dream ended, and I woke up to vibrations. I encouraged the vibrations until I was eventually able to get up "out" of my body. My bedroom was much different than normal. I walked over to a large mirror that was along one wall. I started to get lost in the vastness of the reflection, so I moved away from the mirror and decided to attempt to observe some data that I could verify later. I began to head out of the bedroom, but as I began to turn the door handle, I found myself back in bed with vibrations. Knowing that it would be a distraction later, I opted to get up and use the restroom before trying to explore more. While in the bathroom, it struck me that I should do a reality check to make sure that I was actually awake. I quickly realized that I was not actually in the bathroom, and found myself again in bed with vibrations. I was able to determine that I was partly awake in my actual room. I encouraged the vibrations and began to get the sensations of sleep paralysis. They slowly increased. I normally experience sleep paralysis on my back, but this time I was laying on my side and slightly curled up. I felt some pain with the vibrations - especially around my ribs. It was not overly uncomfortable, and I recognized that it was just an aspect of the sleep paralysis. I tried to ignore the discomfort and focus in of the various noises that were slowly building in the distance. The distraction of still needing to use the restroom was too great, so I stopped the state and got out of bed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Taste of Everything

Consciousness Exploration Journal

I woke up at 5:15am to meditate. I was in and out of various hypnogogic blips the whole time. I was struggling too much to maintain my awareness, so I took off the headphones and just let myself drift off. I repeated, "now I am out of body" as I fell asleep. At some point later, I suddenly became fully aware. I had the impression that "I" had just asked the question, "who am I." The answer that I was getting back was something like, "you are everything." I briefly found myself engulfed in what I might describe as white fuzz - it was a feeling of being a very powerful and active energy. The feeling was amazing and exhilarating, but at the same time, overwhelming. After only experiencing this briefly, I heard a yell as if somebody was falling off a cliff. The voice sounded like my own - and one that I have heard during sleep paralysis. The experience quickly ended after that. I am trying not to make any assumptions about the experience - I can only say that it felt very, very good. It seems likely that "I" was frightened by the sensation of loosing my identity (the yelling voice). Hard to say. I tried to settle into the experience again, but eventually drifted back to sleep. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Consciousness Art - "Data Streams"

This painting deals with my experiences in shifting between normal, waking reality and the out-of-body state. Words don't always do much justice to the process. The title Data Streams comes from the idea that this process of transition feels very much like receiving multiple streams of input at the same time - until a complete transition is made in either direction. It has been overwhelming at times, but the experiences that follow are always worthwhile. At any rate, it feels something like this:

Data Stream
Oil on Canvas
30" X 48"

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dean Radin's Show Me Page

Dean Radin recently made the following comment on his blog:

Critics are fond of saying that's there is no scientific evidence for psi. They wave their fist in the air and shout, "Show me the evidence!" Then they turn red and have a coughing fit. In less dramatic cases a student  might be genuinely curious and open-minded, but unsure where to begin to find reliable evidence about psi. Google knows all and sees all, but it doesn't know how to interpret or evaluate what it knows (at least not yet).   
In the past, my response to the "show me" challenge has been to give the titles of a few books to read, point to the bibliographies in those books, and advise the person to do their homework. I still think that this is the best approach for a beginner tackling a complex topic. But given the growing expectation that information on  virtually any topic ought to be available online within 60 seconds, traditional methods of scholarship are disappearing fast. 
So I've created a SHOW ME page with downloadable articles on psi and psi-related topics, all published in peer-reviewed journals. Most of these papers were published after the year 2000. Most report experimental studies or meta-analyses of  classes of experiments. I will continue to add to this page and flesh it out, including links to recent or to especially useful ebooks. This page may eventually become annotated, then multithreaded and hyperlinked, and then morph into a Wiki.

Thank goodness for this list. The amount of evidence is overwhelming. It only took hundreds of years for people to accept the evidence that the earth was round and not flat. Luckily we are on internet time now, so the word spreads a bit faster. As Tom Campbell is fond of saying, "the truth is not fragile." Eventually everybody will see the elephant in the room. For now, we wait.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Binaural Beats

Over the last few years, I have created, borrowed, and purchased various binaural beats to use as a meditation aid to consciously shift to the out-of-body state. Below are a few of the beats with which I have had some success. Finding a beat that works well for you is a matter of trial and error. So, the beats below may be useful for some, while not at all for others. 

If you are unfamiliar with binaural beats or want to know more, this post by Tom Campbell on the My Big TOE discussion forum is a great intro:

Tom also discusses binaural beats in his Calgary lecture on youtube. The actual discussion begins around 5 minutes into the video. However, I would recommend just starting from the beginning as it contains pertinent information. 

Also useful is wikipedia’s entry on the matter:

About the binaural beat files: 

These tracks may cause sleep or deeply relaxed states. Do not listen to these files while driving or during other situations in which your full waking consciousness is required.

Each file contains a mix of the binaural beat tones, the sound of ocean waves, and white noise. All audio fades in very slowly (and out), so you will need to go to the middle of the track to set an appropriate volume level before beginning. A low volume will work fine - louder is not necessarily better. Use what is comfortable.  

At about 2 minutes into each track there is a light, single bass tone. This is a reminder to make sure that you are comfortable and to begin quieting your thoughts and letting go of any intellectual chatter. 

At around 35 minutes the binaural beat fades out. At 36 minutes, there are three short tones followed by a simple song played on a bass guitar. These tones are to help bring you back to full waking consciousness. The short song is to give you a few moments to reorient yourself. 

The name of the files below represents the tone used and the difference in hertz. Example: "100_3_8.mp3"  has a 100 hertz tone in one ear and a 103.8 hertz tone in the other ear. The result is a 3.8 hertz binaural beat. Remember to use headphones. 

The files:

These last two files (below) were created by Targobaath on the My Big TOE forum and are based on suggestions given to Tom Campbell by “Thor” (during Tom’s early years working with Bob Monroe). To listen to the audio in which this advice is given, you can visit the Explorer Series page on The Monroe Institute's website. The specific recording is entitled “Explorer Series # 16 Male/Female Principles Within the Self.” The instructions come up at about 8:25 in the audio. The Explorer Series are always interesting! 

For those that have some experiencing with binaural beats and/or meditation and don’t mind an abrupt start and end, this first version contains no ramping or fading. It is a solid 1 hour mix of a 200 Hz, 50 Hz, and 4 Hz binaural beat. 

In the second version of the above file, the primary binaural beat ramps down over several minutes from 12 Hz to 4 Hz, and the other frequencies are slowly faded in. This can help aid a smooth transition in and out of the session. This version would be the better option if you are new to binaural beats or meditation.

As Tom mentions in the video and post above, these binaural beats are just tools - comparable to training wheels. As you become more familiar with what at good meditative state “feels” like, you will no longer need them and will find that they can prevent further progress. However, they are a great way to jump start a good mediation practice and seem to work well for most people. 

Happy exploring.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Welcome to your Life

I have heard and used several different analogies to describe and explain how this reality is a learning environment - a spiritual schoolhouse of sorts. The excerpt below from William Buhlman's book The Secret of the Soul is a great one to add to the list. It is an excellent book by the way.

Secret of the Soul by William Buhlman, page 80-81

Just for a moment, imagine that you live in a magnificent ethereal world of indescribable beauty - a world consisting of subtle energies, where every thought you create instantly molds and shapes the immediate environment around you. Imagine a perfect world where your thoughts instantly create any reality you choose. Whatever your heart desires is suddenly made manifest before you. It is a glorious land overflowing with living light, a land where death, disease, and limitations, are nonexistent. Imagine yourself in an ideal world where everyone is free to explore and develop their creative pursuits and experience their unlimited potential. Does this sound like heaven?
Just think what an immature or undisciplined being could and would do in this ideal thought-responsive world. Picture the chaos and destruction that a single primitive mind could create. One undisciplined mind would wreak complete havoc, destroying the perfection of the subtle environments and the privacy of all the inhabitants. 
Now for a moment imagine what kind of educational environment would be the perfect training ground for this undisciplined mind. What kind of school would you create to educate this primitive state of consciousness? What kind of lessons would effectively train this disruptive mind to coexist in the though-responsive heavenly dimensions?
Welcome to the slowed-down molecular training ground of consciousness. Welcome to the dense training ground of matter, where focused thoughts are required in order to create and prosper. Welcome to the ideal environment where the young and undisciplined mind can learn by trial and error without contaminating the pure realm of spirit. Welcome to your life. 

You can find out more about William Buhlman at his website:

The Path Interviews: William Buhlman

This is one of my favorite clips of William Buhlman. It reminds me that going through the motions of every day life is akin to being in a dream. We have the opportunity to become lucid and aware in any experience - and in all cases the results are usually astounding.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sleep Paralysis

Bedeekin from the Astral Pulse forum took the time to create the following write-up about sleep paralysis. I have experienced sleep paralysis hundreds of times over the last 20 years. It was only in the last 8 years or so that I began to fully piece everything together in terms of what was occurring during these experiences. Based on my own direct experiences and research, not only is this write-up accurate, but it will no doubt be immensely helpful to those that are currently sorting our their own experiences with sleep paralysis. Many thanks to Bedeekin for his efforts.

The text below was cut and pasted (with permission) from Bedeekin's post at Astral Pulse.

A little Introduction

First off I will tackle Sleep Paralysis (SP) also known as Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis (RISP) from its physical reality side rather than its NPR side. Both are intertwined at equal degree, but the sensations encountered are primarily physical in nature being interpreted by your NPR sensibilities. Put another way; it is a dual-consciousness state. The sensations felt and in turn manifested through NP interpretation can be very overwhelming. The function of this little article is to help you link those sensations to normal functions of the body and hopefully dissipate the fear commonly encountered. I have written about SP several times and therefore researched it for many years and will pull form those writings in order to construct this treatise with objective reasoning and available scientific information. I have also experienced it for a lot longer so can also assess the phenomena subjectively due to many years of experimentation.  

The cultural history of SP

SP comes under several names in modern western culture such as; Second State, Phase State and Vibrational or Vibratory state to name but a few. However our modern terms have nothing on the abundance of descriptions given to it by other cultures throughout history. The term ‘nightmare’ for instance, now used to describe a bad dream or unpleasant situation stems from an old English term of Germanic origin ‘maere’ meaning ‘Goblin’ or ‘Incubus’. It wasn’t until the 1300s that it appeared as ‘nigt-mare’, as a roughly shortened version of the descriptive ‘the mare who comes in the night’. Old English folk-law also used the term ‘The Old Hag” and the process of this as being ‘Hag Ridden’. It is thought that the Salem witch trials of 1692 that resulted in 19 executions and 150 accusations may have been fueled by locals reporting SP. 

The perceived presence that often accompanies SP has been given many names and is often associated with the beliefs of the culture. In Turkey SP is called Karabasan, which means “dark presser or assailant” and the presence referred to as a Djinn, a nighttime demon of Islamic faith that can be banished by reciting certain lines of the Qur’an.  Pakistan culture calls it Bakhtak or the IfritIn and is associated with black magic performed by enemies or jealous people. In Thai folk-law it is the Phi Am. The people of New Guinea refer to it a Suk Ninmyo, believed to originate from sacred trees that requires human essence to sustain its life yet is not thought of as evil in nature. In Hungarian folk culture SP is called Lidércnyomás and the presence is attributed to several entities such as faeries, Wraiths and witches. One is called Ördögszeretö, which means ‘Demon Lover’.

Other cultures describe the crushing or pressing down sensation. In Japan SP is called Kanishibari, which literally means ‘Bound or fastened in metal’. In Mongolian culture it is referred to by the verb-phrase Khar Derakh, meaning, “to be pressed by the Black” or “when the Dark presses”. In Vietnam it is called ma dè meaning ‘held down by a Ghost” or bóng dè meaning “held down by a shadow”. In Bangladeshi it is referred to as boba meaning “Speechless”. In Arabic culture SP is called Kaboos, which means “pressers”, or Ja-thoom, meaning “what sits heavily on someone”. These examples are a relatively small selection of many more cross cultural references. There are probably names for SP and their associated sensations for every culture throughout human history that have been lost. 

So what is Sleep Paralysis?

Many people associate SP with being a necessity for experiencing NPMR. This is a fallacy. True, it is a direct route into the altered state of consciousness that IS ‘nonphysical’, but far too often it is lingered and pondered upon much to the distraction of the uninitiated. It can actually be said that SP is not meant to be experienced. If it were, there wouldn’t be a plethora of anesthetic mechanisms naturally put in place that cause us not to experience it. Usually SP is an unconscious process that happens when we enter REM sleep that inhibits us from acting out our non-physical incursions. It is a natural physical anesthetic. The medical term for this process is REM atonia (atonia meaning a lack of muscular tension). Being aware of this state that the body has put so much effort into concealing is what we experience as Sleep Paralysis. I will add here that sleepwalking isn’t an REM state phenomenon but rather takes place during Slow Wave Sleep State. 

Why do I get Sleep Paralysis?

To understand why a little better we need to briefly discuss the sleep stages. When we go to sleep we enter 4 stages of slow wave or Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Stage1, also called transitional sleep lasts only a few minutes until it evolves into our “baseline” stage 2 sleep. It is from this stage that next 3 stages develop.  Stage 2 takes up approximately 50 – 65% of our sleep time. Within 15 to 20 minutes we have slowly evolved into stage 3 then stage 4, which is marked by Delta Sleep that has the same brain wave pattern as a coma.  After these stages that last approximately 20 – 30 minutes We suddenly slip back into a very brief stage 2 (which is often marked by what can be called a micro-wake) and almost immediately change gears into a the very active brain wave pattern known as Paradoxical or REM sleep. Our heart rate and respiration increases substantially and we lose our ability to use our skeletal muscles known as striated muscles.

Sleep Paralysis occurs when we have previously slept through our slow wave sleep stages and wake for a period before attempting sleep or during REM sleep without breaking brainwave pattern.  This is not always the case and it takes the right amount of slow wave sleep and conditions for SP to manifest.  SP usually follows after a period of wakefulness from slow wave sleep that is marked by Sleep Inertia. Put another way, one will most likely experience SP after waking up from a dreamless nap that leaves one groggy, itchy eyed, likely to want to return to sleep and shivery; this is due to the drop in body temperature during the end of stage 4 sleep. Attempting to go to sleep forces one to instantly enter REM while still relatively conscious. 

If SP is entered involuntarily it has usually gathered enough hypnogogic (subconscious) thought to contain more hallucinatory qualities. If SP is induced by using a short focused meditation the hallucinatory qualities will be less evident and the sensations can be viewed (or ignored) objectively.

So what are all these sensations about?

As we discussed above there are many sensations that bring about the cultural names attributed to SP and those described in the posts on this forum. These can be broken down into four main types.

•   Tactile sensations
•   Auditory sensations
•   Visual hallucinations
•   Perceived presence 

Tactile sensations.

The main sensations felt during SP are commonly a buzzing or vibrational feelings in parts or throughout the body, the uncomfortable feelings of being pushed down or having a ‘lead blanket’  (asphyxiation) over ones body and the inability to move (paralysis). However it isn’t true paralysis. Paralysis is the total blockage of nerve messages sent to and from the brain. The partial paralysis during SP (REM atonia) is a one-way blockage (called neuron depolarization) of receptors turned off going to the muscle; and only striated (bone connected) muscles. This is REM atonia. As mentioned before, This ensures that we don’t act out our NPR activities yet retains the ability to still receive feedback to the brain in case we are in trouble physically; like someone entering the room or a predator attacking us. During SP we are aware of this normally unconscious feedback from our muscles. When in REM atonia the one way signal is extremely low and rather than being a flowing sensation (one that we don’t notice in waking life) it is staccato or strobe-like in nature and feels like an electric impulse. In fact, that is exactly what it is; low frequency electric impulses. This gives us the vibrational sensation. When we are calm and focused these vibrations are very subtle and can feel very gentle – very much like Nitrous Oxide intoxication. If we are fearful of the experience or panic our body releases adrenaline which stimulates the heart, pumping blood around the body causing violent and overwhelming vibrational buzzing. 

The lead blanket or pressing is also caused by the REM atonia.  As we mentioned it’s only striated muscle neurons that become depolarized leaving them unable to be controlled voluntarily. These include the intercostal muscles between your ribs. Involuntary breathing is autonomous during REM and is controlled entirely unconsciously by the hypothalamus in the brain and is carried out by the diaphragm muscles that aren’t bone connected. When you panic or try to breath voluntarily during SP you are in effect fighting your brains automatic breathing system using paralyzed muscles; leading to the sensation of being sat upon or pressed down.   

Auditory sensations.

There are a plethora of sounds heard during SP such as Rumbling, buzzing, screaming, whistling, banging, electronic pulsing, footsteps, babbling, crying, laughing, white noise, ringing, a boing 747, wailing, whispering, words, sentences, marching, breathing, heart beat…. I could go on. While most of them are subjective and may be NPR in nature there are specific physical phenomena that occurs in the middle ear during REM that causes most of the vibratory, rumbling and buzzing noises.

Your middle ear consists of three little bones (the smallest bones in the body) that are hinged to allow for the passage of vibrations into your inner ear or cochlea. These bones have a really clever dampening mechanism that kicks in whenever a loud sound like a clap or bang is heard. 

Go into a quiet room, clap your hands and you should hear a slight rumble in your ear during and after. 

This is performed by your bodies smallest bone connected muscle (can you see where I’m going here?)  called the Timpani Tensor muscle. Some people can voluntarily tense this muscle causing the rumbling heard when you clapped. 

During REM atonia these muscles naturally vibrate due to the depolarization and because they are part of your auditory system can be actually heard. The onset of SP is usually marked by little spasms of these muscles creating intermittent bursts of tickly rumbling. It can be quite pleasant.

Visual Hallucinations.

Our eyes and eyelids aren’t controlled by bone connected muscles. This is why it’s called REM – rapid eye movement. But although they aren’t paralyzed they cant be moved very efficiently. This is why when one tries to open the eyes it is difficult to focus and indeed keep them binocular. What happens is akin to a ‘magic eye’ picture or any 3D effect. Your eyes naturally grab shadows and patterns that cause your eyes to bring two separate spots of darkness together – like a dark corner in your bedroom and a shadow caused by a cabinet or other object in the room next to it – causing a 3D effect. The shadow literally jumps out, proud of the surroundings. Now, couple this with the fact that you are also being fueled by fear and creating forms non-physically and you have yourself a perceived shadow creature. 

Perceived presence or ‘the intruder’

This is the most commonly reported aspect of SP yet is also the least specific and perhaps the most fundamental.  The terror that accompanies it is extremely common.  It is difficult to assess whether the sense of presence brings on the fear or whether the fear generates the sense of presence. 

There are many variations of the presence… sometimes it is out of sight, just around the corner and sometimes fully realized in glorious HD. It is fair to assume that the latter is a nonphysical manifestation brought on by fear of the unknown. 

To describe the process neurologically would require a bit of knowledge in neuroscience. I’ll try to explain without getting too technical. 

Studies show that when a person is experiencing SP the cortical center lights up like a pinball machine. The function of the cortical center is the synthesis and making sense of available stimuli. This part of the brain is normally on full power during waking life, but when in SP the information received is purely internal and filtered through the Amygdala, which is the raw emotional centre of the brain. The sense of presence is believed to be formed by this stimulation of the Amygdala by bursts originating in the Pontine Reticula formation (responsible for sleep-awake cycle). In normal ‘emergencies fear reactions’ the immediate sense of danger is quickly confirmed or disconfirmed. In the absence of outside stimuli, attempts to analyze the source of the fear will inevitably fail to produce corroboration. But the fear is originating  from within so what would normally last a second or two continues throughout the SP episode as a prolonged and rising sense of fear of your fear.

To put it very basically if you glazed over , you are sensing your fear sensing you sensing your fear sensing you sensing your fear and so on and so forth… a type of biometric feedback.

How can I stop the fear?

The way to fully put an end to the fear is to stop the SP process entirely. To play the 'get out of jail free' card either wiggle your toes, fingers or simply jerk your whole body physically. It takes a bit of willpower but is highly effective. 

If you wish to carry on using SP as your springboard to NPR, You can meditate and focus yourself not to enter SP while you are thinking subconscious or hypnogogic thoughts. Maintain concentration.

Another way to overcome SP is by practice and repeated exposure to it.

There are many members here who can guide you to defeat the fear, whether through your belief or by pragmatic explanation.


SP is not a prerequisite for experiencing the NPR and can be avoided by not trying to phase or practice after a short nap. Although it is a direct root it can be a massive distraction and as I have explained most of the sensations are physical in nature. Your task is to direct your focus away form your physical, almost by performing a mock slow wave sleep (meditation/phasing) exercise.

Please be aware that this article is purely based on the physical phenomenology present during SP and in no way attempts to explain the more sublte non-physical interactions that may take place.

Please feel free to ask more questions as I have only explained the basics.

I will periodically update this post.



Ohayon,M.M.,Zulley,Guilleminault,C.andSmirne,S. - Prevalence and pathological associations of sleepparalysis in the general population.Neurol.,1999,52:1194–1200.

Jean-Christophe Terrillion - Does Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis Involve More Than Cognitive Neurosciences? Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 15, No. 1, p. 97–123, 2001 

Anna Pissiota - Fear, Startle, and Fear-Potentiated Startle, Probing Emotion in the Human Brain. Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of SocialSciences 127

William H. Cooke - Justice at Salem, Reexamining the Witch Trials.

Cheyne, J.; Rueffer, S.; Newby-Clark, I. (1999). "Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis: Neurological and Cultural Construction of the Night-Mare". Consciousness and Cognition 8: 319–337.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Consciousness Art - "Roy's"

This is a painting from about a year ago. I will likely rework it in the future as inspiration allows. For now, it is what it is. This concept was not based on any specific experience, but was more of a visual experiment related to multiple out-of-body experiences.

Oil on Canvas
36" X 48"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Field Trip

Consciousness Exploration Journal

I suddenly became lucid in a dream. I was flying over the land below. My son was to my right holding my hand. We flew near some sort of underground tunnel. My son was drifting toward it as if he wanted to fly through it. I had the impression that the tunnel was not a good choice, so I pulled him in close and we flew past the tunnel. It was truly a great time to fly with my son. We eventually approached a beach. The sensations of the cool air and the vividness of the crashing waves were exhilarating. I could sense my son's excitement as well. At one point, we noticed what looked like walruses swimming through the water. There were four or so swimming from a small island to the shore. We observed the scene for some time from the air. Eventually the experience ended.

The next morning, I asked my son if he remembered any of his dreams from the night before. He was not able to recall any.