Full title: The Out of Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel.
I found this to be a fascinating study into the various forms of out of body experiences and the science behind them. Unfortunately, the second half of the book that deals with quantum mechanics and multiple dimensions went over my head. So, The Out of Body Experience may lend itself more towards engineers and mechanical minded types rather than artists, but that’s ok. Engineers need interesting books to read too. 🙂
Peake is very clear about the goals of this book: “In its pages I will review the evidence that such altered states of consciousness are subjectively real experiences; I will delve into the science by which consciousness can seemingly locate itself outside of the body and I will, finally, present my own hypotheses as to what may be happening when a person experiences such perceptions. As with all my books, I will simply present the information. It is you, dear reader, who will decide whether you accept my conclusions or not.” loc 98, ebook. I felt like he accomplished all of that, but I was left with a sense of confusion/awe rather than clarity/awe. I had the same feeling when I tried to listen to a lecture by Amit Goswami. I knew enough to know that I had no idea what he was saying.
In this passage, he’s talking about shamanistic out of body experiences, something I do know a bit about: “Indeed, in my discussions with my shaman contacts, it became clear that what is encountered is a series of worlds full of archetypes pulled up from the deepest areas of the subconscious mind. However, what is of significance is that these beings seem to have motivations of their own, as if they have an existence independent of the shamanic traveller. This implied to me that although these worlds may be a creation of the mind, they also have a reality that challenges our present materialistic model of how the universe functions.” loc 261, ebook It is pretty trippy stuff.
Peake also tackled why remote viewers have trouble proving the validity of their experiences with verifiable facts in lab settings: “I am absolutely convinced that Ingo Swann believes he actually perceives information by remote viewing. In his books and articles he comes across as a genuine and honest individual, but the evidence seems to contradict this. … In my opinion he is remote reviewing, but not doing so in this dimension. I believe that what Ingo, and all the other ‘astral travelers’ and distance viewers are doing is opening up their minds to a journey of a different nature; a journey to far-off places deep within the human psyche.” loc 1157, ebook. Frankly, I always wondered about that too- why can’t remote viewers see whatever they want whenever they want or why are they sometimes completely wrong? The US military spent a pile of money developing a protocol that only works some of the time, but, the fact that it works at all blows my mind.
Peake presents the hypothesis that lucid dreaming and out of body experiences are two sides of the same coin: “The hypnagogic and hypnopompic states are really the same phenomenon that places consciousness in that liminal region between sleep and wakefulness. The only difference is in the circumstances. The hypnogogic state is experienced on going to sleep and the hypnopompic state is experienced on waking up. We define an OBE when a subject is unaware of their soma.” loc 1541-1558, ebook. So, in layman’s terms I think he’s saying: out of body experiences happen when you’re awake, lucid dreaming happens when you’re asleep, but otherwise it is the same type of non-ordinary consciousness.
One more interesting fact, just one though, because otherwise my brain might explode:“Now, the fascinating thing about (the) electromagnetic spectrum is that the human eye can only see a very small section, the part we call ‘visible light’… If the electromagnetic spectrum were a roll of movie film that stretched for 2,500 miles (this is the distance between London and Jerusalem), the visible spectrum would be the size of one film frame, about three inches. This is just how little we human beings see of the real universe that is out there and yet most of us believe that ‘seeing is believing’! If we could see radio waves we would see a sky full of galaxies, not stars.” loc 2024, ebook. Can you imagine? I can.
Recommended for the seriously scientific minded. If you’re more into the history of the phenomena rather than the science, just stop reading before the second half of the book. Some of the reads mentioned in here that you may want to pick up: Journeys Out of the Body by Robert A. Monroe,Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences by Penny Sartori, or for some general remote reviewing information: The Seventh Sense: The Secrets of Remote Viewing as Told by a “Psychic Spy” for the U.S. Military by Lyn Buchanan.
Thank you to NetGalley and Watkins Publishing for a free digital copy of this book for review purposes! And, thank you for reading.