Robert Monroe – Monroe Technique

Robert Monroe in his series of books makes several references to a “second body”, which he says must be “shed” in order to be completely free. Because many of his fantastical adventures are alleged to happen after this shedding, he was most likely referring to the etheric body and etheric projection.

Robert Allan Monroe (1915 – 1995) was a psychic researcher and author of <Journeys Out of the Body, a 1971 book that popularized the expression “out-of-body experience” (also called astral projection). Monroe was a conservative Virginia businessman who had his first out-of-body experiences in 1958. After much experimentation, he founded The Monroe Institute, a “nonprofit education and research organization devoted to the exploration of human consciousness” and developed a method he called Hemi-Sync (hemispherical synchronization) to induce mental states that are favorable for inducing out-of-body experiences. Hemi-Sync is a system which aims to balance the brain waves of both of the brain’s hemispheres or lobes through cooperative processing of auditory stimulus. The stimulus, together with meditative instruction, is provided via headphones. The method is based on a concept known as binaural beats.

Monroe gives a detailed description of the “second body”. It has weight, is visible under certain conditions, produces a sensation of touch just like the physical touch, and yet it is very plastic and may adopt any form required of it. Possibly, suggests Monroe, the second body is a reversal of the physical. He even relates this to his ideas that it may consist of antimatter, although what he means is obscure. As for a cord, he tried feeling it on some of his excursions, but it was not an important part of his experience. Finally he suggests that the second body is related in some important way to electricity and magnetism. In experiments in a Faraday cage he found that he could not pass through the walls when a current was passed through them, but when it was turned off he could (though sufficient details are not given to assess the explanation fairly). He suggests a “third force” to add to electricity and magnetism which is used by the second body and fundamental to thought.

What can we make of Monroe’s descriptions? As always it is hard to disentangle what he has discovered about locations others might visit, from the product of his own bias or preoccupations. Some of his descriptions sound familiar, but many seem only odd.

Many people confuse this phenomenon with astral travel; however, etheric travel is mainly related to that which can and does exist, physically. During this type of experience, there are no fantastical worlds, or self-absorbed encounters; the majority of the experience can be validated. Dr. Charles Tart has done many experiments and tentatively concluded that the person may not have invented the experience – unlike astral travel, where the experience is conceptual. For example, in a 1967 study, a subject was unable to discover a five digit number written down and placed face up in an adjoining room, but did provide some details of the activities of the technician monitoring the experiment. Tart summarizes, “Thus, there is some indication that ESP may have been involved with respect to the technician’s activities, but it is not at all conclusive.”

According to Arthur Powell and Max Heindel, the etheric “double” serves as a medium between the astral and physical realms. Ether, also called prana, is the “vital force” that empowers the Physical forms in order for change to take place. This means that when one views the physical during an OBE, they are not technically “in” the astral realm at all.

The Monroe Technique

Step One:

Relax the body. According to Monroe, “the ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself” to having an OBE. (out of body experience). This includes both physical and mental relaxation. Monroe does not suggest a method of attaining this relaxation, although progressive muscle relaxation, coupled with deep breathing exercises (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3… until about 50 or 100) are known to work well.

Step Two:

Enter the state bordering sleep. This is known as the hypnogogic state. Once again, Monroe doesn’t recommend any method of doing this. One way is to hold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice you can learn to control the hypnogogic state without using your arm. Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the hypnogogic state. Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.

Step Three:

Deepen this state. Begin to clear your mind. Observe your field of vision through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of your. After a while you may start to notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges. They have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C— a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.

The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning just as you are getting up, or after a short nap.

English: The astral leaves the body during sle...
English: The astral leaves the body during sleep. Deutsch: Das Astral verlässt den Körper während des Schlafes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Step Four:

Enter a state of Vibration. This is the most important part of the technique, and also the most vague. Many projectors have noted these vibrations at the onset of projection. They can be experienced as a mild tingling, or as if electricity is being shot through the body. Their cause is a mystery. It may actually be the astral body trying to leave the physical body.

For entering into the vibrational state, he offers the following directions:

1. Remove all jewelry or other items that might be touching your skin.

2. Darken the room so that no light can be seen through your eyelids, but do not shut out all light.

3. Lie down with your body along a north-south axis, with your head pointed toward magnetic north.

4. Loosen all clothing, but keep covered so that you are slightly warmer than what might normally be comfortable.

5. Be sure you are in a location where, and at a time when, there will be absolutely no noise to disturb you.

6. Enter a state of relaxation.

7. Give yourself the mental suggestion that you will remember all that occurs during the upcoming session that will be beneficial to your well being. Repeat this five times.

8. As your breathe, concentrate on the void in front of you.

9. Select a point a foot away from your forehead, then change your point of mental reference to six feet.

10. Turn the point 90 degrees upward by drawing an imaginary line parallel to your body axis up above you head. Focus there and reach out for the vibrations at that point and bring them back into your body.

Even if you don’t know what these vibrations are, you will know when you have achieved contact with them.

Step Five:

Learn to control the vibrational state. Practice controlling them by mentally pushing them into your head, down to your toes, making them surge throughout your entire body, and producing vibrational waves from head to foot. To produce this wave effect, concentrate on the vibrations and mentally push a wave out of your head and guide it down your body. Practice this until you can induce these waves on command. Once you have control of the vibrational state, you are ready to leave the body.

Step Six:

Begin with a partial separation. The key here is thought control. Keep your mind firmly focused on the idea of leaving the body. Do not let it wander. Stray thoughts might cause you to lose control of the state.

Now having entered the vibrational state, begin exploring the OBE by releasing a hand or a foot of the “second body”. Monroe suggests that you extend a limb until it comes in contact with a familiar object, such as a wall near your bed. Then push it through the object. Return the limb by placing it back in to coincidence with the physical one, decrease the vibrational rate, and then terminate the experiment. Lie quietly until you have fully returned to normal. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.

Step Seven:

Dissociate yourself from the body. Monroe suggests two methods for this. One method is to lift out of the body. To do this, think about getting lighter and lighter after entering the vibrational state. Think about how nice it would be to float upward. Keep this thought in mind at all costs and let no extraneous thoughts interrupt it. An OBE will occur naturally at this point.

Another method is the “Rotation Method” or “roll-out” technique. When you have achieved the vibrational state, try to roll over as if you were turning over in bed. Do not attempt to roll over physically. Try to twist your body from the top and virtually roll over into your second body right out of your physical self. At this point, you will be out of the body, but next to it. Think of floating upward, and you should find yourself floating above the body.


Silva Method

According to its proponents, the Silva Method (Silva Mind Control, Remote viewing) is a self-empowerment system to shape beliefs, augment personal success and view distant objects or locations and connect with a higher intelligence for guidance. Jose Silva developed pseudoscientific explanations of brain function and its relationship with a higher consciousness in the 1960s.

According to its proponents, the technique aims to reach and sustain a higher state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is eight to thirteen Hz. The method also uses visualizations and affirmations. Advocates attest to healing, better attainment of goals, ESP and cure from addictions.

Jose Silva, founder of the Silva Method, claimed to have developed a program that trained people to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems.

J. B. Rhine, long-time parapsychology researcher at Duke University, coined the term, Extra-sensory perception (ESP). He thought that the psychic senses were an extra sense that only a few very special people had. Silva modified the phrase “Extra-sensory Perception” to “Effective Sensory Projection”. Silva kept the same initials, ESP, but the revised meaning suggests that it is a more dynamic activity. In 1953, Silva believed he had trained his daughter to be psychic, and he introduced his training methods to Rhine with his daughter as proof. Rhine’s response was that Silva’s daughter was a natural psychic and he just hadn’t noticed it before. Subsequently, Silva began working with another subject. This time, he tested his subject first to be sure he was not functioning as a psychic. Over the next ten years, Silva claimed to have trained thirty-nine more subjects to be psychics.

Another discovery claimed as successful is remote viewing. Rather than passively waiting for impressions to be perceived, a person projects him- or herself mentally and remotely views what is going on in a process similar to lucid dreaming.

Alleged successes with his methods convinced Silva that everyone has such abilities and can be taught to develop them, and that it is not an extra sense at all, but an unneeded – therefore undeveloped – sense. Everything happens first in the mind, he reasoned, then happens in the body. A person mentally decides to pick up a glass of water and drink it, then does it physically. Your life is the manipulation of the set rules of this universe, the trick is learning how to manipulate the rules right.

The Silva Method is now a multi-million dollar business with thousands of Silva Method instructors teaching the system over several days to groups of students in numerous countries worldwide.

The system has also spawned many books, some of them authored or co-authored by Jose Silva, with many others based on the basic principles of the method but spreading into other areas of awareness and application whilst in the alpha state.

The Silva Method is one of a number of therapeutic techniques sometimes grouped under the name Human potential movement.

Cover of "Journeys Out of the Body"
Cover of Journeys Out of the Body

Practice Techniques

Quiet your mind. Clear your thoughts. In your mind think …

“I’m going to count down from 3 to 1, visualizing each number on a white orb suspended in the air above my head. When I reach the third and final “1” my body will be deeply relaxed. I will have no awareness of physical sensations. I will not perceive any physical discomfort. My consciousness will be focused on my astral body.”

Now visualize a white orb suspended in the air above your head. Mentally focus on the orb I visualize a number “3” on the face of the orb. The numbers can be any color. They may vary with each experience. Visualize the 3 – three times: three number “3’s” on the orb. Your body is completely relaxed. You are losing awareness of your physical body. (3 references 3D or the physical mind)

Repeat the visualization with three number “2’s.” You are into greater relaxation. Now visualize the “1’s.” You are losing awareness of physical sensations. Your consciousness will be in your astral body.

Repeat this using the number “1’s” three times. Your consciousness is now in my astral body. This could involve training of several sessions. You may also find audio tapes that take you down into these altered states as well. You getting better and faster as you go along each time. There is no set agenda for how often you practice astral projection or any other out-of-body technique. It soon becomes fun. It is like a deep meditation. The key is to remain conscious while my body is asleep. Different thoughts may pull you from your focus as the mind loves to chatter. Just push these thoughts away.

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