Image by Efes Kitap
Consciously recognizing and personally experiencing our
nonphysical nature is a major step in our individual evolution.
~ William Buhlman in Adventures Beyond the Body
In shamanic cultures it’s the task of the shaman to travel out of body to other worlds, experience new realities, and then bring knowledge back to the tribe in order to heal and restore balance. A journey simply for the purpose of seeking a recreational thrill is the height of irresponsibility, bordering on blasphemy. To experience a different reality and remain silent about it is simply not an option.
This highlights a personal problem for anyone who claims to have perceived a reality far different from the normal experience of the majority of 21st century people. What to do with such knowledge? Do we share it and risk ridicule, or keep quiet and stay anonymous?
On the one hand, to have such experiences and publish them for gain or the sake of ego-gratification is to risk trivializing a rich tradition that goes back thousands of years. On the other, to gain insight that can be of benefit to a human race which is in desperate need of spiritual underpinning, and then remain silent about it, might be even worse. According to shamanic tradition, the whole purpose of traveling out of body is to return with useful information.
Do we expect musicians to write glorious melodies and then hide them away in a drawer? Do we ask scientists to conduct life-altering experiments and then throw away the results? Should artists hide their work away so as not to draw attention to themselves by displaying it?
These are the kinds of questions that need to be answered before discussing experiences that fall outside traditional life expectations. But this is also why I intend to stick to my own perceptions. I will write about what I know. You are free to disregard anything you disagree with. That is as it should be. But just as I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me, whose experiences and testimonies have helped me in my life’s journey, perhaps my experiences can be of some small help to you.
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Be advised, though. I am not saying, “This is the way to do it—this is the way reality works!” My perceptions are undoubtedly flawed and subject to human misinterpretation. I do not claim to know “The Truth.”
But I believe I have begun to glimpse the other side and learn something useful.
My Spiritual Retreat In The Woods
I moved to the woods upon retirement. I began a spiritual retreat that has lasted, so far, for ten wonderful years. It has, I think, produced something worth sharing.
That’s the purpose of this book. That’s my reason for writing it. For much of my life I, like most of us, let the technical necessities of daily existence drown out ancient voices that welled up from somewhere deep in my subconscious being, perhaps even in my DNA. In these busy days of media exposure and multi-tasking, it’s almost inevitable.
I’ve been a member of the clergy for more than forty years. I was supposed to have a rich spiritual experience. It was part of my job description. But life is complicated. It’s easy, even for ministers, to live day-to-day, putting off the search for answers to disturbing questions that intrude upon even the most peaceful moments of life.
Unbidden and Unexpected Experience
Once in a while, however, something completely unbidden and unexpected happens to shake us out of our rut. Consider, for example, this entry from my journal:
August 24, 2012
It’s 6:00 in the morning and even as I write these words I am beginning to doubt that what just happened did, indeed, happen. But I knew that would be the case. I even laughed as I reminded myself while it was going on that I would begin to question the experience when I “returned to my senses.” But as the images begin to fade, and with full knowledge that words will be insufficient, here goes:
At 3:15 in the morning I am wide awake, having slept through the night without having to get up once. I decide to go into the living room, recline in my chair, and turn on some meditation music. I’m really not expecting anything except a quiet time. Rocky, our dog, comes in and begins his licking routine, which can be pretty distracting. Then I realize half an hour has gone by. I know this because the CD starts over and it’s 25 minutes long. It skips a little at the beginning and I wonder if it has a scratch on it. But then my mental image suddenly changes.
I have a vision of myself lying on a mesh, rope-type hammock, very relaxed. My body has turned into something resembling butterfat, and is oozing down through the rope mesh. It’s being strained, you might say, or sifted.
As the body melts down through the mesh, what is left in the hammock is a bunch of tiny points of light. They have no form to speak of, but are clumped together. I guess the only image that comes close is to picture a school of fish, all swimming together—individuals, but collectively whole. I realize that I’m outside the school, watching it, but that somehow the lights are really me—my spiritual essence—my reality. With that thought I decide to unite my mind, on the outside, with the lights. I feel as if that’s where it really belongs.
Suddenly the lights come alive as one. We zoom off the hammock and begin to move. Without shock or concern, I realize I’m out of my body. I experience no random thoughts, no distractions. But at the same time I am somewhat amused. I realize that I will soon return to my body and try to convince myself that this is nothing other than self-hypnosis or some such thing.
I find the whole exercise to be slightly ironic, in a patronizing sort of way, as if this is reality, but that poor, ignorant guy in the chair will soon think he is reality. With a sigh, much like a parent feels about the impossibility of correcting a wayward child, I move on.
First stop is the gazebo I built a few years ago. At the time I intended to use it for meditation. It overlooks our Medicine Wheel, a spiritual place that combines symbolic elements of Lakota and Hindu religious thought. I’m there in an instant, and am aware that it is surrounded by a tornado-like energy vortex. I can reach out and touch the sides, much like surfers do when they ride inside what they call a “tube” or curling wave.
But as powerful as this experience is, it’s only a kind of refueling stop. The main event will happen down at the Medicine Wheel itself, and as soon as I think about it, I’m there. Its vortex is shaped a little differently than I imagined. It looks kind of like a chimenea. There is a round, bulbous-shaped area near the ground, and then it swirls into a kind of chimney at the top, much like the spires on Russian churches.
There I meet someone, or something, that is very difficult to describe. It’s not a “being,” as such. It’s more like a pillar, or tube, of light. It seems bright and, in contrast, I seem dark. (I guess anything would appear dark next to that light.)
I now seem to be watching from the outside, although taking part at the same time. Light and dark, the being and I, kind of swirl together, mingling. I wonder if we will soon shoot out the top of the vortex together—but we don’t. I really want to go. What’s out there? What will I see?
But we stay within the confines of the Medicine Wheel vortex. I try, but to no avail. Then I’m back at the house. I’m aware of my body in the chair and try to reenter a few times, but each time I find an excuse to linger. I really don’t want to go back and I fight the impulse.
One of the things that makes me stay out is the sure and certain knowledge that I will soon find a perfectly good Freudian explanation for this whole experience. All I can do is shake my head and feel sorry for the poor chap in the chair who will be so hard to convince.
Finally I enter partway into my body in the chair, but I feel somehow lopsided. If asked where my center was located, I would have to say about two feet outside on the right. It’s as though I was filled with water that sloshed over to one side. I manage to get up out of the chair, but it takes a while to readjust.
I decide to write this up quickly, before it fades. After all, it’s probably just a case of self-hypnosis, right?
Is This Real or Is It In My Head?
At this point I’m reminded of that wonderful line Dumbledore says to Harry Potter after Harry’s near-death experience in the final book. Harry wants to know if what’s happening to him is real or if it’s just happening in his head. The old wizard replies, “Of course it’s just happening in your head ... but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
What are my overall impressions of this experience?
Most of the time I was conscious of being in my body, but out of it at the same time. How is that possible? I really don’t know. It’s strange.
I have never experienced such meditative focus, without distraction, for that long a time. The experience took almost half an hour. I know this because the CD started up the second time and ended. I wasn’t aware of the passing of time at all.
I have the impression that I was feeling a need to return, as if vacation was over but I didn’t want it to end. Both the feeling of needing to get back home and the feeling of wanting to stay out were very real.
On the one hand, I never clearly “saw” my physical body from outside, but I was aware of it. It was almost as if I was in two places at once. On the other hand, I definitely “saw” what I can only call my spiritual or astral body at the Medicine Wheel with the being of light. I was an outside spectator yet I felt as though I was there.
I suppose if anyone would have come up to me and asked where “I” was, I would have said, “Right here in my chair.” But I definitely felt as though I were down at the Medicine Wheel.
The overall feeling was one of peace, yet at the same time, exciting—a determination to explore.
Somehow it felt like this was a watershed moment in my life. There have been a few of those in the past, but I wasn’t able to articulate them, in some cases even recognize them, until later. With this one, I knew. But I don’t know how I knew.
Back to Earth
What really happened on that day so many years ago? Was it just a dream? Did I imagine the whole thing? Was it an elaborate hallucination—a figment of my imagination?
Part of me, the rational part that has kept me (mostly) out of trouble and been responsible for whatever successes I have had in life over the last seven decades, wants to ignore the whole experience. But there’s another part, one that I find I simply can’t disregard, that won’t accept any of those explanations. Indeed, that part of me actually wants to tell the world about it in hopes that someone, somewhere, will benefit from it.
In the years since 2012 I have had plenty of time to research what back then I thought was a unique experience. I am also the veteran of enough OBEs to have discovered how blind I was for most of my life.
Once I started researching the subject it didn’t take long to discover that thousands of people now living have had similar Out-of-Body Experiences. If you study historical documents you will soon learn that millions of people have had them. In some cultures OBEs have been expected, deliberately sought, and considered to be an important part of both human and tribal development.
Some members of the contemporary scientific community have now begun to get on board. They have learned that when we start to consider other realms that bubble up from the complex mathematical equations of quantum physics, we soon discover a surprising fact: Life as we normally experience it is an illusion.
Nothing is really as it seems. Indeed, with increasing frequency, the voice of the prophet is sounding forth not from pulpits and places of worship but from the lecture halls and science labs of academia.
©2019 by Jim Willis. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted from the book: The Quantum Akashic Field.
Publisher: Findhorn Press, a divn. of Inner Traditions Intl.
The Quantum Akashic Field: A Guide to Out-of-Body Experiences for the Astral Traveler
by Jim Willis
Detailing a step-by-step process centered on safe, simple meditative techniques, Willis shows how to bypass the filters of your five senses while still fully awake and aware and engage in extrasensory, out-of-body travel. Sharing his journey to connect with universal consciousness and navigate the quantum landscape of the Akashic Field, he reveals how conscious OBEs allow you to penetrate beyond normal waking perception into the realm of quantum perception.
For more info, or to order this book, click here. (Also available as an Audiobook and a Kindle edition.)
About the Author
Jim Willis is the author of more than 10 books on religion and spirituality in the 21st century, including Supernatural Gods, along with many magazine articles on topics ranging from earth energies to ancient civilizations. He has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, musician, radio host, arts council director, and adjunct college professor in the fields of world religions and instrumental music. Visit his website at JimWillis.net/