Chapter 1 (preceding post): Robert Monroe was a successful citizen of Western civilization and a steadfast believer in its scientific paradigm. Then in midlife his world was shaken to its foundations when he repeatedly found himself outside of his physical body.
2. Journeys Out of the Body
When he became convinced that his out-of-body episodes were not a curse but a blessing, not insanity but a challenging new reality, Monroe set forth to investigate the nature of what was happening to him, and to master it. He succeeded, and after more than a decade of research and experimentation, he published a book titled Journeys Out of the Body. Here follows a brief synopsis.
In his first efforts at deliberately staying out of his body, Monroe encountered a huge hurdle: the fear of death. It was so terrifying to be floating around in the room and seeing his body on the bed below him, that it took him eighteen to twenty tries before he could build up the nerve to stay out long enough to look around and get a clear-headed view of what was going on. When he finally got his fear under control, he immediately encountered the next big challenge: raging libido. His sex drive had expanded to an all-encompassing, all-consuming conflagration which could only be turned off by diving back into his body. He realized that the physical body must have a containing and dampening effect on sexuality and all the other emotions as well, and when he slipped out of the bodily straightjacket it all burst loose. He had to consciously master his inner drives while out of body, and sex was the hardest of all. He only succeeded by means of a mental trick in which he stopped fighting and feeling guilty about the sexual urge; instead he affirmed it and said to himself: “Yes, I’ll do something about it, in just a little while, but first I want to go somewhere else.” With this thought, he rose through the ceiling and escaped from his bedroom for the first time.
Monroe kept detailed journal records of his excursions, which began going farther afield. He was able to visit people he knew while they were awake, and obtain verification that he had really been there by a number of methods. Most often this was by later describing details of what he had seen them doing, though once he took a more direct approach and pinched a woman friend, eliciting a big “Ow!” All of these journeys were complicated by weird distortions of the world as he viewed it out of body ~ it had a surreal, dream-like quality, even though he could usually work out the relationship of what he perceived to the familiar physical terrain which underlay it.
Strange as all this was, it turned out to be only the first layer of the supraphysical realm, which he called Locale I. Eventually he found his way to Locale II, which he described as “a non-material environment with laws of motion and matter only remotely related to the physical world.” It is an “immensity” of unknown bounds with “depth and dimension incomprehensible to the finite, conscious mind.” It was nearly impossible to gather evidential material in this vaster region, but Monroe’s meticulous, self-consistent, and highly entertaining accounts lend his opus a degree of verisimilitude that is eminently convincing to an open mind. His journeys are totally credible!
One of the discoveries that boggled his mind was actually a rediscovery of something that has been thoroughly charted in the past ~ not by modern science with its exclusively physical focus, but by the traditional systems of metascience, which include the whole of reality. Monroe perceived that Locale II was divided into a series of concentric spheres, which he called “rings”. The farther from the surface of the Earth they lay, the finer was the substance which comprised the rings, and the higher the calibre of the beings he encountered there. The first ring, closest to the surface, was filled with emotionally-driven entities, many of them human, mired in the lusts and frustrations that they had carried with them from incarnate life. There were also swarms of seemingly subhuman creatures who tormented and terrified him on his early journeys, until he mastered the fight-or-flight instinct and became able to slip through this hellish region in detached peace. There’ll be lots more to tell about the rings and their amazing inhabitants when I report on Monroe’s two later books.