One commenter on the out-of-body experience, Benjamin, says there are three chief ways of entering an OOBE.
There are three main ways to enter the ‘state’: before sleep, during REM dream sleep and upon waking from a night’s sleep.
1. Before sleep state induction. this requires a set up ‘pre-sleep’ that primes you biochemically and physiologically to enter the state.
2. REM dream sleep induction requires a grasp of Lucid Dreaming and is a bit hit and miss for the newcomer.
3. Waking state induction requires the ability to recognize that you have woken up and at that very moment remembering not to move, roll over, scratch an itch or open the eyes... or even to start listening to the noises around you. It takes a bit of practice but it is a very successful way of entering the ‘state.’
His thoughts here affirm the importance of the rapid eye movement state to induce the OOBE. REM is a part of his first method (why there is the non-REM "pre-sleep"), is the state we are in while dreaming, and is the state we are emerging from in the early morning waking method.
What he says is consistent with the idea that dreams, lucid dreams, and OOBEs exist on a continuum. Using his second method, by becoming self-aware in a dream one can transition the experience to an OOBE.
These three ways seem consistent with others. Michael Raduga lists the same.
There are three primary types of techniques that make it possible to enter the “phase”: direct, indirect, and dream consciousness.
1. Direct techniques – entry into the phase without any prior sleep, after excessive physical movement upon awakening, or having been awake for at least five minutes.
2. Indirect techniques – entry into the phase within five minutes of awakening from sleep of any duration - provided there has been minimal physical movement.
3. Dream consciousness – entry into the phase through becoming consciously aware while a dream episode is happening.
Here we find effectively the same list, showing a consistency across sources.
Michael Raduga is a very interesting figure. He holds classes to teach the OOBE to students in Russia, and writes from a long list of case studies. He is a definite pragmatist - he doesn't put much into theory.
For 90% of the population, direct techniques are the most difficult.
Based on his case studies, a meditation-induced OOBE is the most difficult for one with no OOB experience.
It has been clearly proven within the school’s student body that novice practitioners do not benefit from beginning a training regimen with direct techniques. This is because direct techniques require a thorough understanding and masterful application of indirect techniques in order to be effective.
One thought I had was perhaps it was necessary to have an accidental “first” OOBE to be able to return to the state recurringly. This could be evidence to support that.
The incorrect notion that the “phase” state is extremely difficult to enter is due to the fact that people are more often drawn to the more difficult direct techniques. It is always better to approach direct techniques only after becoming expert in the use of indirect techniques.
Raduga advises using the “early morning waking” method mentioned earlier by Benjamin, and then transitioning to other techniques.
The direct method will account for about 15% of all experiences, the indirect method 50% (half of those being immediate separations upon awakening, and the other half using the techniques), while the remaining third of experiences will be had thanks to dream consciousness.
Here he lists the percentage for each induction method for the experienced OOB experiencer. So, this should be what is experienced for one familiar with the OOBE.
After many experiments with his students, Raduga has devised a method which he claims is extremely effective at letting anyone have an OOBE.
1. Sleep 6 hours then wake up with an alarm clock
2. Go back to sleep and have the intention to awaken motionless and with the eyes closed, and with the intent to separate on awakening
3. On awakening, attempt to separate by simply sitting up, rolling out, or trying to levitate
4. If separation fails, attempt cycles of separation techniques like rotating, wiggling, swimming, or rubbing the hands (Raduga Method)
Raduga claims great success at getting even those with no OOB experience to separate with his method.
Raduga says one should practice deepening techniques if one separates.
Sensory experiences within a fully realized “phase” experience are as realistic as those in everyday reality. In almost one-half of all cases, practitioners observe that reality-based surroundings pale in comparison to the vibrant detail and color of the phase space. To this end, after entering the phase, a practitioner must perform deepening techniques to enhance and solidify the degree and quality of phase reality.
These techniques consist of simply using each of the five senses while in the “phase,” to amplify their clarity.
Having said all this, there are some things about Michael Raduga I find perplexing.
During my first years of practicing out-of-body travel, I was sure that my soul was actually leaving my body and that I was therefore immortal.
Raduga goes back and forth with these very agnostic statements. He is certainly nothing like Robert Monroe or William Buhlman in this regard. In one part of his comments it seems like he is affirming that consciousness can exist independently of the body, and in another part he seems to say it can't.
Raduga's agnosticism is just very strange to me, as this is the central question of human existence. Is it possible to survive the death of the body? There could not be a larger question than this to answer. The levity with which he fails to want to answer this question I just find very strange.
But after undertaking endless experiments, it turned out that my “soul” was not travelling through the physical world at all, but throughout something else entirely.
From what I have read, this is a consistent experience of OOB practitioners. When visiting the physical world while out-of-body, they find it is different in some way. Or, they struggle to be able to interact with or influence the physical world consistently.
From what I understand, this is because where they are visiting seems to be more of a duplicate version of the real physical world, a slightly altered copy of the physical that exists as a result of the “collective unconscious” of the people who live there.
Robert Monroe understood the phase more as an actual exit of the mind from the body, which is why the term “out-of-body experience” was introduced.
The large influence of mysticism on Monroe’s work and views cannot be ignored. The majority of phenomena described in his book have not been verified in practice. The only attempt at conducting a full-fledged scientific experiment proving that the mind left the body was unsuccessful.
I am not sure of the certainty of this. From what I have read, despite the long list of failed experiments, there were ultimately successful affirmations made in some of the experiments at the Monroe Institute that could not be attributed to accident.
I also wanted to make note of how Raduga uses the word “mysticism” here. First, I wouldn’t place Monroe’s books in the canon of mysticism, which I would consider to include the writings of figures like John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Kabir, and Rumi. I would place Monroe’s writings in a totally different category I would call “out-of-body experience” writings.
By how Raduga uses the word mysticism, it sounds like he is actually referring to the writings of “occultists,” for instance Sylvan Muldoon. Based on this confusion, I don’t think Raduga is familiar with figures like John of the Cross at all.
The out-of-body experience is often referred to under different names as the highest possible human achievement in various religious and mystical movements (yoga, Buddhism, etc.).
Raduga understands the OOBE’s critical role in religion and mysticism.
It is also often considered to be the same state that people experience when dying. In many Eastern practices and religions, like Buddhism for example, where the main goal is to stop the cycle of reincarnation through remaining conscious while dying, it is believed that conscious dying can only be accomplished through ability to enter the “phase,” which would be a form of training for the moment of death and remaining conscious during it.
He demonstrates knowledge of the OOBE's importance for Buddhism here, although refuses to subscribe to a belief himself.
One consistent thread in Raduga's writings is his disparaging attitude toward mysticism:
Despite a large serving of esotericism, Sylvan Muldoon’s books, especially the first one, contain a lot of helpful, practical information...
The notions of “out-of-body experience” and “astral projection” have already lost their mystical halo...
At the end of his book he also has a list of writers he does not find useful, although none of them are, again, what would accurately be classified as “mystics.” In fact, there is no mention of a real mystic, like John of the Cross or Teresa of Avila, anywhere in his book. So, I just have to assume he is unaware of these figures.
So, I would just have to correct his negative view of the mystics - as every great mystic I am familiar with is the summit of reason and practicality. The mystics are indeed the true spiritual champions of the race, leading us forward to immortality and enlightenment.