Book Review – Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience, Nicholls

 

Navigating the Out-Of-Body Experience: Practical New Techniques

Graham Nicholls

Lewellyn Publications

A Division of Llewellyn Wordldwide Ltd.

2143 Wooddale Drive

Woodbury, MN 55125-2989

www.llewellyn.com

 

As far as books on Out-of-Body experiences (OBE, a.k.a. Astral Projection) go, Graham Nicholls’ book is a breath of fresh air amongst all the new-age literature. The book is a well-rounded instruction manual for people wishing to practically achieve OBEs. It provides a nice balance of science, anecdotes, techniques and what I have not seen done well in such books, actual practical means of tackling the dreaded fear & anxiety that are sometimes associated with trying to reach a full blown OBE.

I had in my earlier years I had become fairly proficient with reaching the vibrational stage of the OBE, the stage just prior to exteriorization. However my fears always welled up at that instant and the slight hesitation that arose was all that it took to end the experience. For me it was a fear of not being able to get back into the body if I exteriorized, or the possibility of my body being invaded by something or someone during my astral absence. Graham discusses these and impressively (at least in my mind) provides some practical means of coming to terms with these fears. He also provides some comfort by stating that in his entire set of experiences, which spans some 20 years, he did not encounter anything particularly negative or malevolent.

What separates this book from the others in the field is that it encompasses the science. Presented in a way that is easy to absorb, Graham discusses the primary researchers, theories and environmental factors that possibly influence OBE experiences. He also includes a chapter addressing the major skeptical perspectives, which is a nice touch to round out the book. OBEs are by no means a solitary phenomena, removed from the rest of the paranormal field, and Graham does a nice job of discussing the overlap with fields such as telepathy, precognition and near-death experiences with both scientific evidence and personal observations.

The induction techniques offered in the book are numerous and designed to cater to the modality type and personality preferences of the individual attempting the task. The techniques are grouped into primarily visual, auditory, physical and immersion based methods. Some techniques are offered for couples and groups. To help the reader determine the most appropriate set of techniques, a chapter is dedicated to providing a questionnaire that attempts to allow the reader to determine their modality or personality type. Allowing quantification of responses could have improved this questionnaire. Had the responses been tallied and the ‘best category’ recommended, the reader would have a clearer idea of techniques to employ later in the book. Without this quantification, I could still figure out to which category was best suited, I just felt that there was a lack of a conclusion to the whole questionnaire. I didn’t follow the recommendation to put my answers down in a journal, but I’m guessing that I’m not in the minority on this point.

I generally don’t like reading about other peoples experiences of OBE’s as I feel that it may contaminate my own experiences if and when I have them. Imagination and expectation seems to play a role in the experiences reported by OBErs. Although there is a general coherence across the population of OBErs with respect to experiences, the details of the experiences can vary quiet a bit. As an example, Robert Monroe, who was my first introduction to OBEs (and also my personal hero) documented entities during his OBEs that nobody else has experienced. I can’t help but get the feeling that reading too many of these stories can somehow contaminate personal experiences when they come about. Stories like these I think are of greater value to researchers and as a basis for comparison to those who have already experienced the OBE. Saying all that, I found that most of the anecdotes in this book were very useful in helping understanding and also allaying any concerns or fears on the part of the reader.

On the whole, this book offers a clear and informed view of topic of OBEs devoid of the unnecessary filler often encountered in similar books. By similar, I only refer to the subject encompassed by these other books, as that is where the similarity ends. This is the first book I have come across that is both an instruction manual and a general introductory text (of sorts) to the layman about the science underlying the phenomena. On the one side are the scientific texts on the subject, which may be too dry for some. On the other side are the new age texts that seem to me to have a very different perspective on the topic. Anyone who wants to gain a decent grounding on OBEs, I recommend this as your first port of call. 

 

Reviewed by Vladimir Dubaj.

 

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