: A NEW APPROACH TO OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES Copyright © 2012 by Frederick Aardema All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work in any form whatsoever, without permission in writing from the author or publisher. THE VIGIL METHOD: A SIX-STEP GUIDE Step 1: Presleep Preparation Immediately after retreating to bed, begin by reducing your inner dialogue - the usual chatter of your mind. The reason is to slow down your thoughts a little so that affirmations will have a greater effect. Thoughts will never cease completely, but they can be slowed down enough so that reactions are not so quick and your mind is quieter than usual. A simple technique to slow down the chatter in your mind is to focus on a few single thoughts or a repetitive action for a while. Focusing on your breathing is a good way to accomplish this, especially in combination with another action. For example, each time you breathe in, focus on the darkness in front of your eyes, and each time you breathe out, defocus on the blackness in front of you. Doing so will slow down your mind fairly quickly. This method of quieting your mind will also serve you well later in the night. For example, take note of how, during each inhale, you will feel slight muscle tension around the eyes, whereas these muscles relax with each exhale. This relaxation represents a point at which your mind moves into itself rather than outwardly into the physical world, which is exactly what you will need to do later on a more continual basis. Once your mind feels relatively clear and alert, it is time to combine the exercise with some affirmations that reinforce your intent to project. Tell yourself you will wake up later on and that you are going to have an OBE. Envision yourself waking up in the near future rather than in the present, just as you would if you have an important appointment very early in the morning. It is a subtle but important difference. Do not be afraid to back up your affirmations with some force and determination. You have to feel them in your gut as opposed to them merely being a robotic mantra. Any muscle tension is not a problem at this point - or later on, for that matter. You are not meditating. You are intending to wake up later on and have an OBE. How often you will need to do this varies from individual to individual. If you do not wake up, double the time you spend on it the next time. Repeat the instruction to yourself as often as needed until the imprint in your subconscious is strong. Then, let it all go and allow yourself to fall asleep naturally with the knowledge and conviction that you will wake up later on. Step 2: Establishing an Anchor Immediately after waking up, or even while waking up, your first thoughts should be about having an OBE. If you're in luck and are relatively experienced, you might be able to trigger energy sensations almost immediately. Do not count on it, however. Usually, you will need to go through a good deal of preparation first. This begins with establishing an anchor in wakefulness. An anchor is a repetitive mental activity focused on a fixed pattern of thought. Its primary purpose is to keep your mind active enough to prevent it from falling asleep. Its secondary purpose is to prime your subconscious for the activity of projection; as you drift toward the borderline of sleep, the anchor will help you remember your original intent. Because the anchor acts as a reminder in the event that you lose some lucidity, it can be helpful to choose an activity that you in some way associate with the OBE. For example, a common anchor used by many successful projectors revolves around "energy work," such as imagining

sleepy thoughts that initially tended to jump to the foreground and try to catch your attention will no longer arrive with the same intensity. never give up on your anchoring activity for too long or else your mind will fall asleep. extending the link between your attention and your anchor. you can expect some hypnagogic phenomena to occur. such as different shades of gray or a sense of movement somewhere in the darkness in front of you. you will find yourself less inclined to move toward the borderline of sleep. as if extending the connection between your anchor and awareness. repetitive pattern. either before or after reaching an insomniac state of mind. It is important to be aware that anchoring may initially make you feel very sleepy. After around twenty minutes of anchoring activity. even for those with real insomnia. but the natural tendency of the physical body to fall asleep will eventually catch up with you. use different anchoring techniques to break any boredom. but without much risk of completely losing lucidity. leading into oblivious sleep. The only real requirement is that the activity consist of a relatively simple mental action. or anything else you . will eventually begin to insist on falling asleep. If you have to. And once it does. You may experience seeing faces. it does not really matter what you do. Keep your mind active. should otherwise be fairly automatic and rhythmic. As your mind drifts. and undefined forms. Alternatively. due to natural sleep cycles. at least in any non-lucid manner. It is not something that requires effort or control. you will have created a barrier that prevents your mind from falling asleep while your physical body. it may even guarantee an entirely lucid transition into the out-of-body state. depending on your preference and ability. provided you have remained focused on your intent to project during all this time. you should go back to your anchoring activity for a while and then allow your mind to wander yet again. You will find that taking on this unfocused perspective will happen quite naturally. in the initial stages. Repeat your affirmations to project. especially if you have no firm beliefs about these matters. The more time you spend building this barrier. which. albeit requiring some effort. You will be able to drift further away. but you will intermittently allow your mind to drift. Effectively. You will need to exercise a great deal of vigilance to keep yourself from drifting toward the borderline of sleep. Alternatively. The step of establishing an anchor is therefore not an easy task. it is possible to build up this barrier enough to create an insomniac state of mind. do not worry too much about it. Still. Any sluggishness or drowsiness should have disappeared. This is not because the anchoring activity fails to keep you awake but rather because your mind will resist the repetitive pattern and will have a strong tendency to wander off into uncontrolled thought. Likewise. Ordinarily. moving in front of your eyes as you establish a rhythmic. It is not unlikely that "energy work" only has a beneficial effect on achieving the out-of-body state because it functions as an anchor that provides the projector with some insulation from falling asleep. vague. When this happens.breathing in lights or colors while simultaneously visualizing the second body being charged and filled up with energy. such wandering leads straight to sleep. the more impervious it will become. you may experience brief images or incoherent patterns of thought. which. You do this by taking on an unfocused perspective toward the edges of your awareness. you should be able to perceive increasingly complex imagery. people. In the end. as you continue to intermittently anchor and drift. houses. landscapes. You will continue to anchor. or a variety of different colors. animals. You may find yourself frantically tossing and turning in bed. Step 3: Drifting with an Anchor Once the anchor is firmly established in your subconscious. the anchoring activity of the previous step should ensure that you never drift away too far. So do not hesitate to try different anchoring techniques." You might prefer imagining energy sensations or high-energy vibrations surrounding your physical body. It almost always does. Just choose something you are comfortable with. typically consist of very momentary. However. in which you allow yourself to drift a little bit toward the borderline of sleep. you can visualize your favorite color. In fact. The activity is quite similar to the unfocused perspective you took on earlier during presleep preparation while exhaling. Your mind may feel quite hyperactive. The mind will have a natural tendency to wander away from the boredom induced by anchoring. There are many variations on "energy work. Over time. which are yet another sign that your mind is moving toward sleep. Each time this occurs. you can proceed to the next stage. objects.

Begin the free-flow exercise by once again allowing your mind to drift toward the margins of your attention. the anchor has served to provide you with some protective insulation from falling asleep. the scenes will start to naturally follow your thought patterns. or alternatively. while thinking about having forgotten to turn off the stove. you might see a house on fire. as well as to prime your subconscious toward the goal of projecting. an image will begin to appear. If your body is indeed ready to fall asleep. you try to "see" a favorite image for only a very brief period of time as if it comes out of nowhere. and as soon as you start to notice. do realize that the absence of an anchor considerably increases the risk of losing lucidity. as the anchor will continue to exert an effect. as you usually do before falling asleep. It is never exactly the same. You want this to happen! There is no need to go "deep" as if you were meditating and trying to reach some elusive state of consciousness. lakes. that's great. just ignore these sensations. Do not concern yourself too much with the content of these images. Do not try to hold onto these images. If it's vague. and concerns. whereas imagining an aura around your body may lead to feeling a short burst of vibrations. These are all good signs. Rather. Consequently. When this occurs. these reminders act as an anchor. seascapes. The reason for dropping the anchor is that it has served its purpose. Only if you are highly practiced can you skip the previous steps and go straight to free-flow in your practice. but otherwise. Step 4: Free-Flow So far. These things will help your body fall asleep. Even then. though never so much that you find yourself unable to return to wakefulness.1 You will shift into semi-lucidity. At the same time. you will not be able to. As you continue to pick up imagery. You might even allow yourself to lose lucidity for a while. . the anchor will continue to perform these functions but without the need to actively engage in any anchoring activity. but give yourself some leverage to engage in all manner of incoherent thoughts and feelings. After a while. emotions. but don't create the image in terms of creative visualization. Your purpose at this point is not to analyze all these different phenomena and wonder what they all mean. even while not actively maintained. Do not try to hold onto them. You need to be able to intuitively assess how likely it is that you will lose lucidity as you approach the borderline of sleep. That is. nor is it necessary. large-scale nature scenes. These energy sensations will often relate to the type of anchoring activity you engage in. Start playing around with seeing your favorite images in your mind's eye. Having gone through the activity is important. and exercise an appropriate level of mental vigilance throughout your practice. For example. you will engage in a free-flow exercise in which you allow your awareness to drift without paying any attention to your anchor. either. while having a thought about some work you might need to do tomorrow. In a sense. imagining light may lead to some stroboscopic effects. however.could possibly imagine. you might see an office desk in front of you. Finally. and it is far too rigid an activity for your body to easily fall asleep. This is an area of practice in which projecting is more of an art than a skill. Early on. For these sensations to really take off. but you will know you're getting somewhere when you start to experience some level of synchronicity between your mind and the visual scenes. be aware that in your practice of drifting with an anchor. vigilance will have to be maintained to prevent you from falling asleep. a yo-yo effect will take place. Some personal favorites are looking at trees. For example. you'll shift back to complete wakefulness. Get on with the next one. do not solely try to catch any imagery. As you let your mind drift. It is simply about waiting for that moment when your physical body is ready to fall asleep while your mind is not. you will find yourself increasingly lucid during the experience of these images-perhaps not as lucid as you might like. you may no longer need to anchor each and every time after an image occurs. expect energy sensations to occur every now and then. remind yourself often of your intent to OBE. but do not expect too much to come of them. and beautiful mansions and other houses. You can always do that later on. do not try to make it more vivid. You might even be able to invite certain selected images into awareness through your intent. your physical body has to fall asleep or be very close to doing so. In the next step. This may also include tossing and turning now and then or moving your pillows to get into a more comfortable position. Rather. but one that you use only to the extent that the situation demands.

For example. It will feel like moving more deeply into the energy sensations. and you should be more awake than is the case during mini-dreams. They will intensify as you do so. which is disconcerting. if you relax your mind just a little more. touching ever so slightly on the borderline of sleep. and you will be left with the accompanying heightened sense of arousal alone. Pull back into full wakefulness as soon as you find yourself engaging in a mini-dream. The further progression of the transition process is primarily guided by your mind by nudging itself toward sleep. Under ideal conditions. until a point when all the chatter in your mind comes to a sudden halt and your physical body feels as if it were made out of a pleasant. or feeling suddenly catches your attention. Once it does. unable to get any sleep. easily moving in and out of sleep. can be put to use quite successfully. Keep in mind that energy sensations may not occur if you gain lucidity while deep inside the hypnagogic stage of sleep. paradoxically. Instead. Eventually. From here on out. while your mind will simply be enjoying the flow. energy sensations will begin to occur that are strong and persistent enough to carry you into the out-of-body state. except that you will be entirely lucid. in a partial state of sensory reduction in which an image. now fully claimed as your own. it brings you closer. Step 5: Transitioning Once a sufficient buildup in sleep pressure has been established. This is an unproblematic phenomenon. Be very careful about getting too involved in mini-dreams. energy sensations will ensue almost immediately. since you will have largely completed the transition process without knowing it. you can even move around physically in bed. While semi-lucid transitions are common as you start out. if you have spent the entire day working in the garden. picking up imagery as you go along and watching any incoherent thought patterns develop while intermittently reminding yourself not to fall asleep. . a sense of quickening will follow-a sudden increase in arousal. completely wide awake and yet able to project at any point in time without any lapse in consciousness. Throughout the free-flow exercise. Your body will become increasingly relaxed. Transitions into the out-of-body state do not need to be semi-lucid or mentally clouded affairs. It is the same mental movement as when you dipped into the hypnagogic stage of sleep. but if you lose yourself in one for any longer.Allowing yourself to drift further may also mean that you may occasionally experience non-lucid dream vignettes. such as. do not underestimate the degree of desynchronization between mind and body that you might be able to establish during the freeflow exercise." a heightening of arousal that. This situation is often accompanied by a sense of "quickening. do not be surprised to find yourself engaged in exactly the same activity during a mini-dream. You do not need to do anything specific to generate them. energy sensations are likely to ensue. but without any real risk of completely losing lucidity. Energy sensations can be triggered with complete physical body awareness. Repeat the anchoring exercise for a couple of minutes if you need to. an especially strong trigger in this regard. although it may not be advisable to purposely seek out such imagery. but usually there will not be much of a transition left to complete. and as such. For example. you will reach a delightful pattern of free-flow. Ignore any feelings of dread or terror that may coincide with this movement. You may still engage in some sort of separation. They are only one step removed from oblivious sleep. does not remove you further from sleep. this is more likely to happen in a semi-lucid stage of consciousness. there will be an insufficient level of sensory input to allow for the perception of energy sensations. continue to balance on the borderline of sleep. for example. warm liquid or jelly that trembles and rocks ever so lightly? Under these conditions. however. once your body is ready to fall asleep. "swinging" or "rolling" out of the body. Fearful imagery. thought. with ongoing energy sensations. For most novice projectors. You are no longer connected to the physical body in any way. have you ever been tossing and turning in bed. There may be a sense of approaching the object of your fear. this layer of fear will disappear from your experiences. Eventually. it is a clear warning sign that you are about to lose lucidity entirely. everything will be quite calm and peaceful. These short dreams develop from the sort of isolated imagery you experienced during your anchoring practice. These short dreams are okay to have for perhaps a few seconds. but once you have completed the transition process.

you will see the environment that you physically occupied moments before. where you are free of physical limitations and have established the out-of-body state. always try to use a technique that is natural and effortless. which will have replaced your physical body at the end of the transition process. which makes it quite a heroic feat.Until then. remember that you do not necessarily need to go through any "exit" technique. you will lose lucidity in the process. The act of moving "out" of the body will give your mind something to occupy itself with. of course. although it won't be so easy the first time. fly away. and you will only need to get up. Also. the environments you encounter will tend to be of a more nonphysical nature. You will need to nudge your mind closer toward the borderline of sleep until your physical body falls asleep more completely. rolling over. upon exiting. Your physical body is in the process of falling asleep. which is likely to further deepen the process of sensory reduction. If you have maintained no body awareness during the transition. especially if the sense of terror is strong. It is here. be careful not to move too quickly through the transition process. Step 6: Separation and Engagement If you experience difficulty in separating from the physical body. relax your mind a little bit more. you may also find yourself inside of the void preceding the appearance of an out-of-body environment. you should be able to simply get up out of bed in your phantom body. In theory.this will only make things worse. For example. If you experience difficulty. if you have maintained body awareness during the transition. However. you have simply not yet completed the transition process. If you slow down the process. you will have to be braver than you ever imagined. try not to force it . When you are inside of the void. or shortly thereafter. is an excellent technique that will provide you with the feeling of leaving the body. as you move further in the transition process. If you get stuck. It is a very fine thread of consciousness on which you have to maintain your balance. which will result in the further intensification of energy sensations. A great deal of courage will be required. but it will certainly feel that way. and if you are not careful. it can be useful to go through an exit technique. Welcome to the club! . you have completed the transition process. Usually. Instead. You should feel very proud of yourself if you continue to push through. Finally. It is a significant accomplishment when a person is willing to risk life and limb for a greater goal. Then. you will notice the energy sensations intensify until they reach a peak. as you would normally do when lying in bed. and you will find that moving out of body is much easier to accomplish. You are not really doing that. or engage visually in order to enter an out-of-body environment.

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