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At the Monroe Institute, a spiritual experience
could just be a beat away - The Washington
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An out-of-body experience could just be a beat away in Virginia
By Theresa Vargas, Published: February 24
Howard Broadman wants to see as nruch as he can before age slows him down, but he wonders ifhe might have ventured too fur this time. He takes a seat at a long wooden table across from a man wearing a cap with a firefighter emblem Five other people :fill the plush white chairs around them, but soon Broadman is listening only to the firefighter, watching a spoon dangle between the man's fingers. ''I've done other programs here," the firefighter is saying. ''In one, we learned to bend spoons with our minds." "And you did it? You bent it?" ''Everyone did it," the firefighter says. Broadman's bushy eyebrows arch high. This is his first dinner at the Monroe Institute, a cluster of buildings perched on more than 300 acres in the Virginia foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, He will spend the next six days here, attending a program that will ask just one thing ofhim and other participants: to consider that they might be more than their physical bodies. The institute uses audio technology to help induce different states of consciousness. The technology is touted as creating optimal conditions for the brain, leading to "peak human performance." Broadman doesn't expect nruch. A self-described "alpha cynic," he is here for the adventure. In an e-mail his daughter will send - one that he will share with me late one night - she writes, ''Hope you're having tim and don't come back weird." After dinner, Broadman and the rest of the group, 20 people in all, gather in a log cabin. On a mantel sits a bust of the institute's late founder, Robert Monroe, along with this anonymous quote: ''I've gone to look for myself If! should return before I get back, keep me here." ''This is really about you allowing your perception to be open and determining what fur you being more than your physical body is," John Kortum, one of two facilitators for the week, tells the group.
the terror. and I thought. exploring the technology Monroe spent decades developing. ''I did not know where I was until I saw this finmy sort of a fountain coming out of what I thought was the floor. And then the fright came. where Monroe wrote two ofhis books. But his interest in using sound patterns to explore the mind began in the mid-1950s. But he will have to wait a few days before he truly understands what it means to transcend everyday consciousness. an audio technology based on the premise that certain tones can encourage the two hemispheres of the brain to synchronize and move into different states of consciousness. helping the brain to create a third "binaural" beat. "Journeys Out of the Body. as the institute entices on its Web site. 'There is something terribly wrong. the brick house. this great shock came over me because this person in bed with my wife was me. And I thought. has sold 300. published in 1971. and a two-level dormitory. Hemi-Sync has garnered three patents and been the subject of research both at the institute and by independent medical professionals scientists and academics University studies have discovered that . Monroe made numerous recordings that. two to a room. ''Far Journeys" and ''Uhimate Journey". quaint and WiFi-wired.000 copies and is credited with popularizing the term "out-ofbody experience. he was lying in bed on a Friday night. ''Then.' " He looked down. send slightly different tones through each ear. he says. tree-lined road removed from the sounds of traffic and the reliability of cellphone service.broadcasting executive whose company produced 28 shows a month. A successful radio. when he feh something bump against his shoulder. Over the years. the Monroe Institute is a three-hour drive. 'Where am I? This is a fimny kind of dream.' And I looked more closely. where. he types it into Wikipedia. he moved closer. not-for-profit institute in 1978." Monroe and his team uhimately developed Hemi-Sync. we will lie in our respective beds. thinking about the weather the next day. reaching "extraordinary" states. when used with headphones.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute. When he's alone. As Monroe tells it in a video recorded before his death in 1995. past Charlottesville and up a steep. It was a decision that would lead to what he described as a "terrifying" experience in 1958. The resuh: a collection of compact discs that purportedly can be used for everything from inducing sleep to increasing memory retention to. where he and his wife lived and meals are now shared. He has never heard that term. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . To give the public access to this technology. to see his wife lying in bed next to a man Curious about whom it might be. Monroe opened the private. This is the chandelier. This is not a fountain.The Washington Post Broadman's brows rise again. Monroe dedicated an arm ofhis :firm to research and development. and volunteered to serve as the chief test subject. Where the road dead-ends. *** From Washington. pulling up an adequate definition: An out-oj-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation oj floating outside oj one's body. sparked by the possibility that people could learn while asleep. What am I doing? Am I dying?" He would descnbe it as his first ofrmny out-of-body experiences in his book. headphones on." The book. three buildings stand within steps of one another: The cabin.
" The recording begins with the sound of waves lapping against the sand and seagulls crying in the distance." says Rademacher. lie in the darkness and wait fur Monroe's baritone voice to guide us into the unknown. the experience will change. we are introduced to a state of consciousness known as ''Mind awake. turn away from your box. a pastor fur 15 years before serving as the institute's executive director fur four years. we will envision where we want to be in a year or more. For many. A California woman is here looking fur clarity after discovering her husband cheated on her for six years with prostitutes. " *** My room is quaint. I'm here to better understand a place that not even those who live in surrounding Nelson County know rrruch about." Monroe instructs us. by the institute's estimates. forcing us to explore a different part of ourselves. ''Now. We will slip them on several times a day.The Washington Post reintegrate into their civilian lives. author of ''Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and Our Coming Age of Barbarism.000 people from around the world have attended its programs. the institute can fulfill its ambitious five-word vision statement: ''The Global Awakening of Humanity. the experience is ''life changing. each paying nearly $2. 30. close your eyes and relax. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . And nothing you put in it can get out unless you take it out. who earned $84. ''Now." says organizations such as the institute are made up of two groups: ''The hypnotizers make money and the hypnotized spend a lot of money in their quest to get it. you have the sense you are in a cushioned vault. In one.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute." says Paul Rademacher. ''We live in a society that tells us life is only as big as our five senses. and in another. putting it behind you Put it behind you and relax " . undisturbed by light or sound. then the boundaries of your world really broaden. sinister. if any. He then tells us to imagine "an energy conversion box. "A box so strong that no one but you can open it. you have to ask yourself: 'How big am I and what are the limits. double-layered curtain. until I notice the bed. Constance Cumbey. Critics say that at its most harmless. Each time. It's a nook cut into the wall. A retired intelligence officer and now Chinese medicine and martial arts expert in Northern Virginia has come to further his understanding of how we heal ourselves. and at its worst. and to see if. Inside. even one person at a time. on my life?' " This promise of enlightenment is why a group of people from as fur as Turkey and as close as Central Virginia show up on a full afternoon fur the introductory Gateway Voyage program. close it tightly and turn away. we will look for dull spots on our bodies that might need healing. the technology is a waste ofmoney. and to get inside you crawl through a black. body asleep. On our first :full day.000 fur the experience. but when you suddenly learn through your own experience that it is possible to transcend the physical world.000 annually in his position and was replaced late last year by Carol de la Herran ''Then. So each is coming from a different place not only geographicallybut emotionally." capable of holding all our distractions. Above each mattress dangles headphones. close the lid on your box." In the past three decades. whatever it is. and millions have purchased Hemi-Sync compact discs. if a little tmderwhehning.
''You will move now back to :full physical waking consciousness as I guide you. "And yet aware ofit at the same time. as will become part of the routine following most exercises. If the program were a c1ass. I'm not asleep." he says after less than an hour." he says. sharply and beautifully. Everyone takes a seat on the plush carpet. In that. Every once in a while. Monroe's voice snaps me back. cleanly. I think about how this might be the first time ever that I've paid attention to every part ofmy body and how. we are the same. watching." Afterward. to the other person's pahn. Moments 1ater." one woman says." another woman says. a subtle glow around her head. "Some people will get images. the other facilitator. then my knees. body-asleep experience?" Kortum asks. A chandelier dangles from the ceiling and a portrait on the wall depicts his daughter Laurie. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . then my ankles." Kortum says. ''How many of you felt you had a mind-awake. because I'm aware of this thought. More than a few hands go up. Chary would sit in the front row. Stone told us that the next state of consciousness we would explore was called "expanded awareness. He is often the first to ask questions. You'll be getting imagery that is symbolic. he asks again.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute. resembling a frozen geyser. ''Definitely timeless and floating. and when the answers don't make sense. ''When I reach the count of 1. I hear snippets of conversation and see flashes of strangers.The Washington Post different body part go weightless. all of your :fivephysical senses will be operating clearly. he says. Earlier that day. Lee Stone. everything disintegrates into a blur. My feet. Is it damp? Is it cold? Do you/eel any vibrations? ''Everyone here is a risk-taker. It's going to be a little like having dreams. as if trying to absorb its strength. and you'll have to contemp1ate that. a tall quartz crystal from Brazil appears to sprout from the ground." ''Who gives these answers?" Chary asked. someone walks up and p1aces a pahn flatly against its cold surface. the group gathers in a peach-walled room in Monroe's old house. Pay attention. Krislman Chary and I sit on a stone bench nearby." Everyone here has a need to know and understand. . but I can't be sure I'm not dreaming." ''This is a good state of consciousness to ask questions and get answers." *** Outside. Later that day. "And how would you describe it?" ''1 couldn't move. has the group stand in a circle and hold hands." he said. barefoot and ready to share.
Chary retired as a senior vice president of a muhinational company. He currently serves as a management consuhant and as the lead examiner for India's equivalent of the Malcohn Baldrige award. But now. ''If you want to learn to play the violin." A yoga instructor from Turkey. Broadrnan got paid to weigh facts and testimony before making decisions. and nothing happening. an insurance adjuster from Virginia. at 68. Broadman's didn't come. Broadrnan scoffs. we followed Monroe as he instructed us to visualize a balloon around our bodies. he earned a reputation for controversial verdicts." she tells the group when we gather to discuss the exercise. The white wall didn't mean anything. we were told to toss questions into the universe and wait for answers. In 1991. Kortum nods. meaning she's easily distracted. She says she has given her white wall some thought. ''I just perceived a blank white wall. is anyone there?' " she says." *** Howard Broadman overhears two women expressing their frustrations with the last exercise. imagined dolphin to swim through us.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute. and it seems he's not alone. "And I just spent forty-five minutes looking at a blank wall and was not inundated with thoughts. questioning why she's here. defeated. But his main purpose is to bring the program to India.The Washington Post out-of-body experience and maybe see a few deceased relatives. This last time. not one second before. 'Hello." he says. where he worked for 30 years. one of the facilitators. ''Everything happens to people when they are ready for it. ''Paint dries very slowly. including one that ahnost got him killed. Chary's main project is himself After his wife died five years ago from a stroke. he says. "I'mjust saying. He has also intensified his studies of spirituality. Only a few minutes pass before the insurance adjuster speaks again. On the bench. "and in tranquillity. the program is a way to reach God even if it can't be done in a week. healing anyaihnents along the way. In the past few days. to underscore her accomplishment. one capable of protecting us from any threats. ''Normally. a man walked into Broadrnan's courtroom and aimed a . says she witnessed meatballs flying toward her. I have a monkey mind." She looks satisfied now. "So. Then he adds. which recognizes excellence in organizations." she says. " Later. who is debating life as a vegetarian." ''Could this have anything to do with your purpose?" Kortum. Answers can come in unexpected ways. ''One of the questions for me is: Why do they want to believe so badly?" A judge for 14 years in California. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . and another time to allow a tiny. apparently not. F or him. he hears one of the women. can it happen in five days? And the violin is nothing compared to this. Near the kitchen. asks. ''I find no time for anything else." he says. he has told us.357 . he began meditating five hours a day.
On the subject of UFOs. This far into the week. ''But that's not the norm. ''To think we're the only intelligent species is ridiculous. started in the 1970s and eventually dubbed Star Gate." Other countries. ." Broadman says.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute." McMoneagle says. He says that he is struck by how McMoneagle believes with certainty that these often doubted phenomenon exist.000 people across the world have been tested fur remote-viewing skills and not one person has shown zero capability. a p1ace she told herself she would go if she left him. 2) I don't have anything else to do. was first run by the CIA.gone relatives. he says. such as Russia. during the Iran hostage crisis. Everyone is encouraged to keep a journal. and the balance is there is no downside risk. Perhaps this c1ass is an attempt to reestablish innocence." McMoneagle says. He introduces himselfas Joe McMoneagle and says he was the first member of the U. he says. I'm sorry. you are all psychic. *** Each time we crawl into om cushioned vaults we are encouraged to ask ourselves questions we might not during the course of otherwise busy days. " Broadman raises his hand. 3) I paid a lot. ''I also know psychic ability is real. were much more embracing of similar programs. he worked directly with Monroe.The Washington Post experiences beyond his comfort zone. though. During one exercise. she sees herself and their three children appearing happy at their old house. who eventually created a recording just fur him. he says." he tells the group. ) McMoneagle says he worked under five presidential administrations. ie. 4) Maybe it will work. except that they say: 1) Trust the process. ''Going to work every day was like a knife fight in a phone booth. then the Defense Intelligence Agency. "So. he tried to psychically distinguish the Americans from their Is1amist captors." A man in dress s1acks and a collared shirt sits cross-legged on the floor. ''You never knew who your friends were." McMoneagle says. his experiences haven't exactly been soul shaking. the program.S. ''It should be." McMoneagle says he first came to the Monroe Institute in the 1980s. For 14 months. Others have descnbed seeing white beings against white walls and long. ''I'm not the only person to go out of body. Terrorists can It's stupid to bury your head in the sand. McMoneagle says. capable of sitting in one p1ace and describing in detail another location (According to documents declassified in the 1990s. and early on Broadman writes: ''I could quit. ''It's part of being human" McMoneagle describes how. He was Remote Viewer 001. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . The woman whose husband cheated on her can't decide if she should divorce him. A govennnentconnnissioned group eventually found it too unreliable and inconsistent for spying purposes. but he has had none of that. learn something so new just like a child does every day. govennnent's experimental psychic spying program. More than 10. He wanted to find a way to "cool down" more quickly from one remote-viewing assignment to another.
" All eyes are focused on him ''I took my time. "And I watched. 'I'm not going to move until the bell rings or the grasshopper moves. ''I've taken thousands of walks. Before meeting with the group. Kortum explains that the purpose is to show us how states beyond our everyday consciousness can be accessed from anywhere. when the group gathers.The Washington Post "And how many feel nothing at all is happening for you?" Krishnan Chary and one other man raise theirs." he says. Afterward. and everyone in the room joins in. more than logic can prove. ''I may not be seeing Jesus but that was a great walk" . Broadman speaks first. They have been telling the group for days that there is more than can be seen. Broadman holds his empty pahns upward. ''But I will never forget that walk.. ''Follow the sound. It started at my toes and went right through my body.. Broadman speaks first. Several people walk slowly down the gravel road." he says. he has said little during group discussions.. try to feel vibrations flowing through us. On a sheet of general guidelines for the program. eyeing fulling leaves. "Just. don't force anything. How could putting on a set of headphones make him vibrate? Broadman looks at Stone and Kortum. per Monroe's instructions. I don't vibrate." he says. " When we meet later to discuss the exercise. thank you. and I said." he says. don't try. We don't need a bed cut into a wall. and.' " A few people lean forward. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . ''I vibrated. he tried to analyze what happened. the facilitator. 15 percent of participants will have an out-of.. but Rademacher says people can focus so much on that that they fail to perceive other developments.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute. We slip on our headphones as usual. aware of each pebble underfoot. sounding both awed and bewildered. was there any other emotion it brought up for you?" Stone." he says. "a grasshopper [defecate]. By Monroe's estimates. Others lumber between the trees. indicating another exercise." ''Besides feeling shattered." *** A bell rings. Rademacher says those who come here with the highest expectations usually find the least success. asks. "The vibe flow for me was ahnost a shattering experience. let yourselffollow the sound and the change in the pulse. Chary pays attention to the wind. later saying that he could hear the HemiSync in it." Monroe tells us. body experience. Until now. the first line reads: ''Most importantly . the group takes a silent walk. ''I followed a grasshopper. ''Now let the vibration move upward more and more .." His entire body shakes as he laughs at the absurdity and profimdity of this . The next day.
and I think I received a lot more than I expected. I think we will all leave changed. lies in the opportunity for reflection Everyone came here with the hope of expanding their view of the world. ushering in a surprising heaviness. in part." the insurance adjuster says. All the scriptures of all religions talk about the 'Universal Soul' or the unity or oneness of all souls." he says. ''I'm going to have to change it to. He will also have to rethink.one woman described channeling a spirit. who will1ater say that she has decided to leave her husband. somehow re1axing and exhausting at the same time. maybe awakened. 'And then you die.most ofus didn't . She can be reached at email@example.com program's power.com. ©Th Whit P tC . it occurs to me that while some people had profound moments during the recordings . we form a circle and. As I look around the room. I don't need any proof of that." Kortum tells the group. Or maybe you don't. and for six days opened themselves up to possibilities they may not have otherwise considered. The week has been intense. After this program and meeting all of you guys. Though he never had his out-of-body experience or saw any re1atives.000 kilometers to be here. ' " Theresa Vargas is a Washington Post staffwriter.2/25/12 At the Monroe Institute." says the betrayed wife. ''It's not unconnnon to have some postGateway blues. ''I think. the payoffwas still substantial ''I traveled l3. ''I think I could learn to love b1ank walls. F or the 1ast time.but because we were forced to look deeply inside ourselves. a spiritual experience could just be a beat away . the 1ast ofhis three mantras in life: And then you die." he says. and a man talked of sharing dinner with his 1ate parents and brother . and now I control my mind. Not because we traveled outside our bodies . one by one. To different degrees.The Washington Post The 1ast:fullday comes quickly. say our goodbyes. ''I came with an open mind. as an atheist. Thank you All of you" Broadman tells the group that he has decided to start walking to work. A few people swallow their tears. ''I used to let my mind control me. Chary's eyes water as he speaks.
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