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We all have an innate curiosity when it comes to understanding the human condition. In search for answers, the context of spirituality in our culture has a major influence on individual views. While religion speaks about the soul, spirit, and afterlife, science looks for answers in terms of physical and biological reality. These two perpectives aren't always compatible, but there is one mysterious aspect of our existence which may help disparate views find common ground - that is consciousness.
Questions about consciousness, the soul or spirit are always at the forefront regarding philosophy and religion. That's why the topic of Out-of-Body experiences is so fascinating. Approximately 1 in 10 people claim to have experienced an OBE. Although it seems to be a relatively common experience, there is not much research explaining the phenomena.
Speaking with an individual who can shed some light on this subject is a rare opportunity. Meeting OBE practitioner and coach Rich West, was just the chance I hoped for, to understand more about this interesting topic.
Recently, Rich agreed to discuss his experience in this interview, which was conducted through email. This engaging interview will help shed some light on the topic of OBE's and how it relates to understanding consciousness.
Lloyd: It's a privilege to be able to learn about this topic from you. I appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge.
Rich: Thanks for asking me these questions.
It's an honor to share my answers and thoughts on this subject; the subject loosely called an OBE, OOBE (I call it an oobie) or an out of body experience.
In fact this is the subject of consciousness shifting - if and when we master this, we are free to travel the Universe, the Multiverse, and the Greater Reality - through all time and space - at will.
Lloyd: What made you take an interest in them (OBE's) and how did you first realize they were possible?
Rich: I read a science fiction/fantasy novel when I was in my mid-teens. It was about a guy who fell asleep in a mountain cabin - and woke up in another world. In this other world he lived another life. A life of adventure on another planet in another dimension. I just loved that novel, and that novel concept. I thought - I wanna do this.
That's how (in this lifetime) I triggered my interest. And as far as 'realizing it was possibile' - it just never occurred to me that it wasn't. I read it in this novel, I wanted to do it, and from then on it was just something I wanted to do. A few years later I found myself stationed in the Philippines, in the Air Force. On an island far from home and my girl. I longed for a way to get off the island. That's when I started really thinking "there must be a way to get out of body" and started seriously looking for the techniques. I was about 20 years old.
Lloyd: Fear plays a large role in whether or not someone is able to take those first few steps to achieving an astral state. Do you have any advice for people just beginning, to help them get over their fear?
Rich: Well, I'd say that it's gonna be there, that fear is. So get ready for it. Prepare yourself to confront it. When it comes, do your best to brave it out. Just face it. There will be something that causes you to feel the fear - but it's the feeling of fear itself that needs to be confronted - not the spooky creature, or the thought that you might die.
Those are just the things that trigger fear. Those things can change - the fear does not. Fear is an energy thing you need to process and you do that by sucking it up and facing it. The fear can be very strong, very real. For me it was the fear that I might die if I continue (to confront the separation process).
After the second time it scared me so bad, I decided next time I was going to call it's bluff, like "what if I don't die, what's on the other side of this fear?" So the third time it happened I toughed it out. It went away suddenly and there was super silence. My astral hearing had switched on and I was no longer perceiving the physical world - though I was not yet completely out of body either. But I got past the fear. After that the fear was no longer triggered to that degree.
There were still times when it did to a bit lesser degree (like the time a green goblin like creature showed up six inches from my face - nose to nose we were - very scary). By then I had it figured out - you just confront the fear and the thing that's triggering it - instead of shifting cosnciousness back to full waking consciousness. Once you do that, you can take your efforts to get out of body to the next level (which is usually separation).
Lloyd: Recently I was reading a book by Robert Peterson which discusses OBE's. He says that his meditation and OBE practice led him to experience psychic phenomena. Have you ever experienced psychic phenomena as a result of your OBE practice?
Rich: Yes. But let me say this about that. I believe that the OBE is in itself a psychic phenomenon. And it's through various spiritual practices, including meditation, that a person is going to intentionally get out-of-body.
'Psyche' basically means soul, or the mind or self as a functional entity.
This tells us that the shifting of self as a functional entity from one location in time and/or space to another, is a psychic phenomena of considerable significance in itself.
With that said, through meditation and oobe practice I'd say that yes, some of my (other) psychic abilities have improved as well.
Lloyd: Of course going out of body changes your perspective on the nature of reality. Has your experience allowed you to appreciate life in a new way?
Rich: Yes. I now see that life goes on. I don't have to rely on what others say on this subject. I have my first hand direct experiences with life in other planes of existence, in other worlds. I have talked with and played with friends and loved ones in the higher planes, just like I have done in the physical world. Just as real (more real actually) and with just as much touch, feeling and emotion as one would expect in this physical world.
So, yes. Now I can appreciate life not just here, but beyond. Interesting things are going on in life. Life extends way beyond the physical plane and a life span of about 80 or so years. Life after death - what to expect - what's it going to be like? Now I have answers I feel really good about and I have more certainty than ever before that I've got it right.
What an amazing way to conclude the first part of this interview. In the second part, we begin the discussion with a question regarding extra-dimensional beings. Find out some of the fascinating experiences OBE Coach Rich West has to share with us.