THE FEAR BARRIER. There is one great obstacle to the investigation of the Second Body and the environment in which it operates. Perhaps it is the only major barrier. It seems to be present in all people, without exception. It may be hidden by layers of inhibition and conditioning, but when these are stripped away, the obstacle remains. This is the barrier of blind, un-reasoning fear. Given only small impetus, it turns to panic, and then to terror. If you consciously pass the fear barrier, you will have passed a milestone in your investigation. I am reasonably sure that this barrier is passed unconsciously by many of us each night. When that part of us beyond our consciousness takes over, it is not inhibited by fear, although it seems to be influenced by the thought and action of the conscious mind. It seems to be accustomed to operating beyond the fear barrier, and understands better the rules of existence in this other world. When the conscious mind shuts down for the night, this Super Mind (soul?) takes over...
The investigative process relative to the Second Body and its environment appears to be a melding or blending of the conscious with this Super Mind...
I do not know how to circumvent the fear barrier, except by cautious initial steps that create familiarity bit by bit as you proceed.
--Robert Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body
Partly due to the fact that I have a book and a related blog on my currently ongoing process of learning to unworld, and I need something to report on my blog, I keep trying. If not for that which possibly actually motivates me--writing down my thoughts--would I even do the practice? Before the internet I rarely got down and dirty with the astral world. Now I bang on the door of the damn place every change I get, but then the trouble is that it takes me all day and half the night to write down the results of using myself as a lab rat. The good news is: results happen as consistently as I make an effort. This makes me hope that perhaps I'm going in the right direction, since so many students of unworlding claim they can't get anywhere with it.
Never forgetting that I am a mere beginner, here's what I learned today.
I go to sleep unconsciously because my conscious mind, unbeknowst to itself in its waking version, is terrified to squeeze itself through the Apnea. That is WHY we go to sleep unconsciously. This is common to most people, more likely all of them. The conscious mind's greatest fear is death, and it does not know the difference between sleep and death.
So then, what exactly is this fear of death thing?
Plain and simple greed of the unapologetic addict.
Yep, I hate to tell you this, but your conscious mind is keeping you from unworlding, not because it fears death as such. It doesn't actually know what death is. Didn't I just say that it can't tell the difference between dying and going to sleep? What it does know about going to sleep--which it mistakes for death--is based on its experience. It knows that it is about to be stripped of its arrogated power to siphon energy from the whole being. If it doesn't do this, the poor thing will never get to sleep and eventually it will die from fatigue, and be forced through the Apnea anyway. The 2-3-4 wants nothing more than immortality in its familiar physical environment.
Every single time it goes to sleep, poor deluded 2-3-4 faces the same horrid task: strip off those thousand-and-one unneeded attachments so that what's left of it can squeeze through that tiny little hole, the Apnea.
What it doesn't realize--since it has almost never squeezed through the hole consciously--is that the experience doesn't actually hurt, and once it's through to the other side... freedom! All those attachments that create the physical body/mind/world weren't so important after all, were they? But going through this in sleep mode night after night, over and over and over, has just allowed the 2-3-4 to reinforce its own imagined horror stories about the Apnea. The only way for the average practitioner to learn to go directly from waking awareness (2-3-4) into the Unworld beyond the Apnea is to experience so many awakenings, day after day, that he learns his own routines for avoiding the conscious experience of the transit through the eye of the needle.
I will never forget the terrible fear of 7th grade gym class. No longer would we be allowed to play ball in our street clothes. We would be going into a locker room, taking all our clothes off, putting on a jock strap and some skimpy damn outfit, and worse... at the end of the hour, we would have to go back in and take a shower, all of us, together at the same time. Now, it all went pretty smoothly in spite of my excessive worries, but what if this had happened: what if I had taken off all my clothes, put on my jock strap and gone out to the gym without the rest of my uniform? Now that would have been something to remember.
Now you know why we so often dream about the sudden realization of nakedness. In order to become that aware of the self, the self had to be stripped of much of its selfness. Aren't these naked dreams considerably more vivid than the average dream? What the 2-3-4 does each and every time it goes to sleep unconsciously is tantamount to heading out onto the gym floor with some important parts of its uniform forgotten back in the locker room.
It boils down to allowing the Apnea to strip away our accustomed daytime lucidity (sense of self based on memory, attachments, routines, personal rules, identity, etc.) while stripping away the baggage that won't fit through the Apnea. This is just a matter of inexperience, the blind fella groping his way out the mouth of the cave and plunging straight down the cliff. With many repeated near-conscious experiences of finding oneself right outside the mouth of the cave, totally blind, eventually a person learns to step carefully, with great deliberation, at this point, feeling around for a trail or a flashlight or whatever would help prevent going straight off the cliff in front of the cave mouth. A person learns to sense a change in the atmosphere coming, before the Apnea grabs him and sucks him through. You feel it about to happen, you glom onto that lucidity and get ready to holler YIPPEE, and on the other side you're all grins because you finally did it. And yes, if you keep trying and avoid the mistakes and keep learning and tweaking and remembering that mindset is more important than method, yes you will get unworlded with lucidity. It could become one of those things that you look back on and say, "Heck, that wasn't so hard after all. It just took a little extra practice."
Some of this is still speculation, but less than ever. I will quote directly from my dream journal. If you've kept up with my journey, you already know that I tend to wake up gasping for air as if I had been choking in my sleep. I have long thought this is due to waking up at the tail end of fading sleep paralysis. Recall also that my theory states that conscious sleep paralysis tends to happen when people approach the Apnea, start through it, and then change their mind and try to crawl out backwards with the Apnea already trying to suck them through.
Today I got much closer to regaining lucidity before I had managed to choke myself awake still on the Tunnel side of the Apnea, with the unusual result that I was still in the Vibes. This was a great experience since I was able to find out with full awareness that the 2-3-4 is a big sissy. There is literally nothing to be afraid of. Yes I felt the fear. But having now felt that fear directly in a conscious state, I think I will be able to conquer it much more quickly. I also know what other fears it feels like. It is a sort of resistance or refusal to go somewhere that it doesn't want to go for reasons that are basically incoherently illogical. Exactly like a dog who is entranced in sheer panic because it's about to be given a bath.
This resistance feels a lot like similar resistances often encountered in the unworlding practice, which I would personificate as the Voice of Idiossification telling me not to write in my dream journal or telling me not to breathe so much dang air. I think it's safe to assume, based on the state of the world today, that the average person's conscious mind is in general pretty much full of shit. This is no insult to one's being. Just shovel out some breathing space so the eyes of the mind can learn how to see.
Here is this morning's Awakenings session:
2017-01-24 5:45 am
Woke up unwillingly. Didn't get enough sleep. Still raining, maybe it'll never stop.
Lying down in dream bed to Climb the Beanstalk and have lucid dreams and other unworlding experiences. Pesonal Lucidity Objects (PLO?) are quartz, maps, books, and musical instruments. Remember to look at hands and at colors, especially pink, rose or yellow. Or blue. Or green. Also when waking, remain motionless with eyes closed. The MILD technique: recall the last thing that happened, decide where I could have become lucid, then wait with a silent mind for the Nothing to show me a new dream scene. Watch the scene patiently with detached focus and when it is stable, extend the vision by looking through it. Step into the scene when it makes a sound.
Didn't have the energy for Noticing or the Beanpole, but thought I could go to sleep so went ahead with that plan, lying on back with mask. I am getting very close to learning the direct exit technique a.k.a. WILD. I had several Awakenings where I experienced the panicky choking sensation but remembered not to start gasping for air. At least stopped gasping after one huge inrush of air. It was because of this new ability--the ability to become lucid in time to not panic--that I had two more awesome experiences. First another Screenshot and second something new and exciting.
The Screenshot was larger than yesterday's with no preliminary Tunnel transit--I was more lethargic today and lacked the enthusiasm for Noticing--but the screen did appear, maybe after an Awakening, though I can't recall how it started. It occupied about a fourth of the upper left of the visual field and consisted of black-and-white shots of Laurel and Hardy Meet Frankenstein.
Most of it was semi-unfocused, but when I first took an interest in the sighting, a 6-inch-wide vertical band of relative clarity would travel from my left to my right over the screen, focusing whatever it crossed over. Then if I looked directly, as usual the whole thing would blink out, but I could get it right back by widening my focus, taking a step back emotionally, not grasping at it with my attention. Also a few times the screen got bigger suddenly and then returned to the original size, exactly like someone was playing with a magnification knob. At all times the resolution was fuzzy, except once when I got the balance right (when I stopped trying) and that's when Frankenstein appeared standing behind Laurel and Hardy in the left half of the screen.
For just a second, I was seeing clearly, with no fuzz, in sharp black-and-white contrast, till the mind got noisy again. Toward the end, I once more experienced the partial opening of the third eye, about 2 or three times. Again it felt exactly like my left eye was opening, but this is impossible because when it happened, light would stream in through the slit, and I was firmly wearing a dark mask over my whole face. My eye mask doesn't just cover the eyes, it's a six-inch wide strip of cloth, four thicknesses of dark cotton material wrapped around my whole head. So if it moves a little while I'm asleep, it still won't let in a lot of light, especially right in front of my eyes.
After I somehow managed to grow tired of this--or was it more like I was caving in to resistance; the Voice of Idiossification telling me it was too hard--I kept up the program of having more Awakenings, each time catching myself gasping awake in panic. Finally I managed to catch this impulse just a little bit earlier and was able to learn first hand instead of guessing what it was that keeps waking me in a panic. I am happy to report that I have started to find the fear barrier so I can face it down and conquer it. I have a very strong feeling that all my talk about the Apnea is correct and on course. Here's what happened.
I awoke in the familiar choking panic, but was able to relax and not take a big gasp, or else I stopped in the middle of the first gasp, neither of which I've ever done before. The result is that whatever the big air blast was supposed to cancel out, did not get fully cancelled out, and I was able to experience the tail end of it and watch it fade out naturally on its own.
Apnea, sleep paralysis, the old hag sitting on the chest, the false sensation of an elevated heartbeat, or a little of each, it's oh-so-hard to describe minutes later, but I felt it from the bottom of my torso to the top of my head and it had a frequency. As it abated, I could feel this energy pulsing at about 8-10 cycles per second. The Vibes. I only caught the tail end of it, but was able to watch in wonder as all the stories came true. For maybe ten seconds I felt a throbbing, pulsing kind of heat throughout my chakra system that for some reason scared the hell out of me. This is what has been waking me up in a panic ever since I started this practice of many daytime Awakenings. I'm sure it's sleep paralysis but it would be a mistake to say it's "just" sleep paralysis, because--well, that's why I invented the term "reality apnea" or "the Apnea." [Later changed to "the Urumara".]
Because there is no other explanation for this except for a new explanation. If we say it's night terror brought on by sleep apnea and/or sleep paralysis, then the search is over before it started. That's not how I do things. In my former incarnation as a rockhound, I liked to start the day fresh in a spot I'd never dug, instead of going to where I knew for sure I'd find the good stuff. My search for the WILD unworlding is started by looking for a common element in the descriptions of others' experiences--not their interpretations--and when I find a mystery in my own budding patterns of experience that seems to match up with what others seem to be talking about, I invent a new word for the phenomenon and try to define my new word by way of having my own experiences of it.
I was quite certain as I lay there with this somewhat unpleasant, foreboding pulsation between head and torso that I was in the land of the Direct OBE Exit and I was inexplicably scared. Reading the books is never scary. I've been reading them for 46 years, it's almost boring. I am going to re-read Monroe's description of the Fear Barrier right now (Chapter 16 of Journeys Out of the Body.) What is this fear thing hiding inside, this resistance that only pops up when exit is imminent?
I think I know why it makes me gasp myself awake in a panic. As Mike of the Phase Evolution YouTube channel suggests, there is a shortness of breath when the unrolling lead blanket reaches the torso, and the antidote he recommends is not gasping in terror, but breathing shallowly all along, in order to tune down the breather's expectations before the old hag gets sat down. I am sure this perceived shortness of breath is a result of conscious sleep paralysis, because one of the few things you can easily do in sleep paralysis is to breathe, but not deeply, and there is the panic right there. What if you wake up with an old hag on your chest? When she sits down, that right there might be enough to wake you up, under certain conditions.
This resistance to going through the Apnea consciously has counterparts in other areas of life and the unworlding practice. Why does the prospect of getting out of bed to record a dream sometimes feel like my 7th grade gym coach is standing there telling me to get out of bed and do fifty push-ups? Naked in front of all the other students?
It boils down to the 2-3-4 mind's bloated expectations, as usual. The conscious mind is absolutely terrified of losing the controls. 2-3-4 thinks if he does not steer the craft, he will certainly sail into the sun and burn. He cannot distinguish going to sleep from dying. But truly that is all there is to do: overcome the fear of going to sleep. It's really simple, but it doesn't teach itself. Through practice and going over and over the scary rough patches, you get used to it, till the scary parts become your favorite parts. That's what I'm looking at right now. Every day for three days in a row, I've seen clearly through the Apnea into the Unworld. I have been shown the key, it's in my hand. Many Awakenings is everything in this practice because it amounts to overcoming the insane fear on the part of the conscious mind that letting go of the controls is gonna kill it.