Update on January 26, 2013: I found myself about to write a similar story today, and rather than do that, I thought I'd just re-post this older article about trying to live an "impeccable" lifestyle.
As a quick note to self, I've been good for the last few days -- almost what Carlos Castaneda's don Juan would called impeccable -- and the special effects started again this morning. I was very tired and slept straight through from 10pm until a bio break at 4am, but from that time until 7am I kept staying on that razor's edge between being awake and asleep, going back and forth instantly between very active dreams and simply being here and laying in my bed. As I was pulled into the dreams I could hear/feel the "sucking" action, then I'd fight it to stay on the edge.
(Almost all of the dreams were related to my wife's family, but nothing of significance that I can recall.)
(Yesterday morning was funnier. In the middle of a nonsense dream, a character in the dream suddenly said, "We should call David", a guy a female friend knows back here in the physical world. This statement was completely inconsistent with the rest of the dream, so it made me think, "WTF?" His statement was so shocking I woke up, and as I laid there in bed, the woman called me -- at 4:15am.)
Debating on writing any more here
For at least the second time lately I'm thinking about not writing anything more out here. Part of me is wondering if these things that happen to me are something that only happen easily to some people, but beyond that, what I don't want is a lot of people wasting their time like I did for a while back in the 80s. I became absorbed in trying to make this process repeatable, neglected everything else, including my schoolwork, and only averaged a "C" that semester. (I recently learned that Daniel Ingram, aka, "Dharma Dan", refers to this period as "The Dark Night".) I didn't know what I was doing, simply slept a lot, and I was lucky I didn't fail out of college.
As a result of that experience, in my opinion, if you don't know what you're doing, you can waste a lot of valuable time of your life trying to make this happen, and I don't want to lead anyone down that road.
So what I'm thinking is that if you're interested in this stuff, great, I applaud you (because not many people are, and I find it fascinating), but find a teacher, someone you trust. There aren't too many OBE teachers in the world, and they all seem to want money -- a lot of money -- so I recommend finding a Zen training center or a great yoga teacher. (Not one of those fast-food yoga places, but a real yoga teacher.)
The best things you can do
Again, in my opinion, if you're interested in having OBEs, these are the best things you can do:
- Find a good Zen center, and meditate regularly. Learn from a teacher, meditate in a group, and do it right. Don't waste your time sleep-meditating at home.
- Find a good/great yoga instructor, and go to class at least once a week. There are clear links in the literature between yoga and OBEs.
- If possible, do both #1 and #2.
- Quit drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Don't over-eat, especially at night. You'll never have an OBE on an overfilled belly. (I write this in part because I've had my gallbladder removed, and I have to be fairly careful about what I eat.)
- Get eight hours of sleep every night. Turn off the tv and shut off the computer at least thirty minutes before you go to bed, and relax before you go to sleep. Get the day's events out of your mind, and tell yourself that you deserve this sleep time, and the best thing you can do for yourself and the rest of the world is to have a great night's sleep.
In short, live an impeccable lifestyle.
Hopefully at some point you'll get to a place where you can either lay down at night, or maybe take a nap during the day, and you'll be able to lay there extremely relaxed without falling asleep. Or maybe really practicing Zen meditation or yoga will convince you that you don't even need this OBE stuff.
I hope something like that happens for you. I just don't want anyone to waste their time the way I did, where you look back after a few months and think of it as lost time, or "What the bleep was I thinking?"
If you're going to do this, really do this, start by practicing Zen and/or yoga with other students in a proper setting, with great teachers. (If your yoga teacher sucks, find a new one.) Don't waste your time laying down and trying to have OBEs without doing these things.