There seems to be a range of ways in which people use the concepts of lucid dreaming and what I call “projection of consciousness” but others may refer to as “astral projection” or “out-of-body experience” (OBE). In this post I explain how those terms are used from the perspective of projectiology (the study of the projection of consciousness).
First, it is good to be aware that there are two fundamentally different approaches to understanding these kinds of experiences. One is the “psychological model”. According to this model any experiences we have, whether we call them “lucid dream” or “astral projection”, are only taking place within our own psyche. Basically, this model has the underlying assumption that consciousness is a product of matter and all our experiences take place in the brain. This model dominates most mainstream scientific research into dreams and is also the starting point for some lucid dream researchers. The other is the “projection model”. This model assumes that we can actually leave the physical body in some other body and experience ourselves on another dimension of manifestation. According to this model, consciousness is something beyond matter; consciousness is not created by matter, it simply uses matter to manifest in this dimension.
If our basic starting point is the psychological model then it makes sense to use the term “lucid dreaming” for any conscious experience that we have during our sleep state. After all, no matter how aware we are the experience has to be a subjective dream of sorts, because in our model it is not possible to have experiences beyond our physical body during sleep. From the view point of the psychological model there is no such thing as a projection of consciousness (astral projection etc.).
If our basic starting point is the projective model, however, we can start to think more carefully about the range of experiences that we can have while our body is asleep. From the perspective of projectiology, leaving the physical body happens to all of us every night. It is simply a result of our multidimensional physiology (para-physiology). As our physical body goes to sleep, our subtle body (the psychosoma in projectiology) floats out. But that does not mean that we all then have out-of-body experiences, because most of us don’t experience anything. We sleep in our psychosoma (astral body). There is no lucidity. In the projective model, the lucid dream is a particular state of consciousness that sits between an unconscious or sleep state on the one hand and the fully lucid projection of consciousness on the other.
Once we realize that every human being projects every night, we come to understand that the challenge of the out-of-body experience is not getting “out of” the body. It is maintaining our consciousness in a state of awareness during our regular slip into multidimensionality. We leave the physical body, but we sleep and dream in our extraphysical, subtle body. To paraphrase from Waldo Vieira’s comprehensive Projectiology treatise: Many people are awake in the extraphysical dimension, but most are not awake to the extraphysical dimension.
Lucid projectors regularly report encountering friends and family out of the body who are sleeping or “sleep walking” in their psychosoma.
The movie What Dreams May Come provides a great illustration of the process by which a consciousness can be in the extraphysical dimensions, but essentially confined to a world of its own creation. After the main character, played by Robin Williams, “dies” he finds himself in a beautiful world of paintings. These are paintings like those his wife used to produce. It is a familiar comforting space and he remains there until his helper (or extraphysical guide) decides that he has adjusted well enough to confront the extraphysical reality. At that point the paintings fall away and a whole world shared with many other consciousnesses becomes apparent (what William Buhlman calls a “consensus reality”). The vast majority of us move through our natural nightly projections in the same way that Robin Williams’ character did after his death; surrounded by images of our own creation.
But as we look more carefully we realize that our dreams can have different qualities to them. Some are purely psychological. For example, we may be floating just centimeters above our physical body while having a dream based purely on the inner content of our mind (fears, desires, unexpressed emotions etc.), without any external influences. In other cases we are actually projected some distance from our body, floating along and our dream involves us flying as our mind taps into the external experience and incorporates it into the dream. Such a subtle, extraphysical stimulus can be incorporated in the same way that that external physical stimuli sometimes are. For example, when the blanket has fallen off and our feet start getting cold, or when birds begin to sing early in the morning these things can become woven into our dreams as well. Clearly, the physical and extraphysical are not completely separate, as is also apparent from the fact that there appears to be a correlation between dreaming and certain physiological changes (Rapid-Eye-Movement, particular brain wave activity, etc.). From a bioenergetic perspective we know that the physical body and the psychosoma are in continuous connection through the so-called silver cord of energy. This connection appears to involve the transmission of information between the two vehicles in ways that we do not yet fully understand.
From this multidimensional perspective, a lucid dream is still a dream, i.e. an experience dominated by images created by our own mind, but one in which we become aware that we are dreaming. Something triggers our awareness, whether it is the absurdity of a given scenario – “Hang on, why am I walking around in a video game?”, or a sudden recall of our actual situation – “Hey why am I in my office? I am in bed sleeping!” Or perhaps it is simply something we have willed ourselves to do prior to going to sleep. Whatever the trigger, we become aware of the fact that we are dreaming; we become lucid in our dream. But if this is all that happens we are still dreaming. We may realize that we can create our own environment, for example by changing an unpleasant scenario into something more appealing, and start taking conscious control over our actions, but our experience is still dominated by our own thought-form creations (called morphothosenes in projectiology). In other words, we are still cut off from the extraphysical reality that surrounds us, moving about in a mental world of our creation. If we do not accept the possibility of multidimensional life, it is entirely possible that this is where we will leave it.
Being lucid in our dreams is already a great accomplishment. It feels good and can have psychological benefits and we may think that we have reached the pinnacle of our nocturnal awareness. But from a multidimensional point of view, the next step is that we break through our own mental creations and start to see the more objective aspects of extraphysical life; the next step it to actually awaken to the extraphysical dimensions. It is at this point that we start talking about a projection of consciousness. If we are open to the existence of other dimensions, then the lucid dream can represent a great springboard for our exploration. Once we gain awareness of the fact that we are dreaming, rather than focusing on creating more dream images, we can set our intention on gaining awareness of the underlying extraphysical reality (e.g. through affirmations such as “Awareness now” or “See reality now”, but also through ongoing practice and conditioning of our mind in our daily life).
So in summary, lucid dreams and conscious projections are distinct experiences. They are both on a continuum that begins with complete unconsciousness and ends with the incredible expansion of cosmic consciousness. Lucid dreams still see us essentially caught within our own mental creations, but they represent a final threshold between our own subjective inner world and potential entry into the vastness of extraphysical life. While lucid dreaming can teach us about our creative potential in all areas of our life, and thereby be of great psychological benefit, the conscious projection connects us to our sense of immortality and can be the portal to deep self-knowledge and understanding of our evolutionary journey.
My publisher will be running a promotion on the ebook version of Multidimensional Evolution, which will be available for 0.99 (in any currency) for the last two weeks of November. This is a great opportunity to check out this book. I am told that this price will apply to all ebook outlets in any country although the exact date at which the promotion becomes available may vary.
I had a number of goals for this book. I wanted it to be accessible to people who are new to exploring multidimensional aspects of their being and are perhaps struggling to understand some of the things that are happening to them. At the same time, I did not just want to focus on phenomena, but explore what these phenomena mean to us on our evolutionary journey. As a result it should be of interest to those with lots of experience in these matters, but who like to keep exploring and thinking about the bigger picture of our evolution.
I wanted it to be clear and logical in its approach, but also warm, personal and accessible. That is why it is largely autobiographical rather than a more abstract “text book”, which at times would have seemed a much safer option.
The book includes some techniques: a meditation technique, a guided visualization, and a set of energy techniques. It includes accounts of projections of consciousness, of managing past-life influences and of the impact non-physical people can have on us right here and now. It also touches on the use of entheogens (or hallucinogens), on extraterrestrial consciousness and on the spiritual hierarchies that seem to have a significant influence on life on planet earth. Ultimately, it explores how we as individuals can contribute to the evolution of this planet, regardless of where we are at right now, by becoming more conscious of ourselves as multidimensional beings.
So if you are interested in any of these topics, the last 2 weeks of November 2013 are a great time to pick up this book at a bargain. (If you are reading this after that date you may have to fork out a few extra dollars, but it’s still not going to break the bank .)
Brazil is a country of stunning natural beauty and exhilarating cultural diversity. Some people refer to Brazil as the India of the west in reference to its deep spirituality and diversity of religious traditions. Catholicism is the official and dominant religion. The African inspired religions of Umbanda and Candomble are evidenced by the ubiquitous presence of roadside offerings to diverse deities and spirits, who may be benign or malign depending on the intended result of the faithful. Psychic surgery is practiced in football stadiums before thousands of people. Millions follow Spiritualism, based on the work of Frenchman Allen Kardec, which includes spiritual healing sessions, mediumship and a prolific literature about the role of spirits and personal spirit journeys (projections of consciousness, astral projection).
It is from this background that the 1980s saw the arising of a new approach to understanding the spiritual experience in the shape of projectiology, the study of the projection of consciousness or out-of-body experience, and conscientiology, the study of consciousness. Founded by a previously prominent Spiritualist, the medium and medical doctor Waldo Vieira, projectiology and conscientiology were created to approach the spiritual experience without any religious reference. Their foundation is experimental, i.e. people are urged to pursue projections of consciousness, work with their energetic body and develop and analyze psychic experiences. It is also academic, in the sense of being a technical and research based approach to understanding consciousness and pursuing personal growth. Since the 1980s, projectiology and conscientiology have spread from Waldo Vieira’s living room, where it started through a series of lectures, to most major cities and towns across Brazil.
In Brazil today, there are many different organizations devoted to teaching and further developing this experiential approach to consciousness research and a substantial campus has been developed at a town called Iguassu Falls. At the so-called Center for Higher Studies of Conscientiology people can take a vast array of workshops to develop their psychic awareness, attend regular lectures with Dr Vieira and other experienced instructors, access one of the world’s largest libraries on psychic phenomena and spiritual growth and conduct self-research in the numerous laboratories designed to facilitate psychic development.
Beyond the shores of the spiritual melting pot of Brazil, conscientiology is still in its infancy, but the remarkable success it has enjoyed at home is a direct result of the positive impact it has had on people’s lives. This suggests that it will eventually find its place as a new tool for personal growth and self-understanding in the rest of the world.
You can access educational opportunities in conscientiology in many countries and online from anywhere in the world through the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC). Courses offered through the IAC focus on practical skills, such as mastering your bioenergy and inducing projections of consciousness (OBEs, astral projection), and provide in-depth information on topics such as non-physical dimensions, life before birth and after death, the different bodies in which we manifest and our evolutionary journey across life-times. For more information check out their website http://www.iacworld.org/english/courses/courses-events
On 14 September I gave a talk at the Cosmic Pages Bookstore (Adelaide) about some of the concepts discussed in my new book. The talk touched on projections of consciousness, the impact of pathological karmic relationships and ways of healing them, the benefits of providing assistance and other ideas. While I followed some key themes I also responded to numerous questions and comments so the talk moves across topics a fair bit. The recording does not capture the sound of all of the questions, so below is a brief summary of the main topics discussed and the questions asked. I have noted the times on the recording so you can skip to points of interest.
0 min -1:20 min Opening and definition of multidimensional evolution
@ 1:25 min Question as to whether evolution results in a loss of individual consciousness and an assumption or merging with some form of collective consciousness
@ 2:20min Discussion of the concept of universalism
4:12min - 5:00min Question about how the concept of universalism sits with the need for division of labour
@ 5:00 Thinking about how past lives change our perspective, seeing this moment both as the result of our past and the beginning of our future beyond this life
@ 7:50 Briefly explain a meditation technique and the effects I experienced when first applying it, including profound energetic clearing and perceptions of non-physical beings.
@ 11:55 Question asked whether the experiences I was having were a form of energetic clearing
@ 12:40min Challenge of bringing new energetic sensitivity into everyday life
@ 13:55min -16:40min Introduction of the idea of a "walk-in"
@ 17:40min - 18:55 Account of experiencing intrusion during a projection
@19:00min Realisation that I was experiencing intrusion relating to a previous life and the process of healing
Question at 19:20min whether I thought the intrusion was by a version of myself from a previous life
@21:10min Introducing a Buddhist meditation on death
@24:00min Introducing the concept of karmic groups, ego-karma, group-karma and poly-karma
@26:05min Question about children being part of ones karmic group
@28:50min Question whether I would have suffered the same kind of intrusion of the consciousness in question had forgiven me at the time.
@30:05min Question whether the intruder who I detached from might now latch onto someone else.
@31:20min Comment on the importance of combining inner work and outer work
@32:05min Question as to whether some very successful people who started from humble and difficult beginnings might be walk-ins
@34:30min discuss process by which we recuperate our awareness after re-birth every life
@37.10min discuss how an unhealthy death can turn us into unconscious intruders
@38:10min Question as to whether it is possible for a consciousness to be in several locations at the same time and a follow up question about bilocation
@40:40min Comment made about someone who does distant healing and was seen energetically by a patient in their bedroom. Someone else makes a comment about parateleportation (see my previous blog article on that topic)
@42:20min Question as to why a soul would want to occupy a body that does really bad and cruel things
@43:50min Question about how things done in accordance with a particular cultural norm can be evil (the example was human sacrifices in mesoamerican cultures)
@45:10min Question about my views on self-destructive behaviour and destructive behaviour generally
@49:20min In response to a question about changes happening on planet earth I discuss the concept of multidimensional reurbanization. I mention an article on the topic which you can access here
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in a fascinating conference panel at the 17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Panel sessions explored mediumship, spirit possession, depression and others issues from an anthropological perspective. All presentations can be heard under the Events tab on the website of the Afterlife Research Centre. My paper looked at a phenomenon in which people are allegedly transported from one location to another by non-physical means. In the research literature this phenomenon is sometimes known as parateleportation and it has frequently been reported by Aboriginal people of the Australian Western Desert area. I am making a written copy of the conference paper available here.
Pushing the boundaries of reality: Accounts of parateleportation among Western Desert Aboriginal people
Paper presented at the 17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Manchester 2013 to the panel WMW13 The extended self: relations between material and immaterial worlds
This paper is essentially about paradigms and genuine scientific engagement with things we do not yet understand. It reflects my strong view that anthropology can make significant contributions to our understanding of consciousness and the full spectrum of the human experience. There are two key aspects that strongly position anthropology to make such contribution in my view: first is our relationship with peoples whose paradigms of the world are not confined by materialism and who instead view life to include both physical and extraphysical dimensions. In other words, we are consistently confronted with experiences and world-views that challenge us to go beyond our own cultural preconceptions. Second, is the requirement of our positioning as cultural translators, to not simply accept the paradigms and interpretations of our informants, but continuously seek to distill universal human principles that underpin cultural variation, and thereby develop new models of understanding the human experience.
I have on previous occasions focused on the out-of-body experience (projection of consciousness, astral projection) as a significant area of research (e.g. McCaul 2003, 2008). Not only does that experience go to the heart of our understanding of life beyond the physical dimension, but it is also both ubiquitous among indigenous cultures (Sheils 1978) and potentially achievable by the anthropologist. This latter aspect is relevant not only from our own disciplinary priority of participant-observation, but also means that the experience can be explored “from within” in accordance with Charles Tart’s proposal of state-specific sciences (Tart 1998). A full understanding of the OBE profoundly challenges the conventional materialistic paradigm and challenges us to develop new models of understanding reality (unless of course we seek to explain away the significant data about the experience from a position of fundamentalist reductionism).
This again advocates that there is a need for a broader paradigm if we want to genuinely understand the full range of experiences of consciousness, but the experiences it draws on are, in my view, of a different order than the by now very extensively reported and documented OBE (Vieira 2002). It was prompted by accounts of seemingly impossible human feats from among Aboriginal people of the Australian Western Desert region. They were the type of accounts that most non-Aboriginal people who heard them would smile at benignly while “knowing”, from within the security of their own paradigm, that they could be no more than “old wives tales”. If we move beyond that security, however, into the space of genuine scientific inquiry we need to consider whether these accounts are more than simple indications of cultural beliefs, but may in fact be pointing to an understanding of reality that reflects genuine experience rather than misguided tralatitious belief.
Life beyond the physical dimension features strongly among Australian Aboriginal people. The benign and malign actions of spirits, the ability of old people to connect with creation ancestors in their sleep through out-of-body experiences, and the ability of humans to influence the natural environment through song and ceremony are all widely reported and well documented (Berndt 1947, Elkin 1977). Significantly for the phenomenon discussed here, song appears to be a methodology for interdimensional communication, i.e. a way in which physical people evoke and obtain particular assistance from extraphysical people.
The ethnographic data for this paper is derived from the Western Desert of Australia. The Western Desert area is the largest homogenous cultural area in Australia stretching from just to the east of the coast of Western Australia at Broome to Oodnadatta and Coober Pedy in South Australia and from the Nullarbor Plain in the south to Yuendumu and Balgo in the north (see map). This vast area is marked by significant linguistic and cultural cohesion, argued convincingly by Berndt (1959) to reflect a single cultural bloc. This cohesion is expressed up until the present through significant mobility across this region including for the purpose of large ceremonial processes uniting people from the far-flung communities (Peterson 2000). The information discussed in this paper is from the south-eastern extent of this vast area, in South Australia where I have been working in Aboriginal affairs since 2000.
The Western Desert area is one of the main bastions of traditional Aboriginal culture in Australia and widely known for its conservative approach to ceremonial business. Men from many other areas where ceremonies are no longer practiced regularly travel to Western Desert communities to “go through the law”, i.e. to achieve full classificatory manhood by going through initiation ceremonies. As well as maintaining what could be considered the bedrock of classical Aboriginal religious structures through the standard male initiation processes, the Western Desert is also one of few areas in Australia that continues to produce a significant number of traditional healers (Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation 2003). Known as ngangkari, at least in the eastern part of the region, these healers could be broadly considered as part of the shamanic spectrum with much of their healing focused on managing subtle energies and battling extraphysical consciousnesses (spirits).
The phenomenon in the cultural context
Soon after starting work with Aboriginal communities in South Australia I heard the story of Aeroplane George – a story that I have since heard in slightly different variations at least half a dozen times. According to this story, Aeroplane George earned his name for his uncanny ability to travel at seemingly impossible speeds.
In all the versions I heard he was seen at one train station waving to people who had boarded a train, for example at Tarcoola. Next they saw him when they arrived at their destination, for example Cooper Pedy, waiting as the train pulled into the station. The specific stations in the stories varied, but the fundamental aspect of the story was always the same. And apparently it was not only Aboriginal people who experienced this. On his death in 1978 a newspaper reported that “many a tourist was puzzled at seeing George at Cooper Pedy and then upon arrival at Kulgera, they would be greeted by Aeroplane George. No one knows how George managed to travel so fast.”
I already had an interest in so-called paranormal phenomena at that time and so I registered that story among many others involving spirits and out-of-body experiences, all of which seemed to be treated as common-place and natural by the Aboriginal people I spoke with.
It was not until several years later, however, that I spoke with a Pitjantjatjara man called Murray, who actually claimed to have experienced what Aeroplane George had. After telling me about the making of a traditional healer and the significance of the out-of-body experience in his culture, he spoke about an experience he once had as a young man when some old men showed him and a group of youngsters something he referred to as walpa (“wind”). He described this as a skill that involved using an emu feather and certain songs, which allowed them to all travel from Ernabella to Alice Springs and back in 2 or 3 hours. A return trip from Ernabella to Alice Springs is about 660km through the desert as the crow flies.
On this trip the group apparently passed through hills, cars and buildings. They went into a bank vault and saw all the money but were not allowed to pick any up. There were lots of white people there, but they did not see any of the Anangu (the term by which these Western Desert people describe themselves). Murray said that this was the skill Aeroplane George used. He said he and others were a bit ambivalent about this skill as it could be used to steal things or commit other crimes. In other words it had to be used with caution and could be dangerous in the hands of unscrupulous individuals.
Despite my long-term interest in such matters, this account seemed quite fanciful to me. I had studied OBEs for many years, had met many people who had experienced them and had experienced my own. I knew that traversing matter is a common feature of those experiences. In that state it makes sense as the consciousness is using a body that is more subtle than physical matter and can therefore pass through it. So I double checked. Was he talking about travelling in his spirit body? No, he was very clear that this was not a “spirit journey”. His physical body had gone on this trip.
It would have been easy to dismiss this experience as one step too far, but doing so would have been hypocritical. If I were to only accept those accounts I could relate to from a basis of personal experience, my position would be just another variation on the classic paradigmatic limitations of inquiry. And I should emphasis here that I am not advocating blind acceptance of all beliefs and accounts of experiences, but open minded and genuine inquiry.
I discovered that Elkin reported the phenomenon of ‘fast travelling’ in his classic and still unrivaled account of Australian Aboriginal shamanism (Aboriginal Men of High Degree, Elkin 1977) as occurring among numerous groups across Australia. He in turn drew parallels between the accounts he had recorded and accounts recorded from Tibet (David-Neel 1965). Clearly, the phenomenon was not isolated in its occurrence or simply the result of a localized delusion.
I consulted the work of Vieira (2002), who focuses on the OBE, but nonetheless provides a comprehensive discussion of concomitant phenomena. Among them is the phenomenon he terms parateleportation, which he defines as follows:
a phenomenon composed of dematerialization, levitation, apport and rematerialization, in which the intraphysical consciousness suddenly disappears and reappears in another location; the act or process of transporting objects, human beings or subhuman animals through space, without any mechanical means. (Vieira 2002:195)
Vieira then identifies 24 frequent characteristics of this experience, including relevantly:
The account given me by Murray of course differs on all these counts as the experience was deliberately induced by a group of men and experienced as a conscious journey. Similarly the apparent ubiquity of Aeroplane George’s feats suggests some degree of conscious control over the phenomenon.
A parallel, however, is found in Vieira’s observation that the experience is often referred to by references to “whirlwind” or “wind” in ancient traditions and Murray’ Pitjantjatjara name walpa (“wind”) for it.
A key reference in Vieira’s analysis is Fodor (1962) who provides a summary of accounts of the experience in historic texts and in the context of mediumistic sessions. Accepting the consistency with which the phenomenon has been reported in the mediumistic literature as carrying some weight, it certainly appears as if in rare circumstances human bodies can traverse space, including physical objects in ways as yet not understood. Many of the mediumistic accounts bear out Vieira’s suggestion that the phenomenon usually involves an unconscious medium. The usual pattern appears to be that the dematerialization is provoked by extraphysical consciousnesses while the medium is in a trance state. Even in the remarkable case of the spontaneous parateleportation of the famous Brazilian medium Carlos Mirabelli who was waiting at one train station when he suddenly disappeared in front of numerous witnesses and was then found at his final destination, 90kms away, circa two minutes later, there is no suggestion that he intended to induce the phenomenon or recalled any of his journey (Goes 1937).
A partial exception among the cases reported by Fodor, is one that took place in 1871 which involved the serial parateleporation first of a Mrs Guppy and then of two other mediums whose séance had in fact provoked the whole affair. The latter two both recalled interactions with other physical people at brief stops in the course of being parateleported from one location to another and then returned, i.e. they disappeared from the local of their séance, found themselves elsewhere where they interacted with people and objects and were then returned to the original location. In fact, both returned with physical objects (Fodor 1962:112-121), providing support to Murray’s expressed belief that he could have taken money from the bank if he had wanted.
In summary, there is in my view sufficient supportive information to warrant taking seriously the accounts by Aboriginal people. In fact, it appears that the Aboriginal cultural context could provide a privileged environment for its study, because unlike the generally spontaneous and involuntary occurrence among western mediums, Aboriginal people appear to have a ceremonially encoded methodology that offers high levels of control and replicability of the experience.
I want to conclude this paper with a brief discussion of the importance of paradigms in understanding this phenomenon, and multidimensional phenomena more broadly.
It is in my view incumbent on a researcher to start with the hypothesis that the account is genuine. Fantasy, fraud, deceit or delusion are of course all possibilities, but in my view they do not represent sound or productive starting points. We may eventually arrive at the conclusion that those are factors in play, but in my view we need to precede this conclusion with careful inquiry. In my case, I did not have the opportunity to pursue the account with further research. Ideally, the participant-observer would of course not only seek other informants on the topic, but participation in the described ceremony.
For the purposes of this paper, I will assume that the accounts about Aeroplane George and by my informant are accurate. In that case they clearly point to a reality that is broader than our conventional paradigm allows for. The differences between the way the experience manifests in Aboriginal culture and the way it does at the fringes of our cultures (i.e. in the “spiritualist” circles) could plausibly be explained on the basis of the different world views in operation.
Firstly, mediums in our culture are already operating outside the mainstream paradigm. Every aspect of mediumship is subject to derision, criticism or incredulity by the majority of the other members of the medium’s cultural group. Within its own reality, much of the mediumistic tradition is passive, which means the medium enters a trance to allow the work of spirits (or of God depending on the tradition) to be done through them. It is the extraphysical consciousnesses (spirits) who are in control.
In Aboriginal culture, on the other hand, the phenomenon of “fast travelling” is embedded in an overall world view in which it is not only plausible but something to be expected (Elkin 1977:). The creation narratives of the Dreaming, which provide the blue-print for human society are replete with accounts of “supernatural” feats by the creation beings. In the traditional philosophy, every human being who participates in ceremony across a life-time has the potential to ultimately embody these creation beings who are considered both the spiritual and “genetic” origin of humanity. In other words, anything that was done by the creation beings is potentially available to human beings as well. Reaching a state where a person can induce this and other kinds of paranormal phenomena is consequently built into the expected life trajectory for at least some members of the community and accepted by all.
A second significant difference is the notion of agency. I believe the ultimate question of the locus of agency in Aboriginal culture is fairly complex and would involve careful consideration of kinship networks and the position of the individual as a link in the chain of ancestral traditions. This would go beyond the scope of this brief paper. What is most relevant here is that, unlike the European medium, the Aboriginal ceremonial leader knows that he (or she) can achieve particular results through the “technology” of song and ritual. I use the term technology here to indicate the clear causal link between certain ceremonial actions and an expected outcome. In singing the requisite songs the human actor is evoking and drawing on powers that surpass him – the ancestral beings – but rather than submit to their superior powers, my interpretation of the Aboriginal context is that the humans are in a sense temporarily aligning themselves and essentially occupying the same ontological space as those creation ancestors.
Beyond this brief comparison of distinct cultural differences around the same phenomenon, what should be the working paradigm of the anthropologist in their analysis? In brief my view is that it should allow for an engagement with the experience as a possible reality. I expect there are numerous ways in which this could be construed. Personally, I do not profess any expertise in quantum mechanics, but imagine that this field may offer models that could explain de- and rematerialisation. My personal preference is for a paradigm originally stipulated by Vieira (Vieira 1994) that I have adopted following long-term study of subtle energy (chi, qui, prana) and the projection of consciousness. This paradigm essentially considers the manifestation of life (consciousness) to occur on a range of interconnected yet seemingly distinct energetic frequencies. In addition to the gross physical dimension we are all aware of every day, there are other more subtle dimensions that we can access through projections of consciousness or perceive if we have developed the appropriate senses. From this perspective, physical matter is simply one way in which energy can manifest, and while it is more solid and stable than some of the other forms, it can nonetheless behave like those more subtle energies on certain occasions.
There are other key elements to this paradigm which I will not go into here, but it is important to emphasise that while it may be simple to summarise the paradigm as I just have this does not mean that it is a simplistic model or that the reality it points to is unremarkable. On the contrary, the reality it points to is vast, complex and awe-inspiring and it is precisely for this reason that every attempt at deepening our understanding of it is valuable. In the case of parateleportation, the challenge for us as European trained anthropologists is in the first instance to maintain an open mind. This is the first challenge before we can even contemplate the next step, which is to explore the possibility of pursuing the experience ourselves so as to understand it, and the reality described by our informants from the inside.
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Vieira, Waldo. 1994. 700 Experimentos da Conscientiologia. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Internacional de Projeciologia e Conscienciologia
Vieira, Waldo. 2002. Projectiology: A panorama of experiences of the consciousness outside the human body. Rio de Janeiro: International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology.
This post started as a conversation I had with my then wife while tidying up our kitchen after a late dinner. I was reflecting on my change of perspective since my early years of earnest meditation practice. One of my first encounters with spiritual teachings was with a particular Buddhist tradition that advocated the ability for us to reach "enlightenment" in one life-time. I am not entirely sure what "enlightenment" in that context meant, but I believe it involved a dissolution of the sense of ego in favour of knowing ones true nature as the "Buddha mind". I do know that the notion of getting there in this life time was very appealing as it promised to end the inner struggles that seemed to be my life at the time.
These days I no longer seek enlightenment, nor do I expect an immediate end to my struggle. I have now come to understand that in this life time I am only manifesting a certain percentage of all of my attributes and only deal with a certain amount of all of the stuff that I have to deal with; and when I say stuff I am referring to psychological, emotional, and mental wounds and unresolved or badly resolved character traits. Of course the more I deal with now, the more of the queue I can bring through to deal with next. But I am pretty sure there are several thousand lifetimes worth of things ticking on in the background and so have no doubt it will take me at least a few lives of conscious attention to get ahead!
My former wife offered the lovely analogy of an orchestra - we have a full symphony orchestra within us, but in any one life time are only working on one or maybe two instruments. Like a great musician, a great life requires constant practice and repetition, even if we are already "pretty good".
So here is a thing to ask ourselves. How much of us are we manifesting at this point? And how much more could we bring into this physical dimension in this current life. Are we playing a full violin, or are we only using one string?
Conscientiology offers a more technical way of understanding the idea I am exploring here. It advances a model that proposes that our level of lucidity, or multidimensional maturity, can be measured through a hypothetical measure referred to as "cons". It is an individual measure, so we all have 1000 cons, but your 1000 cons may reflect a different level of lucidity than my 1000 cons. The point is not about comparing ourselves to others, but to measure our own position. We enjoy our full 1000 cons of lucidity when we are "dead" and healthy! What I mean by that is that we are at our most aware when we are not encumbered by a physical body nor suffering from any major emotional or mental disturbances that can afflict people in the extraphysical dimension.
So let's assume before our most recent birth we were at our personal best and enjoying our most expansive and detailed awareness of 1000 cons. Then we re-entered this physical dimension through a new physical body, i.e. we were born, and our awareness was restricted to 1 con. Since then we have gradually being recuperating our awareness. But how many of our cons have we recuperated? If we have regained 50% of our optimum awareness we are doing really well. We are most unlikely to gain 100% here in this dimension; our physical body and the energetic pressure of the environment are simply too restricting. But if we are adults and have only regained 10% or 20%, we can definitely do better.
Wherever we are at right now, the way ahead is always the same. It starts with dealing with what's in front of us right now - if it's anxiety we deal with anxiety, if anger we deal with anger, if repression we deal with repression. And as we take that first step, and undo one of our knots, we create room for more of us to come through and this in turn allows us to deal with the next thing before us in better and fuller ways.
Kim McCaul is an anthropologist with a long term interest in understanding consciousness and personal transformation.
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This blog is about my interests in consciousness, energy, evolution and personal growth. My understanding of consciousness is strongly influenced by the discipline of conscientiology and I have a deep interest in exploring the relationship between culture and consciousness.
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