Review by: KEN KORCZAK
For decades William Buhlman has been among the world’s best-known and passionate advocates of the out-of-body experience (OBE). He doesn’t mind calling it “astral travel” now and then or referring to that place you go to when you are “out there” the “astral plane” or “astral world.”
The term out-of-body experience, or OBE, was adopted by many a few years ago, probably because astral travel seemed “Old World” or archaic. It hearkened back to times when this sort of thing was the realm of occult practitioners steeped in mystical or eastern religious belief systems.
It is the noted psychologist and research scientist Dr. Charles Tart who is credited with coining the term OBE. It was the great Robert Monroe who popularized the term. His three classic books about out-of-body travel, starting with Journeys Out of Body, raised the subject out of the esoteric and occult world into the mainstream — if it can be said out-of-body travel is mainstream today. Probably not yet but it’s getting there. At the very least, it has gained wider acceptance.
It was folks like Tart and Monroe who brought scientific methodology to the study of OBEs.
Buhlman’s approach can be said to be scientific in that he pursued his study of OBEs with exacting documentation, dogged determination and constant experimentation. He is not a scientist, but neither is he a mystic. One might say he’s an ordinary guy who one day developed an extraordinary desire to not only study the OBE, but to take the experiences to the highest levels of experience and understanding he could achieve.
That theme – striving to go as high as and far as you can go – Buhlman has passionately maintained throughout several books as well as his many lectures and seminars. He teaches OBE practice at the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia.
In this book of short stories, co-written with his wife, Susan Buhlman, the authors are leveraging the power of fiction to dramatize the many facets of what Mr. Buhlman has learned from his many years of exploring the “astral realms.”
It’s an attempt to illustrate the deeper implications of the idea that human beings are more than just a physical body. Buhlman says we are multidimensional beings. If we can learn to master the OBE, we can experience an unlimited number of exotic environments in far-flung trans-physical locations – or just call it Consciousness, with a big “C.”
The first offering – The Boy Who Could Fly — is obviously meant to be a children’s story. It’s one I dearly wish I had available to me when I was eight or nine years old. The fear it would have alleviated and the confusion it would have cleared up for my boyhood self would have been life-altering. During that time, I began experiencing almost nightly the fantastically frightening phenomenon of sleep paralysis. My mind would come awake in a physical body that was 100% numb and seemed frozen solid – the experience was infinitely more terrorizing because I simply had no of understanding what was happening to me.
I eventually discovered – but years later — that sleep paralysis is a fantastically good thing because it can serve as a launching pad for out-of-body travel. If I would have had this book back then – well, let’s just say it would have saved me a lot of grief!
The rest of the 13 short stories presented will serve a similar function for readers of all age groups. The OBE is presented as a natural ability that all human beings have access to. It should be plucked out of the realm of the paranormal, mystical or supernatural and be embraced as a pathway toward a greater understanding of what it means to be a nonphysical entity experiencing life as a physical being on the material earthly plane.
Just as the first story would have been a welcome resource for my 8-year-old self, I think these stories will be illuminating and helpful for people confronting some of the biggest and most difficult aspects of life that touch us all eventually – especially confronting death and dying and the grief associated with the death of a loved one. These stories provide a perspective on what the death of the physical body truly is – and isn’t. It’s not the end, it’s a transition. Furthermore, no one has to take the word of William Buhlman (or anyone) on this matter. We can all prove out these concepts for ourselves by trying our own hand at the OBE.
My initial overall impression of these stories is that they are simple and straightforward, almost to a fault. I sometimes felt they bordered on being excessively maudlin or even trite. But after reading all of the stories I came away thinking the Buhlman’s handled this delicate topic in just the right way. Their light touch brings lofty issues down to a universally accessible sense of understanding.
Readers from age 8 to 80 will benefit from the perspectives presented here on the true nature of our reality and what it means to be a human being – that we are multidimensional entities navigating a fantastic journey through an infinite field of Consciousness.
PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER BOOKS ON THE OBE TOPIC, LINKED BELOW:
EYES OF AN ANGEL by Paul Elder
CRASH & BURN by Peter Ludvick
EXPLORATIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS By Frederick Aadema
BABE IN THE WOODS By Frank DeMarco
Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS
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