Review by: KEN KORCZAK
Astral travel and meditation are two esoteric practices that are, in many respects, aspects of each other. They go hand in hand because people who learn to meditate will have much greater success in inducing an out-of-body experience.
One has been largely stripped of its connotation as being “esoteric” in recent decades while the other is probably still relegated to the realm of High Woo-Woo.
I bet I don’t have to tell you which is which.
Today meditation is being practiced by millions of people, from corporate board rooms to private bedrooms. Increasingly, meditation has been shorn from its association with Eastern religions or mysticism. Now we can all meditate in an unfettered, secular way, if that’s what we prefer, because it’s seen as a “legitimate mind tool” embraced by everyone from your family physician and therapist to Oprah Winfrey and Chuck Norris.
But astral travel is probably a bridge too far for the general public or mainstream consumption as of yet – though I dare say I believe millions of people are eager to try their hand at inducing the OBE. It’s just that, the average person is much more likely to tell her friends down at the office that she meditates 20 minutes a day while that same person is unlikely to casually admit: “Oh yes, I fly out of my body at night to visit the magical and mysterious Astral Realms.”
I bring this up because today I am reviewing VISTAS OF INFINITY by the German-born artist and designer JERGEN ZIEWE. He has lived in the U.K. since 1975 and has been practicing meditation and out-of-body travel since about that time – some 40 years, he says.
What is remarkable about this book (among many remarkable things) is how it demonstrates the way an intensive integration of meditation and OBE practice has played out in Mr. Ziewe’s spectacular experiences.
I’ve been reading books about astral travel since the late 1970s, but I’ve never encountered an approach that shows a more unified adoption of both the OBE and meditation practice as does this narrative.
But as I write this – and now that I think of it — I should include a third “esoteric” practice that Jergen Ziewe has leveraged – lucid dreaming. Here, again, it can be said that lucid dreaming is intimately linked to astral travel and both are enhanced or assisted by meditation.
This author is one of the few I’ve read who can achieve the lucid dream state and hold onto it in a highly stable manner – and then while “inside” a lucid dream, he sometimes settles down to practice meditation in the dream realm. This, in turn, often leads to fantastic out-of-body adventures to far-flung magical realms of truly unlimited and infinite variety, potential and location.
Ziewe regales us with details of journeys to other planets, alternate dimensions of reality, certain places he calls “consensus realities,” parallel universes – and the occasional Hell.
The author’s facility with descriptive language is extraordinary. Even though many of the fabulous locations he enters would seem to defy description using these crude symbols we call words with their limited ability to convey meaning – Ziewe finds a way to impart to us a vivid sense of the mind-boggling experiences he encounters.
He frequently enters realms that are psychedelic. They embody an LSD- or DMT-like quality of experience and environment. There are swirling colors, endless fractal iterations of geometric shapes, organic-biological patterns, hyperspatial structures that can only be defined by mathematical formula in our mundane world, but which Ziewe is able to encounter through direct experience.
Readers will feel Ziewe’s obvious frustration as he strains to find a way to help us relate or impart to us the tiniest taste of the kaleidoscopic transcendent realms. He grapples with the limits of human language to tell us what these exotic realms are like. Sometimes I felt that reading Ziewe’s descriptive prose was the closest thing there is to experiencing an acid trip without actually dropping acid.
At the same time, Ziewe comes off as a man rendered genuinely meek and humbled by where is astral odysseys have taken him. He presents an endearing aura of authenticity – like a man who has been granted a direct glimpse of The Godhead – only to make him realize that he is the merest speck, a kind of bacterial-level bit of individuated consciousness – and yet, at the same time, cognizant that he is in possession of what the great JANE ROBERTS called, “an eternal validity of the soul.”
The final chapter of the book should be considered a classic essay in which a philosopher lays out his view of reality derived through his own transcendent experience. This crowning statement is wonderful in its lucidity and unrutted approach. It takes on what it means to be a human being and how we can all view and appreciate our own special place within our infinite, awe-inspiring and indescribably extravagant multiverse.
PLEASE CHECK OUT MY REVIEWS OF OTHER BOOKS ON THE OBE TOPIC, LINKED BELOW:
BEYOND THE ASTRAL by William and Susan Buhlman
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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