1. What was it like collaborating as authors on a book about such a seemingly solitary subject?
Robert Bruce: It actually worked out quite well. Like a lot of my books, this one seemed to write itself. It evolved from a 90-day program that Brian developed from my first book on out-of-body experiences (OBE), Astral Dynamics, in which I lay out techniques for learning astral projection. Brian initially created the program for himself and shared it with me to get my input. With my advice, he worked it into a downloadable how-to guide that's been available on my web site, www.astralpulse.com , for some time.
Brian Mercer: Over the years, having gained more experience with the OBE exercises, and getting input from other users and road testers, I was able to hone the guide and make it more useable. There have been three or four major revisions to the program, so the end result looks quite a bit different than what I started with.
RB: Given the distance between Australia and the States, we've worked almost exclusively via email. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1, Preparation for Lift-off, deals with the prerequisite skills for achieving an out-of-body experience. Part 2, Lift-off, focuses on OBE exit training. Having two parts made it ideal for trading the sections back and forth and adding our own slant on learning astral projection.
BM: The results give the impression of two coaches standing over your shoulder offering guidance. Robert provides the voice of an experienced projector, while I added the newcomer’s perspective. That was important, because there were certain things I wanted to spell out carefully, things a lot of the books on astral projection leave out or just assume readers already know.
2. Is astral projection the same as OBE?
RB: There is a distinction. An OBE encompasses the phenomena of projecting into an energic double and experiencing realities outside the confines of the physical body. This could be in an environment that very closely resembles the physical world—what we call the Real Time Zone—or it could be a non-physical dimension that can be distinctly different from what we think about as every day reality: the astral planes . Astral projection refers to projecting out of body into the astral planes. Mastering Astral Projection is a program to learn conscious exit out-of-body experiences, which includes projecting into the Real Time Zone and the astral planes.
3. What role do dreams play in astral travel?
BM: Actually, that is an interesting question and one we explore in the book in some detail. One of the things that will tend to baffle new projectors when they first find themselves out of body is that everything goes more or less as expected and then some kind of dream-like imagery imposes itself on the experience. The phenomenon has to do with how the physical dream mind interacts with its astral counterpart.
RB: All of us have out-of-body experiences in the course of going to sleep, but usually the memories of the experience are heavily filtered through the physical brain-mind and clouded by dreams. The key to the ability to consciously direct the process of OBE is to simulate the process of going to sleep with one difference: keeping the mind conscious and awake while the body dozes off. In a nutshell, during an OBE the body is gradually falling into a deeper sleep and eventually the dream mind engages; an active dream mind can play havoc with memories of OBEs.
4. What is the key to your method of learning astral travel?
RB: It really centers on a technique I call New Energy Ways, or “NEW” for short. NEW deals with the ability to consciously raise and manipulate personal energy, which is invaluable for learning OBE. The projected double is generated by the energy body and is wholly composed of energy, thus learning to consciously direct energy is extremely important when learning to project.
BM: NEW is one of the keys to staying focused on when one is learning to have OBEs. The more you use it, the more you learn to detect energy movement through your body. One of the things I discovered the very first time I used Robert’s techniques is that you don’t need to have a full-blown out-of-body experience to realize that you are, at core, more than just a physical being. Using NEW is also excellent training for learning what to expect when OBE exit sensations begin to occur.
5. You incorporate case histories of students. What are some of the most common hurdles in learning astral projection?
RB: The case histories are there to provide motivation and to demonstrate some of the roadblocks newcomers to OBE face. We recommend that people learning to astral project read as many case files as they can get their hands on. Mastering Astral Projection includes a recommended reading list for just that purpose. We want learners to really saturate their brains with the subject matter. Another good resource for case files is www.astralpulse.com, which includes a huge user forum where my readers post their successes and share ideas.
BM: One of the more common hurdles newcomers to OBE face is one I experienced myself when first learning, and one that I relate in the book; that is the hurdle of trying some of the more powerful exit techniques before one is ready for them. Several years ago on my lunch hour when I was initially reading Robert’s first book on OBE, Astral Dynamics, I closed my eyes and began going through Robert’s OBE exit techniques. Even with just a few casual mental images, I felt a sort of fluttering in the center of my body. When I got home that night, I couldn’t wait to try the entire exercise. Without any preparatory work, I lay down and ran through the full exercise. Within seconds it felt as if my body had turned to liquid. I felt my very being rapidly expanding past the limits of my physical body. Suddenly OBE wasn’t theory anymore. It was all too real and I wasn’t quite ready for it. I found myself resisting the projection response with all my will. I didn’t project that time, and that little experiment set up an automatic response for me that whenever I got close to the OBE exit, my body would automatically start to resist it.
RB: That’s why we are very explicit in the book about readers following the exercises in the order they are given. This allows them time to gain experience and shed the fear response Brian encountered when he was just casually experimenting.
6. Mastering Astral Projection is organized as a 90-day or 13-week course with day-by-day exercises. Is it compatible with anyone’s schedule? Can people who work eight to ten hours a day still find time to effectively complete the course?
BM: That was one of the challenges of developing the 90-day program and one of the reasons it went though so many iterations. We wanted something that would be goal-oriented and easy to implement without being too overwhelming. I think the result is a good balance of being practical and realistic. What it really amounts to is a daily 20- to 40-minute meditation and energy work session, with some supplemental activities, like reciting affirmations and writing down dreams.
RB: The reality of learning OBE is that it takes time and practice. It’s surprising how many people have natural ability and can learn without much fuss, but it’s much more common for people to have to devote the time to practice. We wanted to create a program that would unfold in little steps that would help reduce the fear of the process, while structuring it in a way so that there are concrete, daily successes. One of the benefits of using the NEW techniques is you really feel it working.
7. Mastering Astral Projection is a complete course requiring no prior experience, but what if someone has already experimented with astral travel or has mastered a few of the basics such as relaxation, breath work and clearing of the mind—are there techniques in the book that can assist people already “in training?”
BM: One of the nice things about this program is that it gives people the ability to direct their efforts in an efficient way for learning OBE. Certainly, knowing how to clear your mind, relax, and breathe properly are key for learning to astrally project, but people can experiment with techniques for years without finding the right combination for projection that provides repeated successes. For the newcomer to OBE, this 90-day program can make the difference between a successful out-of-body experience and simply getting bored with the process and giving up.
RB: Of course, anyone who has experience with various forms of meditation will have a leg up when it comes to learning to have conscious-exit out-of-body experiences. Mastering Astral Projection is the roadmap for putting all those skills into a proper sequence for making it happen. We worked very strenuously to create a comprehensive program that would offer a one-stop shop for learning OBE, and we are very pleased with the results.