Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience: A Practical Manual for Exploration and Personal Evolution, by Luis Minero
Reviewed by Robert A. Charman
This review first appeared in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research Vol 80(1).
This is a textbook on the theory and practice of OB-ology based upon the absolute belief that separation of the conscious self from the body during the out-of-body (OB) experience is a genuine phenomenon. Louis Minero, a former chemistry honours graduate, is now the Education Director of the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC), founded in 2000 by Dr Waldo Vieira, a Brazilian medical doctor and dentist who has written voluminously on the subject. The IAC now has a worldwide network of teaching centres, including one in London directed by Sandie Gustus who has also written on the subject (Gustus, 2011).
Proficient in inducing a state of OB experiencing whenever he wishes, Minero teaches the skill of entering the out-of-body state of mind to IAC students, lectures widely on the subject, and has carried out research into this experiential phenomenon. His aim, which he carries out in a calm and reasoned way, is to present the case for the actuality of separation of self from body during the OB experience by describing the whole process from separation to return, together with instructional guidelines. To follow his train of thought we need to understand some basic terminology. Dr Vieira, who has had OB experiences since childhood, coined the term Conscientiology in 1994 as the study of consciousness as a self-existing entity and Projectiology as the study of the OB experience in his two huge volumes 700 Conscientiology Experiments (1994), and Projectiology: A Panorama of Experiences of the Consciousness Outside the Human Body (2002); reissued as Projections of the Consciousness: A Diary of Out-of-Body Experiences (2007, 3rd ed).
In his opening chapter on fundamental concepts, Minero says that mainstream physical sciences are based upon the belief that matter and energy are the only two interacting realities that exist, but this is not correct. The Consciential paradigm adds an essential third reality — consciousness. Consciousness (the soul, spirit, ego, Atman) is the essence or intelligent principle underlying the universe and all living beings. As further defined by conscientiology, what they term as the consciousness is a separate, unique and self-sustaining entity that comprises the indestructible self of each of us and states of consciousness refers to our different states of awareness and lucidity when in the body as in everyday life, and out of the body. It is the consciousness that animates and controls the body.
In IAC terminology the Holosoma (Holos meaning whole or complete or containing all parts and soma meaning body) refers to the complete set of four bodies that comprise each consciousness, the study of which is called Holosomatics. These four bodies consist of the Soma, the biological body that interacts with physical reality; the Energosoma (the energetic body often defined in terms of chakras) that vitalises the biological body and acts as the continuing link between soma and consciousness during an OBE; the Psychosoma, often referred to by others as the astral body, which provides the psychic vehicle for the conscious self during an OBE by which we can communicate with other people’s psychosoma during their OBE, and the Mentalsoma (intellectual body) the most sophisticated and complex body of the consciousness through which we can attain our highest levels of lucid awareness often referred to as being ‘one with the universe’. In sum, the soma, psychosoma and mentalsoma are considered to be the ‘carriers’ of the consciousness of self. According to Conscientiology the fact that we can have OB experiences demonstrates that we do not live in a one dimensional, one-life-only-universe but in a multidimensional, multiexperiential, many-life-return universe, and through the OB experience we can explore these extra-bodily dimensions in depth. I must mention one more central concept which is the Thosene. ‘tho’ is derived from ‘thoughts’, ‘s’ from ‘sentiments’ (or emotions), and ‘ene’ from energy. Consciential energies (CEs) are manifested in the thoughts-emotions-energy synergies of thosenes, which form the units of conscious informational energy. Strongly emotional thosenes can imprint objects, buildings and rooms — as when, for example, it is said that people can enter a room after it has been vacated in anger and sense the anger still present.
From this introduction onwards Minero explores the whole subject in depth with many more technical definitions. Chapter 2 on Bioenergy divides this energy into two forms: one is the Immanent Energy (IE), inherent in nature; and the other is Consciential Energy (CE), expressed in the interaction of the Energosoma with the physical body. Chapter 3 on Out and About discusses how extra-physical reality works, focusing on the characteristics of nonphysical consciousness, different forms of OB projections and different levels of extra-physical lucidity; Chapter 4 on How To describes a range of suggested techniques through which one can develop the ability to induce an OBE and learn strategies for effective post OBE recall. Chapter 5 on Extraphysical Consciousnesses describes how one can interact with other OB experiencers including those who are ‘deceased’ and awaiting their return. Chapter 6 on Consciential Maturity explores how to use the OB experience to evolve in wisdom as a spiritual being, including acting as mental helpers to others. Chapter 7 on Planning a Life uses the OBE perspective to explore the reincarnatory life-death-rebirth cycle of each consciousness; where we go after we physically die, what we do, the implications of karma, and how we prepare for the next life. Each chapter is illustrated with personal accounts including many of Minero’s own experiences, icons defining terms, line drawn figures, individual referencing and a key point summary. There is an extensive bibliography plus a glossary of terms.
It must be stressed that this book is very well written without any dogmatic assertions. Minero’s credo is that you must test what he is saying by reflecting upon your own OB experiences. The IAC has obviously collated a huge descriptive database of OB experiences and Minero presents an important percentage summary of their findings concerning 37 reported sensations during an OBE that includes falling, floating, clairvoyance and hyperacuity which should prove invaluable to other investigators (Figure 3.1 Typical OBE Sensations, p. 92). It would be interesting to compare the IAC findings of the frequency of reported sensations with those reported by Alvarado and Zingrone (2015, p. 104).
What is one to make of this interpretation of the OB experience as a genuine separation from the body? Conscientiology with Projectiology is Vitalism writ large and, as far as the IAC is concerned, an OBE is exactly what it says it is on the Projectiology tin — a genuine out-of-body experience during which the physical body remains in one location while the self-awareself separates from it with the freedom to visit different locations both in physical reality and in nonphysical realities, interact with other OB selves and download that experience into the brain for later referral on return. There are, of course, many religious and esoteric belief systems going back over many centuries that share a common belief that an OBE is just that — an out-of-body experience.
The problem for those who, like this reviewer, have never knowingly experienced an OBE is whether this belief is correct (I say ‘knowingly’ because according to Conscientiology everyone separates from their brain every time they sleep, perchance to dream). If we do separate when dreaming, and if an OBE is a consciously experienced extension of such an every night separation, then the current hypothesis of the neurosciences and mainstream psychology that each brain and each mind is an indivisible, one-life-only brain-mind system is incorrect. Neural monism should be abandoned and replaced by brain-mind dualism with the brain acting as a temporary vehicle through which the continuing mind interacts with the physical world. If this really is the case then the implications as to our true nature are profound and reach across every aspect of society in our relationships with each other.
With so many people now practised in inducing an OBE, one would have expected that such a separation had now been demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt. There are many anecdotal accounts of what are termed ‘veridical OBEs’ with some — like Maria’s shoe on the hospital window ledge and Pam Reynolds perching on the neurosurgeon’s shoulder — attaining almost mythic status. But surely such a separation should be easy to demonstrate in controlled, replicable circumstances with simple instructions such as ‘Go into the lab room and describe what you can see on the lab table’ (where, say, a large, black vase containing a rose is standing in the middle), or what if ‘THIRTY TWO’ is projected onto a blank lab wall, or someone well known to the OB experiencer is sitting there in plain view?
Tressoldi et al. (2014) in a partially successful study of OB remote viewing (an interpretation under challenge) have demonstrated that the ability to have an OB experience can be acquired through hypnotic suggestion, and while undergoing the OB experience (induced by the hypnotist in person or via the telephone) participants can be instructed to visit a particular location, in this case two rooms each containing two pictures some 190 km away, report back and even answer structured questionnaires. This technique would seem to allow for real time reportage of what is being seen elsewhere and provide ample opportunities for unambiguous binary ‘see it or don’t see it’, ‘yes or no’, answers as for normal sight. Until there is replicable evidence of OB remote viewing beyond reasonable doubt, the explanation advanced by the neurosciences and cognitive psychology that an OB experience is actually a very convincing dramatised dissociative experience still seems to be the most likely explanation. The OB experiencer enters a genuine hallucinatory reality in which unfettered imagination can roam at will. But what if the findings of future research challenge this interpretation?
Regardless of whether an OBE is a factual separation or a dissociative experience Luis Minero does succeed in his aim of demystifying the OB experience by clearly describing the whole process as it may be experienced and in that sense his account, based upon many first person experiences including his own, provides much valuable information. With a Foreword by Wagner Alegretti, President of the IAC and author of Retrocognitions: An Investigation into Memories of Past Lives and the Period between Lives (2004), this detailed and well written book is an important addition to the OBE literature whatever your belief.
Alegretti, W. (2004). Retrocognitions: An investigation into memories of past lives and the
period between lives. Miami, FL: Intl Academy of Consciousness.
Alvarado, C.S., & Zingrone, N.L. (2014) Features of out-of-body experiences: Relationships
to frequency, wilfulness and previous knowledge about the experience. Journal of the
Society for Psychical Research, 79, 97–111.
Gustus, S. (2011). Less incomplete: A guide to experiencing the human condition beyond the
physical body. John Hunt Publishing.
Tressoldi, P.E., Pederzoli, L., Ferrini, A., Melloni, S., Richeldi, D., Richeldi, F., & Trabucco,
A. (2014). Out of body experience induced by hypnotic suggestion. Part 1: Phenomenology
and perceptual characteristics.
Viera, W. (2002). Projectiology: A panorama of experiences of the consciousness outside the
human body. Miami, FL: Intl Academy of Consciousness.
Viera, W. (2007). Projections of the consciousness: A diary of out-of-body experiences. Miami, FL:
Intl Academy of Consciousness.
Robert A. Charman can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org