Extracted from the book “Ultimate Journey” by Robert Monroe
Different Overview: The gathering of knowledge minus the glitter of beliefs and animal commands. In developing a Different Overview, the knowledge and application of certain Basics are essential. A key Basic, for instance, would be the knowledge that you are more than your physical body and that you do survive physical death. Such Basics must be absolute Knowns, not just beliefs, to complete the growth. If one or more of the key Basics is missing, the development is inhibited.
Unknowns create fears. When these Unknowns become Knowns the fears diminish and disappear and we are able to cope with whatever confronts us. All of us have enough Unknowns in our lives—and enough fears.
What are the Knowns regarding the out-of-body experience (OBE)? First, while there is nothing new about realizing that you are more than your physical body, you now have a means of proving it to yourself. We also believe that by applying other criteria it can be proved to the scientific community, and to the rest of humankind. To date, however, we know of no way to do this except through individual personal experience, but we do know that the tools are available to perform this verification.
A controlled out-of-body experience is the most efficient means we know to gather Knowns to create a Different Overview. First, and perhaps most important, among these Knowns is survival of physical death. If there is a better way than the OBE of knowing that this takes place—not just hoping, having faith, or believing, but knowing—we are unaware of it. All of those who become only mildly proficient in the OBE soon reach this stage of knowing. In addition, such survival takes place whether we like it or not, and without any consideration as to what we do or are in physical life. It makes no difference. Survival of self beyond physical existence is a natural and automatic process. We wonder how we could ever have become so limited in our thinking.
The highways and byways of out-of-body adventures and exploration are broad and varied, for the most part beyond ordinary time-space concepts. We can understand only that portion which relates directly to the Earth Life System.
We may attempt to report the rest of it—and it seems limitless —but we have no acceptable or comparable baseline of knowledge and experience to do this accurately. The problem lies in trying to understand it and to translate what you find—to bring it back.
What has happened is that you have gone off the edge of the Known map, and have returned with some previous important Unknowns now converted to Knowns. You may or may not convince others of this reality. Most do not try; the individual knowledge is enough.
Think how such knowledge—not belief or faith—would affect your own life pattern; the knowledge that you are indeed more than your physical body, that you do indeed survive physical death. These two Unknowns converted to Knowns, with no conditions or contingencies—what a difference that would make!
A Different Overview—a clear way of perceiving—can make these into personal Knowns. And more, much more. So unlatch your Security Belief Belt, grab your climbing spurs and perhaps a machete—and let's hit the high road.
So it must be said: the Different Overview you are beginning to consider can be at most only a belief until you begin to test it for validity within your own ongoing experience during your life as an active Human Mind. As small beliefs convert to Knowns, perhaps larger Different Overview beliefs will follow the same path—until you are free.
What to me are Knowns can produce only beliefs in you unless you have had or are having similar experiences that demand verification. Let me therefore attempt to tell it "like it is" for me, allowing you to form your own beliefs which experience may in time convert to Knowns.
In my personal run, thirty-plus years of out-of-body activity had brought me to a calm state of satisfaction. A cycle has been completed, or so it seemed. My own Different Overview was well in place and eminently rewarding. Or it should have been.
I knew where I came from, how I got here and became a human, why I hung around, my final departure schedule, and where I would go when I left. What else could have had any importance? Anything else was mere detail.
The Basic—the missing Basic—was now a Known to me. Not a belief, hope, or faith; not conveyed by intuition or emotion; but a Known firmly fixed in my mind-consciousness. Indeed, it had been there all along, but I had failed to recognize the many patterns of evidence for what they were. Acceptance is not the same as Knowing.
My role, I could see, was that of a facilitator. The Basic needed to be incorporated into our activities and learning systems. I had been unaware of what we had been leading up to. For more than fifteen years our programs have been providing working knowledge of human consciousness up to the very edge of time-space. The move beyond this border to begin gathering knowledge of the Basic was indeed an ultimate challenge. The problem was how to do this cleanly and clearly, to make the Basic a Known instead of a belief. This could only happen through personal experience.
I had to start with Knowns. What I have called the entry ramps to the Interstate is physical death as perceived by most Human Minds. These ramps lead past the edge of their Known map, and the road signs are contradictory.
Culturally, we know very little about death and beyond at this time. We may believe different premises and prospects, but that is not Knowing. The only thing that we all do know is that physical death is going to happen to each of us and to those we love sooner or later. But that is all, and hence comes the fear.
To compound the situation, virtually all of our knowledge and scientific study are focused upon physical matter and time-space. Our insatiable dream is to know all about Here without exception or omission. The origin of this compulsion goes back to the human struggle to exist in a hostile environment, driven by the directive to survive. This underlying motive is still present, even though heavily disguised.
In the matter of physical death, our sciences can provide only those approaches that somehow relate to physical matter. Specifically we are looking at a system of measurement of Something. If there is no electrical signal in the brain, if there is no chemical action, if there is no physical movement, then you have Nothing. So death equals Nothing. And if you ask whether the Human Mind disappears when the electrochemical reaction ceases, much like the magnetic field around an electromagnet when the electricity is shut off, you will almost certainly receive a positive answer. But, you may continue, such magnetic fields don't really disappear, because they leave measurable imprints on sensitive matter in or near them—so what about the mind? Of course, comes the scientific reply, humans do much the same; they live in the memory of their remaining loved ones or in the physical artifacts they caused to be formed—their work, their books, buildings, and so on. But that is all.
It is easy to see why so many scientists and medical professionals are nihilist or atheist in their public stance. But even so, many are forced into a belief image of survival owing to cultural pressure or hidden hopes and guilts. Moreover, scientific and medical researchers are inadvertent participants in the Earth Life System predator process. As such, they are prone to adjust their data to suit their needs as much as anyone else. Nevertheless, some of our greatest scientists have deduced that we are more than our physical bodies, or at least that our mind is more than the output of our brain.
The bulk of our scientific knowledge is not germane to any approach that tries to make Something out of Nothing, and so we must reluctantly set it aside. Scientific endeavor is almost wholly enmeshed in the Earth Life System and physical time-space, and very little is applicable in this arena. Nor do religions and philosophies provide us with much help. For thousands of years men of religion in particular have been trying to persuade us to believe in subsequent-to-death existence.
A vast number of techniques have been utilized in the attempt to help followers into the Knowing stage, but very few, if indeed any, have succeeded.
So we come back to personal experience. If it were possible to cross the border, to visit the area of so-called Nothing and return, and to describe it as it is in clear terms uninhibited by belief systems, then this would in time lead to worldwide Knowing and consequently the elimination of fear. But so far we do not know how to do this.
Yet there is the possibility that we are already doing it—and we simply don't remember. If I knew with no trace of doubt what I would be and do after I died, it would change me radically. I could live my physical life to the fullest, without the shadow lurking behind every second, the shadow that says one wrong move and your time is up'. If we knew that each of us had the option to depart when we were certain our physical future held no more light for us, how our lives would be transformed! If we had the assurance that, no matter what happens, we can continue our love bonding beyond the Earth Life System and time-space—if we were certain that when a loved one departs we would know beyond doubt where we can find him or her—what a wonderful freedom we would have!
Now that I knew what had to be done, one further question arose. How could I organize all that I had experienced into such a shape that it could be absorbed and put into practice by others? Not only that: how could those experiences, which for me had stretched over years, be compressed into a time-frame which others would find practical and appropriate? This was not a process that could be established by trial and error, for what we were shortly to be handling was, quite literally, a matter of life and death. It had to be as nearly right as possible the first time. And events in my personal life were telling me that there was little time to spare.
But I was fortunate—or perhaps it was not good fortune but the fulfillment or completion of a design begun more than three decades ago when we first commenced research into human consciousness. For at my disposal I had all the resources of our Institute, which for many years had shown that it was possible to bring individuals right up to that transitional point between physical life and death and enable some of them at least to see into the beyond. That our procedures were safe and that our participants benefited enormously and in so many ways had been proved beyond doubt. My left brain told me that two things were needed. The first was research into the frequencies of brain waves translated into sound that would permit the individual mind-consciousness to travel safely beyond the transitional point and to return when the task was accomplished.
The means by which these goals are achieved is by development and extension of the methods and techniques that have been evolved and refined at the Institute over many years: the Hemi-Sync, a trade name for an audio wave system. Listening to these wave systems on tape helps bring synchronization of electrical brain wave forms between the two hemispheres of the human brain. This Hemi-Sync program is called The Gateway Experience.
This program is a step-by-step absorption of phase-shifting methods related to human consciousness. The purpose is, in the first instance, to help the participant release inherent fears through exploration of self and environment by converting Unknowns into Knowns. Once this is achieved, the student is free to evoke controlled phase shifts into other states of consciousness among other nonphysical energy systems.
For the sake of convenience and mutual understanding, the term "Focus" with an appropriate number is used to denote the different stages or states of consciousness that participants move into during the learning process.