The Out of Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel by Anthony Peake provides mind bending and complex research to examine altered states of consciousness. It touches upon the very nature of reality and what we understand consciousness to be. It brings up fascinating topics like remote viewing, the biology of the brain and the history of the many famous experiences of people traveling beyond this reality. It is an excellent book for the inquisitive mind.
One of the most fascinating areas that I love exploring myself, and sharing with others about has to do with the nature of reality and consciousness. Knowing personally how much our lives transform when we expand our consciousness, it is a pleasure to share with you the reader any information or resources that enrich this experience in your life.
A book that is as metaphysically fascinating as it is, scientifically supported is The Out of Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel by Anthony Peake. Although the book focuses on the subject of out of body experiences, it is about so much more than that. It is an exciting book to read as the author simply shares what he found, making sure to point out that ultimately we have to decide what rings true for us when it comes to the topics presented. It is empowering by igniting the critical thinker within that is stimulated to consider many possibilities, rather than being given the pieces of what to think. In the end, the author presents a revelatory personal hypothesis of how he sees it, that adds a whole new dimension when it comes to understanding out of body experiences.
About the Author
The Out of Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel is written by Anthony Peake and was published in November 2011.
Anthony Peake was born 1954 and grew up on the Wirral, near Liverpool, England. He currently lives in West Sussex in the South East Of England. Anthony was educated at Wirral Grammar School, Warwick University and the London School of Economics. He is a member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, The Scientific & Medical Network and the Society for Psychic Research. He has been interviewed by many radio stations and magazines across the world and has appeared on British television, as well as at various public speaking events.
Anthony has written 5 books to date, and some of his earlier titles include:
- The Daemon: A Guide to Your Extraordinary Secret Self
- Is There Life After Death? The Extraordinary Science of What Happens When We Die
To learn more about Anthony and his work, visit AnthonyPeake.com
About the Book
The Out-of-Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel is a highly thought-provoking and enlightening book, that probes into the deepest aspects of the mind, reality and consciousness. As the sub-title implies, it presents a historical and scientific analysis of the altered state of consciousness known as the Out of Body Experience, or OBE.
The book is over 200 pages, and a relatively smooth read. It has a foreword by Ervin Laszlo, and a prologue and epilogue from the author. It is divided into 2 parts: The Experience and The Science, and broken down into the following 11 chapters.
Chapter 1: Introduction
In this chapter, Anthony provides a quick background into the world of OBEs and some famous case scenarios, noting some of the commonalities and challenges of such experiences.
Chapter 2: The Mystic Explanation
This chapter covers topics such as Shamanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, conscious awareness, the pineal gland, Kabbalah, and Theosophy, sharing the common roots each presents when it comes to OBEs and altered states of consciousness.
Chapter 3: The Mystery of the Near-Death Experience
Here Anthony shares the history of research into NDE and how it all started, along with case studies, as well as scientific evidence for and against. He examines the ideas of whether OBEs are just an illusion or even a hallucination, explaining that something does not quite add up in seeing them simply as such. He theorizes that there seems to be much more that needs to be considered to fully understand why the evidence does not add up.
Chapter 4: A Special Case: Robert Monroe
This chapter presents the history of the first OBEs as they relate to the famous Robert Monroe. Anthony examines the content of his books, theories, the tests done to test OBEs and questioning as to whether Robert Monroe really experienced true OBEs.
Chapter 5: Remote Viewing: The Case of Ingo Swann
This chapter presents the history and experiences of Ingo Swann, the famous remote viewer who worked under Cleve Baxter and had a strong interest in psychic phenomenon. Anthony shares the many tests and experiments that failed to prove conclusive OBEs and remote viewing experienced by Ingo.
Chapter 6: The Modern Groups
In this chapter, Anthony examines the groups that study and train altered states of consciousness, OBEs, and remote viewing like Tom Campbell’s My BIG Toe and Hemi-Sync, as well as Eckankar soul travel.
Chapter 7: The Mystery of Lucid Dreaming
Here Anthony provides an explanation and analysis of what lucid dreams are and how they related to OBEs.
Chapter 8: Neurology
This chapter discusses and explains topics like hypnagogic and hypnopompic states, REM sleep, how ecsomatic OBEs can be produced artificially, and the brain regions stimulated during OBEs, as well as the potential of the research to date.
Chapter 9: The Psychedelic Route
This chapter looks at the neurochemical pathways that are involved in OBEs, including psychedelic drugs as chemical means to alter consciousness. A thorough discussion is provided on neurotransmitters, as well as an overview of DMT, ayahuasca, and altered states of consciousness.
Chapter 10: The Physics
Here Anthony presents an overview of the Quantum Physics theories as they relate to understanding our reality, including the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Many Worlds Interpretation and Implicate Order. The topics of an inner Universe are considered, as well as theories to explain reality, entanglement, enfoldment, Orchestrated Objective Reduction, and how consciousness works.
Chapter 11: The ‘Intrasomatic’ Experience
This chapter pieces together all of the information presented and explains the lack of veridical or persuasive evidence for OBEs. Integrating topics like the Zero Point Field, false awakenings, and the neurochemical conditions needed for an OBE, it presents information for the theory of intrasomatic, as opposed to ecsomatic experiences to explain the OBE phenomenon.
What we understand to be reality is not at all what we believe it to be.
Anthony Peake, The Out-Of-Body Experience
When it came to reading this book, I have to share that I was in for quite a pleasant surprise. If you judge the book by the main title, it can really go anywhere in terms of the “out of body experience”. Many people share first hand experiences, anecdotal stories or personal ideas only about the subject all too commonly failing to bring any deeper substance to this topic, or unravelling its potential. In fact, unless one has a keen interest in such topics, for many others who read the main title alone, I imagine it may be easily dismissed, as some will think that it is “just another New Age book”. Well, when it comes to this book, nothing could be further from the truth.
This is where my surprise came as well. Although I am highly fascinated and interested by many out-of-this-world topics, like out of body experiences, it is always nice to have some substance presented to the material one is exploring. That is why in the case of this book, I highly encourage anyone interested to focus on the subtitle that paints the picture of what to really expect from this book—the history and the science. It truly is an excellent journey into these sides of the out of body experiences. Everyone will of course experience it in their own way, but one thing is for sure, this is no “fluffy” book. Rather, it is a highly mind expanding, well researched, deeply analytical and scientifically saturated book. Having said this, the author still did a good job of presenting his information in an interesting and fairly down to Earth manner, to be of most use to the reader.
As Anthony explains, the purpose of the book is to review the evidence that the altered states of consciousness experienced by the subjects studied are subjectively real experiences, and the mechanism by which consciousness can seemingly find itself outside of the body. The book really hooked me in at chapter 2, as I was pleased to have a summary of the different spiritual traditions and how they viewed or experienced altered states of consciousness. In fact, throughout most of the book I kept thinking what a fantastic summary of so many of the topics that I have dabbled in with my own research over the years. Anthony did a great job of putting it all together in one place, from the spirituality to the science. Additionally, what I noticed is that this is an excellent book to read, even for those who may not have a deep interest in OBEs specifically, but simply in the nature of reality and consciousness. The quantum physics chapter, as well as the neurology chapter were outstanding in my opinion as to how educational and thorough they were in the information they presented.
The nature of reality, consciousness and quantum physics topics are big passions of mine, more so than out of body experiences, and so I found myself reading the book with great enthusiasm and a high level of interest. Being someone who also knows and greatly enjoys the work of physicist Thomas Campbell, it was a pleasure to not only read about his work in this book, but also get a broader perspective of the history of Robert Monroe, whose work was greatly responsible for launching Tom’s work into altered states of consciousness and the nature of reality. I had the pleasure of learning some new things, remembering some old things and connecting more dots for myself as to how I perceive reality and its different dimensions.
What was really interesting too is that through Anthony’s scientific approach to this subject, for about the first half of the book, I really had the feeling that the whole point of the book would be to rebuke the whole out of body experience. However, being somewhat familiar with Anthony’s work, I knew that there was a twist coming, and indeed there was. As Anthony presents and explains, no matter where he looked or how he researched all scientific studies on OBEs seemed to have some flaws. He questioned how the subjects could be so right, and yet so wrong as to what they experienced when it was tested. Finally, upon piecing it all together from the biology to the physics, Anthony proposes a clever hypothesis that makes us look inward, instead of outward where out of body experiences are concerned. I personally found myself to resonate very much with the ideas presented and know with great inner excitement that when it comes to understanding reality and what is possible, we are still only scratching the surface of this area.
So is this book all there is to know about the topic of OBEs? I am sure it is not. As always, each author presents a focus of their personal interests, no matter how objective they will aim to be. I am not an expert on OBEs and hence for myself found this book to contain everything I would wish it to have and benefit from learning at the present time. For others, it may present a different experience depending on their personal background and reality experienced.
Overall, I found the book to be very well written. Each chapter is really well developed, giving the reader the background information needed before a point, conclusion or theory is made. Anthony summarizes facts well, and presents what seems to be of most importance to help the reader understand the topics at hand. The book’s tone is educational in nature, as Anthony presents both historical, anecdotal and scientific evidence of the OBE phenomenon. It will no doubt be an enjoyable read for all those who enjoy opening their mind to new possibilities and exploring the nature of our reality here, and beyond.
If you would like to learn more about some of the topics presented in this book, I also invite you to watch a video interview I had the pleasure of doing with Anthony entitled “ The Illusions of Reality: Life, Death & Time“.