Monday, August 29, 2016

30 Days of Veganism

Hello, my friends! With my 30 days of cutting caffeine behind me, I have decided it is time for me to embark on my next experiment in spirituality; 30 days of veganism. I am anxious to find out how it affects my projection, dreaming, meditation, and overall spirituality. There is so much hype around a plant-based diet that I have thought for a long time that I really ought to give it a try. Thank you to those of you who pushed me into making the decision.

My First Week

I am 7 days in and I have to say, so far, no complaints. Things are going well. I believe that this is partially due to the fact that I have really been working up to this for quite some time. I have been cutting out processed foods and meat slowly, replacing them with things like fresh fruits, veggies, beans, and tofu. It also doesn't hurt that I cook for my family so if I want to make something different for myself, I am not placing a burden on anyone else. I am taking a daily vitamin to make sure I don't miss out on anything that I would have gotten from meat and I have also started with a plant-based protein powder every morning so I don't shrink down to nothing at the gym during the next month. All in all, I am getting just as much protein as I ever did as a carnivore, so things are really going well.

As far as my spiritual practices go, this has been an eventful week.  While I would love to just proclaim that it was all due to my change in diet, I think it is too early to make that sort of definitive statement. That being said, I have had two spontaneous lucid dreams, reached the vibrational state unintentionally during dreams, and I have projected once! Like I said, it has been an eventful week. I am so thrilled! I hope it will continue and that it is not just the placebo effect caused by my high expectations.  More to come.

Week 2

Two weeks down and halfway through this experiment. Whether I decide to continue after the 30 days remains to be seen, but I do have to say that I am enjoying it. 

Physically speaking I feel great. There has only been one bump in the road this week that I have had to overcome. It turns out that without the naturally occurring probiotics that exist in things like yogurt, a vegan diet can leave you feeling a bit bloated and gassy. I did some research and found some vegan alternatives and that problem has been solved. Aside from that, I have great energy, my morning workout routine is right on track with what I have always done, and I am not losing or gaining any weight. I'll take that as a sign that I am doing things right. :) While I have cut some things out of my diet that i am sure I am better off without, like pizza, for example, overall I would say that coming from an active, healthy lifestyle, my diet really didn't change a tremendous amount and I maintain that this transition has been an easy one.

From a spiritual perspective, I will say that I have had 6 spontaneous lucid dreams in the past two weeks and one Projection. One Projection is nothing to write home about, but I typically only average between 1 and 2 lucid dreams a month. I don't actively strive for lucid dreams and tend to focus most my efforts on projection, so 6 is quite a few for me. That being said, this is not the first time I have had a sporadic increase in activity when it comes to lucid dreaming. So far I think it is too early to say definitively that this diet is making any sort of difference. I am remaining optimistic, however. It could very well be that I am still purging toxins and impurities from my body, much the way it took weeks to get all the remnants of caffeine out of my system. We will see how the coming weeks play out.

If there is one thing that I say so far about this diet and how it helps my practice, it is that it leads to feeling light and comfortable when going to bed at night as opposed to feeling heavy and full the way you do after eating mass quantities of meat and greasy food. This makes it easier to reach deep levels of consciousness like the mind awake body asleep state while maintaining control. That heavy full feeling always leads to my falling asleep too quickly. In the past, I have avoided feeling too full by modifying my dinner time so I no longer eat after 6:00 PM. With this vegan diet, I have found that I can eat an hour before bed and still feel light and comfortable.

Here is some of what I have been eating lately

Final Thoughts

The 30 days have come and gone, and as with my cutting caffeine experiment, I have decided to continue. While I have not experienced anything profound from a spiritual perspective, there are two factors that have driven my decision to continue with this diet. First, I feel great! I feel like this diet has pushed me cut out a lot of the not so great things in my diet. I have maintained a consistent weight, and I continue to feel like I am getting all the nutrients that I need.  Second, I reconfirmed repeatedly over the past few weeks that it is much easier to reach deep meditative states and deep states of consciousness during my out of body practice when your stomach is light. Try to imagine having a productive meditation session right after Thanksgiving dinner. For me, this would be impossible, and while I was definitely able to reach deep meditative states prior to veganism, I have always noticed that it is easier with an empty, not so stuffed feeling stomach and this practice lends itself very well to a consistent not so stuffed feeling.

Several folks have asked me over the past month to share a bit about what I am eating and how often. As far as what I am eating, it is not so different than what I was eating prior to introducing this diet. It is the same foods with some minor modifications. I replace things like ground beef with tofu. I replace things like grilled burgers or chicken with portabello mushrooms. I replace eggs in baking with flaxseed, and so on.  With a bit of research, a bit of creativity, and a willingness to experiment, it turns out it is not difficult at all to remove all animal products from your diet.

As far as how many times I eat every day, I eat continuously. This is easy for me because I have a desk job and I can always have a bag of fruits and veggies next to me.  I eat almost every hour of the waking day, just a little here and a little there. I will munch on edamame, or carrots, or grapes, or dried fruit while I work.  I have read that many small meals are better for your metabolism, so this may be another added benefit of veganism. In order to get enough calories, and not feel hungry, I have to eat many small meals. What I have found in regards to this is that I never feel hungry and I never feel stuffed. I am always in the middle in this state of comfort. I absolutely love this. I never have the feeling of "food coma" after lunch that I used to get when I would chow down on a pound of spaghetti and meatballs or leftover barbecue.

All in all, if you are looking for a way to feel great, eat healthy, and improve your ability to reach the deep states of consciousness in meditation, or out of body travel, I would highly recommend at least giving a vegan diet a shot.

Thanks for sticking with me through this one.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Monroe Institute - Gateway Voyage

Today I would like to talk a little about my experience at The Monroe Institute. I attended the Gateway Voyage program at the end of September 2015. For those of you not familiar with the Monroe Institute, it is a consciousness research and training center, founded by Robert Monroe, and was actually his home during his later years. It is in the Blue Ridge mountains of Faber Virginia, a short drive from Charlottesville.

I signed up for the Gateway Voyage program because it appeared to be the general consensus among forums and TMI website that it was a good introductory course and it is also a prerequisite for several of the other courses there. I received a letter from the institute stating that it was best to go in with an open mind and no expectations. I had broken rule number one the day I signed up for the course. I had come to the conclusion that this was going to be an incredible week packed full of OBEs. They also had a disclaimer stating that they could not guarantee that anyone would have an out of body experience. This did not keep me from getting my hopes up.  I was sure that this week would accelerate my progress far beyond my wildest imagination.

I arrived at the Charlottesville airport and was picked up by a shuttle, driven by Mike, a super nice guy who has worked at the institute for decades. He recounted stories of Bob, the history of the institute, and the development of Hemi-Sync as we made our way to our home away from home for the upcoming week.

When we arrived, we were shown to our rooms, provided with a journal and a packet of information about this course, other courses, and available Hemi-Sync tracks that could be purchased from the institute store. We were each given a CHEC unit, which would serve as our bed as well as our practice space over the coming week. The CHEC unit was like a bed, but with walls built around it. The mattress was about 6.5 feet in length and about 3.5 feet wide. There was a small gap in the wall where you would climb in, and then a blackout curtain that would remove all light. At the head of each unit was a jack where we plugged in our headphones. These would be the source of Bob's voice as he guided us through the various focus levels and as we learned to reach the mind awake/body asleep state.

A typical day began with waking up early to some goofy music composed by Bob while he gave us an inspirational message to begin our day. I grew rather attached to this wake up by the end of the week and wished I could take the track home with me to use as a daily alarm. This was followed by an optional yoga class and breakfast. After breakfast, the day of exercises would begin. We would congregate in the large living room, talk about the exercise to come and then disperse to our CHEC units where we would attempt to experience various states of consciousness. Once the exercise was done, we would return to the living room where we would talk about our experiences, ask questions, and begin preparing for the next exercise.

Half way through the week, I was feeling seriously bummed out.  I had not had a single OBE and I felt like this course was not what I had expected. I thought we were going to cover Conditions A - D, and the physiological states between awake and projection. Instead, we were spending all our time learning relaxation, following guided meditations, and doing creative visualization. I knew that this sense of disappointment was my own fault. I was doing exactly what they had expressly told me not to do. I finally said, I need to fix this.  I am in a beautiful place, with time, that is dedicated solely to this practice, surrounded by the most incredible open-minded people, and I am wasting it. At that moment, I let go of all expectations and I had an incredible week going forward.

I never got out of body, but I did learn visualization and relaxation skills that I use to this day that help me achieve the out of body state. I got to talk to Joe McMoneagle about his career in remote viewing. I made some amazing friends, and when I came home, I felt like a new person. I plan on going back to the Monroe Institute in 2017. I will be going through the Out of Body Intensive this time around. I am looking forward to meeting William Buhlman, another one of my favorite people.

I am attaching some photos of my time there.  Enjoy.

Bob Monroe (I love this man)

My CHEC Unit

All my incredible friends

One of two giant crystals

The dining room

Chatting with Joe McMoneagle

Bob's research center / Laboratory

Bobs's house. Our home away from home.