Copyright © by Robert Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org
The mind boggles at the potential complexities of interdimensional subtle-body relationships and energetic conflicts created during OBE; most especially during wake-induced OBE. Consider the memory compatibility problems that could arise between different levels of consciousness, and the differences in levels of understandability between these; and of how thought and memory sharing between these might work. And lets not forget basic reintegration problems and the fickle nature of the eventual shadow memory download into the only permanent storage medium all subtle bodies share, stretched between all aspects of the mind-split: the old gray matter of the humble physical brain. Everything experienced during out-of-body experience must eventually be downloaded into the physical brain in base-level understandability format, if it is to generate any kind of recallable and enduring memory at all that might be accessible to the awake conscious mind.
If you examine any number of OBE case histories, or have experienced them yourself, you will find that every projection starts fresh, right from the very beginning, just as if it were the very first OBE. There are no continuing memories of having any kind of astral otter type of life available to any projector, ever, even if they suddenly shift into an astral projection that has apparently been going on for some time. In this case, the first part of the astral projection (all that had happened up to the moment when the projector became conscious in his/her astral body) is effectively wiped and is unrecallable. The projector will remember other successful projections they have had in the past, sure, but absolutely nothing of all their OBE failures, or of all the nights when they just fell asleep. I consider dreams and overactive imagination to account for those who believe their experience is contrary to this scenario.
To be more specific: I do not believe it is possible to remember (at the base level of consciousness in the normal waking state) more than a tiny surface fragment of high level projection memories; including OBE experience memories gained in the mid to high astral planes. Basically, when it comes to recalling OBE's, it becomes increasingly difficult anywhere above the real-time zone. Sure its possible to recall something of mid to high level astral experiences, but I stand by my earlier statement that a great deal of what is experienced is lost in the download. And the higher in the astral you to the more will be lost in the eventual download when its all converted into base-level (physical brain) storage format.
So just what happens to all these lost astral and higher level OBE memories? Do they download into inaccessible levels of subconscious and/or unconscious mind, hiding in places within us where even the deepest level of hypnosis cannot dig them out? Why does one successful wake-induced conscious-exit projection provide vivid and lasting experience memories, while all other unconscious (unremembered) OBE's leave nothing at all to show they ever happened? And why do the words "Memory Fails Me" ring through my head whenever I think about this subject?
In an attempt to answer some of the above questions, it seems likely that an intrusion by the base-level of consciousness (as manifested through the physical brain/mind in its normal waking state) into the astral double, causes the astral double's level of consciousness and understandability to drop sharply. This event causes the astral level of consciousness to revert back to its lowest form, back to its fully integrated or base-level of consciousness. The lowest and coarsest level of a consciousness unit appears, in all cases, to be far stronger (and what it experiences is far more memorable) than any higher level or aspect of that same consciousness unit (consciousness unit = a whole person or being).
When it is present, the base-level replaces any higher level of consciousness, e.g, astral plane levels of consciousness and higher. The base level overwrites any experience memories gained independently by those higher levels of consciousness. This is what I believe happens when higher and lower levels of consciousness integrate, on any dimensional level or level of consciousness, during an OBE. The stronger and more robust base-level simply replaces and overwrites the higher level. The OBE continues from that point AT the base-level of consciousness and understandability. This neatly replaces any higher level experience memories that might have existed before base-level integration with a higher aspect of itself occurs.
Higher level memories still exist after this event, but they are driven into inaccessible levels of the subconscious or unconscious mind and memory. The overall effect of this event is that a projection continues from that moment on as if it had just started; often with a vague feeling of having been doing something, but with no real memories to support this feeling. This occurs whether reintegration occurs at the bottom end of the scale in the waking physical body, or whether this occurs at a higher level, say in the astral body when the projector suddenly becomes aware and wakes up inside his/her astral body mid-projection. The lowest level of consciousness always replaces and overwrites any higher level of consciousness and effectively wipes out all trace of its experience memories at the moment of integration.
Higher level intrusion and replacement by the base level does not allow memories of any continuing astral existence to be recaptured. This very same thing appears to happen every time during the integration of the real-time projected double with its physical counterpart. The real-time double contains the experience memories of all of its higher aspects within it when it reintegrates with its physical counterpart. But the majority of its experience memories of higher levels of existence are usually lost, downloaded into inaccessible levels of subconscious and unconscious mind and memory. This shows there is an inherent problem with OBE reintegration: downloading and storing shadow memories in accessible levels of the physical brain. To be recallable, shadow memories must be accessible to the base level of waking consciousness, and must be stored in base level format, if they are to be recognized by the physical brain as recallable memories.
While I think it is unlikely as a continually ongoing memory process, I admit its possible that the projected double and all of its higher selves could lead something like separate lives while they are out of their physical body. But the physical brain at the base level of consciousness could not be totally privy to these levels of continuing existence. But it may remember small fragments of possibly linked sequential events gleaned from a string of OBE's. Higher aspects could be, as is commonly believed today, continually gathering experience memories that the base level of consciousness simply cannot be privy to. The physical brain is not capable of storing and recalling most high level memories unless they are first converted into base level format. And unfortunately the vast majority of high level experience memories do not translate into base level format. At a very rough guess I'd say that less than one-percent of high-level experience memories are potentially accessible to the physical brain at the base level of consciousness in the normal waking state.
Memories from higher levels of consciousness (and/or higher levels of OBE) do not seem to be in sync with what the physical brain is capable of recognizing and storing in physical body memory. This factor may cause the full memories of high-level experiences to be stored deep within the subconscious and/or unconscious mind. The only parts of high-level experiences that are storable as recallable memories are those parts the physical brain is capable of recognizing and converting into base level format.
I believe the above conversion factor account for the metaphorical abstracts, symbols, images and feelings that are sometimes remembered after high-level OBE's and dreams, instead of more recognizable types of OBE and dream experience memories. This goes a long way towards explaining the abstract and metaphorical nature of OBE's visions and dreams, and why these are so difficult to understand and interpret at the base level (in the normal waking state). The physical brain is only capable of storing the surface layer of high-level experience memories, as highly condensed metaphorical abstracts.
The thin surface layer download and storage of memories from high-level experiences (if and when they occur) are the physical brain's 'interpretation' of higher and more abstract levels of its own existence in higher dimensional levels. This interpretation is done through necessity, to store experience memories that are being downloaded into the physical brain in an unrecognizable format the brain is not designed to interpret and store, i.e., in high level format. The physical brain is incapable of recognizing and storing complete high level experience memories in base level format, and therefore cannot make them accessible to the normal waking state of consciousness. But the bulk of information may (and I definitely mean maybe here) download into inaccessible levels of subconscious or unconscious memory. Therefore, when an attempt is made to store them at base level format, a great deal of information is effectively misplaced. Only fragments (the thin surface layer) are stored and are thus recallable as memories by normal waking consciousness. But these fragments are abstract, symbolic and metaphorical, as is the nature of high level memories. In a way the end result of storing this thin surface layer can be likened to complex hieroglyphics, where a picturegram tells a thousand words. But if you don't understand the language, hieroglyphics become a collection of vaguely interesting but virtually meaningless pictures.
A Geekish Analogy: Another way of describing this, to the geeks among us (myself included:) is to think of a high level memory as being something like a five second .mpg motion picture file. If you view the inside of the .mpg with a file viewer (say Windows Notepad) you'll see a huge mass of dots and squiggly lines and symbols that make no sense whatsoever. But if you have .mpg player software you'll see five seconds of movie you can see, enjoy and understand. Now you use your imagination and reverse this process. Let's say someone emails you an .mpg file. The guts of this .mpg file contain an entire volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica; really interesting stuff. But your software will only let you view a highly compressed five second metaphorical representation, of the huge volume of information actually contained within the .mpg, when you download and play it. So, you store this fantastic .mpg on your hard disk drive and wait until you upgrade your PC (raise your base level of consciousness) and in effect develop the right software with which to play it.
The higher the level of consciousness attained during an OBE, and the higher the dimensional level projected into, the more abstract and metaphorical existence becomes. Theoretically, the only reliable way to overcome this incompatibility problem is to raise the level of consciousness the base level of consciousness is operating on. By this I do not mean to 'temporarily' raise the base level of consciousness during an OBE, but to 'permanently' raise the base level (upgrade its high-level OBE interpretation software) so the normal waking state is operating at a higher level of consciousness than before. This will allow more, but not all, of high level experience memories to be downloaded, remembered and understood. The only way I know of to accomplish this feat is through long-term spiritual, bio-energetic and consciousness raising development.
The above string of thought shows that wake-induced conscious-exit projection causes a shift of the base level of consciousness (normal waking consciousness) into higher dimensional levels, neatly replacing the higher levels of consciousness natural to those levels. This may be the only thing which allows fragments of high level experience memories to be captured and downloaded into the physical brain at the base level. As I said, this shift of the base level of consciousness into a higher aspect of itself, appears to override and replace the higher level of consciousness operating at that time, effectively wiping all memories gained up to that moment by the higher level of consciousness natural to that level. This event, while infuriating if you aspire to higher levels of OBE understanding, appears to be necessary. If the base level of consciousness is to operate at all in higher and more abstract dimensional levels, and is to return and tell the tale of it, this event is logically unavoidable.
The base level of consciousness is absolutely 'necessary' to operate down here in the physical dimension, i.e., to 'live' and 'exist' successfully within the physical dimension. To hazard a guess I would say that to do otherwise would cause a type of high-level autism that would not allow one to function successfully here in the physical dimension. One would not be able to relate to the physical dimension, nor to communicate with others operating at the base level of consciousness. One would live in a quiet world of highly compressed metaphorical abstracts. Human words and ways would seem like so much noisy clamor and clatter to one existing at this level of consciousness. This can be likened to how a pack of annoying seagulls might seem to a person while they are trying to read an interesting book. Pretty soon he/she will likely move elsewhere, or tune out the seagulls and retreat into his/her own inner space, where he/she can read and think in peace. And following along these lines, it seems possible that autistics may indeed be operating at a higher level of consciousness than the norm. This would help explain the 'savant' abilities some autistics display. These include great artistic, musical and mathematical abilities, e.g., see the movie 'Rain Man' starring Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant (mathematical genius).
Shadow memories are first cousins to dream memories, which are themselves extremely delicate and easily lost. How many times have you woken after a vivid dream and thought "Wow, cool, that's so clear I'll never forget it!" so you don't bother writing it down; only to find the memory completely missing a few moments later. The one thing missing from every seemingly failed OBE or lucid dream memory is simply the mental recording of that experience, i.e., the memory of it being stored by the physical brain; that final wrinkle in the old gray matter. Memory is 'everything' to successful OBE or lucid dreaming.
Meditation: To allow myself another brief aside: Along these same lines, the above also explains why meditation experiences are so difficult to explain and remember; re they share the same inherent translation and downloading problems as do high level OBE experiences. Apart from simply falling asleep, this is the 'other' main reason why so many people remember little of what transpires while they are meditating.
The difficulties understanding and grasping the complexities of the mind-split, not to mention the enormous difficulties inherent to explaining all of this, I think, highlights why current theories on OBE have so far only allowed for a singular perspective and existence of a projector. Current popular theories therefore promoted the belief that the conscious mind actually leaves its physical body during an OBE, leaving an empty husk in its wake: what I call The Empty-Body Theory. Some people even go so far as to believe the essential animating soul actually leaves the physical body during OBE; called Soul Travel. Even the term Out-Of-Body Experience propagates the empty-body theory. It seems likely the reasons and needs that sprouted the empty-body theory were the sheer complexities, and often uncomfortable issues, raised if any more realistic and workable theory were applied to the mechanics and dynamics of OBE, i.e., The Mind-Split Theory, which allows for the simultaneous plural existence of any single consciousness unit, or person, in multiple subtle bodies.
Unfortunately, the singular empty-body theory also causes a great deal of needless worry, i.e., about getting lost or not being able to get back into the physical body during or after an OBE. But according to my experience and theories this could never happen. The original copy of mind and memory never leave the physical body while it still lives. Only a subtle copy leaves during any OBE. And even if, under circumstances I cannot imaging, the projected copy were somehow destroyed during an OBE, the physical body would wake up as usual the next day; albeit maybe with a slight headache and dizziness due to a minor loss of (replaceable) etheric matter: nothing a few good meals and a good nights sleep could not rectify.
If you drop the singularity (empty body during OBE) theory, you must by default allow for the mind-split and the existence of multiple copies of the original during OBE. And it would be logical to suggest that each would have a different perspective, level of consciousness and understandability. But you must then allow for the possibility that a plethora of energetic and mental conflicts may at times exist between these multiple copies; especially if more than one aspect of the original is functioning at any one time. You must also then consider how all of this would affect the original mind and its physical storage medium, the humble physical brain. And more importantly, how the original mind/brain would deal with the end result: with the multiple memory streams it would sometimes experience and have to account for, and how it would handle and store these during and after OBE.
The mind-split phenomenon is an extraordinarily intricate phenomenon with far reaching implications. It is fundamental to the entire field of metaphysics if you seriously examine it. But its real headache material, especially if an attempt is made to grasp all its complexities in one bite. I am not surprised the mind-split and the issues it raises have so far been overlooked; or maybe even deliberately avoided. However, I believe the mind-split theory (given fully in Astral Dynamics) provides the only realistic and workable foundation to explain the nature and dynamics and intricacies of OBE. Only when it is understood can the complex nature of humankind's multi-dimensional bio-energetic existence even begin to be grasped; and maybe understood just a little...