Sensations and Perceptions during the Transitional Stage
Part 1
Werner Zurfluh
translated into English by Franziska Bonetti
e-mail: Homepage

AI = active imagination
LD = lucid dream
OOBE = out of body exxperience
BK = continuity of awareness

1. "Falling asleep" as a transitional stage leading to an OOBE

The sensations and perceptions marking the transitional stage from being inside the physical body to leaving it ("falling asleep" or "dozy state") are almost similar to the ones we are used to when we are fully awake. The same sensations or perceptions also occur while we experience a lucid dream or an OOBE. However, they can also be completely different. This makes it rather difficult to classify them correctly. When we try to force them into the reference system of our "Everyday Paradigm" we are liable to be wrong. But at the same time it is not easy to come up with a second-rate (second-class) solution when we are used to allocate things to patterns already familiar to us. Many people have no idea of how to handle these perceptions and sensations. Lying down, they may start to feel their "second body" (subtle body) after some time, while their physical body is totally relaxed. But the hands of the physical body can still be moved and perceived, i.e. be felt or even be seen. Mostly, pictures as in a dream (hypnagogic pictures) also appear which sometimes can be consciously controlled. Alternatively, during a dream the mind becomes more and more conscious, sometimes reaching lucidity. As these occurrences are often quite disturbing, the dozy state or lucid dream is often instantly interrupted by the dreamer.

If the dreamer thinks that he is on the brink of leaving his physical body, fear creeps in because this seems to be a danger zone! That is why he then desperately tries to move a foot or a hand of the physical body. Thus, enormous "energy whirls" can be provoked, roaring sounds are heard and strong vibrations are felt. Sometimes, a ball of light or a bright gate or similar can be seen. Such a picture somehow has a magnetic effect and is like an invitation to enter. The "second body" really seems to want to rise and fly away. However, trying to control what is happening is almost instantly rendered impossible due to ones own expectations/ideas and uncritical analysis of "expert" opinions. This tremendous uncertainty is often a result of attempted evaluations and explanations from doctors and therapists. But as they are LACKING these experiences on a personal level, they do NOT know what they are talking about. Nevertheless, they think of themselves as experts.

For instance, when you find yourself floating under the ceiling over the sleeping physical body, a sensation which normally goes with leaving the body ("anti-gravity"), you feel as if you were able to fly. Because you encounter fears contradicting your convictions and beliefs, they must first be overcome and the altered state of consciousness accepted. That is why one tends to look for an adequate interpretation if a spontaneous OOBE occurs - the feeling of "being able to fly" as a REAL EXPERIENCE is thus simply disregarded. However, once the "I" acknowledges that there are concepts confirming this feeling without trying to reduce it to known facts in the sense of "nothing but…", the fear gradually disappears. It is simply a matter of acknowledging that there is a long and old tradition regarding the feeling of being able to fly which has been handed down from generation to generation for example in the form of fairytales. Using mental images, fairytales speak of these experiences and make them understandable (to some extent) by means of a story or an account. While occupying the magic body (subtle body), the feeling of being able to fly becomes a reality. However, the "I" must understand that it no longer occupies the physical body. This could mean that an "animistic" conception of the world must at least be considered equal to the "normal" conception of the world because it somehow provides a more accurate explanation for such feelings than we would expect from our ordinary physical/material world.

It is nevertheless hardly ever possible to close the gap between the usual interpretation methods and the relevant experience, because an OOBE cannot simply be associated with an ordinary dream as the mind remains fully conscious.

The fact that the "normal consciousness" (the continuity of awareness) is obviously not lost during an OOBE shows that there is NO change in the consciousness itself. It is only the conscious link to the physical body that cannot be kept up during an OOBE. As it were, the unity of being conscious and occupying a physical body is dissolved while the withdrawal from the physical body takes place. BECAUSE all our lives we have been associating the state of being awake with being awake in a physical body, it is understandable that "leaving" the body is regarded as a dissociation and therefore as an illness.

Most people do not know that the Continuity of Awareness can be kept up although the body is (falling) asleep and that there is no reason for believing that this awareness must by all means be linked with being awake in the physical body. If, however, the processing of information is thought to be limited to the physical/material level as the only valid reference system, our main focus must be on the "correct" understanding of the process of falling asleep. But according to which criteria is this to be done? Correct information processing WITHIN a reference system that rejects the idea of out-of-body experiences is simply NOT possible and must lead astray.

The unity of consciousness and physical existence is a reference system which actually works well within its own boundaries, because all of us are conditioned in that way. This unity is dissolved as soon as the physical body falls asleep while the "I" stays AWAKE. This fact alone need not be disturbing or regarded as "disintegration" or dissociation which is perhaps felt as if the connection to "BEING IN THE WORLD" is suddenly cut. On the contrary, this "cut" is often the result of the "I" remaining closely linked to the ordinary conception of the world, trying to balance out even the slightest shifting by means of (so-called) common conceptions. In any case, it seems to be easier to classify the phase of withdrawal from the body as pathologic because a mere reduction to inner-physical conditions (complexes etc.) is thus allowed. However, such explanations only foster a new pathologic background, i.e. new problems and symptoms. This development shows that the usual explanations do not HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD and that ideally a new way of thinking would be appropriate.

During an OOBE, no dissociation of the "I" takes place but simply a shift on the personal level of experience or some other level of identification. Such a shift leads to an "out-of-body awareness" forcing the "I" to accept other laws than those experienced in connection to physical existence or the so-called normal "inner-body state".

Although the "I" is continually transforming within its ongoing daytime consciousness, no-one ever really seems to notice that. We do acknowledge that everything around us is constantly flowing and changing but all of this is never questioned and no consequences are drawn from the knowledge that the "I" is a fluctuating whole within a multitude of things and by no means a constant and unchangeable quantity within a constant and unchangeable environment.

But HOW are things to be classified that seem to be well-known? Do they possibly possess a TOTALLY different meaning in an environment other than everyday life? Does the withdrawal from the body not perhaps require some other behaviour from the "I" if it wants to survive under the heading of Continuity of Awareness? During the transitional stage leading to an OOBE, the reference system that has up to now been regarded as compulsory/binding somehow becomes redundant. Therefore, the question that immediately arises is how to deal with something UNFAMILIAR in view of a fundamentally changed reference system. For example, how does an Eskimo behave in the desert or a Tuareg in the Arctic? To what extent is abnormal behaviour favoured if, despite the altered environment, the "I" remains connected to the well-known and well-tried system? Even if the system is critically analysed/questioned it is likely that the situation will lead to a misjudgement.

The result is that a shift takes place once again and the physical body once more disposes of the normal waking consciousness. Simultaneously, it is possible that the Continuity of Awareness is lost which perhaps is the result of too strong an identification of the "I" with the total of the hitherto acquired knowledge. It may well be that the situation experienced just beforehand is instantly forgotten or that only a semi-conscious awareness can be kept up. In any case, the out-of-body experience is terminated, be it only because of great confusion and insecurity since the accumulation of knowledge simply is of no use on this level.

We should then ask for the reason why this change had to take place. The answer to the question "WHAT caused the return?" possibly shows that no deviation from the ordinary conception of the world was considered. One of the reasons why an OOBE is interrupted could be that the left, rational brain hemisphere is trying to cover up everything that is unfamiliar, or that the "right-sided" emotions are far too overwhelming. While the left brain hemisphere always tries to assign unknown information that it fails to classify correctly to a well-known reference system, the right brain hemisphere is looking for an expandable or broader or even new paradigm.

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2. Range of Sensations

It would be wrong to think that during an OOBE sensations like heat or cold, thirst or hunger should be absent. There is an almost limitless spectrum of such sensations which also include pain, grief, love etc. However, we will first and foremost focus on those appearing during the shift to the out-of-body state, i.e. during withdrawal.

Out-of-body sensations are experienced in the form of images and perceptions which are known to the "I" while it is in the body. When it withdraws, it is impossible for the "I" to just become a "blank" because it is not deprived of its memories during the transitional stage. That is why it automatically combines familiar with unfamiliar things and creates an image or experience which can be grasped over the senses. While this procedure makes it easier to classify unknown things, it is at the same time an impediment to an ideally more receptive and unprejudiced attitude. This often leads to serious delusions and mistakes and therefore to the loss of the necessary calmness.

Bearing this in mind, it would indeed be very important and helpful to gain some information on the subject of "being out-of-body" because expert opinions will be completely useless in relation to one's own experience. After all, it is not a question of explaining or interpreting an experience by means of a theory. It would be better to adapt to the situation and feel at ease so that the Continuity of Awareness is kept up. While theories can of course be included at any stage, the focus should first and foremost be on going through an experience in full consciousness and letting the "experience" flow freely. There is no reason to undo the personally experienced truth by means of traditional, speculative and theoretical knowledge.

It would be helpful to read texts dealing with one's own experiences, e.g. (magic) fairytales. And it would be wise to take certain sensations seriously instead of instantly reducing them to psychosomatic disorders and trying to cure them by means of medical treatment. If there are no obvious signs or evident reasons suggesting an existing psychosomatic illness, it is also possible, for instance, to loosen up tense muscles via breathing or other yoga techniques. Consequently, the trickling and vibrating sounds, the knocking and roaring as well as the (sometimes) colourful dots can be used as a "spring board" for withdrawal. However, in this context it is also necessary to record the experiences meticulously as this is really the only way to discover common features or to correct misjudgement. Moreover, should need be, these records can be discussed with other people.

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3. Acoustic Sensations

Sounds originating from the outside world such as the ringing of church bells, dog barking or children's shouting can be heard quite clearly during the transitional stage. Due to misinterpretation and incorrect classification of these sounds, the "I" is subject to virtually any kind of illusion and even more so if it is yet inexperienced and not capable of dealing with this kind of clairvoyance and clairaudience correctly. Therefore, inappropriate behaviour is quite common. During my first few withdrawal experiences I was entirely unable to identify these sounds correctly. This was extremely unpleasant and "creepy" because the acoustic sensations were strongly distorted and therefore sounded somewhat confusing and even frightening.

On 25 June 1974, I try to keep up my awareness and to withdraw deliberately. On the one hand, my test aims at clarifying the general possibility to withdraw, and on the other at creating/establishing the prerequisite for approaching the out-of-body state of the shaman by way of my own experiences. Moreover, I am interested in the possible therapeutic use of being out-of-body with regard to the reintegration of lost mental aspects in a patient. However, with this objective it is important that one is able to withdraw deliberately without misusing the state of being out-of-body to pursue sexual or other selfish goals. With any kind of misuse of power I would be doomed to fail. That is why I remain fully conscious of this fact.

During the transitional stage I come across unexpected difficulties as I keep waking myself up all the time (i.e. the physical body) because my focus on the Continuity of Awareness is too strong (and because I keep forgetting that the Continuity of Awareness has nothing to do with a waking body). For three long hours I am shifting back and forth and never miss a single stroke of the church bells nearby.

But finally withdrawal seems complete. However, my subtle body encounters serious difficulties while leaving the physical body because, for some reason, some parts are stuck. I lie back in my physical body and try again. After rolling to the left (my wife is sleeping on the right) the same difficulties appear. I must try again. It takes several tries until withdrawal really is complete. Rather clumsily I get up.

I am very pleased with the result of the experiment but I must not be carried away because now I need to stabilise the Continuity of Awareness. The active withdrawal has taken up much of my energy and I almost drift off. In order not to give in to sleepiness, I concentrate solely on the "I" until I feel strong enough to take the next step.

With my eyes closed I try to sense/feel the space around me (visual effects can be very confusing at this stage). There is no telling whether a shift to a different level has taken place simultaneously even if I should really be in a position to feel that. As a matter of fact, I seem to be only about a metre away from my physical body. Therefore, I suspect that I am still on the "everyday" level.

Very carefully, I activate the "eyesight" by shifting my consciousness to the subtle body. Unlike last time, I am able to open my eyes fairly quickly. I am surrounded by almost complete darkness which makes it difficult to discern anything in my immediate vicinity. With my physical eyes I would have been able to see more. All I see now is the outline of the table, the windows and the somewhat brighter garden outside. It may well be that my inner eyesight is still limited, inappropriate and untrained. Slowly, I walk to the table.

I place my hands on the tabletop very carefully in order to avoid penetration of the wood which, perhaps, would make me jump. What shall I do next? Instantly, I hear a loud and clear voice saying: "In this state (out-of-body) it is difficult, especially for beginners, to connect sounds with the objects emitting them. It seems as if bell strokes originated from pigs and dog barking from leaves rustling in the wind. This problem must be overcome by practice. In time, the real connections will become apparent. Until then, there is much confusion!"

This lesson has an instant bearing on my situation because now I can hear the table ring and the walls bark and I am completely confused because I fail to understand the relation between it all. Without this lesson I would have lost my lucidity immediately. But now that I am aware of this problem it seems not very exciting. Subsequently, I ignore the sounds around me and walk through the French window where I suddenly feel sexually stimulated. I think: "Well, here we go again". However, being aware of the sexual instinct possibly becoming predominant is enough to prevent further development.

I turn around in order to verify my position. I seem to stand on the "real" veranda. I look up at the sky and notice a clearly brighter spot on the right which reminds me of the experience involving the Pegasus. I call for the winged horse and immediately get angry with myself for my apparent naivety. A beginner who is not even capable of identifying sounds correctly should stick to his limited skills! But I seem to have gone too far already, because I lose consciousness and after a very short total blackout find myself back in my physical body. I am the same "I" as before but now I am aware of my rigid body which is slowly reviving. Especially the arms have become quite stiff during the time I spent out of body, but I do not pay much attention to this as it is of secondary importance to me. All it takes is a little patience and soon movement will no longer be impaired.

I am pleased with the successful outcome of my test and the lesson I have received which was of great benefit to me. To me, the hearing of the instructions also indicates hidden possibilities that go with being out-of-body.

I get up and immediately record the experiences in writing. Glancing at the clock I notice that it is just a few minutes after one a.m. Thus it must have been the church bell striking a quarter to one that had me confused in the out-of-body state. This means that I spent roughly 20 minutes "on the outside".

But what am I to think of the barking walls? I get up (physically) to approach the open window and listen to the darkness outside. Far away, I can hear a dog bark. Only now do I understand the connection.

And what about the visual impressions? I notice that, in contrast to what I believe to have seen out of body, one of the shutters is closed. This discrepancy bothers me. Could it be that the environment seen out of body is in reality a "psychological proximity" in which nearly accurate copies of the everyday impressions form a closed system?

The question is this: do different levels at all exist or is there just one reality into which classificatory nets with different mesh sizes are cast? As I do not know the answer I go back to bed because I want to repeat the experiment. However, I very quickly feel that I do not possess enough energy to go through the whole procedure again. Moreover, I feel bad because I have not yet thoroughly analysed the previous experience. I did not allow the contents to sink in and set. Therefore it would be a sin just to hurry on to the next sensation!

If during an early afternoon nap the radio is playing in the background, the messages can somehow intermingle with the visions and perceptions experienced in the out-of-body state. The conscious "I" then desperately tries to establish a causal connection between the messages and the events on the other side. Sometimes the two different levels really are "mixed, blended, and shuffled" in a way but, usually, thinking only in terms of cause and effect will automatically terminate an OOBE.

In many cases a loud, unfamiliar outside noise instantly interrupts an OOBE and carries "the astral body back to the physical body quicker than any other restricting factor, often as quick as lightning. If this happens, the physical body always experiences a shock which is sometimes accompanied by a painful sensation or … by a feeling of the body being torn apart" (S. J. Muldoon & H. Carrington, "Die Aussendung des Astralkörpers" (The Projection of the Astral Body) (Freiburg i.B.: Bauer, [1929] 2nd edition 1973 S. 112).

In some instances however, even the loudest of noises do not prompt the subtle body to return to the physical body. I remember that I was able to get into the out-of-body state and remain there for a while during an overnight stay at a house situated close to a railway route where every passing train could be heard and even be felt.

Unfamiliar sounds are startling because they occur suddenly and without an apparent connection. No matter how brief they may be, the "I" will always become aware of them and analyse their origin and their connection. In some instances, however, it is quite impossible to identify the source of a sound. This will cause agitation and can even have a terrifying effect. That is why, first of all, one always tries to identify the sound.

During the transitional stage (falling asleep of the physical body) the most peculiar sounds can often be heard. These are commonly identified by doctors as the resonance of the blood flow, an explanation by which many a confused patient may feel reassured. It cannot be denied that blood is constantly flowing through our veins, but why are these sounds only perceived at a certain moment and not all the time? We could say that we only hear them for as long as we concentrate on them. The "roaring of the sea" can only be heard for as long as we hold the shell to our ears. There is the rustling of leaves and wings, the roaring of a waterfall, the pouring of rain. There are pounding, hissing and raging sounds - and the volcano crater seethes with lava.

Associations in this context are always personal. It is irrelevant whether or not they are simply imaginations because first and foremost we have to concentrate on the starting position connected with the association. In any case, the roaring sound has to be taken as a sign that something is happening or about to happen. Hitherto silent worlds begin to stir. Wind gets up, the Holy Ghost touches the water and brings it to life. The trees murmur with spirits that move through the air. Wind races round corners and whistles through cracks. Strange sounds such as the rattling of shutters and the banging of doors announce the beginning of the witching hour.

In this context, let us turn to an account of W. O. Roesermueller: «At midnight on Christmas Eve 1954, together with a dear friend and a relative of his, I was placing a small Christmas tree on their family grave … when … suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of a raging storm and were covered with ice crystals that fell out of a clear sky, so that the three of us had to leave the cemetery in great haste. The following January … my dear friend had to be buried there» (Gottes Wort gegen den Frevel der Feuerbestattung, p. 23).

Rustling or roaring sounds can indeed announce mystical events. «There were many instances when I could hear banging and creaking sounds from the walls and furniture when I imagined certain entities residing in other worlds and tried to link up with them mentally. These sounds were also heard by other people … and I noticed that, instinctively, a distinction was made between these and ordinary sounds and that they felt uneasy about them» (Ania Teillard, Die unbekannte Dimension (Remagen: Reichl, 1959: p. 28)).

When the left brain hemisphere is deactivated, the activity of the right brain hemisphere is intensified and thus the cognitive capacity for sounds is strongly increased. (Cf. "Journey through the brain (Reise durch das Gehirn)" (Unesco Kurier 1/1976, p. 13) where reference is made to the above.) All meditation techniques eventually aim at developing and fostering that brain hemisphere which up to now has "come off badly". Usually, it is the one on the right. But, as the so-called "left-brained rationalists" say: "As soon as their listening ears pick up the ominous roaring that announce the approaching storm … filthy surges must be destroyed" (Klaus Theweleit, Männerphantasien Vol. 1 (Frankfurt a.M.: Roter Stern, 1977 p. 508)).

Bearing in mind that unusual sounds not only announce an OOBE but are also connected with the occurrence of paranormal phenomena, it seems - sarcastically said - perfectly sensible to give heed to this call. Otherwise, we would surely feel compelled to give up our usual way of seeing and hearing and at least take into account the possibility of a different conception of the world including different paradigms - and in so doing, deal with a story by Gustav Meyrink taken from "My oddest Vision".

Meyrink receives a letter from a painter who writes: "Yesterday, I sat working at a table in my studio when suddenly I heard a metallic singing sound. I turned around and in the room stood a tall man of a race unknown to me wearing a strange red cap. I immediately realised that at this moment my consciousness must have been disturbed. The man held some sort of tuning fork consisting of two legs with a tongue in the middle and with this instrument he produced the sound. Shortly afterwards, a very large number of big white insects emerged from the floor and started to tear each other apart. The buzzing of their wings became increasingly louder, almost unbearable. Even now I can hear this nerve-shattering noise" (Gustav Meyrink: Das Haus zur letzten Latern (Munich: Langen Müller, (1927) 1973 p. 283)). - In his novel "Das Grillenspiel", Meyrink describes something that he has seen himself in a vision similar to the painter's - and in it he attempts to describe the occult cause of the occurrence.

Even of Hitler it is said that before taking important decisions he had listened to some sort of "daimonion". He described it as a hissing or roaring sound inside his ears. "Whenever he felt that, he knew he was on the right track. Depth psychology will no doubt explain this sound by an increased blood supply of certain parts of the ear controlled by an unconscious mechanism. At any rate, it is interesting that other people seem to be acquainted with this phenomenon as well. However, they do not take it as a sign of encouragement but of first-grade warning, telling them that they are in danger of doing something which could prove disastrous. I know that such people are sometimes reminded of the rustling wings of Odin's (Wodan's) raven, as is also referred to in Wagner's 'The Twilight of the Gods' (Götterdämmerung) when something fateful happens" (Gerda Walther, Der Okkultismus im 3. Reich p. 16).

As S.B. Kopp mentions on page 180-181 in "If you meet Buddha on the way" (Triffst du Buddha unterwegs), the roaring sounds point at the emergence of the all-encompassing secret of humanity: "Once on the beach, I am totally captivated by the simplicity of the world. … There is no sound except for the constant roaring of the sea, the whispering of the sand in the wind and the shrieking of the hungry … seagulls. The impression I get from the sounds, views and smells is so uncomplicated that I cry out in amazement because of the sudden relief. It feels as if the whole time one of my neighbours had listened to a turned up radio without me noticing it. My spirit is empty and I feel completely open and transparent again." It is like the sound of a radio telescope that picks up the vibrations of distant galaxies.

Even simple everyday events can make us aware of the fact that a strange sound can announce and accompany the dawning of a new dimension of experience. For instance, when we drive over a mountain pass we sometimes feel a pressure on our ears and as a consequence they seem to be ringing. After a clicking sensation the pressure is suddenly gone and we can fully turn our attention to the visual impressions which can indeed be overwhelming as if belonging to another world.

Perhaps we can use such everyday "cracks" to practice transition into the out-of-body state because the sounds accompanying withdrawal are often disregarded because they can be rather faint - like the sound of the wings of a moth (Castaneda) or the mincing gait of an ant. On the other hand, they can also be extremely loud and upsetting.

If one succeeds in keeping up the Continuity of Consciousness (Awareness) during the transitional stage, absolute darkness can often be observed. Sometimes, this darkness is accompanied by the buzzing of "bees". Also, flickering dots of light might be flying about which sometimes become images. These are all signs of the "I" having reached the "empty space" between two worlds, i.e. it is now situated between the world we know and the other world. Here, the most peculiar of images easily arise but also the most terrifying and horrible ones. Now the thing is not to let the "I" be intimidated by them as this would merely result in being pulled back into the physical body, but to watch the maya-like happenings calmly and from a distance, knowing that these things are nothing but trivialities. It is not easy, though, to cross this "first threshold" and reach the full out-of-body state.

For especially during withdrawal one realises almost instantly what is going on because the "brainwaves" (thought impulses) are converted much quicker than usual. What the "I" is capable of thinking however depends for the most part on the contents of the brain and naturally on ones way of thinking. There are certain memories that have an enormously blocking effect or at least exert a tremendously forming influence. Such effects can never be totally excluded, only lessened. This can be achieved by acquiring a far higher level of personal knowledge. In this way, the previous level of knowledge only forms part of a larger whole and as such loses its exclusiveness. There is no harm in "forgetting" about it for a change or looking upon it as being superfluous because it is no longer characteristic of ones identity but can be employed at will or if a certain situation requires such measures. In case the contents of the previous level of knowledge are accessible in the form of a book, the relevant book could be burnt.

It is certainly alarming if the subtle body is formed almost exclusively by ones egoistically determined power of thought creation. By means of the power of such imagination (which can be compared to plastic surgery) the subtle body not only receives its clothing but its shape. It may well be that this results in a "totally unintelligent phantom" or doppelgänger WITHOUT any consciousness whatsoever or with only LIMITED capabilities. At night, such a subtle body is capable of romping about as a werewolf or vampire and haunts others in nightmares or by means of sexual harassment. Transformation into an animal is possible and is often deliberately aimed at.

The werewolf is a beast incapable of many transformation processes, in fact all it does is howl at the moon. If it is "saved" or "killed" it turns out to be "just" a man. Uninteresting as this may seem, we should not forget that the werewolf represents man's cyclical/moon-related instincts hostile to all anti-cyclic human behaviour that is denying itself any transcendental experiences due to its strong attachment to the physical level. However, because the werewolf is a power animal and as such ensures that reference is made to our instincts, a cyclical connection to it seems to be imperative. Otherwise, the (sleeping) physical body (with which the "I" identifies itself) will be torn to pieces - in fact by the subtle body in the shape of a werewolf. Not until the "I" has accepted the "other side" as another important level of experience can the werewolf change from nightmare to helper. This is about salvation from the animal shape, i.e. transcendence of the physical body - and NOT about salvation of the "I" from the physical body which would mean death.

The shadow being the inferior part of the personality and consisting of the personal as well as the collective psychological disposition can develop into a largely autonomous secondary personal aspect (like a independent fragment of personality) if it cannot be "lived" due to its incompatibility with the consciously chosen way of life. This results in a union with conflicting tendencies within the unconscious and in occupying a subtle body incorporating elements which sometimes reach as far back as to our animal ancestors. Nevertheless, it can also show a number of good qualities such as normal instincts, useful reactions, realistic observations and creative impulses.

Those female souls bothering the sleeper in the form of nightmares probably wander around with their partially conscious subtle bodies because woman is often not capable of finding a solution to her ("sensitive") problems on earth alone. Such a solution could indeed only be found if the different worlds of experience were brought together.


3.1. The click effect

A roaring sound that only lasts for a brief moment corresponds to a click, knock, bang or explosion and marks the somewhat sudden transition to another dimension.

On 12 November 1975, I lie down at 2 p.m. and sleep until around 4.30. The transition into lucid dreaming is rather sudden because all at once I find myself standing on the platform of a station. I get on the Trans-Europe Express that is waiting there and make myself comfortable in the compartment at the very back, i.e. in the empty engine driver's compartment at the rear of the train. From here I have a good view. Shortly afterwards, the train starts moving.

(April 2002: With special thanks to Christoph Roos for actively following and commenting on my train of thought.) At this point, there seems to be some conflict of aims regarding the locomotion dynamics within lucid dreaming. Normally, the lucid "I" is not just an ordinary passenger without having an influence on what is happening. On the contrary: The "I" could even take the place of an ACTIVE engine driver, i.e. someone who has a good knowledge of the "line" and therefore sits in front. In 1975 I did not yet really understand that because I had only begun to step back from the point of view of in-depth psychology. Therefore, I was not able to be the engine driver WITHIN my dream, to get in at the front and look at the situation with both eyes, i.e. both brain hemispheres. I did not want to "push to the front" and thus stayed at the back.

After a few minutes, the TEE comes to a halt and begins to move in the opposite direction. I am now located at the very front which I only realise after some time.

(April 2002) At a terminus, the engine is coupled on to the last carriage and tows the train from the station in the opposite direction. This TEE however can move in both directions. It can be steered from the front (corresponding to the "classical concept" as far as the dreaming "I" is concerned) and from the rear (corresponding to the lucid "I"). Apparently, I first go for the passive passenger option - mainly for convenience purposes. But something "bigger" than me reverses the situation, hurling me to the front and leaving me in a rather awkward position.

The thought which comes to mind ("the engine driver will be here any moment now") is rather comforting. However, for reasons unknown to me, the driver stays at the rear. That strikes me as unusual. In fact it is somewhat creepy because the train is going through a snow-covered plain really fast.

(April 2002) I do not feel particularly comfortable when I think that, being lucid, I am now responsible for what I am doing. For the time being, I am unable to take over and maybe try to stop the train from continuing on its "single track".

The plain reaches as far as the horizon and the view is unique and simply beautiful. The countryside has a soothing effect both on the soul and the eye and can be enjoyed for minutes on end.

(April 2002) Lucid dreams are accompanied by deep relaxation periods and can thus be compared to deep meditations. New energy is being supplied and one is no longer feeling tired and exhausted. Many people think that only during "normal sleep" we are able to regenerate. However, this is one of the worst misjudgements of the Western world with regard to the dream state. In fact, the lucid "I" is able to regenerate more quickly during sleep than the unconscious "I". There is, however, a major problem here because lucidity and repression cannot co-exist. That is why sooner or later the "I" will be confronted with all existing individual and collective complexes. This cannot be avoided because there simply is no being fully conscious without it. It may well be that this mechanism (being forced to look at repressed issues) is the true reason for disapproving of and warning against lucid dreaming.

As nobody shows up I make myself comfortable and fold my arms behind my neck. The instrument panel includes a radio with sixteen buttons to choose from. I press the one for UKW 1 and attentively listen to the music while I continue to look through the window.

(April 2002) I have not yet found the balancing point of view nor have I really understood that "lucid dreaming" has a lot more to offer than to simply fulfil ones desires. Also, I do not yet dare to move away from the idea of mere deep relaxation and adopt the rather biased "lucidity versus repression" approach.

After a few minutes I fall asleep only to be woken up by a soft knocking sound. "Could this be the conductor?" But it is only an elderly woman with her children who obviously want to have a look through the front window. The door seems to be jammed and nobody enters. I resume my comfortable position and doze off again.

(April 2002) Listening to music and sleeping (!) DURING lucid dreaming are just a few of the less known possibilities to relax. Perhaps one should pay more attention to the fact that lucidity is the prerequisite for this kind of action.
The knocking sound probably originates from the "outside" and is suitably embedded in the plot. The jamming of the door indicates that such "disturbances", if minor, can be kept in the background. There is no need to wake up in bed as my wife and my two children obviously make sure that my nap is not suddenly interrupted.
In my subjective experience, a transition to a different level seems to take place indeed. The knocking on the door, the expected appearance of the conductor and the woman with her children are obviously borrowed from both the everyday level and the world of dreams. Thus the influences from both levels are blended together to form an image that prevents interruption of the "dream" in two ways: It is not necessary to wake up in bed and it is not necessary to drift off into a normal dream. Instead lucidity is kept up! It seems as if a transition will be taking place shortly, but the lucid level is not quite stable and changing over is somewhat tough and slow. I seem to go backwards and forwards and nevertheless am in danger of drifting off into a normal dream. I continue dozing while taking care that my nap is not interrupted.

The trains stops and the engine driver's compartment becomes a small anteroom with a staircase leading down. I watch the transformation very consciously and eventually make out some part of an overwhelmingly large building which must be a hydroelectric power station.

(April 2002) Now the "unconscious" takes over, stops the dynamic process which has led me here and stabilises the lucid "I" on a different level. The scene during the transition probably was of ideoplastic nature.

"Ideoplastics" (power of thought creation) means to form, change and model a certain shape by means of ones own thoughts and imagination. As it were, the perception of the world is made to fit in with the personal (subjective) view and put in concrete form consciously and/or unconsciously. Especially in the out-of-body state, this leads to a kind of transformation that is not easily understood.

(April 2002) A sudden change which could have resulted in the loss of consciousness is thus avoided. The transition from one level to the next could be controlled to some extent if a specific goal was aimed at. However, it is much more sensible just to watch the process without trying to control it. Thus the "unconscious" can manifest its dynamics. It is always possible that a hitherto unconscious part full of complexes needs to be consciously worked with at a given time. The exact issue is far better known by the "unconscious" or the "inner wisdom" than by the "I". What the "I" should focus on is not to misuse its lucidity but to listen calmly and watch the developments with humility. If it manages to stay attentive and aware of its responsibility it will not misuse its lucidity for egotistic purposes. The "I" that behaves like that will not become inflated nor will it be confronted with contents it cannot handle.
The power station probably is a symbol for that which the unconscious wants to express or show. The dynamics working within the unconscious can easily produce analogies based on various images. In fact, it does that until the "I" seems to have GOT THE POINT. There is no room for interpretation here, i.e. the lucid "I" must let things happen without wanting to understand it all at first sight. If this is not observed, the "image-developing powers" will become upset and will continually add new material. What could really be a DIALOGUE and thus a truly great thing usually goes wrong due to lucidity. This happens because the conscious "I" tends to interpret everything based on its everyday reference system and to relate the images to things already experienced (crypto-amnesia) and thus to stay within the old paradigm. It may also happen that the "I" cannot digest what it experiences, with the result that one wakes up in bed or drifts off into unconscious dreaming.

I suddenly realise that apparently I have to bring somebody some documents. I go down the stairs and eventually get to a large room. While I have met nobody on the way I now make out some sort of office with men and women sitting inside. As I approach the spacious office I slip and fall into a water pit with a splash. The floor near the wall on the left has suddenly opened.

(April 2002) If a lucid "I" remains cautious, "arising inner conditions" need not be kept off by imagination and desire. This, however, requires the ego to be silent. Only then can the "I" hear the whispering of the inner voice and notice the many little things on the way. Moreover, the "I" receives help in the form of "inner wisdom" which enables it, for instance, to understand that a job needs to be done.
However, a job which has to be done will only occasionally differ from the general rules as the question connected with the job falls through the mesh of the given situation. That is why there are also "gaps" and "cracks" in this underground power station world. Like all the "holes" in a net, they indicate that there exists some sort of shortage. One reason for this could be the "forced collectivisation" and utilisation of the water power by the technocrats. They built the plant, manage it and therefore regard it as their property. The plant not only stands for in-depth psychology with all its universal attempts at disclosure and control but, on a much larger scale, for delegating matters to experts or shifting one's personal responsibility onto others.

I slide down approximately 50 cm and find myself standing in a canal leading to a large lake basin. Now it is time to make a conscious decision (within this lucid dream): "Shall I allow myself to go with the stream and end up some place I do not know?" This would perhaps be a "religious" approach, i.e. reflect an inner attitude of letting the water energy take over. However, based on my present feelings this attitude does not seem right. This contrasts many similar situations where I had to trust the happenings and join in. This time, I climb up again and enter the office, thus following the path I consider normal.

(April 2002) The canals were artificial. If I had chosen to go with the stream this would have meant to give up my point of view. And this in turn would have meant to continue on the old tracks and follow ready-made/concrete paths until I received my diploma in psychotherapy. I still hesitate, though my conscience is bad when I think of adapting to the existing energies and swim along. As mentioned earlier, my feelings tell me that this is not the way to go. Although at this point I cannot explain why, I opt for the "exit" and follow a "prosaic" way.

In the office, a man shows me a city map and introduces me to my tasks. They seem quite absurd as I will have to plan a whole power station by going through a DEMONSTRATION exercise followed by another exercise with the same intention. The potential sponsors and builders/constructors are to be marked by placing lots of cardboard stickers onto the map. This seems to be somehow connected to my studies at the university and the C. G. Jung Institute and to basically bear the name of bureaucracy.

The man shows me how it is to be done and takes a sticker off the map only to place it somewhere else. The attempt at changing the location however tears the paper because the glue is too sticky. I feel that this process is much too complicated and not properly dealt with. What in heaven's name is the purpose of carrying out a demonstration exercise leading to yet another exercise? There will be absolutely no dealing with real circumstances. In reality, all would look completely different. So this is totally superfluous. As soon as I realise this, I hand over the two rolls of paper without saying anything and leave the office and the building.

(April 2002) This sequence first and foremost reflects my situation at the C. G. Jung Institute. I would have had to accept the VALID REFERENCE SYSTEM at the institute and during my own analysis and learn to put unknown criteria down to "known facts". I would have been forced to repress and forget about certain data collected from lucid dreams and OOBEs because it simply would NOT fit the given structure. Such "unfitting" data is a priori classified as scientifically incorrect. If it still is considered, either the guidelines must change or contents like "continuity of awareness", "conscious flying" and "conscious acting" must be regarded as reflections of resistance or infantilism. I had a hard time accepting the knowledge I gained from the dream at the power station and acting accordingly.
The paper rolls probably pointed to LD and OOBE records. It is amazing how the "unconscious" takes up a clear position and tells me what it is all about - despite my doubts and resistances. I was shown how completely SUPERFLUOUS such a power station construct, organised by an institutionalised bureaucracy, would in fact be.
Before I am allowed to leave for good I have yet to go through a "sequel" that explains some of my deficiencies.

A few employees are engaged in some sort of activity on the power station grounds. They seem to be practising karate which looks more like gymnastics than Tai Chi. A few hundred metres further down the road I get to a sand pit where a karate fighter is training seriously. I figure it will not be easy to withstand the "vortex" of this "power station world". It is time I start doing something as hidden forces/energies are tugging at me, trying to hold me back and even cast their spell over me.

So, on the edge of the sand pit, I jump up high into the air performing a Yoko tobi geri and, coming down, I spin around as in a low Mawashi geri, shifting the sand towards the middle with my right foot. In this way, the best karate fighter of the power station staff gets buried in sand to such an extent that he is put out of action completely.

The opponent is not hurt in the process. My technique is superior to the usual technique in that the opponent cannot be defeated. It only tells him and the spectators that my approach to deal with the situation makes it impossible for the opponent to react according to the usual fighting rules and regulations. The technical differences are much too great. And they would also be too great to fit into the common structure. If I tried to use my technique in competition with the other one, my way of fighting would become mean and unfair. I would then be a devious "player" who only wants to be better than the rest, to bring down the opponent and to take away his dignity. That is why I am quite happy to have done the right thing here, to have acted as adequately as possible. Now everything seems to have been sorted out to everyone's satisfaction because no-one is paying any attention to me anymore.

(April 2002) In practice, the thing was to develop a meta theory and to postulate the "continuity of awareness" as a (desirable) normal case. It can (and should) be maintained 24 hours a day. However, the events psychologists call "dreams" are experienced by an "I" that is not a 100% aware. This is what psychologists work with - and not LDs and OOBEs.
The best "Far Eastern fighters" at the Jung Institute probably were Heinrich Zimmer, Richard Wilhelm and J.W. Hauer. It could well be that somehow they fell into the paradigmatic trap of complex psychology. They tried to psychologically grasp Far Eastern meditation techniques, with the result that the problems with LDs and OOBEs could not be expounded. The "foreign matter" was assigned to well-known categories, was uprooted and taken up by Jung's psychological approach.

As I am about to leave, I am startled by a strange noise and look back. I instantly realise that the huge power station is going to collapse. And in less than no time it collapses indeed, first the roof and then the walls. I expect a tremendous "earthquake" and even a gigantic wave because the heavy walls will no doubt fall into the large water basin.

However, there are no signs of an earthquake or a flood yet. The people who are still on the grounds are thus able to escape. What is important now is to get out of the valley as quickly as possible. For a while, I follow the same road as the others. Suddenly however, I start feeling uncomfortable because this escape route seems to be dangerous. The water will definitely flow this way and we will all be drowned.

I stop walking and look around. On my right, I can see deer and other animals hurry up the steep hill. Frightened animals come running from the other side of the valley also. I join the animals knowing that they follow their instinct.

I inform some of the people around me but only few of them care to listen and follow the animals like I do. All other people disregard the animals' instinct - with or without explanation. Some say: "They are only animals"; others shout: "There were no such instructions from the power station!". One other reason is that they disapprove of me personally.

In the end, only few people run towards the steep hill. First, we run through a beautiful and very peaceful, sparsely-wooded autumn forest. A large brown bear is standing under a tree and it surprises me that the deer run past the grizzly without fear. Well, I guess we are all equally affected by the catastrophe.

Climbing up the hill is extremely exhausting because it is getting steeper and steeper. Approximately 20 metres in front of me, a chamois is also struggling to climb up the steep hill. At last, together with a few other people, I reach the slightly overhanging upper edge. We are stuck!

I desperately try to hang on to some withered yellow tufts of grass in order to reach the plateau. But the grass is giving way! Just as I want to give up, the ground and the water react to the collapse of the power station. The earthquake elevates the ground until it reaches us. We are saved! The wall we are clinging to "drops" by almost 90 degrees. As a result, we can get up and just walk away.

Shortly afterwards, I can see houses in the valley. They seem old and in decay. The place looks as if no-one except the animals had been there for ages. The beams of the buildings are completely black with old age.

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