Home ] Up ] Work & Campaigns ] My Books ] En d'Autres Langues ] CV/Kids/Photos ] Search this Website ]

"Christos" ASC Induction Procedure

 

The "Christos" Procedure:

a Novel ASC Induction Technique

 

Psychoenergetic Systems, 1979, Vol. 3, pp. 377—392

0305-7724/79/0301-0061 $04.50/0

© Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Inc., 1979

Printed in the United Kingdom

 

 

ALASTA1R lAIN McINTOSH

 

 This paper summarises parapsychological research conducted into altered states of consciousness when I was an undergraduate at Aberdeen University. It was picked up on by Prof John Taylor of London University Department of Mathematics, who invited me to contribute this article to Psychoenergetic Systems of which he was then editor. It will be noticed that the paper retains a distinct undergraduate feel to it, but nevertheless, contains material that is interesting because it was recorded before the wealth of contemporary information about altered states of consciousness, such as OBEs, had become widely known and available. Note that this version may contain scanning errors. 

 

Click here to see another paper on the Christos Procedure, making similar points but with some different case studies.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In December of 1974, Wildwood house Ltd. published a rather unusual book by the well known Australian novelist, G. M. Glaskin. Entitled, “Windows of the Mind: the Christos Experience,” it told how the author had come across a magazine article written by Jacqueline Parkhurst of “Open Mind Publications” in Western Australia. She had developed a method which accidentally became known as the “Christos” procedure, to induce lucid dreams in which it was claimed the subject might prima facie relive part of an ostensible previous incarnation.

 

Much to his surprise, Glaskin had found that the technique actually worked with most people. His two books on the matter — “World Within” having been published by Wildwood in September 1976 — give accounts of fascinating lucid dream sequences which he and many friends who were mostly good subjects have apparently experienced.

 

Over the past two years I have carried out a large number of”Christos” experiments on 20 subjects, half of each sex, most of whom were either university students or staff. Additionally I have done some work with Glaskin when he came to stay with us on the Isle of Lewis during his last visit to Europe, and my research has been enriched through correspondence with him and the Parkhursts.

 

Whether or not reincarnative-type dreams ensue from the procedure would seem to depend upon what has been suggested to the subject beforehand. However, it does seem to be a valuable method for inducing not only lucid dreams, but as I have found through using appropriate sup­plementary techniques in selected subjects, out-of-the-body experiences (OBEs) and sometimes “peak” experiences too.

 

In this paper I shall give an account of the “Christos” induction procedure and suggest why it may be effective, then go on to have a very brief look at the three major categories of ASC which subjects have entered with its help.

 

 

THE INDUCTION METHOD

 

At first sight this seems to consist of an assorted variety of bizarre mental exercises. However, after giving a précis of Glaskin’s (1974, 1976) account of the induction procedure, I shall try and make sense of it in terms of deautomazizazion of perceptual and cognitive structures (Diekmann, 1966, in Tart 1969), probably resulting largely from the use of a very powerful massage stimulus which seems to bring about a condition in good[1] subjects such as resembles that of “one-pointed awareness” in contemplative medi­tation (Ornstein, 1970).

 

The subject is asked to lie flat on his back in a relaxed position with eyes closed, while a helper gently massages the feet and ankles; shoes being removed beforehand. Simultaneously the experimenter or “guide” uses the curved edge of his hand to vigorously massage the lower centre forehead in a circular or vibrant motion. In my experience this massage should be con­tinued for a good five minutes, by which time the subject may feel confused, disorientated, or that his head is buzzing. As I have worked without assis­tance in general, it has seldom been possible to give both massages simul­taneously, so I have had to alternate between head and feet, but concentrat­ing exclusively on the head after two or three minutes when the subject’s body was well relaxed. This deviation may, as I shall try and show later, have contributed towards some of my subjects’ ability to enter ASCs other than the lucid dream.

 

In the second stage the subject is given certain mental exercises to per­form. With eyes closed he is told to visualise his feet (if not successful he should merely try and imagine them) and to “see” them growing 2” longer from the soles. As this might take a minute or so to complete, some initial encouragement may have to be offered. Once achieved, he is asked to “shrink” back to normal length, and then repeat the exercise two or three times. When this is easily performed, the 2” stretch is done from the top of the head in the same manner, and then the distance may be increased to 1’ and finally 2’ — alternating from feet to head each time it is extended. On his final 2’ head stretch the subject is told to hold his head out in its (subjec­tively) elongated position, and to stretch out 2’ from the soles of his feet as well, so that altogether he feels 4’ longer. Next he is asked to expand outwards in all directions — as if being inflated like a massive balloon. It is helpful to stress such analogies as the balloon, particularly if any difficulties are encountered.

 

 

Regardless of whether or not the “balloon expansion” exercise was suc­cessful, the guide proceeds with the third stage of induction, which involves teaching the subject to visualise clearly. He is asked to imagine himself standing outside his front door, and is told to describe what he can visualise in as much detail as possible. Questions should be asked to stimulate detailed visualisation, and often his success in so doing is indicated by REM which suggests he is effectively experiencing a controlled lucid dream about the front door. Next he describes the view from the house roof, and finally is made to “float” up to about 1000’ above the house, where turning round slowly in a circle he tells the guide what the environment looks like from the unusual angle.

 

To promote greater ease of visualisation, and help the subject feel more fully integrated into a dream environment, the guide should ask questions such as, “what time of day is it?” “what is the weather like?” etc. If he sees his environment as if it were day time, he is asked to imagine that the sun is setting and it becomes dark, or vice versa if he is in darkness at 1000’. The subject is then told to forget about the familiar surroundings down below, and just to feel suspended in space while alternating a change from light —dark — light several times.

 

The final stage is one which according to the original authoress will carry the subject back into a “past incarnation.” He is told to forget all precon­ceived notions about what might be down below, and feel himself moving down into what may be a totally alien environment. Usually the subject will find himself “coming in to land” as if in a helicopter, being able to hover about until a suitable place to touch down is located. Once landed, he is asked to describe his body starting with the feet, then continue to describe the surroundings bit by bit until a coherent picture has been built up. Frequently the subject will quickly become involved in a spontaneously occuring lucid dream sequence, and whether or not it is the case, he can be asked questions about the environment, his name, age, the date etc., which will often differ from the current details — particularly if engaged in a vivid dream sequence.

 

Despite the fact that many people will soon be so well integrated into their dream environments that they feel as if they are really there, a highly paradoxical state of dual-consciousness as it is called, normally exists in the sense that a subject will simultaneously remain partially or totally aware of his physical body and surrounding environment, at least while lucid dream­ing. This quality adds greatly to the subject’s self-confidence and lack of apprehension, since one can assure him that if the dream should become disturbing, he should be able to “switch off’ and return to a NSC (normal state of consciousness).

 

The average time taken for subjects to complete these exercises is just over 20 minutes, and they appear to consist of five fairly distinct stages. In the first, foot and forehead massage induces a pleasant feeling of wellbeing which seems to be highly conducive to deep relaxation and feelings of peacefulness. Then when, as with my adaptation of the original procedure, the foot massage is ceased, the subject is confronted with only a powerful and compelling stimulus on his forehead. The effect of this may be similar to that of concentration upon an auditory, visual or tactile stimulus in contemp­lative meditation, only more potent since the forehead massage presents a tremendously compelling stimulus (unlike most mantra repitition or man­dala gazing).[2] In accordance with the writings of Diekmann and Ornstein (op. cit.), one would expect this to produce a state like that of “one-pointed awareness,” resulting from which “deautomatization” or temporary break­down of perceptual and cognitive structures may take place. Given this “cleansing of the doors of perception,” Diekmann considers we have a basis with which to explain most of the percepto-cognitive alterations by which mystic experience and certain other ASCs are characterised.

 

Later I shall present some of the evidence from my subjects’ experiences which support the hypothesis that partial deautomatization may result in some of them, but meanwhile let us assume this has started happening during massage, and go on to analyse the second stage (Stretching Exercises etc.) from such a perspective.

 

Here the subject engages in an exercise which requires further concentra­tion, starts to develop the ability to visualise, and perhaps most important of all, creates a fluid body image which may help him feel the imagination is freed from normal physical restraints. We might note that changes of body image are sometimes reported during psychedelic ASCs (Masters and Hous­ten, 1966, et a!.) where phenomena associated with deautomatization are chemically induced. Also attempting to alter the body image through imagining one is stretching, shrinking, expanding, vaporising etc. (see espe­cially Crookall, 1964), is often prescribed by OBE percipients when suggest­ing techniques to induce this ASC.

 

In the third stage (describing his house etc.) the subject uses a progres­sively more difficult exercise, to learn how to visualise with vivid clarity. Some subjects don’t get much further than this, staying in a kind of hyp­nopompic, free-associating state, which can be quite revealing in itself.

 

Most however, will successfully employ the fourth stage, which involves forgetting about the familiar home environment, and making their sur­roundings alternate from light to dark while feeling they are suspended in space. I think the value of this is it teaches them to feel as if outwith the familiar surroundings, so creating a convenient vacuum in which the dream world can develop, probably in accordance with dictates from the uncon­scious. Sometimes I add a further abstract visualisation exercise, such as getting the subject to visualise a beautiful flower, then make its colour start changing.

 

At the start of the final stage then, the subject should have a blank mind, and perhaps aided by partial deautomatization, a substantially increased capacity to visualise, reduced association of self with the body and physical environment, and in certain people an increased capacity to shift states of consciousness. It is now an easy matter for a spontaneous dream to occur when he “lands” back down on earth, even though he is lucid (i.e. aware that he is dreaming, making it particularly vivid in many instances, as conscious attention can be fully directed on to it).

 

 

PHENOMENA INDICATIVE OF “ONE-POINTEDNESS” AND DEAUTOMATIZATION

 

Evidence to support the theory that the Christos procedure is primarily a deautomatizing technique associated with states of one-pointed awareness, came during various different ASCs with a number of subjects. Two, for example, who had not been told to concentrate on massage stimuli and body image alterations, discovered for themselves that the feeling of entering a different SoC increased in proportion to the degree with which they concen­trated on something.

 

Another two, who happened to be amongst my very best subjects, experi­enced what I called “selective auditory perception” — a state in which irrelevant sounds were excluded from consciousness. One girl could hear only my voice which was “crystal clear,” while I had fairly loud music playing in the room. The other on one occasion, could hear my voice and gentle Indian music playing somewhere in the building — against a background din of several other record players’ output, and the sound of a football often hitting the door as a game was played in the corridor; all of which she was totally unaware and almost disbelieving when I played back the session’s tape-recording. Both these examples point to states which could broadly speaking be classed under the heading of “one-pointed awareness,” or at least of awareness which had been restricted to relevant matters only, such as a special stimulus, or my voice.

 

The latter of these two subjects, a girl called “Ann” who is my best subject and has experienced 17 Christos “runs” to date, sometimes reported psychedelic-like perceptual changes. Music would often be felt as vibrating air on her body and in her head, rather than heard (synesthesia). At othertimes its effect would be enhanced, bring forward a flood of associations such as probably remain below the threshold of consciousness in the NSC. Here is an example of the latter, recorded as I played her the climax of part one of Mike Oldfield’s”Ommadawn,” while she was in a mystical peak state during her 15th run:

 

(A = Ann, G = Guide, i.e. me,)

 

G. “What’s your impression of this music I’ve just put on?”

A. “I think it’s terrific! It expresses a blade of grass, life and death, a big circle; (it’s as if) the whole world’s in my arm. ... Planets going round; world going round — time.”

G. “How time?”

A. “Showing it’s timeless. It’s hard to put into words.”

G. “Is Ommadawn usually like this when you listen to it?”

A. “No. This is tremendous!”

 

Another subject, also in a peak state, found her mood constantly changing with music as it was played, and finally experienced herself bursting into lines of frenzied colour as the composition reached its climatic end.

 

This lack of distinction between what is self and non-self is a tangible example of the kind of phenomena which result in ego-reduced deautomat­ized states. In fact an excellent way of measuring the degree of deautomat­ization (with resultant ASCs) which have taken place in any subject, is, I find, to determine her concept of self-identity or “state of being” as it might be called. Four such states might be delimited on a continuum, each respec­tively pertaining most strongly to, the NSC, lucid dreams, OBEs, and the more transcendent peak experiences. These stages I have called, (1) egocen­tric identity; (2) a. loss of identity, and/or b. confused identity; (3) being identity; (4) transpersonal identity. They result out of a progression from ego states to ego-less or what are apparently best described as “being” states, and we shall discuss them more fully later on when considering criteria with which to distinguish different ASCs.

 

 

LUCID DREAMING

 

As Glaskin gives many accounts of these in both his books on the subject, I shall only take a very quick look at some of my subjects’ dreams here. Basically these could be described under three categories, with considerable overlap between each: dreams of psychological significance to the subject; dreams of a clearly evident symbolic nature; and dreams ostensibly relating to a previous incarnation. As yet we have encountered no ostensibly precog­nitive dreams such as Glaskin (in books and a recent letter) considers he has.

 

A fine example from the psychological significance group, would be one dream in which a female student during her only Christos run, found herself as a little girl of about six years old, who had come home to the village with white cottages in which she thought she lived, only to find that the whole place was deserted. For about 15 minutes she wandered around the village, crying (not physically), and wondering where her parents had gone to without her. When no further developments in the dream sequence seemed to be forthcoming, I asked her to come back to the NSC, and I questioned her with a friend who was also present.

 

It turned out that at the age of about six, the girl had been through a very upsetting phase when her parents had gone away to Switzerland for a fortnight’s holiday. She missed them so much that she wrote letters every day, and when they returned, she was shown photographs of the picturesque little village with white cottages in which they had stayed. We concluded that her dream could reasonably be viewed as a re-enactment of her childhood traumatic experience, and she too agreed that this seemed a likely explana­tion.

 

Regarding symbolic dreams, one subject frequently had short dreams concerning what might be called “spiritual” motifs, which she saw in sym­bols which accord with Jungian thought. An example of a dream fitting into the Freudian schema, is one in which the subject found herself in space, surrounded by hundreds of other women, all dancing, with a strong feeling of empathy between them. Gradually the subject (a strong advocate of woman’s-lib [Oh dear … should I now edit that out!!! A.I.M, 2000]), realised they were all dancing round a great marble pillar, on top of which was a horn — in fact a unicorn. Having studied some psychology she realised the dream’s phallic nature, and consequently was a little embarassed on returning to the NSC.

 

Dreams which on the surface seemed best explained by reincarnation were quite common, but I think that in general this was merely due to some element of suggestion providing a theme round which a dream of psycholog­ical significance could develop. One of my best subjects however, had a dream which displayed such an affective element that it was hard to account for in most ordinary ways. Certain elements however suggested the presence of symbolism, and from this I would consider the best alternative interpreta­tion to reincarnation, would be to view it as a birth trauma re-enactment, such as another subject has actually experienced but without any symbolism to confuse matters.

 

The subject who I shall call “Mary,” dreamt she was transfixed in the stained glass window of a church, surrounded by spears, one of which penetrated her body as it was represented in the glass. After she had given a full description of the early English church, I asked her to describe how she got into this strange position. She proceeded to tell me how she was a knight on horseback during some battle, getting gradually surrounded by more and more of the enemy, until she was dismounted and stabbed below the ster­num with a spear. As she described this, her respiration rate shot up, and she tossed about and cried out in front of me, as if she really was being killed there and then.

 

There then followed a period of blissful peace, as she returned to the stained glass window with the beautiful feeling of, “having a new physical being.” She told me that her name was “Laurence,” and that written by her feet was a Latin inscription saying “pro nobis,” meaning, [she thought], “on our behalf.”

 

I started to ply her with more questions about the battle, and quickly she returned to its scene, and lived through it again even more realistically. Pulse rate shot up to just over 100, she lost lucidity, being unaware of my attempts to communicate, and finally ended up lying in the foetal position. After a while she spoke, having become aware of peaceful music I had put on, and requested that she should return to the NSC to avoid going back to the battle for a third time, and experiencing all its horror, fear and pain as if real.

 

Later she and a flatmate assured me that such vivid dreams were not unusual for her, and in retrospect she saw it as no more than an unpleasant and very peculiar nightmare; one bad experience out of several other very good and beautiful ones.

 

Interestingly enough, Mary and other subjects who could enter OBE states, tended to experience many of the sensations associated with OBEs during the induction procedure before the dream began. This kind of evi­dence has led some ASC theorists — Crookall in particular — to suggest that lucid dreams are in fact OBEs taking place at a level where consciousness is restricted due to physical or quasi-physical attachments. Obviously, the degree to which such a working hypothesis is acceptable depends heavily on one’s position in the objective/symbolic “double” controversy (i.e. the debate concerning whether or not an OBE subject really does leave his physical body in some kind of a superphysical “double,” or not). I think the experiences of some half-dozen of my Christos subjects do, on balance, go a long way to support the Crookalian outlook, and some of the most important pros and cons will be looked at in this next section — though not in the depth deserved for such an important topic and the mass of data I have accumu­lated and discussed fully elsewhere (unpublished).

 

 

OUT-OF-THE BODY EXPERIENCES

 

As Green (1968) et a!. point out, there is considerable difficulty in distingu­ishing between lucid dreams and certain types of OBE. Tart’s definition would probably be the most widely acceptable for an OBE (OOBE), when he states that, “an OOBE occurs when one finds himself at a location that isclearly different from where his physical body is located (given that the usual ideas of a space-time framework and being located within it hold). He feels disconnected from his physical body and is unable to sense it, although his state of consciousness seems perfectly clear and normal.” (brackets ~ his footnote).

 

From observing quite a large number of people in OBE, lucid dream and peak states, I think that continuum theories (Crookall, 1961, 1964, et al.) fit the facts best, indeed perfectly, but that we can still draw broad distinctions between these ASCs. Where OBEs are concerned, the location of a subject’s centre of consciousness ostensibly in a place other than that in which the physical body lies, seems to be only one possible feature (which might or might not be manifest), of a level of conscious being to which he has attained. Identifying a subject’s state of being (through determining his concept of self-identity) is in practical terms very much easier, and more meaningful, than trying to decide what his SoC is. This is because from a certain state of being which has been induced, a percipient appears to have the potential to enter more than one type of SoC.

 

Judging from the empirical evidence, lucid dreams generally take place in a confused state of being close to the NSC, when the close association between ego and awareness has been reduced, so allowing contact with contents of the (personal) unconscious. In this muddled state of being, self-identity concepts are occasionally NSC egocentric ones—e.g. “my name is X, age Y, and material status, Z”; or all notion of identity may be lost so the subject doesn’t know who or what he is — “a horrible existential void”; but most commonly it is confused, even to the extent of associating ones identity with that of a dream-created person — e.g. Mary as “Lawrence.” In this state of being where parts of the unconscious are activated and made accessible, regression phenomena frequently occur, adding to the subject’s confusion about his age.

 

Lucid dreams can be changed into experiences which fit most technical OBE criteria, just by asking the subject to “return” from the dream, come “back into” the room, and try to see her physical body as if outside it. However, the technical criteria are inadequate: they do not take into account the quantitative extent to which the experience seems, and shows characteristics of, “realness.” This important quality tends to be a function of the third state of being, which I have called “being identity,” and I would consider that most induced experiences of seeing one’s physical body etc. while still in the second stage of confused identity, should not be counted as OBEs.

 

Characteristics of “being identity” are that self-identity concepts clarify once again, and become more concrete. The subject tends to find herself as a pure centre or region of consciousness — the “real me” — and while she may still be aware of egocentric identity concepts held in the NSC, they will appear to be irrelevant and misleading from the higher perspective of inner self.

 

Freedom from feelings of bodily restraint and confusion of “self’ with egocentric awareness, leads subjects to tremendous feelings of euphoria and liberty. One male OBE/”being identity” subject described his mental state as one in which, “All troubles are gone. It’s contentment; what everybody’s looking for — paradise.” Unusual varieties of lucid dream may be experi­enced as well as OBEs from the “being identity” state, and if the state of being can be shifted to the fourth level of” transpersonal identity,” peak and mystical experience will ensue as the subject feels his self merging with the being of other things from which he normally feels separated or unaware, due to the delimiting effect of ego boundaries.

 

While in OBE states, four of my subjects have given information which seemed to involve paranormal cognition. The best example of this was with my most interesting subject, “Ann,” who ostensibly travelled along to a room on the next floor up in the same Hall of Residence, and correctly described what was happening and a subsequent event. Several friends were present in our room, and as Ann did not know what one of her other friends, Paula, would be doing at the time concerned, I asked her to think hard of Paula, and see if she could locate her.

 

After a pause, she stated that she was outside Paula’s window, and could look in as the curtains were open, despite it being dark outside. Paula, she continued, was sitting on her hard backed chair (wrong, she was on the bed, but the chair’s position could have created this illusion as seen from the window), and talking to somebody who Ann had never seen before. This female visitor had light reddish hair down to her shoulders, a roundish freckled face, and she was about 5’4” tall.

 

In order to check this story out, I asked one of the other people present, Sarah, to go up and see if anybody was in Paula’s room. After a couple of minutes, Ann started giving a full physical description of somebody else entering the room, then exclaimed with surprise, “Oh, it’s Sarah!” She claimed to have been unaware that Sarah had left our room, and then she added, “all three of them are killing themselves with laughter. They’re in hysterics!” A few minutes later Sarah came back with an astounded Paula,. and a girl who did not know Ann, and who perfectly fitted the description. All details (except that of the chair mentioned above) had been correct; when Sarah had gone into the room and seen this, she was so amazed that she started to laugh, and the other two joined in wondering what the joke was —hence explaining Ann’s final observation.

 

In this case then, we have a fine example of an OBE percipient gathering data about a contemporaneous situation. Most attempts to do this were inconclusive or even outright failurs, but where Ann was concerned a couple of other very minor events were sufficient for Paula to come and make me promise not to “send her spying on me again.”

 

Space does not permit me to tell of other examples of ostensibly paranor­mal cognition (with a male subject as well as all the good female ones mentioned), except for one case which lends support to the view that such OBE phenomena are not direct observations, but “super-ESP” incorpo­rated into lucid dreams.

 

The background to this anecdote which I call the Jill-lona case, was that my subject “Jill’s” friend, lona, had bought~a green jumper several days earlier from British Home Stores on Union St., Aberdeen. She had shown the jumper to some friends, including Jill, and told then that she wasn’t too happy with the style, although she hadn’t (as far as Jill could remember) said she was going to return it.

 

During an OBE, Jill decided to try and visit another friend, but on the way there happened to arrive at Union St. and see Iona going into British Home Stores, which she wrongly described as having automatic sliding doors. Once inside, lona allegedly went up to the cash desk and spoke to the assistant. “It’s a bit silly,” Jill continued, “because she’s taken a jumper out of her shopping bag and changed it for another of the same colour which she had chosen from the counter.” lona then apparently left the store, wearing her pink coat and carrying a black bag which she seldom uses.

 

The basic theme which runs through this is that at 4.25 p.m. Jill saw Iona in a Union Street departmental store, changing one green jumper for another of the same colour. What actually happened is as follows: Iona decided to change her jumper, so on the Saturday afternoon in question, she put on her pink coat and set off to the store with the unwanted garment in a black bag. On arriving there at around 2.30 p.m. she looked on the counter for something of a better style, but was unable to find anything more suitable. She then went up to the cash desk where the assistant apparently accepted the unwanted jumper back. Next, she left the shop, and went into another a little further up the Street where she purchased a very similar green jumper, which was of a different style.

 

In this anecdote, the two hour anachronism with mixed fact and fiction, rules out the theory that Jill was watching a contemporaneous state of affairs while over Union St., in the postulated “double” (“astral body”). If we consider that too much information was rendered to be accounted for by chance and lucky guessing, it would appear that ESP data of a fragmentary nature, was used as the nucleus for a lucid dream. We are then obliged to ask whether all ostensible OBEs are not of this category; that is to say, does the “super-ESP” hypothesis account for all OB phenomena, or is there still convincing evidence to suggest that OBE precipients really do travel about as centres of consciousness without the physical body, perhaps in some kind of non-physical or quasi-physical vehicle of consciousness which it is not always possible to perceive?

 

At this stage of argument the “objective double” theorists’ position is saved by the work of Dr. Robert Crookall (op. cit. etc.), whose extensive research which involves corroborating hundreds of OBE reports, provides what Prof. Hornell Hart described (JASPR 1962) as, “a master-pattern into which can be fitted many of the data which have puzzled and perplexed psychical researchers.” Crookall considers that of greater importance than ESP phenomena manifesting in OBE states, is the most remarkable similar­ity to be found in percipients’ detailed reports relating to all the different stages and aspects of OBEs. If subjects’ are merely dreaming that they have left their bodies, one would expect no more similarities between their experiences, than might be found between different peoples’ nocturnal dreams, and the lucid dreams of subjects normally incapable of entering anything close to full OB conditions. However, using consensual validation Crookall has shown that OBEs tend to occur with a number of universally occuring special characteristics. The nature of these provide powerful empir­ical backing for the “objective double” hypothesis, and suggest that the postulated “double” has a composite (tripartite) composition with qualities which account for many paranormal phenomena, including lucid dreams of the Jill-Iona type.

 

When I started working with the Christos technique, I had not studied Crookall’s research, but faithfully recorded most of the rather unusual sensations, observations and experiences which subjects had. At a later date when better read, I was astounded to find how so much diverse data which had accumulated, fitted together like a jig-saw — making perfect sense in terms of Crookall’s framework. Indeed, was it not that most of my subjects knew virtually nothing about OB phenomena, one might have thought they had read all the most specialised literature on the subject, in order to fake what ought be described in accordance with “objective double” theory.

 

Let me mention some of the most common characteristics to which I refer, underlining important key words. During the induction procedure nearly all the OBE subjects reported the onset of physical catalepsy, partial or com­plete numbness and loss of physical sensation, strange tingling sensations, and sensations of expanded body image and/or bodily discoincidence (e.g.”I feel as if I’m rotating—lying at right angles to my physical body, and my head feels as if it’s getting bigger”) — the latter often being prior to the “balloon expansion” exercise. Sensations of weightlessness, floating, rocking, and/or passing down a tunnel commonly followed, usually with a feeling of having separated or separating from the physical body,[3] as in this subject’s exam­ple, which was initiated by the balloon expansion exercise:

 

I’m flowing out of myself and getting bigger though my back’s still stuck to the bed. It’s as if I’ve melted into a puddle — sort of vapourising and going up as well as spreading out.

 

Or, using the same subject as an example during a different run when she experienced the converse of this while feeling she was passing down a tunnel:

 

I seemed to be getting smaller and smaller until I was so small that there was nothing left to look after the body, and the body didn’t like it very much (it had been shaking, which caused me concern). It was a bit as though there was a vacuum . . . and my body was wriggling about to see where I had got to…  (When you shook me), coming back was a bit sudden — like twanging back on a bit of elastic.

 

Only two (out of the three very best) subjects, on one occasion each, felt they could see the spatial entity (“double”) with which their OB centre of consciousness was associated. The descriptions rendered were a little differ­ent, but differing in precisely the way which theory in accordance with Crookall might have predicted for their SoCs which were not identical. I shall not mention details of these observations here, since the possibility of “shaping” through what little subjects’ might have read or heard about OBEs, requires a lengthy discussion for which space is not available.

 

On re-associating consciousness with the physical body, universally occur­ing sensations were again noted by subjects. A case is quoted above, where the subject snapped back suddenly (“repercussion,” to use Muldoon’s (1929) term) when her physical body was shaken. Under more natural conditions however, subjects’ would describe a “heaviness,” shrinking feel­ings, and employ phrases such as, “I felt me (the physical) fill up,” or, “ I am just being sucked into my (physical) body” — to which Dr. Crookall on reading my monograph manuscript has commented, “Yes! Typical.”

 

Having now looked at some characteristics of the Christos induced OBEs, and arguments for and against the objective “double,” let us see how the SoCs of some subjects can be raised into peak experiences through applying appropriate techniques when they are in “being” states—generally OB ones.

 

 

PEAK EXPERIENCES

 

Although my subject (and trustworthy friend) Ann knew very little about mediumship, she experienced many of the phenomena associated with trance and mental mediumship while in “being” identity states. The types of phenomena and SoCs entered depended to a large extent on her state of mind, and if asked to send out thoughts of such things as goodness, truth, beauty and above all, unconditional love, her SoC and environment would shift to what was felt to be a higher and more perfect level, as if a correspond­ingly different world was entered. I called this exercise, “raising the level of consciousness.” On its own, it did not have a particularly great effect on state of being, except in so far as “being identity” was further consolidated.

 

In the spring of 1976, the Parkhursts sent me a paper from Western Australia, which described how certain kinds of music could influence “Christos” subjects. The music is of a type I would categorise as “transcen­dental music,” meaning that it rouses within one higher emotions and sentiments of a type which are not normally experienced in the NSC. From a classical perspective, some compositions by the likes of Beethoven, Handel and Bach fit this category, but best of all are certain modern compositions which have their roots in the psychedelic era, and/or modern instruments. The best music of groups and individuals like Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, and Mike Oldfield, constitute good examples.

 

I found that if “being identity” subjects were asked to employ the exer­cises for “raising the level of consciousness,” suitably chosen music played at low volume could give the extra lift required to raise the state of being into blissful peak states in which “transpersonal” identity concepts could emerge. The compositions I use most for this purpose are part one of Mike Oldfield’s “Ommadawn,” and side two of the Moody Blues’, “In Search of the Lost Chord.” The latter work was composed to help guide people in psychedelic ASCs into mystical states: as the Parkhursts (1973) put it, the group employs,” a strange series of notes which have a ‘bliss effect’ . . . using the sitar or Indian rhythms.”

 

Three of my subjects — all female — entered states of being which I tentatively call “transpersonal identity” states, meaning that their indi­vidual ego boundaries had been reduced to such a degree, that their concept of self and being could freely expand, to encompass or share in with things normally considered separate from self. This results in feelings of unity, and whatever the object or objects with which unity is felt are, the experience has, with my three subjects, been described as blissful.

 

One subject with whom I have just recently begun to work, started her first Christos run with a fairly typical lucid dream, Gradually the characteris­tics of the dream changed as she shifted into a “being identity” state; the SoC becoming more like an OBE as she started to float amongst stars which she felt were bestowed with anthropomorphic properties, and with which she felt love and empathy. Everything in this rather special dream world was bestowed with high intrinsic value in itself.- B(eing) value as Maslow (1960) called it. Finally, in contemplating the ocean down below on earth, she felt such strong love towards it that she described herself merging and becoming the ocean:        

 

I’m very happy and the sea’s laughing with me, like the stars are. It’s very playful and wants me to come to it…  I love the sea, but there’s no need to think that now, because I’ve gone down and I am the sea … and the sea is me. I don’t really care about anything else, and am not worried about anything else.

 

During her fourth run, Mary (a lucid dream of whom was cited earlier) had a lucid dream, which was followed by entry into the “being identity” state, in which she described herself as, “just a lump of consciousness, capable of perceiving rather than thinking” (suggestive of considerable deautomatization of predominantly left cerebral hemisphere functions). As I played “Ommadawn” and asked her to carry out the procedure to “raise the level of consciousness,” she described herself actually becoming a part of love, beauty etc., as her being underwent “a slow, gentle explosion,” which felt a bit like, “diffusing into a gas, which is everything — solid physical and spiritual.” As a Christian she described greater awareness of God in this state, which was beyond such dichotomous concepts as pleasant and unpleasant.

 

In her 15th and 17th runs, my subject Ann entered similar, but much more intense mystical states of undifferentiated unity than that of Mary. Entry into this state could not be forced; an attempt to hurry things up in the 16th run lead to complete failure.

 

In his classic 1963 work, Walter Pahnke (see Pahnke and Richards, 1966, in Tart ed. 1969) identifies nine interrelated criteria for use in identifying full mystical consciousness. These criteria involve the presence of such feelings and qualities as undifferentiated unity or oneness, dissolution of the spacetime context of awareness, paradoxicality, deep feelings of joy, love, ultimate truth, sacredness, etc., temporary duration of the ASC, ineffability, and resultant positive changes in attitude and/or behavior. On analysis, all the criteria were well satisfied by Ann’s experiences (though there was a little doubt initially, regarding what exactly is meant by “sacredness” or “holyness”). It appears then, that the Christos procedure and supplemen­tary techniques, given a good subject and environment, can help induce even the most highly valued ASC known to man. In it the subject feels at one with ultimate and eternal being which she feels, underlies the whole universe. Of course, whether or not this suffices as proof of the real existence of such an ultimate metaphysical reality, is a question outside the scope of this paper.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

In this paper I have endeavoured to give an account of the “Christos” phenomenon, suggesting that it is primarily a powerful deautomatizing procedure. We have had a brief look at some of the main ASCs induced by it and supplementary techniques, leading us to consider if it might not be more practical to talk in terms of state of being, rather than state of consciousness, which is closely linked, but not identical.

 

Finally, I should like to thank the Parkhursts and Gerry Glaskin for risking ridicule in order to bring the “Christos” phenomenon to our atten­tion. Both I and my subject-friends feel that our understanding of the nature and structure of human consciousness has greatly increased from the experimental data or direct experiences: I hope it will do the same for others too.

 

 

Selected Bibliography

 

 

Crookall, R. (1961). The Study and Practice of Astral Projection, Aquarian Press.

Crookall, R. (1964). The Techniques of Astroi Projection, Aquarian Press.

Fox, 0. (no date). Astral Projection: a Record of Research. Rider Books.

Glaskin, G. M. (1974). Windows of the Mind, Wildwood House Ltd.; Arrow 1976.

Glaskin, G. M. (1976). Worlds Within, Wildwood House Ltd.; Arrow 1976.

Green, C. E. (1968). Lucid Dreams, Hamish Hamilton Ltd.

Green, C. E. (1968). Out-of-:he-Body Experiences, Hamish Hamilton Ltd.

Maslow, A. H. (1960). Toward a Psychology of Being, Van Nostrand Ltd.

Masters, R. E. L., in Housten, J. (1966). The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, Turnstone Books Ltd.

Monroe, R. A. (1972) .Journeys Out of the Body. Corgi 1974 in U.K.

Muldoon, S. J., in Carrington, H. (1929). The Projection of the Astral Body, Rider Books.

Ornstein, R. (1970). The Psychology of Consciou.sness, Pelican, U.K.

Tart, C. T. (1969). Altered States of Consciousness, Wiley, N.Y. etc.

Tart, C. T. (1975). Transpersonal Psychologies, Routledge and Kegan Paul, U.K.

 



[1]  My best subjects have tended to be women. They give the impression of being intuitive, having strong emotions, and are often artistically creative. Most significant of all, is that good subjects always seem to be people who remember vivid and colourful nocturnal dreams. The converse is true with poor subjects.

[2] During massage of the forehead, many subjects report seeing flashing or constant lights, which aid concentration. This may be due to optic nerve stimulation.

[3] Such sensations were described in unqualified terms, despite most subjects’ scepticism of paranormal phenomena and OBEs.

 

 

 

 

Internet Users Please Note: The material on this page is original text as submitted to the publication stated beneath the title. As the editing process means that some parts may have been cut, altered or corrected after it left my hands, or I might have made minor subsequent amendments, or scanned material may contain scanning errors, please specify in citation “internet version from www.AlastairMcIntosh.com as well as citing the place of first publication. Note that author particulars, including contact address(es) and organisational affiliations may have changed since first publication.

This material is © Alastair McIntosh and any co-authors and/or first publishers. However (and without prejudice to any legal rights of co-authors or the original or subsequent publishers), I give my permission for it to be freely copied for non-commercial educational purposes provided that due acknowledgement is given. Please advise of any uses that might particularly interest me. For commercial enquires, please contact original publishers and/or email me, mail@AlastairMcIntosh.com. Thanks, folks, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

To RETURN to any sub-index from which you approached this page, click BACK on your web browser. To return to my homepage, click www.AlastairMcIntosh.com.

 

2-9-00

www.AlastairMcIntosh.com 

Hit Counter