IS SPIRIT CALLING MODERN MAN TO AN INNER JOURNEY? PART ONE
Or What Is Really Behind Out of Body (OBE)/Near Death Experiences (NDE), UFO Abductions, and Crop Circles?
By Penny Warren, B.A., M.A., D.D.
(C) May-June 1997 PLIM REPORT
Feel free to copy and circulate this article for non-commercial purposes provided the Web site and author are mentioned.
See Related Articles: UFOs
What is the intent of this article?
The intent of this two-part article is to prove that a spirit realm exists and show that supernatural phenomenon are valid and necessary experiences under the New Covenant (Joel 2:28-30; Heb. 1:1-2). Throughout the Bible, prophets, patriarchs, disciples, and Apostles were drawn to an inner journey after interacting with Spirit. Samuel heard a still, small, voice when he was a child (I Sam. 3:1-10). Jacob saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder and wrestled an angel all night long (Gen. 28:11-12, 16-19; 32: 24-28). Paul beheld a bright light that blinded him and taught his to fear God instead of man (Acts 9:1-19; Gal. 1:15-17, 11-14). An angel released Peter from jail (Acts 12:1-19) and we can go on and on. Without some paranormal experience, we cannot know the Holy Spirit or attain eternal life (John 17:3).
Because the spirit world is so misunderstood, it brings to mind the old Indian adage of six blind men describing an elephant. One feels the animals tail and reports that he is like a serpent. Another feels his side and declares that he is like a wide, strong tree. The third man, standing near his trunk, says the animal is thick and rope-like. And the story goes on. In other words, every person that reports of spiritual encounters is only bringing back part of the story. No one can see the spiritual realm clearly without a revelation from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13:9-10).
What three supernatural phenomena will this article address?
In this article we will examine three supernatural occurrences that have been reported frequently in the media: out of body (OBE)/near death experiences (NDE), UFO abductions, and crop circles. First, out of body (OBE)/near death experiences (NDE) truly have pushed mens consciousness into another reality. Upon returning to the physical realm and battling with the uncertainty of the experience, these people are often positively affected and transformed. UFO abductions, on the other hand, the second supernatural occurrence we will discuss, generally terrify the eyewitnesses and they experience trauma similar to combat Vietnam veterans, survivors of natural disasters, and rape victims. UFO abductions are entirely misunderstood because they are interpreted literally. The third paranormal phenomenon, crop circles, produce wonder and awe in those who see inexplicable designs in fields of wheat and corn.
We will discuss why people become so disturbed when supernatural events occur since none of these experiences are accepted as normal reality in our culture. Because our culture does not nurture these encounters, the first response most people have is to think they are insane.
Does a spirit world exist?
To understand who is behind paranormal phenomenon, we must believe in a spirit world (Heb. 1:6), know that men are spiritual creatures (I Thess. 5:23), and understand the power of spirit beings (Rev. 12:7) which we will discuss later in this article. If our culture would accept the fact that an incorporeal or spirit world parallels the physical realm, a hierarchy of incorporeal beings inhabits it, and often the two worlds borders merge, many peoples fears would lessen. (See the subtitle What is the structure of the spirit world? p. 22 in the cover story on Possession in this issue). The disposition of spirit creatures that exist on the other side is reflected in the personality of humans that exist in the natural realm. Leaders, teachers, and artisans coexist on earth with gang-bangers, robbers, and predators. Likewise, Elohim and resurrected angels inhabit the spirit realm with fallen angels, and souls of men (see illustration on p. 23).
The idea of a co-existing, non-material world is difficult for many westerners to embrace. Budd Hopkins comments in his book Intruders that men would rather believe that intelligent life exists out there somewhere, than to accept the possibility that non-humans may already be interacting now with us. This is truly a disturbing idea (A Note to the Reader, p. xii-xiii). If we keep in mind the feasibility of a spirit world, as we begin to examine OBE/NDE, UFO abductions, and crop circles, we can begin to understand what is behind these phenomena and appreciate the inner journey they are urging individuals to follow.
Part One of this article will examine OBE/NDE in detail. Part two will investigate UFO abductions and crop circles.
Does a calling begin any journey?
To begin any journey, whether it is physical, psychological or spiritual, we all need the proper motivation or calling (See Journey, Part 1 in the January/February 1997 issue of the PLIM REPORT). Most of us take a daily journey to our workplaces to earn the money necessary to afford food, clothing, and shelter. Our instinctual needs call us to work for a living. We tend to develop, or be called to, psychological interests outside of work based on our own personal tastes, cultural upbringing, and educational levels. Whether we take trips to athletic events vs. the opera, choose outdoor activities over urban settings, or are drawn to the high school antics of sitcoms instead of the complex ideas and arguments found in written literature, our mental callings are all individual choices grounded in our own pleasure.
A calling to a spiritual journey, however, transcends economics, society, and personal taste. Remember, when the Messiah called His disciples to His ministry. They immediately dropped everything and followed Him (John 2:35-51). Paranormal experiences that are a part of the New Covenant have the same compelling quality to propel or call men on an inner journey into the spirit realm. Supernatural phenomenon, such as out of body (OBE)/near death experiences (NDE), UFO abductions, and crop circles, appear to be just the right stimulus for men to transfer their interest from society to the world of the unknown. [Note: We will interject Biblical references that confirm paranormal experiences throughout this article.]
Lawrence LeShan summarizes mans response to the paranormal in his book The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist: Toward a General Theory of the Paranormal (Penguin Books, 1996, Preface, p. xi). This book is the story of an adventure, of a search for the meaning of impossible events. The paranormal by definition is impossible. What does it means for man when the impossible happens? We will see what happens as we begin to explore the supernatural.
What questions do supernatural experiences raise?
When we begin to examine the media coverage of supernatural experiences that appear to be occurring more and more lately, several questions may come to mind.
Are out-of-body (OBE)/near-death experiences (NDE), UFO abductions, and crop circles real phenomenon or a hoax?
Why are they occurring with such frequency now?
Who is behind all of these inexplicable cases and what messages are they conveying to man?
Should these occurrences convince us that a realm beyond the physical exists?
Has humanistic, technologically-advanced, materialistic, rational man gone so far in the wrong direction that Spirit has to take drastic measures to call him back from society into an inner journey?
One thing we know for certainthe frequent occurrences of paranormal phenomena are defying denial of their existence and the people from all walks of life are starting to pause and wonder.
What effect does the paranormal have on man?
The paranormal requires man to view life from a different perspective. For a person to suddenly find himself separate from his physical body yet conscious provides an entirely new incorporeal realm to explore. The experience convinces him of a non-physical reality and he no longer fears death. Paul said he was lifted up to the third heaven and could not tell whether he was in a body or out of a body (2 Cor. 12:1-4). His external environment became secondary to spiritual experiences that occurred and beings he met in a non-material world.
The world changes for the worst according to most people who claim to be abducted by UFOs. Because most interpret the experience literally, they miss their calling to an inner journey that should cause them to turn away from their physical perceptions to contemplate the invisible and intangible. (See Journey, Part 1 and 2, in the January/February 1997 and March/April 1997 issues for more details). When they become aware of missing time and experience an uneasiness that usually proceeds remembering under hypnosis that aliens have kidnapped them, they are often afraid and detached from normal reality. Instead of realizing that the images that spirits project in the mind are so real they appear true, an abductee thinks he has actually left his bed or car and been taken to another place. We will discuss the power of thoughts in the mind in Part Two of this paper. We see why most abductees suffer alone since, added to his lost of control while abducted, he meets mockery and disdain from those he tells of his experience.
These negative feelings could be diminished if the UFO experience were placed in a historical and scriptural context. The Bible mentions a UFO sighting when Ezekiel saw a wheel within a wheel containing unearthly occupants (Ezk. 1:4-17). Also Dr. Jacques Vallee, an acclaimed French UFO authority, writes of priests and scholars who have left records of strange activity during their era that we will discuss in Part Two of this article (Dimensions A Casebook of Alien Contact).
The third paranormal activity of crop circles causes people to contemplate another alternative. Farmers who go to bed with their grain growing undisturbed and wake up to a mysterious design displayed in their fields, must wonder, as Belshazzar did when he saw handwriting suddenly appear on his palace walls (Dan. 5th Chapter), who is making these designs and why. The intent of this article is to address whether a spiritual calling for man exists behind OBE/NDE, UFO abductions, and crop circles. In short, is Spirit sending us messages that we cant ignore?
Does the current scientific model explain the supernatural?
OBE/NDE, UFO abductions, and crop circles are anomalies that the current scientific model cannot explain. (See Can the Scientific Model Explain the Paranormal? in this issue) The method of observing occurrences, developing a theory, and making predictions on the outcome of events is impossible when the events are invisible, subjective, and erratic. They are inner experiences.
When supernatural experiences occur outside of the accepted view of normal reality, that belief system should expand. Unfortunately, western civilization holds a disbelief and disdain for the spirit world according to Harvard professor John Mach, who investigates UFO abductees in spite of the ridicule and dismay of his colleagues and who wrote Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens. Although this view is in the minority, it is prevalent in the west and firmly entrenched in the minds of most in our culture. Our society does not provide a framework or a nurturing environment for paranormal phenomena. When it occurs, denial and ridicule are the common responses. Let us begin this investigation by discovering what the Bible says about OBE.
Does the Bible mention OBE?
The Bible is full of accounts of out-of-body experiences (OBE) that have called the patriarchs to a spirit world and convinced them that it existed. The basis of the Judeo/Christian religion is the paranormal. For our culture to claim it is Christian and deny paranormal experiences is a sign of schizophrenia. Israel from the beginning had a relationship with Yahweh that allowed them to move confidently between the mundane world and the spiritual realm. The disciples and Apostles experienced the same connection with the Messiah and the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel the prophet said that the Spirit took him up by the lock of his hair to Jerusalem (Ezek. 8:1-4) while his physical body remained in his house before the elders. As stated earlier the Apostle Paul said that he was caught up to the third heaven and saw unspeakable things. He did not know whether he was in his body while in paradise or not (2 Cor. 12:1-4). The Messiah confirmed these two witnesses when He transformed His physical body into an illuminous one at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-10). His inner man, stepped out of His clay house (Job 4:19), and showed the disciples His true body. We find that OBE have always called men to the spirit.
Although the phenomenon of out-of-body experiences (OBE) has appeared historically in non-scientific literature, NDE did not begin to emerge in medical journals until the 1960s. This phenomenon was not labeled before 1976 when Dr. Raymond Moody, a psychiatrist and scholar with two PhDs in philosophy and psychology, coined the term NDE in his book Life After Life after interviewing hundreds of revived individuals.
NDE have an out-of-body component that has been documented by a group of people, who have exhibited various criteria of death, such as stopped heartbeat, ceased breathing, or flat brainwaves, and have survived the experience.
Due to advances in medical technology, more people resuscitated from heart attacks and near fatal accidents have been able to recount their NDE than ever before. According to a Gallup poll in the late 1980s about one in 20 people had NDE. (The Light Beyond, by Raymond Moody, p. 5)
What is a NDE?
A NDE occurs when someone has been near death and experienced being conscious yet out of their body. These people are persuaded fully that another realm exists beyond the physical. They have seen their physical bodies on operating tables or in horrible accidents and been aware of their existence separate and apart from their own flesh.
Dr. Moody identified common components that described their experience (see chart below). Not everyone would experience all of these elements, but they all would experience at least some. They are: a sense of being dead, peace and painlessness, out-of-body experience, the tunnel experience, people of light, the being of light, the life review, rising rapidly into the heavens, reluctance to return, return to earth with a message or power (The Light Beyond, p. 2).
The calling to a non-material realm appears to have a positive transformational effect on nearly all NDE survivors although most have difficulty integrating their experience into their normal lives. Dr. Moody identified seven other factors in his book The Light Beyond (p. 27-44) that describe the change in most NDEs lives. They dont fear dying. They sense the importance of love and forgiveness. They have a connection with all things. They gain an appreciation of learning, a new feeling of control, and a sense of urgency. They seek to develop their understanding of spiritual issues upon reentering the real world. Let us explore two famous, modern NDE cases that have been covered extensively in the media.
Who is Dannion Brinkley?
Dannion Brinkley wrote in his book Saved by the Light that he was the local bully in his North Carolina town with a mean streak. While talking on the phone during a rainstorm, he was struck by lightening in 1975. He was dead 28 minutes before returning to life. His NDE, especially his life review, transformed his life and called him to be a hospice worker for the last 17 years. He had a second NDE when he experienced heart failure in 1989.
Mr. Brinkley reported all the elements of NDE that Dr. Moody had identified. Mr. Brinkley glimpsed the future, as did the prophets, and was shown 117 prophecies; 96 came true as of 1995. He saw a crystal city reminiscent to the one that the Apostle John saw (Rev. 21), a greenhouse, and upon his return to his body he could read minds and predict the future. He said that the beings of light gave him a mission and called him to create stress reduction centers. They also gave him a message that humans are great, powerful, mighty spiritual beings (I Thess. 5:23; Gen. 1:26-27). His experience did not differ from many of the prophets.
It took him about 20 years to write his story. He wrote another book called At Peace in the Light to update us on his progress of normalizing his experience. In 1992, two years before Mr. Brinkley published his first book, another book about the NDE of a Native American housewife and mother of seven became a New York best seller.
What happened to Betty Eadie when she died?
Betty Eadie writes in her book Embraced by the Light that she hemorrhaged after a hysterectomy in 1973 and was dead for four hours. Ms. Eadies experience occurred before Dr. Moody had identified all the classic NDE components, but they all occurred during her NDE anyway. She writes in her book that she was embraced by Jesus light. Her experience was similar to Daniels who saw a man with a face that appeared as lightening and Pauls who fell off his ass by a light as bright as the noon day sun (Dan. 10:5-7; Acts 9:3-4). As Moses writes that he spoke to Yahweh face to face as a friend (Exo. 33:11), Ms. Eadie says that during her NDE she talked to Jesus as a friend.
Ms. Eadie states that Jesus taught her that she was important, worthy of love, and could live a more fulfilling life. He showed her that spiritual, physical, and universal laws govern the universe which is the spiritual reality of the Ten Commandment Laws that Yahweh gave Israel at Mt. Sinai. (See articles written on the Ten Commandment Law in four issues of the PLIM REPORT from July/August 1993 through January/February 1994. He also revealed to her the importance of thoughts and prayer. She saw a library, a garden, and a council of men that showed her a life review. She returned to the physical world with enhanced ESP. The being of light gave her a message; above all else, we are to love one another. We are to learn to love God and we are to stop judging one another unrighteously. [Remember, this was the same reply that the Messiah gave the Pharisees when a lawyer tested Him asking what was the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:35-40).] She has since been called to the lecture circuit and has written another book The Awakening Heart; My Continuing Journey in Love to update people on more of her spiritual insights after her NDE.
What is important about the life review?
[Note: In both of the above NDE, the life review appears to be a pivotal aspect of the transformational experience. Remember, it was after Yahweh showed Moses a re-run of the days of creation (life review) in a vision that Yahweh gave Israel the law, the tabernacle, and a priesthood. Following Moses review of creation, Israel was transformed or called to begin their journey as a kingdom of priests (Exo. 19:6; Rev. 1:6) with the Law of Moses to guide them. Is the life review in the NDE symbolic of a review of our past actions before we move into a higher state? Is a review of our past most important before we can transcend the present?]
The next OBE that we shall examine occurred while a man rested. He founded the Monroe Institute for Applied Science that experimented with sound to produce and sustain the out-of-body state. [Note: Besides OBE that occur in times of trauma, they also are reproducible with lucid dreams, meditation, drugs, and sound. Future articles will be written on this subject. Due to space, this article can only introduce the personal experiences of our next subject and his experiments with sound.]
What happened when Robert Monroe came out of his body?
Robert Monroe, a businessman in the communications industry, explains that one day in 1958 as he lay on his couch resting he suddenly found himself outside of his body. In his books Journeys Out of the Body and Far Journeys, he relates his experiences in the out-of-body state.
Mr. Monroes inadvertently discovered the structure of the non-material realm that is essential to understanding the paranormal phenomenon we will discuss in Part Two of this articleUFO abductions. This supernatural occurrence can only be understood in the context of the different rankings of spirits that exist on the other side.
At first he was terrified, but then he learned through trial and error how to navigate in the incorporeal realm. Through his personal journeys, he mapped the non-material realm into Locale 1 (the here and now), Locale 2 (the astral plane), Locale 3 (transcends space and time, p. 423 Harpers Encyclopedia). Mr. Monroe records a hierarchy of entities on the other side from piranha-like predators to a Supreme Being whose appearance causes all activity to stop and produces total submission and prostration from everyone in His presence.
Before we end Part One of this article, we will briefly discuss the use of sound to attain the out-of-body state.
Can anyones conscious leave their bodies?
Mr. Monroe wondered whether other people could achieve an out-of-body state and founded the Monroe Institute of Applied Science to explore this theory. He started to record his brain waves while he was out of his body and began experiments with sound to duplicate the patterns. He patented a method called Hemi-Sync that allows people who are not near death to experience consciousness apart from their body by listening to certain tones through a headset. Hemi-Sync is sound that synchronizes both hemispheres of the brain and induces sleep while allowing the mind to remain alert and active.
Mr. Monroe named his first out-of-body experiments Gateway. The people who volunteered for the OBE were named voyagers. As he and the voyagers returned from their out-of-body states, the reports they described were fantastic.
It is interesting to note that under the New Covenant, the Messiah said that we are cleaned and transformed by the words (or sounds) that He speaks to us (John 15:3). Believing the Messiahs words sustains a resurrected state.
In Part Two of this article we will discuss the modern phenomenon of UFO abductions and crop circles and discover if the Bible mentioned them, like it did OBE.
Brinkley, Dannion, Saved by the Light, (HarperPaperbacks, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers, © 1994)
Brinkley, Dannion, At Peace in the Light, (HarperPaper-backs, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers, © 1995)
Crookall, Robert, Out-of-the-Body Experience, (Citadel Press, © 1970)
Eadie, Betty, Embraced by the Light, (Bantam Books, © 1992)
Eadie, Betty The Awakening Heart; My Continuing Journey in Love
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, Harpers Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experiences, (HarperCollins Publishers, © 1991)
Hopkins, Budd, Intruders (Ballantine Books, © 1987)
LeShan, Lawrence, The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist: Toward a General Theory of the Paranormal (Penguin Books, 1996, Preface, p. xi).
Mack, John E., Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens (Ballantine Books © 1994.)
Maldoon, Sylvan and Carrington, Hereward, The Projection of the Astral Body, (Samuel Weiser, Inc., © 1929)
Monroe, Robert A., Journeys Out of the Body, (A Dolphin Book published by Doubleday, © 1971)
Monroe, Robert A., Far Journeys, (Doubleday, © 1985)
Moody, Jr., Raymond A., M.D., Life After Life, (Bantam Books © 1976)
Moody, Jr., Raymond A., M.D., The Light Beyond, (Bantam Books © 1988)
Morse, Melvin, M.D., Closer To The Light, (Ballantine Books © 1990)
Vallee, Jacques, Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact, (Ballantine Books © 1988.)
Out of Body Experience FAQ, by Jouni A. Smed (http://www3.eu.spirit-web.org/Spirit/obe-faq.html)
"A Look At Lucid Dreaming and Out Of Body Experiences, by Ian Wilson, (http://www3.eu.spiritweb.org/Spirit/obe-wilson.html)
"The Monroe Institute, by Spiritweb Org, Promoting spiritual Consciousness on the Internet, (wysiwgy://12/http://www3.eu.spiritweb.org/Spirit/monroe-inst.html)
Robert Allan Monroe, (http://www.monroe-inst.com/programs/hemi-sync.html) (http://www.monroeinsti-tute.org/bio/robert-monroe.html)
Hemi-Sync® Audio Technology, (http://www.monroe-inst.com/programs/hemi-sync.html)
FAQ about the Hemi-Sync® Process, (http://www.monroe-inst.com/programs/hemi-sync-faq.html)
A Conversation with Raymond Moody, http://www.lightworks.com/MonthlyAspectarian/1995/April/RaymondMoody.html
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