Since the uneXplained television episodes about the Monroe Institute (http://www.biography.com/tv/the-unexplained/videos), I’ve received quite a few inquiries and questions. I thought some might be worth sharing with the blog audience. I’m going to do this in a sort of interview format, presenting the questions then giving my answers …
I don’t really understand the Monroe Institute sound technology (hemi-sync) – what exactly is it, and what does it do?
Simplistically put (I hope this is accurate), when you introduce one tone in one ear and a slightly different tone in the other ear, the brain “hears” (or creates) a third tone that only exists in the brain. When that happens, the left and right brain hemispheres have the opportunity to follow that tone and thereby synchronize their activity – they start to work wholistically instead of separately. When the brain is working wholistically, perception and awareness have been found to change or expand.
There are other ways to reach this same state of awareness, state of consciousness: drugs, deep meditation, rituals like vision quests (starvation, dehydration), or the Sundance (exhaustion, pain) … athletes and people in the arts often recognize this state of brain synchronization as the point reached when they’re completely immersed in the moment, the now, and time loses all meaning. When they’ve finished an activity, painting or dance or song or mountain climb, they may be surprised to learn that it took many hours to complete, because it felt as if it took only a short amount of time, or it lacks any reference to time at all. With hemi-sync, one has the opportunity to experience this state without the discomforts of other methods.
Hemi-sync helps attain this state of mind, yet you maintain complete control of the experience. If you’re uncomfortable or frightened, take the headphones off and snap out of it. The hemi-sync sounds don’t do anything to you unless you allow it, follow it. Unlike drugs, it doesn’t impose a state of perception on you and hold you there until it wears off.
Hemi-sync simply helps the listener achieve an altered or expanded state of consciousness, and helps train the brain to then return to that state of consciousness at will (and without the sounds).
Why would you want to synchronize the two hemispheres of your brain?
When the brain is synchronized, it’s more efficient and has access to more information. Many people want to reach this state for “enlightenment” or spiritual wisdom … my favorite result of this state, though, is applying it to everyday life.
If I’m confused about something, having difficulty making a decision, or if my brain feels like it’s made of five thousand puzzle pieces in a hurricane (hello PTSD), I’ll listen to a hemi-sync cd – or more likely, since my brain now recognizes and remembers the path to get there, I just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and … synchronize.
I know people who have used this state to predict the stock market or outcomes of elections, make good business decisions, remember a recipe. I know people who have used it to sense safe routes to work, call their pets back home at night, find a lost earring or wallet. I’ve used it to remember appointments, find out what was making an animal sick, check on the status of a flight.
I also know people (like me) who have used it to contact long-dead relatives for a chat, to make accurate psychic predictions, to gain insight into relationships with other people or oneself.
It’s a state that can be anything from very relaxing and rejuvenating to very exciting and crazy. And the more you practice, the more useful it becomes.
Do you go out of body? How can I go out of body?
I have gone out of body, but I don’t do that now. I differentiate what I do from “out of body” because when I did experience what is referred to as going out of body, I actually felt myself as an energy body peeling out of my physical body. The best way I can describe what I do now is to say that I let my consciousness travel without any body awareness – physical body or energy body. I shift my focus. It’s easier for me to do it this way, and I feel my perceptions are clearer. My understanding is that this is similar to remote viewing.
How can you learn to go out of body? Practice. There are some books around that help teach people how to go out of body. I haven’t read any of them except Robert Monroe’s so I can’t comment on them. I taught myself how to do it many many years ago after reading Robert Monroe’s first book, then called Out of Body, now called Journeys Out of the Body. It took me about two or three weeks of trying before I peeled myself out; some people I’ve met said it took them over a year, others a few days. Keep at it, is the only advice I can give. The Monroe Institute is a good practice forum, because you get to leave all other responsibilities behind for a week and just concentrate on that if you want to … which brings us neatly to the next question:
If I go to the Monroe Institute (TMI), will I have an out of body experience?
Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know what the latest statistics are; a few years ago I read that less than 50% of the people who go to TMI have the out of body experience.
During programs I’ve attended, only two people were desperate to have an out of body experience, and those two people did. The rest of the people in the programs weren’t so focused on the out of body experience specifically; they were hoping less for the out of body experience than they were for an expansion of awareness, experiencing new ways of perception, experiencing something they’d never experienced before. I’ve never known a disappointed participant of a TMI program … I have known a lot of surprised people, and amazed, moved, wondering, curious, and grateful people have walked out of the Institute.
Is this Monroe Institute, like, a cult?
No, it’s just a place to practice having new experiences. There’s no dogma or cultish belief system… I think a lot of people who have been there get excited about it, and talk about it with great enthusiasm that may appear cultish (“You’ve got to go there! It’s amazing!”) because attending the programs has changed a lot of people’s lives. The same could probably be said for many workshops, or for things like vision quests … we who’ve been to TMI talk about it with affection and enthusiasm because that’s the workshop we chose and it worked for us in some notable way.
The only stated “dogma” of TMI: Be willing to believe that we’re more than our physical bodies.
Then they offer some sound technology to support each person’s experiencing that in their own way – no one sits up in front of you telling you how it is, what to think, what to believe. You have your own experiences in expanded awareness, and whatever you find, discover, explore, uncover, remember or do with what you experience is your business. Whatever beliefs you have or whatever belief system you choose to integrate your experiences into – Christian , Muslim, Buddhist, New Age, AmerIndian, agnostic, science, whatever – that’s up to you.
In my mind, the most attractive thing about TMI is the lack of dogma and the inclusivity. People from all different backgrounds, cultures and belief systems attend TMI programs. Most “self-help” workshops and programs attract more women than men; TMI generally has an equal share of men and women attending their programs. It’s not a cult, it’s just an experience.
Did you learn how to talk with spirits at the Monroe Institute?
No, I’ve talked with spirits ever since I can remember. The Lifelines program at TMI helped me gain a little better control over it, though, and made me realize that what I’d been doing all my life was called something (soul retrieval, soul rescue). I thought people who did soul retrievals were doing something else – I didn’t know what, but the name made it sound more complicated than what I’d been doing – ha!
Do I have to go to the Monroe Institute to try out these hemi-sync sounds?
Check out the store on the TMI webite, or go to http://www.hemi-sync.com and browse around. You can order a few cd’s and try them out on your own.
There are also shorter programs given all over the country as well as at TMI in Virginia. These shorter workshops are generally 2-3 days, and not as expensive as the full week workshops. Check here for schedules: https://www.facebook.com/events/117451941637681/ or http://www.monroeinstitute.org/programs/cat/3-day-residential-programs
Direct link to full episodes of the uneXplained: