Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
July 19, 2007
The Intuitive-Connections Network

Far Journeys

An Excerpt from the new book

Robert Monroe

The Journey of Robert Monroe:
From Out of Body Explorer to Consciousness Pioneer

By Ronald Russell


Throughout the years of inquiry, investigation, and experiment at Whistlefield, Monroe’s own out-of-body experiences continued quite regularly. However, he began to feel a sense of frustration; the experiences themselves now seemed limited, even boring. The question of proof no longer concerned him and he had lost interest in taking part in controlled tests.

Also, he found it had become very easy for him to move into the out-of-body state. Refreshed after three or four hours of sleep, he was ready to slip out, as it were, but what was there to do? Everyone else was asleep and he saw no point in purposelessly drifting around. So, as he said, he would slip back in, turn on the light, read until he was sleepy again, and that was it.

Then, early in 1972, he realized that the limiting factor was his own conscious mind. To explore further he should stop attempting to control what was happening and instead remain passive, allowing his total self to take over. When he awoke on the following night he put this intention into practice.

This is how he described what happened: “After waiting for what seemed only a few seconds, there was a tremendous surge, a movement, an energy in that familiar spatial blackness, and there began for me an entire new era in my out-of-body activities. Since that night, my non-physical activities have been almost totally due to this procedure.”1

Unlike his team of Explorers, Monroe did not use his laboratory facilities or the sound signals he and his associates had designed to induce an out-of-body experience. Nor did he tape-record what was happening as it occurred. Instead, as with the episodes described in Journeys Out of the Body, he kept detailed notes, sometimes including mention of the time that elapsed while the OBE took place.

Although he does not give the dates, it is apparent from the context that many of the experiences he describes in his second book occurred after the Institute moved to its new home on Roberts Mountain in 1979. Most of Far Journeys, perhaps all of it, was written while the Monroes were living in the Gate House at the time when their house on the mountaintop was being planned and built.

Far Journeys was published by Doubleday in 1985. The first part of the book includes an account of the research at Whistlefield with a description of the Hemi-Sync technology and extracts from the reports of the Explorers and some of the participants in the Gateway program. Monroe notes that over the eight years since the program was launched, 41 percent of participants were male, “double the norm for the typical self-awareness workshop.”

The average age of participants was thirty-nine, and 29 percent were professionals—scientists, educators, doctors, engineers, psychologists, psychiatrists—attending principally to determine how they might use Hemi-Sync in their own areas of interest. He also noted that 83 percent came to the program with one stated basic reason, but left with a different, more valuable, result.

Almost all Gateway participants are neophytes as far as the Hemi-Sync experience is concerned. They may have heard one or two exercises before commencing the program, but no more than that. What they experience during the program is generally unpremeditated and relevant only to themselves.

On a very few occasions, however, a shared experience may be reported. One such report was from a young woman who had become aware that three of the men on the program were physically attracted to her. Annoyed by this, which she sensed had been distracting her during her experience of the program, she wondered how best to deal with it. She decided to ask what she described as the “divine forces” if it were possible for her to experience spiritual love, not to receive it but to learn how to give it to others.

She kept that thought in mind as she commenced the next exercise. Then, as the exercise continued, she found herself moving out-of-body towards the one man on the course that she had not had a chance to talk with. Her report continues:

All at once I had a knowing . . . that his vibrations were my vibrations. I had an overwhelming desire to meld, to feel a part of him—to become one . . . I gave to him both my body and soul until there was this tremendous energy surge that rocked and exploded in us.

It was an experience that is beyond words, for love, total and absolute, surrounded us more strongly than can be earthly experienced or imagined. The more I gave, the greater I received and I didn’t want to let go . . . It was like two energies becoming one at last. I can remember thinking how physical sex paled in comparison.

When the two participants spoke at the conclusion of the exercise, it became immediately clear that the experience of spiritual love had been shared by both of them. Their accounts fitted together “like puzzle pieces, matching perfectly and interlocking.” From that time they began to share their lives, “growing and loving together.”

Reports of such shared occurrences are very rare, although highly personal experiences are sometimes kept confidential and not placed in the Institute records. In contrast, another of the reports that Monroe quotes seems to have a wider relevance. Reflecting on the possibility of perceiving ultimate reality—what he understood Monroe was referring to when he used the word Home—this participant felt that anything that could be formed into five physical senses, expressed in language or oriented thought, was an illusion.

All that he was aware of was “blankness and bliss.” Blankness, he explains, “not because it is blank, but because I attempt to experience it with mental processes that are geared to the five physical senses and that are in the habit of perceiving illusion. I am trying to use my biological illusion computer to perceive beyond the apparent limits of illusion. Like trying to smell a flower with your ear.

I experience bliss because emotional feeling is the only perceptual tool that I am able to use to sense beyond illusion. If there are other perceptual tools that are available to me, they are either atrophied by lack of use, and must somehow be reactivated, or they must be initially activated.”

This is not such an uncommon experience. Many participants in these programs find that words are inadequate to express what they have sensed or perceived and that their usual thought processes fall short of enabling them “to get their head round” what they have undergone.

Monroe was well aware of this. Throughout the published accounts of his own journeys, for the sake of his readers he seeks to organize and shape the material, as far as that is possible. In Far Journeys he no longer refers to Locales I, II, and III, but instead draws a distinction between two main types of out-of-body experience. One he calls “local traffic,” defined as “events and activities that relate directly to here-now time-space.”

Local traffic includes such excursions as traveling around the neighborhood calling in on friends to see how they are doing, and he feels he has had enough of this. The second type he calls “interstate,” implying moving from one state to another, with this description applying to experiences “where virtually all the rules, patterns, illusions, and the rest of ‘local traffic,’ with few exceptions, are non-existent.” It is a selection of his travels on the interstate that he recounts in this book.

As a result of his own experiences and the reports of the Explorer team, by mid-1984 Monroe found it possible to state certain premises and conclusions. Here they are in outline:

  • All humans move into the out-of-body state during sleep.
  • A form of dynamic energy, so far unidentified, is present in all carbon-based organic life. It enters the body before birth and leaves it at death.
  • The dominant waking consciousness is only a part of the various forms of consciousness available to man.
  • Human consciousness is a manifestation of the dynamic energy already referred to. As a highly complex vibrational pattern it responds to and acts upon similar patterns from external sources.
  • All patterns of consciousness are nonphysical and hence not dependent on time-space. “In short, like it or not, you’re going to continue to do and be after you can no longer hang in there physically.”
  • From the work of the Explorers and their contacts has emanated an underlying mosaic of action that on examination becomes an astounding potential. It is the display and application of a science—or technology— that is totally absent from human culture. To this Monroe adds, “the application of this technology seems totally benevolent.”

These are challenging statements. Because they are based on experiences reported by individuals in the out-of-body state they are open to rejection by those who have never knowingly entered into that state. With the exception of the second and third premises, they cannot at this time be scientifically validated.

But in the world that Monroe and his Explorers were investigating, our present-day science— materialist science—has no relevance. We have no warrant to claim that our earthly science is the only science there is in the whole of the physical Universe—or within the immeasurable Universe of the human mind.

For readers of Far Journeys, and for anyone who seeks to understand Monroe’s philosophy, two things need to be accepted, or at least considered. One is the existence of beings that employ the technology he refers to above. Some of these beings have never existed in human form, others walked the Earth hundreds or thousands of years ago, and still others have previously existed in nonhuman form elsewhere in the Universe.

They seem to have some sort of individuality, but there is no way in which their numbers can be estimated. Some of them appear to have access to all knowledge and information. Some are interested in human life on Earth, although why and to what extent cannot be determined. They have developed a technology that forms no threat to humankind and is essentially benevolent.

The second requirement is acceptance of the existence of this technology, through which communication with human beings becomes possible. This is how Monroe explains it:

This technology can produce a beam of energy, which is first translated as light, through which the human energy essence can travel back and forth, information can flow, and the operators of such technology can enter time-space earth environments. Once properly perceived, they can endow the human mind with the ability to create (enhance?) such a beam of energy.

From Monroe’s personal experience and the reports from his laboratory team and the thousands of individuals who had participated in his courses, experiments, and trials, it became clear, he writes, that “all other intelligent species, either in the physical universe or in other energy systems, use a form of communication that is total and certainly nonverbal.” Nonverbal communication (NVC) is “direct instant experience and/or immediate knowing transmitted from one intelligent energy system and received by another.”

There is nothing weird about nonverbal communication as such. All of us use it frequently, through body language, facial expression, and telepathy.2 Saints and mystics especially place the highest value on nonverbal communications from nonphysical entities. But the nature of the NVC that Monroe and his Explorers were involved with is far more advanced.

It incorporates the instantaneous transmission of emotions, sensations, pictures—information and experience in any imaginable shape or form. To engage in this type of communication necessitates moving into an altered state of consciousness. Monroe’s own technology enabled his Explorers and Gateway participants to make this transition, while Monroe himself communicated via NVC while in his out-of-body state.

However, problems arise when it comes to translating NVC into language that others can understand. This is similar to the difficulty that arises when seeking to put into words a mystical or transcendent experience—the type of deeply felt experience that is essentially ineffable. In the areas that Monroe and the Explorers were venturing into, the resources of language were often inadequate, as can be gathered from the hesitancies, pauses, and corrections on many of the Explorer tapes.

Monroe, with no monitor or recording equipment, could only make notes on his experiences and do what he could to put them into shape. These recollections form the major part of Far Journeys, some of them combining several out-of-body expeditions. But, he says, more than 90 percent of the events that occurred seemed impossible to translate into ordinary language. Whether he was successful in solving the problems of describing these events and translating NVC into everyday language has to be left to the judgment of his readers.

Monroe attempted to translate “non-time-space events and ambience into replicas of conscious human physical experience.” While this might affect the accuracy of his account it should, he considered, help others to comprehend what he was trying to convey.

Also, it was impossible to use terms such as “he said,” “he walked,” or “she smiled,” as these implied physical activity that had no relevance. So he devised what he called a “replica vocabulary” of expressions that occurred frequently in his accounts, large parts of which involved passages of dialogue.

For example, in his reports he used the word blank to indicate failure to understand, vibrate to show emotion, dulled for loss of interest, and turn in for considering or thinking something over. Flickered indicates uncertainty, rolled is being amused or laughing, and smoothed is getting it together, being in charge of self. It is helpful to have the list of these terms when reading his reports.

Some of the terms Monroe invented go further than these approximations. An especially useful one is Rote, meaning a thought ball—a packet of thought/mentation, total memory, involving knowledge, information, experience, and history, an idea or concept complete in itself. The term Percept indicates a combination of insight, intuition, and understanding. Ident is a mental name or address—the energy pattern of an item. Curl is organized energy, usually intelligent, and CLICK (printed thus) is an instantaneous change in consciousness.

One expression that occurs for the first time in Far Journeys and became an essential component in Monroe’s interpretation of the Universe is the M Band. This, he says, is part of the energy spectrum surrounding the Earth that is commonly used for thought. It is not electronic, electric, magnetic, nucleonic, or anything else. M Band noise is caused by uncontrolled thought. Monroe perceived this as a sort of chaotic cacophony and learned to hurry through it as fast as he could.

The out-of-body experiences that Monroe describes in Far Journeys have a remarkable consistency. Although they took place over several years they fit into a sequence. They were, as he says himself, instructional sessions under the guidance of what he refers to as an “Inspec” (short for “intelligent species,” with the implication that humans do not necessarily fit into this category).

Monroe describes the Inspec as “an external intelligent energy source, helping, navigating, doing the driving.” Similar entities appeared also in many OBE accounts from members of the Explorer team. Unlike some Explorers, however, Monroe never gave his Inspec a name, although he does give names or labels (idents) to some of the other beings he encountered.

There is Bill, once his flying instructor, now fully integrated into nonphysical existence, and Lou, whose ident is now Z-55, a musician Monroe once worked with who died from the effects of diabetes. We are told that Lou has had two more lifetimes since then and has one more to undergo before becoming free from the illusion of time and space.

In one experience Monroe receives a Rote and opens it to find himself observing a tour of Time-Space Illusion (TSI), which encompasses the whole physical Universe. He follows the experiences of two entities, labeled by him AA and BB, who come from an area known as KT-95 and who participate in the tour.

AA is attracted by the M Band noise, hearing it not as uncontrolled thought but as a mixture of resonance, beat frequencies, standing waves, and incalculable patterns. Suddenly, he feels a strong desire to be human, makes his way to the “Entry Station,” and eventually emerges as a newborn baby in a New York tenement. He lives on Earth for fortyfive years and, despite BB’s remonstration, determines to return to Earth again, but this time as a woman. Monroe encounters BB many times in subsequent experiences.

AA remains in the physical world, although frequently expressing a strong desire to rejoin his nonhuman friends. But as the ever-present Inspec says, he has to stay and perform his designed function—he has no other choice.

During this episode there is a helpful explanation of phrases that apply to those living forms who enter, leave, and reenter the Earth Life System. First-Timers are those, like AA in his manifestation as a newborn New Yorker, who enter the system for the first time because they want to, and soon forget everything previous to their life on Earth.3

Old-Timers repeat entering and leaving the physical world several times and can recall some elements of previous existences there. Last-Timers are those on their final lifetime and when that terminates they leave forever—they go Home. Instances of all three groups are met with in Monroe’s subsequent journeys. There is also a small number of Seekers who are able to make visits to the nonphysical realms while still possessing physical bodies.

A fascinating commentary on Monroe’s account of these nonphysical realms appears in Dark Night, Early Dawn, by Christopher Bache, professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. Bache comments that “Monroe’s vision of reality assumes the concept of reincarnation, and therefore it is a vision that sees human beings developing across enormous tracts of time . . .

According to him, our life before we began incarnating on Earth and after we stop is largely screened from our awareness by the heavy conditioning that space-time exerts on us while we are part of this system.” The “between-life” existence takes place in a series of four rings that surround space-time, which Monroe learns about in detail from a Rote. Bache points out that although these rings are described in spatial terms “it is clear that they represent not actual places but states of consciousness.

The geometry of concentric rings is in the final analysis a metaphor for the different experiential possibilities inherent in different states of consciousness.”4 Monroe’s descriptions are so vivid and detailed that it is easy to overlook this and to fall into the error of treating his far journeys as if they took place in a geographical landscape. 5

Among Monroe’s out-of-body experiences are visits to occasions in his own childhood when significant events took place that helped in his later emergence into the being he became. There are also snapshots of climactic happenings in former lifetimes—as the father of a family dying in the desert, as a warrior in battle, as a priest about to perform a human sacrifice but finding himself unable to do so.

He comes to understand these events as a series of demonstrations of the power of emotion, “the driving force, the creative energy which motivates human thought and action.” A further experience shows him that aloneness is an illusion, that “our idents in one another are indelible.” He is given to understand that it is his curiosity that motivates him in the search for completion, and he receives a detailed explanation of the functions of the entities, the Inspecs, who are guiding and informing him.

Some of his experiences resemble episodes from mature science fiction. In these, often accompanied by BB, he explores other realities and undergoes various adventures, all the time learning more about the immeasurable areas beyond the time-space continuum. On one journey he gives BB a tour of humanity, showing him how human activity is governed by the need to survive by visiting scenes of slaughtering a deer, cooking and eating, having sex, city life, and so on.

They observe the behavior of people who are physically dead but are unaware of their condition. In contrast, Monroe, now much more confident and with better understanding of the territory beyond time-space, introduces BB to a friend of his, Charlie, no longer in physical state and totally aware of his situation, who is happily creating his own reality in a corner of this nonphysical universe. From there they move outward to an area of religious buildings and on the steps of a church meet a woman who tells Monroe that they are at the gates of Heaven.

Finally, they encounter Monroe’s one-time physical friend Bill, whose explanation of the massive importance of emotion and love quite stuns BB, who has never taken on physical form and has failed to understand that this “emotion and love energy stuff ” is the inspiration for his adventures with Monroe and his concern for AA.

Occasionally during his journeys Monroe receives a Rote that he later unrolls and explains. A particularly complex Rote was thrown to him by BB, who described it as relating to a possible visit to the Time- Space Illusion. It is “about earth and humans, how it got started, what it’s for . . . all that stuff.”

It consists of a lengthy parable with echoes of the Genesis creation story, moving on to a tightly compressed allegorical account of the history of the Earth and the creatures inhabiting it. It deals largely with the production of “Loosh,” which Monroe explains as “an energy generated by all organic life in varying degrees of purity, the clearest and most potent coming from humans—engendered by human activity which triggers emotion, the highest of such emotions being—love?” The question mark is significant.

While Loosh may serve as a comprehensive term for everything that grows or is made, and for the emotions that result from human activity, Monroe finds it difficult, if not impossible, to fit love into this concept. When the Inspec suggests that he define love in his own terms, he finds he cannot do so. A little farther on in this experience he comes up with the expression “a special energy waveform labeled love.” He continues, “Yet we don’t really know what it is and . . . how to really use it.”

Then, towards the end of this particular journey, Monroe is granted a powerful visionary experience that he understands as revealing the source of the love energy. This experience leaves him with “the indescribable joy of knowing only that it did take place,” and the realization that “the echoes would reverberate in me throughout eternity, whatever my eternity was.”

Shortly afterwards he feels pulled back into his physical body, with the memory of the visionary experience fading as he wonders what would have happened if there were no signal to return. He ends this account with a passage that movingly combines the two lives, physical and nonphysical, that he was leading at the time.

It was then, lying there in the darkness, listening to the whippoorwill and the night crickets outside, the soft earth-scented breeze flowing in through the open window, feeling the hot warmth of our little dog Steamboat sleeping contentedly against the soles of my feet, the even breathing of Nancy sleeping beside me—that

I felt the wetness of my cheeks and a few remaining tears in my eyes. And I remembered. Not much, but I remembered! I sat up in bed, wanting to jump up and shout in incomprehensible joy. Steamboat raised his head and looked at me curiously, then dropped back. My wife shifted position as I sat up, then gradually resumed her even breathing rhythm. I would not wake her, she needed her rest and recharge.

Monroe found that it took him several months to adjust his thinking to the contents of the Rote, but eventually he was able to accept the concept as “an explanation of total human behavior and history.”

In another out-of-body experience, towards the end of the Far Journeys sequence, Monroe becomes aware that he is reaching a limit beyond which he cannot move until he has fully released his physical body. However, the Inspec tells him that he can be taken, as an observer only, “to a physical earth possibility at a point in your time measurement beyond the year 3000.”

The inhabitants are known as Humans-Plus, or H-Plus. From deep space he moves towards the Earth, aware that the rings that once surrounded it are gone. There is “no more random thought clutter.” Descending above the Pacific he is aware that there are no ships or aircraft to be seen. As he surveys the land he observes that the fields resemble patchworks of bright colors, but he can see no roads, no buildings, no traffic, no power lines—no people.

With the speed of thought the Inspec takes him three-quarters of the way around the Earth before bringing him down on a knoll in a field of rich green grass, with an oak wood behind him and in the distance lines of green-blue hills, a very familiar place to Monroe. The Inspec energy fades away, leaving him alone.

For Monroe, what follows is a remarkable learning experience. The humans he meets use nonverbal communication. One of them is his old friend BB, appearing now as a good-looking man in his late twenties. He is with a woman who is familiar to him, attracting him strongly and becoming more familiar as the episode develops, but whom he does not name.

These individuals have bodies, but do not inhabit them all the time, storing them nearby until they need them—about twice a week, they tell him. They use the Reball– the resonant energy balloon that forms an impenetrable energy field—to protect their bodies when they are not occupying them.6 They draw energy from the atmosphere and tell him they can create food from a handful of dirt. He asks for his favorite corn, Silver Queen. The woman takes a handful of dirt and stares intently at it. “

The dirt began to bubble and boil, changing color, re-formed into a small full-kernelled mature ear of white corn. She handed it to me and I took it. It was hot to the touch. I carefully put it up to my mouth, took a bite. It was Silver Queen, the sweetest corn I ever tasted.” He comes to understand that humans have taken over Mother Nature’s work, with several improvements.

Next Monroe is taken on a tour during which he experiences being a fish, a plant, a panther, and a condor. Vividly described, this has similarities to a typical shamanic journey. Then towards the end of the episode he seeks for answers to questions that have been preoccupying him both in and out of body.

He learns that there is communication with other “civilizations” but nothing much is made of this, that there are visits to other nonphysical energy systems in order to cultivate them, that humans “graduate” from this point, never to return, and that the woman herself is shortly to graduate. He asks her what happens to graduates. She replies that she does not know—but that he does. At this he is suddenly aware that he has all the answers—or so he thinks.

But it is time for the journey to end. He reaches out for the grassy knoll where he landed—and finds himself in the year 1982 close to the Monroe Institute buildings in Virginia. Back in his body and in bed he looks at the clock. The whole journey, one that has enormous significance to Monroe, lasted for just eight minutes.

If we can accept the conventional left brain/right brain distinction, it seems that the right hemisphere—emotional, spatial, subjective—is dominant in Monroe’s out-of-body state, while the left hemisphere—rational, logical, objective—takes over when he comes to sort out and interpret the lessons of the experience itself.

Once he has completed his reports of the out-of-body sessions recounted in Far Journeys, he turns to a study of the various Rotes he has received and then to what he calls “a crib sheet for the course,” the course being how best to continue and expand one’s daily life activities, physical, mental, and emotional.

As with all three of his books, there are no references to any published authorities; everything he writes derives from his own experience and the conclusions he draws from that experience.

The Rote itself, a package of thought, knowledge, information, experience, and history, emanates from the nonphysical beings encountered in the out-of-body state. Reading, or rather “running” a Rote, as Monroe describes it, is like recalling the memory of a past event but differs because, as the process begins, every detail becomes immediately clear. You keep “your left-brain consciousness in the driver’s seat.”

The first Rote unrolled (or it may be more than one) deals with “the itinerary of human experience.” This Rote describes what happens to those who are physically dead and who are lodged in one of a number of rings, the particular ring depending on their degree of awareness of their relationship to physical matter reality.

Beyond are many more rings spanning an area from Human Time-Space Illusion on the inner side to Non-Physical Reality on the outer. From here the majority return to Earth for more lifetimes, while in the outermost ring are those, the Last-Timers, preparing for the departure into Non-Physical Reality, or graduation. They are on their way Home.

The second Rote is concerned with human existence on Earth. Life in the physical is “an intense learning experience, a school of a very unusual sort.” There are strict conditions for entry into physical life. “The energy form must agree that time-space truly does exist,” as without this agreement “it is impossible to have primary human consciousness.” The existence of planet Earth as it is must be agreed and the nature of human consciousness must also be accepted. Previous experience has to be blanked out or sublimated so as not to interfere.

Once born, the new entrant (or First-Timer) undergoes a traumatic period while adjusting to the demands of the physical body and the signals flooding into it. Then the primary learning system takes over, “the focusing of conscious awareness.”

Input from the five physical senses “turns attention to the event being experienced and such experience is then learned and stored,” a process enhanced if emotion is involved. Secondary learning occurs beyond our conscious awareness from input received where attention is not focused, affecting everything we think and do although we are not aware of it. Then there is a third type of learning that takes place during sleep.

These learning systems are different from and ignored by the unnatural learning systems devised by human cultures, which are virtually confined to the knowledge, understanding, control, and application of physical matter and which, because they operate entirely through input from the physical senses, may effectively eliminate any last vestiges of originality from the individual.

The Rote continues to deal with the reasons why First-Timers desire to repeat their human experience time and again. Human physical life is addictive. It is imprinted with the drive to survive, with the need to protect and maintain the body no matter what. This leads to a form of distortion. Mere survival is not enough: luxury food and clothes, fully equipped houses, life-support systems, medicines, laws, nation-states—all and more distort the survival drive.

Further distortion arises from the sensual emphasis on sexuality—“the original motivating drive to reproduce has long since become secondary to the temporary sensory peak of the act itself.” All of this “adds to the glue that binds the human in low orbit.”

The last part of the Rote is concerned with the overwhelming importance of emotion, “the key to and the driving force underlying every thought and action in human existence.” Emotion, especially as it accumulates in and dominates the human ego, is seen as diffusion of the Prime Energy or Creative Force that is inherent in everyone. Moreover, it is inextricably involved in time-space physical matter events.

There is, however, an exception that accurately represents the original Prime Energy and that is essential if humans are ever to escape from the Time-Space Illusion. This, for the sake of clarity, may be called Super Love (SL) to distinguish it from love—a term so broadly used as to have lost any meaning.

Super Love is indestructible, does not depend on physical matter, and has no object. It is “a continuous radiation, totally nondependent upon like reception or any other form of return whatsoever.” Super Love just is. This is ultimately what we are on Earth to learn.

Monroe’s crib sheet that concludes Far Journeys is a sequence of statements and recommendations that he has garnered from his nonphysical experiences. The four statements provide a baseline for the recommendations, or advice, that follows. They are:

  • Reality is that which is perceived.
  • Energy does not exist until expressed.
  • Energy focused is exponential.
  • Consciousness is focused energy.

Each of these statements carries a coherent explanation. The recommendations that follow are practical and forcefully expressed. Many of them are manifested in the exercises in the Institute’s Gateway program. They conclude with a rare (if not solitary) reference to Monroe’s father, the language professor, who used to quote what he called a famous old French proverb to stimulate his students, some of whom labored for hours trying to work it out. “Pas de Lieu Rhone que Nous” was the proverb. Say it in your mind or speak it with a French accent, Monroe senior suggested—and listen to what you are saying!

Some of the ideas and concepts elaborated in Far Journeys may not seem so very different from what can be found in certain esoteric writings or in various belief systems. As one reviewer wrote: “What is unique here is the attempt to remove the trappings of religious doctrine and mysticism and to simply describe the adventures of a man who has devoted the last quarter of a century to inner exploration.”

Christopher Bache makes the point that Monroe’s account of the state between incarnations resonates deeply with the portrayal of this state in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. There is, however, no evidence that Monroe made any close study of this sort of material or that he was noticeably influenced by anyone in this field, including those he met such as Jane Roberts or Elmer and Alice Green.

As a reviewer of the book remarked: “Monroe differs significantly from others who may propound such cosmic ideas . . . in that he is a contemporary American, a pragmatist with an unquenchable curiosity that propels him to explore the unknown. He became involved not from a philosophical standpoint, but from the need to make sense of his own experiences with OBEs.”7

Among the appendixes in Far Journeys is a paper on “The OBE Psychophysiology of Robert A. Monroe” by Dr. Stuart Twemlow and Dr. Glen Gabbard, which first appeared in their study With the Eyes of the Mind (1984). The authors seek to find connections between Monroe’s strong and lifelong interest in flying and the nature of his OBEs—the travels to distant locations and through “realms which are fantastic and inexplicable.”

They also used Rorschach tests (interpretations of inkblots) to analyze aspects of his personality, suggesting that “he has strong defenses against dealing with sexuality, defensive feelings, and especially aggression,” adding that “by transcending the prison of his body,” it allows him to steer clear of such potential conflict areas.

Yet the OBEs recorded in Far Journeys hardly bear this out. In these accounts he is taking a far more active role than in the experiences described in Journeys Out of the Body. Sexuality, depression, and aggression are not avoided, though it could be said that he still journeys through “realms which are fantastic and inexplicable.” But he is determined to do his best to explain what may seem at first to defy any explanation.

If we are looking to his OBEs for insight into his personality, we will find much evidence of courage and determination as well as a curiosity—a desire to know—that will not be denied. These qualities are often associated with the young, but as we read this book it is worth bearing in mind (from our own standing within the Time-Space Illusion) that Monroe was fiftyseven years old when the experiences recorded in Far Journeys first occurred and seventy when the book was published.

Far Journeys is not altogether an easy read. For those who have difficulty with the content of Monroe’s narratives of his journeys, it helps to use (in Coleridge’s phrase) the willing suspension of disbelief— for the time being at least. Moreover, Monroe’s attempts to put nonverbal communication into ordinary everyday American sometimes descends into the banal, and expressions such as “Bill opened gently” and “I vibrated more” may affect the reader in ways that were never intended.

Presumably he came to realize this and in his last book, Ultimate Journey, his interpretations of NVC are less demotic and he no longer employs his “replica vocabulary.” Nevertheless, there is much vivid, explicit writing, for example, in the chapters entitled “Rainbow Route” and “Shock Treatment,” both of which contain passages of considerable power and memorable content.

Yet there is more to Far Journeys than a series of accounts of several extraordinary out-of-body experiences and the information that may be extrapolated from them. In the final journey, “The Gathering,” Monroe is brought to consider from “somewhere between the Earth and the Moon” a host of countless numbers of forms glowing in various degrees of expectancy that have come together to witness what the Inspec describes as “a very rare event—the conflux of several different and intense energy fields arriving at the same point in your time-space.”

The gathering is to observe the possible birth of a new energy that will, the Inspec continues, “offer human consciousness a rare potential to emerge rapidly into a unified intelligent energy system that will range far beyond your time-space illusion, creating, constructing, teaching as only a human-trained graduate energy is able to do.” Should the opportunity be missed, humans would eventually lose their place as the dominant species on Earth and, the Inspec says, “we would just have to start up some action on some other planet in time-space with new humans.”

There is, says the Inspec, one more process to perform. Following two rapid changes in consciousness, Monroe, still accompanied by the Inspec and now also by BB, finds himself in a place on Earth that is very familiar to him. Inside “a small structure in the middle of a grove of trees” is a man lying on a bed. It is, he is certain, the physical form of the nonphysical being known as AA.

From time to time in his journeys Monroe has been aware of AA’s presence in the vicinity and he feels that AA knows him at least as well as he knows himself. Now, as he watches, he becomes aware of a resistance emanating from the man. The Inspec tells BB to help the man separate temporarily from his physical body, which he succeeds in doing, and asks him to inquire as to his purpose. Monroe is aware of M Band screeching, indicating strong emotion. The resistance seems to be intensifying.

Then the Inspec gives the man’s response: “He stated he wished to serve humankind.” “He wants to go with us,” says BB. “Can he do that?” But Monroe knows the answer before the Inspec expresses it. “Inform him he must stay and perform his designed function. He has no other choice at this point.” As the man sinks to his knees, Monroe, the Inspec, and BB move away. “It is done,” says the Inspec. “The pattern is complete.”

And here we come to the crucial point of the Hero’s Journey— that other journey that Robert Monroe had been following unknowingly since those hours he spent many years before at the bottom of the well. As Joseph Campbell said, “The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and power to serve others.” Now it was clear that the wish to serve humankind had become the chief motivating principle in Monroe’s life and work. It was, in the words ascribed to the Inspec, “his designed function.” He had no other choice.


1. Far Journeys, p. 6. All quotations from Far Journeys by Robert Monroe, copyright © 1985 by Robert Monroe are used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

2. See The Sense of Being Stared At, by Rupert Sheldrake (Hutchinson, 2003).

3. Readers may see a disconnection here between the memory of AA and of the other First-Timers. I regret that I am unable to resolve this!

4. Dark Night, Early Dawn (SUNY), pp. 126–31.

5. A simplified version of this was later introduced into the Institute’s Lifeline course. An interesting comment on Monroe’s rings from the Christian standpoint appeared in an article entitled “This World and the Next” by the theologian and parapsychologist Crawford Knox in The Christian Parapsychologist (December 2005):

“Though Monroe describes the rings in spatial terms, they represent not actual places but states or depths of consciousness or awareness. As we grow into the life of God ... we can become aware of new depths of the life of God all around us. The geometry of concentric rings seems to be a metaphor for the different experiential possibilities inherent in different states of consciousness as people develop and grow deeper into the life of God.

To think of the next world in spatial terms, therefore, is still to be under the influence of our space-time conditioning. Technically, one does not ‘travel’ in this reality so much as simply shift one’s mode of awareness and attention.”

6. The Reball became an essential component in the introductory exercises of the Institute course.

7. Ann Simpkinson, writing in Common Boundary.

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