In preparation for an upcoming move from the house where we’ve lived for 18 years, we’ve been going through our massive collection of thousands of books, packing some for the move and turning others over to the library or Goodwill. The process has also provided an opportunity to rediscover books we’ve forgotten about, and others that we didn’t even know we had.
One such example of the latter is a book called Projections of the Consciousness: A Diary of Out-of-Body Experiences, by Waldo Vieira. Vieira is a Brazilian and this book was published in Portuguese in the mid-1980s. An English edition came out in 1995. The author was the founder of an organization he created in 1988 called the International Institute of Projectiology, based in Rio de Janiero. The institute apparently still exists with a broader title to include consciousness studies, in general. Vieira, who died in 2015, was a dentist, doctor, and also a spiritist—the Brazilian take on spiritualism—and rallied other physicians and scientists to his organization. He wrote more than a dozen books on the paranormal.
My first impression of the book by reading the flap and the back cover and flipping through it was that the text is incredibly detailed in describing Vieira’s theory and methods and his stories.
I opened it at random one recent evening after returning from my meditation workshop. What I read startled me. Of all the stories in this book, why that one? I wondered. It relates to the very question that I’ve been thinking and writing about regarding OBEs in recent months. It’s the theme of a novella, called Spinning Out, that will soon appear with a collection of short stories that Trish and I wrote called OUTLIERS.
The issue in question is whether or not it is possible to manipulate physical matter while out of body. We’ve written here about Wesley Meeks, who is security director of a hospital in Texas and a former police officer, who contends that he indeed has affected physical matter while out of body. In fact, he has regrets about one particular instance involving a waitress in a bar. I adapted that story in Spinning Out.
So what does Vieira say about manipulating matter while OBE? Keep in mind that, at this writing, this passage is the only thing I’ve read in the book. The diary entry is dated November 1, 1979. After a few preliminary notes, he begins describing the experience this way: “I became aware that I was projected as I left the apartment with the target idea of finding a place with switches in order to try switching lights off and on.”
He goes on to say, “As soon as I had the idea, a resounding clarification echoed close by, as if it were inside my head. It addressed the fact that when we think, we create. I heard: ‘There is a difference between physical objects and the creations of your mind. This bag of toys, for example, is a mental creation.’”
Vieira writes that a bag appeared and seemed to be full of toys. He was told he could pick it up and throw it and the sound it made when it hit the floor would also be created in his mind. He did so and when it hit the cement floor, it made a “tap sound.” The voice then assured him that the physical objects he see are real and that he was seeing them from outside of his physical body.
At that point, Vieira decided to move elsewhere and an instant later he saw a wide door near a dimly lit street. He went through the door and found himself on another street, next to a large warehouse similar to those in the dock area of Rio de Janeiro. “Now gliding and totally lucid, I discovered a few light switches in the dark warehouse. As I neared them, I again hear the explanation:
“‘You think that you switched the light on. It seems to you as though you have, but you really haven’t. Try to observe: what you think of happens, because the will desired it to be so. But the will is only able to affect the extraphysical dimension that you are in right now and not the intraphysical dimension that you are seeing and are appearing to touch, but are really not affecting.’”
Vieira goes on to say that everything the voice predicted came true. When he attempted to move the switches, he firmly felt the movement of the switches on the wall. “It seemed that I had touched and switched them all into the on position; however, the lights did not turn on. The action had merely been simulated.”
Finally, the voice said: “Do not concern yourself with moving physical objects. In order to do that, you would need to expend a lot more of your energies, while your extraphysical body is in a much denser state.”
Vieira’s story certainly muddies the waters regarding OBEs, which usually focus on travels in the physical world, and lucid dreaming, where you seem awake while dreaming but are in a dream world. Vieira’s experience seems to bridge the two. In doing so, it also questions the nature of any experience where matter is manipulated while in the out-of-body dreamers state.
Could Wesley Meeks have been visiting an imaginary bar while in a lucid dream during his experience in which he moved matter to the surprise of a waitress? The problem with that assessment is that Wesley later found that bar while awake and in his body, and he says it looked the same as when he was out of body.
Some time ago, I e-mailed Nancy McMoneagle, the director of the Monroe Institute that studies OBEs and offers visitor the opportunity to explore such experiences through the late Robert Monroe’s system. I asked Nancy if she had heard of examples of people moving physical objects while out of body. She said she only knew of one example. Robert Monroe once pinched his wife on the arm while he was out of body. She not only felt it, but a slight bruise latter appeared at the spot.
So, the true nature of OBEs remains a mystery. How much is imagination and how much can we impact the world while traveling out of body?