CHAPTER 10 - B u t Is It R e a l ?

Author: Tom Campbell. Link to original: (English).
Tags: Campbell, всеобщая теория Submitted by pollynevergirl 10.04.2012. Public material.
Part of "My Big TOE" book by Tom Campbell. We're translating it with author's permission. In this chapter Tom Campbell tells his story of working with Robert Monroe.

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Глава 10. Настоящее ли все это?. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by pollynevergirl 10.04.2012


Let's slip hack in time and view the whole from a slightly different perspective. My association with Bob Monroe presented a fantastic opportunity. With those years of practice, Dennis and I could easily differentiate a m o n g the various altered states of consciousness and get to them, shift between them, and come back to a normal state at will. However, it was not that easy to begin with.

We worked hard and modified the rest of o u r lives to accommodate our work. I had decided that while I was working at the lab, I would take no mind-altering drugs of any sort. It was going to be confusing enough without that variable floating a r o u n d in the equation. I had never used any illicit drugs as a student because it did not seem rational. I lived out of my mind, it was my ticket to success - 1 didn't want to mess anything up. But now I swore off even an occasional beer. Not a d r o p - socially or otherwise. I became a devout tea-totaler for the cause of clarity.

A few years later, food additives, preservatives, caffeine, and sugar were permanently banished from my diet. I reasoned that subtle natural effects might be washed out by the impact that these substances had on consciousness. I was right - the difference was dramatic. T h e success of our research hinged on the clear perception of subtle shifts in consciousness, anything that could potentially muddy those waters was dropped by the wayside.

We logged thousands of hours exploring and probing the limits of reality, produced a huge pile of measured data, and filled u p boxes full of audiotape that recorded every word of our sessions. T h e mental space we practiced in was nonphysical - bodiless. Unlike my previous TM meditation, we were active, willful, autonomous agents within this larger nonphysical reality. We went places, did things, communicated with nonphysical beings.

It was fun, but neither of us could take it too seriously. Bob was careful to never lead the witness. He played the part of neutral observer - never hinting at what we might experience or how we might experience it. He didn't want his experiences to influence o r bias us. As far as we could tell, he had no expectations of what we could, or would, accomplish.

Bob knew that if we were to experience the larger reality as he did, we would have to get there on o u r own. H e could guide, but not lead - that would ruin the i n d e p e n d e n t quality of o u r effort. H e wasn't looking for an echo - he wanted to accomplish real science. Initially, Dennis and I had the same problem. "Is this stuff real?" we would ask each other. How could we tell if what we were experiencing was inside (we were imagining it), or outside (had its own existence independent of us)? That was the b u r n i n g big question for both us - and for Bob as well.

Eventually we gained enough mental control and facility in working with altered states that Bob thought that we were ready to begin collecting some evidence to determine the operational significance of what we were experiencing in NPMR. Dennis and I were excited about the possibilities, and willing to accept the facts however they came out. We had been eager to objectively test the operational significance of our subjective experiences for some time. Bob had wanted us to wait until he thought we were ready. Neither of us was particularly optimistic or pessimistic - we wanted to know the truth. We were in the discovery m o d e and o p e n to all possibilities. As long as o u r methodology was sound, we were confident that eventually enough results would accumulate to tell their own story.

O n e of o u r first experiments was for Dennis and me to take a trip (experience) in the nonphysical together. O u r i n d e p e n d e n t descriptions of what we were experiencing should correlate closely if the experience were real and independent of either of us. From the beginning of our training, we had learned to give real-time descriptions of whatever we experienced. A microphone was suspended from the ceiling above each of o u r heads. What we said was recorded on tape. Dennis and I could not hear each o t h e r because we were in separate s o u n d p r o o f chambers.

Dennis and I quickly achieved the appropriate altered state, left our bodies, and met in the nonphysical as planned. It was a long adventure. We went places, saw things, had conversations with each o t h e r and with several nonphysical beings we h a p p e n e d to run into along the way. Bob had let us go a long time before h e ended the session and called us back. We pulled off o u r EEG and GSR electrodes and stumbled out of the darkness into the hallway of the lab.

In the control room, Bob was waiting for us. After a quick exchange, we knew that this would be a good test because we both had experienced many specific interactions. But were they the same interactions? Bob looked at us deadpan. u So, you two think you were together?" he asked, trying to sound disappointed. We looked at each o t h e r and shrugged o u r shoulders.

"Maybe," Dennis said tentatively, "at least we perceived meeting each other."

"Listen to this!" Bob said emphatically. T h e tapes, rewound as we disconnected electrodes and climbed out of our chambers, began to roll forward. We sat down and listened. T h e correlation was astonishing. For almost two hours wc sat there with o u r m o u t h s open, hooting and exclaiming, filling in the details for each other. Bob was now grinning. "Now that tells you something, doesn't it?" he exclaimed beaming. H e was every bit as excited as we were.

I was d u m b f o u n d e d . T h e r e was only o n e good explanation: T H I S STUFF WAS REAL! My mind searched for some o t h e r m o r e rational explanation. "Perhaps only o n e of us imagined the trip and the other was reading his thoughts telepathically," 1 said trying to cover all the possibilities. That was almost as far out as the first explanation, but not quite.

T h e undeniable fact was: We had seen the same visuals, heard the same telepathic conversations, and experienced the same clarity. "This stuff might actually be real," I said aloud to no one in particular. Dennis and I sat there wide-eyed, incredulous, and at a loss to explain it any o t h e r way. I said those same six words: "This stuff might actually be real," over and over to myself fifty times d u r i n g the next few days. I could not believe it, but I had to. I was there. This was my own experience. I was not reading this in a book about somebody else. In the vernacular of the times, I was blown away. You cannot u n d e r s t a n d the impact something such as this has until it happens to you. O n e more data point was in. My reality was about to get broader and stranger.

We repeated that experiment with similar results. It wasn't a phenomenon that d e p e n d e d on the two of us. Nancy Lea and I shared equally astonishing joint experiences. We tried o t h e r things as well. We read three and four digit n u m b e r s written on a blackboard next to the control room. Somebody would write a r a n d o m n u m b e r and we would read it while o u r bodies lay asleep. Then they would erase it and write a n o t h e r one, and so on and on. We went places - to people's homes - and saw what they were doing, then called t h e m o r talked to them the next day to check it out. We traveled into the f u t u r e and into the past. We tried to heal people's illnesses with o u r minds and intent because that was a good technique for interacting evidentially with the energy of others.

We designed, generated, and tested intent focusing tools for o u r use in the nonphysical. We diagnosed illnesses in people we never met, but that somebody else knew well. T h e evidence poured in. Now there were hundreds of data points; later evidentiary experiences tended to be more clear and often more dramatic, than the initial ones. We began to discern subtleties of the altered states where things worked well and where things did not work well. We refined our processes and improved our efficiency slowly during the next three years - it was a painstaking trial and error process.

Dennis and I were the same d e m a n d i n g and skeptical scientists that had started this adventure, but we had stopped asking if it was real. We now knew the answer. We also realized that o n e has to experience it oneself to get to that point. Nobody else can convince you. You simply must experience it yourself. All the data in the world, regardless of how carefully taken, become suspect if you are not there to participate and know the truth of the matter firsthand. Old beliefs must be shattered before you can begin to imagine a bigger picture. Until the inescapable logic of unambiguous firsthand experience hits you squarely between the eyes, the truth docs not sink in deeply. That is the way I was, and so is most everybody else.

I suppose by now, Dennis and I were certifiably strange. We were strange because of what we knew to be true by o u r carefully evaluated experience. We could not deny what we had seen, heard, and measured - even if it was incredibly strange. We knew how careful, skeptical, and d e m a n d i n g we were. We knew how high o u r standards of evidence were. We also knew that nobody else could possibly understand unless they experienced these truths for themselves. O n c e you find true knowledge, ignorance is 110 longer an option - and if the knowledge you find is unusual, then strange becomes a way of life.

O u r activity was not entirely internal. For example, Dennis and I were encouraged to volunteer for some remote viewing experiments at a well-known sleep & dream lab. T h e object was, u n d e r controlled conditions, to describe pictures being displayed in a n o t h e r room. As it t u r n e d out, being able to describe all the pictures correctly was not the most remarkable thing that h a p p e n e d .

When t h e EEG scrolls were r e t u r n e d from Duke University (where they had been sent for m o r e detailed analysis) a higher level of strangeness was evidenced. We were told that Dennis's EEG results p r o d u c e d the highest levels of alpha-waves ever recorded at Duke. Mine exhibited strong simultaneous levels of alpha and theta unlike anything they had ever seen before. Both were singular events previously unseen by the Duke researchers because of the narrowness of the peaks. This was particularly meaningful because d u r i n g the 60s and 70s, Duke University was recognized worldwide as the leader in parapsychological research.

O u r brainwaves were, it seemed, tightly focused to specific, nearly single frequencies. We were not particularly surprised by the tight focusing, but duly noted with interest that out of thousands and thousands of EEG analysis results, ours stood out as blatantly unique ("Your data blew them away at Duke," we were told by the researcher). We had for some time felt that what we were learning and developing was uniquely effective at producing specific altered states, but now we had corroborating evidence an independent lab at Duke had substantiated a physical manifestation of this uniqueness.

O n c e the mental d o o r of indisputable fact is pried open, the light begins to flood through. T h e old questions returned with new meaning. Now my reality, my picture, was bigger than I could have previously imagined. Nevertheless, I continually wondered if there were o t h e r subjective experiences that could produce consistent objective measurable results. Where were the boundaries - how much more reality was out there that I had missed? Could there be o t h e r operational states of consciousness hiding in the darkness of my ignorance?

I was driven to understand how everything was related, how it all worked together. Surely, there was some sort of science at the root. We had lots of data, but no self-consistent model to explain the how's and why's of it all - to define the interactions. How did reality function? What were the processes, the limits, and the rules? Is this the way it is, or only the way it seems? What did the Big Picture look like - where all the data are consistent and makes sense? How could any self-respecting physicist not ask these questions?

Bob, Dennis, and I would discuss it down at the house after the work at the lab was done. We informally came u p with some "the way things were" and "the way things seemed to be" statements, but they lacked deeper understanding. We surveyed the existing models - mostly a mishmash of emotion laden, belief focused, unscientific balderdash with little or no hard evidence that was reproducible. That was not what we were looking for. This was a scientific inquiry, not a new-age gathering of the faithful.

Finally, we ran across a candidate model - a place to start. T h o u g h imperfect, it was m o r e or less rational, consistent, and coherent most of the time - that m a d e it much better than the rest. Its explanations and descriptions were not complete, nor necessarily a place to end up, but it did provide a theoretical basis f r o m which to tentatively a n d skeptically begin. This model came to us in the f o r m of Seth Speaks, by J a n e Roberts. That the material was channeled was not a problem for us. By then, we were all personally familiar with the nonphysical and its host of sentient beings. In fact, it was a plus. Would you ask a fish about mountain hiking trails? No, not if you expected an accurate or useful answer.

We began to spend much of o u r training time at the lab testing and interpreting Seth's concepts, and procuring information from o u r own nonphysical sources. We worked on these issues for several years, slowly gaining g r o u n d . It was sometimes confusing, sometimes clarifying, but always interesting and always evidence was required.

I worked harder at these particular models of reality issues than the others. I was the theoretician of the g r o u p (what you might expect f r o m a physicist), Dennis was m o r e into applications (what you might expect from an engineer). Bob was a practical man focused primarily on whatever worked and u p o n gaining and maintaining objective credibility. Bill Yost contributed his engineering insights, m a n a g e m e n t skills, encouragement, and support. Nancy Lea did much of the daily support work, and became a full p a r t n e r in o u r explorations of nonphysical reality (as had her sister, Penny Honeycutt, a few years before). It was a good team.

We were all aided and abetted all along the way by o u r families (who for the most part participated in o u r research from time to time) and many u n m c n t i o n c d others. T h e research flowed in whichever direction seemed most productive at the time. Bob did not direct as much as he facilitated. Having perfected the wise and knowing smile of all good teachers who know how to let their students figure it out for themselves, he managed to float above the day to day effort and let o u r individual research take us wherever it would.