In unworlding, there are no methods, no techniques. But there are exercises which can build skill and confidence. These exercises are called "Beanpoles," named after the magical act of Climbing the Beanstalk. Climbing a Beanpole (doing any exercise such as the Rope Technique, etc.) prepares you for the simple act of altering your state of being, that is to say, the condition in which you exist. The same thing we do when we go to sleep or when we change scenes in a dream, but with focused Attention, lucidity and Intent. Unworlding for short. Frank Kepple, like Robert Monroe before him, called this sort of exercise a "rundown" but I changed the name so I could point out that all supposed unworlding methods belong in the same class of exercises and are not methods at all. When you do get unworlded, there's no method to it, it's the most natural thing in the world; you just do it. It's as natural as this Moment morphing into the next, because that's all it is.
It's possible to get unworlded when Climbing a Beanpole, and it's happened to me hundreds of times for just a second or two. Lucidity is usually lacking but that doesn't mean it will be lacking for you or for a future me. In my experience, I'll be running through my Beanpole routine when suddenly I'm in the Unworld doing something else from a first person perspective, or watching someone else do something, or flying through a landscape, or counting the buffalos on the roof of the mountain lodge, or listening to someone talk. Then BAM I'm Awakening in my bed asking myself What Just Happened so I can get up and write it down in my journal. Getting out of bed every few minutes to write a two-second unworlding in the journal teaches you to maintain equanimity so that you can lapse out again in a few minutes or less. It also keeps you from going into a deep nap, which to me seems like the waste of Daytime Practices when I could be recording a number of rendezvous with my dream bodies in my journal.
This new Echo Beanpole is a more sophisticated outgrowth of my earlier Beanpoles, the original Beanpole and SlamDunk. I say it's more sophisticated because it was designed to merge the special abilities of all Seven dream bodies, and after I'd practiced a preliminary version a few times I woke up with a ROTE of how to make it much better. So I'll just give the best version of it.
Until you learn how to do the Buzz Breath and REM breath, you can just substitute any enjoyable style of connected breathing in order to try out this Beanpole easily.
If you're really new to all the things I'm about to describe, don't just memorize this Beanpole and then get into bed and try to remember it. Better to sit right where you are as you read this. Close your eyes for a minute, learn it in pieces, in a series of dry runs, and when you have some feel for it, try it in your dream bed or in your unworlding recliner. Or on your favorite park bench.
In Echo you'll imagine yourself as your 8ness dream body, the personification of your crown chakra. I chose my character from my dream journal since I have a clearly defined character that I play in my dreams who matches the abilities of 8ness. "Limberluck" as I call him is a casual, jovial, relaxed, purposely homeless person who likes to joke around and fly. He typically rejects any offer to get uptight about anything and has no attachments that he can't fit in his duffel bag. When I experience this character from the first person perspective, I feel relatively ecstatic whether Officially Lucid or not. In Officially Lucid unworldings, this character has the tendency of asking women to marry him instead of just complimenting them the usual way, but of course he's just kidding; he has no sexual interest or aversion either one, and of course the women are my 6ness dream body so it's really about merging their two sets of abilities with each other.
If you haven't yet learned the name or ident of your 8ness body, you can study your dream journal till you find that person or you can adopt the identity of a clown, a comedian, a cartoon character, an acrobat, a child, yourself as a child, yourself as an ecstatically happy child--even complicated kids have their good days--or anyone you want, as long as imagining yourself as that character makes you feel free and relaxed, curious and detached at the same time. Remember to feel your way into this character from time to time during the exercise as it is of utmost importance to the intention of the exercise. I just surround myself with the reminders of that special Moment when finding myself being that person was an unforgettable experience.
Begin by performing the Buzz Breath to put you into an altered state of consciousness. This is a mechanical, physical act, very easy, and should only take a minute. If it takes longer, you're not doing it right; you're spacing out. If you haven't learned the Buzz Breath yet, just do some deep breathing and move on to the next part for now.
While bathing in the sensations caused by the Buzz Breath, merge with your 8ness character. Feel your way into that person. You can reinforce this later, any time you need to. Remember this is not a method for "leaving your body" so you can't do it wrong. Be casual and don't get caught up in trying to do it exactly right. If you forget where you are, that's actually a good sign, because being too vigilant means you're not relaxed, you're too attached. At the same time, don't just slop through it lazily. Put your heart and soul into it.
Imagine a toy railroad Tunnel in front of you. You can be kneeling in front of it if it's on the floor, or sitting on a chair if it's on a table, or you and the Tunnel can be all that exists. Whatever's more comfortable. Don't worry about visualizing details. A Beanpole is not a visualization, it's a productive way to occupy your mind that will teach you useful skills while allowing your dream bodies to take over and teach you about the Unworld a little bit at a time. The specific purpose of Echo is to merge the talents of all Seven of your dream bodies simultaneously. You don't have to analyze why it works and it might work better if you avoid doing so during the exercise itself.
The Tunnel is fairly large, with inlets on either end about the size of your hands. The Tunnel is no longer than your arm, but once inside it you'll find it can be of any length, since it dips into the Unworld where time and space can stretch to accomodate your needs. You'll start out, as your 8ness character, facing the Tunnel from the side, so you won't really see the openings at either end, but you know where they are.
Place your hands out a ways from the two openings of the Tunnel.
Place your Attention in your right hand by imagining your Mind's Eye moving down your arm into the palm of your hand. The Attention is awareness used as a tool, so just imagine that your hand can see. Again, this is not a visualization exercise, so don't stress or strain to really see anything, but have the intention and stay focused on what you're doing. Keep moving along and don't sweat it, you'll get better with practice.
Imagine that from the focus of your Attention in your palm grows a red ball of light in the palm of your hand. The hand grasps the red ball lightly so it doesn't float away. The hand is your Mind's Eye; it can see into the Tunnel. It can see through the red ball of light. It can see the entrance to the Tunnel and your other hand at the other end of the Tunnel.
From your physical brain, send orders for your physical hand to flick the ball through the Tunnel, but a tiny fraction of a second later, before your physical hand has a chance to move, put up a road block so to speak so that the nerve impulse goes to your imagined hand instead of your physical hand. In simple terms, you're sending a real impulse of Intent from your typical or physical awareness center to a non-physical hand. The orders from the brain are carried out by the non-physical hand and the ball gently floats away from the palm toward the Tunnel. There is a distinct POP sound as the ball enters the Tunnel. At this moment Attention i.e. first person perspective transfers from the hand to the ball.
The red ball carries your Attention through the Tunnel. While in the Tunnel it has nothing to do but peer forward with mild curiosity. It is sight, it doesn't see itself, but it sees the Tunnel walls ahead of it whether light or dark, straight or curved, long or short. As your own Attention, float through the Tunnel slowly enough to get a good look at it. As usual, don't try to force visualization. Keep your physical eyes relaxed and see what the ball is seeing, as imperfectly as this might be. You'll get better with practice.
When the ball of light reaches the far end of the Tunnel, it exits with a POP which transfers your Mind's Eye to the other hand, which instantly sees the ball coming toward it. But exiting the Tunnel has turned it into an orange ball of light. The now-orange ball floats to the hand which grasps it lightly and then releases it. The hand watches the orange ball of light float toward the Tunnel. When the ball of light enters the Tunnel, there's a loud POP and Attention is transferred to the ball.
You can see where this is going. Each time the ball exits the Tunnel, a loud POP is heard and it changes color. Go through the spectrum of colors, corresponding to the seven chakra colors red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, violet.
The exact shade is not important but it's important, eventually, to actually see at least a small spot of the color. This is easy, especially if you've practiced Noticing very much.
Since there are an odd number of colors, when you get back to red it will be starting in the left hand. Or you can start in the left hand to begin with, if you want.
Once you get back to red, start with the Buzz Breath again and re-inhabit the ident of you 8ness character. Use the Buzz Breath to kick-start an altered state of consciousness, establish the ident, then proceed with the REM breath through the rest of the exercise.
Be ready for Awakenings to take place: you might find yourself doing something else somewhere else from a first person perspective. If this doesn't happen, relax your focus a bit, because the lapse needs a square centimeter of distraction to sneak in a quick switch to the Unworld. If you find you're falling asleep completely, tighten up your focus or redesign the exercise to be more interesting to you personally. Try to remember what happens when you experience lapses so you can get out of bed to write them down, preferably during the exercise. Awakenings are hard to remember a few seconds later so get up slowly but get the words and/or images written down quickly before they're lost. If necessary, force yourself out of bed upon each Awakening to walk quietly to the table and write down what happened during the lapse, such as, "I saw my dream body as a blue-outlined dude wearing a fishing hat. He kicked me in the head which woke me up with a Jerk."
If the Voice of Idiossification tells you that getting out of bed is wrong or too hard or will keep you from getting unworlded, that's a sign you should definitely be getting out of bed. You always want to disobey the Voice of Idiossification: that's what it's there for. This is the Dream Usher testing you, because if you want to sleep, he won't waste his or her energy on you. Remember, you're not trying to get unworlded; you're learning how to hover on either side of the borderline of sleep as long as possible, while retaining focused Attention. If you indulge doubt or boredom the exercise is a waste of time, so there's a checklist of things below which you can remind yourself of during the exercise so you stay in the spirit of the Echo.
Here's a list of what's important to accomplish or learn or practice with the Echo Beanpole. These skills can be practiced separately to increase the power of the Echo later when you practice it. Note that "visualizing well" is not on the list, and when you do see the colors or see unexpected things from the perspective of the Mind's Eye, it will not be due to visualization but due to Noticing. If you've never practiced seeing hypnagogic images or any of the other skills involved, these can be practiced separately.
Breathe consciously and connectedly. If you pay Attention to the breath, your mind will not stray or daydream.
Practice Metsuke when looking through the Mind's Eye. Don't focus in tightly on anything; keep a panoramic perspective. When you see something clearly, don't get too excited; maintain mild curiosity. One way to practice Metsuke is to train your eyes to look equally at the four corners of a large screen in front of you. This gives the Mind's Eye freedom to effortlessly construct details on the screen without the interference of the physical eyes trying to look at things one at a time. The Mind's Eye doesn't have "focused vs. peripheral vision"; it sees everything in focus at once. When Noticing, look at what's there, don't cling to it. Appreciate whatever happens. Sometimes it seems forced and sometimes you'll swear someone slipped you a hallucinogenic drug. Hypnagogia can be totally mind-blowing, and the fact is, beyond a doubt, that the more intricate and self-generating the images are, the more effortless it is. If you start hearing and feeling strong hallucinations as well as visual images, you've accidentally slipped through the Urumara into the Projection Room. Check to see if you can float or something; you might already by unworlded. If not, at least try to interact with an image. Find a way to move through the image into a three-dimensional scene. When this works, it will be effortless.
Strongly Intend to retain continuous awareness of the activities at hand. Equally strongly, Intend to retain continuous awareness in case you should happen to lapse out of this world and go through the Urumara into another place. Remind yourself that you could be "asleep" in seconds, without warning, so this is all the more reason to pay Attention. If you do find yourself in another scene, the plan is to Just Get Up or roll out or float out or get pulled out and carry out your Intent Agenda, whatever that is. Energy spent reinforcing these intentions with or without affirmations is never wasted, but leave space for other things. Affirmations should be performed with confidence that they are going straight to their target; forcing affirmations down your own throat actually displays lack of confidence. During Beanpoles, affirmations could keep the wrong part of your mind active so it might be better to memorize the way the intended affirmation feels and just re-consolidate that feeling. Affirmations with no passion behind them are useless anyway.
The commands to your hands come from your physical brain, but are carried out by your dream body's hands. You will feel the movements. I like to watch my hands in the light at the end of the Tunnel. The first time I tried the Echo, my face also appeared behind the hand, wearing my lucidity hat. I enjoy wiggling my hands with my mind and connecting the intended wiggling with the observed hand. Pay Attention to any unexpected, spontaneous phantom wiggles and write them in your journal anyway even if you're unable to spread the wiggle into a general exit to the Unworld. Phantom wiggles like to be Noticed. Your dream bodies move around all the time and you ignore them; pay Attention and Notice them for a change. The orders from your brain can induce motion in any part of the dream body, and once you learn to Notice them, they can be intense and surprising. This kind of thing can be practiced separately with FILD.
Have little short wordless talks with yourself, which with practice are like turning on a switch or twisting a knob, the purpose of which is to remind yourself how much you want to experience altered states of consciousness in the Unworld at large. Mentally picture what you hope to accomplish by getting unworlded and why this is important to you. Pump up your desire to get unworlded. Remind yourself how enjoyable it will be. Look for a change of attitude; do not accept boredom. Burn boredom up with appreciation for that which you have yet to experience; such appreciation is also called curiosity .
Engage confidence in your ability to get unworlded as simply as you put on a piece of clothing. Just turn on the confidence. You know how to do this stuff. If you lack experience, the individual skills are easy to learn and all you have to do is practice. The more partial successes you've had in your unworlding practice, the easier it will be to plant yourself in the position of unyielding confidence. You know how to do these things. If you detect a doubt, don't argue with it, just displace it with confidence.
Above all, merge and re-merge with the ident of your 8ness body. This person is able to relax about it, to relax no matter what, and to enjoy the Moment in an uncomplicated, spontaneous way. Wear this person like a lucidity hat. I like to think of a time when I experienced bliss for a somewhat extended period of time, and quickly (instantaneously) feel my way back to that ident; be that person.
If you've never had an extended period of bliss, practice the Buzz Breath separately, but read the instructions carefully and make sure you're lying down, because the human body can only take so much bliss without saying or doing something stupid or passing out, whichever comes first. The Buzz Breath is also called the Breath of Flight in this book.
This all came from a ROTE when I woke up from an Awakening session in an altered state of consciousness. I will now lie down to practice it for the first time. I know it will have power, because I know where it came from. Hint: Not from my conscious mind.
[Added note: in my first practice of Echo, it took 1-1/2 hours to get through the Tunnel for one cycle of the colors. I had seven Awakenings in spite of getting out of bed to record each one. I practiced the Buzz Breath each time I was out of bed. I listened to binaural beats for the first hour and continued after the beats ran out to accomplish my seventh Awakening with the headphones silent.]