I feel like I need to make a post which better describes exactly what position I'm in, where I'm coming from, and what I'm looking for. I've percieved as confrontational and...for lack of better words...too skeptical.
My background is heavy in the sciences. I have a BA in Biology and have worked in laboratories for several years (and am currently working in a lab). So I'm very familiar with the scientific method and with the various mental tricks that you can play on yourself to distort reality to fit what you want to be true. I also come from a somewhat heavy zen background. After tiring of the nihilistic outlook that being purely objective and scientific almost inevitably gives you...I turned to zen.
Now, the zen belief as I see it (and as it's been clarified to me by MANY MANY MANY heavy zen practitioners and apparently "enlightened" people) is this: We are the universe. We are that. This basically means that we are simply pure awareness. We are aware of everything everywhere....we're omnipotent and completely and utterly one with everything. In fact, I wouldn't say we are one WITH everything. It'd be more accurate to say that we ARE EVERYTHING. We just are. There is no individuality. Individuality is an illusion caused by the brain and the brain's memory. Memory gives us the illusion that there is a past and by extention that we have an individual past. In fact, when we remember something...it is simply a sensation of the brain. We are awareness being aware of the brain giving the sensation of a memory. (I hope that makes sense) Our subjective experience is just a byproduct of the brain's natural tendency to build it's sensory input into a story. We are not that story...we are the pure awareness...the ONE that experiences that story. In fact, we (or I...the SELF) experience every story of every person everywhere at all times. However, we believe that we are a separate subjective person because the memories of two different brains don't interconnect...and it's that memory which is the only thing which gives us the sense of separateness. When the body dies...that memory is gone. And that's that. The only semblance of individuality (which didn't exist to begin with) is gone.
I'm not gonna lie...that scares the **** out of me. I'll re-explain that if necessary. The zen belief is kind of a tricky thing to wrap your head around.
Now, I struggled with accepting this idea for a long time. It wasn't hard for me to logically make sense of it....but it is a tough pill to swallow.
So then, after dealing with this idea for a long time...I find Tom Campbell. Tom says that we are more than our bodies...and our individuality goes on after the death of this body. The general idea of what zen was saying was still true, but that memory and individuality was based on something besides a piece of meat which was going to rot away in a few years. What an awesome idea! And even better, unlike the majority of people who claim this idea, Tom didn't seem like a complete loony! He seemed like a sane, sensible, and intelligent guy. If HE could believe this, then there must be something to it, I thought.
So I read the trilogy, I signed up for the forum, and I start trying to meditate and get these OOB states.
Now, let me say that I agree with a lot of what Tom says. The things he says about love being the most important thing, about our purpose being lowering our entropy (which I interpret to mean moving through life and constantly increasing our choices of what we want to do), and I just agree with a lot of his general assumptions.
However, I cannot, despite all of my searching, find any evidence of our individuality going beyond our brain. Up to that point, I can agree with Tom. But I find no reason to believe that our individuality extends beyond our brain. In other words, I think that Tom and some of the zen beliefs match up perfectly. The only difference is that in Zen (and I'm using zen generically) the individual unit of consciousness is the physical body. It doesn't extend beyond that
I want to see evidence of successful remote viewing. A recorded instance of somebody going out of body and viewing something that they just simply could NOT have seen otherwise. I've heard of cases such as Uri Geller and Ingo Swann with the Stargate project. At first, I was convinced! But, later I took a look at a criticism of their work. Apparently they were stretching their statistics. For instance, to study remote viewing the researchers would have Uri identify 10 targets on 10 different occasions. Now, the researchers declared an 70% or so accuracy. But here's the problem. They ended up throwing out most of their data. The first 9 runs (meaning, the first 90 targets) were almost completely incorrect (the statistical breakdown is on Wikipedia somewhere, I think). However, the final run they had 7 hits and 3 misses. After throwing out the first 90 targets, they were left with ~70% success ratio. Now, this sounds fantastic! But they're not telling us about how they threw out most of their data. Also, if you'll check out some James Randi videos, he pretty rigorously debunks Uri Geller (by showing through video evidence how he cheated on several occasions during his "remote viewing." This is just one example of many.
I want to see evidence like Tom reported when he and Dennis went out of their bodies and recorded their experiences, then compared them. I want to see the comparison. If it shows something that cannot be accounted for by chance, then I'll be appeased. I want to hear personal anecdotes that portray something that could not have been made up. I don't want to hear about coincidences. I want to hear about how you went out of body, saw your friend in another state wearing red shorts, and then called them up and asked them what color shorts they were wearing, "OH! I'm wearing RED shorts!" Tada! You have just convinced me!
I don't think this is too much to ask.
I'm not trying to be confrontational. A lot of this MBT stuff resonates with me. But the big aspect, the meat of the story...is the survival after death. That's what I really want to see.
I'd be interested in hearing some of Tom's anecdotes. Some of the subjective experiences with objective results that helped convinced him this stuff is real. Though, I think he's avoiding the topic because I'm coming off as a bit confrontational and stubborn =)
Looking back on this post...it's not as well written as I would have liked it to been. But I just got home from work and I'm tired...