Altered states of consciousness, no psychedelics required. Journeying to a place using only your mind is possible
Traveling for lazy bodies with active imaginations (and depressingly limited funds)
Icould’ve sworn it was Professor X who walked into the room that first day of class. The entire lot of us were still and quiet as he walked up to the teacher’s podium. I’m guessing we were all trying to control our thoughts, thinking that he could tap into our consciousness at will.
His name is Fr. Jaime Bulatao—Fr. Bu, for short—a Jesuit priest, a renowned psychologist, and our professor for the most interesting class I would ever have in college: Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.
NOT YOUR USUAL MIND TRICKS
I’ve always been drawn to mystical and supernatural subjects ever since I was a kid, raiding those big black Encyclopediae of the Unusual and Unexplained in the library and immersing myself in accounts of spontaneous combustion and other seemingly superhuman psychic abilities. Seeing that course title on the list of available electives sent shivers down my spine. I had to get into that class.
It was more than I had expected. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy, as we learned, were rooted in what Fr. Bu introduced to us as transpersonal psychology—a branch of the science that investigated the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience. Not to be confused with parapsychology, though, transpersonal psychology is more concerned with the well-being of persons, fusing “timeless wisdom” such as meditation with scientific methodology.
The class really opened my eyes to a different field of psychology, learning about altered states of consciousness and the like. We had a ton of fun with lessons and sessions, from watching Fr. Bu hypnotize one of our (more skeptical) classmates into a partial paralysis, to going into a trance to uncover past lives, to even receiving assignments he’d send psychically (we had to go into a trance at a certain time of the day to receive them.)
But my favorite, by far, was an exercise called Remote Viewing.
PROJECTION, YOUR HONOR
Remote viewing is an exercise that allows a person to project their consciousness into another physical place. According to Gilda Dans-Lopez, PhD, who was Fr. Bu’s assistant for our class, remote
viewing is similar to dreams—the royal road to the unconscious, as Sigmund Freud would say.
“Dreaming, as with idealism, is also the gift of youth. To dream and make your dreams come true is a beautiful thing. That was what Fr. Bu was
tapping on,” says Dr. Dans-Lopez. At the risk of dumbing it down, remote viewing is pretty much very similar to astral projection—that oft-talked about spiritual occurrence when your soul leaves your body to wander around.
The thought of traveling and seeing other places has always intrigued me so much. Being able to do it with the mind was just beyond riveting that when Fr. Bu asked for volunteers for the demonstration, I raised my hand like the eager beaver I was.
He had the class sit in a circle, with me seated in a chair in the middle. He placed an empty glass bottle in front of me. “This will serve as your launchpad,” I remember him saying. It was supposed to be a tool to help me focus, so that when he said, “Go,” I could envision myself projecting my mind onto the launchpad, and then leaping off of it to go wherever he asks me to. Here’s how it works: in an altered state of consciousness, you’re able to tap into the collective unconscious of the people in the place you decide to visit, and sort of see what they have seen.
For the demonstration, we agreed that I would be visiting the lobby of the building where we held our class. On his signal, I was to project my consciousness to that place, look around, and then describe the people I saw in the lobby. A classmate of ours would then go out to verify if what I saw was really there, kind of like a little psychic game.
GAME FACE ON. We started with a relaxation exercise first, to help slip me into a trance. Fr. Bu guided me through it, instructing me to focus my