PREP Sessions

Participants and graduates of the Guidelines program are eligible to participate in the PREP, a personalized session conducted in a specially designed, secluded cubical in the lab at the Institute or, more recently, at Roberts Mountain Retreat. Hemi-Sync frequencies and verbal guidance provided by a trained facilitator (monitor) support them throughout this unique experience.

In the YouTube video below, Dr. Darlene Miller describes the Guidelines workshop at The Monroe Institute and the individual PREP sessions that are integrated into the program.

Before PREP sessions, the participant and the monitor discuss the intent of the session and plan an agenda appropriate to the participant’s goals. Sometimes people go into a session with goals and expectations. Sometimes these goals are achieved and expectations are fulfilled, but most of the time what is realized (as in, “made real”) is something entirely different, of greater importance than can be imagined.

The use of physiological monitoring is especially beneficial to facilitation of PREP sessions. The monitor can tell when the participants are relaxed, when they “move” from experience to experience, and when to ask questions about the experience. Participants get a complete report of their physiological changes during their session at the end.

I was one of the monitors for PREP sessions at the Institute. Over the years, I have assisted approximately 4,000 participants to shift their conscious perspective and explore a realm of knowledge seemingly available beyond the limitations of their physical senses. The affinity I have for this process comes from several sources. My original training as a counterintelligence special agent introduced disciplined interviewing techniques. Later, I monitored thousands of remote-viewing sessions over the decade I spent in the Star Gate program. My own psychic experiences provided an empathetic understanding of the challenge posed when asked to objectify, describe, or report nonphysical experiences. But most importantly, above all else, is my profound respect—my gratitude for being chosen to enjoin these participants in the realization of spirit.

For the most part, participants come to a PREP session under the impression that the session is exclusively for them. After all, it is called the Personal Resource Exploration Program. For me, however, these sessions are unity experiences, times when the delusion of separateness from spirit fades and the silhouettes and shadows of darkness vanish in the light of intuition and a knowingness—in the realization of All That Is.

Many times, these experiences are seemingly very personal for the individual. I say seemingly because, for the most part, the reported information may represent a truth for all humanity and is not all that personal or unique to that individual.

Personal Explorations through the Flavor Straw

When I first met Bob Monroe, I was in search of training techniques for the army’s remote-viewing unit, and I had seemingly thousands of questions I wanted to ask Bob about Hemi-Sync. But as we had lunch on that springtime afternoon so long ago, I was also curious about the boundless white space I had visited during my Flavor Straw experience. When I asked Bob about this, he told me that the only way for me to know was to find out for myself (a comment he provided to many). In other words, I needed to explore this area on my own and not depend on what others may have to say about it.

It seemed to me that PREP sessions in the isolation booth would be ideal for explorations through the Flavor Straw. While I have been the monitor for others thousands of times since I became research director at the Institute, dozens of times I have been the explorer in the booth—expanding my conscious awareness into the knowingness of All That Is.

During these growth periods in my life, Teena Anderson, my colleague in the lab, was also my counselor and confidant. A motto at the Institute is, I am more than my physical body. Charlie Tart puts it something like this: What we think of ourselves in our head is but a simulation of our ultimate, transpersonal nature, our physical nature, and the external physical world around us. We ordinarily live inside this simulation and take it for the direct perception of reality and our selves, but those of us who’ve been “out” know that our ordinary self is indeed just a limited point of view, not the whole of reality. And Teena professes strongly that she is absolutely not her physical body. This spirit-centered being monitored my PREP sessions.

In preparation for one of these sessions, Teena and I talked about the fact that for some time I had been having mental visions, dreams, or experiences that I recognized as recurring mental visions, or trips, from my childhood. I was wondering why these episodes were once again drifting into my consciousness. I had also been having stomach problems ever since I retired from the army, and I was seeking some insight into possible metaphysical causes of these symptoms. I set learning about these topics as my goal for a PREP session on April 11, 1989.

My questions about recurring visions from my youth seemed to be answered with an explanation of a calendar of time and the fact that these events aren't always coexistent from a temporal perspective. Apparently, events of our perceived past are not fixed and can be altered by present activities and the future present as well. My awareness of this happening was experienced as recurring visions of what I perceive as the temporal past but in reality are as yet uncompleted events. All that exists is the present. What we call the past is information (as in, in-formation, not solid). What we call the future forms by the laws of probability, intent-consciousness, and present activities (which, of course, becomes part of the past in-formation a moment from now).

During the session, I was reminded (put into my right-mind) that the question of purpose doesn’t make sense. I also realized that, rather than using who, what, why, when, or how, I should simply say in my mind explain, to solicit the answers to questions I (or an aspect of myself) may have. Apparently, the use of the interrogatives limits the response by confining the answer provided to the boundaries of a belief that we are somehow separate from this knowledge. Explain, on the other hand, simply means to make obvious what is already known and imposes no belief limitations.

When I sought answers concerning my colitis, I uncovered an aspective expression of myself that appeared to me as a black bird. Guidance offered this black bird and its nest-tending concerns as a metaphor. The black bird was concerned about losing its identity as a nest tender and principal family caregiver when its offspring outgrew the confines of the nest and their dependency. The nest tender personality or aspect was, in a sense, facing death—and wasn't facing this transition comfortably.

I was unable to resolve the issues surrounding Nest Tender during this session because my bladder filled up to the point of physical discomfort and I couldn’t continue with the session. This theme, however, continued for several years in many sessions.

Just two weeks later, I had the opportunity to do another PREP session. Before the session, Teena and I discussed the nest-tender aspect from my previous session. During the session, something wonderful happened. I discovered another aspect of myself that I have come to know as the Flower. An unusual energy pattern also made itself known. It flooded my consciousness and spoke with a voice of its own while I remained in the background, mindful of all that was happening.

The nest-tender metaphor appeared as a mouse, and the suggestion was that Nest Tender was sleeping. I was told that offspring activity (children) and spousal influences contribute to upsetting Nest Tender. But my attention was quickly drawn away from this line of inquiry.

I began to focus on realizing (making real) an alternate aspect or personality within me, the Flower. In the days previous to this session, I had been discussing the idea of totem symbolism as a viable expression of life’s patterns. During the session, this notion emerged and I began my search for an alternate aspective expression or animal totem that was appropriate.

My analytical approach was abruptly set aside and I found myself releasing the issue to Guidance, a la Florence Scovel Shinn. It was then that I discovered the Flower. Part of this wonderful discovery included experiencing a new form of communication. My thoughts and words separated, and I began to hear myself speaking in a rather unusual voice. I was fully aware of what was happening. The experience did not frighten me.

During prior sessions, I had been noticing various kinesthetic sensations, tickling, and pressure in various places, especially in my nose. The rhetoric that I heard during programs at the Institute involved the concept of controlling these kinds of vibrations or feelings. Before this booth session, my monitor and I had decided that control could be identified with ego and that perhaps expressing willingness to experience these sensations might be more appropriate.

We had talked about ego being afraid of the unknown—of whatever it could not control. So, when I began to have these kinesthetic sensations during the session, I silently welcomed the feelings and the experience. I invited the tickling and the vibrations and expressed my genuine gratitude for the event. In retrospect, I think these expressions of acceptance are what led to the experience of the unusual energy voice from within.

The essence of being a flower appealed to me. This aspective expression was not based on relationships with others either by judgment or expectation. The flower reaches for the light and in so doing demonstrates to all the elegance of its beauty. The flower centers its consciousness not on its stem and roots but on the blossom, on the radiation of its beauty and in sharing that beauty with all that come to it. So, in effect, even when the plant dies, its beauty, its consciousness, lives on in the joy that it has shared.

I was reminded too that, beyond expressing the flower essence within me, I could seek out the flowerness in all around me. The session ended with a bit of knowing beyond all of this, which may have been a hint of things to come. Guidance seemed to be affirming the appropriateness of me focusing on becoming the flower while at the same time reminding me that there is a greater expression that one might call the garden. This hint came at the end of the session and at the time I didn’t fully appreciate its value.

I now think Guidance was reminding me that to perceive one’s self as a sole flower reinforces the illusion of separateness. Awareness of one’s identity as the whole garden realizes (makes real) our true nature. Does that make God the gardener? Or is there no separateness there either?

This whole session was capped by a very interesting experience. Without disclosing the contents of my session, I had made an audiocassette copy of the narrative and sent the tape to Fay, my fiancée, in North Carolina. Unknown to me, this beautiful woman had sent the following little story to me on the same day. Our correspondence crossed in the mail. Here’s the story she sent:

Suppose you’d known for a long time that you were a weed. When you were just a little sprout, before anyone had told you that you were a weed, you’d known something of what flowers feel like. And as you grew, you felt you’d like it better if you were a flower. But you learned to be satisfied living as a weed nonetheless— most of the time. You learned to bend a little so as not to take up too much sun, and to eat and drink and breathe not quite so much so as not to take too much nourishment from the flowers around you. It’s only in spring, when the flowers start to bloom, that it’s hard to be weed-like. Then, when the warm breeze comes, you feel a stirring, a hope, a wish for just a taste of blooming, but you can’t of course because you’re a weed.

Now suppose that one day a lovely creature walks into your field looking for flowers. And suppose she walks straight up to you and says, “What a strange and lovely flower this is hidden from the light!” For a moment you would not believe her. But oh, you would want to. So you might begin softly to look and feel around yourself. And what if you discovered that this had all been a silly mistake—that you were not a weed, but a flower after all.

Well, that’s what it feels like. A little sad that I spent so much time as a weed when I didn’t have to. A little in shock. A little exposed. Excited, in a quiet way, to discover what I’m all about. I don’t know much about being a flower, yet. But it’s me, and I love it, and I’m giving it all I’ve got.

Author Unknown

The story was accompanied by a drawing of a flower looking at a reflection of itself as a weed, not realizing its true nature because of the image of itself that it saw.

After we received our respective mailings, Fay and I were astonished by the serendipity. It brought us closer together, as if we were ever really separate in the first place.⚘

I thought long and hard about this session and the circumstances surrounding it. Even today, Fay and I speak fondly of the memories it has left with us. A month later, I did another PREP session that turned out to be a major breakthrough.

My monitor and I had discussed my intent for this next session, as we had done for the previous work. I wanted to ask Guidance about Fay, to explain this new and wondrous relationship to me.

I met Fay when she came to the Institute on a Saturday morning for a prearranged tour of the facilities. The minute I saw her, I thought I recognized her. As the tour progressed, we wound up in the lab. Fay and I were standing in the doorway of the isolation booth while I explained the soundproofing, the floatation bed, and the physiological monitoring. I gradually became aware of the rest of the world fading away. Within just a few seconds, Fay and I were seemingly alone.

Although my mouth kept spewing out the construction details and technical attributes of the booth, I was alert to the fact that things were not at all as they seemed. As Dorothy said to Toto in The Wizard of Oz, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. This strange place we fell into seemed to extend beyond all space and time. It was truly the proverbial forever. Just as gently as it had come over us, it was gone. We looked at each other and, without speaking, joined the others on the Institute tour.

The next significant activity was lunch. We ordered takeout and got some croissant sandwiches with dill-flavored potato salad from the Blue Ridge Pig, a local rustic café in Nellysford. Several Institute staff members and those taking the tour sat around the lunch table, socializing and getting to know one another. Fay started talking about moving out to Seattle to work for Lou Tice and his Investment in Excellence program. It seemed that this move was inevitable.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was so beautiful. I longed for the taste of her lips on mine. Unexpectedly, I heard myself thinking, Why are you leaving me now that I have found you, after so long? Fay looked at me and blushed with embarrassment, then looked away. She must have heard my thoughts. After lunch, I asked my fellow staff members at the Institute if I had said anything unusual at lunch. They reported that I had not. Fortunately, Fay canceled her plans to move to Seattle, and our relationship quickly blossomed.

My intention going into this next PREP session, Personal Breakthrough, was to ask some questions about my now fiancée, Fay. I also wanted to understand more about this unusual energy voice that spoke the truth from somewhere inside my heart. The energy-voice experience had touched me deeply. It was intensely personal. I felt as though I was exposing myself, the true me without any social masks behind which I could safely hide. My Monitor and I talked about using affirmations of willingness to encourage more contact with the energy voice. Trust in my monitor was vital. And my bride-to-be, Fay, with whom I shared these adventures, was perhaps finding out more about me than she had imagined.

I consider this session a breakthrough because of the intensity of the experience with the energy voice. The experience was very physical. I experienced the unconditional love of my total self. I found out more about the flower aspect, the garden, and tending the garden. And I discovered that asking to understand is a rather narrow concept.

In answer to my questions about Fay, I found myself in what appeared to be a bedroom scene. At the time, I thought this was too silly and too filled with sexual innuendo to be real. But then I was shown a heart-shaped pillow and told that this symbolized Fay as the epitome of the expression a heart of gold. (Later, during a visit to Fay’s house in North Carolina, I was intrigued to find out that she indeed had a heart-shaped pillow with white lace on her bed.)

Guidance told me not to limit myself (by asking to understand) but to express my willingness to experience love and in so doing I will come to know All That Is. What is valuable is experience, and Fay with her heart of gold was to be just such an experience.

As the months passed, I continued my explorations of reality through personal experience. In the summer of 1989, a close friend of Fay’s shared her worries about her son Adrian. She told Fay that his dream was to be a military officer after he graduated from college, but that he kept reinjuring his hand or arm, resulting in numerous doctors’ appointments and physical therapy sessions. Adrian’s parents worried that when he took the physical exam for military officers he would be rejected. Fay had been telling her friend about my work at The Monroe Institute, and Adrian’s mother wondered if I could do anything to help him.

Fay asked me if, while I was guiding someone through experiences in the isolation booth at the lab, I could ask about Adrian. But most of the folks that I worked with in the lab were having personal growth experiences and were unaccustomed to responding to questions about others. Occasionally, I did monitor and question adept explorers on a wide range of topics, but I was reluctant to bring a personal agenda into my workplace. I felt that I would be misusing my position at the Institute, not to mention that people were paying for lab sessions for their own benefit. Without telling Fay of my concerns, I suggested that it would be helpful to have a picture of Adrian and that I needed to be assured that I had his parents’ permission to look into his condition. A picture was provided and permission was granted.

I set the problem aside for several weeks. Now and then, Fay wanted to know if I had asked anyone about Adrian. I told her that I hadn’t but, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her I was uncomfortable asking anyone about Adrian, given my position and responsibilities. I tried to evade her inquiries by implying that there hadn’t been anyone with sufficient talent in the lab recently or that, after all, there probably wasn’t anything anyone could do. On my birthday, August thirtieth, in 1989, she asked again, and I listened to myself tell her that I felt I should probably do the session myself.

I was startled to hear myself say this. Throughout my life, I have always been very PSI-experiential and encouraged the same in others, but the idea of doing a remote medicinal investigation seemed somehow beyond my expertise. I had no medical training, and my extensive extracorporeal experiences had always focused on personal issues. With soft-spoken authority, something inside me whispered an assurance: This was something I was to do. On August 31, 1989, I met with my monitor and prepared myself for a session in the isolation booth in the lab at the Institute.

As I held Adrian’s picture, my monitor and I talked about how I might focus my intent on investigating the issues surrounding Adrian’s injuries and perhaps how I might be of some help. We decided that I should use the affirmation of willingness to become one with Adrian, so that by becoming one with him I would then know him and the issues surrounding his injuries. In practical terms, this meant that as I moved into an altered state of consciousness I would hold foremost in my mind the assertion that I was eager to become one with Adrian.

I settled into the warm waterbed in the isolation booth, and my monitor hooked up my fingers to the physiological monitoring devices. When the lights in the booth were turned off and the soothing Hemi-Sync sounds began, I drifted away.

Later I called Fay and described the session to her. I was concerned about giving the audiocassette recording of the session to Fay’s friend, not knowing if the information would be useful. Also, I had never revealed my personal PSI activities to this friend. As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry. When Fay told Adrian’s mother that I had described him washing a black car, she said that Adrian had a black car, a graduation gift, which he washed frequently and meticulously. And Adrian’s mother immediately recognized the vintage 1950s kitchen that I had described as the grandmother’s kitchen.

Cautiously, Fay told her that Adrian had been influenced by a maternal authority figure and was perpetuating his injury as a way of protecting himself from ridicule in case he was unable to live up to the expectations of others.

Adrian’s mother realized exactly what had been happening. Adrian had been away at college in the same city as his grandmother and was expected to make regular visits, during which he was subjected to taunting sarcasm about where he was headed in life. Throughout Adrian’s childhood, his grandmother had constantly modeled an aristocratic aloofness, never letting anyone in the family forget that they would never achieve an equivalent status in life to hers.

Without telling Adrian about my session, his parents told him that he shouldn’t feel obligated to visit his grandmother’s house anymore. They also told him that they wanted him to be happy in life and choose for himself whatever he wanted to do. Regardless of all the family planning about joining the military, they didn’t want him to feel pressured (and keep injuring himself) if he really didn’t want to be an officer. Adrian told his parents that he really did want to be an officer and that he had made up his mind to join the military. Adrian’s mother thanked Fay for the information.

When Fay and I married on April 14, 1990, Adrian came to the wedding and I met him in the flesh for the first time. Fay and I have continued as family friends with Adrian’s parents over the years. We have never spoken about this episode of our relationship.

Today Adrian has completed his military service, having been a very successful and respected military officer. He married and has children and an ambitious civilian career in flying. He has outgrown his need to follow the expectations of others, and his proud parents applaud his every achievement. Even though I don’t think Adrian’s parents ever told him about my session, perhaps someday Adrian and I will see each other again and talk about our unusual liaison so many years ago.

More than a year later I did still another session in the booth that exemplified a typical booth session, like others had experienced, filled with knowledge and revelation. By this time, I had encountered the energy voice many times and was close to becoming one with the source, the voice itself.

Before the session, my monitor and I talked about my intent and my goal for the session. Having done so many PREP sessions, I had learned that, rather than detailing some ego-based narrow goal, it was best to go into a session with the intent of being open to experience whatever was most beneficial. That’s what I did. During the session, the energy voice intervened only slightly. It was as though I was becoming more attuned to its knowledge and my regular voice spoke the truth.

My favorite part of this session was experiencing the freedom of not clinging. I had a fear of letting go of things around me, a fear of loss of all that I thought I had worked for throughout my life. Metaphorically, if one wants to reach out and grab more, one is forced by circumstance to loosen one’s grip on whatever one already has.

Confronted with this seeming dilemma, I turned to Guidance. Seen through the eyes of Guidance, there is no dilemma: “. . . one always has everything and there is no more or less and so there is no reason to fear loss of what cannot be lost.” Metaphorically again, the only thing one loses when releasing one’s grip to receive more is the burden, the perceived millstone of personal possession.

When I reflected on the deeper significance of all this as it pertains to my exploration of reality through personal experience, I was reminded (was put back into my right-mind) that affirming a willingness to receive is inappropriate because we already have; a willingness to learn is inappropriate because we already know; a willingness to be is inappropriate because we already are. What it all comes down to is the spiritual I Am.

Another PREP session served to remind me (so I wouldn’t be out of my mind, so to speak) of the limitations of our physical world perceptions, which I call the “Other” session.

The energy voice had been coming through during my PREP sessions with some regularity, and I cherished this experience, feeling that it was deeply personal. In a very private talk with my monitor, I spoke softly with her about the personal nature of this experience for me and of how strange I thought it was that people who had similar experiences shared such an intensely personal event in public.

I clutched my hand to my chest and tears welled up in my eyes as I spoke of how personal, how spiritually moving this energy voice experience was for me. Wisely, my monitor suggested that the next time I did a PREP session, I ask Guidance (meaning the energy voice) about my feelings and the concept surrounding people sharing this experience in public.

During my next PREP session, I set this subject before Guidance by placing the intent foremost in my thinking. As I moved into Focus 12, I reviewed the deep appreciation I had for the energy voice and how very personal this experience was for me.

I then requested that Guidance explain how it was that some people having similar experiences could do so in a public forum and allow others, people in the audience, to communicate with the energy voice. I added a sidebar to this request by expressing up front that I felt such a notion for me seemed ludicrous, even blasphemous.

I waited several minutes for an explanation but got nothing. I wondered if I had made myself clear, if I had structured my intent properly. My monitor suggested that I ask again. I repeated my request to Guidance. Explain how people having energy-voice experiences can do so in a public forum and allow other people to communicate with the energy voice, given the extreme personal nature of the experience.

Again I waited several minutes, but the only reply I got was, We don’t understand. Since I had learned in earlier PREP sessions that the word understand is not generally within the vocabulary of Guidance—conceptually, Guidance cannot not understand—I knew that this reply meant that my query was unintelligible. My monitor suggested that I ask even again, and so once more I repeated my request.

Explain how people having energy-voice experiences can do so in a public forum and allow others in attendance to communicate with the energy voice, given the extreme personal nature of the experience. Explain how they share with other people this deeply spiritual reverie.

Guidance replied, What is an other

Well, that did it. I was dumbfounded, amazed by my own limiting viewpoint and my naiveté. Accompanying these four words was a huge message. From the perspective of Guidance—the level of reality through which Guidance operates—there is no concept of other. At this level, all is One.

So, from a practical standpoint, when an audience member attending a public channeling session asks a question, the energy voice doesn’t perceive such a question as coming from a separate individual, as there is no such thing as separateness. My realization (what was made real) was that my concerns about sharing my experience in public were based on my limited viewpoint in seeing myself as separate from (nonexistent) others.

In one sense I am an individual, but I as an individual can never be separate from the family of humankind. In the same manner, by definition nothing can be separate from creation. If it exists, it’s God’s work, so to speak. All is One.

Throughout the following year, I did a number of additional PREP sessions in the lab at the Institute. The energy voice showed up only occasionally to clarify my interpretations of experiences I was having. I seemed to be integrating the knowledge of the energy voice. I was realizing (becoming aware of the realness) my true spiritual identity.

These and other PREP sessions have helped me find answers to many questions. Sometimes our human earthly orientation limits our perceptions, but these sessions allowed me to explore a greater spiritual reality beyond the confines of my physical body. By September of 1991, I began having wonderful PREP sessions filled with the usual wisdom but without the semblance of my friend, the energy voice. But in more recent years, my PREP-session exploration of reality took on different dimensions.

Suzan AtwaterMy sister Sue died in June 1996, and even though her passing was the expected result of a long-term illness, it impacted me more than the deaths of my parents. On some level, we expect our parents to die. When siblings die, it’s different.

I had come to know through out-of-body experience and spiritual insight that what we call death is but a transition from one realm to another. I see birth and death as doorways through which we, as spiritual beings, pass from experience to experience. So I see death not as a tragedy but as a welcome release from the confines of the physical body.

Nonetheless, a few days after my sister’s death, I sensed a whisper of soft-spoken authority from within. It was a call to action, understated but of profound, compelling strength. I was told to use the skills that I had mastered in the Lifeline program at the Institute to help my sister. Lifeline is a multi-faceted six-day graduate program that provides access to states of consciousness beyond those experienced in the Gateway Voyage and Guidelines programs. Its primary emphasis is one of service to those here in physical matter reality and service to those who have made transitions from the physical to what my sister-in-law calls the forever place and those who may benefit from assistance. The Monroe Institute call this assistance Rescue work.

Several years ago a film crew under contract from the uneXplained, a documentary television series which originally aired from January 2, 1996 to May 7, 2000 on A&E and for a time broadcast on the Biography Channel, arranged to film a Lifeline workshop at The Monroe Institute. The results of the film crew's efforts were eventually aired as Journey of the Lost in two episodes on the uneXplained. The A&E corporate structure has since changed and the uneXplained Lifeline episodes as well as others have disappeared without explanation☺. For those insterested in the service-oriented Lifeline program or Rescue work in particular, these documentary episodes were very well produced and very informative. Fortunately, the producer on the film crew agreed to send me a copy of the edited footage when it was ready. I've been holding this copy for several years now and was sorry to find that the Lifeline episodes on the uneXplained have vanished. There are eight copyright claims on this video but YouTube has authorized the use of the copyrighted content in the video under the provision that ads might appear within the video itself.

If you are interested in the Lifeline workshop, you really need to check out my unlisted YouTube copy of Journey of the Lost or as my sister-in-law might call it: Lost in the Forever Place and How to Get Rescued.

It had been a long time since I had done a PREP session in the booth. But there was no doubt that I was being called to do a Rescue mission.

I felt good about this Rescue mission. It gave me a sense of well-being and peace. I helped Sue find her way beyond a plateau and on to an expanded experience of growth and development. The experience was so real for me that I had no doubts whatsoever that I had visited the realms beyond death’s doorway.

But I wondered about the pyramid I had seen. It hadn't emerged in the way of the symbolic pictures that are common to some of my explorations. I remembered a seemingly physical orientation as I flew around the pyramid and down into a tunnel. This seemed very real, very physical, but I had never experienced such a scenario. As time passed, I forgot about the pyramid and the tunnel underneath leading to another world.

Two years later, though, the mystery deepened. In August 1998, Beyond Productions, an Australian company working under contract for the Discovery Channel, invited me to help make a documentary about ancient rituals. Knowing of my work with sound and consciousness at The Monroe Institute, they asked me to electronically monitor the brainwaves of someone reenacting an ancient ritual, in hopes that I would be able to produce data—changes in brainwave patterns, objectively demonstrating changes in consciousness related to the rituals.

As background:

Ancient cultures used sound and music—music, rhythmic drumming, chanting—in religious ceremonies and to promote psychological and physical health. Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle thought that sound and music had special properties. Renowned classical and romantic composers viewed music as a powerful means of influencing consciousness and culture itself. And the idea that auditory stimulation can affect moods and consciousness is widely accepted today.

Beyond Productions wanted me to accompany its film crew into a cave beneath the Sun Pyramid in Mexico. At the time of the request, I didn’t remember the pyramid scenario in the PREP session I did to help my sister, and I didn’t think about the parallels until months later. Sitting here at the keyboard describing these events, I realize that all this was Guidance, sailing through life’s adventures, navigating each moment, and keeping me on course within a well-charted journey.

The Sun Pyramid, which was extensively excavated in the first decade of the twentieth century, is part of the ancient city of Teotihuacán, Mexico. Originally, it was approximately 215 by 215 meters at the base and about 63 meters high. It was enlarged later to a final size of 225 meters along each side. Its importance is indicated by its central location within the ancient city.

In 1971, archaeologists discovered a cave under the pyramid. Artifacts revealed that the cave was used for rituals focused on the netherworld and that musical instruments were used during such ritual activities. Ritual practitioners listened to the sound waves resonating from the walls of the cave and believed that this gave them a window to the world beyond death. (Some scholars believe that the Sun Pyramid was constructed over the cave to take advantage of its special characteristics during these rituals.) The public is not generally allowed into the ritual cave, so I felt privileged to be asked to participate in this experiment. I did measure the brainwaves of one of the four ritual participants and was able to record significant changes relating to the conduct of the ritual. This adventure was eventually aired on The Learning Channel in September 1999.

But more importantly for me personally was the fact that I was able to physically replicate part of the journey I had taken when I had helped my sister. Here I was, going underneath a pyramid, passing through a tunnel into a cave that reportedly was a gateway to the netherworld.

Months later, I realized that this physical experience answered my concerns about the pyramid in my out-of-body rescue of my sister. The pyramid in my PREP session experience had been real, although not made of physical matter. Perhaps ancient seers encouraged the building of pyramids as passages to the spiritual realms—the crude, physically constructed pyramid forms being symbolic—based on their own out-of-body experiences.

My exploration of reality through personal experience, my travels through the flavor straw, rekindled so many years ago with Bob Monroe, continues today. Before retiring, I enjoyed attending the Institute programs and occasionally doing a PREP session in the booth in the lab.

Through life’s process, I have realized the rhetoric of my childhood. We are never separate from spirit. Things are not physical or spiritual. We are, always. We sometimes have physical experiences. I realize, therefore, it is not especially necessary to enter a focus-level state to commune with my spiritual self. I am that being and all it takes is a simple shift in perspective to access all that I AM.

My ventures through the flavor straw have helped answer some of those persistent questions that were originally presented in the Gateway Voyage program:

More than twenty-five years since, the answers still seemed to be: