The Mystery of OT Levels


Reference: Looking at Hallucinations

Here are some of my thoughts on the OT Levels of Scientology. Hubbard says on the original OT I,

“It is not the intention of this section to exteriorize anyone but if it happens don’t worry about or fool around with the fact.”

He is trying to inject some mystery here.

But the OT I drills have to do with

(1) Counting bodies
(2) Noticng the sex (male or female) of those bodies.
(3) Noticing the size (small or large) of those bodies.
(4) Noticing the attribute in terms of there being an individual, or a crowd.
(5) Differentiating oneself from others.
(6) Noticing the degree to which one can have (tolerate) others around oneself.
(7) Noticing the body part in others that one doesn’t like having in one’s body.
(8) Spotting things in others that are not wrong with them.
(9) Noticing people walking toward you or walking away from you.
(10) Noticing how people stick to the ground (get the sense of gravity).
(11) Spotting important things about people (these would be one’s own considerations).
(12) Noticing places where there are no people.
(13) Noticing places where there are people.

Basically, this is LOOKING and recognizing what is there. The principles of mindfulness should apply here.

OT I focuses on perceiving the attributes of bodies in different ways  and then looking at oneself with respect to those attributes.

This drill may make a person look at oneself more objectively. This may free up the fixed considerations that one is a body. And one may get a new perspective on oneself, where one took oneself for granted before.

Nothing more mysterious need to be read into the OT I Level.



So why would Hubbard say,

“It is not the intention of this section to exteriorize anyone but if it happens don’t worry about or fool around with the fact.”

There is considerable mystery and expectations built around the word “exteriorization” in Scientology. It would have been better not to bring this word up if it was not part of OT I. But, I suppose, it was intended by Hubbard to present these OT Levels as something mysterious.

Are OT Levels really mysterious? Or, do they simply reflect Hubbard’s own uncertainty about the process of exteriorization?



First of all, is there anything mysterious about exteriorization? The Tech Dictionary of Scientology says,

EXTERIOR: the fellow would just move out, away from the body and be aware of himself as independent of a body but still able to control and handle the body. 

Now, what is this thing that would just move out, away from the body? Well, it’s the being. But what is a being? According to the Tech Dictionary,

BEING: a viewpoint; he is as much a being as he is able to assume viewpoints.

But is there somebody assuming this viewpoint? Yes, it is the THETAN. According to the Tech Dictionary,

THETAN: the mathematic symbol used in Scn to indicate the source of life and life itself… the awareness of awareness unit which has all potentialities but no mass, no wave-length and no location… the individual who lives in the body… not a thing, but the creator of things… that which is aware of being aware… energy space production unit… you before you mocked yourself up… a static…

It appears that “being” is a state or a condition. It is not something material. Detachment from body is getting unstuck from the consideration that one is a body. 



But it seems that Hubbard was not sure if exteriorization is material or immaterial.

Any mystery attached to “exteriorization” would come from not understanding this phenomenon. And any misunderstanding of “exteriorization” can inadvertently create complications with a person trying to interpret his experiences on OT I.

Hubbard says on OT I,

“A great many phenomena (strange things) can happen while doing these drills if they are done honestly.”

This definitely injects trepidation and expectation in the OT process. It thus colors and corrupts one’s ability to simply look.

A person’s experience on OT Levels will be messed up to the degree these levels are made mysterious.



The ability to simply look was presented by Hubbard as OBNOSIS. From Tech Dictionary:

OBNOSIS: observing the obvious. 

This is the same concept, which Buddha referred to as Mindfulness.

MINDFULNESS: Observe things as they are, with full awareness of one’s assumptions.

Unfortunately, Hubbard did not explore or emphasize the concept of OBNOSIS much, which, as MINDFULNESS, is central to Buddhism.

Here are the core aspects of mindfulness:

  • Observe without expecting anything, or attempting to get an answer.
  • Observe things as they are, without assuming anything.
  • If something is missing do not imagine something else in its place. 
  • If something does not make sense then do not explain it away.
  • Use physical senses as well as mental sense to observe.
  • Let the mind un-stack itself. 
  • Experience fully what is there.  
  • Do not suppress anything.
  • Associate data freely.
  • Do not get hung up on name and form.
  • Contemplate thoughtfully.
  • Let it all be effortless.


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  • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    It seems that a hallucination can be very mild and may simply serve to alter reality. Can religious ideas and imagery, such as that of The Last Judgement, result from hallucinations? Can expectations, such as those on the OT levels of Scientology, result in hallucinations of OT abilities?

    Hubbard establishes right from OT Level 1 that you must go by what the e-meter tells you in response to your questions. In other words, your body reactions must be trusted over and above your thoughts or feelings.Thus, Hubbard puts one’s thoughts and feelings under suspicion and as something that cannot be trusted.

    To me this is an inconsistency. Why give priority to body reactions (to which the e-meter responds) over something that one can clearly see.

    Where do body reactions come from? I would say that the e-meter reactions are not free of the judgmental nature of the mind. Only looking per KHTK issues goes beyond the judgmental nature of the mind.

    I would definitely trust LOOKING over the E-METER.



  • Donald William  On February 14, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    You have not been outside your body in full awareness? No. Hubbard meant outside the flesh body quite litterally. You should practice astral projection perhaps. It is also possible he meant it in the way you say too.


    • Chris Thompson  On February 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Donald, Are you equating astral projection to Hubbard’s exteriorization? Because he was quite clear in calling astral bodies delusion.


      • Donald William  On February 15, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        If Hubbard is always right then I have no idea what my astral body is. lol I have been out my body with and without an actual light body. Hubbard was an enormous liar who often said things just to appear impressive. I’ve not read his material like you, but I dont trust the guys judgement, motivations or cognative abilities. He was simply a cunning con artist who applied his background in magick and drug use to aggrandise himself and rob people. Ok, he had some good ideas too, and he stole a lot of ideas; probably more of the latter.

        I really like your interpretation and application of the tech here. What would the successful outcome or EP of New OT1 be?


        • Chris Thompson  On February 15, 2013 at 11:26 PM

          Ok cool. I wasn’t leading anywhere with my comment, just clearing my understanding of yours — how it related to Hubbard. Now I got you.


  • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    I had the following experience, which I recorded in Chapter 18 of My Introduction to America:

    I arrived back at my room dead tired but elated. I flung my shoes into a corner and myself on the bed. “I am just going to take a breather,” I said to myself, “before I change my clothes and turn the light off. A strange drowsiness came over me. The events of the day were going through my mind. But in the background was the thought about that infinite space. I closed my eyes.

    I felt light and weightless as if I was detached from the body. I started to lose my sense of orientation. It felt as if I was churning inside my body… first slowly… and then faster. I couldn’t open my eyes. It was as if I was caught in a rapid current of water. I couldn’t help but be carried away. There was a strong sensation of motion. I had never felt this kind of a force before except, maybe, on a roller-coaster.

    I didn’t panic. This is one thing I had learnt from TR 0 (confronting drill of Scientology) and auditing. Just be there and confront. Don’t resist. Fully experience it. The way out is the way through.

    Then, suddenly, that feeling of rapid motion abated. It was like after coursing through a narrow tunnel at high speed I got spit out into a large chamber. I may still be moving just as fast, but the space around me was so large that I didn’t have that feeling of rapid motion. A feeling of absolute calm washed over me. I slowly looked around. It was like being in a very large chamber, only the dimensions of that chamber seemed to be infinitely large. It was neither dark nor light. It was like having an impression of night sky full of distant bright stars all around you.

    I became aware of infinite space in front of me, infinite space behind me, infinite space on my left, infinite space on my right, and infinite space above me. Till now I had assumed that I was “standing” on something. But a sudden fear started to creep upon me. I didn’t want to look down because I was afraid what I would find. I forced myself to look down and then I caught my breath. There was infinite space below me. If I was falling I could not know. Neither gravity nor direction seemed to have any meaning in this situation. That’s when the panic hit me.

    “My God! I am out here in space all alone; I don’t know how far away I am from earth. I don’t even know the direction of earth from here. I am completely lost. What am I to do now? I have a quiz tomorrow at MIT. I must attend that quiz. I must maintain my 4.0 average. I must do something to get back. What can I do? What can I do?”

    I tried to calm myself down. “OK, just experience what is happening. Be there and confront. It is simply a phenomenon like any other phenomena you have gone through in your auditing. Ok, calm down. There has to be a way out of this dilemma.”

    As soon as I was able to regain some semblance of control, I just knew in which direction the earth was. Again, I was caught in the grip of that irresistible current. But this time it didn’t take long. I found myself back in my room looking down at my body lying on the bed. I heaved a sigh of relief.

    “Thank God! I am back… just a few feet more to my body and it would be all right.” I was still shaken up.

    Suddenly, another wave of panic hit me. I couldn’t move toward my body. It seemed as if I was stuck to the ceiling. “Oh! I shouldn’t have stopped to look at that magazine.” I admonished myself, “Look what mess you have gotten yourself into!”

    “But I could not have known that any of this would happen,” I told myself, “Just apply the formula that has gotten you so far. Don’t resist. Be there and confront. The way out is the way through. Be willing to experience anything.”

    As soon as decided to experience it I found myself descending toward my body slowly and slowly like a feather making its way through air. The moment I touched my body, I sat straight up in my bed.

    “Whew! That was a close one. What was this experience all about?” I looked at my watch. Only ten minutes had passed since I had entered the room. But it felt like an eternity.

    Even today the recall of this incident is as vivid as it can be.


    In this kind of experience it seems that one is out of one’s flesh and blood body, but this is a subjective experience. One is not outside the body objectively. I think that one is in a dimension that becomes available when one is not mentally fixated on the body. This dimension is different from the physical dimension.

    Research into this ‘detached from body’ dimension is part of my PHILOSOPHY PROJECT.



    • Donald William  On February 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      I lean in favour of the principle that the descriptions we attempt to apply to such things are of limited utility and use and often create outright traps for the mind. Insisting on a strict delineation between what we call the “physical” and other “dimensions” could be a case where attempting to describe the totality and divide it creates unnecessary limiters to how we think of and handle our experiences of reality. This could as a result of our structured, fixed or limited conception limit both our thinking and experiences. Never describe unnecessarily lest you mistakenly create a faulty working principle. There is definite overlap between physical and other “dimensions” and I have been in the physical in my astral/dreaming body many times. I am too lazy to have mastered doing it at will as yet.


    • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      There is probably an “actual physical” dimension, and then there is a “mental physical” dimension. I believe that the “mental physical” dimension is one’s view of the “physical” dimension. In other words,

      “mental physical” = “actual physical” filtered through one’s basic viewpoint (self).

      The definition applies whether one is awake or in meditation. So what we view of the physical universe in our actual waking hours is still the “mental universe”. This may be the same universe which we see in meditation if we are still using “self” as the viewpoint.

      When “self” as a viewpoint is taken out of the equation, the whole perception changes. The unfiltered physical dimension is something else. Not many people are aware of that.



  • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Here is another experience that I recorded in Chapter 23 of My Introduction to America:

    Years later (in 1992), I was taking a walk all alone and just musing to myself. I had been out of Sea Org since 1983. I was completely off the official Scientology lines since that moment too. But I had been off and on studying two books… SCIENTOLOGY 8-8008 and THE PHOENIX LECTURES. These books contained fascinating material.

    So, I was taking a walk. Suddenly, this thought came to my mind, “OK, so I am not considering myself to be inside my head… so where am I considering myself to be then? Am I not assuming myself to be within the physical universe?”

    Flick… something happened. I went into an uncontrollable laughter. I am glad nobody was there to watch me. They would have thought that I had gone crazy.

    At that moment I knew that I had now completed the INT/EXT RD for real.


    What do you think happened here?



  • Donald William  On February 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    To me it sounds like you had a realisation regarding the seperation between observer and observed. You separate the concepts of viewpoint and thetan in the article, do you not? Is that one of the times where description creates new barriers and rules? In short; is the differentiation an additive?


    • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      In the first experience above, I let go my fixation on the body.

      In the second experience above, I let go of my fixation of even the physical universe.

      It was an immense feeling of freedom as a result of it.



    • vinaire  On February 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      My body is still there, and the physical universe is still there, but the fixation is gone.

      It is funny that I was so conditioned before that I was not even aware of these fixations. I became aware of those fixations only when they left me.



  • vinaire  On February 15, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    In Buddhism, there are many exercises that help one look at others more objectively.

    For example, when one (as a man) looks at a pretty woman, one learns to recognize that there is a person with a body, which is subject to the same limitations and problems as one’s own body. This then helps him not to get fixated simply onto one’s emotions and hormonal responses. One can then look at that pretty woman more objectively.

    I think that the idea underlying OT 1 was good but it got corrupted by the mystery of exteriorization.

    So, Hubbard, or somebody, had to come up with a new OT 1 Level.



  • vinaire  On February 15, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    On New OT 1, one simply looks at all those people on whom one’s attention seems to be stuck for one reason or another. This is very easy to address with KHTK approach without the e-meter.

    One starts with the person on whom one’s attention seem to be stuck the most. One looks at all the thoughts, feelings and incidents related to this person as and when they come up. One lets one’s mind unwind in relation to this person without being judgmental, and without resisting anything. One continues until no thoughts are suppressed with respect to that person, and one’s sense of integrity is completely restored.

    Then one repeats the same procedure one by one with respect to other people who seems to be occupying one’s attention. This is continued until one’s attention is freed up.

    This would complete new OT 1.



    • vinaire  On February 15, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      DW said here:

      “I really like your interpretation and application of the tech here. What would the successful outcome or EP of New OT1 be?”


      I believe that New OT 1 when done with KHTK approach will go a long way in freeing up one’s attention from people and upsets with them. It will bring about a wonderful sense of calm, detachment and a great understanding of people.



  • vinaire  On February 20, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    Marildi: “Hubbard considered scientology to be gnostic. Gnosticism expresses itself in myth, and truths are considered to be embodied in the myths.”

    All gains come from as-isness of fixed attention. Underlying any method that accomplishes this, is mindfulness.

    How OT Levels get one to apply mindfulness, and as-is one’s fixed attention needs to be analyzed properly before making such general, inane statements.


  • vinaire  On February 20, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    Marildi: “Crepuscule, what’s the problem with this statement you disagree with in 8-8008: “The worst method of having an identity is having a body.””

    That is not the worst method. The worst method is what Hubbard actually used. It may be expressed as follows:

    “The worst method of having an identity is fixing attention on self.”

    Hubbard did that by promising OT abilities.


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