The Monroe Institute

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The Monroe Institute
Established Early 1970s
Location Faber, Virginia

The Monroe Institute (TMI) is a nonprofit education and research organization devoted to the exploration of human consciousness, based in Faber, Virginia, United States.[1] Upwards of 20,000 people are estimated to have attended TMI’s residential Gateway program during its first thirty years,[2] with consumers of the audio industry founded on its research running into millions.[3] Currently, many tens of thousands of people have experienced the residential programs developed by the Monroe Institute at TMI's campus in Virginia as well as across the US and the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Japan, Romania, and Spain. TMI claims a policy of no dogma or bias with respect to belief system, religion, political or social stance.

TMI was founded by Robert Monroe after he started having what he called "out of body experiences", now also commonly referred to as OBEs. It comprises several buildings on 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land south of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. One of its activities includes teaching various techniques, based on audio-guidance processes, in order to expand consciousness and explore areas of consciousness not normally available in the waking state.

In 1978, the U.S. military evaluated TMI and arranged to send officers there for OBE training.[4] In 1983, it sent additional officers.[5][6]

Gateway Voyage[edit]

The Institute runs a program called Gateway Voyage, a training course that uses binaural soundtracks to facilitate exploration and replication of specific altered states of consciousness known as focus levels. Gateway Voyage is a six-day intensive of exercises using custom-designed sound booths (CHEC units), talks, and group interaction.

Participants occupy the CHEC (Controlled Holistic Environmental Chamber) which is a booth that occupies part of a wall of the sleeping quarters. The booths are designed to be as comfortable and quiet as possible to minimize external effects on the participant's senses, whilst he or she wears headphones through which instructions and audio-guidance signals are sent.

The Monroe Institute also has an Outreach program, where accredited facilitators travel to various locations around the world and deliver workshops.

Focus Levels[edit]

For the Endless Boogie album, see Focus Level (album).

Focus Levels are numerical, content-neutral labels for specific altered states of consciousness associated with specific Hemi-Sync binaural beat combinations defined by The Monroe Institute (TMI). From a physiological point of view, they correspond to specific objectively measurable brainwave frequency distributions.

There is significant agreement by those who induce them that each Focus Level has a distinct subjective mental flavour.[7] These flavours tend to be notably non-pedestrian, as the brain states associated with them are rarely encountered naturally outside of meditational contexts. For example, anecdotal reports commonly suggest that Focus 15 feels "beyond time", and that levels beyond Focus 22 relate to perceptions of various planes of afterlife existence. Higher-numbered Focus Levels are generally felt to be extremely profound and spiritual in nature. The concept of Focus Levels has been used extensively by Robert Monroe,[8] Bruce Moen[9][10] and Maureen Caudill.[11]

The levels are numbered, with Focus Level 1 (sometimes called C1) being Earth and higher levels being more and more spiritual by nature. Caudill mentions a few Focuses beyond Focus 49.

  • Focus 1 - Physical Waking Consciousness. The level of awareness in which people spend most of their daily, waking lives.
  • Focus 3 - Basic Hemi-Sync. The first level where Hemi-Sync starts to have an effect on the person.
  • Focus 10 - Mind Awake / Body Asleep. The physical body sleeps and the mind is awake.
  • Focus 11 - Auto-suggestion state.
  • Focus 12 - Expanded Awareness. The awareness is expanded beyond the physical body.
  • Focus 15 - No Time exists. The awareness is expanded beyond time and place.
  • Focus 18 - Unconditional love / heart energy state.
  • Focus 21 - Other Energy Systems. The awareness is expanded to realities and energy systems beyond normal time, space and physical matter.
  • Focus 22 - At this level people are unconscious or partly conscious. People in coma, suffering from delirium or dementia, under the influence of drugs or alcohol; patients who are anesthetized or comatose. This level is chaotic, people are confused and very difficult to communicate with.

The levels above are mainly inhabited by people in physical existence. Beyond these levels this is not the case.

  • Focus 23 - Inhabited by those who have recently left physical existence (i.e. have died). They are either not aware of this or not able to become free from their ties to life on earth. They are isolated from contact with others.
  • Focus 24, 25, 26 - Belief System Territories. Somewhat similar to Focus 23, however people here are not isolated but live in groups. The inhabitants are humans from all periods and areas who have accepted and subscribed to various premises and concepts. All inhabitants of a specific territory are in contact with all others who share their beliefs. Contact with anyone holding conflicting beliefs is very limited.
  • Focus 27 - The Reception Center. An artificial area created by human minds, designed to ease the trauma and shock of the transition out of physical reality. It takes on the form of various earth environments in order to be acceptable to the wide variety of newcomers. Contact and communication is open between all inhabitants. Many people living in Focus 27 provide assistance to new arrivals to help them adjust to their new situation. This is a highly organized and structured area.
  • Focus 33 - Creation, a "creative area"[12]
  • Focus 34/35 - The Gathering. Beings from many other locations within the physical universe are gathered here to witness the upcoming Earth Changes. Consciousness of the monad ("I-There" in Monroe terminology)
  • Focus 42 - I-There cluster consciousness
  • Focus 49 - Sea of I-There clusters

Focus Levels are grouped into sevens. The state categorizations follow this pattern:

  • Focus 1, 15, 22... - Security states
  • Focus 23... - Outer reality states
  • Focus 3, 10, 24... - Inner reality states
  • Focus 11, 18, 25... - Love states
  • Focus 12, 26... - Healing states
  • Focus 27, 34... - Ascension states
  • Focus 21, 35, 42, 49 - Wholeness states


Controlled studies of the Institute's technology suggest that it is effective as an analgesic supplement and can reduce hospital discharge times.[13][14] The Institute has an affiliated professional membership, and also publishes scientific papers on a subset of its own studies of altered states of consciousness.[15][dubious ] In its in-house laboratory, these states or focus levels are typically induced by delivering Hemi-Sync signals to subjects performing relaxation procedures inside a shielded, sense-depriving isolation tank. Progression through states is detected and monitored by measurement of peripheral skin temperature, galvanic skin response and DC skin potential voltage.


In 1994, a front page article in the Wall Street Journal reported confirmation from the former director of the Intelligence and Security Command of the U.S. Army sending personnel to the institute. It also stated the opinion of the head of the Zen Buddhist temple in Vancouver British Columbia that "Gateway students can reach meditation states in a week that took [me] 30 years of sitting".[16]

A reporter for The Hook, weekly newspaper for Charlottesville, Virginia, who visited The Monroe Institute said, "...with a few exceptions, the only 'normal' people with whom I could fully identify were the trainers, who seemed remarkably well-grounded for people whose day-to-day experiences include astral projection and disembodied spirits".[17]

The reporter also concluded that "there is something significant being developed at the Institute. Whether it's just a brilliant guided meditation (complete with trance-inducing stereoscopic sound) or a doorway to a world of spirit entities, I cannot say".[17]


  1. ^ The Monroe Institute
  2. ^ R. Russell, Journey of Robert Monroe: From Out of Body Explorer to Consciousness Pioneer, Deep Books, July 2007, p105. ISBN 978-1-57174-533-0
  3. ^ R.C. Filimon, Beneficial Subliminal Music: Binaural Beats, Hemi-Sync and Metamusic, Proceedings of the 11th WSEAS international conference on Acoustics & music: theory & applications, 2010, p106
  4. ^ Gondola Wish Assessment Report, 902d Military Intelligence Group, 25 Aug 1978.
  5. ^ Remote Viewers: The Secret History of America's Psychic Spies, Jim Schnabel, 1997, p292-3. ISBN 978-0-440-61405-0
  6. ^ INSCOM log for Aug 1983 to Jan 1984
  7. ^ Leva, Patricia, 1998, "Traveling the Interstate of Consciousness: A Driver's Instruction Manual : Using Hemi-Sync to Access States of Non-Ordinary Reality", ISBN 978-0-9658963-8-2
  8. ^ Monroe, Robert A, 1994 "Ultimate Journey", pages 248 - 262 and p. 278 - 280 (Focus 1, 3, 10, 12, 15 & 21-28), ISBN 978-0-385-47208-1
  9. ^ Moen, Bruce, 2001 "Voyage to Curiosity's Father", pages 299 - 300 (Focus 1, 10, 12, 15 & 21), ISBN 978-1-57174-203-2
  10. ^ Moen, Bruce, 2005 "Afterlife Knowledge Guidebook", pages 142 - 146 (Focus 22-27 & Focus 34/35), ISBN 978-1-57174-450-0
  11. ^ Caudill, Maureen, 2006 "Suddenly Psychic: A Skeptic's Journey", pages 141, 151, 188 - 194, 210, 234 - 236 (Focus 11, 18, 42, 49 and a few even higher numbered Focuses.) Table at page 235 (Focuses 2 - 49.), ISBN 978-1-57174-501-9
  12. ^ TMI's "Exploration 27 and the Healing/Regeneration Center Chapter 4", part of lecture by TMI's president Frederick Holmes "Skip" Atwater, year unknown, (Focus 33)
  13. ^ "The Effect of Hemispheric Synchronization on Intraoperative Analgesia", Lewis, Osborn & Roth, Anesthesia & Analgesia, Vol 98 2, Feb 2004, p533-536
  14. ^ "Hemispheric Synchronized Sounds and Perioperative Analgesic Requirements", Dabu-Bondoc, Vadivelu, Benson, Perret & Kain, Anesthesia & Analgesia, Vol 110 1, Jan 2010, p208-210
  15. ^ "Accessing Anomalous States of Consciousness with a Binaural Beat Technology", F Holmes Atwater, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol 1, No 3, 1997, p263-274
  16. ^ Bob Ortega, "Research institute shows people a way out of their bodies", Wall Street Journal, Sept 20, 1994, pp. A1, A8.
  17. ^ a b Stephen Barling, "Cosmic degrees: Out of body at the Monroe Institute". The Hook. February 13, 2003.

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