Most people rarely perceive psi in the normal wakeful state. Some laypeople do report experiencing psi during altered states, and there are some schools (e.g. Silva’s Mind Control) as well as many books providing instructions for attaining psychic skills including some sort of meditation (a state often referred to by using the modern terms alfa-, theta, and delta brainwave patterns) as a fundamental technique.
OOB manuals and schools (see e.g. Michael Raduga's website) usually recommend entering a very deep hypnotic trance, typically achieved naturally immediately upon waking up or just before falling asleep. Monroe’s Institute even developed a series of CDs providing guided meditation enhanced by so-called Hemi-sync® technology based on binaural beats. It is also known that many people experience OOB spontaneously during sleep or coma. The well-known phenomenon called near-death experience (NDA) is essentially OOB (see e.g. The Synchronized Universe: New Science of the Paranormal by Claude Swanson).
On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that US-government-financed spy program Stargate (unclassified reports are now hosted by the CIA) that lasted over two decades researched extensively this topic and concluded that any altered states only cause one to lose control over the process called not-in-vane controlled remote viewing (CRV). Ingo Swann, recognized as the inventor of the technique of CRV wrote a book about the story behind its development (Remote Viewing, the Real Story) without a mention of meditation. By the way, he repeatedly refers to the technique he used for visualizing hidden objects as OOB. On the other hand, in the beginning of Stargate, CRV was considered to be a telepathic phenomenon. That shows how similar all these psi phenomena are and how difficult it is to distinguish them from each other.
Former Stargate remote viewer Paul Smith currently teaching CRV provides very nice coverage of the topic of the mental state necessary for remote viewing in his blog. He relates that initially he was trained to use the Hemi-sync® technology before the RV sessions to achieve what they called cooling down, but he then substituted that for listening to some hard-rock music with his headphones, and eventually he ended up almost eliminating the cooling down ritual. Moreover, he recognizes that meditation is reported to help people’s performance in ESP and RV in particular, by enhancing relaxation, quieting the internal dialogue, and improving the internal focus but he is clear that it is not necessary for RV success.
Now, let’s turn to a variant of OOB called eyeless sight or blindfold viewing. It is notorious that children below 12 learn how to do it extremely quickly (see e.g. La vision extraocular by Jacobo Greenberg). Typically, it takes them only minutes or hours to begin to recognize objects in their surroundings while blindfolded and completely conscious, often laughing and moving around. Sometimes they see objects separated by additional obstacles such as walls, metal plates, etc. They even get to read and draw, cycle, play with balls, videogames, and perform almost any action almost as easily as if they were seeing with their eyes. Some adults achieve similar results although usually, they have to work harder to achieve them. Many examples can be found in online videos about the Mexican VEO®, the American Vibravision® and the Russian Infovision® schools, and their subsidiaries all around the world (see e.g. this and that video). There are many other such schools, especially in the far East.
Clearly, prejudice-free persons as virtually all children are have the innate ability to see without eyes in a normal alert state. So what is the actual role of the altered states for psychic development?
Although psi is very convincingly proven to exist by all these schools and by parapsychological research, the overall skeptical attitude of the modern society solidly backed up by religious and scientific dogmatism effectively erases any trace of belief in magick by the time one becomes a teenager. From that time on, most people appear to accept psi or magick (Dean Radin showed they are essentially the same thing in his book Real Magic) only as entertainment in the form of fiction books and movies and very rarely take them seriously.
As a psychological phenomenon, psi is nearly impossible to be experienced if one does not believe in it. How can one believe in something that everyone knows happens only in fiction movies and books? Changing an adult’s mindset is extremely difficult even if one is open to new experiences and willing to accept the reality of such phenomena.
However, this does not mean that one cannot regain belief in magick. How? A possible answer is HYPNOSIS. This is a tool that has proved to be excellent for overcoming internal blocks such as manias and deeply-rooted convictions and today it is completely accepted by science. There are reports about the positive effect of hypnosis on psi performance.
But does one need to look for a hypnotizer’s help to reveal one’s psychic potential? Not really. SELF-HYPNOSIS, also called AUTOSUGGESTION has similar effects. In fact, many people might be practicing self-hypnosis without actually knowing it.
Many books (e.g. The Gamma Mindset, Personal Power Hypnosis), proffer that self-hypnosis combined with visualization is the clue to improving one’s life in many different aspects including enhanced memory, positivity, and happiness.
The basic technique of self-hypnosis consists of entering a hypnagogic state by meditation and interiorizing deep into the subconscious previously prepared positive messages by repeating them as mantras. According to Don Barnhart (the author of Personal Power Hypnosis), it may take 3 to 4 weeks of daily self-hypnosis sessions to start changing a single mental conviction. Therefore, it is understandable why many people struggle to achieve a controllable level of psychic performance. It is easy for one to get discouraged after a month of fruitless attempts of say attempting to achieve OOB, especially if one is unaware of the crucial role played by beliefs deeply rooted in the subconscious mind.
However, there is another way of quickly changing one’s deeply rooted convictions. Late Jack Houck, a Boeing’s systems engineer, taught thousands of people to perform psychokinesis in so-called PK parties, many of which were live TV shows. It turns out that even hard skeptics are reconverted in the presence of dozens of ordinary people demonstrating the seemingly magical ability and celebrating it in a spontaneous and uninhibited fashion. The effect of those parties on people’s beliefs was the same as that of hypnosis and self-hypnosis but much more powerful due to the mutual feedback and the emotionality of the event. Apparently, the euphoria has the same effect as meditative trance. The same effect is used in religious activities, political propaganda, tribal rituals, etc.
Hence, in conclusion, while psi can be experienced in any state of consciousness, it is perfectly natural to experience it in the normal alpha-brainwave wakeful state and even in euphoric states. Altered states of consciousness though have multiple benefits: they help one to relax, to quiet the conscious mind, to get a better focus, to visualize better, and most importantly, to get rid of modern-society-imposed dogmatic beliefs.