The wake-back-to-bed (WBTB) technique works really well for me in general – but let's suppose you wake up at 3am, wait around for 10 minutes, then go back to bed. You close your eyes. Now what?
The technique I've been using lately is coming up with three words that represent my intention. Then repeat these three words, over and over, while focusing on the underlying meaning.
The twist is that these three words change between sessions, depending on what I think I need in the moment, and what I want to accomplish.
For example, a couple times I've used the words: love, kindness, and curiosity. This was in response to feeling afraid, acting entitled, and being unsure why I was trying to have an OBE in the first place. Focusing on love helps to extinguish fear, kindness to remind myself not to be a jerk, and curiosity to keep an open mind and ride whatever waves come at me.
That worked for a while, but slowly those three words fizzled out, and didn't connect with me anymore.
Last night I used the words: focus, learn, and heal. I felt distracted and unable to trance out, so focus was my first word in response to that. Learn was used because I both wanted to learn more about the OBE state of mind, but I also wanted to learn what my mind was doing when it became distracted. Whenever I lost focus, I would review my train of thought, then returned to a focused state. Lastly, heal was for recovering my focus, but also just a general good vibe for my entire body.
This worked really well for me!
Last night my OBE lasted around 45 minutes. I would leave my body, stay focused, and then return after a couple minutes to reset and start over. This helped to keep me from falling into a dream state. The entire time, I kept returning to my three word mantra: focus, learn, and heal. That provided an anchor for my entire experience.
Mantras are useful because you are surfing different states of consciousness, and just like meditation, you can become distracted without realizing it. It's good to have a home base to return to, collect yourself, and remind yourself what you're trying to do.