This is a non-scientific theory that attempts to explain the perceived effects of meditation and subsequent 'out of body experiences'. While the methods outlined here can certainly bring about the effects of the phenomenon described, there are several other theories that also attempt to explain them, and it is left to the reader to explore alternatives, and maybe write contrasting Guide Entries.
Astral projection, or an 'out of body experience', is something that all of us, as humans, can do. The simple fact is that we do it unconsciously every night when we dream. This is astral projection at its simplest. But what if you could consciously make decisions within your dreams? You already feel like you're really there when you're dreaming. Just think of those dreams you've had that you're not sure whether they were dreams or not.
The astral plane is a real place. It's kind of like a parallel world where our inner selves, or souls if you like, go to escape the confines of our physical 'shell'. We all travel it but not all of us are aware that we can truly explore this 'other world'. Astral projection is true magic and you don't have to be special to be able to do it; just need a little time and perseverance.
The following entry aims to take you on the first steps to a greater journey. It's worth mentioning here that not everyone believes in the concept of astral projection. After all, a dream is only a dream right? That maybe so, but after reading the following and trying out the methods given, your opinion on that may change.
Lucid dreaming is the correct term for 'consciously dreaming', and is one form of astral projection. For some people this can happen by chance. All it takes is for you to realise you're dreaming and say to yourself 'I am dreaming'. This conscious realisation will wake you up within your dream and allow you to do whatever you want to do, just as if you were awake on this world. You may have already experienced this. However, if you really want to get into astral projection then this method is too random, as you have to rely on suddenly being able to make a conscious decision within a dream, the problem being that dreams have a tendency to just go wherever they want to. Despite this fact, however, you can condition yourself to make this a viable option.
Since dreams are usually about events that have happened to you during the day, you are likely to dream about sitting at your desk at work or walking down the street towards your house. These kind of dreams are the 'sorting out' dreams, where everything you have done is categorically filed away in your mind or sent to the recycle bin; hence when you wake up you can only really remember the parts of yesterday that affected you. Let's say that every day you walk the same way to work, see the same person on the way, pass that big tree and wait for 2 - 3 minutes at the traffic lights. When you dream, you will go through these same motions. Therefore, if every time you see that person or walk past that tree you asked yourself 'am I dreaming?' then, when you do dream about it, you will likely ask yourself the same question.
As mentioned earlier, it only takes that one question when you're dreaming to 'wake up' within that dream. You can then discover what a liberating experience that can be! However, even with this method it may take a fairly long time to achieve your goal, as you have to make the asking of the question to yourself second nature. This is more difficult than it sounds.
Astral Projection Through Meditation and Relaxation
You should understand that astral projection is not a 'specialist' thing - you've probably done it before, just unconsciously. The belief that you can do it is a key element to having an out of body experience, as you need a clear head with no doubts at all, otherwise your head will be clogged up with negative thoughts. This a big obstacle to overcome, but as you practise the following methods, these doubts will disappear. Whenever a thought like that comes into your head dismiss it and visualise it leaving your body.
The following exercise is pretty much the standard way to prepare yourself for astral projection. Basically it's meditating.
The key elements to this part are your posture and your breathing. You don't need to be seated in the lotus position, or any position at all. Simply find one for yourself that you can stay in comfortably for a good few hours. This could be seated in your favourite chair, sitting in bed or lying down. The only problem with lying down though is that it's all too easy to fall asleep. So unless you're confident you won't, it's advisable to choose another position. The only other requirement is a quiet place where you won't be interrupted. Any distraction will make you aware of the outside world which is exactly what you're trying to get away from! If there are noises all around, such as cars passing or pipes creaking, then you could use music. Make sure it's proper meditation music with no strong beats though.
Now that you're sitting comfortably you will need to clear your head of everything and anything that's buzzing around. Forget about your troubles and stresses, as these will just keep your mind off the job. You can find your own way of dealing with this but one example is to do it while focusing on your breathing. The correct way to breath is in through your nose and out through your mouth. Every time you breath out visualise in your head all your thoughts and troubles leaving through your mouth. You'll soon find yourself feeling more and more relaxed.
Reaching an Altered State of Consciousness
Now that you are more focused you can really begin the process of relaxing yourself into an altered state of consciousness. The simplest process for this is as follows:
Focus on your breathing. The best example of correct breathing is when you're asleep. In a state of sleep you breathe in deeply through your nose and then out through your mouth.
Now focus on each individual part of your body, starting from your toes and finishing up at your head. As you breath out, say something to yourself like 'My toes are relaxing, I am relaxing.' You will feel each part relax to the extent that you will not be able to move without thinking about it very hard. It's difficult to explain this sensation but you will notice it instantly when it happens.
When you feel that you are totally relaxed, move on to the next step. You will need to come up with a repetitive line to say over and over in your head. Examples of this could be counting down from ten or something like 'I fly, I fly, I fly'. There is no right or wrong thing to say. It's at this point that you either make or break. Your mind will get bored quickly because it's doing nothing, so you will find yourself drifting of to other things. If this happens just snap back into your repetitive saying with out acknowledging that you drifted off.
By now you should be in what is known as an altered state of consciousness. Basically all this means is that your inner self is aware, but your body is asleep. You will feel very heavy and will not be able to move without going to great effort. It is in this state that you are ready to astral project.
There are many methods that you can apply to astral project. There isn't really enough space here to go into all of them so we shall look at a couple of ways to do this.
Possibly the simplest way is to continue to repeat your line that you have used to reach your altered state. This works on the principle that your inner self will get 'bored' of doing so little and eventually leave your body to remedy this. However, this method can take a while to take effect and unless you really put in the time to condition yourself, it can be very difficult to pull off. Just try to clear your head of everything and repeat the line 'I fly, I fly' over and over. If you can manage 5 minutes without drifting off to 'what shall I do tomorrow' or the like, then you have exceptionally good mind power! Again though, if you do drift off onto other things, just snap yourself back without thinking about what happened. Sooner or later though, you will leave your body. Perseverance is the key!
Method Two - The Body of Light
The next method is slightly more challenging, but more effective if you can do it. Again, practice is the key.
When you have reached your altered state, begin to visualise a 'body of light'. This can be in any shape or form. When you have a strong image of this, imagine yourself shifting into it and becoming part of it. Visualisation is the key here: simply imagine it happening.
Once you feel that you are part of it you can try to look around the room. Try to visualise what different parts of the room look like from different angles. Eventually - and it may only be for a split second at first - you will discover that you're not just visualising this, but are actually doing it! Unfortunately, as this is a very big realisation, it may force you back to your body. Don't give up; just keep trying until you have control of this.
There are three main stages that you will feel happening as you begin to leave your body:
You will begin to feel like you're moving, similar to being in a car. This is literally your inner self beginning to move out of your body.
The next thing you'll notice are lights and colours in front of your eyes. This is just the transition into the astral world.
The final stage gets a bit bizarre! You will actually hear voices of people either coaxing you on or telling you to stop. If you get to this point then you've pretty much achieved astral projection. Whatever the voices say just ignore them as they will act as a distraction and you'll be back to square one!
The 'Will less Will'
The most difficult part of astral projection is to do it without thinking about it. This is a near impossible task as you will constantly be thinking to yourself 'Is this working? Am I projecting?'. You just need to be able to know that it will work. We call this the 'will less will', or willing it to happen without thinking about it. Until you can do this it's a very hard goal to achieve, but don't give up! Sooner or later you will be successful.
Once you have successfully left your body, it's really up to you what you do. Remember though, there are other astral travellers that you will meet, and at times you may have to defend yourself. Once in the astral realm you will discover that there are no limits to what you can do. If you visualise something it will happen. For example, let's say you can see a tall tower in the distance. Imagine that you are there and you will be! So, if you do come under attack you could simply visualise a weapon in your hand to defend yourself.
Also, while you are projecting, your physical body may be at risk to psychic attack. It's very simple to protect against though. All you need to do is, as you reach an altered state of consciousness, imagine a bubble around you. This simple act will create a psychic barrier around you, thus protecting you from any attack.
These are only a couple of suggestions on how to astral project. To be honest, it's only the basic requirements. There are many books on the subject offering other methods. Also, you will find that making subtle changes to the above methods may make things easier for you. If it feels comfortable then go with it.
It's better not to rely on anything to help you out, but things such as incense can help produce a comfortable atmosphere around you. Be careful though as if you begin to rely on other elements to help you, then you may find that you can't project without them. This is only a problem because ideally you should be able to astral project wherever and whenever you want.
Coming Back Out
It is possible to 'wake up' suddenly while astral projecting. This isn't particularly pleasant, so when you do decide to wake up you need to do it gradually. Once you've made the decision you will find yourself coming back into your body, just as you do when you wake from a dream, but because you're conscious you need to control the process. It's more a case of visualising yourself back in your body than actually walking up to it.
When you are back, but still in an altered state of consciousness, use the reverse of the method you used to get to that state. For example, if you counted down from ten, count up to ten. This process, along with focusing on what you are doing, will bring you back to your normal state.
Focus on each part of your body and begin to move them all slowly. By now you will have been in the same position for possibly many hours and so it is important that you spend time coming back round. This is also why it's important to be in a comfortable position.
Astral projection is available to anyone who is willing to put in the time. Set some time apart each day to practise and eventually it will happen for you. This truly is magic, and probably the most rewarding thing you can do for free! Even if you don't successfully leave your body, you will find that the process of meditating into an altered state of consciousness can be rewarding on its own.
Finally, have fun with it, but remember also to take it seriously. It's an ancient practice that deserves respect.