Imagine that you are asleep at home in your bed. During your sleep, you feel your mind awaken and body swelling up. You are unable to move and feel paralysed. You don’t know what’s happening and a few minutes into the feeling, you find yourself floating in your room in mid air. You look down and see yourself sleeping in bed and yet here you are outside you body. You are calm and at peace despite this confusion. You decided to see what this is about and float to another room and then back into your room. This seems adventurous and you decide to fly to your friends house. You find your friend at home watching Inception on TV. You then think about going back to your body and in an instant you are back into your body and you wake up thinking that it was a dream. The following morning you call your friend and ask him whether he was watching Inception and he confirms it. You are left astounded and speechless. What you went through is called an out of body experience (OBE). Welcome to the world of Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming.
It is a well known fact that the soul permanently leaves the body once the body dies but the fact that it is possible to leave your body temporarily when you are still alive is not common knowledge. You have a physical body and then you have the astral body. The astral body looks just like your physical body but it is not solid because it exists in a higher dimension. It is the centre of your consciousness. The Greeks called it the double body and the Tibetans call astral projection as ‘Bardo’. Astral Projection is the process through which your consciousness leaves your physical body and enters a different world (termed the ‘astral world’) while you are still alive.
During astral projection, you enter a world that is completely different from the world you live in. Your senses are amplified and you observe the world from a view that is not confined by the rules of the 3D physical reality. Different set of rules govern different worlds and dimensions. For example, there is no gravity in the astral world. Most souls that enter the astral world fly or float from one place to another, even though you could walk on the ground if you prefer (though I don’t know why anyone would walk when you could fly). Seasoned astral travellers can also fly at lightening speeds similar to superman. You can pass through walls and solid objects since you are not in the physical body but in the astral plane.
In my article on thoughts, I had explained that everything is created twice: once in the thought world and once in the real world. Everything begins with a thought before it manifests. The astral world is where your thoughts first take shape before entering the real 3D world and manifesting. Unlike the 3D world, manifestation in astral world is instantaneous. There is no time gap. Whatever you think about will be manifested right in front of you at that very moment. So, for example, if you think about a football or an icecream, it will instantly appear right in front of your eyes. Not only you but other travellers will also be manifesting on the astral plane. This is why, during projections, you may come across objects that may be the thought projections of other people. These might be objects of their desire, or something that they had imagined in the 3D or astral plane.
Is Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming dangerous?
This is the most asked question. The short answer to this myth is NO. Many people have the fear that if they go out of their body during astral projection, they may not be able to get back in, or even worse, they may die. There is nothing to fear about the process. The astral body is connected to the physical body by a ‘silver cord’. This silver cord can be actually seen during your astral travel and this cord is unbreakable. This cord only breaks when a person dies but it cannot be broken in the astral realm no matter what happens. This cord can extend as long as possible allowing your astral body to travel far away. Also, no matter where you travel in the astral plane, when you want to return to your body, all you have to do is think about it. You can make anything happen with thoughts and you can think a return to your body. Eventually, everyone returns to their body anyway when it is time to wake up in the morning. So, be assured that it is impossible to die or get stuck during astral projection.
The astral realm is beyond this dimension of existence. We live in a 3 dimensional world. The astral realm is the 4th dimension of existence. There are several beings that exist in the 4th dimension. There are humans entities in the astral world. These human entities are either the souls of deceased people in the astral world or the other astral travellers who are visiting the astral realm during sleep. Then, there are the non-human entities which can include animals or the fairies, elves, gnomes, and also some unpleasant entities.
Nobody can harm you in the astral realm. The soul of a deceased are mostly relatives or friends that you would come across. In fact, many travellers meet their dead relatives during their journeys which is a pleasant surprise and a positive interaction. Any unpleasant non-human entity cannot harm you without your consent. Remember, it is also a realm of thought manifestation and the entity might as well be someone’s imagination manifested in astral plane. So, be assured that an imagined character has no power over you.
It is very rare that unpleasant non-human entities are encountered. This is because there is a lower and a higher astral plane. The lower realm is where these entities reside. Anyone on the spiritual path can never go to these lower realms. Your vibrational level will be so high that when you go astral travelling, you will automatically end up in the higher realm. Only people with a very low vibration who are not on the spiritual path can end up here if they try astral projection without any spiritual practice. Since you are on this website, I do not feel that you would have such a problem. You would automatically have a wonderful positive experience on the higher astral worlds.
The upper astral realm is a place of indescribable beauty. While in the upper realms, you can either travel around the Earth or explore the hidden beauties of the higher realms of the astral world. People use the astral projection experience for various reasons. You may use it purely for entertainment by flying, having fun and visiting various cities. You may even fly out of Earth and into space, to other solar systems or galaxies. Or you may use projection for spiritual growth and gaining knowledge. Many travellers have met their spiritual guides on the astral plane. These guides wait for you to fall asleep and when you are in the astral realm, they take you on journeys of spiritual growth. Many deep spiritual teachings are received by travellers on the astral plane. I recommend not sharing these sacred spiritual teachings with anyone unless advised by your guides. There are many pleasant and positive non-human entities as well in the astral world. These entities are very advanced spiritually and help the astral travellers on their spiritual path. They may not be your spiritual guides but are helpful towards people who are spiritually inclined.
Think of the astral plane as a blank canvas where you could paint absolutely anything. What you can create and what you could do on the astral plane is infinite. The possibilities are endless as there are no defined rules as in 3D reality. The astral realm is a reality where, what you can do here is only limited by yourself and your imagination.
How to astral travel?
You can try out astral travelling either during sleep or during meditation. Astral travelling by meditation is trickier. This is because it is difficult for your body to fall asleep and mind to stay awake during a cross legged lotus position. One has to delve deeper into spiritual practice to be able to astrally project during meditation. Many of the monks meditating on the mountains in quiet solitude use meditation as a means for projection. This practice takes time. The easier way to do it is during sleep. By staying conscious in your sleep, you can have an out of body experience. If you have read my article on sound, you would have now understood it’s power. Many people harness the power of sound in the form of binaural beats to achieve astral projection. Listening to binaural beats is another way of achieving this.
Spontaneous out of body experience is often experienced by people under certain circumstances. Many people under the influence of anaesthesia during a surgery wake up mid way during the surgery only to find themselves floating in the hospital room above their body. Since their body is asleep under the influence of prescription drugs, their consciousness wakes up outside the body. Accident is another scenario where people experience their consciousness leave their body exactly during the accident and then experience the who episode from a third person’s point of view.
Robert Monroe is often considered the father of astral projection. He has described astral projection in detail in his 3 books ‘Journeys out of the body’, ‘Ultimate Journey’ and ‘Far Journeys’. He has mapped out a completely new world in all his travels over the years which he describes in the book. Information on the various techniques of astral projection during sleep are available in abundance on the internet and various books. I will leave you to explore those resources. I will, however, give you 2 techniques that I personally use for astral projection which I have found the most effective. Here is the first technique I use:
1) Lie down in a comfortable position to go to sleep but keep your mind awake.
2) Once you have chosen your position to sleep, do not change your position. Close your eyes and stay motionless. Do no move your arms or legs or eyeballs. Stay relaxed but don’t move. Try to mentally stay awake but letting your body sleep.
3) Your brain will need validation to see if you are really asleep. The brain will validate it by forcing you to move through urges. You may get an itch on your nose or may want to change sleeping position or move a leg. Resist all urges to move. You have to convince the brain that you are asleep.
4) Once you get past these urges successfully without moving, you will feel your body falling asleep. You will slowly feel yourself completely asleep in the body but completely conscious in the mind.
5) You will experience one or more of a variety of sensations that occur right before an out of body experience. These may include a loud buzzing or ringing noise in the ears, sleep paralysis, a feeling of your body becoming lighter, a feeling of swelling of your body, tingling sensations in the body, a vibration in your body and so on. If you experience such symptoms, be assured that you are on the verge of entering the astral realm. It may be a matter of seconds before you enter it.
6) At this point, you may either wait to gradually enter the astral plane or you may use certain techniques (like imagining jumping on a trampoline or pulling a rope) to achieve it quicker. Remember that during all this process, you will have to stay motionless.
The 2nd technique involves dream recognition. Generally, when we are dreaming, we do not recognise that we are dreaming. It is only the following morning that we become aware. The trick here is to become conscious midway through the dream and recognise that we are dreaming. If you are able to do that, then either you can take control of the dream and become lucid, or your consciousness will try to come back to your sleeping body and you will witness step 5 of technique number 1. The way to recognise a dream is through practice. During your waking hours, make a habit to have a reality check. Check whether you are dreaming or not. Keep a totem with you or use your hands or flip a light switch as indicators to wake you up inside the dream. These will help with the 2nd technique.
There is a very fine line that divides astral projection and lucid dreaming. Both these topics are interrelated. A person is completely conscious during the whole process of leaving the body during astral projection and then has an adventurous experience. In lucid dreaming, the person wakes up in the middle of the dream. In other words, the person doesn’t remember how he got inside the dream but become conscious in the dream, thus, becoming lucid. During conscious astral projection, he has a recollection of how he entered the astral plane by leaving his body. Just like astral travelling, you can manifest anything you want in lucid dreaming. You can take complete control of the dream and shape it as per your desire. Stephen LaBerge’s book “Exploring the world of lucid dreaming” describes lucid dreaming for those who would like to delve deeper into the subject.
Herbs, Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming
Certain herbs are used to assist in astral projection. Many ancient cultures and tribes have reaped the benefits of these herbs for a smooth astral travel experience. A herb called ‘Calea Zacatechichi’ (The Dream Herb or Leaf of God) is used by members of the Chontal tribe of Mexico. Another herb called ‘Silene Capensis’ (African Dream Root) is also used for the process. There herbs magnify your experience by making it more vivid and making recollection easier. Some people entertain the idea of astral projection by using prescription medicines or synthetic drugs. This should be completely avoided at all cost. This could not only damage your body but also result in a bad experience during astral travelling since it is an artificially induced projection and not a spiritual practice.
Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming in pop culture
Pop culture has depicted astral projection and lucid dreaming on many occasions. A huge number of movies have presented the concepts of astral projection and lucid dreaming but have disguised these spiritual practices as ‘science fiction’ in the movies. The movie ‘Dr. Strange’ is one of the biggest examples of a movie that has depicted astral projection. In the movie, the character Dr. Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) meets a spiritual guru called the Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton) who opens his third eye. After much spiritual practice, Dr. Strange develops the ability to leave his body and enter the astral realm during meditation. Dr. Strange is shown reading several books during his astral projection and also indulging in astral combat (a topic that has not been covered here).
The Oscar nominated movie ‘Inception’ directed by Christopher Nolan is an example of what lucid dreaming is like. In the movie, the character Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) finds a way to become conscious in dreams and manipulate the dream world. While others inside the dream are unaware that it is a dream, it is only Cobb and his team that are lucid dreaming. The dream world has been depicted to defy the laws of physics. Cobb is shown to use a ‘totem’ in the dream world. You can create your own totem for your lucid dreaming journeys or you may simply use your hands to see if you are dreaming. If your fingers on one hand pass through the palm of the other hand, you are dreaming and vice versa. Flipping a switch on or off can also be used to reality check for dreams. Flipping a switch does nothing in a dream.
Astral Projection is one of the most powerful proofs for non-believers who vehemently refute the existence of soul or life after death. It proves that there is a consciousness in all living beings and that the soul lives forever. Having even 1 conscious astral projection in your lifetime will transform you deeply and will certainly change the opinions of non-believers. You will have a more spiritual outlook towards life and a better understanding of the divine game at play.