4: Astral Projection
"I know a man … who was snatched up to the third heaven" - St Paul
This is primarily a "Look at the phenomena for yourself" page. After all, the only way to be really sure of something is to experience it for yourself. Any attempt to argue away what you have experienced should and must fail, as your own experience is real (at least to the extent that you are able to perceive what reality is), but arguments are only theoretical. Our entire view of the world is based first and foremost on our own experience of it. It is a common comment by people who have experienced out of body experiences, that they are more real than this physical world. So, here are a few suggestions to enable you to experience that for yourself.
Astral Projection is a phenomenon similar to the conscious Near Death Experience, except that it happens without any damage to the physical body. It can happen when the body is simply lying in bed, perhaps while in the semi-dream state between sleep and wakefulness.
A closely related topic is that of Lucid Dreams. A Lucid Dream seems to be to be just one step short of a full astral projection, and they are often used as a way in to achieving astral projection.
There are many resources available on the internet to describe and explain astral projection, along with various techniques offered to help an interested enquirer to achieve the phenomenon for himself (despite the mantric claim on Skepdic that there is "little evidence" for the reality of this phenomenon). However, it is my experience that the phenomenon will not occur easily, but if you persist, it will eventually occur. Many of the sources suggest that it can take a month, but in my case, it took a couple of years of persistent effort (having been inspired by the 1929 book The Projection of the Astral Body, in the days when that was pretty much the only information available on this topic), but it nevertheless worked in the end. There do seem to be a few people to whom it comes a lot more easily, just as psychic phenomena in general will occur easily to a few but only rarely to the rest of us.
However, the states described by people with experience of astral projection do resemble those of people who have had near death experiences. Astral Projection and Near Death Experiences can be grouped under the general heading of Out-of-Body Experienes, or OBEs (sometimes called OoBEs).
A search on Google, and especially on YouTube, for either "Astral Projection" or "Lucid Dreams" is likely in each case find a lot of material relating to music bands who have adopted that phrase as their name. Don’t you hate it when somebody has used your search phrase as the name of something quite different, and thereby swamped your search results with totally irrelevant material? You may be better off with a revised search phrase, such as "Astral Projection Technique", "Lucid Dreaming", "Astral Travel", or "Out of Body Experience".
Useful web sites include:
- Wikipedia’s Astral Projection and Lucid Dream pages;
- Wikihow’s How to Perform Astral Projection, How to Have an Out of Body Experience and How to Lucid Dream pages;
- The Wikibooks e-book Lucid Dreaming;
- The Lucidity Institute;
- The Lucid Dreaming FAQ;
- William Buhlman’s Out of Body Experience (including the results of a survey of more than 16000 people who have experienced this phenomenon);
- The Monroe Institute;
- And here is a 10-part 1994 interview with Robert Monroe, the founder of the Monroe Institute;
- Jonas Ridgeway’s Astral Projection Guidebook;
- A video of OBE Techniques;
- P.M.H. Atwater - an NDE researcher who has her own telling arguments against the ill-informed sceptical critic;
Experienced researchers in this field all say that the phenomenon is safe, albeit that it can appear frightening to a beginner when the process starts, because of the sense of paralysis, and the noises that accompany initial separation of the bodies. And there is no danger that you will be unable to return to the physical body. The real problem is more one of how to prevent premature return, rather than how to achieve it. The likelihood of being unable to return is less than the likelihood of being unable to wake up again after entering the sleep state. The only dangers people have reported in the astral projection state are the dangers that the person’s own imagination have put there. If you fear that you will meet a demon, your imagination will conjure up a demon for you. It is helpful to think only positive thoughts and for your mind to be relaxed, so that your imagination is not interfering with the process of observing whatever is actually there. The person’s reaction to any apparent danger in the astral state is always spontaneously to return to the physical body, so negative thoughts are simply quite unhelpful to the experience of this phenomenon.