If you are familiar with studies and practices of yoga and meditation, or are rehearsed in the philosophies of ancient cultures, the concept that each living organism is constructed of several layers of being is not likely all too foreign. For example, the profound teachings of Kundalini yoga honor the existence of the Ten Bodies: the physical body, three mental bodies, and six energy bodies, while Ancient Egyptians believed that the physical body served as a temporary home for ka, or eternal life force, and the ba, also known as the soul. Though variation in name, form, and spiritual meaning of said layers differentiate widely, a common thread woven through beliefs surrounding sheaths of being appears to be that these layers can in fact be separated, whether it be by force or by choice, during an out of body experience.
What is an Out of Body Experience?
Out of body experiences, otherwise known as OBE, are typically siloed into several often talked about phenomenon categories such as near death experiences where people report leaving their bodies and returning in moments of trauma, illness, or otherwise, lucid dreaming (or the awareness that one is dreaming while doing so), and clairvoyance(the ability to gain information by way of sensory powers beyond touch, ordinary sight, and other senses), but include other incidences beyond description as well.
What is Astral Projection?
Astral projection is certainly a more powerful and one of the most mystifying forms of OBE, during which one’s soul separates from the physical body and traverses the astral plane with the utmost intention. By leaving the physical body, the astral, or subtle body, can hover and observe a practicioner’s environment, or traverse across the globe and beyond spans of time to wherever intuition seeks. Those practicing astral projection are extremely aware of the extraction of their consciousness from their physical form, as well as the restoration process of bringing one’s soul back to its body. Over the course of time, several successful astral projection methods have revealed, and have revealed themselves as being safe and effective.
How to Astral Project
Monroe Institute Steps
Bob Monroe, founder of the leading research organization in the field of human consciousness called The Monroe Institute, penned a body of work titled “Journeys Out of the Body” in 1971 in which he provides a detailed outline for how to astrally project one’s self in seven steps:
- Step 1: Relax, both physically and mentally.
- Step 2: Enter a hypnagogic state, or half-sleep.
- Step 3: Deepen the state by prioritizing mental sensation over physical sensation.
- Step 4: Pay attention to the presence of vibration in your environment, which becomes apparent in a state of deep attention.
- Step 5: Incur the vibration in your physical body, and relax into its presence. The purpose of this is to gently jiggle the subtle body out of the physical body.
- Step 6: Focus your thoughts on leaving the limbs and the torso, and try to do so one at a time.
- Step 7: Known as “lifting out,” focus on effortlessly drifting out of your physical body.
The Rope Technique
Another method called The Rope Technique, was made known by Robert Bruce, founder of the Astral Dynamics movement, and is regarded as being one of the most accessible astral projection modalities. Mahima Rao, metaphysical and consciousness devotee, creates modern “how-to” guides for those wishing to attempt astral projection and other forms of energetic exploration, and maps out the general process in a few steps:
Step 1: Relax the physical body by visualizing each muscle. Step 2: From your space of relaxation, enter a vibrational states; this should feel like an amplified version of a cell phone’s vibration mode pulsations coursing through the body. Step 3: Imagine a rope hanging above you. Step 4: Using the astral, or subtle, body, attempt to hold on to the rope with both hands. The physical body remains completely relaxed. Step 5: Begin to climb the rope, hand over hand, all the while visualizing reaching the ceiling above you. Step 6: Once you are aware of your full exit of the physical body, you are able to explore the astral plane.
Astral Projection: Keys to Learning
Though astral projection techniques are seemingly quite formulaic, much like the practice of remote viewing, seasoned patrons encourage those new to astral travel to carry out their own research and personal investigation to ensure high-quality experiences and the establishment of intentionality. The understanding of associated nuances and the amount of patience required are paramount for learning how to astral project properly. Once the proper competency has been obtained, astral projection offers those practicing the ability to connect with those living and deceased, and to “see the bigger picture” by viewing one’s own environment and circumstances from a new perspective.
A Brief History of Astral Projection
Though many references exist to coach interested astral projectors, the performance of these acts is many times assessed as being “new age” or assumed to be a form of black magic. Social constructions built hastily out of fear and misunderstanding pertinent to astral projection and OBEs have become mainstream culture. Dispelling this misconception is thousands of years of documentation. According to Wagner Alegretti, President and Senior Researcher at the International Academy of Consciousness, astral projection dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years by records created by priests in Ancient Egypt; the earlier-referenced ka, or interpretation of the astral body at the time, is depicted in various artistic mediums as a light leaving the physical body.
For centuries, the spiritual system of belief known as Shamanism has thrived off of and been preserved through traditions deeply rooted in the idea that the souls of Shamanic healers leave their host bodies to ask for guidance from higher beings in order to procure healing and clarity which is to be bestowed upon those seeking it, what may be described as a cosmic game of Telephone. Historical references to astral projection lace the texts of many societies and spiritualities, from those written in Middle Age Kingdoms to the Bible.
Astral Projection Today
Due to the largely enigmatic nature of OBEs, and more specifically, astral projection, reported instances tend to be shunned and are framed negatively by modern societal norms. Popular belief tends to become invested in labeling anything and everything unexplainable as dangerous. In this case, it is falsely believed that astral projection is a major risk to practicioners’ well-being, and can lead to death, getting lost in the astral plane, or permanent separation of the soul from the body.
Today, several highly respected organizations exist, and are slowly but surely putting such rumors to rest through conducting research. The Parapsychological Association, or PA, was founded in 1957, and has been recognized by and affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, since 1969. The focus of PA’s misson is to explore and challenge false narratives created around paranormality. Several accredited researchers and institutions, including Dr. Robert Morris of Duke University and Dr. Charles Tart of University of California at Davis, have made headway in the field of out-of-body experiencing. One might say researchers and cultures known for utilizing astral projection are light years ahead of the majority in terms of understanding human consciousness; others may argue this knowledge is hovering just a plane away, attainable to all those open to it.