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Old 12-15-2011, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Astral Projection and Out-of-body experiences

What are your views on astral projection, that is the leaving of the consciousness from the body through deep mediation (controlled breathing and concentration), use of entheogenic herbs and drugs (such as salvia divinorum) or accidentally (surgery, car crash and near death experience, etc).

There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to what exactly the "astral plane" is. The basic religious perspective is that it is literally another place a realm separate from the human one our bodies were born into. A more scientific (although I personally find it more profound) is that these experiences are a conscious exploration of our subconscious. This gives these "journeys inside the self" a great capacity for personal insight. A third, hard science theory is that any perceived effects are simply hallucinations or waking dreams with no value or personal context.

As someone who takes a non-religous approach to meditating, and believes that a lot can be accomplished with a clear head and proper concentration I'm very open minded to this concept. However, I see it as unlikely that I would be able to experience "astral projection" (which I believe is simply an exploration of my own mind, with dormant feelings manifesting themselves as "physical" entities within my imagination) through mediation alone. I think it is far more likely through a combination of meditation and salvia use. People have already reported profound experiences through their usage of salvia, and if I go into it with a mind emptied by meditation I can imagine it will be more than just a "trip".
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Eh, I'm majorly in agreement with the concept of 'escaping the body' being somewhat psychosomatic. But, I'm majorly a skeptic.

However, I do believe in the merits of isolated meditation, and if one could explore his/her mind through Transcendental meditation, I'm all for it. Especially if one could hone mental prowess/creativity to the point of fictionalizing a out of body trip.

As for drugs. I suppose that they could assist one in achieving certain mental states, I mean, that's their purpose. Yet, I'd hesitate to consider Salvia breakthrough. I mean, a lot of people said LSD was breakthrough in the 1960s(and it's probably much more effective at generating hallucinations), and we're no closer to unlocking the mysteries of the spirit world now than we were then.
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Being an occultist for over 30 years, I have actively pursued OBE, and studied it with others. My conclusion, as well as most occultists, is that OBE's do not exist.
The closest thing I have ever come, is being able to enter into a lucid dream state, but this is only for seconds, perhaps a minute, before it dissolves.

Anytime this experience was possible, was after a prolonged set of rituals intended to altar the consciousness and open up the unconsciousness.

I believe all NDE and related experiences are neuroscientific.
Meditations are certain forms of Trance Induction.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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with no value or personal context.
I don't think science says waking dreams or hallucinations can't have any value or personal context. That's all you!

There are many cultures in the world where, famously, people take hallucinogenics as a way to get in touch with themselves on a deeper level .. or something like that. I don't think it's science's goal to devalue experiences like that, just to figure out what causes them to happen.

I believe out of body experiences to be illusions, waking dreams or hallucinations. With the right setup, it's been possible to induce out-of-body experiences with experimental setups.

>> The Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I hear DMT will give not only out of body but out of this universe experiences...

I don't think LSD or mushrooms or salvia are breakthrough experiences either. At least not at normal doses. And the more you do the more you can fry your brain.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't think of the "astral plane" as being a completely separate place at all. Although I do feel that its presence, via OBEs, psychosomatic or no, probably contributes strongly to solidifying faith in there being something "more".

The way I feel about it, whether it be from psychedelic experimentation, meditation, traumatic events, etc. is that it's the consciousness retreating fully into the subconscious, bringing that instead to the forefront of ones' awareness. I think it's an occurrence that externalizes internal thoughts, making them appear to be solid and tangible in some sense, which is a truly intense and often humbling experience.

Via psychedelic experimentation, I myself have experienced what can be best described as out of body experiences, often resulting in complete dissolution of ego, an understanding of the significance of things on a grander scale, myself being completely minute and meaningless in the grand scheme of things. During these times, I have felt completely removed from my body, but I believe that I had simply retreated deep within my own mind - so that consciousness of what signifies "awake" and what signifies "asleep" became blurred.

It really is kind of difficult to articulate without it seeming to be full of contradictions, but that's really the best way I can explain my opinion as a result of experiences.

Let it be known also that this is quite possible the most subjective of opinions - it's simply the sense that I gathered from my own personal experience, without all-encompassing knowledge of what it all really meant.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tore View Post
I don't think science says waking dreams or hallucinations can't have any value or personal context. That's all you!

There are many cultures in the world where, famously, people take hallucinogenics as a way to get in touch with themselves on a deeper level .. or something like that. I don't think it's science's goal to devalue experiences like that, just to figure out what causes them to happen.

I believe out of body experiences to be illusions, waking dreams or hallucinations. With the right setup, it's been possible to induce out-of-body experiences with experimental setups.

>> The Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences
Yes, I agree. Thanks for clearing that up as I didn't mean to say that science seeks to devalue OBE experiences, but rather that some are of the belief that the hallucinations are random and the personal value is entirely dependent upon later assumptions and bias, as opposed to truly retreating into the mind as ThePhantastasio describes below.

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Originally Posted by ThePhanastasio View Post
I don't think of the "astral plane" as being a completely separate place at all. Although I do feel that its presence, via OBEs, psychosomatic or no, probably contributes strongly to solidifying faith in there being something "more".

The way I feel about it, whether it be from psychedelic experimentation, meditation, traumatic events, etc. is that it's the consciousness retreating fully into the subconscious, bringing that instead to the forefront of ones' awareness. I think it's an occurrence that externalizes internal thoughts, making them appear to be solid and tangible in some sense, which is a truly intense and often humbling experience.

Via psychedelic experimentation, I myself have experienced what can be best described as out of body experiences, often resulting in complete dissolution of ego, an understanding of the significance of things on a grander scale, myself being completely minute and meaningless in the grand scheme of things. During these times, I have felt completely removed from my body, but I believe that I had simply retreated deep within my own mind - so that consciousness of what signifies "awake" and what signifies "asleep" became blurred.

It really is kind of difficult to articulate without it seeming to be full of contradictions, but that's really the best way I can explain my opinion as a result of experiences.

Let it be known also that this is quite possible the most subjective of opinions - it's simply the sense that I gathered from my own personal experience, without all-encompassing knowledge of what it all really meant.
I have never tried any sort of substance induced OBE experimentation, but just today I did feel something quite unlike anything I've yet to experience through plain and simple meditation.

I was actually playing a binaural beat (theta) while laying down and meditating. As much as I'd like to believe binaural beats do anything significant to brain waves, the jury is still out - and I was really only playing it as a way to drown out ambiance. Anyway, after about 45 minutes of relaxation I became partially paralyzed, perhaps not physically but psychologically I couldn't quite signal my hands to move anywhere beyond a slight nudge. It was as if they were being held in place. After about 15 more minutes of this sensation on again, off again, something really frightening happened. My entire body felt as if started vibrating. This startled me so much that I tore my blindfold off and stopped the music (so apparently with enough of a want to I could indeed move).

I was quite disappointed with myself for not sticking with it and seeing where it went. Especially after reading that the "Vibrating stage" occurs right before an OBE.

I'm still in awe of it all. With absolutely no religious pretext whatsoever I was still able to experience something so.. different. And without the use of a substance.. it's all just concentration. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing. My personal theory is that those who can "astral project" at will have trained their body to fall asleep while their mind stays awake. It's really an amazing concept to me.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mrd00d View Post
I hear DMT will give not only out of body but out of this universe experiences...
Ironically, drugs don't 'add' anything to the mind, but rather allow for certain neurochemical releases to take place, in other words It is already inside of us, we just have to release the experience.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Conan View Post
What are your views on astral projection, that is the leaving of the consciousness from the body through deep mediation (controlled breathing and concentration), use of entheogenic herbs and drugs (such as salvia divinorum) or accidentally (surgery, car crash and near death experience, etc).

There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to what exactly the "astral plane" is. The basic religious perspective is that it is literally another place a realm separate from the human one our bodies were born into. A more scientific (although I personally find it more profound) is that these experiences are a conscious exploration of our subconscious. This gives these "journeys inside the self" a great capacity for personal insight. A third, hard science theory is that any perceived effects are simply hallucinations or waking dreams with no value or personal context.

As someone who takes a non-religous approach to meditating, and believes that a lot can be accomplished with a clear head and proper concentration I'm very open minded to this concept. However, I see it as unlikely that I would be able to experience "astral projection" (which I believe is simply an exploration of my own mind, with dormant feelings manifesting themselves as "physical" entities within my imagination) through mediation alone. I think it is far more likely through a combination of meditation and salvia use. People have already reported profound experiences through their usage of salvia, and if I go into it with a mind emptied by meditation I can imagine it will be more than just a "trip".
I tend to be a pretty big skeptic to the supernatural and while I don't necessarily believe in the Astral Plane as a separate physical realm of existence I do believe in OBEs to a relative extent.

I do NOT at all buy into the idea that drug use / abuse opens the mind to true spiritual development. It might help the conscious mind adapt to weirder ideas and open yourself up to different theories etc but as far as my personal experiences go with meditation (transcendental) and attempts at freeing my mind from my body - sobriety is key. Normally that style of meditation is very relaxing and the most substantial effects I've felt is the full extent of the rush and flow of blood throughout my body with every heartbeat (though it's always been an incredibly fleeting event).

For myself the most significant experiences I've had with the practice came about during a period around 10 years ago when I had stopped smoking pot and found I had to relax myself a lot more than 'normal' in order to fall asleep, hence the meditation. After a few weeks I started noticing that my mind was waking up before my body which definitely lends itself to the whole idea of lucid waking dreams. But then I started noticing odd things, like I could clearly see my room from my bed even though it felt like my eyes were still shut (there's also the fact that I NEED glasses to see anything clearly and I always take them off before getting into bed).

My theory on the matter is that due to practicing the meditation in bed while I was trying to fall asleep my body was falling into a transcendental state (similar to how you mention having a hard time moving your hands with the binaural beat experiment) but then my mind would fall asleep, come morning my body was still in a trance which allowed my mind the freedom to awake and operate independently.

Either way, after a few more mornings of seeing my room before I opened my eyes I tried 'stepping out' for lack of a better term. When I woke up being able to see the room clearly (which I normally am not able to do) I choose to try getting out of bed (which kind of felt like floating upward in a pool but without the resistance of water), then I started 'walking' out of the room, and while still consciously recognizing that my body should still technically be sleeping in my bed I tried turning around. And everything broke. The clarity of my vision was replaced with a bright light but an intense feeling of dread and it took significant mental effort to wake my body after that point. I've never managed to experience something like that since.

I realize this is entirely a single shot anecdotal piece of evidence but where it directly happened to me I can't explain it as anything other than having experienced the feeling of inhabiting my soul independently of my body.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for that experience mr. dave! That's really interesting, as I've previously heard that viewing your body or looking back on it once you "leave" it, in whatever sense that implies, will rip you out of your experience. Seems this happened to you. I'll have to remember not to do that if I ever manage to have one, which given my current progress, doesn't seem as unlikely as it did just this morning. I've only really started meditating recently and I've been really impressed with the benefits (both practical like relaxation and experimental like astral projection.)
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