Beyond the Threshold ...
From the Introduction:
"... this book is being written for the beginner practitioner. I will assume your knowledge of the subject is limited and will thus offer a simple, step-by-step guide to leaving the body. Although 'astral projection' is often used as a catch-all term for any conscious activity occurring outside the body, throughout this work I will make a clear distinction between etheric projections and astral projections (etheric projections being the most common, at least for me).
"By applying the same techniques I use, I believe that anyone can achieve the out-of-body state on a regular basis and with their full critical faculties intact. Surely if I can do it, you can do it (if you really want it). It is only a matter of conditioning, allowing yourself to see the 'door' that you never noticed, to realize the freedom that you never knew you had -- to edge pass the threshold and beyond matter."
Excerpt ("Questions & Answers" Chapter):
Q: When the term "astral projection" is used, does that mean that the astral body is projected to the astral plane?
A: No. The astral body is already on the astral plane, just as the physical body is on the physical plane. You do not actually "project" to planes but rather focus or tune in to specific planes. You become aware, or gain a different perspective (away from physical reality). Your other bodies are all right there with you, interpenetrating one another as each are of a different frequency. To become aware of another plane or region and to use its corresponding body, your consciousness needs to vibrate at that higher frequency. You will then be shutting down your physical senses and tuning into your inner senses.
Technically, there is no "leaving" the body to "travel" to another "place", as all "places" exists as one and so "distance" doesn't actually exist. Nevertheless, when you are focused away from physical reality you will experience distance often (and perhaps primarily) but going from "place" to "place" can be instantaneous by shifting your attention to where you want to be (you do this by focusing on the energy or essence of the person or place you wish to visit). Doing this effectively and consistently, however, is easier said than done. In my experience, the more conscious you are, the harder it is to get to a location instantaneously, often leaving me no choice but to engage in long-distance traveling. This is probably only my issue (my thought patterns / mental hangups interfering with me) and may not affect you.
Q: Are there always sensations (such as vibrations) before leaving the body? What about sounds?
A: Not everyone experiences vibrations. Some report no sensations or sounds prior to an OBE; they simply slip out of the body. This is often my case (and it was for my first OBE), but I have had many experiences where extremely strong vibrations occurred prior to leaving the body -- vibrations that were so quick and violent that it would only be a matter of moments before I would be flung out of body. These vibrations never hurt. In fact, I would sometimes have a mental laughing fit during these atom-shakedowns because the experience is so bizarre and ridiculously dramatic.
When I am experiencing these extreme vibrations I hear a loud roaring or rushing sound that hits its crescendo just as I am propelled out of body (which can sound like an explosion or a bird squawking). However, at the beginning of the vibrations I will sometimes hear what sounds like crickets. (I will cover this topic more fully in the chapter "Out-of-Body Predicaments".)
Q: Does out-of-body experiences prove life after death?
A: Yes and no. For those who have had an OBE with total consciousness, it is proof enough -- the answer is usually an emphatic YES! Finding yourself apart from your physical body and still fully functioning (with your self-identity completely intact), still able to see, hear, touch, even smell and taste, still able to do everything and more, it is hard to believe that life wouldn't go on after death. In most of these people's minds there is little doubt, and in my own as well.
However, technically, no, it doesn't prove it. When I project, I still have a living body -- perhaps when my physical body dies my consciousness will die with it, but I know that's not the case. I feel intuitively that we will survive, and I've come across other beings that I feel strongly were not hallucinations manufactured by my psyche. I've also seen many of my dead pets while OBEing (which I'll describe in detail later in this chapter). The fact is, there is no scientist on earth who can explain what consciousness is. There is no compelling theories for how the physical body can create it. Anyone who says that consciousness cannot survive death is making a wild assumption based on nothing.
Those who have had a fully conscious OBE come away with the conviction that what they experienced could not have been a dream, and you can't shake them from this stance. What is fascinating is how during my best OBEs my consciousness is more bright and awake than my everyday in-body consciousness. You really do feel as though you are alive for the first time. It's as though our physical bodies, being comparatively crude instruments, can only manage to utilize a smaller portion of consciousness (as if all of the lights haven't been turned on). That's not to say that just because you are out of body you are suddenly more intelligent (although I do have access to what appears to be the stored databank of my subconscious mind, which I'll discuss later in the chapter "The Astral Jukebox"). I'm just as slow to learn new things while out of body as when I'm physically oriented. You are the same flawed person as before, and uniquely you in every way, but one's higher aliveness does seem to be in attendance. I feel cleaner, less bogged down. Simply more awake.
Q: How will I know that I had an out-of-body experience and not dreaming?
A: If you weren't fully conscious then you may doubt it and slap a "dream" label on it (although you were probably out of body while dreaming, as this is natural). When I left my body for the first time I was full-on AWAKE. Imagine the level of consciousness you are using right now, then imagine -- at the least -- that same consciousness outside your body. That's how the best OBEs are. As I indicated earlier, you will feel even more awake and alive than when you're physically awake.
If I were to tell you right now that you are asleep and lucid dreaming, you would laugh and say "hogwash!" because you know with every ounce of your being that you aren't dreaming -- YOU KNOW THIS -- and no one would be able to convince you otherwise. It is the same with a fully conscious OBE -- you are certain that you aren't dreaming. The level of consciousness one uses with a lucid dream is not of the same quality as that of an OBE. In addition, the consciousness you use in a lucid dream is hovering more or less above or around or is pushed back from the scene of that which you have created, unlike an OBE where your consciousness is firmly situated at the exact location where you are at (much in the same way that you experience consciousness when you are physically awake). It is likewise with remote viewing -- I am aware that I am in bed, in my room, and my consciousness is situated around my physical head.
So, to be clear, when lucid dreaming, consciousness is not as bright as an OBE and is somewhat displaced or has permeated throughout the content of the dream (not localized); it is as though you are a puppetmaster from afar. These are two of the major differences between OBEs and lucid dreams. (I will discuss this subject further in the chapter "Objective Reality or Lucid Dreaming?")
Q: I've heard that some projectors have had trouble waking up their body after coming back after an OBE. How common is this?
A: It's true that at times waking up physically can be tricky. The first time it is quite alarming, but don't panic; it's no big deal. If you should find yourself back in your body but unable to move it (often referred to as catalepsy or sleep paralysis), the best thing to do is just relax and try to let your consciousness dim. If you leave things alone your subtle body will align itself with the physical automatically as your awareness begins to fade.
Before I had known this secret I had had a couple of terrible experiences (terrible only because I had overreacted). The first time that I had found my physical body in this paralyzed or incapacitated state I panicked big time, screaming like a baby, ejecting myself from my physical body several times and then jumping back into it, until, finally, I was able to physically move again. I was afraid to go back to sleep!
An alternative method of breaking catalepsy is to concentrate intently on your physical body and attempt to wiggle your fingers or toes. This should send a strong message to your brain that you desire your body to wake up.
Q: Is the astral body the soul?
A: No. The astral body is no more the soul than is the physical body. Both of these forms (the physical and astral) are vehicles for consciousness, to function effectively on their respective planes. Nor is consciousness the soul. I believe we are multidimensional beings with more than one consciousness, more than one personality (our soul is the impetus behind each of our individualized offshoots, other selves of which we are unaware for the most part). Imagine a string of multicolored Christmas lights. Each uniquely colored bulb would represent a form of consciousness expressing itself differently, but all bulbs (all consciousnesses) are connected or linked to the electrical cord (which, as a unit, along with the bulbs, would represent your soul or whole self). Your soul is responsible for giving you consciousness, much like the electrical cord is responsible for giving light to the bulbs. You can follow this analogy further by thinking of electricity itself as the energy or force (God / All That Is / The Source) behind everything. As stated in the Introduction, the use of the word "God" here is not meant in a biblical sense.
Q: How many bodies do each of us have?
A: I don't know for a fact how many there are, but man is believed to be equipped with at least the following bodies: the physical body (with the etheric double residing on the highest subplane of the physical); the astral body; and the mental and casual bodies (the causal body residing on the upper mental plane). All of these bodies take up the same space, yet vibrate at a different rate. The higher the rate of vibration, the finer or less substantial the body -- the physical body being the most dense, the casual the least; and each designed specifically for (and from) that specific plane.
Most likely, the etheric double is the body you will be primarily attuned to as a beginner practitioner to leaving the body (that is, if you are consciously inducing the separation process; if, however, you have learned to awaken during a dream state, which is more difficult, then you will find yourself within the astral plane).
Q: What is the difference between the etheric plane and the astral plane?
A: The etheric plane is the highest subplane of the physical world and consists of finer matter or rarefied energies that cannot be seen with physical eyesight. There are four grades to the physical plane (solid, liquid, gaseous, and etheric), and the etheric subplane can then be divided into additional grades (super-etheric, subatomic, and atomic). When I go out of body and do some earth roaming I'm on the etheric plane (a.k.a., the upper physical plane), or, as Robert Monroe referred to it, "Locale I" or the "Here-Now". After projecting, the physical body is said to weigh less (about two ounces, according to some, and less than an ounce, according to others) as the finer matter of the etheric body has been displaced from the physical body.
The astral plane is next on the vibratory chart (as before stated, all planes interpenetrate one another but occupy the same space). The lower astral plane is that area of the astral world which is closest (vibratorily-speaking) to the etheric plane, and where, supposedly, lower-vibratory creatures or negative entities dwell. Since I have not had too many negative entity experiences (hardly any, really) I think most of my astral experiences must be on the mid or upper astral plane (or perhaps the mental plane), which were those experiences that didn't involve what can be found in the material world, or were bizarre (such as meeting my younger self, which I've done twice), that bend time perception, or those large expanses where no "objects" could be found. Usually in these type of experiences I would suddenly AWAKEN to find myself there (no conscious decision to get there), unlike my etheric plane projections where I'm fully aware of the separation process (I just roll out of body and off the bed -- there is normally no consciousness blackout or blink-off point during the whole experience, of separating, exploring, and returning).
Whatever the circumstances, if I'm out of body and conscious then I am overjoyed (to say the least), and ready to have some fun. Although technically incorrect, I often refer to my OBEs as "astral" trips for convenience's sake (and because the term is more commonly known), even though the majority of my travels have been on the etheric plane.
Q: What does the etheric and astral planes look like?
A: The etheric plane looks like the physical plane, for the most part. The main characteristical difference, in my opinion, is that it is much more vivid than the dense Earth. In the best OBEs it's as if everything sparkles (as though there are tiny pinpricks of light coming through everywhere). However, this may be due partially to the fact that in physical life I'm near-sighted (and refuse to wear glasses or contact lenses) so when I'm OBEing, and I have moved sufficiently away from my physical body, I have this utterly perfect vision that I'm not used to. I am simply stunned by how sharp and crystal clear everything is -- the environment seems more real to me. To buzz over and in between a stand of trees at night with a sky filled with stars and a majestic moon is almost a sensory overload. You can't help but be in awe of the beauty everywhere. Furthermore, since my out-of-body consciousness is more acute than my physically-oriented consciousness, this may also account for the brilliance I perceive while in the etheric realm. Or perhaps I am just able to perceive a larger range of colors than my physical body is able to perceive.
Others have reported that the etheric plane appears hazy, dull / faded, having diffused light or lower lightness values, or they see only in black and white. These accounts are probably due to the OBEer being in a semi-conscious state, having not yet reached the optimal cognitive level and so the environment appears drab or as though one were peering through a screen or gauze. Once complete awareness has been attained the environment will open up fully.
With regard to the astral plane, the etheric plane transitions seamlessly into it so at first it may go unnoticed that you have further altered your consciousness or raised your vibrational frequency (the finer matter that makes up your etheric body will have coalesced or pulled itself back into alignment with the physical form while you remain awake within the astral form). You will realize that a transition has occurred as the astral body's movement feels differently and the environment becomes more "creative" -- don't confuse this with dropping into a dream state (although you may have). The astral world is extremely malleable and you can see the handiwork of your own complex thoughts as well as those of others.
Q: Does the silver cord exist? Have you seen it?
A: I have always thought that the idea of a silver cord connecting the physical and the subtle body was a silly one, and I still do, even though I have seen it and touched it. This idea never rang true for me as being natural but instead an idea constructed by man to protect himself, to make him feel better and assured that while out of body he is securely tethered to the material world.
After reading about this cord in so many OBE books I wanted to know if it really existed. So, during an OBE I looked and ... lo and behold, I found it! It was thick and white (not silver) and connected to the back of my head. However, I still don't buy it. I've had enough experience with thought-creation to know how things can magically appear when one is "programmed" with certain ideas, although I will admit that it is interesting that my cord appeared white rather than silver or gray, this being contrary to all my reading.
Most likely this belief in a cord became popular because of the sensation of being pulled or yanked backwards when it's time to return to your body after a journey. It really does seem as though you are attached to a cord and being reeled back in. But in all of my OBEs I have never accidentally come across the cord; the only time was when I was actively looking for it, which makes me highly suspicious. One thing I've learned about the out-of-body environment is you don't want to search for things, you want to discover things. In other words, when you are looking for something specific you will almost certainly find it (that is, create it); those things in which you just happened to stumble upon are less likely to be one of your own thought creations, but not always. The psyche is so deep with so many hidden pockets that spontaneous creation can occur with no discernible effort. The good thing about an etheric plane projection is that the environment is relatively stable save for some inconsistencies and unintended thought creations now and again. With an astral plane projection, however, or while lucid dreaming, all hell can break loose at any moment, more or less.
Q: Does it matter what position my body is in while trying to project?
A: I definitely think there's something about lying on one's back that helps trigger a conscious projection (although you can leave from any position). Almost all of my OBEs have been while on my back, and this seems to be true for the majority of projectors (see the results of my "OBE Survey" at the end of this book). I'm a side sleeper (fetal position); I can't sleep well on my back, so it's actually the slight uncomfortableness of lying on my back that allows me to leave my body. It's just uncomfortable enough that it keeps me from drifting too deep. It allows me to hover there in the right state and then I just roll out. (I automatically get into the back position in the morning, as though a part of me knows what it's doing.)
Try sleeping for six to eight hours, roll onto your back, and just let your consciousness edge down a few notches until you feel as though you are underwater yet maintaining your awareness. That's the point where I exit my body.
To read the other 26 Questions & Answers in this chapter (and to read the entire book), two formats are available:
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by Jonas Ridgeway
I first learned about the out-of-body experience as a teenager from my mother, who had experienced the phenomenon herself many times. I was so fascinated with this subject that I was determined to figure out how to induce the phenomenon myself and have since had hundreds of fully conscious projections. This book, Exploring Your Inner Reality, details the steps I took to initiate these experiences and the strange situations I encountered while being out of body.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How It Started: My First Out-of-Body Experience
Questions & Answers
The Ectoplasmic Fog
Stuck In Stuff (Windows, Ceilings, Etc.)
Stuck In "Mud"
The Sleeping Bag Syndrome
Catalepsy / Sleep Paralysis
Don't Over Do It (Unless You Want To)
Disembodied, Floating Head
Malicious Spirits & Mischief-Makers
My Trips to the Moon (In-Flight Failures)
Pre / During / Post Projection Noises
The Art of Locomotion
Preparations / Preliminaries
Kicking the Fear Habit
Peace & Quiet & Naked
Veganism & Vegetarianism -- Does It Help?
Techniques for Out-of-Body Travel
The Dream-State Method
The Morning Method: The Easiest Method for Inducing an OBE
The Catapult Projection Method
The Visualization Method
The Portal Method
The X Marks-the-Spot Method
Summary: 7 Steps to a Conscious Projection
Objective Reality or Lucid Dreaming?
Validating Your Projections
The Astral Jukebox
Quotes Used In This Book
About the Author