You are the light in the body
Astral Travelling is a process of consciously DETACHING oneself from the gross body and moving on the “astral” or subtle level. It is also called OBE (“out of body experience”).
Astral Travelling is perfectly within the power of each individual. Many people do it unconsciously, sometimes during sleep or in cases of severe suffering or failure of the body system. However, conscious remembrance in the waking state is not the final or only proof of Astral Travelling during sleep/dream, or even a proof that you have indeed had any dreams or not. Everybody dreams, but a very small number of people in specific circumstances actually remember their dreams, or have conscious dreams.
Astral Travelling is a perfectly normal faculty of the human being, although it has been described as “paranormal” because in these last millennia the mainstream abrahamic culture has denied this power and even demonized it. All the native cultures recognize and respect the ancient shamanic tradition of Astral Traveling, and have developed several techniques in this regard.
The purpose of Astral Travelling is to come in touch with a deeper dimension of reality, where time and space form a continuum that we can access to obtain knowledge and realizations, and to have a greater picture of life and of ourselves, too.
In fact the best advantage of Astral Traveling is that it temporarily liberates us from the identification with the gross material body we are wearing in this lifetime, with 2 main beneficial effects:
a) heal the fear of death,
b) enable us to remember our previous lifetimes.
Fear of death is due mostly to the feeling of identification with the present body, which is the greatest illusion, the very root of ignorance, that creates the endless burden of sufferings for the conditioned souls. The reality of the fact is that we are not bodies that have a soul, but souls who have bodies.
When we believe we are this body, observing the phenomenon we call death creates confusion, because we see that the dead body is devoid of consciousness, unable to act or react, and quickly decays into a repulsive cadavre. Those (family and friends) who related themselves to the body of the dead person can vaguely perceive that “their dear one has gone”, yet they are afraid that “he is no more”, because they do not know what the immortal soul is.
Abrahamic cultures, especially christianity and islam, believe that the soul is given only one opportunity to incarnate, therefore after death the immortal soul is permanently situated either in heaven or in hell, according to God’s judgment. This does not help much to heal the fear of death, because these religions cultivate a sense of inadequacy, sin, guilt, and inherent misery in man’s nature, so that the chances of being sent to an eternal hell of torture and suffering are normally perceived as much greater than the chances of attaining paradise, also because the demands of those who claim to be God’s official representatives (the religious authorities on earth) are heavy, whimsical, and often cruel.
Therefore the proper knowledge of reincarnation and Astral Traveling have been banned and persecuted by abrahamic religions as “witchcraft”, to the point that many people are still afraid of discussing the topic, unless they have overcome the intellectual and emotional slavery imposed by the abrahamic mentality.
Of course, fears and prejudice can also occur in individuals that are not influenced by the abrahamic mentality, but they are generally more “natural” and “simple”, and they can be solved more easily. A great example is specifically about remembering one’s previous lifetimes.
The recovery and integration of the memories of one’s previous lifetimes is something that can be comfortably contemplated and pursued only by those who have a healthy mind, free from the unnecessary extra fears and prejudice created by abrahamic ideologies at conscious or unconscious level.
Unfortunately, this also applies to many people who consider and present themselves as Hindus, as they have absorbed such ideologies more or less consciously from their christian schooling or even from the general impression generated at cultural level by the equation “christian = western = industrialized = developed”, coupled with the universally accepted notion that India is, and ought to be, a “developing country”, and that after all christianity and islam are valid ideologies because “all religions are the same”.
However, remembering one’s previous lifetime is a great help in one’s evolution and spiritual progress, and often a crucial aid for healing one’s past wounds and karmic blockages. For example, if in this lifetime you have a psychological problem that cannot be explained by stressful traumatic events or circumstances in this lifetime, you will inevitably find its cause in some event that happened in a previous lifetime. If today you get burned by fire, tomorrow you will feel repulsion for the fire. If today you get trapped into an elevator, tomorrow you will feel uneasy getting into a similar one. Claustrophobia, agoraphobia and similar problems can be explained with experiences that you actually had in the the past, and those you didn’t have in this current life can be traced back to previous lifetimes. By remembering it consciously, you will become able to eliminate the unconscious fear and to reprogram your subconscious into a better way to cope with life.
Remembering previous lifetimes is also a great blessing because it will protect us from the disastrous mistake of coming to believe that we are special people just by dint of our birth (race, etc) and that we do not need to make any effort to reform ourselves and to become perfect. A person who falls into this delusion may even become downright adharmic and indulge in the worst actions, lying and cheating, becoming offensive and arrogant, and exploiting any social or religious credit to perform illicit and unethical activities, thus accumulating bad karma because he will be misleading people up to the point presenting adharma and ignorance as the actual, genuine and original process prescribed by Vedic knowledge.
Spontaneously remembering previous lifetimes at the conscious level usually does not happen because most of such memories would be overwhelming and traumatic. However, we do remember our previous lifetimes at unconscious level, as all memories are stored in the subconscious, and they come out from time to time in the form of dreams, deja vus, feelings and emotions, and their presence is constantly manifested in the form of innate inclinations, qualities, fears, talents, ability to understand, attraction and repulsion, unexplainable certainties etc. The subconscious is the guardian of all these memories and only lets them surface at the conscious level when it sincerely believes that such memories will be useful. Since the subconscious is generally programmed by habits, impressions, decisions made at conscious level or accepted from a figure of authority, our subconscious will not approve memories of previous lifetimes if it has been conditioned to think that we do not have previous lifetimes, or that remembering them is improper.
No memories are ever destroyed; they are simply buried somewhere in the subterranean cells of the subconscious and we can only get vague and distant impressions, very similar to the cries of someone locked up in a subterranean prison. The same thing happens with traumatic or difficult memories of this life itself, with denied values or needs, feelings or thoughts that our subconscious has come to consider improper or negative.
Individuals who are excessively identified with the present body (as man or woman, tall or short, fat or thin, white or black, young or old) and the social position (nationality, family of birth, caste, financial position, occupation etc) cannot possibly recall memories of bodies that were quite different and/or occupied a very different social position. Therefore we need to overcome the identification with the (present) body, something that is also presented by shastra as the most important step in self-realization. The more you identify with the present body the more difficult it is to remember things that are connected to a different body.
Our conscious mind cannot accommodate too many memories or facts: it can be exercised and trained to contain more and manage more, but there is a limit. It is like the top of your desk: how many papers and files can you keep on your desktop and still work effectively without messing up things and wasting time and energy?
Compare the contents of information on your desktop with the contents of information of your archives. A good approximation should be 1:9. Similarly, our conscious mind can generally accommodate only one 10th of what is stored in the subconscious. Depending on your personal development, your “subconscious secretary” can organize the archives at different levels, keeping the “more recent” files more at hand, so to speak. Each subsequent “archive level” is generally arranged with a proportion of 1/10th.
However, there is a “retrieval device”, based on emotional strings and association of ideas, something that modern psychologists have used a lot in the last 50 years to bring up “buried” memories from childhood shocking events that had caused psychological problems but were “removed” from conscious memory.
With proper guidance in this state, you can consciously travel in time and space in the “vehicle” of the subconscious body, with experiences that are very similar to the sudden and intense remembrance of some emotional events in your childhood in this life.
Memories of previous lifetimes are only different from memories of this lifetime because the conscious mind has more difficulties in identifying with them, because of strong bodily identification (with a particular form, relationships, role, etc). The same applies to the memories of this childhood: the individuals who are strongly identified with their adult roles, body and relationships have much more difficulty in remembering events and circumstances of their childhood. So it is useful to practice remembering events and circumstances from your childhood, as early as possible. Techniques to help such remembrance are focused on sense stimulations that relate with sense impressions stored in the subconscious: taste, smell, sight, sound, feelings etc. If you search for sense experiences that duplicate the sense experiences of your early childhood, the emotional energy will help the past memories to bubble up to the conscious mind, provided you do not have conflicting frictions or blockages in your subconscious.
That is another very important point: the subconscious must be as open and cooperative as possible, therefore it is essential to solve and heal any subconscious issue by bringing it to the conscious level without self-judgment or censorship, guilt or fear. In contemporary western society, such work is usually done by the traditional psycho-analysis as well as by many of the most recent (and more effective) psychological methods – such as “the inner child”, “self-parenting”, “constellations”, “inner voices”, “sub-personalities”, etc, mostly inspired by Assagioli’s trans-personal psychological approach.
However, the same results (and even better) can be obtained by applying the psychological science of Yoga and the techniques of Astral Traveling, by which one can most easily recover the memories of previous lifetimes, that are stored in the subtle body, where they are carried along through the process of death and into the new rebirth. In this regard, there can be no retrieval and integration of past lives memories without a clear and deep understanding of reincarnation. Thanks to the spreading of the knowledge of yoga and vedic scriptures in the West in the last few decades, the concept of reincarnation has become much more influential and popular in western countries, where it had been absent for a long time – paradoxically more than in India where it was preserved in an uninterrupted way for thousands of years.
The knowledge of reincarnation is based on the fundamental point that we are not the material body we are presently having. Giving up the identification with the present temporary body and its characteristics, and being able to see oneself as the soul, not tied to any specific historical designation, is the necessary pre-requisite for anyone to be able to remember and integrate past lifetimes, because this requires to be able to see oneself in a different historical designation, and a different body, with sufficient openness of mind.
The purpose is to remember and integrate (which is as important as remembering) IMPORTANT memories from experiences, for any relevant period of time. Of course, it is not useful to remember events from animal lifetimes, and also there is no point in cluttering the conscious memory with all details of all our previous lifetimes, such as names, specific place and time or other irrelevant information. The memories that we should help to come to the conscious level, and integrate with our “here and now” concern the karmic lessons we learned or failed to learn, crucial events that created scars in our subtle body, debts and credits we initiated in previous times, as well as spiritual and cultural knowledge that we developed in previous life cycles and that we can profitably use now. For example: military strategy, knowledge of languages, knowledge of scriptures, knowledge of the laws of the universe, knowledge of yoga techniques, etc.
Memories come out in clusters without a connection to time and space, but strongly tied together by karmic issues, either personal or collective. If you want, you can roughly estimate the historical period of a particular memory by observing the environment and by studying your personal karmic evolution that ties that specific memory to other memories that surface with an evident connection. This is very much similar to what we normally do regarding our memories from this lifetime.
Results of the practice vary from person to person, according to the strength of their material identification with the present body (which prevents identification with previous bodies). Some people need several sessions to unblock the important memories of their past, which is regularly an emotional upsurge. The difference between memory and fantasy (i.e. imagining a past life rather than remembering it) is precisely emotion.
Some people immediately respond, in one case the first session (usually lasting about 1 hour, plus some time for integration of the memories) lasted more than 2 hours with vivid and emotional surfacing of 2 violent deaths (which were physically perceived in a clear manner) and several other major events.
When memories like that surface (and usually they are the first to surface, as they are the most important emotionally, and almost always they are crucial for understanding our karmic issues in this life) one needs expert guidance and support from the facilitator in order not to panic, and to remain detached. Just as we need to remain detached from identification with the present physical body, we need to remain detached from that previous physical body.
To overcome the instinctive reaction of attachment and fear at the idea of “leaving the body”, we need to bring the gross body and the conscious mind to a state of complete relaxation that is very similar to sleep, but in order to actually remember our experiences during astral traveling we need to keep our conscious mind in a state of relaxed and detached awareness we could call “Witness Meditation”.
Witness Meditation consists in simply observing the contents of our mind and consciousness, without judging it and without trying to modify it either by holding onto it or by pushing it away. It is rather like observing the activities of someone else, or the projection of a film, because in both such cases we do not have the power of modifying the situation and we are not particularly interested to do so.
Therefore the purpose of the Witness Meditation practice consists in starting to train the consciousness/awareness to become detached from the body and mind by observing them objectively rather than subjectively.
Subjective observation is strictly connected to the incorrect/ false identification of the Self with the body and the mind, and results in greatly complicating the issues of our lives. All problems are composed by several factors, some of which are objective (the problem itself) and some are subjective (i.e. are the way we personally feel about the problem). When we cannot separate the two components (the objective and the subjective), the problem becomes aggravated by our personal issues, such as low self-esteem, self-judgment, guilt, unhealed wounds, fears, emotional needs, delusions, hopes, expectations, anger, attachments, identifications and so on.
Objective observation helps us to see reality in its true light, and to evaluate problems for what they really are.
It helps us see ourselves much like other people see us, and therefore it helps us understand others and make ourselves understood by others. But most important of all, objective observation helps us in contemplating the possibility that we, as the actual identity of the consciousness, could be different from the body we are wearing and from the ever-changing contents of our mind.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and thinking patterns is extremely important, because identifications and attachments are generally dictated by the expectations and education that a materialistic society imposes on us. This is enforced through commercial advertisement, family values training, schooling systems, social conventions, peer pressure and other cultural traps, in such a way that people end up running on some kind of automatized behavior (as in “programmed robots”). Most important of all, materialistic society keeps people in this mode of automatized reactive behavior by discouraging, limiting or banning questioning, something that reduces or obliterates the actual awareness and intellectual capacity of the individuals, making them easier to manipulate by cultural or professional exploiters.
In conclusion, Witness Meditation simply consists of observing objectively the contents of your mind without judging it and without making efforts to modify it. After the conclusion of the session, you can reconsider what you have observed and take the measures that you deem necessary or useful to improve your life.
After some practice, you can bring this Witness Meditation to the next phase (from dharana, or focusing the mind, to dhyana or dynamic consciousness), by sustaining this higher level of awareness for longer periods, and ultimately becoming situated constantly on it (samadhi, or permanent awareness).
The idea is to increase our daily awareness so you will become more aware of what is going on in your subconscious, to increase your waking time awareness and merge it into your subconscious awareness. The whole point is training your awareness.
Do you ever realize you had been listening to the radio or watching the TV, but you lost track of the contents of the program? Did you ever walk or drive somewhere and find yourself there without remembering the road you traveled? Did you ever misplace objects – such as eye glasses, or keys? Moments of “zoning out” like this occur when your awareness strays from the conscious level. People often overlook the transition of their awareness from one moment to the next. The thoughts they have often flutter through their minds without their even taking note of them, let alone actively taking part in their creation and guidance.
When you are not consciously focused, your activities (both at physical and mental level) are carried on by your subconscious; by increasing your conscious awareness of your activities, your subconscious will gradually become accustomed to the active participation of the conscious mind, and eventually you will be able to tune both the subconscious and the conscious dimensions, and eventually merge them into a greater dimension that is called superconscious (turiya) – which is our real nature (atman/brahman).
By extending the exercise of awareness (Witness Meditation) to your normal activities and daily schedule, you will realize that people often lose their mindfulness or awareness, or “centering”. It is therefore recommended that you plan several “reality checks” to be done frequently during your day and on more extended periods of time, such as weeks or months. This is the original purpose of religious rituals, especially in the Vedic tradition.
We will now analyse more specifically the practical side of Astral Travelling.
The meditation techniques that I use for Astral Traveling are similar to the Kundalini Yoga taught by some tantric gurus, or some of the practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. Results of the practice vary from person to person, according to the strength of their material identification with the present body.
The idea is that you move the prana in your body by gathering it towards one of the chakras only, thus leaving the rest of the body completely numb and lifeless. Then you are ready to try to detach yourself from your present body. The subtle body (mind) remains conscious but experiences a different dimension that is similar to dreaming or “between bodies” state (after death and before re-birth) – a state called Akasha by yogis and Bardo by the Tibetans. The movement of prana through and towards one of the chakras greatly helps the Astral Traveling, avoiding most of the “rocking feelings”. It’s like getting out through an open door instead of shaking down the walls. It’s so much easier.
The technique is a kind of guided self-hypnosis exercise based on visualization, in which the individual remains “in control” but the conscious mind goes to sleep; in this particular situation the subconscious takes over and carries us wherever we need to go, specifically out of the gross body. The subtle body and the soul do not need to travel “far”, as once outside the gross body time and space have no limitations. Physically speaking, 5 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) is sufficient.
Once the subtle body has successfully detached itself from the gross body, you are encouraged to simply follow the energy paths that exist all around us and tune our individual consciousness to the Cosmic Consciousness or Paramatman.
If there are no major blockages, these paths will lead you to emotionally relive or review the important experiences that contain fundamental and valuable information for your karmic journey and for healing your problems on the physical, psychological and social levels. In case of blockages, the important thing is not to oppose resistance or become judgmental: just surrender to whatever comes, and breathe through it if emotions become harder.
Whatever happens, or does not happen, do not make conscious efforts to direct your experience, and do not make judgments about your “performance”, because the real purpose is to help your journey into awareness. Even a very uneventful session will be useful because it is preparing the terrain for more useful experiences in the future.
Astral Traveling may also lead you to enter the akashic or astral/subtle recordings of all events that happened in time, also referred to as the memory of nature, the true Karmic Records, or the Book of the Lipika. You can also get help from the Citraguptas, the “scribes” of Yama in Pitriloka, who keep the record of everything that ever happened. Of course persons belonging to different cultures will perceive them in different shapes according to their own mental structures. New Age practitioners call them “spiritual guides”, New Age psychologists say they are a projected personification of your subconscious. Indian philosophy makes us understand that they are both at the same time, and something more than that, too.
Pitriloka is Yamaraja’s planet. The Chitraguptas are his assistants, and the Pitris (forefathers) who qualified themselves by following Dharma have the privilege of living there as associates of Dharmaraja and citizens of his kingdom. When their punya is exhausted, they come back to Martyaloka either to make more good punya or to attain liberation, as Moksa is to be attained on this level of existence. In order to understand these things, we need to experience the different dimensions of Reality. Pitriloka is not a “gross planet” that you can reach with a grossly material spaceship, it is in another and subtler dimension – not less real than the gross dimension we are used to consider the “only reality”. This subtle dimension is shared by suras and asuras, ghosts and forefathers, but with different vibration frequencies – called sattva, rajas, tamas.
The technical verification of the success of the first step of the operation in Astral Travelling is based on two factors:
- you do not feel the body any more and even trying, you cannot consciously move the limbs, especially in the first stages of the process; generally this is accompanied by a drop in body temperature,
- your eyes are completely closed, but you can see the room around and by directing the consciousness outside the room through the windows or ceiling, you can see the surroundings of the house you are in
During this stage (of exiting the gross body) there are also several characteristic symptoms, such as a strong feeling of oscillation (although the gross body remains perfectly still) in any direction: from side to side, back and forth, rotation, “flying”, “levitating” or “falling down”. When you experience this sensation, it means that you (carried by the subtle body) are in the process of “taking off”. It is simply the “loosening” of the connection between the subtle body and the gross body, which vibrate at different frequencies of matter. It means that the subtle body is becoming “ripe” and trying to break free. We can compare the situation to the ripening of a coconut – the pulp becomes loosened from the shell, and when you shake the coconut, you actually feel and hear the inside pulp moving. The feeling is generally dizzying, similar to the feeling we get while riding a roller coaster (another situation where the subtle body becomes slightly detached from the gross body) but it should not be opposed but rather followed without fear, because as the body is firmly resting on a solid surface, there is no physical danger of falling.
Your Astral Traveling is only a temporary journey out of your body, and during the entire time of the session you are still connected to your gross body by a thin but very resistant “silver rope”, that is broken only when your due time for death has come. Similarly, no one else can enter your body while you are “out”, because of the presence of this subtle/astral “silver rope”.
Even if some mishap happens, due to external circumstances or bodily problems, if “it is not your time to die”, you will be guided back to your gross body by one of the guardians of the “other dimensions”. If on the other hand, it actually is “your time to die” (something that has absolutely nothing to do with your travelling out of the body) there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it, whether you are consciously within your body or not.
Also, it is necessary to remember a few basic practical rules:
- it is recommended to use the Yoga Asana called savasana (“the dead body”, just lying on your back in a relaxed position) rather than the padmasana (“lotus position”), because especially in kali yuga beginners or persons who suffer from some physical ailments can find it difficult to hold perfectly still while at the same time relaxing completely
- lie down on a comfortable, reasonably soft and level surface, avoiding all possible causes of distraction due to physical feelings; hands should be kept palm down resting on the surface where you are lying (not on your heart, for example); eyes should be kept normally closed (not tightly shut with effort)
- if the room temperature is not very warm, cover your body with a light and soft blanket, because the blood circulation will slow down and you will feel cold
- the place of meditation should be quiet, silent, with a regular and pleasantly warm temperature, and possibly with dimmed lights or dark, so that the awareness is not distracted by the environment
- the place of meditation should be free from any possible distraction or discomfort; generally your bedroom is the best place because you are accustomed to it
- the preliminary practice of pratyahara (withdrawing the senses of the sense objects) is always recommended, or at least you can use earplugs and cover your eyes with a thick cloth
- you need to wear very comfortable, loose clothes, that do not create any feelings or sensations (negative or positive) that may call your attention back to the gross body; some people remove jewelry and similar objects but if you have ornaments that you consider as protective talismans, it is better to keep them on the body
- you should practice the meditation on an empty stomach (before eating breakfast and after visiting the toilet), preferably in the early morning after a good night’s rest, so that there will be less risks of simply falling asleep
- fasting or consumption of psychotropic substances could greatly help, but it can also terribly obstruct or misdirect your experience of Astral Traveling, therefore they are not recommended especially if you want to practice without the guidance and assistance of an experienced Teacher (shaman, etc)
- it is better not to start the session when you are emotionally disturbed (angry, afraid, lusty, depressed, worried, etc) because those feelings will distract your mind; wait until these emotions have subsided and flowed away naturally and the endorphines produced by them have been processed by your body
- it is better not to start the session if you are expected to engage in some important or urgent task immediately after that, because your mind will be disturbed and drawn to think about the other later engagements
- it is better not to start the session immediately after watching TV or films, or reading a book, or engaging in a discussion, because the mind will be drawn to the subject of such previous activities
- it is better not to start the session after physical exercise, such as jogging, aerobics, etc, after some SPA treatment, or after sexual intercourse, because such activities reinforce the bondage between the subtle/astral body and the gross material body
- if you feel sleepy, just sleep: you will practice Astral Traveling later, when you are feeling refreshed
- practice the relaxing exercises consisting in deep slow breathing, and gradual contraction/releasing of muscle tension all over the body
You can also use positive affirmations (such as “I will now temporarily leave my body to travel into the astral dimension”), direct your prana within your body through visualization meditation – such as “breathing into” the various parts of your body or visualizing a “wave” or “cloud” of light or color that sweeps through your body, visualize a “black tunnel” through which you slide towards some kind of light starting from the blackness that you see while your eyes are closed, focus on “the sound of silence” (a kind of whistling that becomes increasingly stronger during meditation), or even “count the sheep” as people used to do for improving their ability to fall asleep at will (counting can be done either in normal order or in reverse order, and using sheep or any other object, including your breathing cycles). Of course you can also use clinical hypnosis methods.
In the method I use, you remain conscious all the time and therefore you can clearly remember everything.
It’s not exactly sleeping/dreaming, it is more comparable to self-hypnosis or better, guided meditation. The difference between hypnosis and self-hypnosis is that in hypnosis your conscious mind is forcibly “knocked out” or “switched off” to stop it from obstructing your work, while in self-hypnosis your conscious mind “takes the back seat” and enjoys the ride.
Ordinary hypnosis can easily bring out the memories of past lifetimes, but the process is more dangerous because you completely lose your identification with the present life and you can get trapped there, with all the sufferings and anxieties that you need to solve, and you heavily depend on your hypnotizer to guide you out. If the hypnotist is not expert enough, you can find yourself in bad troubles.
In the self-hypnosis or “guided meditation” that I practice, your conscious mind remains there (although in the background) and you, as the Witness, are able to remain detached from all identifications, past and present.
In this way the subtle body remains strongly connected to the gross body, and you are encouraged to speak and describe what you see, hear or feel, as a small connection with the throat chakra is always retained, although the voice is generally much softer and lower and generally coming in whispers. The facilitator needs to position him/herself near your head to properly hear what is happening, so that s/he can better help the journey.
In many native cultures this technique is called “Shamanic journey”; the “Shaman” is nothing but a “natural yogi” who has developed a higher level of awareness within the range that Yoga consciously seeks to develop. In some cultures, the technique can be “helped” by the consumption of psychotropic substances known as “hallucinogenic”; this definition is given by mainstream western medicine that does not recognize the existence or the psychic relevance of other dimensions or spiritual existence. Yoga and shamanic cultures call these “visions” rather than “hallucinations”.
Of course Yoga also recognizes the possibility of actual hallucination (that means seeing something that is not really there) caused by excessive expectations (either positive or negative) of an imbalanced mind; these hallucinations are false projections of the individual mind, while visions have an objective reality on the subtle level. It is not easy to understand the difference, because on the subtle level the individual mind can also create objective realities, but we can explain the point by saying that a sufficient amount of psychic energy channeled into an imaginary subjective projection created by an individual may eventually turn into objective reality. This is the basis of the techniques called “positive visualization”, “positive affirmations” etc, that have become very popular in the West. To become able to properly handle such techniques and bring “good things” into one’s life, however, we must first clear our subtle body from unwanted influences, attachments, identifications and psychic debris, and to actually understand the Knowledge of the universal laws, such as karma, dharma etc.
Since most people also travel out of body while dreaming, a useful approach is called Lucid Dreaming. It starts with learning to remember one’s dreams, by following these guidelines:
- Awaken motionlessly. Upon awakening, don’t open your eyes. Don’t move. Lie completely still.
- Awaken slowly. Allow yourself time to naturally remember your dreams. Don’t start thinking about what you are going to do for the day. Don’t allow your mind to be flooded by your waking thoughts or your dreams will start fading or may even disappear entirely like bursting dream bubbles. Let your mind be focused on whatever you were just dreaming.
- Let your mind drift. Allow your thoughts to meander through whatever mental imagery you may have. Once you remember one part of a dream. Relax and allow the rest of the pieces to fall into place.
- If you have absolutely no initial recall or image, think about what you had for dinner on the previous night, or for lunch, or some other easy memory, and practice on that.
Most dreams occur in the last hours of our sleep so you can use an alarm clock set on the very early hours of the morning, about 2 hours before the time when you usually wake up, or about 4 and 1/2 hours after you have gone to sleep. In this way, you can catch your subconscious while it’s still busy in its work of processing your psychological needs. Of course you also need to allow yourself sufficient time for sleeping in any case.
It’s a good idea to immediately write down your dreams each time you wake up. As you exercise your dream recall pratice, you will find your memory will become better. Keeping a dream journal increases your recall by convincing your subconscious that you are seriously interested in knowing what your subconscious has to tell you. Record all of your memories and dreams with as much detail as you can.
Even if something seems trivial, you should still write it down because it may turn out to be significant when reviewed in the long run. Write down not only what happened during the dream but also what you were feeling and what you were thinking at the time. These emotional and mental notes will help you later and will also help you see how your daily affairs and your waking mind influence your dreams. When keeping your journal, it is best to write your entries in present tense instead of using past tense. For example, you should write, “I’m walking down this street and I see a man” instead of “I walked down this street and I saw a man.” By writing in the present tense, you may be able to remember even more of your dreams as you are recording them. With each journal entry, you should include a date, a time if you can, and a title. You can also draw pictures of any dream objects or places. As your dream journal grows and your dream recall increases, certain places and certain situations may be more likely to appear in your dreams – that’s called recurring dreams. They are very important for recovering past life memories and finding out your karmic issues, as they are like sign posts placed by your subconscious to attract your attention.
Again, be warned that conscious remembrance in the waking state is not the final or only proof of astral traveling during sleep/dream, or even a proof that you have indeed had any dreams or not. Everybody dreams, but a very small number of people in specific circumstances actually remember their dreams, or have conscious dreams (or astral traveling). It is just a matter of practice, of taking the process more seriously. Above all, this does not mean that the memory is not there: it is not on the conscious level, it is stored deep down in the subconscious.
A symptom of non-conscious Astral Traveling is called “nocturnal paralysis”. It consists in waking up suddenly and fully conscious, but without the control of one’s gross material body – and it is due to the fact that you (who are carried by the subtle or astral body) have not re-entered the gross material body yet, and the body is still deeply asleep. If you do not understand what is happening, you may feel afraid, but there is nothing to be afraid of.
For best results, we need to have a good relationship with our “subconscious secretary” by proper communication and cooperation. You need to attain a level of consciousness where you are ready to accept unpleasant information and process it consciously without denying or rejecting it (most people do not listen to their subconscious). Also, you must respect the needs of your subconscious: allow some peaceful time for proper filing work and regular “clean up” of emotional debris. This is done through meditation or simply relaxation.
This improvement in the relationship with your subconscious will also bring several important benefits:
- no more nightmares or unexplained fears or phobias
- no more unnecessary sense of guilt or self-criticism
- general improvement in the perception of the self, self-esteem, self-respect etc
- better general awareness, greater precision of the “internal clock” that measures time
- easily waking up at the desired time – even a few seconds or minutes before the alarm clock, or whenever “something is wrong” or actually requires your attention (any danger, a fire starting, a door opening, etc)
- no more episodes of insomnia or difficulties to fall asleep or to remain asleep, even in the presence of disturbances (loud sounds etc)
- natural and effective processing of difficult problems during sleep, with brilliant solutions and answers presenting themselves “spontaneously” when you wake up
- clearer intuition and inspiration, also on the artistic and creative levels
Reposted from Jagannatha Vallabha Vedic Research