Psychic Phenomenon Astral Projection Part 2

About the psychic phenomenon known as astral projection a form of out-of-body experience in parapsychology.

Astral Projection

Even stranger are the projections involving dimensions of existence other than this one. Some seem wonderful, some terrifying, some just different, and the visitor is often guided by indescribable but kindly "guardians." The 4th type evolves from this--but the projector is given a choice of not returning to his body. This is commonest when the individual is near death, as described by Dr. John C. Lilly in The Center of the Cyclone. His guides told him he could go through a door, and so die, or return to his pain-wracked body to continue his work on earth.

OBEs most often occur during severe illness, injury or fatigue, under anesthesia or drugs, and during childhood. Under hypnosis someone may be told to leave his body and obtain certain information, but even if he gets the information we cannot know if he actually projected, or if he used clairvoyance to get the target material. This problem complicates scientific attempts to prove objectively that OBEs do occur.

How does one project at will? A strong desire to be elsewhere helps. Freedom from distraction and complete physical relaxation seem important (though occasionally a physical body continues some routine activity during an AP). From here on, opinions vary, every expert recommending the way that works best for him. Favorite suggestions are simply to imagine oneself floating upward, which is usually what happens in an unplanned projection, or to visualize the astral body floating above one, and then, by an effort of will, project the consciousness into it.

Many people believe that astral projection during sleep is normal, though unremembered, and that floating or falling dreams can be converted to true OBEs by programming the mind beforehand.

There are other methods, but the question arises as to whether universal AP is desirable. Some people have experienced pain on returning to the body. Others have felt themselves trapped in other dimensions, a terrifying experience. (However, those who reported this trouble did in fact get back somehow, or they would not be able to tell of it.)

Another problem is that of ethics. If everyone could glide through closed doors at will, no "invasion of privacy" law would be enforceable, and as for Peeping Toms. . . . Supposing Victorian Miss Verity had been nude when Mr. Beard popped into her bedroom? Obviously the need for self-policing would be great.

All this may seem farfetched, but belief in OBEs is more common than might be supposed. In a 1952 survey at Duke University, 155 students were asked if they had ever seen their physical bodies from a viewpoint completely outside the body, and 30% said they had. This feeling is sometimes explained by psychologists as a hallucination of the body image. However, cases where the astral visitor is seen by others, or where he gets evidential information, rebut this.

Recently, research on OBEs has spurted, motivated by a desire to prove the possibility of survival after death. If a nonphysical consciousness can exist away from the body, this lends support to the belief that some form of consciousness can continue without the body after physical death. Organizations interested in this type of research include the American Society for Psychical Research, the Psychical Research Foundation, and the Division of Parapsychology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

FOR FURTHER READING

Journeys Out of the Body by Robert A. Monroe. New York, Doubleday, 1971. A fascinating 1st-person account of this hardheaded businessman's experiences--1st involuntary, later at will--of many types of astral projection.

The Enigma of Out-of-Body Travel by Susy Smith. New York, Garret/Helix, 1965. Cited by the American Society for Psychical Research as the most useful book for an overall view of OBEs, this contains historical accounts, modern anecdotes, and well-informed discussion of the implications of astral projection.

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