First, what is astral projection? Astral projection is simply the transferring of the consciousness from the physical body to the astral body. We have several 'vehicles' for our consciousness, and the astral body is one of them.
Now, I will outline the progress of how I learned to astral project:
First is the desire. I have a friend who experiences the beginning states of astral projection, but has no interest in pursuing it, therefore never goes anywhere. "Why?" she asks. Well, if you don't build the interest and suitable desire, you're more than likely to go nowhere, and that is probably as it should be. We are all on individual paths, and no one can judge the course of another.
"Fear is the great barrier to human growth." Robert Monroe, Ultimate Journey. This is why once you've built the desire, relaxed and can concentrate, you need to lose the fear. One of the biggest obstacles is the initial fear of the vibrational stage. There is also the fear that you'll die; fear that you won't come back; fear that your body will be possessed. I have never known of anyone to suffer any of these ailments. In fact, after visiting a particularly gorgeous place, I'll do everything in my power to NOT come back! But to no avail! No matter what you do, you WILL come back (unless of course you have a heart attack in the middle of your sleep). Fear is a reoccurring theme (and/or lesson) that people have to overcome in order to advance in astral projection. You're not alone; everyone, at some time or another, will have to surpass one of the biggest obstacles. This theme, however, applies to all areas of our life, so when you can overcome this one, your whole life will be enriched. I've read a vast array of books, talked with many people on this subject, and I have drawn one conclusion, and that is to face it. You can read until you're blue in the face on how to deal with fear, how to control your emotions, that there's nothing to fear but fear itself, but until you face it head on and overcome it, these will be just words. And even when you face it and think you have learned the lesson, it will take on another shape and another form and reoccur until the lesson is thoroughly worked out. Then you will see it disappear from your life because it is no longer needed. I met my guide once in the astral and he told me that there were seven cycles of life and fear is one of them. We will cycle through these lessons until each one is resolved. What happens in our life is neutral, and it's up to us to view it as positive, negative, spiritual, or mundane.
One of my personal big obstacles! I can relax just fine, but when I try and quiet my mind and focus on one thing, a thought slips in and I'm off on a fantasy. My most successful attempts are when I can clear the mind and use several techniques; either focusing on my third eye, using a particular visualization tool or affirmation. Practice concentration, via meditation, looking at candles, or whatever your preference is. Robert Peterson in "Out of Body Experiences" states that, "The single most important factor in leaving the body is that you focus your consciousness down to a single, focused, barely noticeable thread." Do you ever stop and listen for that "high pitched noise" in your head? Sometimes, if it's really quiet, I can stop and listen for it. Robert Peterson states that if you can hold your concentration on this very noise for three minutes that the vibrations will rush in.
Countless people have repeatedly stressed this and that's because it's true. If you're upset over a job, spouse, health, finances, or whatever, more than likely this will be what is consuming you, not astral projection. Clear your load if you want to pursue astral projection. We cannot escape work, loved ones, bills or traffic, but we can do a little to minimize the "noise" in our life and this may also include having to make long term decisions. Is your career keeping you from pursuing the higher things? Are you accumulating too much physical goodies via credit which perpetuates the stressful job in order to pay for them and thus keeps you up at night? Is your spouse in tune with you and your goals, or creating disharmony? If we want to project, we eventually have to lead a lifestyle that is conducive to it. We cannot live like monks in a quiet monastery, but we do have choices and we can chose compatible mates, get less stressful jobs, work towards simple lifestyles that allow for freedom and more quiet time.
Here are some things that I have personally implemented myself: knowing when is "enough" in my career. I'm a SQL Server Database Administrator, and people ask me why I don't go into development, well, because it's too stressful and time consuming and not worth the $5-$10 more an hour. I changed my work hours from 7:00-3:00 so I could avoid longer time in traffic (it's rotten here in Seattle). I try and pay my bills off before accumulating more stuff to keep anxiety down. I keep my associations to meaningful ones (quality vs. quantity type friends) which means only a couple. I develop patience and tolerance towards my loved ones which keeps me from getting unduly upset. I meditate regularly and keep extraneous noises like TV and radio to a minimum. These are just a few examples. It won't happen overnight, but if you work on your goals, you'll get there.
Focus 10: (aka the hypnagogic state-- see Glossary for term definition).
People say, "I'm relaxed and all, but I still can't leave". It is more than just relaxation. The body must be **asleep** yet the mind awake. I try and catch myself as I'm coming out of sleep in the morning which is an acquired skill, but doable (I can't do this at night because I'm too tired)-- See "My Favorite Technique" under the Weekly Commentary link. You shouldn't be able to feel your body (sort of like going numb). Your sense of hearing and touch will vanish and you will start to see images float across your mind. Don't let yourself slip into a dream, but instead gently hold your concentration and keep deepening the sleep state. If you do this coming out of morning sleep, catch yourself before you fully wake up and gently focus on your third eye. Don't strain, otherwise you wake up. The vibrating should follow.
Ok, now the interesting stuff! There is no way to fully prepare a person for astral projection. Practice, desire and trial and error are the best teachers. However, you can at least expect some or all of the following things. For me, one of the first experiences I felt prior to separation was the buzzing. My whole body vibrated!
The first time is always shocking and you'll usually throw yourself out of the state before anything happens, but if you can, just let the vibrations continue. You're so close! I now know that when these vibrations start, I'm well on my way to separation. Usually, when the vibrating starts, I can raise my astral hands, legs and so forth. The last for me to detach is usually my head. I think our heads contain the strongest hold to our physical body. There were many times where my whole body was significantly raised, but my head would just stick. I'm not alone. Albert Taylor wrote in Soul Traveler, "I woke up in the paralysis state and, without my producing, the lower half of my body began to float. Like the hinged lid of a music box, my astral body moved up and my head rotated backward! The soles of my astral feet were pointing straight at the ceiling. I was upside down and facing backward, but my astral head was still connected to my physical head. I hung there upside down staring at the headboard of our bed. I couldn't seem to break free, so I gave up and reconnected."
After thinking about this awhile (I also posted this to my Science Results page), I think this is because most of our primary chakras are in the head region and chakras are energy (and where there is energy, there is magnetism). When I project, the first thing to raise are my hands, and hands don't have a primary chakra. So it's the utter stilling of the head area chakras (thus reducing the magnetic pull) that allows separation.
Ok, so your body is vibrating and you can lift your limbs; now you should start hearing popping, cracking, hissing noises. It can be one or many of these symptoms. I have also heard screams (ugh) and nasty noises, but I now just ignore them. Who knows what kind of parasites hang around our astral body, but I can tell you, they are harmless. So now that you've gotten this far, get out! I do this several ways.
- Rollout (this is also the technique Robert Monroe used). I rollout by simply acting like I'm falling out of bed, as in rolling out of my body, onto the floor.
- Arch my back and buck myself out. Sometimes if my head gets stuck I just "throw" myself out. This takes sheer will power.
- Grab something solid and pull! It doesn't matter how far away the solid object is, I think you're basically using the solid object as a mental crutch to get out.
- Rise and move. I surprised myself lately by just doing this passive technique. I "willed" myself to rise above my body and move onto the floor, which I did. I'm sure with time, it gets easier and easier, no matter which technique you use. I remember how I struggled over and over to get out of my body, but now, once the vibrating starts, I always say, "gosh, it's so easy, what was I fussing over?" I also have a theory where I think we have this substance that connects us to our physical body, and that it is magnetic in nature. I think over time as we continually leave our body, this elasticity gets stretched and loosens its tight grip. Some people are born with loose holds on their physical body and can pop out with little to no effort. My girlfriend's brother leaves his body all the time during his afternoon nap but has no idea why and doesn't really care.
Move away from body: When you are close to your physical body, you are probably still in your etheric body. The etheric body is electromagnetic in nature, and you will experience some of the following until you get away from the magnetic range (also read the article under Weekly Commentary called "Our Five Bodies".
- You get pulled back. The body has a natural magnetic pull to your etheric, and until you get far enough away and move into your astral, you will be repeatedly pulled back into it. This feels like being drunk because the pull from your physical pulls you to and fro, trying to attach you back to your physical. This is rather a comical state, but can be annoying if you are simply trying to look around while close to your body.
- Astral blindness is also another common side effect. If I'm too close to my body (within about 10 feet), I am equivalent to being blind. I usually use my hands to feel around, or since I know the layout of my room, I just move away from my body. Besides, in the astral, it's not like you have to be careful of bumping into things and hurting yourself. I do know that the better I get, the more I can simply "will" myself to see, but this is still a lot easier if I just get away from the physical body. When I move far enough away, my astral vision comes into focus, the wobbling stops and I'm totally free.
- There are strong auditory distractions, and as I mentioned before, if I'm close to my body, I can hear radio waves (in the form of talking, music, etc.) I also noticed (after reading over my journal) that there is this really annoying buzzing in the equivalent of my astral ears that sounds like a hornet is in my ear! This only happens which I'm close to my body, but on more than one occasion, I have leapt back to my body out of freight because I thought some bug was in my ear! And I do hate bugs!
- Spouses: If your spouse loves attention in the physical, he or she will be even more eager in the astral. Tip: just ignore them and move away. You can try and talk to them, but unless they are developed, they will hold no conscious memory of you.
As you can see, once you get the hang of things, it's better to just get out of the room and start your journey.
Take off: Once you are away from your body, you will slowly progress from the old physical habit of leaving out your front door to just zooming through the roof (and when you're really experienced, you will just think yourself to your destinations). You will eventually overcome your fear of heights (I've done work in the astral where I've helped my closest friend into the outer atmosphere to help her with her fear of heights). It's all very heady because you're not used to the speed, the height, the colors, and the sounds. So what do you do? I learned that all I had to do is ask and my consciousness would do the rest. One of my first trips was to the moon, then I asked to see a deceased relative, I also asked to see a place of great beauty and I'm still recuperating from that wonderful experience!
If you want the specifics for my particular technique, I wrote an article under the "Weekly Commentary" link that is called "My Favorite Technique".
Good luck and have fun.