Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to Astral Project - The Importance of Micro-Sleep

One of the most common issues that I am contacted with revolves around an inability to push their astral projection practice any further. Questions that I receive typically sound something like this:

"I have been lying here for over an hour. I am remaining completely still, but nothing is happening. What do I do?"


"I am starting to make progress, and I can feel my body starting to fall asleep, but the process won't go any further. What am I doing wrong?"


"I am feeling tingling in my limbs and torso, but I just can't get it to evolve into the vibrational state. What do I do next?"

The answer to all of these questions is the same. Relaxation.

This may sound absurd to many of you, especially if you have been laying there for hours on end, you may say, "I am as relaxed as it is physically possible for me to be".  What you have to remember here is that you are not trying to reach a level of relaxation typical to waking life. What you are attempting to do is reach a level of relaxation that is usually only possible through sleep. This bring me to the topic of micro-sleep or micro-blackouts as I have referred to them in the past. Micro-sleep is the action of dipping quickly into sleep and immediately emerging into wakefulness again through a strong intent. This is something that everyone has done at one point or another in their life unconsciously.

Think of a time when you were very tired, but had an upcoming engagement. Maybe you had agreed to meet a friend, maybe it was a job interview, maybe it was picking up a child from daycare. As you think of a time when you were very tired, but had an upcoming engagement. Maybe you had agreed to meet a friend, maybe it was a job interview, maybe it was picking up a child from daycare. As you closed your eyes to get just a few minutes of sleep before heading out, you may have found yourself waking spontaneously over and over panicking, looking at your clock, thinking you may have missed your alarm. This is your mental intent pulling you back out of sleep. If you have experienced this, it is proof that you are capable of this skill and once you have honed your abilities, you will be able to use it to assist your projection practice.

It took me about 6 months of trial and error to develop this skill, so hopefully you will be able to learn from my mistakes and accomplish this task with less effort. Over the months, I spent my hour-long lunch breaks laying down in the back of my van, where I would set my alarm to go off every 15 minutes just in case I did not successfully return from sleep. This would guarantee at least 4 attempts per session. I would then lay there, letting myself drift as close as possible to sleep while maintaining an intent that I would pull myself back out as soon as I slipped under.

When I was successful, I would repeat the process. When I failed, my alarm would wake me up after 15 minutes and I would try again. As I started to get the hang of this procedure, I noticed something interesting. I noticed that after 3 or 4 dips into sleep, it was only my mind that would return to wakefulness, leaving my body in a deep state of sleep. I noticed that muscle groups that I was not even aware of would start to disengage. I could feel the weight of my rib cage on my lungs, my eyes and ears would shut off and it was like my focus was forced inward. There have been occasions where I would return to wakefulness and hear myself snoring as though I was a third party listening to someone else sleep. From here, the process will evolve on its own and if there is ever a point where you feel like progress has slowed or stopped, return to dipping in and out of sleep until progress resumes.

From what I have learned, I would recommend the following steps to practice and develop this skill:

  1. Select a place other than your bed to practice. This can be a recliner, a couch, the floor, a yoga mat, etc. Your body and mind associate your bed with sleep, so selecting a place you don't normally sleep will make it easier to keep from sleeping too deeply.
  2. When selecting a place, choose a spot that is not too comfortable. This will help you maintain control over your state of consciousness.
  3. Lay in a position that is not your natural sleeping position. Again, this will help you maintain control over your state of consciousness and slow down the transition into sleep.
  4. Let yourself relax and monitor your state as you approach sleep. Evaluate your state of mind and awareness repeatedly as you get closer and keep a strong intent to wake back up if you dip under. 
Set an alarm if you like as I did during your practice sessions in case you don't make it back out.

Mastering this skill will drastically increase the effectiveness of your direct attempts to induce an astral projection.

Good luck!

Monday, August 29, 2016

30 Days of Veganism

Hello, my friends! With my 30 days of cutting caffeine behind me, I have decided it is time for me to embark on my next experiment in spirituality; 30 days of veganism. I am anxious to find out how it affects my projection, dreaming, meditation, and overall spirituality. There is so much hype around a plant-based diet that I have thought for a long time that I really ought to give it a try. Thank you to those of you who pushed me into making the decision.

My First Week

I am 7 days in and I have to say, so far, no complaints. Things are going well. I believe that this is partially due to the fact that I have really been working up to this for quite some time. I have been cutting out processed foods and meat slowly, replacing them with things like fresh fruits, veggies, beans, and tofu. It also doesn't hurt that I cook for my family so if I want to make something different for myself, I am not placing a burden on anyone else. I am taking a daily vitamin to make sure I don't miss out on anything that I would have gotten from meat and I have also started with a plant-based protein powder every morning so I don't shrink down to nothing at the gym during the next month. All in all, I am getting just as much protein as I ever did as a carnivore, so things are really going well.

As far as my spiritual practices go, this has been an eventful week.  While I would love to just proclaim that it was all due to my change in diet, I think it is too early to make that sort of definitive statement. That being said, I have had two spontaneous lucid dreams, reached the vibrational state unintentionally during dreams, and I have projected once! Like I said, it has been an eventful week. I am so thrilled! I hope it will continue and that it is not just the placebo effect caused by my high expectations.  More to come.

Week 2

Two weeks down and halfway through this experiment. Whether I decide to continue after the 30 days remains to be seen, but I do have to say that I am enjoying it. 

Physically speaking I feel great. There has only been one bump in the road this week that I have had to overcome. It turns out that without the naturally occurring probiotics that exist in things like yogurt, a vegan diet can leave you feeling a bit bloated and gassy. I did some research and found some vegan alternatives and that problem has been solved. Aside from that, I have great energy, my morning workout routine is right on track with what I have always done, and I am not losing or gaining any weight. I'll take that as a sign that I am doing things right. :) While I have cut some things out of my diet that i am sure I am better off without, like pizza, for example, overall I would say that coming from an active, healthy lifestyle, my diet really didn't change a tremendous amount and I maintain that this transition has been an easy one.

From a spiritual perspective, I will say that I have had 6 spontaneous lucid dreams in the past two weeks and one Projection. One Projection is nothing to write home about, but I typically only average between 1 and 2 lucid dreams a month. I don't actively strive for lucid dreams and tend to focus most my efforts on projection, so 6 is quite a few for me. That being said, this is not the first time I have had a sporadic increase in activity when it comes to lucid dreaming. So far I think it is too early to say definitively that this diet is making any sort of difference. I am remaining optimistic, however. It could very well be that I am still purging toxins and impurities from my body, much the way it took weeks to get all the remnants of caffeine out of my system. We will see how the coming weeks play out.

If there is one thing that I say so far about this diet and how it helps my practice, it is that it leads to feeling light and comfortable when going to bed at night as opposed to feeling heavy and full the way you do after eating mass quantities of meat and greasy food. This makes it easier to reach deep levels of consciousness like the mind awake body asleep state while maintaining control. That heavy full feeling always leads to my falling asleep too quickly. In the past, I have avoided feeling too full by modifying my dinner time so I no longer eat after 6:00 PM. With this vegan diet, I have found that I can eat an hour before bed and still feel light and comfortable.

Here is some of what I have been eating lately

Final Thoughts

The 30 days have come and gone, and as with my cutting caffeine experiment, I have decided to continue. While I have not experienced anything profound from a spiritual perspective, there are two factors that have driven my decision to continue with this diet. First, I feel great! I feel like this diet has pushed me cut out a lot of the not so great things in my diet. I have maintained a consistent weight, and I continue to feel like I am getting all the nutrients that I need.  Second, I reconfirmed repeatedly over the past few weeks that it is much easier to reach deep meditative states and deep states of consciousness during my out of body practice when your stomach is light. Try to imagine having a productive meditation session right after Thanksgiving dinner. For me, this would be impossible, and while I was definitely able to reach deep meditative states prior to veganism, I have always noticed that it is easier with an empty, not so stuffed feeling stomach and this practice lends itself very well to a consistent not so stuffed feeling.

Several folks have asked me over the past month to share a bit about what I am eating and how often. As far as what I am eating, it is not so different than what I was eating prior to introducing this diet. It is the same foods with some minor modifications. I replace things like ground beef with tofu. I replace things like grilled burgers or chicken with portabello mushrooms. I replace eggs in baking with flaxseed, and so on.  With a bit of research, a bit of creativity, and a willingness to experiment, it turns out it is not difficult at all to remove all animal products from your diet.

As far as how many times I eat every day, I eat continuously. This is easy for me because I have a desk job and I can always have a bag of fruits and veggies next to me.  I eat almost every hour of the waking day, just a little here and a little there. I will munch on edamame, or carrots, or grapes, or dried fruit while I work.  I have read that many small meals are better for your metabolism, so this may be another added benefit of veganism. In order to get enough calories, and not feel hungry, I have to eat many small meals. What I have found in regards to this is that I never feel hungry and I never feel stuffed. I am always in the middle in this state of comfort. I absolutely love this. I never have the feeling of "food coma" after lunch that I used to get when I would chow down on a pound of spaghetti and meatballs or leftover barbecue.

All in all, if you are looking for a way to feel great, eat healthy, and improve your ability to reach the deep states of consciousness in meditation, or out of body travel, I would highly recommend at least giving a vegan diet a shot.

Thanks for sticking with me through this one.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Monroe Institute - Gateway Voyage

Today I would like to talk a little about my experience at The Monroe Institute. I attended the Gateway Voyage program at the end of September 2015. For those of you not familiar with the Monroe Institute, it is a consciousness research and training center, founded by Robert Monroe, and was actually his home during his later years. It is in the Blue Ridge mountains of Faber Virginia, a short drive from Charlottesville.

I signed up for the Gateway Voyage program because it appeared to be the general consensus among forums and TMI website that it was a good introductory course and it is also a prerequisite for several of the other courses there. I received a letter from the institute stating that it was best to go in with an open mind and no expectations. I had broken rule number one the day I signed up for the course. I had come to the conclusion that this was going to be an incredible week packed full of OBEs. They also had a disclaimer stating that they could not guarantee that anyone would have an out of body experience. This did not keep me from getting my hopes up.  I was sure that this week would accelerate my progress far beyond my wildest imagination.

I arrived at the Charlottesville airport and was picked up by a shuttle, driven by Mike, a super nice guy who has worked at the institute for decades. He recounted stories of Bob, the history of the institute, and the development of Hemi-Sync as we made our way to our home away from home for the upcoming week.

When we arrived, we were shown to our rooms, provided with a journal and a packet of information about this course, other courses, and available Hemi-Sync tracks that could be purchased from the institute store. We were each given a CHEC unit, which would serve as our bed as well as our practice space over the coming week. The CHEC unit was like a bed, but with walls built around it. The mattress was about 6.5 feet in length and about 3.5 feet wide. There was a small gap in the wall where you would climb in, and then a blackout curtain that would remove all light. At the head of each unit was a jack where we plugged in our headphones. These would be the source of Bob's voice as he guided us through the various focus levels and as we learned to reach the mind awake/body asleep state.

A typical day began with waking up early to some goofy music composed by Bob while he gave us an inspirational message to begin our day. I grew rather attached to this wake up by the end of the week and wished I could take the track home with me to use as a daily alarm. This was followed by an optional yoga class and breakfast. After breakfast, the day of exercises would begin. We would congregate in the large living room, talk about the exercise to come and then disperse to our CHEC units where we would attempt to experience various states of consciousness. Once the exercise was done, we would return to the living room where we would talk about our experiences, ask questions, and begin preparing for the next exercise.

Half way through the week, I was feeling seriously bummed out.  I had not had a single OBE and I felt like this course was not what I had expected. I thought we were going to cover Conditions A - D, and the physiological states between awake and projection. Instead, we were spending all our time learning relaxation, following guided meditations, and doing creative visualization. I knew that this sense of disappointment was my own fault. I was doing exactly what they had expressly told me not to do. I finally said, I need to fix this.  I am in a beautiful place, with time, that is dedicated solely to this practice, surrounded by the most incredible open-minded people, and I am wasting it. At that moment, I let go of all expectations and I had an incredible week going forward.

I never got out of body, but I did learn visualization and relaxation skills that I use to this day that help me achieve the out of body state. I got to talk to Joe McMoneagle about his career in remote viewing. I made some amazing friends, and when I came home, I felt like a new person. I plan on going back to the Monroe Institute in 2017. I will be going through the Out of Body Intensive this time around. I am looking forward to meeting William Buhlman, another one of my favorite people.

I am attaching some photos of my time there.  Enjoy.

Bob Monroe (I love this man)

My CHEC Unit

All my incredible friends

One of two giant crystals

The dining room

Chatting with Joe McMoneagle

Bob's research center / Laboratory

Bobs's house. Our home away from home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Astral Projection Troubleshooting - What am I doing wrong?

Over the past two and a half years, I have run into numerous roadblocks with my projection practice. Since starting my YouTube community, I have discovered that many others run into the very same issues that I had to learn to overcome. With that in mind, I wanted to put together something of a troubleshooting guide for your projection practice. This is intended to be a living document that I will continue to add to as new issues and solutions surface.

How long does it take to learn to consciously project?

Our very first question, alas, does not have a clear-cut answer. I had my first success by accident and it took me almost five months to induce my next experience. Over the first year success was scarce, in fact, there were several times where frustration almost overcame me and I almost talked myself into quitting on more than one occasion. I was lucky to have three to four projections a year in the beginning. As time passed, I started to get familiar with the state of mind and body that is conducive to the practice, and I learned more and more about what does not work and my success rate climbed to more of a monthly basis. It wasn't until just this year that I have been able to raise my achieve close to weekly success. I tell you all of this not because it will take you two and a half years, but to demonstrate that for some, this sort of investment  of time and energy is required. Perhaps you will be one of the lucky who take to this practice in a matter of weeks or months. I hope that you are. I will say, regardless of whether it takes two weeks or two years, the effort is well worth the prize at the end. I never regret the time I have put into learning this skill. It is profound, life-changing, exciting, and the closest thing to magic that I have experienced on this earth. Stick with it, give it your all, and you won't be sorry.

What if I am unable to keep my mind awake as my body falls to sleep?

A few ideas here. First, there is more than one method to achieve projection. If you have a hard time with the mind awake/body asleep method, perhaps try your hand at the indirect method or using lucid dreaming to induce a projection. If you are dead set on the direct method, there are some things that can help you as you try to reprogram your mind to allow your body to fall asleep first.

  1. Use the wake-back-to-bed method. Wake up after four to six hours of sleep and remain awake for 15 to 45 minutes. During this time, write in your dream journal, review your plan of action for your next projection, repeat affirmations, or read a book about projection practice.
  2. Once your 15 to 45 minutes is up, lie back down in a place other than your bed. Your body and mind associate your bed with sleep. Find another location, a recliner, a couch, a yoga mat, etc, that can become your projection space. Only lie down to relax in this space when you intend to project. This will help build the association with your intent in your subconscious mind.
  3. Make sure you are not too comfortable. Lie in a position that is not natural to sleep. If you usually sleep on your side, lie on your back. 
  4. Wear loose fitting clothes and little or no covers. Warmth typically causes sleepiness. Being a little bit cold will help you maintain control over your awareness. You don't want to be freezing, just not cozy and warm. If it is too warm in your house, turn down the temperature a bit just to make it a little less comfortable.
  5. Find something repetitive and monotonous to focus your mind on. Repeat a mantra, count backward from 300, or repeat affirmations in your head. If at any point you find yourself losing count or you realize you are no longer reciting your prepared phrase, just pick up where you left off.
  6. Experiment with varying amounts of caffeine. During the wake-back-to-bed method, drink a small amount of coffee or some other caffeinated drink. If you find that it wasn't enough to be effective, up the dose a bit next time.

What do I do about a heavy chest sensation? 

Once you learn to put your body to sleep, it is common for the heavy lead blanket feeling to cause panic or at least discomfort when it reaches your chest. Suddenly, your muscles relax, your rib cages sinks in on your lungs and there is a noticeable strain on your breathing. This sensation is intense enough, it has lead to myths about creatures or old hags sitting on your chest. The best fix I have found for this is to keep your breathing short, shallow, and comfortable through the entire experience. Deep breathing is great to get you relaxed, but after a few deep breaths, see how shallow you can make your breath without causing the sensation that you are depriving yourself of oxygen. Once this pressure on your chest arises, you will be able to avoid panic or the illusion that you are going to suffocate because you will already be breathing with very little movement to your chest.

What if my experiences are too short? 

Experiences are always too short at the beginning. This can be corrected through practice, maintaining, and deepening. First and foremost, it is critical that you learn to leave emotion at the door. Nothing will disrupt the stability of an experience faster than fear or excitement. This is a challenge at the beginning as fear is a common reaction to the very physical sensations that are experienced, then comes the day when you succeed and that fear is quickly replaced by excitement and anticipation, which seem to ruin this fragile state just as effectively. The only way to accomplish this is through experience. You need to learn to maintain the inward drive and excitement that is needed to push your practice forward while staying outwardly indifferent to everything that you run into.

Once you overcome this hurdle, learn to immediately use maintaining and deepening to stabilize your experiences as the very first step of any projection. Once this becomes a habit, you are well on your way to having much longer adventures.

What if I need to swallow? 

Swallowing, like any other movement, will set you back when you are trying to achieve a mind awake/body asleep state. The best method I have found to reduce the need for swallowing is to prop your head up or to sit in a reclined position. If you prefer to lie down, place an extra pillow or two behind your head so you are almost looking straight down at your feet. A recliner or arm chair is a good alternative because you can prop yourself at an angle and prevent spit from pooling at the back of your throat.

What should I wear? 

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and try to get by without a blanket if possible. Being too warm or too comfortable will result in your falling asleep too quickly and it will be difficult to maintain control of your mental awareness.

How do I remain in the vibrational state? 

This one is going to take some practice. The vibrations can range from a gentle hum, similar to that of a vibrating cell phone, all the way to a sensation that rattles your teeth and feels like you are being hit by a live power line. As you can imagine, it is difficult to not react to this phenomenon, but that is exactly what you need to do. In order to let the vibrational state build to the required frequency, you need to become indifferent to it. You need to surrender completely and just notice it vaguely as though it is occurring in your peripheral vision. Continue doing whatever it was you did to bring about the state, treating the sensations with a mild curiosity and nothing more. This is easier said than done, and nothing other than repetition and practice will work. No amount of reading on the subject can prepare you for the actual event. Most likely, the first few times, your heart will pound, your breathing will become fast and uncontrolled, and you will panic. That will pass with time. I personally had to reach the vibrational state a half dozen times before I learned to anticipate and enjoy the sensations.

What if I lay there forever and nothing happens or I can't reach sleep paralysis?

Unfortunately, laying there on its own, is not enough. You have to take your physical body to a point of relaxation that never occurs naturally in waking life. For me, many times, the only way that I can achieve this deep state of relaxation is to actually let myself dip in and out of sleep. I think of these as micro-blackouts. I dip in just barely, hanging onto the intent to resurface again. Often, I will have to dip into sleep three or four times in order to sink deep enough to allow the process to evolve any further. This will take some practice. I would suggest starting out by practicing somewhere uncomfortable like a hard floor where it is difficult to fall asleep. Then, allow yourself to dip in and out over and over again so you can learn what that intent feels like. You can also do things like holding your arm up, resting your elbow on the bed so your hand will fall as you dip into sleep, causing you to wake back up. Another option would be to set an alarm to go off every five to ten minutes just in case you don't come back out so you can begin another attempt. Once you get to a deep enough state of relaxation, the process should progress on its own.

What is a ramp timer doesn't work for me? 

Ramp timers, unfortunately, are a hit and miss approach. One day they may lead to an incredible experience and then they may fail miserably to produce any results for the next 3 months. To have the best possible chance of getting a ramp timer to work, you will need to do some experimentation. Try it at different times of the night or early morning. Try different intervals. Try to get to the shortest base interval that will still allow you to fall asleep between beeps. Be patient and try not to get frustrated, as frustration will most likely stop any further progress.

How often should I practice? 

Practice as much as you like, so long as it doesn't interfere with your physical life responsibilities, cause sleep deprivation, and as long as you enjoy it. If you find that practice leaves you tired, save your efforts for the weekend or a night before a morning when you will be able to sleep in. If you find that you are getting frustrated, take a break. This is a practice that cannot be forced and enjoying the process is critical to regular success. I would suggest learning to love every aspect of your practice from meditation to the pre-exit sensations. If you can learn to love the practice, you will be happy whether or not you get out of body and if you do manage to project, it will be an added bonus to your already enjoyable practice.

What if I can't get the direct method to work?

To be frank, the direct method is the most difficult method of learning to project in my opinion. It is probably the most widely talked about, therefore, seems to be the most popular and everyone's first choice, but if you just can't get it to work for you, perhaps try your hand at the indirect method or using lucid dreaming to induce a projection.

What if I'm scared? 

Fear is a natural reaction to much of what is experienced in this practice. Even those who have been doing this for years find themselves in situations where they feel real fear. First, evaluate where your fear is coming from. Are you afraid of being hurt or that you won't be able to return to your body? If either of these is the case, you can rest assured, you are indestructible when out of body and once you have a few experiences under your belt, you will realize that the challenge isn't in coming back, but in staying out longer. If your fear stems from religious beliefs, again, realize that you can't be harmed and then perhaps do some research on the many bible verses that are believed to have been influenced by astral projection. This is not an evil practice, demons are not waiting around every corner to invade your body while you are out, and nobody has ever died doing it. Maybe think of it as something akin to a rollercoaster. It is a thrill that may get your heart and adrenaline pumping, but in reality, is 100% safe. It also doesn't hurt to go into this practice with a positive attitude. You will find the out of body state to be very thought responsive, and if you expect to meet scary entities, you most likely will. Again, they won't be able to hurt you, but they will do their best to make you too scared to return for another visit.

What if I have a stuck body part? 

Stuck body parts are a fairly frequent phenomenon. You get half way out and then your leg is stuck, or your head won't separate, or you just can't pull your arms out. There are a couple of solutions to this that I have found over the past couple of years. First, call out for help with your mind. You may be surprised how quickly something responds to assist you in completing your separation. If you decide to go this route, be prepared for anything. Quite often the help does not come in the form you would expect it to and it can be surprising bordering on frightening, but if you ride it out, you will have an incredible experience to show for it. Another option is to just use imagined body parts. to rebuild your non-physical body. If you can't get your leg out, just manifest a new leg that is not stuck. Create yourself a new pair of arms. As mentioned the out of body state is incredibly thought responsive and generating portions of a new body is often easier than dealing with stuck parts. Finally, there is no rule that says you need a body at all. Many seasoned projectors discard their human form at some point and just travel as a point of consciousness. Give this a try, knowing that there is nothing your body can provide you when you are in the astral that can't be accomplished in other ways.

Astral Projection Experiment - Cutting Caffeine for 30 Days

Over the past couple of years, I have tried to do a number of things for my health in hopes that it will help my projection practice.  I have increased my intake of raw fruits and vegetables, cut down on red meat, cut out fluoride, cut out sugar along with any fake sweeteners, and taken up an aggressive daily exercise routine. The one thing that I have only tried half-heartedly over the past two and a half years is the elimination of caffeine from my diet. I go a day here and a day there, and then I fall back into the habit of my morning and afternoon coffee.

Some recent digging into the effects of caffeine on the brain and its effects on things like the creation of serotonin have convinced me that I need to give it another shot. For real this time.

This brings me to my experiment, and I would love it if any of you would join in so we can compare experiences along what is likely to be a difficult journey full of yawning and long meaningful glances at my coffee maker. For the next 30 days, I will forego all caffeine in any form and will continue with my daily/nightly projection attempts. I will record my experiences periodically along the way.  If at the end of the 30 days, I have attained new unimaginable levels of enlightenment, I may just continue this experiment. If I don't notice any difference, I may just sink back into my old love affair with my 24-ounce cup of black delicious perfection.

Update - Day 7

Seven days in and I can definitely tell a difference with my practice. Unfortunately, it has had a negative impact. We'll get to that in a minute, but first, let's talk about the physical aspects of cutting caffeine.

I didn't experience any headaches as I have heard others report, but the first two days, I was incredibly sleepy in the afternoons right around the time I typically have my second cup.  The mornings were not so bad because I am in the habit of going to the gym and running 4 miles on a treadmill would wake anyone up. The tiredness in the afternoons lasted until about day 4 or 5. By day 7, I was feeling just about normal in the afternoon.

Now, onto my projection practice. As I said, it has not had the effect I was hoping for. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am in the habit of putting my body to sleep while keeping my mind awake every night whether or not I wish to project, just for practice. Since cutting out caffeine, I am hitting less than a 50% success rate when it comes to keeping my mind awake during this process. I have also found that I no longer have spontaneous awakenings during the night which means I don't get to practice the indirect method, so that is strike two. Finally, my dream recall is down from 4 to 6 dreams a night to an abysmal 0 or 1.

I am hoping that this is just part of the transition to a body free from the effects of caffeine and that I will have better news to report next week.

Update - Day 14

I have a slightly more optimistic report for you all this week. First, no tiredness whatsoever, in fact, I have more energy now than I did when I was drinking my two cups a day. Another added benefit that I have read can be attributed to cutting caffeine is a decrease in mood swings. I just feel good all day long.

Now for my projection and dream practice. My mind awake/body asleep success rate is still hovering right around 50%, and I continue to sleep more deeply than I used to, so spontaneous awakenings have not returned as of yet. The good news is that my dream recall is back up to the 4 to 6 per night I was at before this experiment began.  My dreams are as vivid as they ever were. Not lucid yet, but vivid, so that is a step in the right direction.

Two weeks down, two more to go.  I hope that the rest of my practice will come in line with my dream recall in the weeks to come.  We'll see...

Update - Final Thoughts

Well, the experiment is almost officially over, but I have decided that I will be continuing with my "no caffeine" way of life. Physically speaking, I have far more energy than I had when I was relying on a cup of coffee to pick me up every day after work and I have found that my overall mood is far better than it was when stimulants were causing occasional depression and mood swings.

From a projection and lucid dreaming standpoint, I am still recalling between 4 to 6 dreams a night, which is right back where I was before undergoing this endeavor. My mind awake/body asleep practice is right back where it was.  I am hitting a 90% to 100% success rate in my attempts again all thanks to a friend who recommended that I just need to be a little more aggressive in keeping my mind awake than I used to have to be.  That seems like an obvious conclusion right? Somehow, it didn't occur to me as I continued going through the same motions that have worked for me consistently for over a year. I modified my practice so that I began counting down from 300 as usual, but I counted my heartbeats rather than my breaths.  This was enough to keep the internal dialog a little more frequent and did the trick.

I have yet to experience a projection since beginning this experiment, but I am optimistic based on the fact that my other efforts and practices are returning to normal and overall, I just feel great!.

My final thoughts on caffeine, in general, is that it makes no difference.  Obviously, cutting it out or possibly introducing it when it is not a regular part of your diet will impact your practice since it plays a role in regulating sleep chemicals and brain stimulation, but if you are accustomed to consuming caffeine, or accustomed to a life without caffeine, I don't see that there is any benefit from a projection standpoint to change your habits.

Friday, June 24, 2016

How to Astral Project #5 - Projecting From a Lucid Dream

I wanted to continue on with our "How to Astral Project" series. Today we will talk about projecting from a lucid dream, or converting a lucid dream into a projection. There may be several different ways to do this, but today I will share the method that I found works for me. This is the result of weeks of experimentation, trial, and error.

The method I have found to be most effective is to use a lucid dream as a springboard into using the Indirect Method. If you are unfamiliar with the Indirect Method, feel free to click the preceding link and review it in detail if you wish. I will, however, go ahead and just describe it briefly here so we can all start on the same page.

The whole idea behind the Indirect Method is that you want to catch the transition between asleep and awake, and take advantage of those early moments to turn your attention to projection and separation. The challenge for me here has always been that it is difficult to remember to immediately focus on separation while remaining completely still. Instinctively when I wake up, I tend to yawn, stretch, maybe scratch an itch, and then I begin thinking about my day.  By this time, it is too late to take advantage of the indirect method in most cases.

This is where lucid dreaming comes in. First, when you are having a lucid dream, your body is asleep, and your mind is awake and aware. This is requirement number 1 for projecting and it is already taken care of for you in this instance. You also have the added benefit of being able to plan out your projection and separation while still in the dream state. This prevents the risk of potential movement or stray thought interrupting your efforts upon awakening. This is what makes this such a great method of projecting, especially for those who either naturally take to lucid dreaming or have difficulty with some of the other projection methods.

Here is the process I go through to induce the projection.

  1. Prior to going to sleep, I set my intent to focusing on projection during any upcoming lucid dreams that night.
  2. I become lucid in my dream and I turn my focus to my plan of action, which in this case is to induce a projection.
  3. I decide upon an exit technique. For me, this is typically rolling out.
  4. I initiate the wakeup process in as slow, gradual, and controlled a manner as I can, all the while, performing my exit technique.
  5. As I shift from my dream state back to physical wakefulness, I continually roll like a log, over and over. At some point in the transition, this sensation becomes real and I find myself next to my bed on the floor.
This method takes advantage of the door to the astral still being propped open, however slightly, during the waking process. Your constant efforts to separate, help squeeze you through that door before it can close. If by chance, you miss your chance and the door closes, you still have the added benefit of a mind that has been focused continually on projection all the way from the sleep state. This greatly reduces the likely hood of accidental movement or stray thoughts interrupting your attempts at regaining the correct physical and mental state using the indirect method and cycling of techniques upon waking so you can push that door back open and roll out.

One more thing to mention, I have found that lucid dreams are a great training ground for things like gaining comfort with exit sensations. For example, from the waking state, it may take me 15 to 45 minutes to induce the vibrational state or the jet engine roaring sensation in my ears. In the early days, these sensations were so jarring that almost the instant they hit, fear, excitement, or anxiety would almost immediately ruin the state. At that point, I could either go through another 15 to 45 minutes to reinstate that process or more likely I would wait for another night. Due to the relaxed state of the body in a lucid dream along with what I imagine is a direct connection to your subconscious mind, I am able to induce exit sensations almost instantly while in a lucid dream just through simple intent. I will simply focus on kicking off the vibrations, and BAM! they begin. At that point, I will either remain in the lucid dream, explore the sensations and gain comfort with them, or I will allow myself to slowly regain consciousness, emerging from the dream state directly into waking vibrations. From there, I can again, remain in this state to gain familiarity with it, or I can practice raising their frequency, building their intensity, and practice my exit techniques.

Please let me know, how do you use a lucid dream to project? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Astral Projection Experience - NO CHEATING!

I wanted to share an experiment that I performed last night with you all and the results that followed that experiment. The idea for this experiment originated with the fact that for as long as I can remember, anytime I am touched at the base of my spine while sleeping, I experience a surging, jolting sensation that runs up my spine, making me arch my back.  It is brief but intense.  Over the past couple of years as I have progressed with my projection practice, I have noticed that this jolting sensation originates from the same point as the vibrations. This got me to thinking that maybe this jolting sensation is caused by interaction with an energy center, and if that is the case, it made me wonder, what if I could interact with that energy center through some nonautonomous method while sleeping.  I have been mulling this idea over in my head for a long time now, but until last night, I never had a practical way of actually accomplishing this desired interaction.  I used my FitBit.

For those of you who are not familiar with this technology, it is a small computerized pedometer. One of the handy features of a FitBit is its silent alarm, which results in the FitBit vibrating so you can wake up without bothering anyone else. I thought, maybe I could use this device to interact with this suspected energy center at predefined intervals throughout the night. I started by removing the FitBit from its accompanying wristband and safety pinned it into an Ace Bandage, you know, the long wrap-like bandages that you use when you have a sprained wrist or ankle? I then wrapped the Ace Bandage around my waist, placing the FitBit right at the base of my spine. I then set four alarms. One for 12:30 AM, one for 12:45 AM, one for 1:00 AM, and then finally, at 1:15 AM. After that, the only thing left to do was to go to sleep and hope for a bit of magic.

The first alarm went off and it worked just as I had hoped it would. I got that familiar jolt up the spine. I remained still, evaluating my current state. I was still relaxed, and I found that I had a gentle tingling at the base of my spine. I mentally played with the sensation for a couple of minutes but was unable to intensify it or make any use of it so I went back to sleep.

Each subsequent alarm resulted in that same jolt up the spine, but with one distinct difference. The tingling sensation continued to build. By the fourth interval, it was more a buzzing vibration than a gentle tingling. It almost instantly built into the energetic rushes that precede the vibrational state. This vibrational state then converted into one of the most lucid, most vivid projections I have experienced to date. I believe the clarity probably was a result of the wide awake, and yet very relaxed state I was in. I am anxious to see if this energy center interaction consistently provides this level of clarity.

On to the projection.

As is my usual practice, I quickly headed for my bedroom door. When I reached my door a male voice behind me said in a soft sing-songy voice "You're Cheating!". I looked around and was unable to see the source of the voice, but I had no doubt as to what this meant. I had just reached this out of body state through no work of my own, but through a small computerized device, and whatever this voice was attached to, was making sure I knew, that he knew. I quickened my pace and headed down the hall. Just as I passed the bathroom, the voice came again. Still slightly sing-songy, but this time, more notably upset and far louder than the previous message. "YOU'RE CHEATING!". At this point, I broke into a run and ran down the stairs, turned the corner, and headed down the second set of stairs, trying to make a break for the garage.  As I reached this lower level of the house, I stopped and I could feel this thing right behind me. I felt its chin against my shoulder and felt its face brush against my cheek as it began to breathe heavily in my left ear. It then said in a loud, terrifying whisper, "YOU'RE CHEATING!". It then grabbed me around the waste. Looking down, I saw no arms, but could clearly feel them wrapped tightly around me. Muscular arms that I could not fight against. This entity then dragged me backward up both flights of stairs, down the hall, back into my bedroom, and then slammed me back into bed, reconnecting me with my body.  I woke to a pounding heart and pumping adrenaline. Try as I might, I could not relax sufficiently for the rest of the night to give it another go.

Needless to say, I will be continuing this experiment.  :)