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.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Astral Projection Experience - Source of the Vibrations

I recently finished reading Explorations in Consciousness by Frederick Aardema and one of the things that he stated in his book that I found interesting is that vibrations exist outside of us at various points surrounding our bodies; to the left, to the right, to the front, to the back, above us, and below us.  This made me think of the writings of Robert Monroe where he instructs the practitioner to reach above their head 4 to 6 feet and pull the vibrations down into their head.  Frank Kepple talks quite a bit about raising your point of awareness up from behind your eyes and out the top of your head.  Could it be that he too was shifting his focus to this external vibrational energy source? 

I decided to experiment with this idea and to investigate the source from the out of body state.  At 2:30 AM, I woke up to my alarm as usual and spent the next half hour writing down my dreams in my journal. Around 3:00 AM, I laid back down on my back and began my practice of deepening to the void state.  The process moved quickly and easily.  The familiar energetic pulses built into the vibrational state and I enjoyed them for a good minute or two before sitting up to look around my non-physical room.

Upon sitting up, I recalled my plan of action.  I wanted to find the origin of the vibrations and see if they were visible to the non-physical eye when in this state.  I noticed that the portion of my body that was still in contact with the physical, from the waist down, was still vibrating pleasantly.  I experimented by laying back slightly and as I came back in contact with my body, the vibrations worked their way up my spine toward my head. Sitting back up, the vibrations faded once again from my upper body and remained light and comfortable in my lower half.

I began looking around for a visible source and the only thing I could see were two slightly pulsating large pill shaped objects next to each of my hands in bed.  They looked electrical or mechanical in nature like they were made of some sort of transparent metallic material. They pulsated from white to grayish purple. I looked up, to the front, and to the back, but there was nothing I could see that I would associate with electrical current or this energetic state. These two objects were all I could see. I experimented by touching one and intense vibrations shot up through my finger and radiated up my arm and into my neck. I jerked my hand abruptly away as though I had been shocked. It wasn't painful, but it was surprising. I reached down and took hold of both pill shaped objects, wrapping my fingers tightly around them and my entire body was filled with vibrations so intense that it felt as if my head was going to burst.  The noise was deafening and lights started popping in front of my non-physical eyes.  More and more frequently until I was just staring into a blinding white light and it was over. I was back in bed to contemplate what it all means.

Were these objects the source of the vibrations? Was I not supposed to come into direct contact with them when just being in the general proximity seems to do the trick? Are these energy points the same for everyone? I would suppose not since I saw nothing above my head as Monroe reports. Do these astral batteries move around and change position?  So much more exploring to do.

Let me know what you think.
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sleep Paralysis

Today I thought we could start a conversation on sleep paralysis. For those of you who are new to this topic or who have never experienced this phenomenon, sleep paralysis is a physiological response to dreaming.  Simply put, your body will paralyze at night when you dream to prevent your body from acting out your dreams so you can remain safe while you sleep.

Now I will tell you up front, I do not have a great deal of experience when it comes to the terrifying, debilitating, "lock you into place so severely that you couldn't break free if your life depended on it" type of sleep paralysis. For me, the process usually starts with a general heaviness, works its way to on overall numbing sensation, and finishes with a complete disassociation from the body. In this state, I know somewhere, my physical body must exist, and with some effort, I could tell you where it is and maybe even what position my arms are laying in, but it would require some effort to return to that level of physical awareness.  

In contrast to my minor effort required, I have talked with people who get a wave of sleep paralysis so deeply that they can struggle with all their might and still cannot break free. For one individual I spoke with, the more he struggles, the stronger the paralysis becomes.  What makes matters worse is that this deep paralysis is often accompanied by hallucinations and noises. Shadow people walking your room, creatures on your chest, and aliens encounters. 

I asked a friend to describe his experiences to me and he pointed me to a documentary called "The Nightmare". He said that the episodes described in this film depict what he goes through incredibly well. My reaction to this very frightening film was probably not the response the director was looking to invoke in the viewer.  I was not frightened, on the contrary, each scene, each image of "the hat man", each encounter with aliens and demons excited me! I wanted that! Let me explain. I am far enough into the practice of astral projection and inducing out of body states, that I am well beyond the point of fearing any sort of physical harm. Thoughts of some threatening non-physical creature breathing in my face induce the same response in me that a roller coaster may induce in you.  It is a thrill. A completely safe act of surrendering to fear that will make your heart pound and make you feel alive! I have said it before, any non-physical experience is worth having. Some of my most profound experiences have started as some of the most terrifying. If one day I am fortunate enough to experience these nightmares, I will let you know if I still consider myself fortunate.  :)

I will end by sharing a couple of theories that I have about sleep paralysis to get your thoughts.

First, as I think about my out of body travels, it is perfectly possible that I do indeed experience this deeply paralyzed state. It could be that at that moment of separation my body is paralyzed, but I just don't recognize the condition because I am no longer bound to that physical. I am out on an adventure, leaving my paralyzed shell behind. I believe, to verify this, I would have to try to reattach or simply remain in the physical when I get to the point of separation. I will add that to my to-do list.

My second theory is that my body simply does not require that debilitating level of paralysis.  I fall asleep quickly.  I always have. I do not toss and turn. I select a position, fall asleep, and wake up 8 hours later in that same position. I sometimes wonder if my body has adapted to my lack of movement and therefore applies a gentle numbing, but no more than that, because that is all that is required to keep me safe in bed.  This thought occurred to me as I was talking with a friend who is in the regular habit of sleep walking. He also has some of the most severe sleep paralysis stories I have ever come across. It made me think, maybe his body has to counteract his incredibly active impulses at night with an equally heavy dose of paralysis.

So there you have it. That is my entire experience with sleep paralysis in a nutshell.  I will add more as I experience more. In the meantime, what do you think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Lucid Dream

There are some upcoming topics that I want to cover that use lucid dreaming as their foundation, so now seems like a pretty good time to do a "how to" post for lucid dreaming. For those of you who have not come across this term before, a lucid dream is a dream in which you become conscious of the fact that you are dreaming, and thereafter you are able to take some measure of control. This can occur from the very beginning of a dream or at some point during the dream, but once you are lucid, your actions from that point become logical and intentional.

Before we delve into techniques to reach this desired state, let's first spend a minute or two on the types of Lucid Dream induction.

  1. Dream Induced Lucid Dreams (DILD) - This is the probably the most common form of induction. It is simply the act of becoming aware that you are in the dream, whilst in the dream.

  2. Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD) - This method provides lucidity from the very beginning. WILDing is the act of drifting from the conscious state directly into the Lucid Dream.
  3. Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream (MILD) - This technique was created by Steven Laberge and is based on the practice of repeating an affirmation or mantra before going to sleep that will hopefully make its way into your subconscious and spark lucidity.
Of these three, I personally found the WILD method to be the most difficult to learn, and even to this day I struggle with it and using it, I only have about a 30% success rate. That being said, there is no reason you can't employ more than one at a time and there are some highly effective practices that you can put in place to help increase your overall success rate.

Building your Dream Recall

First, it is important to have good dream recall. If you are someone who never remembers your dreams, what does it matter if you have a lucid dream? You won't remember it anyway. So what if you are one of those people who do not dream? Good news! You are not!  :)  We all sleep in cycles and every 90 minutes or so you begin another cycle.  Each of these cycles contains an REM sleep period where we dream. If you don't remember dreaming, don't fret, with some persistence and determination, dream recall is a skill that can be learned. Just follow the simple (although not always easy) steps below:
  1. Keep a dream journal! - This is incredibly important! Write down every dream you have; even if it is just the tiniest snippet of a dream or even the vaguest of impressions. Over time, those vague impressions and tiny snippets will likely turn into paragraphs and then pages.
  2. Take advantage of your first waking moments - Get in the habit of turning your very first thoughts in the morning to last night's adventure. Before you even open your eyes, think back to what you were doing just five minutes ago. 
  3. Use leading statements - If you don't remember your dream upon first awakening, prompt your subconscious with leading statements like "a moment ago I was...", or "I was just about to...", or "I was on my way to...". 
  4. Review common themes - If using leading statements doesn't do the trick, I have found that just reviewing random (but common) scenarios rapidly for a minute or two will often spark a memory. I will think about work, and driving, and then about biking, then about having a conversation, or cooking a meal, or mowing the lawn.  Each of these thoughts will be just a brief second or two unless I hit upon something that suddenly feels familiar. 
  5. Work backward - If I can only remember a very brief segment of a dream, I will try to work my way backward from that memory.  Quite often that memory is the end of the dream, so working my way backward will sometimes lead to the recollection of the entire experience.
  6. Don't wait! - (Now for the hard part) Write down your dreams when you have them. If you wake up at 2:00 AM and you remember a dream, get up and write it down. Don't wait for morning. Our brains seem to have a built-in dream eraser that is almost guaranteed to wipe out any recollection of even the most vivid dreams if they are not recorded right away.
What you journal on is up to you. It just needs to be convenient and close at hand. I personally use an Android app called Diaro. It was a couple of bucks, but well worth it. My dreams are backed up to the cloud and dropbox, exportable to PDF, and it is easy to give them a title and then tag them with keywords so they are easily searchable later.

Reality Checks

One of the best habits to get into when attempting to learn to lucid dream is that of performing reality checks. A reality check is simply a check that will tell you if you are dreaming or not. This is where daytime practice becomes critical to success. You need to start performing reality checks throughout the day. Some examples of reality checks are:

  1. Flip on and off a light switch - light switches tend to misbehave in dreams and lights will remain on or off when flipping them.
  2. Look at your hands - another strange phenomenon is that our hands almost never look normal in a dream. If you have never looked at your hands while dreaming, give it a try and you will see what I mean. They may be fat and bloated, or covered in waxy peeling skin, or they may melt right before your eyes.
  3. Breathe through a plugged nose - Obviously, we don't need to breathe in a dream, but we can, and even better, we can do it right through a plugged nose.
  4. Try to read text - Text has the habit of changing sporadically and small text, in particular, has the habit of not even being legible at all. If you are having difficulty reading text or the text in front of you is turning into hieroglyphics or jumping around on the page, there is a pretty good chance that you are dreaming.
  5. Try to use any sort of electronics - I can't say I have heard this one anywhere, but personally I have found that electronics don't work right in a dream. My phone makes regular appearances in my dreams and it never functions correctly.
  6. Jump - If all else fails, this is a great one. Jumping in a dream will often lead to floating, jumping far too high, or not being able to get your feet off the ground at all as if you now weight two tons.
Your goal now is to select a few of these reality checks (or one of your own) and practice them throughout the day. You can start by setting an alarm to go off once an hour and every time that alarm goes off, you will do your reality check. What works even better is if you associate a reality check with a common place or event that appears regularly in your dreams. This is where a searchable dream journal comes in handy.  If you dream about your phone regularly, every time you look at your phone in waking life, perform a reality check.  If your dreams regularly include trips to the bathroom, do a reality check every time you go to the bathroom. When you perform these checks, do not just do it half-heartedly and then go about your day. Stop for a moment, do the check, and think to yourself "what would be different if this were a dream? How is it that I really know I am not dreaming?". You need to build the habit during waking hours so it will happen spontaneously while you are dreaming.

Identify Dream Triggers

Dream triggers are people, places, or things that make regular appearances in your dreams and can make you question whether or not you are dreaming. To really make an effective list, you will need your dream journal to go off of. For example, there is a particular building that I dream about almost weekly. There are dozens of mentions of this building in my dream journal and yet, this is a building that I never go to in real life. Anytime I am in this particular building in my dreams, it acts as a trigger. I say to myself, I am never here in waking life. This must be a dream. I then follow that realization with a few reality checks just to make sure. A trigger could be a loved one that has passed on or an old car you used to drive in high school. It could be anything as long as it is out of place and is encountered frequently.

Mantras and Affirmations

Written or verbal affirmations as your last waking thought can go a long way in improving your chances of success. Before bed, take a piece of paper and pen and write an affirmation 20 or 30 times. Then as you lay in bed, just repeat your affirmation or mantra over and over again, keeping this as the last thought in your mind as you drift off to sleep. Some example phrases that can be used as affirmations are:

  1. Next time I sleep I will realize I am dreaming
  2. Tonight I will have a lucid dream
  3. I am dreaming.... I am dreaming... I am dreaming...
Feel free to come up with your own. Pick something that resonates with you.

Following the steps above will help you make great strides towards both the MILD and DILD methods of lucid dream induction.

Wake induced lucid dreams

I find that the WILD method takes a bit more work. I didn't actually learn to successfully employ this method until after I had learned to project using the direct method where you put your body to sleep while keeping your mind awake. When I am in the void state where my body is deeply asleep, I can let my mind start to wander. Sometimes I even give it a little help and I start imagining nonsensical scenarios or I remember previous dreams.  The less logical and abstract these thoughts are, the more effective they seem to be. This act of cycling through dream-like thoughts will kick off a slew or hypnogogic imagery. If I can follow that imagery and allow the transition into sleep to proceed very slowly, I can sometimes hang onto my rational mind as I make the transition and step directly into a dream, lucidity intact. This sensation is a lot like inducing an out of body experience without the associated physical sensations. I would be interested in hearing how others have employed this technique because as I said, even after loads of practice, my success rate is probably only around 30% using the WILD method.

Wake-Back-To-Bed (the Deferred Method)

As we talked about briefly, we sleep in cycles. REM sleep occurs at the end of each of those 90-minute cycles. What this means is that you will very rarely, unless you have had a recent nap, jump directly into a dream when you fall asleep. Due to this cyclical pattern of sleep, your chances of lucid dreaming are greatly increased after you get some good rest in; four to six hours to be precise. For the best shot at inducing a lucid dream, you will use the wake-back-to-bed or deferred method. This is the practice of setting your alarm to wake you up after four to six yours, getting up for 15 to 45 minutes, and then going back to sleep. Doing this means that you are no longer exhausted and that 15 to 45-minute break wakes you up a bit so you won't fall asleep to quickly or deeply when you lay back down. This would also be a great time to repeat your affirmations or mantras. So what should you do during that waking period? How about re-read this post? :)  Write in your dream journal. Read previous dream journal entries. etc.

Once your 15 to 45 minutes is up, don't go back to your bed.  Find a different place to lay down that is not usually associated with sleep. This will become your lucid dreaming practice space. It could be a couch, or a recliner, or a mat on the floor. This is one more way to train your mind so it will know what to expect. Subconsciously your mind will say "oh! I am laying in the chair! It must be time to practice lucid dreaming!"

Maintaining and Deepening

One of the things that you will quickly find as you start practicing lucid dreaming is that these experiences are never as long as you would like them to be. Once you gain lucidity, it is a constant effort to remain in the dream environment. This is where Maintaining and Deepening come in. Maintaining and Deepening are techniques that will anchor you in the dream state a little longer and will add clarity to your experiences and good news, they are incredibly easy to learn. Your goal is to engage your senses and don't linger too long focusing on any one thing. You should constantly be looking around scrutinizing small details of the objects around you. You should be picking things up and touching things briefly from every angle possible. Once you have engaged with some object, quickly move on and turn your attention to another object. Put food and non-food items in your mouth. Crawl on the floor and run your hands through the carpet. Sing or even just talk to yourself.

These actions need to be done almost constantly to guarantee the longest experience possible. If you feel the dream start to fade, refocus your efforts on engaging your senses until the dream becomes clear once again. You might think this will make it hard to do any real exploring if you have to spend all your time touching everything in sight. Be creative with it. When I want to travel, I will run or fly, dragging my fingers on the ground or running my hands through trees. Other things that have helped me improve my clarity are spinning quickly in circles and a technique I took from William Buhlman, simply demand "Clarity Now". It is incredible how responsive the dream environment can be to your demands.

Saturate Your Mind

One of the things that lead to more lucid dreams than anything else for me aside from regular reality checks is constantly bombarding my mind with information about lucid dreaming. Watch YouTube videos about lucid dreaming, read books about lucid dreaming, talk to your family and friends about lucid dreaming. Keep it at the forefront of your mind throughout the day and it is likely to work its way into your dreams at night.

Practice and Persistence

Don't give up on this. Even after a couple of years of practice, my lucid dreams tend to be hit and miss. They do become more frequent with effort and persistence, though, so rest assured, you will get there if you put in a little effort.

That is about all the advice I can offer based on my experience. Please let me know how this goes for you and I would love to hear if you have additional steps that you take that lead to your success that I have not covered here.

Good luck and happy dreaming!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Binaural Beats

Today we will enter the fascinating world of Binaural Beats. Let's start out with a bit of introduction for those that have never heard of this odd auditory phenomenon and the reported benefits that they provide. In a nutshell, our ears are used to hearing the same sound from a slightly different perspective. This assumption that our brain makes when listening to two distinct, slightly different, pure tones results in what is called a Binaural Beat.

What does that mean?  Let's say you put on a pair of headphones and I play a 193hz  tone in your left ear. Now in your right ear, I play a tone at 197hz. The difference between the two tones on their own is almost indistinguishable. When played together, however, something interesting begins to happen. Your brain compensates for the difference in the two tones and the result is a wavering tone that makes up the difference between the two pure tones.  So playing a tone of 193hz and a tone of 197hz, results in you hearing a modulating 4hz tone that doesn't really exist. It is actually generated by your brain. Studies have shown that listening to these modulating tones can actually help you bring your own brain wave frequency in line with the frequency you are hearing in your head. Due to this, Binaural Beats have become a tool used in meditation, astral projection, accelerated learning, intense concentration, etc.

There are five different frequency ranges to discuss that can be generated using Binaural Beats and these frequency ranges match up with the wave frequencies found in our brains.

The first is Delta. Delta waves are usually associated with deep and dreamless sleep. These are the slowest of the wave frequencies and live down in the 2hz to 3hz range.

Next up are Theta waves. Theta waves are associated with deep meditation, deep relaxation, and NREM sleep. Theta waves range from 4hz to 7hz.

Alpha waves are associated with a state of mind conducive to conscious relaxation, pre-sleep, or pre-sleep drowsiness. This is also the range that your brainwaves fall into when you are dreaming. Alpha waves range from 8hz to 13hz.

Beta waves are the frequency that is associated with concentration and cognition. They range from 14hz to 39hz.

Finally, there are Gamma waves. These are the fastest and are found in the mind when you are actively problem-solving or using intense concentration and perception.

There are countless videos on YouTube that contain Binaural Beats. I would caution you, however, I have run across several that are not true Binaural Beats; audio files where the sound really is modulating rather than relying on your brain to create that synchronization of the two tones. There are also several apps out on the Android Market that can produce these tones. My personal favorite is one called "Beat Player". It was inexpensive and offers a lot of flexibility, presets, and the ability to save your own presets for later use.

What is this "Hemi-Sync" that I have heard of?

Interesting story I was told during my week at the Monroe Institute:

Robert Monroe was a pilot and during his career, he witnessed instances where the engine on one side of the plane and the other side of the plane were slightly out of tune. The result was this modulating, wavering tone that filled the gap between these two tones. What's more, this modulating tone was a danger to pilots because it would often result in them falling asleep at the wheel. This observation of the effect sound could have on the human consciousness stuck with him and during his career in the radio business, he began experimenting with this phenomenon. His primary goal at first was to use it to induce learning while asleep. This later was to evolve and become part of Bob's method for teaching other how to reach the out of body state. Today this is known as "Hemi-Sync".

So what is the difference between Hemi-Sync and Binaural Beats? It basically comes down to production. Hemi-Sync uses Binaural Beats, but layers them, covers them with pink noise, and either adds Bob's voice as he provides guided meditations and exercises, or music where the root note lines up with the Binaural Beat's tone so the actual modulation is difficult to hear. The idea is that these various added components make it easier to listen to these tones for long periods of time, increasing the benefit that they provide.

Other Sound Technology:

Graham Nicholls, another well-known phase practitioner, has created his own variation of sound to assist in projecting. He calls his product "Infra-liminal Sound". This again starts with the use of Binaural Beats, but then it adds a phasing stereo quality and patterns that speed up and slow down over the hour of audio. His goal was to produce a sound that would help practitioners get closer to the state required for astral projection by playing audio that is reminiscent of the sound and sensations that can be experienced.

Does it Work?

I have used them all and I can tell you that all three have their strengths. First, Binaural Beats are easy to tweak to fit your desired state of mind, especially with an app like Beat Player. They are also not hidden by any pink noise, white noise, or music and I find that this leads to them being more potent. They can get me into a deep meditative state much more quickly than something like Hemi-Sync. That being said, they are difficult to listen to for hours on end, so if your goal is to listen to something all day at work, you would be better off with Hemi-Sync. The Wave CD's produced by the Monroe institute are great for guided meditations. I personally love Bob's voice. I listen to him guiding me through his exercises and always find myself wishing I could have met this remarkable man. Infra-liminal sound is probably the least well-known. The real benefit I have found with this is the stereo phasing effect that Graham uses. In my other posts, I have mentioned how powerful imagined movement can be when trying to reach the vibrational stage. I use Graham's Infra-liminal sound during the day to practice that imagined sense of movement. The stereo sound gives his audio a real sense of motion and adds to the efficacy of visualization practice.

When it actually comes to projecting, I have heard many people swear by these audio technologies. I have to say personally that I find them great for meditation and practice, but when I am projecting, my goal is to disconnect myself from all physical ties to this world and that includes my sense of hearing. Having these sounds play in my ear tends to keep me too focused on the physical. If you have trouble projecting while listening to these sounds, I would recommend using them for 15 to 30 minutes prior to your projection attempt as a meditation to get you closer to that desired state of mind. I find that this is far more effective.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Astral Projection - Is Exhaustion Beneficial?

Just like anything when it comes to Astral Projection, there doesn't seem to be just an easy "Yes, No" answer to this one. Thinking back, I believe that exhaustion can be placed into one of three categories.

Physical - Your body is worn out. Your muscles are tired. Your mind is clear, optimistic and positive, but you could easily fall asleep if you were to try. This could be after a hard workout, a long physically taxing week, or anything else that leaves you in a physically fatigued state.

Mental - When I think of mental exhaustion, I think of those long days at work where I spend eight to ten hours in a cubicle with very little if any physical engagement. This sort of exhaustion can come from a hard day of problem-solving, or something like a week of preparation, cramming, and memorization for a final exam. Everyone has experienced this at some point in their life. It is the feeling of being mentally drained.

Emotional - This sort of exhaustion for me personally comes from situations like dealing with disgruntled employees or having a fight with my wife. It could be the result of road rage, a misbehaving child, or a heated disagreement with a family member. The feelings that I associate with this state are frustration, anger, and depression.

So what role do each of these states play in your ability to project if any?

Let's start with physical since that is that is an easy one.  I can say hands down, without a doubt, physical exhaustion is beneficial to my own projection practice.  I have seen this manifest itself in my life dozens of times. This is likely for several reasons.  For me personally, exercise is an escape. It is a chance to clear my head. When we exercise, our brains release endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. This results in a feeling of happiness, contentment, and optimism. I have emphasized multiple times in previous posts that your mood and state of mind plays a critical role in your level of success when it comes to projecting. Aside from the general good feeling that comes with physical exertion, there is the fact, plain and simple, that if your physical body is incredibly tired, it will fall asleep more quickly.  The faster you are able to make that transition to the void state; mind awake and body asleep, the better chance you have of remaining conscious through it. During a 10 day trip to Ireland with my wife, we walked between 15 and 20 miles a day.  That physical exhaustion resulted in the easy induction of back to back projections during our final nights there. I can also say, the only success I have ever had projecting during daytime hours has come after working all night long and remaining awake for over 24 hours. Not necessarily my ideal scenario, but effective.

Mental exhaustion is a bit trickier. I have been successful projecting when mentally exhausted and I have also run into insurmountable roadblocks when mentally exhausted. The conclusion that I have come to when talking about mental exhaustion is that if I am mentally drained but able to focus, I can succeed and my mental state is not a hindrance to the process. If I am still repeating problems, scenarios, and questions that I was unable to resolve during the day, which lead to this state in the first place, that lack of focus will ruin my attempts. I need to just shut down that analytical part of my brain and say to myself, I will continue tomorrow, but for now, it is time to focus on projection. If I can redirect my focus successfully, I can usually achieve positive results.

Finally, let's talk about the arch enemy of projection. emotional exhaustion.  If physical exhaustion is one end of the spectrum and ideal for inducing the desired state, emotional exhaustion is the polar opposite. I can confidently say that I have never been successful when I am emotionally drained, upset, depressed, or angry. I think there is a combination of factors at play here. First and foremost, that positive optimism that lends itself so well to this effort is not there. Second, when I am re-playing angry conversations in my head, thinking of what I should have said, redirecting my focus to this effort is nearly impossible. Finally, the natural physical state when you are angry or upset is tension. Muscle tension in your shoulders, tension in your jaw, clenched fists, etc.  Being that relaxation is an absolute requirement, if you cannot release that tension and just let that negativity go, you will not succeed.

There you have it; my experience with exhaustion.

Physical = Good
Mental = "It depends..."
Emotional = You might as well try on another night.

So what is the takeaway here?

Get out there and exercise! Wear yourself out doing something you love and improve your chance of success at the same time.  :)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Astral Projection Experience (Still Overcoming Fear)

I lay down just as I always do and go through physical relaxation, making it to that void state that I enjoy so much.  I start engaging myself in the roller coaster technique and without too much effort, the vibrations roar in and I am ejected at high speed from my body as usual.  This is always a good method for seeing some place new until I can finally get the hang of teleportation.  

I land in a large city that looks a lot like New York.  I am standing on a sidewalk in front of a short haired Indian woman.  She is middle aged and has a good hoop piercing in her right nostril. She introduces herself.  Her name is Usha. She asks me if I remember what it is we were discussing last time we met.  I am wracking my brain and I can't remember even ever meeting her before. I respond "no".  She doesn't seem disappointed.  She just says "that's OK, we will start from here." I agree that his sounds like a good plan.  She says "Today, we are going to focus on fear."  I don't know what that means, but I agree that focusing on fear sounds fine to me.  

I follow her and she leads me into an alleyway between two skyscrapers.  There is a water spillway behind us as we sit on a cement ledge side by side.  She looks at me and says very seriously, "Stay put". I agree to stay put, waiting for more instructions, but she just looks up. I look at her looking up and then I look up to see what it is that she is looking at. She is looking at the tops of the skyscrapers. As I too, stare at the tops of these immense buildings, they begin to crumble. Large chunks of concrete and brick begin tumbling toward us. I instinctively jump up and begin running.  I call to her to run as well but make little effort to save her. (Quite the hero, right?) 

I listen to the sound of the rubble hit the ground and it is deafening.  Finally, I turn around and see smoke rising from the rubble that is now covering the spot where I was sitting moments before.  Usha is gone and I phase back to my body.

This feels like a test; a test that I apparently failed. Two years, four months, and seven days into my work with phase experiences, completely aware that I cannot be harmed, that connection to the physical still takes over and fear still wins. I need to work on this if I am going to move forward.

How to Astral Project #4 - The Indirect Method

We have spent the last few posts talking about the direct method, or techniques where there's no lapse in consciousness between the waking state and your projection. Those techniques require quite a bit of practice due to their use of the void state and the requirement of putting your body to sleep while keeping your mind awake. The indirect method is significantly easier to achieve because you can eliminate all of that pre-work. It does, however, require its own type of practice because there is still a new skill that you're going to have to develop; a new reflex you are going to have to ingrain in your subconscious mind. Overall, however, I find that they are far easier to achieve and they are a great approach to start with. 

The idea with indirect techniques is that they are performed immediately upon awakening, or ideally, during the process of awakening. The moment you begin the transition to wakefulness, the goal is to remain completely still and immediately turn your attention to your projection attempt. If you grab hold of this transition soon enough, you can actually roll right out of your body or appear at some predetermined target without any further effort. It's almost as if the door to the astral is open while we are asleep and that door closes slowly as we regain consciousness. That transition back to wakefulness is your chance to catch that door part way open and to squeeze your way through it.


The challenging part of this method is building that reflex to immediately attempt projection upon awakening, and if unsuccessful, immediately begin cycling through techniques. Ideally, this should become a habit to the point that this process is instinctually performed during the transition out of sleep. This should be your very first thought prior to moving and prior to any other thought.

This is the most difficult part of the indirect method. I personally had such a struggle ingraining this immediate plan of action into my subconscious, I ended up recording my voice, reminding me to project and then used that audio file to create an alarm that would go off periodically throughout the night. Hearing that instruction to remain still and project every time I awoke, over and over and over again eventually helped me turn that action into a reflex that will now naturally come as my first waking thought.

Second Chance

If by chance you miss that split second and the door is closed, don't fret.  You will now attempt to push it back open. This can be done by cycling through a series of techniques that you will decide upon beforehand. This list of that I provide are a somewhat modified version of the techniques originally created by Michael Raduga. I have made changes or expanded on Michael's techniques where I have found that for me, changes needed to be implemented to provide a higher level of success. I have also found personally it is beneficial to branch out and experiment with different techniques from time to time. There will be days when a technique that has never provided solid results in the past suddenly begins to bring on the phase. Select three or four of the techniques below or even come up with one of your own that resonates with you and run through them in your mind before going to sleep. One thing I would suggest is to select a technique from more than one category so you have the best chance of finding something that your unique state will respond too. If you were not able to immediately leave your body during that transition back to the waking state, begin cycling through your list of techniques. Spend three to five seconds on one, if no results occur, move to the next one, and repeat. If at any time you start to get any sort of phase related sensations, continue with the technique that brought about those sensations. Do at least four cycles even if it doesn't feel like it is working. I have often thought I was either two awake or just not in the right state of mind, only to have a later cycle produce results.

Visual Techniques

Observing Images
Immediately begin searching the backs of your closed eyelids for imagery. Perform this action for three to five seconds.  If you begin to see images or anything else of a visual, non-physical nature, continue this process.  Examples I have personally experienced are seeing remote locations as if looking through a window and more commonly, seeing through my closed eyelids and sleep mask into the room around me.

Immediately implement the target technique.  Put yourself in a location you are familiar with and start to scrutinize the objects in that room.  Take in your surroundings and try to engage all your five senses.  Alternately, you can just visualize a specific object that you are extremely familiar with.  It could be a cell phone, your car keys, or anything else that will help you engage your senses.  I like using my ring of house and car keys because it is something I handle every day and very easy to imagine.  Feel all the details of each key.  Shake them and hear the sound of the metal as it jingles.  

Movement Based Techniques

Phantom Wiggling
For three to five seconds, begin trying to move body parts without moving a physical muscle. Wiggle a finger, move a hand, reach for a wall that is much too far to physically touch. If you begin to get the sensation of movement, continue this action past the three to five-second mark.  Personally, I have found that the more intent you put into these imagined movements, the more effective they are.  Don't just halfheartedly wiggle a finger.  Direct all your effort and concentration into feeling this movement.  There have been times where I have pictured myself violently swinging my arms side to side and withing just a few moments, I was overcome by the actual physical feeling that I was performing this action. I have reached a hand down far beyond my normal range of reach and run my fingers through the carpet on the floor and even pushed my hand through the floor, into the room below.

Imagined Movement
Try to imagine the sense of movement. As I have mentioned in previous posts, for me, the feeling of going through loops on a roller coaster is very effective. Others have reported that rotation in bed is effective. Imagine yourself rotating from head to foot over and over, or use the technique I mentioned in one of my other posts and watch an imaginary dot cross the ceiling and slowly go under you, forcing your body, while in its flat board-like position to do sort of a summer salt in order to continue watching its progression around the room. Make this movement as strong and fast as you possibly can.  Feel the wind in your face, feel the asphalt under your bare feet as you run, feel the seat of the car pressing into your back as you slam on the gas.  As with phantom wiggling, this cannot be a halfhearted action. Put everything you can into this action for three to five seconds, and as with the other methods, continue after that time if you begin to get any inkling of phase related sensations.

Auditory Techniques

Intense Listening
Most of us are familiar with the ringing sound we occasionally experience in our ears. This technique can make use of that sound. Immediately upon waking, begin to listen intensely to the sound inside your head. First, hear the ringing, but then try to go deeper.  If you are like me, you will find that that ringing has multiple layers. I can almost always hear a slight ringing if I plug my ears at any point throughout the day, but something that is unique to those first moments of wakefulness is a low rumbling like an engine in my head. Unless I focus inward, this sound will almost always go unnoticed.  First, I will try to hear the layers of ringing, then the low rumble, and then I strain hard to hear the bursts of static that I am so familiar with. If I can hear those bursts of static, I will remain on this technique and through intent and continued listening in, allow them to build in speed and intensity.

Other Techniques

Straining your Brain
Immediately, for three to five seconds upon waking, begin causing intensely imagined strain in your brain. This one I have found to be very effective in quickly bringing on the vibrational state, but I will admit, it really took some time to get the hang of this technique. For weeks after reading the term "strain the brain" in Michael Raduga's writing, I was baffled as to how one would actually do this. I don't have any muscles in my brain. How on earth can I strain it? I will try to provide a detailed account to clarify what I have found works for me when employing this technique in case you read "The Phase" and found this technique as frustratingly confusing as I did. First of all, the pressure sensation that I generate is similar to that of being upside down. Do a handstand, or stand on your head, or even just hang your head between your legs for a minute or two until you can feel the pressure building in your head. You know what I am talking about? Your veins in your forehead start to bulge and your face gets all red? OK, so you have memorized that feeling. I then will try to pulsate that pressure feeling. (Keep in mind, you are not literally aiming to force blood into your head, I am just trying to provide some details on how this feels to me so when you are successful, you will recognize the feeling.)  Now upon waking up, feel the pressure and weight of your head against your pillow. Try to move that pressure up from the base of your skull from the back of your head forward. Try to expand that pressure until it is similar to what you experienced while upside down. Now for fun, try to pulsate that sensation, almost as if the inside of your head is throbbing with this pressure. As with all other techniques, it is important that you are not inducing these sensations physically. This is all non-physical. Just strobe this pressure over and over again or occasionally hold it at its peak. The interesting thing about this technique is that I can't generate this sensation during the day, but it comes fairly easily most of the time immediately upon awakening.

Straining the Muscles without Moving
This is a very similar concept to straining the brain, but instead of your brain, you are creating imagined strain all throughout your body.  I personally have a hard time getting this one to work for me.  Being that my muscles are really possible to physically strain, I tend to unintentionally tense various muscles which is counterproductive.  Straining the brain while maybe more difficult to imagine, is easier to do correctly because there are no muscles in your brain to strain even if you wanted to.

At this point, if all goes well, you are either out of body or you have reached the vibrational state.  From the vibrational state, simply continue as we have discussed in the past.  Let the vibrations build in smoothness and frequency and then roll out, stand up, float out, climb an imagined rope, etc.


Perform this method after four to six hours of sleep. I have the best results between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM.

If cycling through your selected techniques doesn't work for you, remain positive and optimistic with an intent on repeating the process on your next awakening and just go back to sleep.

I have found that if I tell myself that every technique and cycle that I am performing is relaxing me more and bring me closer and closer to sleep that they tend to be more successful.  This helps me prevent accidental muscle tension or from coming too far out of that borderland state for any techniques to be effective.

Don't give up. Once you have built this reflex upon awakening, the phase state will be substantially easier to achieve.  In Robert Monroe's final book he commented that after decades of projecting as he was first going to sleep, he found one day that rolling out upon awakening, in comparison, was "absurdly easy". Once mastered, this will most likely be the most reliable method of reaching the phase that you can find.