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.