I must first say that I am not anyone specially gifted with some mysterious power of lucid dreaming and astral travel, seeing myself as just a very determined individual that wants and needs to experience the astral realm.
I am also one who wishes to share all I have learned over the years with everyone who also seeks this knowledge. I have learned much about myself and my world around me, and shall continue to learn for as long as I live. My motto has always been, "the more we learn, the more limitless the Universe becomes!"
Learning to travel out of body offers every person a wealth of information as to the amazing abilities we all have and are capable of while still in this physical body. This physical life here is but a shell that covers some very deep and wonderful secrets that are just waiting for us to go within and discover them!
For the beginning lucid dreamer, writing down your dreams in a journal or blog is probably one of the most important steps for success in astral travel.
I cannot stress the importance of writing everything you experience while dreaming or OOB as this reinforces its importance to your unconscious mind. Keep a journal at your bedside where you can write down your experiences, including your feelings, as soon as you awaken. This will help you take note of any similarities or other signals that you may be overlooking.
With journaling, you need to keep it close to where you are attempting OBEs as your recall will slip away very quickly! Many times there are only 'feelings' you have from the experience and it is difficult to put into words.
My technique for recall is to use one word description of each stage of the experience so that it would jog my memory of the event when I fully awaken. As soon as you know you are back in body, keep your eyes closed and recall the key words to seal them in your memory banks. Then transcribe or record the events immediately with as much detail as possible.
Initially I wrote everything longhand in a journal kept at my bedside, but I have found that a small voice recorder kept close works best for me. As soon as I feel the pull back to awareness, I turn it on and start talking. Many times the key words will jog another deep memory and I am able to use 'backward recall' which allows you to pick up on more details.
Using affirmations is also very important in getting to do what you intend to do. You can't just say it, you must really affirm it with emotion and strong intention - which will also impress upon your unconscious that it is important and should be listened to. You use affirmations both when settling into an experience, as well as when you are actually within the experience.
As William Buhlman suggests in his books, Adventures Beyond the Body: How to Experience Out-of-Body Travel and The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True NatureI use the affirmation, "My mind remains aware as my body falls asleep" alternating with "NOW I am out of body!" - both said with emotion and knowing that it will happen!
Once out of body, I again use William's suggestion of 'To the door!' and 'Clarity now!' in order to achieve movement or improved the awareness within an experience. This takes a bit more practice to remember to use them while out of body, but as you get out more and more, it becomes easier to recall and say.
Fear is most definitely the factor that stops many people from experiencing the fullness of an out of body experience (OBE).
It is not easy to override many ingrained beliefs that one may have been raised with or have incorporated into their beliefs due to life experiences. Overcoming fear is a great obstacle for many, but once you get past that point in your experience that stops you, you find it was only your mind that created the fear the first place. I wrote a series of articles on overcoming fear during OBEs at The Gateway Experience Blog where you can read more in depth on this topic.
Of course, you must listen to what your instinct is telling you - if you find a persistent obstacle in your experience, it may be that there is something you need to fix in your physical life or mental outlook before you will be allowed to proceed. Go with what you feel... don't let anyone else tell you what is right or wrong - they will only have the experience from their perspective. In my opinion, every single person will have an individualized learning experience. If you don't know what is wrong or stopping you, just ask the Universe to show you, and it will! Just as the sages have written, "Ask and ye shall be shown."
Everyone learns at their own rate, and there is no one person who is better than the other. By working together and sharing our trials and tribulations, we all progress in knowledge in some way! Be sure to find an online forum or any group of like-minded people to share your experiences with, as there is always more to learn.
Getting to the vibrational stage or becoming aware of hearing sounds, such as music, white noise, or even voices, is sometimes a big first step in getting OOB!
We are ingrained to believe that it's "just a dream" but if you patiently journal every dream, you will see there are many parts that are more than just your imagination! Yes, with our busy physical lives, there will be much symbolic imagery, but interspersed with those will be excerpts of different sensations or awareness that you will be able to use as signals for becoming aware within the dream.
You will read in my experiences that I have learned to lie quietly and wait when I think I am awake and hearing some strange noises or feeling someone nearby. The key here is that when I think I am awake (but I am just not completely sure), that is generally the clue that I am not awake!
Think about it, right now you are awake and reading this - and you have no doubt that you are awake. However, when you know you are learning to lucid dream or attempting to get OOB and you find yourself questioning your 'awake status' for any reason, then you should always assume you are in that 'in-between' state and take control of the experience.
If you should feel light buzzing sensations or even some very strong vibrations, you need to learn to just let go and take the 'let's see what happens next' attitude! You'll either find yourself OOB in the near physical (if your consciousness feels you are ready for that) or perhaps moving on into another realm that your consciousness can accept as a possibility. (It really all depends on what your beliefs are - and how well you have been able to overcome any fear).
By journaling these experiences, you will see there is a connection many times and that with practice, the obstacles are overcome and you progress in learning new information.
To add to this brief introduction on starting to lucid dream and astral travel, I'll also share my personal induction technique that has brought me much success. Over the course of time, and with my constant quest for new reading/learning, I have been able to improve the process.
As of now, this method seems to be the best for me. Everyone will have their personal preference for relaxation and visualization, but the key is to get into a proper mind set and 'body paralysis' mode.
I am not one who can take the time to nap or meditate during the day, as life always seems to get in the way. What works best for me is the nighttime induction, because we all have to sleep at some point!
I try to get to bed by 10pm, which will almost always guarantees a natural wake-up between 2-4am. For me, the trick at that time is to NOT wake fully, to keep in that sleepy mode, yet make my mind as alert as possible with visualizations and affirmations.
Active visualization includes seeing energy (white light) entering the top of my head (on inhale) and exiting my feet (on exhale), and re-circulating back up and re-entering with each breath.
I do this for a few cycles, then reverse the energy flow so that the white light is entering my feet, exiting my head and re-circulating, all while concentrating on my breath in/out.
Once the energy is established, and I start to feel the 'fuzzy' sensations and lack of proprioception (fancy word to mean "I can't feel my body!!") and that's when I start my affirmations.
I think using the affirmations keeps my mind from wandering and helps me to focus on anything EXCEPT my body. Be sure you are not too awake when you start, or you will get quite bored quickly with this!
For affirmations, I repeat the same two phrases over and over - "My mind remains aware as my body falls asleep" and "NOW I am out of body!" It is important to know that they are wordlessly repeated in my head, but with emotion and full of intent as if I know it is definitely happening here and now. There can be no wimpy statements of intention!
Almost always before a loss of consciousness into sleep, there will be a falling sensation that is my signal to remain aware and see what happens next.
Sometimes I try to induce the falling sensation with thought of climbing down a ladder, freefalling as in skydiving (although I've never done it!), or even visualizing flight as a bird over a canyon.
Again, the trick is to not get excited that it's happening, and just go with the flow. That does take practice!
"Surrender to the experience" is a perfect approach to inducing a lucid dream or out of body experience. No matter what happens (visual, auditory, tactile sensations) just go with it, wait it out, and see what happens.
The tactile ones are a bit freaky when you feel hands touching you - but always go with it, as you will find out the reason sooner or later! The auditory ones can be quite soothing - I've had waterfalls, children's voices and singing at times...
Another indicator that I'm settling in to the OBE and getting ready to go, is I start getting fuzzy-all-over sensations is a circular movement around both palms.
A very important part of this adventure is to record your out of body experience that follows, either with a journal or audio device. I use a small recorder kept at my bedside and record immediately upon becoming awake. Waiting even a few minutes after full wakefulness will cause you to lose so many details!
I hope this article helps many of you with learning what to expect and how to overcome individual blockages. Designing an induction technique that works best for you is an individual process that may incorporate multiple techniques you have read about on this site and elsewhere. Most importantly, though, just know that you can do this and that you are succeeding and that determination and intention will carry you into continued successes!
About The Guest Author
Karen659 is a Nurse Practicioner in New York State and a prolific blogger on other-worldly interpretations of lucid dreaming and astral projection. Regularly experiecing "the vibrational state" during sleep transitions and having frequent encounters with dreamy entities, Karen shares her esoteric interpretations through first-hand accounts on her blog, Travels of a Dream Walker.
Rebecca Turner is a science writer, illustrator, explorer of consciousness - and founder of World of Lucid Dreaming. She is currently studying for a biology degree in Auckland and blogging at her site Science Me.
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