Astral projection, or out of the body experiences (OOBE), is the ability to meditate in such a way where one experiences a disembodied state of consciousness, and one can clairvoyantly visit other places. I first learned about it from the book Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. He was a successful businessmen, had no religious leanings and his writing is a matter of fact style with little or no "mystical" explanations that you often find in other books. He later setup the Monroe Institute to help train people to experience an out of the body journey. The experience is actually quite ancient, and was practiced by shamans, prophets and visionaries. The flaw I find with the book is that there is little verifiable proof that his experiences were valid. The site Objective proofs of the "reality" of Astral Projections summarizes the introduction of the book in which Charles T. Tart attempted to verify Monroe's experiences:
Tart describes the inconclusive attempts in a laboratory setting to get Monroe to go in his Second Body and read some words written on a piece of paper in the next room. Monroe failed to do so but reported other details that were verified, but Tart couldn't testify that Monroe couldn't have known those details by other, more conventional means.However later in the book, Monroe himself attempts to validate his experience with a friend of his, and describes a successful attempt in describing a remote scene.
Another time, Tart tried to set up a visit by Monroe out of body to his home where Monroe had never been. The random time Tart chose to concentrate with his wife on Monroe corresponds to the time when Monroe, far away in his own home, started to feel a tugging which he understood as the signal to visit Tart. However, Monroe's subsequent description of Tart's home was way off the mark.
"What do I make of this? This is one of those frustrating events that parapsychologists encounter when working with poorly controlled phenomena. It is not evidential enough to say that it was unquestionably a paranormal effect, yet it is difficult simply to say that nothing happened. It is comfortable to stick with our common-sense assumptions that the physical world is what it seems to be, and that a man (or his sense organs) is either located at a certain place and able to observe it or he is not. Some OOBEs reported in the literature seem to fit this view, while others have a disturbing mixture of correct perceptions of the physical situation with "perceptions" of things that weren't there or didn't happen (to us ordinary observers). Mr. Monroe reports a number of such mixed experiences in this book, especially his seeming to "communicate" with people while he is having an OOBE, but their never remembering it."
SCIENTIFIC VALIDITY TO OOBE?
Here is a summary description of OOBE from Wikipedia:
OOBEs can be induced by brain traumas, sensory deprivation, near-death experiences, dissociative and psychedelic drugs, dehydration, sleep, and electrical stimulation of the brain, among others. It can also be deliberately induced by some.Most people assume that an OOBE occurs while one is asleep. This is not true - many occur while one is in full wakefulness, even when one is in a high arousal situation:
Science currently considers the OBE a type of hallucination that can be caused by various psychological and neurological factors. Some parapsychologists and occult writers treat OBEs as evidence that a soul, spirit or subtle body can detach itself from the body and visit distant locations.
One in ten people has an OBE once, or more commonly, several times in his or her life, but scientists still know little about the phenomenon.
Irwin pointed out that OBEs appear to occur under conditions of either very high or very low arousal. For example, Green found that three quarters of a group of 176 subjects reporting a single OBE were lying down at the time of the experience, and of these 12% considered they had been asleep when it started. By contrast, a substantial minority of her cases occurred under conditions of maximum arousal, such as a rock-climbing fall, a traffic accident, or childbirth. McCreery has suggested that this paradox may be explained by reference to the fact that sleep can supervene as a reaction to extreme stress or hyper-arousal. He proposes that OBEs under both conditions, relaxation and hyper-arousal, represent a form of "waking dream", or the intrusion of Stage 1 sleep processes into waking consciousness.Many OOBEs occur during full wakefulness. I remember mentioning this phenomenon to a friend of mine, wondering if it was true or not, and he mentioned an experience of his own: he had an OOBE while fully awake. In fact he was riding a bicycle very fast down a hill. He then realized he was approaching an intersection, and saw an oncoming car and there was no way he could stop in time. As he thought he was going to get hit, he rose out of his body for a moment. Luckily he missed getting hit by the car, and then he was back in his body riding the bicycle. It would seem that OOBE may be common when one is approaching death. It is also often reported during the Near Death Experience, when one first loses bodily consciousness they then experience rising from their body and being able to report on the events surrounding them.
There were in fact scientific studies done that lend credence to the reality of astral projection or an OOBE, although in this case it was called "remote viewing":
Michael Persinger has undertaken similar research to Olaf Blanke using magnetic stimulation applied to the right temporal lobe of the brain, which is known to be involved in visuo-spatial functions, multi-sensory integration and the construction of the sense of the body in space. Persinger's research also found evidence for objective neural differences between periods of remote viewing in two individuals thought to have psychic abilities. Persinger undertook his research on Sean Harribance and Ingo Swann, a renowned remote viewer who has taken part in numerous studies. Examination of Harribance showed enhanced EEG activity within the alpha band (8–12 Hz) over Harribance's right parieto-occipital region, consistent with neuropsychological evidence of early brain trauma in these regions. In a second study, Ingo Swann was asked to draw images of pictures hidden in envelopes in another room. Individuals with no knowledge of the nature of the study rated Swann's comments and drawings as congruent with the remotely viewed stimulus at better than chance levels. Additionally, on trials in which Swann was correct, the duration of 7 Hz (alpha band) paroxysmal discharges over the right occipital lobe was longer. Subsequent anatomical MRI examination showed anomalous subcortical white matter signals focused in the perieto-occipital interface of the right hemisphere that were not expected for his age or history.
THE VISIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG
The visions and experiences of Emanuel Swedenborg show that humans do have the capability to have an out of body experience (OOBE) or have an "astral journey" where it appears as if the spirit has left the body to journey elsewhere, either somewhere on this earth or some other spiritual plane. As explained in The Confirmed Clairvoyance of Emanuel Swedenborg, in full wakefulness Swedenborg was able to clairovyantly describe a fire that occurred in Stockholm Sweden in 1759 to guests at a dinner party. Normally he kept his experiences hidden, but the fire had threatened to burn his house where we kept all his writings. In his published writings, he describes the OOBE experience in detail - he was able to have these experiences continuously over a period of 26 years. In fact, this was the mode in which many prophets of the Bible saw their visions:
Of the prophets we read that they were "in the spirit" or "in vision," also that the Word came to them from Jehovah. When they were in the spirit or in vision, they were not in the body, but in their spirit, in which state they saw such things as are in heaven; but when the Word came to them, then they were in the body, and heard Jehovah speaking. These two states of the prophets are to be carefully distinguished. In the state of vision the eyes of their spirit were opened, and the eyes of their body shut; and then they heard what the angels spoke; or what Jehovah spoke through the angels, and they also saw the things which were represented to them in heaven; and then they sometimes seemed to themselves to be carried from place to place, the body remaining in its place. ...that to be "in the spirit" is to be "in vision"; which is effected by the opening of the sight of man's spirit; which, when it is opened, the things which are in the spiritual world appear as clearly as the things which are in the natural world appear before the sight of the body. I can testify that it is so, from the experience of many years. (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 36)
Since a person's spirit means his mind, 'being in the spirit', a phrase which occurs a number of times in the Word, means the state in which the mind is separated from the body. That was the state the Prophets were in when they saw the kind of things which happen in the spiritual world, so it is called 'the vision of God.' They were then in the same state as that of the spirits and angels of that world. In that state a person's spirit, as the visual capacity of his mind, can be transported from place to place while his body remains in one place. This is the state in which I have been for the last twenty-six years, with the difference that I have been simultaneously in the spirit and in the body, and only at times outside the body. (True Christian Religion, n. 157)An astral journey or OOBE can occur while one is in between sleep and wakefulness, or while one is fully awake. For Swedenborg, the latter state was not as common as the first:
There are two kinds of visions that are not of the ordinary kind, into which I have been let solely that I might know their nature, and what is meant by its being said in the Word that men were "withdrawn from the body," and that they were "carried by the spirit into another place."The interesting thing to note in the above passage, is that while having an OOBE while fully awake, his body was in control by the spirit so that he could navigate the streets.
As regards the first, namely, being withdrawn from the body, the case is this. The man is brought into a certain state that is midway between sleep and wakefulness, and when he is in this state he cannot know but that he is wholly awake. All his senses are as fully awake as in the highest wakefulness of the body; the sight, the hearing, and, wonderful to say, the touch, which is then more exquisite than it can ever be in the wakefulness of the body. In this state also spirits and angels have been seen to the very life, and also heard, and, wonderful to say, have been touched, and almost nothing of the body then intervened. This is the state of which it is said that they are "withdrawn from the body," and that they "do not know whether they are in the body or out of it." I have been let into this state only three or four times, merely that I might know how the case is with it, and that spirits and angels are in the enjoyment of every sense, even touch in a form more delicate and more exquisite than that of the body.
As regards the other kind of vision-being carried away by the spirit into another place-it has been shown me by living experience what it is, and how it is done, but only two or three times. One single experience I may mention. Walking through the streets of a city and through the country, and being at the same time also in conversation with spirits, I did not know but that I was wide awake and saw as at other times, so that I walked on without mistake, and all the time being in vision, seeing groves, rivers, palaces, houses, men, and many other things. But after I had thus walked for hours, suddenly I was in the sight of the body, and became aware that I was in another place. Greatly amazed at this, I perceived that I had been in such a state as they were in of whom it is said that they were "led away by the spirit into another place;" for while this state lasts there is no reflection concerning the way, even if it be many miles; nor is there reflection concerning the time, even if it be many hours or days; nor is there any feeling of fatigue. Moreover the person is led through ways of which he has no knowledge, even to the appointed place. This took place that I might know that a man can be led by the Lord without his knowing whence and whither. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1882-1884)
JOURNEYS TO OTHER WORLDS
Swedenborg used the ability of astral projection or OOBE to visit other inhabited planets, at least on the spiritual plane, to have a better understanding of the thinking of those extraterrestrials. In all cases the extraterrestrials he encountered were human in form. He explains how this is possible, as in the spiritual world there is no actual space, but instead, changes of state:
He who is not acquainted with the arcana of heaven, may believe it to be impossible for a man to see earths which are so remote, and from the evidence of the senses to give any account of them. But he should know that in their first cause and origin, the spaces and distances, and consequently the progressions, which appear in the spiritual world, are changes of state of the interiors, and that they appear with angels and spirits in accordance with these changes; and that by means of such changes angels and spirits can be translated from one place to another, and from one earth to another, even to earths which are at the end of the universe. And so can a man in respect to his spirit, his body still remaining in its own place. So too has it been done with me, for of the Lord's Divine mercy it has been given me to be in company with spirits as a spirit, and at the same time with men as a man. (That in heaven the spaces and distances, and consequently the progressions, are appearances arising from changes of state of the interiors, see n. 5605.) A sensuous man cannot conceive that in respect to his spirit a man can be translated in this manner, because such a man is in space and in time, and measures his progressions according to these. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9440)Robert Monroe had many OOBEs, but his problem is he often could not control his destination. The way in which Swedenborg was able to journey to other earths was through the power of the Lord, in which his inner state was changed to be in a similar state to those of the extraterrestrials on other planets:
To be conducted to the earths in the universe is not to be conducted and transported there as to the body, but as to the spirit; and the spirit is not conducted through spaces, but through variations of the state of the interior life, which appear to him like progressions through spaces (n. 5605, 7381, 9440). Moreover, approaches take place in accordance with the agreements or likenesses of the states, for the agreement or likeness of the state conjoins, and disagreement or unlikeness disjoins. From this it can be seen in what manner removal as to the spirit from one place to another is effected, and also the approach of the spirit to distant regions, while the man still remains in his own place.If Swedenborg's account of taking an astral journey to other planets sounds a bit fantastic, Ingo Swann did exactly the same thing - although through remote viewing, a method which he helped pioneer at the Stanford Research Institute for the CIA. Similar to Swedenborg, Ingo Swann even remotely viewed some planets in our solar system, and like Swedenborg discovered that some of them were inhabited. For details of the remote viewing project of the CIA, see Remote Viewing and the US Intelligence Community. It is slightly different from what Swedenborg did. With remote viewing, one can determine the physical characteristics of the planet. Swedenborg journeyed out of the body in the higher spiritual planes, and thus could not describe so much the planets he visited.
But to conduct a spirit outside his own world by means of variations of the state of his interiors, and to cause these variations to successively advance up to a suitable or like state with that of those to whom he is being led, is in the power of the Lord alone; for there must be a constant direction and foresight from first to last, both ways, especially when this is to be effected with a man who as to the body is still in the world of nature, and who is thereby in space.
That this has been done, no one who is in the sensuous things of the body, and who thinks from them, can be brought to believe. The reason is that these sensuous things cannot grasp progressions apart from spaces. Nevertheless they who think from the sensuous of their spirit somewhat removed or withdrawn from that of the body, thus they who think interiorly within themselves, can be brought to believe and to apprehend it, because in the idea of their thought there is neither space nor time, but instead of these such things as are the sources of spaces and times. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9579-9581)
AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL CONTACT THAT INDUCED AN OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE
The reason why I bring up the subject of astral projection and OOBE is that I have found a couple of interesting cases where extraterrestrials apparently induced an out of the body experience in a contactee in order to contact that person on another spiritual plane. Scientists have only been able to induce an OOBE state in a subject's brain with limited success, but in these cases I discovered the extraterrestrials were able to induce a full out of body the experience. And not only were they able to induce an OOBE, the OOBE state in the subject lasted for a period of several days. It is not the manner of contact we typically expect: most expect a radio signal, or a saucer to land and have a face to face encounter. But with highly spiritually evolved beings, this does not have to be the manner of contact: contact and communication can take place on higher levels of consciousness. The first contactee I encountered who had this type of contact was Lyman Streeter. Who is Lyman Streeter? He was the HAM radio operator who made contact with extraterrestrials via HAM radio in 1952. This contact was described in detail in Extraterrestrial Contacts by HAM Radio. In the book he was initially known as "Mr. R." for "radioman" to hide his identity. I will quote from the relevant passage from The Saucers Speak by George Hunt Williamson:
There was always something strange overshadowing the life of Mr. R that I find impossible to describe in words. The only clue I might have would be a radio message from the UFOs we received during the evening of 28 September 1952. At 11:20 p.m. the following message came through the receiver:In these HAM radio messages, these extraterrestrials claimed to have come our solar system, and the messages do contain information that was confirmed by science many years later. I want to make note of this induced out of the body experience in this contact case, as the exact same method of contact occurred in another completely independent extraterrestrial contact - which I will discuss in a future blog post. They are so similar in nature I am inclined that the contact was made by the same group of human extraterrestrials.
`Radioman has deep secret in his mind. We will not reveal. We are alarmed.'
Streeter turned to the rest of us in the ham shack and said, `If they (the UFOs) had known about this before, they would never have picked me for your radioman.'
Immediately, code came through the receiver again : `Be of peace!'
We waited for several minutes without talking until more code started.
`Happy, happy! You, Radioman Kanet are installed in the records. Good! Attention! Surprised, my brother?'
What was meant by `deep secret'? Evidently Lyman and his wife knew for they looked at each other in a strange way and she came over to sit beside him and hold his hand. Lyman seemed very concerned over this message. None of us was impolite enough to ask the Streeters what it all meant, so we said nothing. Anyway, the space intelligences didn't stay alarmed for long for they spoke of Streeter being `installed in the records' and called him by another name: Radioman Kanet! This name was formerly left out of the message because we felt it was something that belonged to Streeter alone and could be of no interest to the public. However, it is well to mention it now for it might be a clue for which we are looking.
I remember how, one evening, Streeter told us, rather reluctantly, it seemed, that after attempting contact in 1950 he had appeared one day at work acting in a very strange manner. He went about his assigned radio tasks in the normal way, but his fellow workers noticed he wouldn't answer them when they spoke to him and behaved as if he were in a trance of some kind. His wife was called, and he was taken home. For eight days he was in this unusual `zombie' condition. He said nothing to anyone during that period. Later, when he regained a state of normalcy, he admitted he couldn't remember a thing that had transpired during those eight days of amnesia.
After the contacts started on 22 August 1952, Streeter suddenly remembered what had happened several years previously (during the memory lapse). He told us that he apparently had left his earthly body (that would account for the zombie condition... the physical body had gone about its usual tasks at work under the direction of the animal mind, while the entity had been elsewhere) and awoke in a beautiful, large hall where many people were gathering. He was called before a tribunal and noticed that he was dressed in fine garments. He was called by a different name (Kanet?)--and told that he must work rapidly to complete his task upon the Earth planet. All he could remember from this eight day journey was the fact that he must work quickly.
His wife said that before the period of amnesia Lyman was just an ordinary radioman, but after his recovery he spent long hours studying electronics and would work for hours on end until he became a top-grade operator.
Besides working at the Santa Fe radio shop, he had his amateur equipment in his ham shack back of his home on Maple Street, and at the other end of this shack his workshop, where he repaired most of the radios, TV sets, recorders, etc., of the neighborhood, including the car radios of the local Police Department. (I remember that once the police interrupted one of our communications with the UFOs by driving into the yard one night and asking Lyman to fix their radio. He obliged, but kept trying to hear the code coming in, listen to the idle talk of the officers and fix the radio, all at the same time.)
Evidently, Lyman H. Streeter was a `Wanderer'. His name had been Kanet, and he was born on Earth to assist the programme of the Space Confederation. His so-called amnesia experience must have been his awakening period.
Here is an interesting video which explains the relationship between different corresponding states of consciousness, a Near Death Experience, and the out of the body experience (OOBE):