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Back To Basics

by Michael Ross, Jan 2000

One of the many highlights in "Astral Dynamics", for me, is Robert's groundbreaking "Mind Split" theory which accounts for an awful lot of the puzzling phenomena that occurs during astral projection. The book has been a real eye and mind opener for many.

Since the beginning of the century there have been a lot of out of body/astral projection primers which more or less have endeavoured to explain the phenomenon of projection according to the "empty body" theory which, as Robert says, leads to all sorts of misunderstood perceptions ( e.g. The "dual consciousness" experience which most of us can encounter now and again and the need to concoct unnecessary rituals to "protect" the physical body from invading spirits etc...)

It can be hard for any of us to get out of a "mind set" or "esoteric bias" concerning our experiences..bearing in mind how we can easily mislead ourselves in our perceptions of the physical world it is bound to be even more likely that we can delude ourselves as to what is happening in the astral world which has, frankly, a fluidity which takes an awful lot of getting used to.

For example, he states in relation to "Astral Hospitals"...
"I do not really think there is an actual hospital floating around somewhere in the astral, per se, staffed by beings intent on nursing sick and tired spirits back to good health; although this is a beautiful thought. I believe this scenario is created by my own mind as it interprets the energies broadcast from these areas in the only way it can. This perception interpretation is done according to my mind's own learned mental associations, as well as by those set in me by the collective consciousness of mankind."

In my own , very much minor, experience of astral phenomena I think Robert's emphasis on the fluidity and malleability of the astral plane(s) is something really to give a lot of thought to, especially in connection to "our own learned mental associations".
For example, to take only one tiny example during my various experiences of projection, I have been literally amazed to note that, occasionally, when looking at my "astral arms" , it seemed that they were made up of millions of tiny beautiful stars. Fair enough "astral" is "of the stars" but the actual perception was a beautiful thing to experience.
On the other hand, at other times I have seen my astral arms and legs extend in "ghostly" nebulous shapes which looked as though I was "Elastic Man".

Formerly, I had never made a conscious effort either to "look at my hands" to stabilize the experience as Robert and Carlos Castaneda have advised but hey! is an astonishing thing to note how the hand can shrivel and shrink.
All this is experienced during periods when one is, of course, fully conscious ( and being surprisingly calm!) and the "rational mind" is operating as per usual as it would on the physical plane.
So if that isn't "fluidity" I don't know what is!

Then again (see "Suicide and OBE" and "Tunnel Visions" on Robert's Articles site), I have been overwhelmed to experience utterly beautiful tunnel configurations when projecting.
Sometimes the "tunnels" have been made up of brilliantly coloured, complex patterns and at other times, muddy mis-shaped "walls" or stark black, white or grey shapes.

The question , of course, is how are these "tunnels" created? How much of their shape, pattern, colour and, indeed, texture are interactions between the malleable astral "matter" and my own conscious/ subconscious mind?
My point is, even taking thought about a fairly minor aspect of a projection experience it is difficult to erase one's expectations and perceptual, in-built bias.

My very first projection experience ,over thirty years ago, was scarey , short but, naturally, exhilarating since it was spontaneous..probably prior reading about astral projection had helped but in any case it was easy to leap to the conclusion that my physical body lying on the bed was "empty" since "I" was up above it floating ( and incidentally shouting "Get Back! Get Back!".)

It never occurred to me from then on to question the "empty body" theory. But then, when I experienced the well known "dual consciousness" mode..conscious in the physical body and conscious in the astral body at the same time..."Hey! What's going on here?" This cannot be!"

It flies in the face of all logic derived from one's experience of physical world space and time.
But then the astral world has its own logical structure and the only way to get a grasp of this is to experience the phenomena and , most difficult of all, question all assumptions.

One of the things that Robert advises and emphasises in "Astral Dynamics" and in various articles and tutorials is this very thing...get back to basics and don't take anything for granted e.g "The Empty Body Theory" .
Heaven knows how many of our experiences during projection are (possibly) distorted and ( more likely ) wrongly interpreted because we are starting off with conscious and/or unconscious basic assumptions as to what we are likely to experience.

Robert's "Cartesian" attitude whereby one questions all assumptions is surely the right way to go about our fascinating explorations in the astral planes. Perhaps some our difficulties in actually projecting might be eased somewhat if we take the attitude.."well anything can happen here..I might as well be prepared for all eventualities".
For example ,even the statement "We are all energy beings" ( which is a very helpful basis to start from) is fraught with all sorts of pitfalls..."What sort of energy?" "How am "I" a unit of energy? How "big" is this infinitesimally small unit of spiritual energy?"
The "Monkey Mind" will set us off in all sorts of interesting conceptual mazes but the main thing to obviously counteract this tendency is to keep the mind open during the astral experience and then let the rational mind have its time after the event.

As an aside, it is very sad to notice how the occult world is increasingly cluttered up with "Channelling" that can be so stultifying, repetitive and certainly incapable of adding to knowledge and advancement of humanity. Same old hash mashed up in a new, convoluted format.
I was appalled to note one such example whereby the "Channel" was reputedly giving advice to a devotee anxious to know which "private school" to send her child to. Now, fair enough, one should exclude the slight bias and envisage that perhaps the Spiritual World has nothing better to do than to give some family school advice concerning the kids.
But, logically, terrible things happen on the earth plane without any obvious intervention from the spiritual world.

Why do some of us (and I plead as being guilty as the next person to having had this notion ) expect so much to be done for us via spiritual world intervention?
I so very much agree with Robert that we individually have to work extremely hard on our own spiritual evolution . It will never be done for us by anyone else whether here or from the astral/spiritual planes.
Laziness and constant dependence on channellers and channelling bedevil the New Age movement . It all detracts from the necessity to make strenuous efforts re individual progress and the dire need to question all assumptions both on this plane and the next.