Lucid Dreaming‎ > ‎

Astral Signposts: The Stages Of Out-of-Body Experiences

by Charles C. Goodin

The following article is part of materials being prepared for a book on the subject of astral projection. It is a work-in-progress and may be periodically updated. The author hosts the Astral Projection Home Page.

This article focuses on the "experience" part of out-of-body experiences ("OOBEs"). It describes the feelings, sights and sounds common to the process by which the astral body separates either partially or completely from the physical body. It also lists some of the attitudes held by successful OOBErs. Many people new to the process are quite surprised and often relieved to learn that their "strange" experiences are in fact perfectly natural and fairly common.

Depending on your experience level, you might be able to relate to some, many or perhaps even all of the items listed below. Your experiences may well exceed those presented here. This article is cumulative -- it lists as many experiences as I could bring to mind. A typical OOBE will probably not include everything contained in the list. After 50 or 100 OOBEs, however, you will probably recognize many of the items with a knowing smile.

A little bit about this approach -- there are literally dozens of techniques which may be used to leave the body. For newcomers, it might seem that many of them are confusing, inconsistent and complicated. Why is this so? Someone trying to teach an OOBE technique must naturally do so based on his or her particular understanding of the phenomenon -- his or her world view will "color" the presentation. Consider for a moment the staggering number of religions, philosophies, movements and beliefs in the world. Now imagine someone from each trying to tell you about OOBEs. They may all be describing the same mountain but they each advocate a different path to the top!

Have you ever been in trance (mind awake/body asleep)? Whether you entered it by dancing around a fire, sitting zazen or progressive relaxation, the results were probably remarkably similar. The same is true of OOBEs. The OOBE process itself is fairly straightforward and refreshingly untainted by "background belief".

There is an exceptionally important reason why you should thoroughly familiarize yourself with the details of the OOBE process. Do you know what it is? When you are "out", LACK OF FAMILIARITY OFTEN RESULTS IN FEAR AND AN IMMEDIATE RETURN TO THE BODY. Fear is like a "proceed directly to jail" card (where the jail is your physical body). And don't kid yourself, an intellectual understanding alone won't do -- your body and especially your Unconscious Mind must become comfortable with the process. Otherwise your fears will run rampant.

To summarize, this article should help to make you realize that your own experiences are natural and fairly common. Relax, you are not alone. In addition, basing the approach on the experience itself rather than technique helps to minimize the taint of "world view." Finally, knowing the scenery so to speak will help you to remain relaxed, focused and composed, which are all essential to OOBE success.

The next time you have an OOBE, try to write down your experience (after your return to your body, naturally) and identify what you felt, saw, heard and thought at each stage. You might be surprised at the results. Remember -- the answer is in there!

Astral Signposts:

  1. OOBEs Are Something You "Do" -- And Can Get Better At. While OOBEs just seem to happen (spontaneously or miraculously) to some people, most sucessful projectors have the attitude that OOBEs are something we "do." Results are produced by the right knowledge and attitude, diligent practice, and long term effort. Can everyone have a "conscious" OOBE? Probably not. Can you? Perhaps. It may sound like a cliche but the mere fact that you're reading this article means that you are interested in this subject and that suggests that you have at some degree of astral ability. Let your interest take root and grow. Are you willing to work at it with no guarantees? Good!
  2. Projectors Are Drawn To It. Like moths to flame, many of us are drawn to OOBEs. We can't really help it. It's not that OOBEs are cool, neat, fantastic, or the "in" thing to do -- at a deep level something tugs at us. Remember that time, long ago when you were a child and found yourself "out"? You can't forget it, can you? The memory and feeling is always right there... tugging at you.
  3. Successful Long-Term Projectors Are Physically Grounded. There is an unfortunate tendency for some people to become physically weak and mentally disoriented as a result of OOBE training. Some say that it is easier to project when the body is physically weak. This may be true but it is at best, a short-term, narrow-sighted strategy. Successful projection requires an abundance of internal energy, much of which can only be derived from a healthy physical body (think of it as your generator). A relaxed, balanced, healthy physical body is far superior to a weak, sickly one. In addition, a weak body negatively affects the mind. You should engage in regular exercise to ensure that you will remain properly grounded. Why do you think the yoga masters and zen priests also practice a physical discipline -- not just meditation? If you feel yourself becoming "flighty" or disoriented, take a break from your OOBE training and go for a walk at the park or beach, play with your children, participate in a sport, etc. Give yourself time to recharge your battery.
  4. Physical Limitations Do Not Result In Astral Limitations. Having said that it is important to take the steps necessary to maintain a healthy body, I should add that physical limitations do not necessarily affect your ability to have OOBEs. I wear glasses and am pretty nearsighted. Nevertheless, my OOBE vision is perfect. What about people with missing limbs? Many will find that they are whole when they are "out." I believe that you can learn to project despite disease, physical limitation, injury, etc. Also, you can project despite the fact that you have metal pins or other foreign objects in your body.

    Keep in mind that shape is a very flexible thing in the astral. Sometimes people project as a mere point of consciousness, a geometric form or as nothing at all discernible. Therefore, you should not feel too attached to your physical form -- that attachment will make it more difficult for your to project. I believe that the pure astral form is always in its prime, so to speak. It is neither young nor old, and at higher levels it is neither male nor female. The astral body feels the same as the soul between lives.

  5. Astral Diet. There is no magic diet which assures OOBE success. Rather, the proper diet during OOBE training is one which makes you feel healthy, energetic and comfortable. Heavy (especially meats), oily or spicy foods might make it difficult to train. I was in a class learning to sit zazen many years ago and the teacher mentioned that we should not eat pizza before training. There is nothing wrong with pizza -- he simply did not want us to burp (because it would disrupt the sitting and our composure)! In addition, eating or drinking too much will make you have to use the restroom more often, which could disrupt your OOBE training session. It is better to feel a little hungry while engaged in OOBE training rather than feeling too full.

    Several people have mentioned to me that being a little thirsty is useful. Place a glass of water down the hall or in another room and will yourself to leave your body and go get a drink.

    I do not think it is necessary to be vegetarian but I can appreciate the value of it. Also, I do not personally recommend fasting but recognize that it is a part of many traditions. Use common sense and take good care of your body.

  6. Reading About OOBEs Only Helps So Much. I never met anyone who simply read books about guitars and magically developed the ability to play! OOBEs are like playing a musical instrument, practicing a martial art, meditating, etc. You should read books and articles to familiarize yourself with the subject but success requires practice (and often years of trial and error). Also keep in mind that as described below, you will need to learn to function with non-verbal awareness and this is the antithesis of conventional forms of study such as reading or attending lectures.

    I went to a writer's conference once and talked to one of the speakers. He mentioned that many of the same people turned out year after year but never wrote anything at all! Don't become a "fan" of OOBEs. They are something to do. I also know a Zen priest who likes to say that reading an entire library of books on the subject of Zen adds up to less than a pimple on your butt! The same could be said about OOBEs.

  7. An Encompassing Belief System. Successful astral projectors have a belief system in which OOBEs are accepted. Suppose you define life as spirit animating the flesh. Well, having the spirit leave the body seems to violate this definition. Unless OOBEs fit within your belief system, your conscious mind -- and more importantly your Unconscious Mind -- will create all kinds of roadblocks to your success.
  8. Keep It In Perspective. Take at look at the tip of the fingernail on the little finger of your right hand. That's how important OOBEs are in the grand scheme of things. OOBEs don't make you enlightened, give you a free pass to heaven, etc. Some people read about saints or holy people who could leave their bodies and foolishly think that developing the same ability will make them saintly or holy. Hey, they did a lot more than that! You have to work on your life!
  9. A Fearless, Daring Attitude. Who You? Yes you! You might have heard or read about all sorts of dangers associated with OOBEs. I have written an article entitled Understanding Out-of-Body Fears, which lists many of the fears people report based on the number of times they have left their bodies. As you would expect, people who have had many experiences tend to be less fearful. But fear is something which must be managed, especially for beginners.

    I believe that there is a "fear barrier" which is designed to keep out curiosity seekers and the timid. OOBE success comes to those who fully understand the risks but are willing to train despite it all. Hey, most of us can't help it anyway -- we are drawn to it. In addition, many seemingly irrational fears are created by the Unconscious Mind because it is uncomfortable with the astral process. Have you asked for its permission and cooperation?

    Many OOBE fears are based on the wrongful assumption that the astral world is a direct (but less dense) counterpart of the physical world. If you went on a journey to a strange place in "this" world, you might rightfully worry about getting lost. Not suprisingly, the most commonly reported OOBE fear is that of getting lost. Falling is another very common fear. Don't let your 3D assumptions get in the way of your OOBE training.

  10. OOBE Affirmations. Some people find it useful to write and repeat OOBE affirmations -- positive statements about what you will do (can already do). Merely repeating things does nothing but stating meaningful words and phrases with 100% conviction should produce some results. To some extent, you are giving instructions to your Unconscious Mind. Be very careful about what you ask for -- you just might get it!
  11. Training Place. It should be clean, quiet, secure, uncluttered and to the extent possible, reserved for OOBE training. You will pick up on the vibrations of the area when you get "out" -- you might even see them -- so plan ahead. Also, clutter tends to make novices disoriented. I would avoid heavy duty electrical appliances in the immediate area. Turn off the television and radio, switch off the alarm, unplug the telephone -- prevent disruptions. Also, make sure the door is locked so that you won't have to worry about "phantom" intruders later.

    When you have a "special" place for OOBE training, your Unconscious Mind will learn that it is time to go "out" when you are there. Simply entering the space with the objective of leaving your body will trigger your Unconscious Mind's OOBE autoexec file. If you practice a martial art, think of your training place as your OOBE dojo. You could also think of it as your OOBE temple. It is a special, holy place where you come face to face with your True Self. You should treat it with reverence.

  12. Spouse. If you share a bed with a spouse or lover, you might consider moving to another room for a few hours for OOBE training. Restless movements or noises can be very disturbing. In addition, a sleeping person might tend to make you sleepy as well -- sleep is infectious. Naturally, if your spouse or lover also projects, OOBE training in the same bed/location might be ideal.
  13. Position. You are lying flat on your back. Perhaps you are seated in a comfortable chair or in a lotus/half-lotus position on the floor. In any case, you are resting comfortably in a stable position. Plan ahead so that the jerking motion of "nodding off" will not terminate your OOBE. For the most part, OOBEs while walking or otherwise in movement are an exception.
  14. Magnetic Orientation. Don't worry about it. Some swear by aligning the head towards magnetic North. I think it is just a mental crutch. You are about to step out of conventional time/space so you might as well start thinking in an unlimited way. Don't create unnecessary barriers to projecting.
  15. Some Form Of Invocation Of Protection. Most skilled projectors protect their physical space and various bodies (physical and astral) by prayer, energy formations, etc. One of my teachers warned me to ensure that I always, always do this (and I do!).
  16. Clear Purpose -- Definite Target. Have a very clear idea about what you are going to do. Don't just think, "I am going to leave my body." That's too general for now. Plan a specific course -- where you will go, who you will visit (with permission), what you will discuss, when you will return, etc. Have a DEFINITE TARGET! Go there in the physical ahead of time and set an energy marker (a homing beacon so to speak). Then desire to go to it with all your being. Half-hearted efforts get no results. Most people fail at OOBEs because they lack the discipline and patience to train correctly. It's not something to do because it's cool or to be able to say, "been there, done that." It is a very serious undertaking. Astral keys can open a Pandora's Box or the Hall of Records!
  17. Noble Aim Or Goal. There is a saying in Japanese: "bachi ga ataru." In English we say, "What goes around comes around." Bad deeds come back multiplied and in the astral, the return is very quick. Act at all times in a noble manner and with a good intent.
  18. Some Form Of Progressive Relaxation. You will probably find that a systematic method of progressively relaxing the body produces far better results than just lying there. It will also help you to avoid falling asleep involuntarily. Many people visualize the various parts of their body switching off from toes to head. Feel your body (the inside as well as the outside) and watch it as it slows down and goes to sleep (into trance).
  19. Some Form Of Deep Or Rhythmic Breathing. Breathing exercises are an important part of progressive relaxation. The breaths are gradually lengthened so that the number of inhales and exhales per minute is reduced. Sometimes it might even feel like you are not breathing at all or that the air is coming in through your skin. Your internal energy is largely generated by your breath so proper breathing is extremely important. By the time you've finished your routine of progressive relaxation combined with deep or rhythmic breathing, you will likely find yourself in the next stage.
  20. Catalepsy Or Sleep Paralysis. Your physical body will "go to sleep." It will be heavy and you will not be able to move it, except with great effort. Attempting to move at this point will likely terminate the experience and result in discomfort. Some people panic the first few times they experience this paralysis. Relax, soon you will learn to enjoy it. And it is an excellent sign of your progress.
  21. Mind Awake. You might get the distinct feeling that while your body is completely asleep (paralyzed), your mind is fully awake -- in fact, it feels incredibly clear. The initial novelty of this experience should help you to focus on what's going on and minimize any stray thoughts. Gradually let your thoughts settle. Do not initiate new lines of thought. Simply relax mentally until you are pure awareness.
  22. The Buzzing Sound. Energy takes many forms. You will likely hear a sound that may be as gentle as leaves rustling, could be more like the buzzing of insects, or might even be as loud as a roaring train or howling hurricane. You might even hear music. But you will probably hear something -- and it might be quite pronounced. Relax, it's normal. If the sound is annoying, try to raise the pitch an octave or two.
  23. The Light. Although described less often, the energy could result in flashing lights, waves of pulsating colors, etc. I find that at a certain pitch and intensity of sound, the light kicks in. I tend to think that light is a higher form of energy. Your eyes might flicker (rapid eye movements). Rather than trying to look around (with your eyes shut because you can't move) focus your attention on your third eye (the spot between your eyebrows).
  24. The "Itchy Skin" Feeling. Depending on the form(s) your energy has taken, you might feel electric, itchy, like insects are crawling all over your skin, hot, etc. Again, relax. If it is uncomfortable, try to raise your pitch (energy frequency). The physical sensations follow the pitch. With practice the process becomes pleasant. I sometimes get the feeling of being sunburned on the "inside."
  25. A Hard Tongue. This does not happen very often but if the light and sound become very strong and your gaze is set on your third eye, you might find your tongue pressing against the roof of your mouth and becoming rigid. Your breathing will probably have become very rapid as well. This is described in the Kundalini literature. At such a time, remain calm and watch -- this is a pretty rare and fantastic show! You can leave your body later.
  26. Sudden Stillness. The sound is roaring, the light is flashing, your skin is electric... then suddenly it all stops. The silence is deafening. For a split second you can't even think. You are still inside your body but you feel like you a tiny point of awareness in a huge expanse. It's almost like being in a dark cavern. Just wait. Don't let your mind run off in a million directions. Something wonderful is about to happen.
  27. A Switch-Over To Non-Verbal Awareness. You won't be able to think in the way to which you are accustomed. One of my teachers described this by saying: "You can't think 1, 2 3." To some extent, you become a witness to what is happening to you. But your awareness is not passive. You are still in control, it is just that there is no internal verbalization or dialogue. There is no separation between thought and action. Later, after you return to your body, you will have to translate the experience into words. This will feel somewhat like remembering a dream. In fact, the Watcher of the dream and the Watcher of OOBEs is the same.

    This phase is of critical importance. Practicing "non-verbal awareness" during normal consciousness is an important part of OOBE training. Reading without verbalizing (the words just stream in without being spoken or translated... like an ultra-highspeed modem connection), typing without verbalizing, performing dance or martial arts without thought... these are all helpful. You will find that "wordless awareness" is not the same as "not thinking." Without formulating the question you will find that the answer is right there -- there is no gap.

  28. The Watcher. I am not using this term with reference to a particular belief system. Some religions or groups might also use the term. I am using it in an experiential sense. When I project, I feel the presence of my own "Watcher" which is a part of "me" but not part of my ordinary thinking mind. It is there when I project, dream, sleep, think, daydream, work... always. This may have been my own "Higher Self"... I don't know. After this article was first posted, someone suggested that the term "Monitor" was more appropriate. I think that in truth that no term is sufficient. You could call it "the part of you that can't be named but you know its there at all times and is incredibly wise and powerful and ageless...."
  29. Your Self-Concept Is Limiting -- Pack Light For Your Trip! Who you think you are will limit the perceptions which will be acceptable to you. Inconsistent perceptions will either seem dreamlike or will be ignored or deleted. Imagine yourself purified to the bare essence -- to the part of you that truly makes you, you. Imagine a large mass of coal which over the ages becomes a tiny diamond. Much of what you consider to be "you" (height, weight, skin color, gender, age, race, religion, economic status, education level, etc.) does not pass from life to life. They are just variables. It is the core you, the essence, which is the real you and which is active during OOBEs. Leave the unnecessary "trapping" of your personality behind. Get ready... there's a bigger YOU waiting.

    You are going on a divine trip. Pack lightly.

  30. Movement. You are moving. Direction is irrelevant... up, sideways, down. There is no "good" or "bad" direction. Go with the flow. Rise, float, spin, sink, climb, soar.... Go with it -- don't fight it. You might feel air rushing over your body, your hair flowing back, all this indicates movement. You might hear the rushing of wind. Good.

    If you do not experience a sense of movement, you may be able to initiate it by visualization. Don't limit yourself to images of rising up. Also try using the image and feeling of being pulled out. Be creative.

  31. Expanding Boundaries -- Physical Triggers. You might feel like your body is growing in all directions -- like the boundaries are expanding. You may feel it localized around your head, feet or even near your stomach. Relax and go with it. Extend the feeling. Bring it back and extend it again, this time farther. This might be a good time to imagine floating like a cloud.
  32. Dual Awareness. You might feel like you are simultaneously inside your body and outside of it. Sometimes your awareness will bounce back and forth! This is usually a transition stage which will pass fairly quickly. Remain aware at such times. Leaving the body is really about learning to shift your attention from one place (the physical body) to another (the astral body). The astral body does not merely sleep within the body during your waking hours -- it is very active. Right now it might be outside of your physical body and you don't even know it! Can you shift your attention to it?
  33. The Tunnel. Some people (especially in near-death-experiences) find themselves moving down a dark tunnel with a point of light at the end. Some do not. It doesn't matter. You're not out of your body yet... but you're almost there.
  34. Click! That's it. You might hear a click, a switching sound, a crack. It's not your skull breaking... it's just a sound. Maybe it's the sound of an astral form of static electricity as you pass through the physical barrier. Congratulations... you're out!
  35. Black Out. Maybe you've lost consciousness. Remember, you've already lost your normal thinking mind and switched to the nonverbal. But for a few minutes you might be completely "blacked out." That's alright. Just be diligent about seizing your awareness at the earliest opportunity.
  36. Awakening In A Dream. You might have to regain awareness by awakening in a dream. A lucid dream can be an entry point to OOBEs. Identify any anomalies in the dream. Seize control by doing something tactile -- touch something. Skilled astral projectors are usually also skilled dreamers.
  37. Sheer Terror. Some people, after weeks, months or even years of training, finally achieve an OOBE only to find themselves frightened to the bone, gripped by absolute terror, scared almost to death, etc. Panic sets in and the immediate result is a quick and sometimes unpleasant return to the body. Why the fright? Imagine standing near the edge of a cliff. Intellectually you might feel perfectly safe but your "gut" makes you feel scared. Your body reacts to situations that it perceives as dangerous. During your first OOBE, you will still be very close to your physical body -- barely separated from it -- and it will still exert a strong influence on you. Trust me, with experience the fear disappears.

    Oh, another reason for the fear is that you think you are dead... really dead. If you are reading this, that obviously was not true.

    If the fear persists, go back and reassess your belief system. Also, respectfully ask your Unconscious Mind what's troubling it.

  38. You're Home. You feel that you have returned to a familiar place, somewhere you've been many times before. You have! You're home, safe. Cherish the feeling. You'll probably not want to leave.
  39. Your Normal State. Are you a physical being which can project into the astral, or an astral being which descends into the flesh? Think about it for a moment. Right now you are physical (I assume) and later today you might have an OOBE. When that happens, are you going "out" or waking up? It is a journey or a return? You can see that it all depends on your perspective.

    For some people (probably a very small group), OOBEs are the natural state. Can you imagine how slow and limiting the physical world must be for an astral being? They might naturally feel disinterested in it and even in some of the people who inhabit it.

  40. You Can't See. It takes a while for your astral senses to switch on. You're probably not used to using them except when completely unaware. What I mean by this is your nonverbal Watcher has to get the knack of using the astral sight, hearing and sense of touch. Sorry Bud but you're working at a preschool level right now and your Watcher has a Ph.D. It doesn't really like diddling around in the near physical level and it has to relearn the ropes!

    Many novices report seeing a black or gray mist. Just give your astral eyes some time. Don't "blindly" interpret the vision (or lack thereof) to mean that you're in a dark, evil realm. If you are uncomfortable where you are, raise your pitch/vibration.

  41. Seeing Your Physical Body. There's no rule that says you have to examine your physical body. But if you do you'll probably find that it seems very foreign and practically lifeless... inanimate. You might even feel indifferent to it -- as if it is merely a convenient vehicle, like a car. Can you see the energy you set up around your body for protection? If not, do it now.
  42. Everything Shines! More correctly, everything is illuminated by its own light. There is no sense of dark once your astral eyes being to function. There is ambient light even in an absolute vacuum.
  43. Are Your Feet Touching The Ground? Probably not! Do you even have feet? Hmmmm. The physical body is a vehicle --like a car. Whether you call it a temple of enlightenment or a prison, it is a vehicle. You are not limited by your physical characteristics. At the highest level you are pure light.
  44. The Silver Cord. You might see it. You might not. Your attachment to your physical body is normally invisible (sort of like gravity) -- no need to clutter up the astralscape. Don't be too iteral about it. Even if you don't see a cord, you will probably have occasion to feel it. The cord (visible or invisible) may be attached to your astral body in various places. Don't worry about it.
  45. Eight Corners -- Spherical View. You can see in all directions at the same time. Some describe this as seeing the 8 corners of the room. Try it. It is difficult to see 6 while physical. Some also describe this as having an eye in the back of the head. Your astral vision is not limited by direction. It takes a while to get used to this.
  46. Directional Confusion. Right, left, up, down? It gets confusing. We are accustomed to moving in only two directions. Now you are moving in three... actually more. Some people begin to get confused between left and right even while physical! OOBE vision is often reversed, inverted or inside-out -- but not always.
  47. No Time Or An Altered Sense Of It. Sometimes an OOBE seems very brief, and yet it last many minutes or even hours. The opposite is also true -- what seems like an extremely long OOBE may only take seconds. You are in a different time/space.
  48. Time Travel. Some OOBErs report that they can travel backward and forward in time. I can't offer any personal guidance on this. For some reason, when I project I have no interest in the subject.
  49. Limitations Are Mental. The walls cannot hold you, the ceilings cannot keep you in, gravity cannot weigh you down...unless you let them. The more you act like you are physical, the more limited you will be.
  50. Astral Motion. Novices tend to act like they are swimming or flying. You create your own limitations. Some people go from Point A to Point B by traveling through space. Others just jump straight to Point B. Tunnels, vortexes, mists... there are many modes of travel.
  51. Light Is Intelligent. Oh my, the light is alive. Yes it is. The higher you go, the more alive -- and intelligent -- it gets. This may sound mystic. Quite the opposite is true. Imagine a giant hologram containing scans of every page of every book of the Library of Congress. If that hologram were shattered, every little piece would continue to contain the entire contents (only smaller and perhaps at a different angle). I think that light is very like that -- small pieces of the Whole. At the higher astral levels, light can be read, so to speak. But by that time, you are normally acting beyond the capability of words. Sounds mystic again, I know.
  52. Joy, Joy, Joy! Unbridled ecstacy, joy, bliss, rapture, clarity, happiness beyond words, indescribable freedom.... Hey, being out-of-the-body is not so bad!
  53. Enhanced Understanding. You will just "know" certain things. This is not the first time you have been "out," perhaps just the first time your were consciously "out." Your Watcher knows infinitely more than your ordinary consciousness. As you gain more experience, insights will begin to stream in. The answer is in there! Be respectful enough to pay attention to the whispers.
  54. Telepathic Communication. You can "hear" what someone is thinking. Actually, since neither of you are thinking (you are functioning non-verbally) you know each other's thoughts directly. In any event, you will probably not be speaking in the usual sense.
  55. Astral Etiquette. You are not a visitor here (this is where you belong in a sense), but for the time being you are a novice. Act with courtesy and respect toward the beings (that sounds better than people to me) you meet. This is not like the internet where "flaming" has relatively no consequence. Negative emotions or outbursts here can have serious repercussions. Initially, treat everyone you meet as a potential teacher.
  56. Like Attracts Like. You attract and are attracted to like energy. If you don't like your surroundings ask yourself why you have been drawn to them. Rise out of areas that make you fill ill at ease. By rising out I am referring to frequency rather than direction.
  57. Secondary Black Out. You might have "blacked out" (lost consciousness) when you first left your body. It might happen again when you're out but for a different reason. You will black out whenever you exceed your ability to perceive or remember. You (the Watcher) can perceive a great deal. You (consciousness) can only remember a little. The more you become accustomed to non-verbal awareness, the more you will be able to remember. Also, you will not be able to remember correctly if you become confused or overwhelmed by too many sensations.

    Let's pretend that you are a television set with 36 channels. Your Watcher is an expert at all of them. In fact, it has a remote control with its favorite channels preprogrammed. It likes to jump around. Your conscious mind is only good at Channels 1 and 2 (maybe). Everything else comes in as static or scrambled images. So your OOBE might be going along fine while you are on Channels 1 and 2 but black out -- or become dreamlike -- when your Watcher hits the remote and jumps to its favorite channel. This is overly simplistic but you get the idea.

    Hey Bud... you're not just that little conscious mind! Your conscious mind will have to learn to cooperate (non-verbally) with the Watcher. Remember, the conscious mind translates your OOBE -- after the fact usually -- into words, sentences and "normal" daily thoughts. It will only be able to do so if it remains focused non-verbally during the OOBE.

    Let's return to the television example. Imagine that each channel is twice as strong as the one below it. Channel 2 is twice as strong as Channel 1, Channel 36 is twice as strong as Channel 35.... The "strength" of the channel strikes against "verbal thinking." The force will be minimal at the first couple of levels but pretty soon, even the slightest verbal thought will result in a blackout (sensory overload). But if the mind is kept perfectly nonverbal, there will be no resistance no matter how strong the force (even 1,000,00 times 0 = 0).

    There was on old Star Trek episode (I only like the old ones). Captain Kirk, Spock and Bones were trapped in a force field. Finally, Spock realized that the way to get out was to clear the mind of thoughts. The force field was powered by thoughts and resistance! How profound!

    Back to the television... there are really an infinite number of channels. And the Watcher can actually function on many at the same time. Just wanted to make that clear.

  58. Snap Back. If the body is disturbed, you become afraid, if any number of things happen, you might feel yourself snapping back to your body. You might sense movement at great speed or you might just feel a jerk as you enter your body. This is typical in early experiences and rare with more experience (unless someone touches your body -- which you should have planned for/against). With a snap back, you might suddenly find your heart and respiration racing. Calm down and don't move. In fact, don't move for a few minutes. Let your astral body properly realign itself to the physical.
  59. Catalepsy Or Waking-Up Paralysis. Well, it often happens again! This is the reverse of what happens when you leave your body. When you return, there is a transition time when you cannot move. Don't try to move for few minutes. Just rest comfortably. Your recollection is greatest right now! This is the time to translate what happened during your OOBE into words and thoughts. This may sound hard but with practice it is sort of like clicking on a file and unzipping it! Really.
  60. Going "Out" Again -- And Again. The attachment between your physical and astral bodies is very weak when you first return. It is often easier to leave the body again during the return paralysis. Sometimes you might be able to go back and forth several times. It feels a little like bouncing or being in two places at the same time. This is a good time to practice your exit and entry techniques. The more times you do it the more you will be able to do it! I hear from many people who have left their bodies more than 100 times -- sometimes many times in a single session.
  61. The Intruders. Hey, who are those three guys (or women) behind me, watching me, inching closer. I want to stand up and run away! Don't get excited. This is normal. Maybe they are your guides, maybe they are your Watcher. Maybe it's just that you feel very vulnerable because you can't move yet. If you have taken the proper precautions before you left your body (secured the room, among other things), you should feel perfectly safe. If the entities persist, non-verbally thank them for their help and ask them to identify themselves.
  62. Record Your Experiences. After you regain complete physical control, promptly write down or tape record the highlights of your OOBE. At least in the beginning, this will help you with the remembering and translation process. It is a process. People project without knowing it! Leaving the body is really not about separation mechanics as much as it is about training yourself to function non-verbally and remember what happens.
  63. The Failure Of Words. Try to write down the highlights of your experience. But don't be surprised if words fail you. Who says that words can express EVERYTHING? Sometimes when I try to describe my experiences I reach a point where I get tongue tied -- so overwhelmed by the enormity of it all that I become nonsensical. Sometimes, to define is to defile. Also, one of my teachers often advised that I not dilute the experience by talking about it. He was a very wise man.
  64. Physical Disorientation. You might feel physically disoriented after your first few experiences. You might feel dizzy or just not "right." Once in a while I had difficulty walking correctly -- and I probably could not walk and chew gum at the same time! The best remedy for me was a quick nap. Your astral body naturally realigns itself after a nap.

    The best way to avoid disorientation all together is to take the time to properly align yourself when you return to your body. Don't just jump up!

  65. Close The Chakras. If you've opened them, close them now. I don't think about this much but people are always warning me to do it so I've included it here.
  66. Automation -- Autoexec File. After a while most of the steps described here become automated, so to speak. Instead of going through each step consciously, you might just set the mood and go. A similar thing happens when you switch on your computer. Your autoexec file saves you time and trouble by loading the required files, running diagnostics and getting to the correct initial directory. But remember -- if you cannot consciously OOBE (or remember it afterwards), one of the main problems may be that you've already unconsciously automated the process and your consciousness was left "out of the loop." Learning to have OOBEs is more a matter of learning to consciously tag along and to do this you might have to edit your autoexec codes.
  67. Heightened Awareness in "Ordinary" Consciousness. You have opened the door. Don't be surprised when you just "know" things. Your view of Channel 0 (the physical plane) may begin to be accented by scenes from the higher channels. Don't be surprised, either, if the Watcher starts to be more active... after all, you've begun to enter his/her realm. Take care that your OOBE activities do not make you lose your common sense or neglect your family, work and other responsibilities.
  68. Intuition Of Impending OOBEs. Once you get the knack of it, you will generally know when you're primed and ready to go astral. Sometimes you will just know that it will not happen or should not happen. Go with your intuition. At other times, you will feel the need to go "out" without knowing why. The reason will usually present itself at the right time.
  69. Hey, I Sense That You Can Do It Too! When you get that feeling you might stop and say, "Hmmmm." People who do this tend to recognize each other pretty quickly. They seem like old friends (sometimes lovers). This is hard to explain but perhaps you know what I mean. But you certainly should be discreet about it. Don't run up to people and say, "Hey, can you leave your body?" They will probably think you are nuts. And maybe they are not consciously aware of their own abilities. Perhaps you met before on Channel 36. Can they remember that? Can you?
  70. A Reluctance To Talk About It. You might consider your gift to be a secret to be carefully guarded. Depending on your social and personal environment, you might be right. I think 99% of the people who do this are reluctant to speak about it -- unless they get involved with an understanding circle of friends who share the gift. Those of us who write about the experience tend to have a weird split personality -- mega-nonverbal and mega-verbal at the same time (or able to switch back and forth easily).
  71. A Changed Attitude About Death. You've been out of your physical body. It wasn't so bad, was it? In fact, it felt like returning home. Your views about death might need to be revised. It's not that you are looking forward to death -- but you are not running away from it either.
  72. What Is Your Astral Body Doing Right Now? Now this question can be asked. If I asked it earlier it might not have made as much sense. Your astral body does not simply lie dormant in your physical body waiting for you to activate it. No way! It is always active. Sometimes you can shift your focus to it and we call that an OOBE. But at other times it is fully active while you are awake. Back to the Watcher. It can "watch" or network the various aspects of your "self" quite nicely.

    You can use your astral while you are physical. Try giving it a task and then be sensitive to the signals it will give you when the mission is completed. Listen for the "tiny" voice. If you ignore it, it won't be as cooperative the next time you ask.

  73. Highest And Best Use -- Your "Calling." Why do you think you can do this? For amusement? Certainly not! Find the reason... seek it during OOBEs if you like. Find what it is you are to do and try your best to do it. I think we all have the duty to try to raise the consciousness of the planet (maybe more than that) just a little. And remember, you are physical for a reason. That reason is not to always leave your body! You wanted to be here. Astral projection is just a small part of the plate you have set for yourself.
  74. I Can't Do It Again No Matter How Hard I Try -- That Free Pass. I've added this category because so many people complain to me about it. If your first OOBE was spontaneous -- I think of such OOBEs as a "free pass" -- you might have difficulty repeating it unless you engage in a disciplined, long-term course of OOBE training. What I mean by this is a free pass gets you "out" despite your hectic work schedule, poor health, unfocused mind, lack of effort, etc. But to do it again you're going to have to work at it. You don't get many free passes in life! The above also applies if you began to experience OOBEs during your childhood or teenage years and then lost the ability.
  75. What Did I Miss? Please let me know!
I will likely almost certainly add some new items and revise old ones as time permits. You might want to check back from time to time.

By the way, a side effect of reading this is enhanced astral ability!