Basically, this is how to have lucid dreams, astral projections, or whatever you want to call the types of experiences that I have.
This advice comes mostly from my experience, and secondarily from people in the local lucid dreaming group I regularly meet with who have shared their own experiences and advice with me, and thirdly from things I’ve read from other projectors that are consistent enough with my experience that I think is worth sharing as alternate advice that I would personally try if I felt I needed some extra methods to work with.
Take my advice for what it’s worth, from someone who is just experimenting with this when I can. You should read a book or two by people more skilled and more experienced.
We All Project!
This is something we are all capable of doing, and indeed you already do it to a limited degree when you have a regular dream. You project your consciousness into a place where you create your own private dream environment. Perhaps it’s idle and careless creation, flexing and stretching unused muscles. Perhaps it’s done by other aspects of our consciousness to communicate things to us, or even messages from other beings, or distorted perceptions of objective environments. I don’t know. Some of those situations at times seem to be more likely. At any rate, dreams happen. The things we call dreams are more than mere thoughts.
Note that learning to enter a conscious, more complete projection can take some work, but it is something we are all capable of doing.
Regular dreams are, therefore, only a partial projection. You aren’t bringing your full memories and awareness with you. A projection is more complete, in your control, with conscious intent and full memory. Anything between those two extremes, if you want to call it a projection, or a lucid dream, that’s absolutely fine. What you call it isn’t important, so long as you take note of how solid and real it feels, how well your memories transfer, how focused on your intentions you stay, and how much control over your environment you have.
How to Begin a Projection
There are several ways of instigating it. The problem isn’t projecting. We already do that as dreams. The problem is becoming lucid while you’re doing it, or in other words bringing more of your consciousness with you so that it’s closer to a full projection.
The book The Phase by Michael Raduga has useful tips that I have tried with success. Good book!
Reality Checks and Triggers
This is where you just wait until you’re in a normal dream, and then you remember to become lucid.
This is also what they also call Mnemonic-Induced Lucid Dreaming (MILD).
A mnemonic is something you can easily recall that helps you recall something else. It’s like when you know that a guy’s name is Jim because you recall a burglar jimmied open his window. Somehow that’s easier.
Our memories are fractured in regular dreams when we don’t bring out full consciousness in. That’s why we’re so confused and go along with the dream story. So we need to use a memory we hold closer to bring in the rest.
A trigger is a clue that you’re dreaming, ie: you have programmed yourself to notice strange things so as to trigger your awareness and clue you in that this is not physical reality. A clock that keeps changing time every time you glance at it, or anything that doesn’t seem right.
A reality check is essentially a trigger that you stop and actively check for when you already suspect you’re dreaming, like seeing if you float softly down when you jump in the air, or if you can put your hand through the wall.
But they’re the same thing. People use both terms, and I just call them all reality checks. Whether you notice something odd in the dream, or you already suspect something is off and you do a check, you’re confirming what’s up.
See the full list of reality checks or triggers you can utilize.
Wake & Back to Bed (WBTB)
Projecting is easier to do after your body is rested.
I have found the WBTB procedure to be effective. I get up after 4-6 hours of sleep, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and maybe even take a shower and get dressed. Then I hop back into bed, do some more techniques, and project after a few minutes or half an hour.
WBTB is used in conjunction with other techniques. If merely getting up to go pee during the night were enough, then obviously you would be having projections all the time.
Some sources suggest you have an alarm wake you up, not move more than necessary to turn off the alarm, and immediately go back to sleep. I haven’t had any success with that. I have to get up first.
The key seems to be to get fully awake and alert, how ever long it takes you, but be just a little sleep-deprived so that you can konk out again. Basically you’re making yourself alert so that you can enter the last bit of sleep with the right mindset and your consciousness doesn’t just lie there dormant while your physical body sleeps.
Why do you need regular sleep before you can project effectively? Well, I suspect it’s like using your cell phone when it’s plugged in. You can keep doing it for a while, but when your activity requires lots of power the battery will eventually drain and you need to stop and charge it for a while. Your consciousness is what powers your body, aside from physical needs like food. When doing critical charging you don’t have enough power free to do a good projection with. Does that make sense? I don’t know. Heck, maybe that’s a bad guess and this is all just because after enough rest your muscles are less tense and you can leave them easier.
Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
WILD is what Robert Monroe’s approach was as described in Journeys Out of the Body. He entered projections without losing consciousness. He had to follow a certain pattern of sleeping, but then he went straight from physically awake into a projection.
I like Michael Raduga’s concept of cycling that he describes in The Phase. It’s a WILD approach where you use each technique for a brief moment before moving to the next. Have two or three techniques you use, and just move back and forth between them a few times.
This is essentially a ‘WILD’ approach as above, but I don’t know, I’ll reorganize this better later.
Below are some of the techniques I find useful for cycling.
Explore hypnagogic images and let yourself get drawn into them.
At first I found that the images I vividly saw while practicing this were like snapshots, detailed and unfamiliar scenes or people that would flash in front of me, and they would begin fading right away. Over time they began lasting for a second, with people or objects moving about as in a real scene. With more practice they started lasting longer and I could get drawn into them and keep it going into a projection.
Imagine you’re reaching into the air with either arm alternately, rocking your body slightly back and forth. Don’t physically move your arms, but if you feel your body move that’s ok. The purpose is to just imagine the movement, to get yourself in the mode of moving non-physically, shifting just slightly out of your body.
Imagine yourself already standing somewhere else, in another room, or far away. Feel the sensations of the floor or ground under your feet, your body walking forward.
Even if these aren’t immediately successful, cycling through them helps prime you for a projection. I find that I’ll go to sleep doing them and it will take me a while into sleep, maybe half an hour, before I become alert and find myself in a projection. Or sometimes I just end up in a regular dream and don’t become alert. Either way, it’s great practice.
Standing Up Frequently
It can be hard to tell even when it’s happening. We conflate “becoming physically aware” with “becoming conscious”. It feels much the same, particularly if you find yourself in a sleeping position. We become alert and assume we are awake. We go back to sleep, ie: lose consciousness, or we retain consciousness and get up and go to the bathroom in a “false awakening” and might never even learn that we never physically got up during the night.
I confirmed this by forcing myself to stand up every time I became conscious during the night. A good portion of the time I was in a projection.
I’ll add more and expand on this later! Just getting this out now so I can get the site up and running.