AP_03.TXT FILE 3 of 15 - CompuServe Astral Projection Class by Don DeGracia, 1994 Astral P

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AP_03.TXT ------------------------------------------------------------------- FILE 3 of 15 - CompuServe Astral Projection Class by Don DeGracia, 1994 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Astral Projection Class on CompuServe by Don DeGracia: 72662,1335 Copyright 1994 None of this material may be reproduced without explicit permission from the author. WHAT IS ASTRAL PROJECTION? PART 3 3. Tying It All Together So, we have discussed the three main terms used to describe the experience I hope to teach you, and the origins of these terms. What is important to realize is that EACH OF THESE TERMS STEMS FROM A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD. Many beginners in astral projection ask "what is the difference between an astral projection and an OOBE?" or "what is the difference between an OOBE and a lucid dream?" Well, the answer to this is that each of these words stems from a group of people with different views about Nature and Humankind. *That* is the difference between these words. In terms of the phenomena to which they refer, they all refer to the exact same thing. Each of these words represents a DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION of this phenomena, which is the experience of projecting. Debating about the meaning of these 3 terms is useless unless the debating is based on experience. What is important is learning HOW TO PROJECT, and that is what we shall focus on here. However, all of this introductory material is provided so that you students have some understanding of the different interpretations that exist. You are, of course, completely free to pick the interpretation you like best. However, I think it is more important to be open minded than to be of strong opinions. We are now going to compare these three terms. To summarize: Term Associated World View --------------------------------------------------- Astral Projection Occultism Out-of-body Experience Parapsychology Lucid Dream Psychology What we want to do at this point is come up with some way to understand how these three views of the astral projection experience are related to each other. First off, as I said, it is my opinion, based on my experiences with altered states of consciousness, that these three terms refer to the exact same phenomena. Lucid dreams, OOBEs, and astral projections are all identical experiences. Again, it is my opinion that to attempt to define these three terms as referring to 3 different phenomena is like spiltting hairs - in other words, a waste of time. Perhaps the most important distinction one can make amongst the *viewpoints* represented by these three terms is the following. Basically, the difference in these 3 terms gets down to different ways to view the nature of our consciousness and our definitions of what it is to be a human being. And, after having thought about this for a long time, it is now clear to me that there are essentially two, mutually exclusive ways to view the nature of human consciousness. These two views can be stated thus: 1. Human consciousness is soley and completely a product of the brain. Which is to say, our existence is purely physical. All of the underlying causes of our consciousness are grounded in the laws of chemistry, physics and biology. In other words, physical causes underlie human consciousness, period. For simplicity's sake, we will call this the "materialistic view" of human consciousness. 2. Human consciousness in NOT physical. Human consciousness, in its fundamental essence is NONPHYSICAL. Our physical body is not the cause of our consciousness, but is instead a vehicle by which to express our consciousness in the physical world. This view we will call the "occult view", because it is the view that occultists teach. It does not matter what particular brand of occultism we subscribe to. All branches of occult thought share this underlying axiom, as do most religious teachings. So, this is the vital dichotomy we are faced with: either our physical- organic body is the cause of our consciousness, or our physical-organic body is a vehicle for allowing our consciousness to access the physical world. That's it. It boils down to these two simple alternatives. Now, with regard to the 3 terms listed above, and their corresponding world views, we can say that, in general, parapsychologists and psychologists share the materialistic view and that occultists possess the occult view of the nature of human consciousness. Now, these generalizations must be qualified by the following statements. First, all psychologists and parapsychologists may not be materialists as I have defined this term above. Each person, of course, will have their individual beliefs that may or may not see human consciousness in some framework other than in purely physical terms. I am not trying to say that all people who are psychologists and parapsychologists believe that consciousness is purely physical. What I am saying however is the traditions of both psychology and parapsychology - in their official (or psuedo-official in the case of parapsychology) stances as academic institutions of learning and science, have traditionally NOT accepted the occult ideas that consciousness is nonphysical. And further, both psychology and parapsychology have at times been blatant materialists (as is behavioralist psychology or the typical statistical parapsychology). And most importantly, the idea that the physical body CAUSES consciousness is indeed the official platform of higher learning in our Universities today. This is the basis by which modern medical science operates, it is the basis of all academic forms of science from anthropology to sociology to physics to evolutionary biology. Nothing could be more foreign in the context of modern university learning than the occult ideas of human consciousness. So, that's it. Two different views of consciousness, three different terms to describe the experience of projecting. All that I've said above, taken together, forms the basic outline of the theory behind astral projection. My main intention here is simply to expose you to these ideas. I do not really care to debate about the relative merit of these ideas any further than in terms of their utility at helping us astral project. There are a lot of open questions that surround astral projecting. Anyone that tries to sell you on one particular interpretation of the astral projection experience is pulling your leg. None of the three terms above does any more than capture facets of the experience. If you are so inclined, feel free to pick your favorite views and go with them. Personally, it is my opinion that the best you can do is be aware of the variety of viewpoints that exist (whether it's about astral projecting or anything else), and eclectically draw upon these different views as circumstances demand. Being open to things is much more important than anything else, especially in this business of altered states of consciousness. 4. Radio Station theory of consciousness - The Subplanes Well, we're almost done with the theory stuff! What I'm going to do now is to present the theory I personally use to explain my own projections. In doing so, we will also start to make the transition between me talking about other people's ideas and me talking about my actual experiences. The "radio station theory of consciousness" has come from my need to have a unified way to think about all the things that have happened to me in my projections. Basically, this "radio station view of consciousness" is a take-off on the occult ideas I outlined above. It posits that there are nonphysical places we can take our consciousness; in other words, planes. The reason I believe this is because, in a number of my projections, I have been in places that *looked like* places I know on the physical plane (my own bedroom and house mostly). However, when I explore these environments in my projections, and then wake-up back here on the physical plane and go and study the exact same place, I always observe numerous differences. So, my conclusion is that, where ever I'm at during my projection, it is definately NOT the physical world I am in when I am awake. Another thing I have consistently experienced in my projections is the fact that sometimes when I project I am *somewhere* but other times I am *nowhere*. In the journal I keep of my experiences, I call the "somewhere" "episodes", and I call the "nowhere" I go the "void". When I am in an episode I can be anywhere - for there are a lot of places to be in the planes! It may be a sunny meadow, a strange abstract colored landscape, a dark scary place full of zombies, a mall, house, suburb (yes, all these things exist on the astral plane!). Any time I am anywhere in a projection, I call it an "episode". The void is altogether different. Imagine being in a completely dark, completely silent place with nothing in it. This is what the void is. I go to the void almost as frequently as I'm in an episode during my projections. Often, as soon as I "leave" my body, I am in the void. Or, I may be in an episode and I will "fade-out" and disappear from wherever I am at, and I will appear in the void. As well, I've discovered ways to get out of the void into an episode, and I will share these techniques with you below, just in case you find yourself in the void. Now, there is nothing wrong with being in the void. It is actually very peaceful there - extremely quiet. However, chances are you will be like me and be much more interested in exploring the things going on on the planes, in which case you'd rather be somewhere than nowhere! About episodes: Like I said, I can be anywhere - and I've seen some strange stuff! For example, once I stood on a cloud and played guitar with a friendly spirit. Another time, a talking rhino gave me a ride through a forest. On another occasion I kissed a beautiful girl in a lovely soft world of pastel reds and yellows. Once I saw a ghost with a Jack-O-Lantern head in an underground passage. Once I was in a strange house, and the floor of the kitchen was made of little, rainbow colored squirming human bodies! Another time, I saw an abstractly colored field of dancing shifting colors. On many occasions, I've found myself in these absolutely creepy places popluated by rotting bodies and other grotesque creatures. Sometimes I am in places I recognize, like my house or my neighborhood, or my old college. Other times I'm in places I've never seen before. Buildings are very strange on the planes - they seem to go on forever! One hall leads to another leads to another leads to another seemingly forever. I will go into some of my experiences in much more detail below. Right now all I'm trying to do is give you an idea of the incredibly rich variety of places to explore and discover in the planes. There is an occult idea I want to mention at this point that I did not mention above and that is the idea that each plane is subdivided into subplanes. In Theosophy, it is taught that each plane consists of 7 subplanes. Just like there are different grades or types of matter on the physical plane - solids, liquids, gases, fire, heat and light - well, occultists teach that the planes have similar gradations of the matter of which each plane is composed, and these gradations in the matter of any plane are called subplanes. That is one way to look at the idea at least. And there is merit to this idea too. Imagine the spectrum colors of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (which you can easily remember by the acronym ROY G BIV). Red is the lowest of the spectrum and violet is the highest. You can use the idea of a rainbow's colors as a rough MAP of the subplanes. For each plane there are lower subplanes (I will also use the word "region" to mean subplane at times) that bleed into intermediate subplanes that bleed into higher subplanes. So, lower subplanes of a plane are like red in the rainbow, intermediate subplanes like green, and higher subplanes like violet, and of course, with all the intervening shades between these. In terms of the astral plane, the "rainbow" of subplanes forms a spectrum of emotion. At the "red" end of the spectrum are the lowest and worst of human emotions: hate, anger, greed, lust, envy. Up at the higher end of the spectum (the violet end) are the best of human emotions: kindness, happiness, warmth, caring and so on. And again, there is every combination possible between these two ends of the spectrum. Why is this idea important? Like I said, it helps provide a map that will give you some idea of where you are at during a projection. This is because, no matter where you find yourself, there will always be a "vibe" present, some distinct feeling you get from the place where you are at. Some places may scare you, others may make you feel very light and happy, others may make you horny, and some may feel quite normal to you (in terms of whatever "normal" is to you). These vibes that you get, these feelings, give you an indication of what subplane you are on. Having the ability to "map" out where you are at during a projection is actually a practical thing, and this is not simply just an intellectual exercise. For example, there would be times that I would project and appear in a place that gave me a bad vibe. I would then realize I was on a lower subplane and then leave it. Of course, if you want, you can stay and explore the lower subplanes, which is a useful excercise. How do you leave a lower subplane? More on this in a later lesson! So, that is one useful view of the subplanes. There is a second view of the subplanes we need to discuss too. This is the view presented by Robert Monroe who is a very excellent projector. His three books are listed in the bibliography, and Monroe is essential reading for any student of astral projection. Monroe speaks of the "rings" and by this he means basically a subplane. But the connotations are not the same as the theosophical idea. Monroe, in his second book "Far Journeys" actually has a map of the rings and what you can expect to find on the different levels. THE RINGS CORRESPOND TO STATES OF MIND. And the correspondence is like that which I stated above with the rainbow metaphor. The scummiest states of mind are on the lowest rings. Average people, people not especially bad, but not especially good, are on the rings a little farther out. Beyond these are rings that correspond to people who are strongly devoted to upholding ideals -be these religious, political or intellectual. And farther out are rings that correspond to states of mind of the highest nobility and intellect and spirtuality. And beyond these rings are quiet rings where you won't find human states of mind. It should be apparent that Monroe's rings sound an awful lot like the planes described by occultists. As a matter of fact, they are. Don't let the fact that Monroe uses different words fool you - he is describing basically the exact same thing that occultists have described. However, what is important is that Monroe's descriptions of the rings are BASED ON HIS OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. Monroe does not claim to be an occultist, so, he made up his own words to describe his experiences. This only makes sense. Again, the point of this digression is that there is an order to where you will go and what you will experience in your OOBEs. Whether you use the theosophical idea of the subplanes, or Monroe's idea of rings, the bottom line is the same: "lower" corresponds to that which we humans consider bad and "higher" corresponds to that which we humans consider good. And this spectrum from bad places to good places is the map, the organization you will encounter in the places you will find yourself during your projections. You're probably wondering: so what does all this have to do with Don's "radio station theory of consciousness"? Well, basically, this "radio station theory of consciousness" is my description of the organization of the subplanes, or rings, based on my actual experiences projecting. The reason I use an analogy with a radio is because I experience episodes (which is being on a subplane or ring) and I also experience being in the void. The idea of my radio station metaphor is this: we all know that on the radio there are radio stations you can tune into up and down the dial. And what is in between these radio stations? Nothing is, and when you tune into a place on the dial where there is no radio station you get STATIC. The way I figure it, when I'm in an episode, this is just like tuning into a radio station, and when I'm in the void, this is just like tuning into the static between radio stations where nothing exists. Note that we are adopting the occult viewpoint that explains altered states of consciousness as a shift of focus of ones consciousness away from the physical world and towards the planes. Shifting the focus of your consciousness into the nonphysical planes is the same as tuning into that plane. So, that's it, that's the model I use to describe my projection experiences. And I should add that this "radio dial" of consciousness does indeed follow the order described above for subplanes/rings. That is, there really does appear to be a gradation in these "radio stations" of consciousness from the most horrible and ugly to the most incredibly beautiful and noble. Now, there is one last remark I have to make about this radio station idea that relates to my actual experiences when I project. Up above I made the comment of "fading out" of an episode and appearing in the void. What I am referring to here is actually a very important aspect of my projection experiences that I call the "lock-mold". To understand what I mean by lock-mold, again imagine a radio. Now, we have all had the experience that sometimes when we try to tune into a station on the radio we don't get very good reception and there is a lot of static mixed in with the broadcast of the station. We might fiddle with the dial to try to get a better reception of the radio station. Well, this is exactly what happens to me when I am in an episode. I am extremely literal about this. When I am in an episode, I am actually TUNED INTO the subplane I am on to some degree from worse to good. I have characterized every single projection I have ever had in terms of how good my lockmold is. When my lockmold is good that means that I feel very stable and I am perceiving wherever I am at very well. When my lockmold is bad, which is analogous to getting a lot of static over the radio station, I feel very unstable and my perception of the subplane I am on is very poor. When I have a bad lockmold during a projection, usually what happens is that my vision, hearing and sense of touch on that subplane "blink" on and off. Usually, I lose the sense of sight first, touch second, and hearing is the last to go. In other words, when I have a bad lockmold my vision will blink on and off - I will literally be able to see for a moment and then lose it and be blind. I have, over the course of my experiences found a number of tricks to stablize my lockmold, and these I will discuss ahead. Now, I bring this idea of lockmold up because - and I really want to stress this - it has been a central feature of my projection experiences. Like I said, in every single projection I have had I am aware of how good or bad my lockmold is. I very strongly suspect that once you start projecting, you will also encounter this lockmold feeling, so I am telling you about lockmolds, and will tell you the things I've learned to control my lockmold, so you will then know what to do when you project and start to lose your lockmold. Really, I am very serious about this. Again, your lockmold is a feeling you will have of how well you are tuned into wherever you happen to be in your projection. Let me go off on some of my personal experiences a bit just to drive this idea of lockmold home to you. Below are listed some excerpts from my personal astral projection journal which highlight this lockmold phenomena: 1> "...The doorway led into a castle and I was very surprised by this. I remember thinking to myself that rooms have all these hidden directions in them in the astral plane. It was a huge and elegantly decorated place and the decor looked fairly modern. I wandered about and eventually came to a room that had a window that was overlooking a long shingled roof. I climbed through the window and there was a girl outside on the roof. It was sunny outside and I felt very good. Me and the girl talked, but I do not remember what we talked about. I could see around me outside, what looked like a fairly typical, though completely unfamiliar, neighborhood and I was curious to explore it. I went to fly off the roof but my lockmold began to weaken and I blacked out...." 2> "...Somehow, I was back in my bedroom, half conscious of the physical [my eyes were closed but I could hear sounds outside]. I could then see my room as if I was awake (even though my eyes were closed) and there was this thing floating in front of me. I stared at it and it seemed to be staring at me. It very much reminded me of an insect, but it was a foot and a half high. It had a spherical base with what looked like thin legs protruding out in all directions. From the base rose a long slender neck, and at the top of the neck was a head. The face on the head reminded me of a praying mantis, or a nun in a habit. It was very curious how it seemed to be studying me. At first I didn't know what to think; was it some astral demon? Some kind of astral plane creature? Then I felt myself losing grip of the lockmold, and the scene of my room and the floating creature faded out slowly. I laid there feeling my body on the bed thinking "damn, too much physical." Could hear noises outside, etc.... " Note: Number 3 here is a very good example: 3> "...Was back on my bed, conscious, and I wanted to project again. Went up and out of my body, flew through the ceiling, and then through another ceiling, but was back in my body. Jumped out again, and was standing in my room, but my lockmold was very shaky. There seemed to be another window in my room, one that didn't exist on the physical plane. I jumped through this window and seemed to be in a restaurant. At least that is what it sounded like. My lockmold was very shakey and I could not see at all, I could only hear. My vision blinked on long enough for me to see that there was another window in front of me, and I could sense that outside this window was immense, as if the room I was presently in was way up in the sky, and if I were to look out the window, I would only see the vastness of the sky all around me. I thought that I was where dead people are, and for some reason, the association was made between "heaven" and the "sky". My vision was gone again, but I jumped out the window anyway. I got the impression, from the sounds around me, that I was in an outdoor mall or bazaar. I heard all kinds of things going on, people selling stuff, conversations, etc.. I thought, "I'm in a mall in the sky". This whole time I had been clinging to the window ledge being afraid of the height. For a moment my vision locked on and I saw stalls with goods floating everywhere and no ground at all around me. I remembered that I could fly, so I let go of the ledge and jumped forward. I fell down about 30 feet and just floated there. My vision was gone again, but I heard people who seemed to be a able to see me, and they were laughing at me as if I was behaving in an unusual way. I stumbled to pull myself back to the wall I had just jumped from. I found the ledge and sat there blind, but I distinctly heard a radio playing and I listened to a commercial on the radio. Then I lost my lockmold and was back in my body...." So, these above three examples give you some idea of what a lockmold is. You will see this idea of the lockmold feeling expressed in every personal account of my projections I describe for you. So, by no means have you heard the last about lockmolds! At this point however, that about wraps up my presentation of this radio station theory of consciousness I use to think of my own projections. To summarize, the important points about this idea are: 1. Like tuning into a radio station, the subplanes are "stations" that you can tune into with your consciousness. 2. The void is like the static that exists between radio stations, and when you tune into the void, you perceive nothing at all outside of you. 3. Your lockmold is the feeling you get of how well you are tuned into wherever you are at in your projection. 5. Mystical view of consciousness Finally, I want to end the introductory theory section of these notes with what I believe are ideas to tie all the stuff I said above together. As you see, we can take any number of views of the projection experience. You can debate the relative merit of any of these views till you are blue in the face. It should be apparent that I discourage such semantic arguing, but at the same time I strongly advocate that you be as familiar with as many viewpoints as you can, again, not only about astral projecting, but about everything in life. Now, I've already stated that, even though astral projecting is an extremely dramatic experience within the context of our society's accepted ideas about reality, compared to learning how to be in touch with the buddhic plane, astral projection is nothing. In other words, astral projecting is not the end all be all of life. Bringing buddhic plane energies into your life *IS* the end all be all of life. There is another member of the New Age forum who is an excellent astral projector, and that is Jeff Wiley, the section leader of section 13 (DREAMS) and Jeff has a philosophy that he and I both share, which kind of sets a bottom line to what all this astral projection stuff means. Most people make the distinction that, in some sense, their physical life is real, but their dream life is not real. Learning to astral project blows this idea right out the door. But even more importantly, once you start to project, you realize that, in some sense, your dream/projection life is equal to your waking physical life. Then, a new insight kind of hits you. And that is, all of our conscious experience is more like dreaming than not. Our physical life is actually a strange kind of dream, that, like all dreams, is destined to end one day. What becomes apparent when you've expanded the horizons of your personal experience enough is that THERE IS JUST CONSCIOUSNESS. It really doesn't matter what form the consciousness takes, or what plane the consciousness manifests on. Such things are merely relative. The absolute in life is CONSCIOUSNESS: mine, yours, a tree's, a dog's, a planet's, a god's - all just consciousness. It kind of comes down to the old cliche "life's a dream". What you are really looking for here is experiences that can catalyze in you a transformation - a transformation of attitudes, of your outlook, of your perceptions of yourself and life; a transformation that will bring you to the conscious knowledge of your place in the scheme of things. I call this "opening up to the buddhic plane", Jeff calls this "realizing the Big Dream". In either case it's the same thing. And it is definately where you should set your sights. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- END OF FILE 3


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