There are three steps to astral projection: the mind awake body asleep state (MABA), vibrational state, and the sense of separation.
While the ultimate step of moving out of the body is the most exciting one, it’s impossible to have an intentional out-of-body experience without harnessing the previous two.
Jade Shaw, an out-of-body experience (OBE) teacher and advocate of non-ordinary states of consciousness for personal and collective change, explains that if you don’t harness the MABA state, it’s very hard to astral project unless it happens spontaneously.
And guess what?
You’re halfway to harnessing it because you already enter this state every day without knowing.
Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic States
The “mind awake, body asleep” state is a type of altered state similar to trance. We have all experienced something in the past where we have felt so deeply relaxed as if we have melted into the space around us.
For example, you could experience this state when you had a very relaxing massage – your mind was awake and aware, but your body was so relaxed as if it dissolved in space.
Jade calls it ‘total body dissolution,’ a.k.a. ego-death (or ego dissolution), which implies dissolving your sense of identity.
What’s more interesting is that you pass through such a transitional state of consciousness naturally twice a day when you’re falling asleep and waking up from sleep.
It’s called the hypnagogic and hypnopompic state.
According to clinical psychiatrists, hypnagogic refers to phenomena that occur on falling asleep, and hypnopompic refers to phenomena that occur on awakening.
To harness the “mind awake, body asleep” state for astral projection, you want to get to such a level of relaxation but with total focus, not letting your mind drift off.
The Edison’s Trick
Do you know how Edison invented the light bulb?
It’s said that he had a peculiar practice of entering the hypnagogic state. As the legend goes, he would sit in a chair, holding ball bearings in his left hand, and then enter the hypnagogic state. As soon as his body would fall asleep, he would drop the ball bearings, which would jerk him awake. He would write down his insights and creative ideas upon awakening.
Indeed, many people who experience the MABA state claim to have visual and auditory hallucinations.
They would hear voices, sounds, see spirals, geometric patterns, faces, even glimpses of dream imagery.
While scientists prefer to call it hypnagogic hallucinations, Jade uses the term ‘hypnagogic highway.’
She says, “I get luminous rings of purple and green and then often followed by intricate moving patterns like particles that weave in and out of each other. That’s how I know I’m on the hypnagogic highway.“
The Goldilocks Condition
Jade explains that the Goldilocks condition is the sweet spot when you are not too awake, not too asleep.
The timing of this sweet spot is different for everybody because we all drop off to sleep at different rates.
At one end of the hypnagogic highway, you’re awake and at the other end, you are asleep. As you drift off, you begin to cruise down the highway.
Normally, we lose consciousness, blackout, and fall asleep. It happens every night.
But you can do it differently:
- You can cruise down the highway, remaining fully aware as you fall asleep, and then enter into a dream or a lucid dream
- You can cruise along the hypnagogic highway and before you fall asleep, enter the Goldilocks condition
It’s like getting familiar with a race track before the race – If you want to harness this natural state, you want to get familiar with the path of your hypnagogic highway before you start the car.
Astral Projection Meditation
Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.Thích Nhất Hạnh
One way to hack the hypnagogic highway is sleep mindfulness. Think of it as yoga of sleep, a.k.a. yoga nidra.
The mindfulness approach to astral projection helps navigate the experience itself by paying attention to the present moment and being aware of what’s happening without judgment.
Jade calls this practice of hypnagogic mindfulness a beditation. You can practice it by following these steps.
Step 1: Breathe
It starts with the 4-7-8 breathing technique, developed by Dr. Andrew Weil.
Based on an ancient yogic pranayama technique, it’s scientifically proven to deeply relax and replenish the body.
Since it switches on the parasympathetic nervous system that helps us rest and digest, it’s a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique:
- Inhale through your nose for the count of four
- Then hold your breath for seven counts
- Exhale out for eight countsBreathe in again for four.
- Repeat seven full rounds.
Step 2: Observe
As soon as you finish your breathing technique, return to your natural breathing. Relax. There’s nothing else for you to do than go deeper into relaxation, keeping your mind awake and aware.
Observe your breathing if you’re drifting off. Observe your thoughts, allowing them to pass through your awareness.
Step 3: Enter your sweet spot
As you’re driving the car of your awareness along the hypnagogic highway, enter your sweet spot of being not too awake, not too asleep.
Don’t rush to exit your body just yet. Master your sweet spot by making it familiar. This beditation is your tool to harness MABA.
Practice it every night, and very soon, it will take you to the astral planes of your choice.
Enjoy your epic ride through the hypnagogic highway.