Have you heard of an out-of-body experience? You may have seen it in movies, like Awake, Doctor Sleep, and Behind Her Eyes. But is it just science fiction or is astral projection real? Can you really leave your physical body?
Jade Shaw, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Art of Astral Projection Quest, describes it as “a self-initiated out-of-body experience, OBE for short.” Simply put, it’s the idea that your soul separates itself from your physical body and is able to “travel” into other states of consciousness to connect with people and places without the restrictions of space and time.
How cool would it be to experience that? Maybe take a trip to Mars…or secretly check out what your ex is up to these days…or see your life from a third-person perspective.
If you’re curious about astral projection, here are a few of the basics you should know.
If Astral Projection Is Real, What Is It Exactly?
OBEs happen in an altered state, which is “anything that is not our ordinary state of consciousness,” according to Jade. She explains there are three types of OBEs:
- Forced OBE: This is when you find yourself spontaneously floating above your body, and you turn back and see your body. A near-death experience is one, for example, but it can also happen during a panic attack, pregnancy, or even sex.
“These ones are usually because the mind or body feels threatened, so it’s an adaptive, coping mechanism in order to get a better bird’s eye view. Because when we take a bird’s eye view, we can have a better sense of judgment on our internal and external conflicts.”
- Self-initiated OBE: This OBE is done on purpose for transformation and spiritual awakening. You can use meditation or sleep states where you’re deeply relaxed.
- Evolutionary OBE: This type happens at “a beneficial and specific time, and they usually have an interconnected relationship with what’s going on in our life.” You may experience this OBE when you’re in between places, standing at a crossroads, or need some sort of guidance.
“Through this particular out-of-body experience, we might receive a message or an insight or have a sense of in a noesis about the situation that we’re in. And it’s related to our psyche… to bring into reality a new emerging self.”
How Did Astral Projection Become Mainstream?
It’s a well-known secret that the United States military was curious about astral projection in the 1980s. They even gave it a rad name: Gateway Experience.
With the help of the Freedom of Information Act, the public was given privy to how the army used astral projection to move beyond the confines of the space-time dimension. This includes the legendary Page 25, the redacted page from the document, which was released by the CIA.
But astral projection didn’t begin with the military. Interestingly, it was once used by royalty, warriors, and monks to conquer lands, bend reality, and attain self-mastery.
“This knowledge was passed down privately in secret,” says Jade. “Ancient Egyptian priests left inscriptions on the rock faces of temple walls and Tibetan Buddhists exchanged it from master to student.”
Now, with Hollywood featuring it in movies and television shows as well as TikTok making it a trend, the practice of astral projection has found itself in the mainstream.
But…Is Astral Projection Real, Scientifically Speaking?
“What an out-of-body experience is depends on what psychological lens we are looking through,” explains Jade. Here are her explanations through different lenses:
- Spiritualist: “The soul leaving the body.”
- Shamanic: “The spirit leaving the body.”
- Tibetan Buddhist: “An aspect of our consciousness expanding beyond the physical body.”
- Western psychology (also known as transpersonal psychology): “A transpersonal experience of self-awareness — so where we are in space, seeming to project beyond the confines of the body.”
The thing is, astral projection involves non-physical matters, such as astral planes and energy — both of which are more of a spiritual concept than a scientific one.
With that being said, OBEs have been noted in the scientific community as having the ability to experience different states of consciousness (or in Jade’s words, “an altered of self-awareness”).
There have been several studies conducted over the years looking into brain activity during OBEs. One such study by Charles Tart found the participant’s brain wave pattern consisted of “theta waves as well as some alphoid activity.”
This is what’s called the hypnagogic state, where the theta frequency is the meditation and sleeping state and the alphoid activity is when you’re drowsy. According to the study, Charles speculated that this state “might share some common features with the meditation of Zen masters.”
Recommended: Shamanic Healing: What Is Shamanism and How Can It Heal You?
What Does a Real Astral Projection Experience Feel Like?
Picture this: you’re lying down (or sitting, whichever is comfortable) about to fall into a deep zen-like state. Your body untangles itself from the stress of the day and your breathing slows down as you fall deeper into the darkness. All of sudden, you’re jolted awake. You look down and you see… yourself. How did that happen?
According to Jade, here are a few things you’d experience with OBEs:
- A deep inward feeling of “separation or expansion from the body.” So much so that you could come out, turn around, and see your body as it were.
- An energy body (also known as a subtle body or a light body), which are the various energetic layers that make up your being beyond physicality. “Sometimes, we can be a floating sense of awareness” — something like a mirage or, what Jade likes to call her own self, an invisible woman.
- Traveling to different places as well as encountering different people and beings that feel real.
So an astral projection experience isn’t so much of a dream. In fact, “we can be wide awake when we have one.”
Sounds like lucid dreaming, doesn’t it? Well, you’re not wrong. However, there are slight differences between the two.
Astral Projection vs. Lucid Dreaming
The main difference between the two depends on how you reach each state.
Astral projections can occur while you’re sleeping or wide awake. And an extraordinary thing about it is that advanced astral travelers have allegedly ventured into other worlds and spiritual realms.
On the other hand, lucid dreaming occurs when your conscious mind is activated during your sleep, so you’re awake and aware and are able to have some control over your dream state.
So, here’s where the two can merge: from the lucid dream state, you can springboard into an OBE “because it happened in an altered state.” And from there, you can journey on in your personal growth transformation, guided by Jade in Mindvalley’s Astral Projection Quest.
Seek Your Greatness In The Astral Planes
You may have fears of OBEs and exploring astral planes, but it can be incredibly mind-opening and fun. But before you jet off into the realm beyond, Jade advises finding your meaningful motivation.
She says, “Find that meaningful reason — your reason why — and then the greater consciousness system, your spirit guide, your higher self, is going to get on board with you to make these experiences happen.”
Once you’ve found your “why,” head over to Mindvalley’s The Art of Astral Projection Quest and get a seat up front and center to dive deeper into your states of consciousness with Jade Shaw.