Astral traveling refers to the ability to set apart your astral self or your subtle within, from your organic body and to project it outside for the sake of traveling to higher realms of consciousness. Therefore we can say that it is a phenomenon where the soul departs from the body temporarily and goes to high astral planes, seeing his own body and the world from some distance.
Astral traveling as an activity has been present for a long time. Sages in the ancient time who meditated and lived in mountain caves and hailed from spiritually advanced civilizations like those of Egypt , India etc, were famous for attaining state of trance and wandering spiritually across the geographical and time boundaries of the physical universe.
Astral traveling as a phenomenon happens during a near death experience or during lucid reaming. In case of near death experiences such as road accidents or cases of drowning, many survivors give accounts of how they saw their own accident from a distance, as if in a movie.
Astral traveling during lucid dream or Meditational practices are also common. Lucid dreaming in simple terms refers to the art of passing to the realms of dreams with a conscious and wakeful mind. Thus, when a person is aware that he is dreaming, he is said to be in the state of lucidity and here he might experience leaving his own body and traveling to other layers of consciousness.
It is difficult to achieve astral traveling since a very high degree of control on one's sub conscious mind is required which one can only be attained through intense Meditational practices. For astral traveling, it is necessary that you arrange for a calm and peaceful environment beforehand, free of any electronic device. Be aware of your food intake before such an attempt since non vegetarian food or things such as caffeine increases body heat and multiply thoughts in one's mind and hence should be avoided. Moreover, your mind should be free from all negative thoughts.
One can achieve astral traveling by attaining a state of trance through meditation. You can imitate the REM sleep mode that is actually the last epoch of our sleep stage. Fast eye movement and intensive brain activity are its characteristics. The body should be relaxed and put to sleep, but the mind should be awake and focused. You can think of yourself floating out of the body or use a rope like structure to pull yourself out. You have to transmit all your body energy to enhance this vision to experience it like reality.
Getting out from the body is the primary problem faced during astral traveling. Even if there is the smallest of doubts in your mind, you will be stuck in your body. You should have complete unhindered faith in yourself to achieve the desired goal. If you are in constant thought and doubt of your actions in leaving the body, you may actually fail in doing so.
The second issue in astral traveling happens when you have been able to leave your physical body behind and are traveling upward. Remember that even the slightest of apprehensions in your mind regarding whether you are traveling too far out or not, or whether you would be able to return back will result in a sudden 'sucking -in' of your astral body by your physical body and you shall wake up suddenly. Remember to be calm, peaceful and fearless and having full faith on yourself in order to enjoy this one in a lifetime experience of astral traveling.
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