A Beginner's Guide To Literal Out-Of-Body Experiences

Get ready to explore beyond the physical realm.

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If you're interested in meditation, lucid dreaming, or other holistic healing modalities, then the practice of astral projection has probably come up on your radar. Astral projection is an ancient esoteric practice that's native to many cultures around the globe, but it's also commonly used today as a self-help tool and a way to deepen your spiritual practice. Learning how to use astral projection and transcend your physical body sounds complicated — and it can be! But just like anything else, it's something almost anyone can do with patience and practice, and it can be a rewarding spiritual skill once mastered.

So exactly what is astral projection, anyway? To sum it up, it's an intentional out-of-body experience that involves going into a dreamlike but still-conscious state (which can be achieved by using practices like meditation and self-hypnosis) and "traveling" to other realms in space and time using the power of your mind. It's sort of like being in a dream, except you're fully lucid, conscious, and in control of your own decisions.

This concept is based on the notion that humans have "astral bodies" in addition to our physical bodies (which are sometimes referred to as our etheric, energetic, or subtle bodies), and that there is also an "astral realm" that spans far beyond the physical confines of the material realm that we live in. You may already be familiar with your energetic astral body or the astral plane if you practice crystal healing, reiki, or certain types of meditation. When someone astral projects, they connect with their astral body in order to transcend their physical body, and are able to mentally explore throughout space, time, and dimension.

"Astral traveling is a great way to explore [new realms], though it’s not necessarily the easiest task to learn and takes a great deal of practice," ascension guide and channeler Laura Brown tells Bustle. "However, it’s well worth it, because nothing is more freeing than realizing your physical self does not bind you." Ready to leave your physical body behind for a bit and explore some new and exciting dream worlds? Read on.

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Getting Started

There's no one-size-fits-all instruction manual when it comes to learning astral projection, as everyone will have a unique experience — but there are some basics that one can follow to start tapping into their astral body and accessing the astral plane. Before you grab your etheric passport and begin your astral travels, there are some practices that are helpful to master first, to help get you in touch with these more etheric parts of your consciousness.

"Beginners may want to start with some meditation," Brown says. If you don't already have a personal meditation practice, start by incorporating a few minutes of mental quiet into your routine each day. If it's hard to calm your mind and find your zen on your own, you can try meditating with crystals, looking up free guided meditation videos, or downloading a meditation app that can help get you into the zone.

From there, some people might want to start practicing self-hypnosis, during which you can go even deeper into a trance-like state. "Through self-hypnosis, we can go to the astral plane where we can connect with others," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. This is similar to meditation, except that you go further into your astral body and begin focus on a specific intention and goal, such as astral travel.

Lastly, practicing lucid dreaming can be another helpful tool to start you on the path to astral projection, as it helps you get in touch with another state of consciousness in a more intentional and controlled way — especially if you're already into spiritual dream work.

Connecting To The Astral Plane & Your Astral Self

Now that you're able to get yourself into a deep, meditative trance, you can take steps to get in touch with your astral body. "[During meditation,] try to see your traveling self (a more transparent version of yourself) lifting up and out of the physical," Brown says. "Once you’ve mastered that, work on turning around and seeing your physical body." This may not happen overnight, but keep practicing. If it doesn't come naturally, try visualizing your etheric body and aligning with it consciously, and don't get discouraged if it takes many meditation sessions to truly feel connected.

Once you feel secure in your astral body, you can begin to access the astral plane, or the limitless mental space unbound by the material world. "We can connect and align to the astral plane through our dreams, meditation, controlled breathing, visualization, and by letting go of our consciousness," Stardust says. "When we attain a trance-like energy through heightened meditation or lucid dreaming (usually by thinking on a situation or person), we can travel outside our bodies, through space and time, to a place where we can unite with others and see situations from a different lens." At this point, by combining intention and astral-body awareness to your meditative trance, you can begin to move through astral space and connect with new energies, ideas, places, and spaces in time.

Start Astral Traveling

If you've reached this state in your practice, it may be time to begin your travels. "After [connecting with your astral body], consciously intend to send yourself to a specific destination," Brown says. It's best to enter the astral space with an intentional destination or goal in mind, so that you're not just aimlessly wandering. Your intention could be to connect with a spirit guide, visit a place in the past or future, or find spiritual answers to questions you're seeking in the physical plane. Remember to always be cautious when astral projecting and use energetic cleansing techniques afterward to ensure you didn't pick up any weird, unwanted vibes.

Once you get the hang of astral traveling and feel confident in your ability to access your astral body and move through the astral plane, you'll be able to access this state more easily. "Practice makes perfect!" Brown says. "At this point, as an avid astral traveler, I do a simple meditation that allows me to send my consciousness out to these spaces instantly." While beginners to the practice may not always reach their destinations or enter the astral realm as easily, the more often you practice, the stronger your skills will be. Happy (astral) travelin'!