Travel in the Spiritual Worlds
TRANSITIONS OUT OF THE BODY
Leaving the Physical Body Without Losing Consciousness
There are a wide variety of psychic and spiritual states that can result from leaving the body consciously. The traveler can find him or herself in either formed states (those containing objects) or amorphous states when leaving the body in this way. Let us first discuss the states where the traveler immediately encounters forms upon leaving the body.
Entering Formed States Consciously
One type of conscious transition occurs when the traveler simply disconnects the inner spiritual self from the physical body, and moves out and away from the physical body consciously. This "disconnection" happens frequently in near-death experience where the injured person moves a short distance from the physical body and observes it.
This method of slipping out of the body has little drama associated with it except for the fear aroused in the individual who does not understand what is happening. Robert Monroe describes his experiences as follows:
In 1958, without any apparent cause, I began to float out of my physical body. It was not voluntary; I was not attempting any mental feats. It was not during sleep, so I couldn't dismiss it as simply a dream. I had full, conscious awareness of what was happening, which of course only made it worse. I assumed it was some sort of hallucination caused by something dangerous- a brain tumor, or impending mental illness. Or imminent death.
It occurred usually when I would lie down or relax for rest or preparatory to sleep- not every time but several times weekly. I would float up a few feet above my body before I became aware of what was happening. Terrified, I would struggle through the air and back into my physical body. Try as I might, I could not prevent it from recurring.
Robert Monroe, Ultimate Journey, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), pps. 2-3
The above experience does not meet our full criteria for spiritual travel since it was not done voluntarily, but it does illustrate a way of moving directly out of the body from a waking state with which some are familiar. In this case, the forms the traveler encounters are the objects in the immediate physical environment.
Another way of entering into a physical environment more intentionally is by practicing a visualization while lying in bed. Here, one repeadedly visualizes twisting one's body around and sitting up in bed. After many tries and much effort, the experience of actually sitting up while being in an out-of-body state can occur. The surprise that results from actually leaving the body in this way is such that one is usually drawn right back into the physical body almost immediately. When one is able to stay out of the body for longer periods in similar situations there is still the sense of lightness, excitement, and concentration. However, there is also an accompanying feeling of being like a ghost wandering through darkened rooms and ajoining hallways. The experience of being out of the body in the physical world (i.e., in one's house) at night is generally not all that interesting or inspiring.
Another way to move out of the body from a waking state is to practice a form of meditation where one's attention is placed on the space between the eyebrows while maintaining a strong expectation that one will leave one's body. An example of this kind of conscious transition is illustrated in the experience titled Transitioning From Physical to Psychic States.
The traveler can also move directly into a visualized space that is very much like a dream environment maintaining continuous awareness of the transition into this space. This type of experience is illustrated by the Entering a Visualized Space description at this site. Though the experience talks about being in a light sleep when the transition took place, the author has had a very similar experience where during a waking state, a visualized image turned into a three dimensional environment.
All these experiences are unlike spiritual travel that begins in the dream state where there is a period of unconsciousness between the waking state and the dream state, and the traveler wakes up in the dream to begin spiritual travel.
Sometimes the traveler's transition to formed environments will involve dynamic movement, and the traveler will enter the environment soaring above fields and cities, taking in vast panoramas.
In many cases, the body image of the traveler is more or less identical to his physical body but this is not always the case. A common experience is for the traveler to become a "point of consciousness" or a "unit of awareness" with no sense of a body which takes up space. Here the traveler identifies him or herself as pure observer or witness, and is like a disembodied set of ears and eyes. Sight and hearing are the two senses that usually dominate during spiritual travel.
Entering Amorphous States Consciously
Moving consciously into amorphous states is more difficult to describe. These states are usually areas of intense experience where the dominant reality is that of light, sound, vibration, motion or emotion.
Going from a waking state or semi-waking state into an amorphous state is usually the most dramatic kind of spiritual travel experience. In one type of amorphous transition, the traveler suddenly senses a powerful vibration or sound and is caught up in that energy. This is sometimes accompanied by a feeling of being drawn or propelled by this vibration at tremendous speed through a dark space. This experience seems very similar to the descriptions of the "tunnel" associated with near-death experience. Numerous people who came very close to death (no heartbeat or respiration) have near-death experiences where they have described different types of sounds or vibrations which propelled them at seemingly great speed through a dark tunnel or corridor.
Sometimes, there is a feeling of being catapulted out of the body. In these cases, the vibrations usually start at a low pitch and continue gaining in frequency and power until they become almost explosive in their intensity.
In other cases, there is the feeling of the inner sounds or vibrations but not the experience of movement and acceleration. Sometimes such static experiences involve hearing spiritual music or sounds, and can be quite ecstatic.
All these experiences are amorphous in the sense that there are no forms or objects to orient the traveler like there are in the physical world. He or she must use meditation techniques to steer in a desired direction.
Amorphous States That Lead to Formed States
The above mentioned inner sounds along with inner lights (mentioned below) can sometimes act as a means of transition between waking experience and some formed inner world.
In the movie "The Wizard of Oz", the scene of Dorothy flying in her house toward Oz may help in understanding such a transition. Dorothy's house (ego or inner self using a Jungian interpretation) is seized by a whirlwind and carried spinning through the clouds. There is a great flurry of movement followed by the landing of the house in a strange place where all is suddenly quiet. The inner transitions the author is attempting to describe have much in common with Dorothy's experience.
The type of experience described in section titled Meditation on Inner Lights illustrates in a general way an experience which contains an amorphous stage followed by a formed stage. In this case, the traveler is drawn out of the body consciously while meditating on an inner light.
Here is a transition involving inner light which starts from a waking state, moves initially to an amorphous state of energy and movement, and then to a formed state of stability. This stable state is usually a quasi-physical environment. However, the ability to concentrate and direct the attention in a meditative way is sometimes required to break out of the tunnel-like experience into a stable state.
Sounds which occur during conscious transitions out of the body are usually very powerful, and may result in the obliteration of the body image. The author has found that the nerves which inform the person of his body's weight, size and position in space seem to largely quit functioning when the sound occurs.
Some of the sounds which occur are of a spiritual or mystical nature rather than transitional sounds that carry the traveler to a different place. These "higher" spiritual sounds are of a heavenly nature and are ecstatic beyond description. They are therefore one of the final destinations of spiritual travel rather than a means to some other place.
Some sample sounds one may encounter are the sounds of a speeding train, a loud buzzing, a flute, or the sounds of nature like the roar of a waterfall. As an example, Gopi Krishna describes an experience he had that began with a powerful spiritual sound. These sounds or vibrations are of such intensity that they seem to pass right through the body, overpowering the other senses. Here we have an example of change of identity during spiritual travel where the individual literally merges with the sound.
Any of the spiritual travel experiences listed on other pages in this site may result from conscious transitions out of the body, but the above mentioned kinds of transitions are the ones with which the author has some familiarity.
This section illustrates conscious transitions out of the body which may occur spontaneously, due to an accident or injury, or as a result of deliberate action and intention during a meditative exercise. The key here is that there is no loss of consciousness during the transition between the waking state and the spiritual travel or out-of-body experience.
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