Though the terms astral projection and astral travel are used interchangeably, they are actually not the same. Through astral projection, only the consciousness or mind of the person is projected into the astral space whereas the body does not undergo any change. During astral travel, the person travels with the astral body which separates from the physical body through meditation. Commonly this is known as Out of Body Experience or Near Death Experience.
Many spiritualists are known to practice both astral projection and astral travel as they believe that the spiritual being that is entrapped inside our physical body, can be separated with proper effort. Achieving this through meditation is considered as a major step in achieving spiritual liberation. It is regarded as the breaking of mortal chains that tie them to the physical form.
Astral projection is also known to happen spontaneously during major accidents, surgeries or during deep sleep, which is why it is also referred to as Near Death Experience. Many people over the centuries have claimed to have watched a scenario with their bodies involved from a distance as if it was a movie being played there.
Embarking on an Astral Journey
It is said that people can learn certain meditation techniques that facilitate astral travel as it does not require any special qualities or qualifications. A person should possess utmost patience and perseverance if he is to succeed in his quest. It takes time, highest concentration and utter dedication to succeed on this path.
The person would need a quiet spot where there is not going to be any kind of disturbance. Do not practice this in utter darkness, though too much of light can hinder the process. Relax the body and mind through meditation and deep breathing. Try to think about a place where you wish to be. With practice many people have been able to achieve the goal of astral travel.
It is said that coming back to the body is much easier than actually moving out of it. The astral body automatically returns when it feels tired or when it wishes to.
What is Astral Plane?
The astral plane is a world which is considered to be one of 7 different planes according to theosophy. It is said that after death, our soul moves on to the astral plane before making its final journey to the higher sphere. According to some esoteric philosophies, this is the place where the soul rests before the rebirth. Apart from the souls, the astral world is said to be populated by angels, demons and other supernatural beings.
The Origin of Astral Projection
It is difficult to trace the origins of astral travel or projection as it seems to have existed among all the ancient civilizations which they have documented through pictures and literature. Since the onset of Iron Age, the belief of OBE and astral travel had been deeply embedded in the minds of people.
The Greeks, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Inuit and Amazonians have all recorded references related to astral travel through meditation. Some of the oldest texts that revealed the consciousness or astral body leaving the physical body have been the Indian literature Yoga Vasistha and Chinese text written by Han Xiang Zi.
This is one of those phenomena that have stood the test of time. People even to this day report either conscious or spontaneous OBE or NDE from every part of world. There is no civilization that has expressed its disbelief in Astral Travel. This is something that has stood strong beyond the realm of facts, proofs and science.