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Astral Projection,
Out of Body Experiences and
Near Death Experiences

Clarifying The Differences
This week I received an email about astral projection that caused me to rethink this article. There is a slight difference between Astral Projection, Out of Body Experiences and Near Death Experiences. It's a small difference, but an important one that isn't very clear in the original article.
Astral projection and OBEs involve the projection of the sub-consciousness mind. The sub-consciousness is the mind of the Soul. It's not the soul itself. When we talk about the soul body projecting to the astral plane, we're not talking about the entire spiritual being (not the entire soul), but rather the mind of the soul.
You might think of it like this: You maybe sitting in a meeting or in class and you become bored. Your physical body remains in the seat, but your conscious mind wanders outside into the warm spring sunshine. You body has not moved, just your mind.
Astral Projection and OBEs are doing the same thing but on a spiritual level. Your soul isn't moving out of the body, but your soul's mind is moving outward and upward to the astral plane. From this perspective, you can see how your sub-conscious mind is very light and able to lift upward out of the physical being in an effortless manner.
Subsequently a Near Death Experience is a little different in that it's not just the mind of the soul that moves out of the body. But rather the entire soul. Many things occur during this type of transition. One of which is the choice by the soul and it's connection to the super-consciousness of the self about returning to the physical body or not. This choice makes the difference between a NDE and the final transition to physical death.
What are Astral Projections, OBEs, and NDEs
It's probably helpful to know what each of these titles and acronyms are.
    OBE: Out of body experience {also known as OOBE}
    Occurs when the soul mind moves out of the physical body into the etheric realm. This occurs randomly during sleep hours to replenish the vitality of the physical body and/or to work through spiritual, karmic, or clarification lessons at a higher level of awareness. The soul body is always attached to the physical body through a long silver cord attached from the physical solar plexus to the soul body's solar plexus. This can be seen as unwilled travel, occurring randomly during sleep.
    Astral Projection: {Astral Projection, Astral Travel, Astral Projected Travel {APT}}
    To will the conscious mind into the soul mind and then to project ones conscious self out of the physical body into the etheric realm. The length and location of the projection is preplanned and preprogrammed. The projection requires an altered state of awareness such as a deep meditation. The physical and soul mind is attached through the solar plexus by a silver cord. This is willed travel.
    NDE: Near Death Experience.
    To be declared clinically dead and to return to life remembering the experience of the soul leaving the physical world. Knowing the reason for returning and remembering the encounters both on the physical plane and the spiritual plane. Watching the soul body move away from the physical body through the attached silver cord. It is reported through channeled information that at the time of death (not NDE) the soul body breaks the silver cord in order to continue it's journey into the spiritual realm.
Now after reading the definitions of each of these can you find the differences between them? The NDE is an obvious difference, but my reason for adding it is the correlation of the silver cord. For people who want to Astral Project, understanding how the silver cord functions is necessary. If fear is holding you back from consciously projecting, then this understanding of how the cord works might give you some comfort.
OOBE, OBE, Out-of-Body-Experiences
In an OBE you are sub-consciously traveling. Your higher consciousness {your soul mind} is directing the journey during sleep. The soul mind interacts with others who are also projecting to review the agreements made for interaction in this lifetime. Or your soul mind will review the days events and compare those to your spiritual blue print to see where you stand on your planned evolution or karmic issues. These travels typically occur when a person is in a deep sleep called REM {rapid eye movement}. Science has often wondered why people are moving their eyes during the state of deep sleep. We metaphysical folks have always known. As the soul mind travels each night for its review of the day and life plan, there is still a strong connection to the physical body. The REM is a side effect of that connection as the soul mind is looking around the etheric realm.
On a physical level the body is replenishing many different chemicals that are required during the waking state. Did you know for instance that only in a REM state your body creates a hormone that is required by your muscles to operate? Your body creates this hormone every night and then uses it up everything day. If you don't reach a REM state where your body can create this hormone, the result is a weakness of the muscles the next day. Some suggest this is a connection or cause of the disease called Fibromyalga. It is evident however that this state of sleep is required not only for the spiritual aspects, but also for the physical body.
When your work is done, the soul mind merges back into the physical being. But sometimes that merger isn't smooth. Have you ever gone through a day where you've said "I feel like I'm not here." or "I feel spaced out."? In many cases this "feeling" is the result of an incomplete merging of soul mind back to the physical body. In essence, you are partially spaced out. You can correct this feeling through a 10 or 15 minute meditation. During the meditation, imagine the two components interconnecting and merging back into one whole person.
Another example can be found during sleep hours. Have you ever had a dream where you're falling and then your whole body jumps off the bed? Most of the time this phenomena occurs when the soul mind is doing it's business in the ethereal and something here on the physical plane interrupts the journey. Within an instant the soul mind rushes back to merge with the physical body resting in sleep. Because of the speed in which this returning journey occurs, many people feel as if they are falling. The jump that occurs in the physical is the soul mind and the body merging back into one being. The merger occurs so quickly and in essence they're slapped back into one being, that the "slap" causes the physical body to jump.
Astral Projection, Astral Travel, Astral Projected Travel {APT}
So many different names and acronyms for the same thing can get confusing. That is one of the reasons people get OBEs confused with APTs. The difference is: an OBE is directed by the sub-conscious mind, the soul mind if you will, for purposes of spiritual evolution.
Astral projection is willed travel into the ethereal spiritual realm for a variety of purposes or intents. Primarily astral travel allows you to see the Divine Universe through spiritual eyes instead of physical vision which can be deceiving. The ethereal plane is also composed of Divine energy, which means it's a place of calm Divine peace; very unlike the Hollyweird version where demons rise up and possess people.
In this state of spiritual awareness you have the ability to see your physical life from the perspective of your soul. Why have you chosen certain situations, what spiritual lessons are you to learn, where is your spiritual goal and what's the mission you must accomplish to get there. From this realm you can see answers and attain solutions to problems to physical issues from a spiritual perspective. You see things for what they truly are, instead of what your physical consciousness wants them to be.
In doing this you gain enlightenment into your own soul, who you are and what you're here for. You gain knowledge of your spiritual purpose and how your physical conscious choices have supported that, or hindered it. The ultimate benefit is gaining knowledge about yourself, why you do some of the things you do, what things you do that aren't good for you, and how you can go about changing those things so you can walk the path you desire and advance your soul toward enlightenment.
The first thing to note about an APT is the "intent" must be set before the attempt is made. You program the purpose of your journey, and where you want to go. This will help the conscious mind direct the soul mind. It's almost like filing a flight pattern with the tower at an airport.
APTs are accomplished through an altered state of awareness. Typically the best way is through a deep meditation. But there are a lot of things that can hold you back. Fear is the biggest one. If you're afraid you won't come back, then you won't be able to leave in the first place. The only way you won't be able to come back is if you're projecting during a serious illness of some sort and your on the brink of dying to begin with. For the average person however, traveling in the ethereal is something you do all the time anyway, and you come back each morning to your physical body.
You can also hold yourself back by setting limitations. If you "think" seeing the dark side of the moon is impossible, then for your journey it will be impossible. If you "think" you can go anywhere in an instant, then you will be able to go anywhere in the briefest of instants.
The key to a successful APT is trust. Trust in yourself, in your ability to accomplish this wonderful experience. Trust in the Divine to help you and protect you during the journey. And trust in your guides for helping you make this and each projection an important opportunity for spiritual growth. So have "faith"!
There are many techniques to accomplishing a successful projection. One of the best ways is listening to an audio tape that guides you through the necessary steps. One such tape was created by Shakti Gawain called Astral Projection, and it is a wonderful way to learn. Visualization is the key to just about anything you need to do and that includes spiritual experiences. But some people have difficulty with visualization and they can't hold an image. That's not unusual, it just means that method doesn't work for them.
If the visualization technique doesn't work for you, DON'T GIVE UP! Don't be hard on yourself and think you can't do it, because you can. You just have to find the method that works for you. There are a lot of resources on the subject. With the myriad of books, videos and tapes out there in the market place you'll probably be able to find one that works for you. Do a little research until you find the method that's right for you and get ready to take flight.!!
Some Additional Reading
The Conscious Minds
What is Reincarnation?
The Spiritual Realms
Visualized Astral Projection, A How To Technique.

Sources: 1, o2, s13, b6, b10, b11
Created:  10/04/1996      Updated: 02.20.2010