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Out-of-Body Experiences

 

I often hear people complain that astral travel sounds so delightful and that I make it sound so easy, whereas in fact it is not. I thought I would use this post to quote from my book The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand to explain why I feel that learning to lucid dream is so much easier to achieve and is definitely my favourite method when it comes to reaching out for departed loved ones in spirit.

‘Most out-of-body experiences occur when the mind becomes conscious, either spontaneously or deliberately, while the body remains asleep.

For me, this phenomenon began spontaneously in my teens, at least 15 years before I fully understood what it meant. I would be asleep, when my mind would suddenly wake up and I could not control my physical body. This happened whenever I stayed up late studying, or if I fell asleep exhausted for an hour or so in the afternoon – in other words, when my body was particularly tired, but my mind was still alert or overstimulated.

Like me, many students and athletes have reported the experience of ‘waking up’ in a paralysed body; or of being unable to open their eyelids, while hearing a buzzing sound or feeling a strong vibration in their heads; or of trying to shout out, but being incapable of uttering the merest whisper. Needless to say, it is an unpleasant sensation.

I recently learnt that this apparent anomaly – the early stage of which is known as ‘sleep paralysis’ – is due to the muscles in the body ‘turning off’ during REM sleep. If we did not experience this ‘atony’, or functional paralysis of the muscles, our bodies would physically react to whatever we do or see in our dreams, which could be dangerous for us.

Thus, if the mind is alert, while the body is still asleep, you may experience the unpleasant sensation of being prisoner to your paralysed body. This is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, fear or terror. However, objectively speaking, it is usually a brief experience.

As a teenager, having ruled out the possibility of any serious illness and resigning myself to these episodes, I devised a way out of the situation, by waking my body. I would imagine myself doing something that required intense concentration, such as two completely different movements with my hands – for instance, making a circle with one, while moving the other up and down – and this would be enough to wake my body.

These episodes of nocturnal paralysis continued for many years, until I discovered they were really a doorway to another world.

I was 29 and under a great deal of stress. I had recently been promoted and moved to the Milan branch of the company I worked for, but I had not found a place to rent, so I was still living in a hotel after four long months. One night, around midnight, I grew drowsy, when I felt the familiar sensation of heaviness in my limbs and the buzzing sound in my head. Only, this time, instead of struggling against my paralysed body, I was amazed to find that my hands and arms were ‘flying away’, detached from my real arms.

In shock, I instinctively pulled them down and woke up completely, physically as well as mentally. What had happened? Had I gone mad?

I had previously read that when the mind is awake in a sleeping body – a state referred to as ‘mind awake, body asleep’ – our consciousness is free to leave the body and move on other planes, in other dimensions. Those who are familiar with this subject generally talk of the ‘astral plane’, on which we move with this second, more subtle body, similarly called the ‘astral body’.

With this in mind, I soon realised that my physical limbs must have been paralysed as usual, and my consciousness (which had stayed awake and lucid enough to record the episode) had witnessed my ‘other arms’ flying away, i.e. the arms belonging to my astral body.

According to researchers, everyone and everything exists both in the physical and the astral dimensions. The astral aspect of the self is somewhat independent of the physical aspect. It changes and moves very fluidly and with great ease according to our thoughts, and sometimes ‘operates’ autonomously even when we are awake. For example, on more than one occasion, during a boring conference that made me feel drowsy, I have seen the astral forms of certain members of the audience move, turn, look around, look at the people next to them, while their physical counterparts sat practically still, listening to the speaker. Sometimes, while on the verge of sleep, I have seen my husband wander around the house, doing odd jobs, while his physical counterpart was tens of miles away.

This is what is called the ‘astral body’. It is a body that is not bound by the laws of space and time, is free to do the things that we only daydream about and, during an out-of-body experience, is as solid and tangible as a discarnate spirit, enabling us to touch and speak to our loved ones in the Afterlife.

Later in life I discovered that, when the physical body was asleep and the mind was awake, I could walk or fly with my astral body in the astral version of my bedroom or of the rest of the house. I could fly about the neighbourhood, reach distant places in no time and meet other people who were awake or asleep, wandering about in their astral bodies. I could even temporarily ‘cross over’, meet the deceased and visit where they reside. I have also seen special reception areas designed for such meetings with the deceased, and have found that it is possible to move in time and meet future or past versions of my loved ones.

In those early weeks and months following my first experience on the astral plane, I discovered that, when the mind wakes up and the body is still asleep, the body is no longer a barrier; it is no longer solid, but yielding and porous, composed of an energy that could easily be passed through. Not only was I able to leave that body, but I could push my astral hands through it. Likewise, I could sink through the mattress or pass through walls, sometimes feeling a faint vibration or tingle. I could float up to the ceiling like a balloon, or drift down to within a few inches of the floor.

I could also look at myself in the mirror and see my astral body reflected back at me. This soon became a habit I have continued to this day. Since the idea of looking at my body asleep in bed repulsed me – even though I had no issue with touching it, and even enjoyed listening to the rhythmic sound of my breathing – I found that looking at my astral body in the mirror was a daunting task. Furthermore, over the years, I have discovered that it gives me a much more accurate idea of my deeper emotional state than my physical body reveals.

For example, during the period of these early experiments with astral travel, I was a rather solitary person. I lived about 25 miles from my workplace and had no friends in town. I also had trouble adjusting to my move from Piedmont; so, despite being happy with my work, I was not quite what you would call a happy person.

The first few times I faced my astral body in the mirror, I was surprised to see that, while my physical body appeared attractive and well-presented, my hair swept up and my face framed with a different pair of earrings each day, my astral body looked emaciated, bruised and covered in plasters; my hair was dishevelled (once, I even wore curlers) and my clothes were always drab or tatty. Luckily, I have long been intuitive, so I did not let these images drag down my self-esteem. Instead, I immediately realised they were projections of my sad and lonely emotional self.

Over the years, I have seen myself many times in the mirror during my out-of-body experiences. After having a child and forming a family, I watched my astral body grow younger, more beautiful and more cheerful.

A more recent example of the images I have seen in astral mirrors occurred during a period of serious illness, after I underwent months of treatment that temporarily made my hair fall out. The mirror I looked in was in a more spacious, better-lit place than my physical house, in a room specifically designed for rest and physical recovery. The image reflected back at me was that of a beautiful woman, at least ten years younger than I, with long flowing hair. Oddly, her eyes were covered in a red veneer of fear. As I gazed at her face, I realised how crucial it was to overcome my fear and be confident about the future, if I were to get better. Months later, the results of my CT scan and full medical check-up finally put my mind at ease. When I next saw myself in the mirror on the astral plane, my reflection now had two enormous green eyes bearing no traces of fear.

I would like to stress that, in addition to reflecting my own image, as well as the images of any entities around me, over the years I have found mirrors to be extremely efficient portals, taking me quickly from the astral plane to whatever ‘place’ I wish to go to, especially if it is to meet a particular person, whether alive or dead.

 

 

Alice Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carrol is the book that most probably influenced me in this regard.

 

 

For example, during an out-of-body experience in January 2009 (two years prior to the therapy that made my hair fall out), I asked to meet Master Jesus, for whom I have always had a special fondness, particularly for his love of children. I was in a colourful, beautifully scented pine grove, but at the same time – and this was particularly odd – I could see a starry sky, as if it were nighttime. Jesus was teaching in a kind of institute, but he came outside specially to meet me. He had his traditional beard and long hair, but wore modern casual clothes: jeans and a shirt with the sleeves turned up at the cuffs. Looking into my eyes, he transmitted a thought to me that came from Scripture, which would later turn out to be extremely significant: he told me he knew the number of hairs I had on my head!

To return to the night in the autumn of 1990 when my arms ‘flew away’, from that moment on, I began to read everything I could lay my hands on about astral travel. At the time, I did not have the Internet and I could not really bring up the subject with my normal circle of acquaintances without seeming ‘weird’. The first book I devoured was Journeys Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. Numerous others followed. I read and I practised. As I was single, I could give free rein to my imagination. I spent Saturdays and Sundays alone in my flat, with the phone unplugged and the doorbell silenced, so I could explore.

Since I kept a diary of my dreams and my OBEs, I discovered an experience that is very common and quite similar to astral travel. During a dream, the dreamer is aware of dreaming and, to a certain extent, able to control what is happening. ‘Lucid dreaming’, as it is known, is where we are aware of dreaming: we are conscious, but still partly in the dream state. Therefore, even the strangest or unlikeliest of things may continue to seem normal.

There are various degrees of lucidity during a lucid dream, which can be intentionally heightened to achieve an OBE. However, in an actual OBE, the mind is fully awake, albeit our priorities may be slightly different from when we are in a waking state, because our perspective is broader. The separation we experience in this dimension gives us the clear perception that we are moving in a body similar to the physical body, yet different and not subject to the laws of the physical world.

These unique and moving experiences have continued, both spontaneously and intentionally, for the last 26 years. Time, experience and my reading and thinking on this subject have made me realise that the ‘places’ I visit during my astral projections are not so much ‘outside’ of my physical body, as the name might suggest, but are inner dimensions of my consciousness and spirit. This, however, remains a subject for further debate, since the concepts of ‘in’ and ‘out’ do not hold the same importance beyond the physical plane.

In other words, everything we see and touch while awake and in our ordinary state of consciousness has an internal and an external aspect here on the physical plane; but beyond this dimension, the concepts of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ cease to be important. Hence, any discussion of whether the astral plane is ‘outside’ the physical dimension—as if it were some kind of energy screen surrounding us—or ‘inside’ it—as if it were the outermost part of the spiritual nucleus that is our very essence—is purely theoretical and perhaps irrelevant.

William Buhlman, one of America’s leading experts on OBEs, has defined astral projection as an inward journey. For my part, this particular interpretation has released me from a number of fears, the first of these being the fear of staying ‘locked out’ of my body or seeing the silver cord between the astral body and the physical body break while I was still outside my physical vehicle.

Regardless of such speculations, the fact remains that, although I spent the first years of my explorations focusing on the closest plane to the physical dimension, it did not take long for the desire to visit my loved ones in the Afterlife to take over.

… I would like to emphasise one last time my opinion that astral travel is nothing more than a state of greater lucidity than a lucid dream, in which we are aware that we are dreaming. I would also like to emphasise that lucid dreaming can, if we so desire, be the launch pad to astral travel: if we are aware that we are dreaming and conscious of what is happening, we can choose to heighten our lucidity and move into an actual OBE.

Although it may seem superfluous at this stage, I would like to underline my total disagreement with scholars, practitioners and teachers of lucid dreaming like Charlie Morley who consider 99% of the entities met during a lucid dream to be dream characters (or DCs) —in other words, mere products of the dreaming mind. Although I agree with the broader concept that this life is like a dream from which we wake up and return to our wider reality when we die, I do not find this a valid reason to negate the absolute authenticity and individuality of the incarnate or discarnate spirits we might encounter in the waking state or in other modified states of consciousness such as dreams or OBEs.’

[Quoted from The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand]

The reason I do not usually encourage people to learn to astral travel is because, in out-of-body experiences, our mind is wide awake, and all our logical and rational filters are in place, whereas with lucid dreaming, the mind is somewhat ‘sedated’ and able to accept insights and ideas that may not make sense when awake but be full of meaning when we are asleep.

The reason I often refer to my out-of-body experiences when teaching how to reach out for our loved ones in the Afterlife is simply in order to provide practical evidence to back up the experiences that are within everyone’s grasp, through dreams, lucid dreams and meditation.

 

 

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How Spirit Contact Works

 

New – Podcast version: 

As suggested in the article devoted to unlocking our dream memories, our deceased loved ones are not living somewhere up in the clouds. They are much closer than that, only a thought away: it is as if they were living in the room next door and the door is never locked. However, when we speak about the room next door we are just using a metaphor, as the spirit world is not bound by our physical notions of three-dimensional space and linear time.

Being free from linear time means that, when we die, our greatest desire is to reassure our loved ones that we are safe, healed, happy and above all alive, but this is not a pressing need as it would be, for instance, if we had escaped a disaster in a foreign country and did not have the means to let our family know we are OK. It is not the same as many near-death experiencers report the moment they are pronounced dead and suddenly realise that, even though they are feeling perfectly well, they are invisible to relatives and friends who keep focusing on their dead body. Once we realise we are truly dead we also find out that time is not an issue and we will be back with our loved ones in the blink of an eye.

Being free from the notion of three-dimensional space means that there are no distances, walls, fences or doors that can separate us in the spirit world: indeed on a number of occasions, during out-of-body experiences or dreams, I have met deceased relatives or friends in non-existent extra-rooms placed next to the one I was in, or in non-existent extra flats located on the same floor as the one we live in. This means that the non-physical plane can manifest in the form or extra rooms or buildings we are not usually aware of while awake on the physical plane.

This metaphor is also used by William Thomas Stead (1849–1912), an English newspaper editor, influential writer and medium who was among the victims of the Titanic disaster. Stead communicated many times after his death, notably in a number of sessions in which he described his death at sea and the nature of the Afterlife through the medium Pardoe Woodman, via automatic writing. These communications formed part of a book, The Blue Island: Experiences of a New Arrival Beyond the Veil (Hutchinson & Co., London, 1922). In his account, Stead says, ‘Death is only the doorway from one room to another, and both rooms are very similarly furnished and arranged.’

In fact, the room-next-door-metaphor is simply designed to help our earthly minds to figure out the complex notions we have just described and understand how we can practically coexist with our departed loved ones on the spirit plane, a plane we are all part of, incarnates and discarnates.

On the other hand, R. Craig Hogan, Ph.D., who is president of the Afterlife Research and Education Institute, Inc., and of the Center for Spiritual Understanding, Inc., devoted to helping people develop their spiritual understanding through Afterlife connections, remarks, ‘Receiving communications from those on the next planes of life is not like hearing someone speak to you from another room. When someone on this plane speaks to you, you receive the messages involuntarily; you can’t escape hearing the voice. In these efforts to have Afterlife connections, the messages are subliminal, and won’t be in audible voices at all. They will be in thoughts, impressions, feelings, and subtle knowing. You won’t receive them until you bring yourself into a state of mind in which you can let them into your consciousness.’

R. Craig Hogan, Ph.D. is the author of Your Eternal Self (Greater Reality Publications, 2008), presenting the scientific evidence that the mind is not confined to the brain, the Afterlife is a reality, people’s minds are linked, and the mind affects the physical world. The Afterlife Research and Education Institute offers an online self-guided Afterlife connection training programme  (http://www.selfguided.spiritualunderstanding.org/) designed to teach and train people how to obtain after-death communication without the aid of a medium, as well as connecting with people still in bodies unable to communicate. As the programme presentation says, ‘you will establish a new relationship or enhance an existing relationship with your loved one living in the realm next door.’

Something I found very helpful about this programme is the way it presents the mechanics of spirit contact, by using another example that efficiently explains how important it is to be aware of what it is we are seeking and also available to tune into the subtler planes of existence in order to hear from our deceased loved ones.

‘To understand what it’s like for them to try to communicate to you, try this little experiment. We know from the research done by Rupert Sheldrake and others that people do have a sense of being stared at. People subtly know when someone is looking at them. The next time you’re in a line of people waiting for something, pick someone close to you, ahead of you in line, who is not preoccupied and not next in line to get to the clerk. They’re just standing idly. Focus on their neck and imagine tickling them on the neck. After a few seconds, some people will turn around and look back, and even brush their necks. They don’t know why, though. The message came through to their minds at a very subtle or subconscious level, but they don’t get the clear message that you’re imagining tickling their necks. They won’t turn around and say, “Why are you imagining tickling my neck?” The message is there, because they respond to it, but it doesn’t rise to the level of their conscious awareness.

That’s what it’s like for your loved one trying to communicate with you. They can communicate through thoughts, mind to mind. They do focus on your mind and try to get a message through, but the subtle messages don’t rise to the level that we can become conscious of them. We’re just too preoccupied with life to quiet ourselves and let the thought message come up from the subconscious into our conscious mind.

At times, you’ll suddenly have a memory, perhaps something you hadn’t thought of for years. That’s your mind connecting with their mind. They’re thinking of that memory, or they’re focusing on you and sending that memory to you. Thank them for it and let the love you feel pour over you. It’s them communicating mind to mind.’

I find this example absolutely brilliant! It explains very well how frustrating it might feel, if our loved ones were not living out of our linear time, to try and connect with us when we are awake and focused on our everyday life. Mind-to-mind communication also happens between physically alive people, of course, between people whose bodies are able to communicate. However our loved ones in spirit have an advantage: they have none of our worries, physical restrictions or conditions, they are young, healthy and pain-free. Their disadvantage, on the other hand, could be having to do with our disbelief, our lack of expectation, a deep sense of grief and loss and, above all, few topics to share that we may comprehend with all our mental filters and scarcity- or fear-based daily concerns, which are so typical on this plane of existence.

Thousands of near-death experiencers have found how little our language can help to describe the blissful mystical knowings they are made aware of while temporarily dead. This means that, in most cases, all our loved ones can hope to share with us is the notion that they are safe, alive and watching over us, advice and guidance about how to handle our daily challenges and a sense of protection at difficult times. The good news is that this is all most of us would really hope to get from after-death communication. So let us try and step into our departed loved ones’ shoes and imagine how it feels to try and convey such messages to us while we are engaged in our daily activities. They focus on us conveying their love and reassurance, just like a person standing in a line of people and staring at somebody else, and all they obtain in response to this, most times, is triggering a memory that will possibly cause us to feel nostalgic. Let us just stop and think about it and of any past experiences in which this might have happened to us and we discarded the thought as a memory or fantasy.

For instance, you might have been shopping at a supermarket, wondering whether to bake a new cake because you have never felt good at cooking, and you suddenly hear the speaker on the radio suggest it is time to try out a new recipe which is sure to prove as delicious as grandma’s cake used to be. Is this a coincidence?

In my case, it has happened more than once that I was feeling down because I was desperately missing my grandmother, who used to be so sweet and caring, whereas now I felt lonely and unable to handle the idea of having to shoulder too many responsibilities… She was the only one who used to make me feel absolutely special… And, as I was parking my car in the street or driving along, I happened to notice that the car right in front of mine displayed the name in italics “Giulietta”, which was the nickname she always used for me as a child. Was this a coincidence?

An even more significant form of spirit contact is the case in which you may suddenly remember something you had not thought about for years, a happy memory connected to somebody very dear to you who has passed on. That old incident might have come to mind out of the blue and you realised you had not thought of it for a long, long time: this may actually be a mind-to-mind contact by that person who is thinking of you and of that special time.

These are all special opportunities to become aware that after-death communication does happen even when we are not expecting it. Can you imagine how it may feel for our loved ones on the other side if, instead of acknowledging the thoughts and feelings they are trying to convey, we simply shrug them off as a sign of weakness on our side, or as a pleasant memory of a time that is lost forever?

Once we are convinced that spirit contact is absolutely natural and only requires to be acknowledged with a sense of gratitude, we can consciously start thinking of ways of seeking guidance from our loved ones in a quiet meditative state. If they are so clever at getting through to us when we are busy with our daily multitasking, how more effective will the process be if we actively create the best conditions for it to take place?

For those who feel like trying the online self-guided Afterlife connection training programme (http://www.selfguided.spiritualunderstanding.org/), which is also available with the aid of binaural beats, I recommend you carefully read through the conditions you must evaluate before going through the procedure.

The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand

Only $ 0.99 – Use the Smashwords coupon to buy ‘The Afterlife: Hereafter and Here at Hand’ at a very special price – http://fracieloeterra.org/coupon

 

 

I launched this book in Italian in March 2014. An updated version was issued in 2016. The English version will be made available on 5 June 2017.

This will not be a plain translation of the book I published three years ago, as it will include additional thoughts on the topic and has in fact been re-written for English-speaking readers.

But the synopsis has not changed, and this is what the book is about.

THE AFTERLIFE:  Hereafter and Here at Hand

Three tried and tested methods to stay in touch with those who have gone before us

Is mediumship a rare talent or does each of us have the potential to stay in touch with loved ones who have crossed over before us? According to the author, who has attended several courses held by professional mediums and is an expert astral traveller herself, we all have the potential to maintain links that might appear to be broken as a result of the death of our physical body. This book contains plenty of evidence to support the idea that, irrespective of death, we are always in touch, even though we might not realise.

A clear difference exists between trained professional mediums and what this book is about, and this is something the author makes absolutely clear from the beginning, having had the honour of working closely with a number of them as a translator and of finding out how many studies and how much effort and daily dedication a professional medium needs to devote to his/her work.

Before presenting methods for pursuing the goal of staying in touch with our loved ones on the so-called “other side”, this book looks closely at the themes of transition, death and life after death, drawing on evidence provided by mediumistic accounts and the fascinating discoveries made by those who have glimpsed beyond the threshold during Near-Death Experiences.

Thanks to her personal meetings with deceased family members and friends, through dreams, lucid dreams, astral travel, as well as other mystical experiences, the author offers her own conclusions on the Spirit World. She suggests that the spiritual plane constantly interacts with the physical, and is, in fact, both emanation and essence of it, despite our unfortunate tendency in everyday life to consider the two dimensions as separate compartments.

Based on this, we discover that our loved ones find it much easier to stay in touch with those they have been close to on this physical plane, are closer to us than ever and only too willing to reassure us, watch over us and guide us.

Aside from the techniques themselves, which are within everyone’s grasp, the book is a great source of comfort, not only for those who have suffered a loss but also for anyone who, as a human being, has questions or doubts about this subject, which regrettably, many still consider a great taboo.

Amazon author’s page

Available as from 5 June 2017