I am reading Astral Travel for Beginners by Richard Webster. (You can read some scanned chapters from the book at: http://books.google.co.in) I have always been drawn towards esoteric subjects and crave for knowing about the off-beat. I saw a copy of the book at the local bookseller, and purchased it because of the torn cover for peanuts.
I was intrigued by the subject “Astral Travel” and could not wait to read it. For those who are new to this concept, I quote from wikipedia – “The concept of astral projection (or astral travel) assumes the existence of another body, separate from the physical body and capable of traveling to non-physical planes of existence. Astral projection is often experienced as the spirit or astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the spirit world or astral plane.”
As I read the book, I became aware of two things: Firstly, I could never “consciously” astral travel – not at least in the present state of my life. Astral travel demands mental and physical discipline, dietary control, meditative practices, and solitude. My life is currently tumultuous and in the current state of turmoil, I wouldn’t be able to stimulate spiritual, mental or astral elevation.
Secondly, I am a skeptic. Maybe I am ignorant, but I am not convinced about the truth and the practicality of astral travel.
Here I highlight some of my skeptic views and immediate questions. I do hope that this blog is read by people who have experienced astral travel and can answer my queries.
I cannot differentiate between astral travel and imagination or lucid dreaming. I can imagine myself on planet Mars and the next day tell my friends I was astral projected to Mars. I can weave stories about my experiences on Mars. Who will believe me? Who can prove me wrong?
The book states that astral travel has been practiced throughout history – and there are thousands of documented scientific experiments confirming the reality of astral travel. People can be knowingly, as well as unknowingly, having an out-of-body experience. If astral travel is so easy and common then why is it not commonly discussed and spoken about! Even if people can’t remember their astral travels, why don’t we have descriptions of astral visitations or similar sensations of being seen, touched or contacted by astral bodies, by people who are in their physical bodies?
Even if people can astral travel, how do we ensure their anecdotes and tales are true to the hilt? The main evidence is in the form of testimonials. I reiterate the previous question that how can we trust these testimonials – they can be old wife’s tales, a madman’s imagination, a jester’s joke! Its common knowledge that stories get distorted in the telling and the retelling, and events get exaggerated. Details get muddled and the importance of mental well being comes into play. How can we ensure that my friend’s anecdote of astral travel is not actually a reflection of delusion or schizophrenia?
The so-called successful astral travelers should be the highest paid prophets in the world. Or the most-sought-after detectives! If its possible to move through space and time, and get conscious answers to the past, the present, the future, the evident and the not-so-evident, this world, that world and the next, everything and anything – why, then why don’t we have answers to history’s mysteries, and the exact date of the second coming of Christ!
I want to believe in the power, the skill and the reality of astral travel. But the skeptic inside me won’t let me believe! If you believe in astral projection or have had an experience, then leave a comment and help me clean the cobweb of skepticism.
For those who want to know more about astral travel, here are some links:
http://www.iacworld.org/English/Sciences/ – an interesting graphic representation of astral projection.