By George A. Boyd © 2003
There are many references to an astral body or light body in esoteric literature. The astral body shimmers like countless tiny stars, hence the name astral or “starry” body. This vehicle is the first subtle covering over the attentional principle; its counterpart is found over the spirit in 10 of the 12 domains.
Meditation emphasizes experience of interior realities. So after a brief description of the astral body, we will give you a meditation exercise to guide you into exploring your own astral body. We will also discuss methods of projection of the astral body and astral sensing.The surface of the astral body shimmers or sparkles. The actual body is opalescent and resembles the physical body in appearance. However, the astral body may resemble the form of a younger or older physical form. For example, a 60-year-old man may assume the astral form of his 35-year-old physical appearance. A mature 14-year-old young lady may appear in an astral form of someone in her early 20s.
The astral body connects to the medulla center by an umbilical cord-like structure that is referred to as the silver cord in esoteric literature. This cord is infinitely extensible, yet tethers or anchors the astral body to the body’s etheric matrix or chakra.
In its ground state, the astral body is effectively superimposed on the physical form. When the physical body’s arm moves, for example, the astral body’s arm also moves.
Upon moving through the astral umbilicus, the meditator enters the astral spiritual tube, in which the meditator’s attention encounters six whirling wheels. These wheels are located at the:
- Base of Spine
- Solar Plexus
Moving into the level of the face, of the astral body, the meditator encounters the astral senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. At the point between the eyebrows, the meditator finds the center of the astral will, by which the limbs, face and torso of the astral body can be moved.
Astral movement corresponds to our faculty of imagination. In imagination, we can walk through a wall, fly through space, translocate to another place or move through time.
Astral movement replicates whatever is visualized. The faculty of intention, which is anchored in the attentional principle, generates visualization.
In the center of the forehead of the astral body is the so-called third eye. It is a blissful mirror of spiritual development in the Cosmic Realm, and is a source of intuitive wisdom. It embodies an inner knowing of the laws of the Superconscious Mind and sees the Astral Planes of the Great Continuum of Consciousness.
The astral brain resembles a spiral of colored spheres that culminate in a central jet or flare of light. This central flame is referred to as the Jyoti in Eastern scriptures. The meditator beholds a rainbow of pastel-colored spheres, ranging from rose-colored to violet to brilliant white.[The astral brain looks like the “crown of jewels” that you see on statues of Buddha meditating.]
Meditation on the astral body assumes that you can unite your attention with the attentional principle easily. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, you may learn how to do this by reading the article:
Bring your attention into union with the attentional principle as before, and then focus your attention successively on:
- The pineal center
- The fontanel center [the center at the top of the head]
Next follow the astral umbilicus. Move attention from the top of the head down into the navel center. The umbilicus will wind around several times, then you will enter the astral spinal tube. You will then meditate on:
- Base of the astral spine
- Astral whirling wheels (base of spine to medulla)
- Point between the eyebrows (pay attention to astral sensation)
- Center of forehead (intuitive eye)
- Flame at center of the astral brain
After you have contemplated your entire astral body for as long as you wish, focus your attention through these centers in reverse order.
Remember to bring you attention back to the fully grounded state of awareness.
With practice, you will be able to bring your awareness into your astral body at will. Then you will feel right at home using the faculties of this body as you do your physical body.
The astral body can be projected from its state of union with the physical body. Several different means are listed below:
- Along the current of the will stream, leading to contemplation of the vortices of inner abilities or powers
- Through the channels of the inner vehicles, yielding awareness of their contents
- To selected symbols or archetypes for contemplation and to gain experiential knowledge by union (samadhi)
- Along the time track of personal memory and collective unconscious; into the records of past incarnations
- To discrete locations in physical space (remote viewing)
- To etheric representations of physical space, revealing the kingdoms of the elementals, pixies, devas, and angels
- Through the physical universe into the Astral Light, viewing the astral worlds of dimension.
These various tracks of movement of the astral body can be elicited by:
- Guided meditation
- Hypnotic suggestion
- Brain entrainment methods
- Anesthetic or psychedelic drugs
- Lucid dreaming states (some suggest that rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, and unconscious states may likewise be due to a de-coupling of the physical and astral bodies)
- Direct projection
Of all these methods, the Mudrashram® lineage recommends that the meditator develop mastery over direct projection, as it is the most reliable means to move the astral body exactly where you intend.
Each of the other methods have potential strengths and drawbacks.
Suggestive methods (guided meditation and hypnosis) have decreased control over where the individual projects, due to variation in responding to the suggestions given by the guide or the hypnotherapist. Moreover, the unconscious mind of the meditator often produces much extraneous material, confounding the meditator’s ability to clearly sense the objective of meditation.
Entrainment methods use selected tones, melodious chants or exotic musical interludes to allegedly balance the hemispheres of the brain and/or elicit selected brain waves similar to those found in deep meditation. Similar effects can be elicited by photic driving methods, where the individual is exposed to flashing lights keyed to brain wave frequencies. In some entrainment modalities, these light and sound methods may be combined. Due to variations in individual response to these stimuli, not everyone has astral experiences induced by them, and there is little control over them by the meditator if they do result in bilocation of the astral body.
Dreaming methods such as so-called lucid dreaming, where you remain inwardly awake while in the dream state, or making suggestions before falling asleep, are also under limited control by the meditator. Here again, there is no reliable control of where the astral body travels.
Chemical methods such as anesthetic and psychedelic drugs also induce a passive experience over which the meditator has little or no control. The other drawback with these agents is that they are toxic to the organism and may result in damage to the organs and nervous system.
The teachers of the Mudrashram® lineage warn against the use of chemical agents of any kind to alter consciousness except as warranted by necessary medical procedures (e.g., use of anesthetics prior to surgery or narcotic analgesics to treat intractable pain).
So-called recreational or social use of these agents can produce dependence and addiction, damage to the organism and unbalancing of the inner vehicles. Actions taken while intoxicated when normal inhibition is suspended, moreover, may lead to negative karmic consequences.
Tampering with the delicate neurohormonal-etheric pathways through the use of drugs may result in the disruption of mental and emotional organization within the vehicles. This in turn can lead to states of emotional dysfunction and intellectual disorganization, effectively precipitating mood disorders, personality disorders, dissociative states, and even psychotic decompensation.
The Raja Yoga technique of direct projection allows the meditator to move the astral body out of confluence with its physical-etheric counterpart, and travel through the physical universe and the realms of the Astral Plane.
The astral body follows the lead of the attentional principle: wherever the attentional principle is focused, the astral body moves to this same location. The technique of direct projection is taught in the Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the Accelerated Meditation Program.
Much of what is called psychic sensing, clairvoyance,or mind reading, corresponds to the normal operation of the senses of the astral body. These subtle sensory impressions are vague, dreamlike, imprecise and often distorted. Like the images in dreams, the percepts of the astral body seem less defined than their physical counterparts.
To understand these dreamlike productions at times requires analysis, reflection, and contemplation of their meaning. It is at the stage of labeling of the image and attempting to interpret its meaning that much of the distortion is introduced. Accurate psychic readers must also possess a gift of understanding the symbolic language of the unconscious mind, which may present its meanings by way of myth and metaphor.
The senses of the astral body respond to your suggestions for the object of perception. A skilled meditator may tune the focus of the astral senses to any number of channels, much in the same way you may adjust a radio receiver. Some of the visual channels of the astral body that an experienced meditator can access include:
- Seeing into and through environmental objects around the physical body
- Viewing people or objects beyond the visual horizon (so-called remote viewing)
- Visions of celestial bodies (e.g., moon, sun, planets, or galaxies)
- Perceiving energy signatures of bands of the electromagnetic spectrum outside the visual range
- Visualizing molecules, atoms, and the subatomic field
- Witnessing the information and resonance ethers
- Sensing the flow and blockage of life force in the etheric body
- Beholding others’ thoughts and emotions as colored fields surrounding their physical body (visual clairvoyance)
- Receiving visual impressions of others’ past experiences or impressions in their unconscious minds
- Becoming aware of images and impressions from past incarnations
- Experiencing scenes from the dimensional realms of the Astral Plane
- Encountering spirits, angels, guides, and inhabitants of the dimensional realms.
Astral sensing is synesthetic, which means that the senses work together as one. This simultaneous blending of the senses allows you to touch, taste, smell, and hear whatever you see. If you used your astral vision to penetrate into a piece of fruit, for example, you could concomitantly smell, taste, hear and receive tactile impressions from the object. You may also detect the vibrations within a locale or "space" through this means.
This sensing, however, is not always accurate. Since the astral body is the repository of the faculty of imagination, the mind fills in certain initial impressions received through the astral senses. This is another avenue through which distortion is introduced into psychic visioning.
We invite you to explore and familiarize yourself with your astral body and its functioning. The astral body of the subconscious mind is but one of your many vehicles that you will encounter on your voyage of inner discovery.