I often fly through the sky in my dreams. I flew more in my younger years, but I fortunately still do occasionally. I can vividly and fondly remember these dreams almost as if I really flew — almost like I am recalling “real” memories. But it seems not all of us fly. Over the years I have asked people if they have pleasant sky-soaring dreams, only to find out they are not as common as I imagined. I guess we all assume others have the same experiences as ourselves. Do you fly in your dreams? Perhaps it is my mind’s propensity to such dreams that also had me experience astral projection.
Astral projection is a type of Out-of-the-Body Experience (OBE) where an individual finds themselves completely consciously aware but separated from their physical body. Perhaps my flying dreams are what made astral projection seem interesting to me when I was in High School. I read about it somehow and decided to experiment with it. I discovered that I was very good at imagining my flying about in my astral body throughout my town and even around the country. But I always did feel like I was cheating and just using my imagination until I had the real experience years later.
Eight years after high school I was going through a year-long training program as a yoga teacher in Minneapolis when I had another OBE. One night at the Meditation Center we were doing a group relaxation mediation on our backs in a darkened room with incense in the air and the calming voice of Dr. Arya (our teacher) guiding us through the meditation when I felt my body lock up — I realized I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. Then I felt my soul drift out of my body up toward the ceiling. I actually did not know it was my soul until I turned around while I was drifting up and saw my body lying on the floor below me. It scared me. But I could not return to my body. A minute later, however, I was able to wiggle my big toe and my soul came crashing back down into my body. My body jerked and I laid there sweating with my heart pounding, but I kept quiet until the meditation had ended.
After the guided meditation, our guru said that if anyone had unusual experiences during the 45-minute mediation to come and discuss them with him privately. So I did. He told me such experiences are called Siddhis (extra-yogic powers) that should be considered distractions and ignored and that I should not pursue duplicating them. He reassured me that they were not unusual.
Three years later I was in Japan and learned that the Japanese actually have a word for this freezing of the body just before sleep. They call it “KanashiBari” (金縛り, metal binding) — see the wiki article on “Sleep Paralysis“.
This post was motivated by a commenter (L. Rodriguez here ) who asked if anyone understood this experience. His experience was negative, dark and scary for him. When I was younger, I did not know how to understand these experiences. Today I look at these experiences as odd cognitive illusions, but I could be wrong.
It is interesting that some people are more inclined to have these experiences than others. Have you had any of these experiences? What do you think?
Related Post: My Supernatural Experiences