The life of a dream walker
Astral projection, lucid dreaming and dream travel: the life of a dream walker. By James Burford
I remember my dreams from a young age. It was during a reoccurring nightmare as a child I learnt to become lucid in my dreams and stop the nightmare from reaching its climax of terror. I also vividly remember learning how to fly. I would run as fast as I could, then jump in in the air as high as I could whilst doing a swimming breast stroke action. If I had jumped high enough and stroked strongly enough I would reach a critical height and be able to fly off. Otherwise, it would be straight back to the ground with a thud!
These original experience eventually opened my life to the fun and adventure that can be experienced in the astral realm.
This is the story of my first astral projection out of body experiences and how I came to learn this shamanic technique. This occurred when I was living in the Himalayas during my India/China adventure from 2007 to 2012.
Date: 28th February, 2008
Location: Dharamsala, Himalayas, North India.
Day 6 of the Dali Lama teachings, 1st day of empowerment
I woke late this morning with a bit of an ear infection and diarrhoea, not feeling my best! The Dali Lama had been teaching in his temple in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan government in exile, for five days now. This had been a lovely experience, spending time in his presence (and even chatting to him briefly) and being with the Tibetan people.
On the sixth day, instead of teaching, the Dali Lama planned to give the audience an 'empowerment' — a mass group blessing for his devotees. With his big entourage of monks he spent the morning preparing for the ritual which gave me time to check emails and do a bit of shopping.
After having an incredible and spiritually-awakening time in Rishikesh, the 'capital of yoga’, a few months earlier something had awoken within me (especially after reading Nisargadatta’s ‘I Am That’ and taking initiation into Yoganandas Kriya Yoga) and I had become very focused on my spiritual practices. I had been living in Dharmasala, up on the side of a mountain in the Himalayas for three months now. I was leading a very quiet life, reading, meditating, doing yoga and teaching English to the Tibetan monks in a monastery and a couple of small groups of Tibetan youth.
The ‘empowerment’ took a couple of hours and involved us sitting in the temple grounds, listening to the Dali Lama recite various texts whilst taking part in rituals under his guidance which included drinking holy water and repeating mantra. After this, and then eating a tasty Tibetan dinner, I went back to my apartment and prepared for sleep and to try again with astral projection.
I had been training for two months now with mixed success including lucid dreams, but I still hadn't had a full out of body experience. I had been taught by a Spanish friend, Miguel, after he described to me his experiences of spiritual awakening and some of his first out of body experiences. He taught me a very simple technique for leaving the body: when lying in bed simply perform a slow body relaxation bringing your awareness to each part of the body and telling it to relax. Once this has been done without falling asleep (the hardest part!) the body should fall asleep and go 'off line', though the mind stays awake.
When this happens, the astral dream body comes 'online' and strong vibrations start all over the body. The challenge is to stay calm, not get excited or scared as it is quite intense. If you can stay calm, the vibrations normalise over the body and you simply get out of bed as you would do normally. If everything has worked correctly you will lift out of your physical body and leave in your astral body to explore the astral realm; the 4th dimension which co-exists and is superimposed (though invisible) on the physical 3D world we live in.
I went to bed doing the technique and fell asleep, which normally happened. I then awoke around 3am which had become quite normal since I started doing these techniques. I got up, went to the bathroom and then back to bed. As I went through the practice again something inside me knew, especially after the blessing from the Dali Lama, this time would be different.
The vibrations started shortly after the relaxation. This had happened before though I would either get scared or excited and wake up straight away. This time I managed to stay clam and the vibrations eased over the body after about three minutes. I then started to get out of the bed. The first part of the body came out easily, the lower half was a little more difficult though eventually I managed to wriggle out. It was like peeling away from the body, the way a sticker peels away from paper. And there I was, fully out, standing in my astral body looking down at my physical body on the bed. It was incredible!
The first thing I did was inspect my hands. They were luminous green, like ghosts are in the movies. I then closed my astral eyes and took a moment to note how the experience felt. I realised I was completely mass-less — I had no weight, as if I were dead. It was amazing! In that moment my fear of death disappeared, which is very liberating. Death is something to look forward to!
I then explored the room. It was the same though it looked bigger, more spacious. I walked around the bed and saw some photos on the wall at the head of the bed; photos that weren’t normally there in the physical world. They were pictures of a young woman posing with dolphins in something like a dolphin water park.
I knew the experience would be short lived and after looking at the photos I was back in my body, wide awake. I made sure I went over the experience time and time again in my head to remember it and to make sure when I woke in the morning I wouldn't think it was just a dream. In the morning I went to see my friends, including Miguel. I was so excited, I was bouncing off the walls, like a little kid at Christmas. It was one of those defining moments of my life, an experience you can never forget.
This opened the door for many other wild and wonderful experiences in the astral realm and I developed techniques to make the experience last longer and to explore further away than the bedroom during my remaining four years in India.
These days I don't practice the techniques as frequently as I always have vivid dreams, especially after my 4am pranayama and meditation. I'm often lucid and can control and direct the outcome of the dream. I receive so much guidance and insight through the dream world, I feel it is one of the greatest blessings and sources of spiritual guidance and information available for us on our spiritual journey.