To my Spiritual Brother D.
What do the so-called astral travels have to do with the development of consciousness? Are these travels a product of a daydreaming state, or are they something else? Or both?
Does inner travel relate to the degree of awareness? Is there a relationship between these two apparently different topics?
In the last few years, the argument of the so- called “astral travels” has solicited the fantasy and the interest of many people. We could say that almost every second person who speaks about this will state to have experienced something related to this kind of experience.
In some way, we could say that this experience is not so rare, but also that it is not at the range of everyone. Nor that the level of experience is always the same.
The definition of “astral travel” is used very often in an improper way; it indicates the possibility to travel intentionally through space and time, giving the capacity to observe in the first person, things that happen or has happened in the past, in other places or in other “dimensional levels” (another term that usually is misunderstood because it is taken literally).
As mentioned above, there are many people who have experienced what is usually called an “out of body experience”, namely the detachment from the physical body and sensory perceptions. Those who have experienced such events have had the possibility to move in material time, in near or far places, without using the physical mean. But this is not “astral travel” or, as it would be better to call it “inner travel” in the true sense of the meaning that it is something different.
The mystics and saints of different ages and religions spoke of having been “enraptured” out of the body and taken into “spiritual” worlds of immense beauty. Even the Christian texts make many references to similar experiences, both in the Old and the New Testament.
But the ancient Eastern cultures are those that mostly faced this argument in both a theoretical and practical way. Examples are the Indo- Tibetan texts which describe in detail the possibility of astral travels following a severe and rigorous “training”.
These ancient teachings taught with absolute accuracy, the human physiology and anatomy, not only regarding the material- physical field, but even the “subtle”, nonmaterial field.
Indeed, everything is composed of a material, visible and touchable part, and also from many other nonmaterial, subtle fields that usually are not “visible”.
Explained in a very simplified way, we could imagine the whole as composed from many fields of which the material is the “lower”, the most dense. Every successive field is more and more subtle; this means that every field has his own density.
Technically, the term subtle describes summarily all which cannot be perceived by the ordinary physical senses, but these senses are not the only perceptive tools we have at our disposal.
To make another clarification, because the following term will be used as the key to understanding the meaning of this post, consciousness refers to all that we understand in a direct way what we perceive or on which we consciously put our attention. Being aware of what we do, perceive, feel, think, say and experience means to be conscious. Putting an object somewhere with distraction and being unable to find it because “we don’t remember” where we put it means the opposite of being conscious.
A human being is constantly aware of some subtle parts of which he is composed. For example, emotions do not have a material nature, they can’t be “touched”. They belong to one of the mentioned subtle fields. But an emotion can produce some changes in the material body, such as the change of the heartbeat, blood circulation and pressure and many other phenomena which can be experienced by every one of us in our daily life.
Thoughts, even if different from emotions, are also subtle fields, and they also interact with the physical functions. An example: it’s sufficient to imagine a food we like to increase salivation; or, thinking about a man or a woman that we sexually desire is enough to set off instantaneous physical reactions. Ok, this is a very simplified and superficial explanation on how the subtle fields interact with our physical mean, but is enough to understand that an interaction effectively exists.
Such as the atoms that compose our physical body are organized in a complex and functional way, also the atoms that compose the subtle fields are composed of more rarefied groups of atoms that are structured such as effective bodies, connected to the physical, but more complex in their structure and functions.
The ancient teachings on the human organism is described as composed of several bodies: physical, emotional (what is usually known as “astral”), mental, causal and spiritual. Sincerely, I have never understood, either intellectually or intuitively, what this spiritual body could be and what functions it could have, but I’ll mention it here to complete the “draft” of the occult anatomy as described by the ancient esoteric teachings.
Also, it would be correct to say that these divisions of the different bodies are more precise and complex, but the explanation of the same would require more than an entire blog.
Each of these bodies corresponds to a determined vibratory level, namely to the different density of the substance of which it is composed. Also, every body has its specific characteristics and senses.
Achieving the awareness of one of these bodies or, better said, of the substances that compose these bodies, means also developing the possibility to use the senses of the same mean that will make us able to perceive and experience the “dimensions” composed from the same substances.
Ordinarily, a human being is aware only of his physical and emotional sphere. To be clear, being aware, here, means that he knows and experiences the existence of these bodies. Another clarification that has to be made is, that although having the possibility of experiencing the existence of the emotional body, doesn’t mean that this body is fully developed or developed in a proper way. For further clarifications about what this statement means, it would be useful to the reader to refer to other posts previously published on this blog (link).
It would also be useful to clarify that in an ordinary condition (the condition of a person that has not yet developed higher states of consciousness), to the emotional field belongs also the intellectual associative functions that are ordinarily labeled as “mind”. A true mind – a mind that functions without being harmed by external situations, is quite another thing.
The various fields of awareness dilate more and more as the substance becomes more subtle. Each of these fields possesses its own specific density, quality, vastness, and consciousness, which could be a simple explanation of why each of these spheres is treated as a different dimension.
In order to enter “into touch” with higher spheres of existence that are more complex and evolved, it’ is necessary to develop the corresponding bodies that, otherwise, would remain in an embryonic stage – only a possibility.
The ancient teachings refer to the possibility of developing these bodies, through a specific and demanding process of structuring until the practitioner learns and develops the use of the senses corresponding to each body and the way to experience with these new means through the similar fields of consciousness.
So, to simplify this argument, the physical is not the only body that a human being possesses, even if the other “higher bodies” are still not developed. Ordinarily, a human being is only partially aware of the functions of his physical body. Sometimes, he becomes partially aware of some of the possibilities of the emotional (or astral) body during his dreams or through some casual experiences that are labeled as of “paranormal “ character. The awareness of the mental body is practically impossible to experience, even partially, by a person in ordinary conditions.
The possibility to progressively develop the awareness of these higher fields exists. Also, even if it is not necessary, with a specific “training”, these bodies can be used as a means to move oneself through different spheres of existence, or dimensions, such as the physical body can be used to move ourselves in the material world.
Concerning “astral travel” or “inner travel” or, as it has been taught to those who read about “psychic navigation”, it is not an experience that is like a vision, dream, a hallucination or like the vision of a movie. It is real and concrete such as the experience that one can have with his physical body.
Another thing that should be mentioned as the end of this post which should surely evoke in many people, doubts and incredulity, is that the development of the bodies doesn’t necessarily intend that we’ll use these means exclusively to travel here and there in space and time. There are some “travelers” that use them for these reasons, and there are others that don’t feel this need.