Truth or Myth: Your Spirit Travels While You’re Sleeping

May 18, 2012

Have you seen spirits around you lately? Oh, don’t be scared! I’m not referring to the spirits of dead people, but rather, the spirits of people asleep. All of us have seen movies where people’s spirits travel. Have you ever wondered if this is possible? Let us examine the world of astral projection.

Is astral projection really possible?

Astral Projection is said to be an out-of-body experience (OBE) where an astral body is said to separate from the physical body of a person to travel to the astral plane. This theory originated from various civilizations. Western philosophies believed that there’s a so-called intermediate as one goes through the process of astral projection. Our spirits travel to the world which is located between Heaven and Earth, or most commonly called as purgatory. Same goes with Ancient Egypt’s beliefs, where they call the spirits ka. Islam, on the other hand, linked Muhammad’s journey to Jerusalem then to “seven heavens” as an OBE.

Chinese version of OBE rooted from the story of a man named Xiangzi. Xiangzi was seen to do two different things at the same time. They also said that they saw the man merge into one. Famous Japanese mythology called ikiryo propose that a person can separate his soul from his body when that person wants to exact revenge on another person. Inuit groups believe that the purpose of their “travel” is to deliver news to other people.  Even the Bible has its own interpretation of OBE. The book of Ecclesiastes revealed the existence of a silver cord which connects the astral body to the physical body. Another version can be found in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians where it stated that there exists a “Visio Paili” where visions of heaven and hell can be seen through astral projection.

There are numerous people who say that OBE is innate to all of us. One of them is an expert named Jerry Gross. He remembered to have experienced astral projection as young as four years old. He added that we just need to concentrate and fully believe that we can travel to the places we want to go. As we sleep, we put our minds to sleep and our subconscious will astral project. According to him, all of us do it but we just don’t remember it or don’t know that it is a form of OBE.

If there are believers, there exists their counterpart. James Randi was one of them. He criticized Ingo Swann’s detailed story about his astral projection to Jupiter. Swann’s “observation” of Jupiter was 77% inaccurate from what our scientists tell about the planet. Authors like Robert Todd Carroll and Arthur Wiggins claim that people don’t have the ability to astral project and what they experience is merely products of their imagination or their dreams. Moreover, the existence of astral projection is only based on testimonies which they find hard to rely on.

So can our spirit leave our body as we sleep? For me, there is not enough evidence that this really happens. Firstly, I believe that  “astral projection” is only a dream realized as we wake up. We may have the power to direct our own dreams, but we can’t really control everything that happens in our dreams. It just happens. Secondly, I find Jerry Gross statements contradicting. He said that everybody astral projects but tends to forget it the moment they wake up. But when asked about the difference between dreams and astral projection, he said that people who wake up with a clear picture of their dreams did astral projection. So which is which?