Why Are There Conflicting Opinions Concerning Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection?
By William Ember
Anyone trying to teach a projection or dreaming technique must naturally do so based on their own particular understanding. With the huge number of differing movements of thought, religions and philosophies in the world, it is easy to see how there can be so many differing teachings concerning the same subjects. Any of these perspectives will colour the descriptions differently.
Luckily for us, we are in a position to pick and choose! The projection process itself is fairly straightforward and there are definite commonalities in projection technique. Lucid Dreaming is equally universal. It remains for us to put to use the most expedient and effective techniques available. Well, that's my perspective anyway!
As for the nature of the Astral itself, it all comes down to what you believe. Your beliefs shape your experience. You can easily ignore any information that does not fit in with your beliefs. A hardcore sceptic is a classic example of a 'tunnel vision' belief system which refuses to acknowledge the validity of anything but a narrow physically-oriented (and often meaningless) universe.
Perception alters experience in any circumstance, but this is especially so in the Astral Plane, where you can create that experience virtually instantly. Your beliefs can act like glasses, automatically modifying what is perceived. So of course everyone will have a different experience of the same kind of 'event', to whatever degree.
Even witnesses to the same physical event can give radically different accounts according to their particular perspectives. But when they are directly viewing the product of their own subjective beliefs about reality, this effect is amplified considerably and those testimonies can be as divergent as any one system of thought to another.
Unfortunately for its adherents, physical science for example, will never arrive at the correct answers or conclusions regarding dreams and the inner reality from which they arise, because regardless of its chosen methods, its perspective is always from 'outside looking in'. That's why there is far more to learn from psychology than brainwave patterns in this regard. The only way to truly understand the inner dimensions is from within them. It is just as futile to seek to apply physical perspectives to the Astral, as it is to seek to apply physical laws: they are far too limiting. This mistake has been given the term 'confusion of planes'. It is as ludicrous to attempt astral flight by jumping off a physical building as it is to want to pack a physical microscope and ruler on astral journeys.
Especially in a realm where you can create exactly what you expect to see! 'Objective observation' is actually far more difficult in the Astral Plane for someone who has not examined their own subjective beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding reality. One's first encounter on the Astral Plane will most likely be with one's own assumptions, regardless of the school of thought or belief they belong to, whether scientific, religious, occult, spiritual or whatever! You will first meet the seeming confirmation of your current beliefs. Surprise!
But then what? Experience doesn't just stop there! The error within such expectations is that they are far too static, not dynamic enough to contain the deeper reality upon which they are built - because no image or assumption or expectation can contain the infinite dynamicism of the universe! Assuming one continues, one's experience soon begins to 'leak out around the sides', escaping past such artificial boundaries, expanding and evolving beyond initial ideas.
It is not long before one begins to question those initial beliefs, which alter them slightly, allowing for even more space and leeway for difference. Again, it is not long after that that one notices the direct correlations between the change in beliefs and the change in the outwardly reflected inner environment and experience.
So why can there be so much contradictory information and conclusions regarding dreams, the Astral Plane, the afterlife...? I think it's because people can have spontaneous experiences, sometimes very brief, yet ones where for one reason or another they do not question their own beliefs, but merely experience their confirmation. Indeed, the strength of belief may provide no opportunity for contrary data at all. But again, given time (or better, the variation and dynamicism of experience), the greater inner reality will escape those constraints.
The information imparted in a brief experience may therefore be modified to suit the smaller 'expected' picture, and only hint at the larger realities back of it. So short experiences, not being willing to observe extraneous data, or ignoring it, or simply being easily convinced, can all play a part. Even memory is often modified according to the same kind of beliefs, so that certain aspects are further accentuated and others ignored.
What we can learn from all this is the importance of having an open mind, and learning to question and change our beliefs to correlate with new desires and conditions. No 'blanket solution' belief system works in all situations. We must simply learn to be flexible and to examine our perception and expectations as the need arises.
William Ember is an self-trained explorer of Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection experiences and has recently authored the most comprehensive and in-depth training guide to these experiences available anywhere. It is available at: http://www.ultimateastralexperience.com
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