False Awakening in the Etheric Body


"False Awakening" is the term for a state, in which, after classical view, we dream to get up and do all the things we usually do after waking up (like getting dressed etc.). In my opinion these aren’t normal dreams. It’s a different process: while thinking of getting up (or rather while we are subconsciously getting prepared to get up), one sets free the astral body and performs the usual morning activities automatically. According to written records and reports, this is equivalent to the "forerunner" – a phenomenon which will be discussed thoroughly in the article Forerunner. A fact that highly suggests that false awakening is no normal dream is that it can occur in all transitional forms between unconscious and fully conscious states. In the conscious states it is possible to astral travel from this state.

The false awakening state can be induced through meditation and concentration. If we try to enter the false awakening state consciously, the typical character of the "dream" will change, because now of course we don’t have the intent to eat breakfast or to get dressed, but instead we e. g. will sit in our chair, meditating, with the intent to continue the meditation. That means, we are going on meditating in the "dream". The meditation becomes the subconscious expectation (instead of expecting to get up, eat breakfast etc.) and so it works as an awakening impulse.

Common false awakening

As far as I can remember, I experienced false awakening in the morning for several times. Firstly, it seemed to be a special sort of dream and it didn’t seem to be worthwhile to spend deeper thoughts about this kind of dream. This point of view changed when it turned out that the false awakening state could be used as an OBE technique. Later this became my preferred method to start OBEs. Through this practice and especially through the higher state of consciousness which I had in comparison to normal dream-like false awakening, I could gain deeper insight in the mechanism of false awakening.

The common form of false awakening is observed by many people. But as the happening does not seem to be anything worthwhile to think of, mostly no one pays attention. It is simply considered an unimportant dream, in which the typical morning expectations of getting up induce a corresponding dream activity.

Examples for common false awakening:

"It always happens when I am in a restless sleep, especially when there is something important to do on the next day. Obviously my subconscious is hurrying on ahead i these cases and so I wake up and think I am really awake physically. I go into the bathroom, then try to open the water tap, but it does not work. If it does, then no water comes out of it.
Sometimes I want to make a coffee first, but the coffee machine does not work too, or I can’t turn off the light because the light switch is defective somehow. But instead of becoming aware of the state I just reflect on why things do not work and then I get annoyed. Mostly this upset about all the defective things makes me wake up." (Gauri)

"The most recent false awakenings have been during the past month, and they have been virtually identical. I am asleep (naps, mainly) and decide it's time to wake up. I get out of bed and walk out of my bedroom (which is always exactly as it should be). But as I walk through my house, it's very different from my real house, and I'm surprised that my house is much nicer than I thought it was! Then I find myself waking up again, and repeating my actions. And then again. Sometime between the second and third ‘awakening’, I realize that I'm dreaming. By the 4th or 5th awakening, I'm beginning to become frightened that I won't be able to wake up again, because every time I do ‘wake’, it feels so real that I don't know I'm dreaming until I'm out of bed and walking through the house. I never ‘do’ anything, just walk through the house.

Usually I have 5 awakenings, but the last time it was 7. Towards the end of these, I'm completely aware that I'm sleeping, although it hasn't occurred to me to try to direct the dream because it has always tended to turn into a nightmare that I can't wake up from. Until the last dream. I realized I wasn't as afraid. I began checking myself during each waking, asking questions like, ‘Does this really look like my house?’ And the answer was no, so I knew I was still asleep.

What is very strange about this last series of false awakenings is that although I know I'm asleep, I become afraid that I won't be able to wake up because of the loop I seem to get stuck in, over and over again. It feels like one part of my brain is fully conscious and the other is deep in REM sleep. The conscious part becomes afraid that the sleeping part won't be able to join it, to get back in sync. I feel like there are literally 2 of me.

Anyway, when I wake for real from these, I am slightly paralyzed. I cannot open my eyes or move, but I lay there and wonder if I'm really awake this time. After a few minutes, I cautiously open my eyes and do something like look at the clock or turn on the light (something I don't do in false awakening) and even though I know I'm really awake, it's still many hours until the feeling of the experience leaves me.

I have had lucid dreams before, partly and fully, but even when I'm fully lucid and directing the dream, I still never feel as completely conscious as I do in false awakening." (Reported by Staci, USA)

From a letter (Chris):

"I had a similar experience where I had 5 consecutive false awakenings at 7 AM. Every time I went back to sleep and when i woke up it was 7 AM. Finally i realized that it was my destiny to wake up at 7 AM and then I got up and it was really 7 AM. It was so vivid … i think it was an OBE …"

Answer (Alfred):

I believe that the false awakenings are unconscious OBEs - that's the reason why it is simple to transform them into a conscious OBE – if you succeed to influence the false awakening as far as it works with something like meditation or imagination or concentration (even if this practices were done in a dull state of mind), because this mental occupation will increase the awareness of your state.

False Awakening and the Forerunner Phenomenon

By observing several features of false awakening as an OBE pre-state, I came to the conclusion: false awakening is no dream, but an unconscious state of OBE. This hypothesis of mine is sustained by a special kind of clairvoyant observations of a human double (etheric body). This observation is called "Vorbote" in German (perhaps it is called "forerunner" in English – I do not know the English term for sure). The forerunner is the observation of the double of another person. This person, actually coming home, unconsciously announces himself at home by means of his spirit body (exactly etheric body), producing sometimes a kind of poltergeist phenomenon – because you can hear the steps, sounds of the coat etc. This phenomenon very often is reported in the northern regions of Europe (in Norway it's called vardøger, which can be roughly translated with "spirit predecessor" or "warning spirit") and several people even get used to it so that they have no further thoughts about that fact, but instead start to prepare the lunch for the husband who has announced his coming in this way. For several times my mother in law has observed such an announcement of mine and has told me about it – so these are not simply theoretical considerations of mine.

An example from a letter (OBE Letter 320):
"… I went to bed although I was not really tired and everyone else in the house was asleep. Something made me sit up and look towards the hallway. At that time I saw my mother standing there as plain as day with her hand on the light-switch to the kitchen, and she was staring at me but not moving. I asked her if I had somehow awakened her. There was no answer, but she was no longer standing there, only darkness in the empty hallway.

    I definitely got up and awakened my mother, asking her if she had been standing in the hallway previously. She said no, and she could not explain that incident …"

There’s a special article about this topic here: Forerunner.

False Awakening as a Pre-OBE State

False awakening as a preliminary stage of out-of-body-experiences (OBEs) can be distinguished from common false awakening in the following main points:

  • the false awakening is induced consciously and deliberately
  • it does not contain stereotype automatisms/ repeating patterns of common morning activities
  • characteristic are mental automatisms, which are used here as autohypnotic methods – they allow to fall asleep, but still a remaining awakeness is maintained through monotonous techniques (mostly a cyclical exercise like energy circulation or heat circulation in the body)

Realisation of false awakening:

The conscious induction of a false awakening is accomplished in the following way: we have to be in a slightly tired state (state of disposition for sleep – mostly in the early or late morning. Sometimes it turns out to be quite useful here when you tend to wake up shortly for several times during the early morning, when you’re still tired but have slept nearly enough). In this state, we concentrate for about half an hour on a monotonous, cyclical process – suitable exercises are e. g. OBE-inducing imaginations, meditation, energetic circulation, exercises of body perception (for instance warming exercises as mentioned above). Concentrating on such a monotonous process within a phase of falling asleep results in a kind of posthypnotic suggestive order, which is repeated automatically after the deeper phase of sleep has ended and we are again in a phase of lighter sleep. Firstly, this automatism is continued unconsciously, but in doing so, we remember our original intention, and the following active concentration leads to full consciousness in the state. The false awakening turns into a state where we can suddenly decide consciously what we do and we can become aware of our subtle body, beginning to explore our surroundings.

OBE process in false awakening:

As explained above, the consciously performed meditation or affirmation leads to a higher awareness and awakeness in the state of false awakening, so that conscious self-reflexion is gained – which, in turn, allows us to remember our original intention (to have an OBE). Thus, we will try to go out of the physical body consciously. If we are already outside of our body when becoming conscious, it is adviseable to step back into the physical body and step out again consciously, otherwise the whole thing may turn more easily into dreamlike states again.

There is another difference to spontaneous, common false awakening. While during spontaneous false awakening we are concentrated on stereotype automatisms in an introverted manner, in consciously induced false awakening we can decide freely – we can leave the house, or do experiments, or concentrate on our forehead chakra to induce an astral projection (while we are still lying in bed in etheric state) – which is easier in this state, because we are already in the etheric body (an astral projection would shift our consciousness into the astral body and thus we would be free from the weight and restrictions of the etheric matter). So there are two possibilities to perform a body separation while we are still in an etheric IBE state: either stepping out of the body as described in the chapter Loosening of the etheric Body – with this method we will mostly end up being in the etheric body. Or we are concentrating on our forehead chakra (or "looking through" the forehead chakra) to induce a separation with the astral body.

Another difference in comparison to spontaneous false awakening is the quite frequent occurrence of other persons inside of the room. These persons are obviously trying to keep us from going on (a kind of guardian of the threshold) to disturb our will and intentions. E. g. they may turn on the light or tell you to go back to bed. These distractions through other "people" may be subconscious mechanisms in order to maintain sleep (similar when you have the urgency to go to the toilet and in your dream you’re actually going to the toilet – which is a mechanism of reassurance to say: "you have already voided your bladder, you can go on sleeping now").

"Nearly in every false awakening I am distracted by noisy people that are walking up and down my room. At the beginning I asked myself why this unsettled situation occurred and I hoped that it would cease. In fact, through a period of time these disturbances ceased, but the result was not a better and uninterrupted practising. On the contrary, I used to fall asleep. Obviously, these disturbances motivated me to practise with even more concentration, because I had to gather all my concentration in order to get not disturbed. This struggle helped me to focus better on the exercise. Thus, the disturbances had something good about them." (Ballabene)

"I was lying in my bed and I was in the etheric state, I could clearly tell this from the typical signs and body sensation. My awareness was low, though, and I was going on meditating. As soon as I found myself in this state, my mother and my brother came into the room and told me to come for dinner. Due to my unconscious state, I considered it a real situation like in everyday life and I called out to them, I would be there in a minute. As I did this, I woke up in my physical body and was annoyed that I found myself being fooled again." (Corra)

Regarding the persons which are disturbing us there, it does not seem totally clear who they are: are we encountering inner imaginations, psychogons (pseudo-lives, enlivened thought forms) or astral appearances of living or dead persons – or are maybe all these options possible?

Further experiences:

The good advice (Ballabene):

"This is an example for a typical dream-like scene as it occurs when inducing a false awakening through the above mentioned technique, sitting in a chair: my wife came in without turning the light on. She told me that the window was open and I could get a cold, I should rather go to bed."

The annoying family (Corra):

"As I woke up I laid in the bed of my old room in the house where I used to live years ago. My mother and my brother were in the room as well and again this time they tried to prevent me from going out of my body. I was half conscious and knew that I could separate my etheric body from the physical. I kept concentrating on my etheric body, although I still felt my physical body. My consciousness shifted more and more towards the etheric body and I could sense the circulation of the fluidal matter around me. While my mother and brother kept talking nonsense to upset me, I was ignoring them, because I was familiar with this state and knew I had to keep focus. I still felt the circulation of the etheric matter and slowly I felt myself wrapped in darkness as I floated upwards. Then the separation was done, although I still was in the etheric body and felt quite heavy. Firstly, I did hardly notice the difference between the state now and the state before, but I realized that it was dark now in the room and I was alone, my mother and brother were gone suddenly."

Go to bed! (Ballabene):

"I had drunk a bit too much coffee in the evening. So I was fully awake and it was useless to even think of sleep. Thus, I left my bed and sat down on my chair, wrapped myself in some blankets and made myself comfortable there. Here I tried to calm down my restless thoughts and to find relaxation. Some time had passed – obviously I had fallen asleep in the meantime – when I heard that G. A. approached me (there exists a kind of empathic space perception, which allows to recognize a person without seeing). G. A. had left the world of the living about 15 years before, but she kept visiting me in these states quite often, so I was used to her and didn’t think of the encounter as something unusual. ‘Stop sitting there and go to bed’, she said, ‘it is already 4 AM’. I opened my eyes (the physical eyes) and went to bed. Only on my way to bed I realized that I had been fooled by a ‘guardian of sleep’ and thus, I had missed a possible OBE."

I never have had sleep paralysis in false awakening, I could immediately move my body and so I never knew if I was in false awakening or in awake state. For this reason, I had to go on with my meditation or affirmation until I had definite OBE symptoms. Even then, I can decide consciously if I move my physical or my fluidal body.

Another hint on how to keep a suggestion which is long enough: at least half an hour of suggestive imagination/ meditation is necessary to cause an automatic repetition of this monotonous activity after the slow-wave sleep phase. Thus, it can occur that you fall asleep too early when having a great need to sleep, and so you’ll only have a normal sleep then (without false awakening). Well, with a bit of coffee in the evening I could sometimes help to stay awake longer – but I’m doing this very rarely and only when the need to have an astral encounter is very urgent.


As the body is unable to move due to sleep paralysis, our subconscious uses the subtle body as a replacement, and this is the crucial point. It means that our consciousness is already in our subtle body, and so it is very easy to get into an OBE state through false awakening. It is assumed that people who tend to have spontaneous false awakening do have a natural disposition for OBEs.

It has also been dealt further with this topic here: False Awakening as an OBE method.


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Corra