For inducing an etheric body seperation, a balance between sleep and waking is needed. In this state it should be possible to feel the body perception shift into the fluidal body (this can be felt in typical signs like floating of the legs, of the arms, or feeling lighter). Afterwards, the power of will is needed to separate the subtle body. For this, the fluidal body perception has to be increased actively. This should not be confused with the physical body perception, which happens sometimes (not because of ignorance, but because the sensation of both states is nearly identical as long as one does not move). Especially at the beginning, the differentiation between physical consciousness and a consciousness directed inwards is not easy and it happens all too often that we may confuse the corresponding types of body perception. Additionally, we must not lose ourselves in fantasies and imaginations, because in the process of separation it is not the sense of vision which ought to be promoted, but the motoric perception. Otherwise we’ll get lost in dreams and reverie.
If the conscious process of separation has suceeded once, the fluidal body can move completely free. The transition between material-physical heaviness and dream-like lightness is smooth, all stages in between can occur depending on the density of the etheric body (resp. the amount of etheric substance which adheres to the astral body, see Loosening of the Etheric Body).
It’s best to try different methods to induce separation, because the chances of success vary individually. By testing out various methods, we are able to find out what works best for us. There is, by the way, no danger for healthy people in practising body separation (sometimes literature exaggerates this point, maybe because people want to look like knowing and advanced persons, so they emphasize the dangers and the uniqueness of the phenomenon). And: no, you won’t be in danger to die when you’re out of your physical body. That’s another unfounded fear wich unfortunately is quite well spread. But just think of the fact that millions of people are outside of their physical body every night without knowing it (which happens e. g. while we’re dreaming, see "dream symbols of body separation"). If they aren’t in any danger, then you won’t be in the slightest danger when being out in the etheric body with full consciousness.
Preparatory exercises to develop an imaginary sensoric perception
With the following exercise we train awareness of sensations like pressure, heaviness an warmth. This exercise is particularly suitable for training imagination of sensoric perception. Thus, it helps us to perceive and guide our own energies better.
The exercise is done while sitting or standing upright.
Compressing an iron rod
We imagine that between our hands we hold an iron rod (about 2 fingers thick). Arms are a shoulder’s width apart and the iron rod is in contact with our palms.
We feel the iron rod against our palms.
Now we try to compress this iron rod. Of course this is not so easy, because an iron rod is very hard. Only slowly we achieve to compress the iron rod. While doing this, we feel the pressure on our palms and we realise that the iron rod gets hot because of the pressure – we feel the heat on our palms.
At the end, we have compressed the iron rod so far that our palms are only a short distance apart now. The iron rod has turned into a red, glowing orb.
The iron rod turned into a red glowing orb. We feel the warmth on our palms.
We can very clearly sense the heat of this red glowing orb on our palms. Now we slowly bring this globe of energy to our chest. We let its warmth stream into our chest and from there the heat spreads over our whole body, we can feel that.
Warmth flows through us.
Continuing the exercise in order to reach deep immersion
For this, you can lie on a matress or sit in a tilted body position (about 45°) in an armchair with adjustable backrest, which prevents you from falling asleep to easily. The head should not be bent too much backwards, because then your mouth will open automatically and you’ll start to snore, which will undoubtedly break up your concentration. With the head slightly bent forward, the imagination of tilting forwards will be promoted later (tilting out of the body).
You focus on your body (the whole body) and you feel through it; if possible, together with a space perception of your body. As a continuation of the exercise above (pressing an iron rod), now we feel a centre of heat inside of our chest. It is possible to continue the exercise in different ways, but now sitting or lying. The steps described below are not to be imagined in your head (!!!) but you should try to really perceive the described imaginations by feeling through your body.
- we let the energy circulate through our body, whereat we feel inside how this "bundle of warmth" wanders forth from our chest – usually up the back and down the front
we focus on our feet, and, from there, the legs, and we fill our body with warmth and energy
instead of warmth, it is also possible that we feel how the ball of energy gives us a tingling or "electric" feeling – we can let the tingling or "electricity" wander through our body in the same way as warmth
- our inner perception should be focused on the suggestion "my body gets heavier and heavier"; or, alternatively, the feeling of getting lighter and lighter and to float upwards
- feeling into the body: sense the blood circulation (but do NEVER practice directly on the heart!)
second version: we sense the heat of our body and feel how our breath animates our body and flows through it
warming exercises: we develop the sensation of heat in our palms or soles of the feet. Then, we let this sensation wander or circulate through our body
"Body scan": we focus on our body surface, but only on a very small area of a few centimetres, and we feel through our body in this way as if we would scan or palpate it. In so doing, we experience our body in a new way
Pore breathing: we imagine to breathe in and out through our whole body surface. This may be easier to do when not iagining to breathe air but instead strength, love, pureness etc.
perception of swaying/ rocking back and forth (as if sitting in a rocking chair)
Take the feeling of rocking back and forth with you into your immersion or semi-somnolence.
listen into your body and feel how warmth is flowing through it
let your consciousness oscillate between body and space, following your breathing rhythm (exhaling: imagine to expand your consciousness into the room before you; inhaling: focus on the centre of your body)
While going deeper and deeper into the state of immersion, it is not necessary to feel the whole body. It’s possible to let your focus wander from one part of the body to another, or to concentrate only on a certain part. The key of it is the monotonous process of concentration, which allows the body to relax and fall asleep, but your mind will stay alert instead. During these exercises, a deeply relaxed state is reached. Sometimes you may doze off and then wake up again, whereat you will go on with the exercise automatically. When falling asleep, a false awakening may occur (see description below).
In contrary to oscillating between light sleep and awake, falling asleep deeply leads to failure of the exercise. Falling asleep deeply can be prevented by:
upright body position (adjust backrest)
slightly lower temperature (less warm blanket or clothes)
turning on a dim light (but not candles – it’s too dangerous to light candles while you’re not able to watch them) or let the curtains a bit open in case you drew them, in order to regulate the lighting conditions – dim light conditions are best
First signs of loosening – first opportunity to induce a conscious separation
While we are still occupied with the concentration exercises explained above, after a certain time typical symptoms will occur. They are a sign that our fluidal body begins to loosen, our consciousness shifts towards the fluidal body now. Those typical signs are:
- feet or hands begin to float (as if we would sit in water)
the body feels lighter and somehow different (it’s hard to describe but you’ll feel that something is different from normal)
IBE phenomena can occur, e. g. vibrations, acoustic perceptions, seeing with closed eyes (see: "IBE states")
The process of separation
When trying to induce the body separation for the first times, the process often takes a lot of effort and is unsuccessful many times, because the fluidal body is drawn back to the physical body again and again. It seems as if we are stuck to a rubber-like mass or as if rubber-like, tough bands are tying us to our physical body, similar to a stringy mass of glue. Sometimes it even can be heard or felt vividly when these strings are tearing. According to occult teachings, these bands are made of etheric matter (on the consistency of etheric matter, see also Ideoplasticity of the etheric Body). Before we can separate our etheric body, we have to overcome the resistance of this tough, rubber-like etheric mass.
"I managed to come into the state where I felt that my etheric body was loosening from the physical. I immediately tried to pull myself out of the material body. For a few moments, it seemed to work and I was straightening myself. But while doing this, I felt, how a kind of sticky fibres tied me to my physical body. As I slowly floated upwards, I heard how these fibres or threads squeaked as if they were made of rubber. I managed nevertheless to stand upright, but when I tried to go one step forward, I was drawn back into the physical body almost immediately." (Corra)
There are several methods to overcome the resistance of the etheric mass:
swaying/ rocking out, gaining more and more momentum
pushing yourself away
rolling out (when in lying position)
swaying out (when in lying position)
During the whole process of separation, we mostly aren’t able to see but instead we’re wrapped in blackness. This is mostly the case after the separation as well, at least for a certain time, which is while many people are scared at this point and don’t dare to go any further. But we shouldn’t get frightened by the fact that we can’t see anything, there’s no reason to fear, and after a few meters, mostly our vision is activated automatically. While not seeing, we mostly have a kind of inner space perception, which can be so precise that we may even perceive colours without seeing them. It’s like seeing with another sensory organ than with the eyes (see also: OBE in etheric Body).
Another method of active separation, although rather uncommon, is to use the rotation which is sometimes also occurring during passive "taking off" (see Loosening of etheric Body). I did this only once, so I don’t know if it works well in general, but maybe it’s a little inspiration:
"My fluidal started to loosen and I began to sway back and forth to come out. But when this did not help, I began to rotate deliberately; that means, I only induced this rotation by gaining momentum deliberately, and then it increased on its own. I wildly spun round an axis which was at my head. Then I stopped the rotation and tried to come out. Only slowly I managed to stand upright, but it worked in the end." (Corra)
Separation process caused by overtiredness
Sceptics who don’t acknowledge out-of-body phenomena will interpret these phenomena as disorder in the cerebral functions or as hypnagogic phenomena. But this is inconsistent with the fact that in this out-of-body state the room can be seen from another perspective, or it is even possible that other rooms beyond the field of vision can be entered and events there can be perceived.
Keeping guard (Ballabene):
"Guru Ananda was ill and she needed my help. So I sat on a relatively uncomfortable wooden chair at the side of the desk and I tried hard to keep my eyes open. But this didn’t work very well, so I did a bit of gymnastics by turning my head and moving my arms to keep myself awake. However, every now and then I found myself being at a distance about one or two meters from the chair, close to the desk. Everytime when that happened, I was not aware of the situation in the first moment, and only a few seconds later I realized that this couldn’t be reality. ‘I am supposed to sit on the chair, because I have not moved at all’, I said to myself and moved my body again to gain full wakefulness. This helped and I was back on my chair again.
This happened countless times. Apart from the change of location, there was no difference compared to my normal state. I saw the room as I saw it usually, in all details, but my body was remarkable light in the other state."
Keeping guard, second time (Ballabene):
"Guru Ananda was ill and I sat by her side to keep night watch. I had been sitting there for hours already and I became very tired, but I did not even allow myself to have a short nap. After a few hours, the following happened: my etheric body toppled out of the physical body again and again. As soon as I noticed this, I moved my body to wake myself up. I did not allow myself to fall asleep. This occurrence repeated every few minutes during about two hours."
The etheric body kept toppling out again and again.
S. Muldoon, H. Carrington, "The Phenomena of Astral Projection" , pp 89-90 The Rosseau Case.
The name of the subject in this case was not given. I caption it "The Rosseau Case" merely because it was translated for me from the French by my friend, the writer, Victor Rosseau. The subject, a soldier, says:
"We left Monchiet in the afternoon, and, after a dreadful march along a muddy road, mixed with melting snow, we reached Beaumetz in the night. A short halt, and we started for Vailly, on the firing-line. We entered a trench about a mile long, which seemed to us interminable. The liquid mud was up to our knees. The frozen rain made it impossible to see.
Finally, we reached the spot where we were to relieve a French battalion. We were in one of the worst of the trenches. H. and I were chosen for guard duty at the same time. We were so fatigued that we had not the strength to curse our bad luck. We were prostrated and frozen to the bones, starving with hunger and with nothing to eat.
There was no possibility of lighting a fire and not an inch of dry ground on which to sit; no embrasure in which to light a pipe, to stave off the pangs of hunger. Neither H. nor I would have thought before this time that human beings could suffer so much.
Several hours passed for me in this horrible situation, and then everything changed in an unforeseen manner.... I was conscious, absolutely conscious, of finding myself outside my body. I knew that this was I a real and conscious spirit literally freed from the corporeal organism.... From without, I examined my wretched body at tired in green-grey, the body which had formerly been my own. But I looked at it with complete indifference, as if it belonged to another.... I knew that my body had to suffer in an atrocious manner, but I, that is to say, my spirit, felt nothing.
As long as I remained in this state of existence, it seemed to me that it was a perfectly natural happening. It was only when I re-entered my body that I was convinced of having gone through the strange experience. Nothing could destroy my absolute, certain, and intimate conviction that on this night my spirit was temporarily separated from my body...."
Separation caused by an accident
T.: "In the night after the car accident I woke up. I saw many, very high and light beings standing around my bed. I knew that they had come to take me with them. I had no fear. I felt that I was separated from my body and I felt a new but still familiar atmosphere – the atmosphere of death. I became one with it, and a deep feeling of love and protection, a feeling of coming home, filled me inside. It was wonderful. Suddendly I heard a voice behind me: "your wounds are not that severe. You don’t have to go because of them." Immediately I was drawn back into my body. But I didn’t want to go back, because the longing for my otherworldly home, that I had found again, was too strong. I tried to separate from my body again and I succeeded in doing this without any problem, for my longing helped me. I floated upwards and went away, but I have no memory of where I went."
Separation during narcosis
Nowadays, anaesthetic techniques have been improved and are more precise. Separation of the subtle bodies does not longer occur during narcosis. However, in times where ether anaesthesia was common, separations were happening quite frequently. Reports about this are from this period of time.
Redrawn after a picture from S. Muldoon and H. Carrington, "The Phenomena of Astral Projection", p. 56. There you will find some reports on separation during narcosis.
After countless reports, it seems to be typical for this separation during an operation – a separation that has been induced by force – that one has the sensation of "whirling out and up like a propeller".
Experience of second body in an (religious, shamanic) ecstatic state
From a letter – with permission – some words about the person’s world view, that have nothing to do with the topic OBE, have been left unchanged because they give precious insight into the psychic environment.
"Oddly, I had my first astral experience when I became a Christian. Suddenly, I was standing before Christ (the moment before I was in a prayer meeting). What was so interesting to me at the time was that I thought everyone knew I had left the room, as far as I knew I had left the room. It was reported to me that I fell on my knees during the experience.
At the time I didn't think of it as astral travel, I'd never heard of astral travel. Strangely, to me it didn't seem odd, however it was amazing and it altered my perceptions radically. I was so overcome by my new experience and perception of reality that I gave know thought to what people might think of the things I was reporting to have experienced. Now I am much more careful to whom I speak and what I say.
The next OBE I had was during a church service. It was way up in the mountains and this very old gentleman was preaching. He stopped in the middle of his preaching and said there is someone here with a message in tongues, which I will interpret. All of a sudden I was floating above the church hall. It was a very pleasant experience. Someone said to me that I was to give a message in tongues, I remember replying "no way not in front of all these people". Just as suddenly I dropped backed into my body, feeling that I'd done something very wrong (not given the message). After a moment the speaker just continued to preach.
For several days I felt dejected.
Since those days (I was a teenager) I have had many experiences in the realm of the supernatural. Some which occurred during times of meditation. However, my experiences have some significant differences to those I read about in books on the astral world and such. In particular, I have on several occasions met with spiritual entities that were evil.
Also, on two separate occasions I had the chance meeting with people I befriended who turned out to be highly psychic but also in league with evil spiritual forces. One knowingly (but he was highly deceptive) and the other was quite unaware, on a conscious level at least.
I do not denounce everything that is not regarded as a Christian experience as being "of the devil". But unfortunately I do acknowledge the existence of evil. Mind you, I would rather not. But to ignore the danger would seem to me folly. Everything doesn’t boil down to good and evil, and a lot of Christian ideologies are very narrow and exclude any other possibilities. There are things that we just don’t understand that shouldnt be given labels until we have true knowledge. However, for whatever the reason and whatever they are, I know that there are spiritual beings that are dangerous to man. These beings have intellect and purpose. They need not be referred to as demons or devils but they should be referred to as dangerous.
I'm with you on your premise that everyone can have an experience with God. However, I don't believe that spiritual awakenings come without a price. The truth is I have no doubt about the existence of God, nor do I doubt the existence of the devil. But the more you know the more you are accountable for. The more you have taught the more responsible you are to live up to those teachings. The more you judge so much the more you shall be judged.
It would be good to teach people caution in stepping forth regarding spiritual matters. To be aware that whatever knowledge is gained, whatever truths one is made aware of, one becomes responsible for, to embrace, uphold, live and die for. It isn't just a fun thing to do."
© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Corra