Threshold States in Spiritual Immersion
Heavy Limbs, Feel of Weight
Heavy limbs and the feel of weight are good signs. These impressions result from a beginning sleep paralysis. These experiences are used in hypnosis as suggestive commands. (cf. “arms and legs become heavy”)
“Within seconds my whole body becomes heavy as lead. Sometimes I am able to free myself, if you can call it that. With extreme effort I sit up and reach for a glass of water that stands on my bedside table. But when I miss the appropriate timing – it doesn't matter how hard I try – everything in me freezes.”
Feeling that the Body or Body Parts Deform
As we move in everyday life, our brain is constantly provided with information about our body posture and its limits. Even if we are not moving but have our eyes open and look around, our brain gets that kind of feedback. If we sit with closed eyes and meditate or practice the spiritual immersion, this is not the case. After a while, we become disoriented concerning the limits of our body or the posture we are in (e.g. impression that we sit crooked and may fall over).
“The only thing I feel is that my hands seem to turn into clumps. It seems like they become numb. […] While meditating, I often feel like I tip over to the side. When I open my eyes I see that I sit straight.”
“In my case a disturbance manifests as follows: always before getting deeper into the state, the right edge of my chin starts itching like crazy. It is unbearable and only occurs in this one spot. Oftentimes, I couldn't withstand it and had to scratch myself. Then the OBE attempt failed and I had no second chance.”
From a letter:
“And I have the feeling that my body wants to vex me by itching :-). At first, I feel an itch and bear it until it stops. Then I have to swallow and as a result I leave the state of relaxation a bit more (fortunately not much more). Immediately, the itching starts over in another spot.
So I tried to concentrate on not swallowing. I almost did it but then the reflex suddenly came over me. Fudge! Occasionally, I felt a strong tingling sensation.
Tonight something new happened: Suddenly, my right ear was itching so bad as if it wanted to rudely get me out of my relaxation (and so it did :-))) ). It was like someone was pulling my ear although it didn't feel like pulling but like an extremely strong and sudden itching or tingling. It is hard to describe. I downright jumped out of relaxation and my whole body was itching and tingling. I had to brush it off with my flat hand.”
“My problem is that I can relax best in lying position. When my body starts to vibrate, I often get the impression that I have to swallow saliva. This might be the logical consequence of the lying position because it results in my tongue sliding backwards. If I lean my head to the side I am not able to relax anymore. So I try the same in seating position but like in sitting posture the swallowing problem occurs.”
The problem is well known to me as I had this struggle for years – and found a satisfactory solution for myself:
I practiced in seating position like you. I let my head hang down and didn't bother myself with the salivation anymore. I had the impression that a huge amount of saliva must have flowed out of my mouth and thought that my pullover is probably soaking wet. However, after coming out of my immersion I found that my pullover was completely dry. No saliva flowed out at all.
Coincidentally, I made the following experience later:
While practicing the spiritual immersion, I opened my inner eye and saw ectoplasm flowing from my mouth. I was able to observe it intensely – it was a light-gray, honey-like and slowly flowing mass with dark-gray “granulate”. (Before this OBE attempt I also observed the strong salivation.)
All of a sudden, I had the explanation for my problem.
Hyperventilating after a Panic Attack
“... unfortunately the shock was so overwhelming that I started hyperventilating. In that moment I didn't know why I was hyperventilating though. I thought I had to die and went to the hospital in distress. The doctors told me that I had an anxiety attack. Ever since, I always tried to stay on the ground and not to deal with anything spiritual.”
Vibrations are an oscillation of the etheric (fluidal) body. At least they should be. The body can also shiver due to nervous tension but that has a completely different feel to it (if one is familiar with both states and can compare them). Sounds, that are heard before OBE are fast vibrations (oscillation). Acoustic waves are oscillations that are perceived by our ears as sounds (approx. from 20 to 10000 Hz).
From a theosophical point of view the vibrations come from a loosening of the etheric body. As soon as the fluidal body is loose Kundalini phenomena, “take-offs” and other paranormal events occur (see Loosening of the Etheric Body).
„For nearly two years now, I have very intense dreams that lead to some sort of vibration. These vibrations are often really strong so that I so far always panicked and had to force myself to wake up. At the time I didn't know what these vibrations meant but since last summer I had several OBE and astral travels that were of positive and negative nature … What is baffling me is, that the vibrations sometimes are somehow pleasant. The pleasant vibrations often lead to positive OBE. On other days they are so strong that I cannot get myself into them.”
“What is somehow irritating to me is, that this initial state, which here is described by many as some sort of pulling or swooshing, in my case manifests as a pleasant, warm tingling in the solar plexus region. This tingling radiates through my whole body and becomes so strong that I get the feeling that I am lying in the center of an earthquake. My body starts to vibrate like it is charged up. The vibration of my body is so strong that I woke up completely exhausted since recently. I was happy that it was just a dream. I never experienced a strong energy like that while being awake. I felt like a living high voltage system. This may sound funny but it is the truth. Thus, every time I woke up I was surprised that my pulse was normal and my body relaxed. After that I also often go on sleeping calmly.”
Here, the ether flows down the surface of the body. This may feel cold or warm or like “electric current”.
Inside the body – occurs when packages of ether substance move (shift)
From the ground – slow vibrations along the main body axis that feel like an earthquake
Waves occur when the ether flows and vibrates.
Chakras as Funnels
They originate from an exchange of subtle material resp. energy between the inside and the surface of the body. They can be compared to the funnels that can be seen when water goes down the plughole of a sink.
“Yoga session with Guru Ananda: My whole chest was feeling vitalized and I was able to control my energies surprisingly well. The waves entered only the Anahata. In the last part of the session I even dared to enliven the forehead chakra. When I practiced Mauna (sitting in silence) I clearly saw in the center of my eyebrows the following image: A tube of the size of a pencil was emerging from the middle of my forehead. The further away from my forehead I observed the bigger was the tubes diameter. The shape can be compared with a totally symmetrical chanterelle. The tube was a bit larger tho. In a distance of approx. 5 cm the opening was nearly as big as the forehead. For greater distances I could only perceive a fine mist that totally disappeared for even greater distances.
The funnel was bright and nearly colorless. It shimmered slightly in an orange-yellow shade that was mixed with a light blue.” (S.)
Remark: “In a distance of approx. 5 cm the funnel ended.” Here, I may point out that the etheric body overtowers the physical body about one palm. The funnel (chakra) therefore ends at surface of the etheric body.
OBE-letter 99:“... Another experience I had evolved around an absolute nothingness. I was laying in complete darkness on my back in my bed. I woke up but didn't see anything. I got the feeling that my memory is vanishing. Even the sound you hear when it is silent had vanished. At this point in time there was nothing: No sounds, no thoughts, nothing to see. After maybe one second “I was back”. All my physical and mental powers had recovered. I was able to do math and remembered the formulas I learned years ago back in my school day. I could get up normally and do my tasks. I compared this experience with a computer reset.”
“When I get into this state of solidification I sometimes have the impression that I see an ultimate blackness. This blackness I see is that absolute that no fraction of light comes through it. My bedroom is always somehow bright because I don't like complete darkness personally.
Nevertheless I always had the impression that this blackness I observe is more than just darkness. What could this mean or does this even have a meaning?”
Mosaics, Streaks (unstructured color vision)
The perception of colorful streaks and mosaics occurs when it can be managed to get into a deeper state of spiritual immersion. It is the precursor of astral travel (“projection” type). After the seeing of mosaics and streaks a tilting effect occurs. Suddenly, we find ourselves in an astral landscape.
“Last august I went to bed in the afternoon. Before I could fall asleep I felt strong vibrations and my body became stiff and paralyzed. The next moment I was surrounded by very intense colors. Suddenly, I felt something pulling me into this colorful realm. I dived deeper and deeper into this world of colors. As I traveled through the colors I felt highest joy and ecstasy.
Black and white dots formed in front of me. They were attracted to each other like magnets and merged.
Then I saw a bunch of very complex geometrical shapes that were changing continuously. I couldn't identify them intellectually. As I went even deeper inside the scene I suddenly saw white patches that pulled me into them. I recognized the continents of our earth. I got pulled into the continents as if I was coming from outer space down to earth.
The next thing I remember is that I flew over a lake. On the shore was a small cabin with a jetty. At the end of the jetty was a woman moving about. Still floating in the air, I observed her from a distance. The next moments I remember only fragmentarily.
I flew over a forest and then stood in front of a medieval castle. Standing on the ground, I observed the castle from a distance. I felt very frightened; in the meantime it became evening.
Then the vibrations decreased and the images before my eyes became more and more blurry until I was pulled back into my body.”
“Sometimes I become conscious while seeing images on the background of my eyes and start observing them closely. Colorful streaks move back and forth. Primarily, I see colors of blue and violet. These colors become rings that soon form tunnels that lead deeper inside the dark background of my eyes. Then the dynamics change and the blue or violet tunnel moves towards me and soon the entire background changes to a specific color. In this moment my state of mind instantly changes. I feel like I “shifted” upwards. This is indeed the case because when I remain in this state and observe closely, I recognize the taking off of the etheric body.” (Gauri)
© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Seth