Astral Projection; Brain Science or Spiritual Experience

I’ve always found the concept of Astral Projection to be far-fetched. It seemed really spooky that someone who is alive could hover over their own body, even moving around the house in “spirit”. Then, a few months into my spiritual journey, I read the revered saint, Yogananda’s autobiography where he elaborates on his astral plain experiences. I later discovered that other spiritual teachers and masters that I follow, such as Osho and Sadhguru, also talk about this stuff. Even a Noble Prize winner like Richard Feynman couldn’t resist sharing his dream state musings in his book!

So when Chelsea from The Woo Lab podcast reached out, offering to share her astral experiences, I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate! While I don’t consider myself ready to learn this art, I do find it intriguing to hear about others’ experiences. And Chelsea not just offers us a personal reflection, she shares the science-based and spiritual-based side of astral projection too!

I loved reading her in-depth research and insights on the topic, and trust that you will too. Here’s what she shared.

Unpacking Adventures in the Astral Realm

I was certain my brain was buzzing. I could feel my physical body around me like a shell, and at the same time, I could move away from it. But I knew I was asleep. Suddenly I landed in a full-color, tactile, sound-infused virtual reality. A woman was seated on a stool beside me doing a puzzle. She handed me a piece; it was pink and it felt like rubber… FELT like rubber? She giggled at my confusion and said with a hint of mischief, “Do you want to help me put it together?”

Near tears one night, I told my husband that my dreams were beginning to feel as real to me as life itself. My poor husband – who lives as squarely in the 3D world as I do – blinked like I said I’d seen Jesus on a piece of toast. I didn’t want to tell him, but the truth was that I was afraid to go to sleep… and also afraid I was dying.

I experienced astral dreams before I had a name for them.

Initially, a psychiatrist advised me to get a neurologist’s opinion and perhaps a brain scan. I avoided it. Frankly, I was scared to get diagnosed with a tumor. But also, my days were still completely normal – what kind of brain disorder only plagues a person at night?

It took weeks of WedMD, internet, book, and podcast searches for “brain buzzing” and “intense lucid dreams” before I finally matched what I was experiencing: characterized by vibrations, full consciousness, lucid dreams, and a feeling of being out-of-body. Even the initial fear of death was reported as a common ‘symptom.’ Such testimonies were too similar to my own to deny, and eventually, I began to accept that I had joined the ranks of a peculiar minority who astral projects, dreams, or travels.

None of which I necessarily believed in.

Fun Fact #1:

According to a February 2022 article by LiveScience, surveys suggest that somewhere between 8-20% of people have had something resembling an out-of-body experience: “a sensation of the consciousness, spirit or ‘astral body’ leaving the physical body,’ usually during sleep or hypnosis.”

Fun Fact #2:

A live survey of astral dreamers contributes further data; over 75% of 9,000 respondents have experienced this phenomenon less than five times in their lives. I was having them every week. By now, you probably get the sense that I’m a data-minded person. So while I was relieved to finally have a “diagnosis,” I was also left with a universe of new questions, namely: what was really happening to me?

It turns out that whether you defer to science or spirituality, the answer may be shockingly similar.

A Scientific Perspective: Dreams as Projections of the Mind

Neuroscience professor Matthew Walker studies the science of sleep. In his 2021 TED Talk shared below, he summarizes one of the functions of dreams as a kind of overnight therapy, “associated with an enhanced ability to solve the next day’s problems. It’s almost as if we go to sleep with the pieces of the jigsaw, but we wake up with the puzzle complete.”

I saw his talk after my first astral dream: his puzzle reference was not lost on me.

He further explains that dreams help to process emotional experiences, resulting in a better ability to address feelings the next day. But neuroscience has little to say about the thin distinction between astral and lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming is simply a state in which you are consciously aware that you’re asleep, so you can attempt to control your subconscious dream experience. It’s like being in a theme park and realizing it’s your theme park. You could fly around, change shape, or go on rides; very much like being in a custom video game.

Psychologists and dream experts have a harder time pinning down astral dreams with this logic. It’s still a form of lucid dreaming, but with the heightened awareness that you are watching other aspects of your mind go to work.

It would require a scientific theory to address the possibility that our conscious and subconscious are able to become so separate that you feel like a visitor in your own dream, and less in control of it. It’s like being in a theme park and not recognizing it as your own theme park, therefore it must belong to someone else. You can still experience the park, but the events that transpire are operating so subconsciously and separately from your own conscious level of awareness that they feel foreign.

Needless to say, the spiritual community is far more comfortable with the astral realm.

A Spiritual Perspective: Dreams as Introductions to the Other Side

In 1971, radio broadcasting executive Robert Monroe became one of the few people to publish personal accounts of his astral dream experiences in his book Journeys Out of the Body. He’s since been credited with the popularization of the term “out-of-body experience.”

Not exactly a mystic, Monroe thereafter founded The Monroe Institute, an organization geared toward applying research methods to better understand consciousness. Today, the group has evolved into the wellness space, promoting self-actualization with its courses and programs.

Similarly, William Buhlman (Adventures Beyond the Body) and Sahvanna Arienta (Lightworker’s Guide to the Astral Realm) have also published their astral dreams. I read all three books, in an effort to overlay their experiences like case studies and arrive at some kind of consensus.

There is plenty of nuance among their beliefs. Bulman sees astral realms as a few distinct, ever-deepening layers of self, whereas Arienta conceives of seven distinctive energetic realms. But in all cases, the dreamers seem to conclude that something lies beyond our conscious experience on earth; and while the “realms” visited at night may not be physical they do exist as responsive spaces – meaning they sometimes collide with the consciousnesses of others.

More plainly said, you may be able to visit others in astral dreams – alive or dead – through some kind of energetic connection, only available during sleep. This is a major dividing point between science and spirituality.

But although held from a spiritual point of view, the purpose is still wildly similar to Matthew Walker’s theory.

Whether we are visiting the dead, the living, or our own internal mechanisms, we’re still simply working things out: relationships, fears, aspirations, identities, you name it.

Then what’s the point of the dream format? I’d argue that whether we tackle our dream-time jigsaws unconsciously (as with normal dreams), consciously (as with lucid dreams), or in psychedelic technicolor (as with astral dreams) the specific environment seems to tailor itself the best route for learning, digesting and accepting the subject at hand.
But that’s not a scientific or spiritual perspective.

A Personal Perspective

I’m a year and a half into my own astral dreaming experiences. And after plenty of research and numerous podcast episodes on the subject (including a mini-series on dreams), I’m getting more comfortable with imperfect answers and less concerned about the sources.

That’s a core takeaway. We live in an age when the lines between science and spirituality are too distinct to develop consensus about the gray area between them. But that doesn’t mean the nature of what we experience should be ignored.

Whether dreams are deep layers of the mind at work or a mystical adventure we embark on, I routinely find myself growing – my waking and sleeping experiences compliment each other, sometimes changing my perspectives and sometimes cementing them. That’s satisfying enough for now.

But maybe one day, I’ll get to see the whole puzzle.

Concluding Thoughts

Wasn’t that awesome?! It was like a mini adventure to read Chelsea’s insights into Astral Projection and how she came to terms with this mystical experience. Her podcast offers some equally awesome information and personal narration into the world of out-of-body experiences.

**By Vasundhra


5 Replies to “Astral Projection; Brain Science or Spiritual Experience”

  1. harrrrrie

    Denise, you haven’t lost it. Start really wanting it and it will come back.. we are in the Golden Age now. Tell yourself a couple times a day you have it and will experience it again. It’s intention and mind over body at work here. It could take days, weeks or months but if you don’t doubt it, it will show up. This is true for any desire that doesn’t go against our destiny/life plan. For example if you really want to win the lottery, you probably won’t, because it’s not in your life plan. But if you desire abundance financially, physically, spiritually etc, you will because it’s not uncommon or unreasonable. It goes along with loving yourself and believing you deserve these things. God is in us, God loves us and wants what we want to be happy. This age is way more positively productive then even a few years ago. The key is to be positive and loving in all areas of your life. If you have negative things bothering you, face them, cry or scream or talk to a friend, and they will be healed and purged from your being. It opens up areas for positivity.

    Every morning I give myself a pep talk. It does wonders. I have less or no pain, more energy, I smile all day, have way less difficulties to deal with. I’m so much more kind and pleasant and because I have purged my negativity, I have so many more blessings and miracles. Yes, miracles. Wonderful, extraordinary things happen to me and those I love and try to help.

    I don’t want to brag but I give this as an example. Everyone has to live life like they are angels knowing anything they want is their’s. That’s how it is now.

    Maybe you know all this and I’m giving unwanted advice, but perhaps this will help others.

    Also stop believing the medications took away your astral abilities/alternate realities. That’s not true. You had a time of difficulty. It’s there, make it show up again.

  2. spiritual924

    Science is not spiritual. Stop confusing the two. My Knowing comes from experientialism. Science is flawed. God is not. That’s why, in this dimension, I AM not Seen or Heard because your small minds need your senses to verify what can’t be verified. Myself as God aspect already KNOWS and no bit of science is going to prove who I AM. I Am as I AM…either you have the ability to Know my Essence or you don’t. It matters not to me but you will judge and discredit. So be it. I AM as I AM.💜

  3. Denise

    As a child and young adult, maybe late 30’s, I was a Lucid Dreamer. As a child I could also shift at the drop of a hat into “dreamworlds”.
    As a child it’s easier but nobody is ever really paying attention to you so it leaves those easily bored with plenty of time to play elsewhere in their minds. To this day I have still never been able to achieve Mediation though although I’m just starting to try remember and re-establish the process for shifting into those worlds again and seeing if something helps there. I lost the ability to remember my dreams almost two decades ago thanks to Medications Doctors had me on. I miss it.

    1. Ken

      Denise, please tell more about your experiences shifting when you were a child. I find this a fascinating subject and have looked deeply into it. There is actually a new trend on tictok called reality shifting, where mostly kids say they are able to shift their consciousness to a “desired reality” of their choosing through visualisation.