Hypnic Jerks and Astral Projection
Sleep seems to play a major role in many paranormal experiences. From dreaming about our loved ones who have passed through to feeling like we are under attack in the safety of our own beds, it seems a lot can happen when we enter the world of sleep. While in a lot of cases we are not in control of our sleep and our dreams, some people claim they are able to not only consciously control their dreams through lucid dreaming, but they can leave their physical bodies behind.
* . This is not a how to guide on astral projection, more just exploring it's concept however they are a lot of people who work with this area that will be able to provide you with information if it is something you wish to know more about.
What is Astral Projection?
Astral projection is a deliberate attempt for what could be considered to be a person's consciousness to leave their body intentionally in what is called an Outer Body Experience (OBE).
According to theology, we are thought to have many forms beyond just our physical form.
- Physical body - our physical form
- Etheric body - considered to be the first layer, otherwise known as our aura.
- Astral body - referred to as the subtle body, it is the intermediate between the intelligent soul and the mental body
- Mental body - this is made up of our thoughts
It is said that our etheric body is in contact with our physical body to sustain and connect it to our higher bodies such as the astral and mental bodies. These are all connected by what is referred to as a silver cord. It connects the physical body to the etheric body, onwards to the astral body and finally to the mental body. Metaphysical literature talks about the Silver Cord being almost like our life line. It is thought to be the cord that anchors the astral form to the physical body. It is what allows a person to essentially travel out of their bodies and return. The cord is thought to only sever when the physical body dies.
There are many different techniques used to access this state ranging from meditation to entering a lucid dream. The key is supposedly letting the physical body fall asleep, but the mind is very much awake and allows you to travel in this astral state. Some people say they can see themselves sleeping in bed, others say they have visited other countries. While a person is considered to be in control, much like in a lucid dream, people often report waking suddenly with what is called a hypnic jerk abruptly ending their experience.
What is a hypnic jerk?
A hypnic jerk is quite common. You know that feeling when you are falling asleep and you feel like you are suddenly falling and you wake up startled and with a jerk? That is a hypnic jerk. It is thought it is the brain's way of protecting you. As we fall asleep, our muscles relax and the brain starts to get a bit confused. Remember in many other articles how we have talked about the brain filling in gaps? When all our muscles start to relax and shut down, it could be the brain's way of not quite catching up with the sleep process. Other's believe that it is just a natural twitch from the nervous system as again the body is semi shutting down into a state of relaxation. Then of course there is the notion that it could be our astral form being pulled back to our bodies - remember the silver cord?
Outer Body Experiences
While once scoffed at by professionals, there is more acceptance and more research being conducted in relation to outer body experiences, especially those that happen to a person who is near death. Otherwise known as a near death experience, many people who are close to death report floating above their body and then returning and waking. What researchers find most interesting is the fact that people are able to give detailed information about what they saw while they were floating above, and they were things that were happening at the time. While some believe that it could just be a case of a subject 'hearing' what is happening around them even though they are not conscious, others believe that their astral body became disconnected from their body. As their physical body was not yet ready to die, their astral form was returned to the physical body by the silver cord. There is a lot of research into the concept of NDEs which is something that deserves its very own article. I will soon be publishing an article about this very topic and the research that Dr Raymond Moody has performed in this highly interesting area.
Did I experience a hypnic jerk or did I astrally travel?
That is not something I can answer for you. I suppose the first question to ask yourself is were you trying to astrally project? Did you fall asleep with this intention? Were you going through some sort of meditation process to achieve this? If it was just a random occurrence when you were falling asleep, it is likely just a hypnic jerk. We have to remember that our bodies do go through normal process when it shuts down to goto sleep and the hypnic jerk is one of these instances. Different parasomnias have the same symptoms as a lot of reported paranormal experiences. Sleep paraylsis is often thought to be a spiritual attack. Hypnagogia can often cause a person to hear a voice as they are drifting off to sleep which others feel is a spirit calling their name. In everything I talk about, I always encourage you to look at things in context. Sometimes we make things out of nothing, but other times there are things that we cannot ignore either. It is up to you to make that determination.
It seems that like with anything, the concept of astral traveling is one that takes a lot of discipline, time and practice. I know people that have been working to develop this technique for years with no success. I know others that tell me they can do it easily and just have to think about it as they fall asleep. As to why some people can so easily while other can't I guess is a mystery. Why are some people more prone to seeing and experiencing paranormal phenomena more than others. Do mediums have a higher success rate of astral projection that someone who is not a medium? Is the same component that allows a medium to see things different the same component that allows their astral form to leave their physical form?
Most people, even science is starting to come on board to the idea that our consciousness lives on after we die. If this is in fact the case, then it seems within the realm of possibility that a person could control their consciousness in a way to have an intentional out of body experience. It could also offer a possible explanation as to why so many people have near death experiences quite similar in nature. I know many people close to me who talk about and research this topic quite a lot and spend a lot of their time trying to achieve this state. Like many things, there is still a lot of it that seems to be unknown.
So I would love to hear from you! Do you astral travel? Have you had an out of body experience? Do you have any tips for astral projection? Tell me in the comments below!
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