More on Bardon's Mental and Astral "Wandering" Vs. Robert Bruce's "Astral Projection"
>> To the best of my knowledge, the prerequisite to attaining a solid or objective proficiency at mental wandering requires a lot of practice of gradual movement and observation of the immediate surroundings, and confirmation, before doing any serious "work", right? <<
That is the immediate prerequisite, yes, but there are also 7 Steps of prerequisite before that! This labor of proving and testing one's accuracy of perception also transpires with the Step Nine astral wandering training.
>> The reason why I mention this is because I believe our terminology is mixed up. The type of astral projection, or OBE, that is mentioned here, is essentially very similar to Lucid Dreams, except it occurs outside of the REM sleep cycle. Some people argue Lucid Dreams and OBEs are essentially the same thing, but induced differently. <<
In terms of the bodies one occupies, a lucid dream is actually more akin to Bardon's astral wandering than to Robert's OBE. The reason I say this is because in a lucid dream and in Bardon's astral wandering, one occupies their own natural astral body, as opposed to Robert's OBE in which one artificially creates a non-native astral "body". However, in regard to the realm explored, you're right, Robert's OBE and a lucid dream share in the fact that primarily the astral substance adhering to the person's own psyche is explored.
>> Anyway, when I was projecting, using Robert Bruce's techniques, the most striking feature of these OBEs would be the lack of sustained objective perception. In other words, when I project into my bedroom (and I've already described the sensations which you told was my true astral form), <<
When I confirmed that for you, I did not understand Robert's technique as fully as I do presently and as a consequence I have to slightly modify what I told you regarding the sensations you relayed. The sensations you described were in line with an astral experience but they were not the experience of your own natural astral body. Robert's technique does not employ the person's own natural astral body and instead, involves the process of creating a non-native astral form. Your mental body does not connect with this foreign astral form to the same degree and in the same ways that it naturally does to your own natural astral body. This factor, *in combination with* the absence of those 8 Steps of prerequisite training, account for the lack of objectivity and reliability experienced with Robert's technique.
>> The reason why I mention this was that Bardon stated quite clearly that practice was necessary to stabilise mental wanderings, and also implied the experience was rather "dull" (in the sense of perception being filtered) compared to a true astral wandering (perhaps a more pure, unfiltered perception relative to mental wandering?) <<
Sensation is an aspect or phase of perception. During true astral wandering, perception occurs through the organs of the astral and mental bodies; whereas, with mental wandering, perception occurs solely through the mental body. Perception through the astral sensoria feels very much like it does through the physical sensoria, but with a sense of heightened awareness. The astral sensations are brighter, more powerful and relay more information than physical sensations. Perception through the solitary mental body however, carries with it no physical-like sensation. The seat of perception is the mental body but the seat of sensation is the astral body. Sensation is a subjective experience and therefore a filtering of the direct mental perception. When you are wandering with the solitary mental body, perception is direct, objective and without the familiar astra-physical sensations and filtration. However, when you are wandering with the conjoined astra-mental body, perception is filtered through the astral body and is highly sensorial in a physical-like way. The astral wandering *feels* more "normal" due to the presence of physical-like sensation and therefore, in comparison, the mental wandering *feels* "dull".
This does NOT mean that mental wandering is itself dull! ;-) It only means that there is an absence of the *familiar* subjectifying sensation associated with the physical and astral bodies.
One deep point of wisdom in Bardon's system of placing mental wandering before astral wandering is that his astral wandering then becomes "mental-wandering-with-the-astral-body", or as I like to say "astra-mental" wandering. This roots the astral wandering in direct mental *perception* instead of just in subjective astral *sensation*. This is significantly different than most forms of astral projection that are rooted in *sensation* instead of in *perception*. I think one reason why Robert's techniques are so popular is because most folks are sensation junkies. ;-) It is common to mistake "wonderful sensations" with "spiritual significance", and "emotional high" with "spiritual growth".
>> So here's what I think, and I may be totally wrong: the modern, western concept of Out-of-Body Experiences and astral projection is, for the most part, more closely related to mental wandering, *not* astral, as people seem to think. The reason why I state this is that astral wandering seems more powerful than a layperson could achieve, and given that any people in close proximity to you while astral wandering could result in death, from my personal experience, I never astral wandered (and the reason I make this assumption was that I've occasionally astral projected, ie, mentally wandered, while my pet cat lay on my chest :) IF I am right, then I would go a little further and suggest that true astral wandering, is what Westerners would attribute to the experience of an NDE, or Near-Death Experience. The reason I say this is, supposedly NDEs occur when the energetic body is ejected from the physical, leaving it an empty shell (as opposed to the assumption that OBEs occur when a *copy* of the original soul, energetic body - whatever terminology you use, is projected). I must stress though, that it would have to be called a "controlled NDE" :) <<
For the most part, I agree with your conclusions here. Robert's technique however, is different than travel with the solitary mental body since one IS occupying an astral form, albeit an artificial one. This changes one's relationship with the astral realm of exploration in comparison to true mental wandering. With solitary mental wandering, the astral realm is perceived with the mental eyes alone. With Robert's method however, the astral realm is seen through mental eyes wrapped in a gauze of plain astral matter. This adds a subjectifying layer to perception that, due to its artificiality, is inherently foreign to the mental sensoria. This layer obeys the general "rules" of the astral materia instead of the will of the mental body (as it would if it were the natural astral body instead of an artificially created one). It's like the difference between perceiving a bitter chill air wearing a warm coat and perceiving it completely naked. With the solitary mental body, you directly perceive the full meaning of the "chill air", but with this shroud of foreign astral matter, you perceive a muffled, distorted and filtered version of it.
Your comparison of Bardon's astral wandering with NDE is very apt. One thing that puzzled me about Robert's technique was that no one seemed to be experiencing the sense of fear that naturally accompanies the conscious separation of the astra-mental body. True separation mimics the death process and, by nature, incites a primitive fear of death within the physical body (self-preservation instinct) which the initiate must overcome.
[This is one reason why Bardon couches his technique in warnings about possible death. By placing it in that context, he forces the initiate into this confrontation with the physical body's reaction. Until that fear is surmounted (i.e., until the *mental body* is in perfect control), the technique he presents IS dangerous since it's the *mental body* that keeps it from becoming a DE instead of an NDE.]
The reason that this fear is not experienced by those following Robert's technique is due to the fact that the person's own, natural astral body is NOT being separated from the physical body. Instead, an artificial astral form is created and the mental body is projected into that artificial vehicle. Therefore, this does not mimic the death process to the physical body and no natural self-preservation response arises.
>> Perhaps I am totally off the mark here, but I strongly suspect OBE is not equal to astral wandering, *perhaps* mental, though. <<
I think you're right on the mark actually, or at least a hair's breadth away. They both take advantage of the exact same universal Laws, but in different ways and to different ends. Let's call them in-Laws, shall we? ;-)
>> Let me get this straight. When you lucid dream, are you using the same astra-mental form as an astral wandering, but merely confined to the realm of the psyche? <<
Yes. It is possible to wander further, but one then leaves the realm of a *dream* state.
>> I think you mentioned before, that interruption from sleep/dreams causes very slight damage to the silver or purple cord? <<
Yes, the uncontrolled "snapping back into" the physical body harms the silver cord that connects the astra-mental body to the physical body.
>> You mentioned that the body's natural defensive mechanisms are in place during sleep, but are unavailable during an astral wandering, hence the danger. Correct? <<
That is part of the danger, yes.
>> I am assuming you know what you're talking of, but the fact is you're learning of Robert's terminology etc using second-hand sources, ie, his readers :) Perhaps we're unintentionally misleading you. <<
:) I recognize that possibility. However, I hear the same thing from everyone who describes and pursues Robert's techniques. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to a written teaching and ultimately, what folks take from it has more practical importance than what the author intends. Even if this understanding is skewed, it is the prevalent understanding and this tells me what folks are getting out of Robert's writings. More than that, it is the *experience* of those I've spoken with and I'm basing my analysis upon *my* understanding of those experiences, not upon *their* understanding of those experiences (nor for that matter, upon Robert's understanding of them). In other words, I'm addressing the result of these practices, not their theoretical basis. My analysis of those experiences is based upon my own experience within the context of IIH.
>> From your experience, is creating an artificial astral copy feasible, especially for those with practically no experience of manipulating elements, for example? <<
Yes, because it has nothing to do with the *conscious* manipulation of the Elements. In my understanding, what's happening is you are condensing the astral materia itself, through a projection of your will and your emotional desire. This is something that we all do unconsciously every moment of our existence. The difference is that here, it is done intentionally. This is the same essential mechanism by which astral larvae are created.
The astral condensation created in such a manner carries the imprint of your will and your desire but it is NOT a "copy" of your true astra-mental body. It carries only a small imprint of one part of your self; whereas your natural astra-mental body, is saturated through and through with all of your own characteristics (it IS *you*).
>> I am still confused with the notion of mental wandering. But I am also aware that I don't need to understand it yet, since I'm still on Step I :) Having said that, I'll try anyway! Is mental wandering similar to the experience of perceiving objects in a non-visual manner? For example, if I were to close my eyes, I would perceive almost every object in the room I would be familiar with know their general spatial position, and perceive the size of the room and feel the restriction of the four walls. Is mental wandering an enhanced version of this (from what I can see as) non-visual, non-sensory perception? <<
There are many forms of mental "journeying" in addition to the type that Bardon describes in Step Eight. Step Eight "mental wandering" produces the purest and highest form of mental journey that I'm aware of. It releases the *solitary* mental body and its practice leads one to the eternal mental body, which the only body capable of crossing back and forth across the Abyss.
The lower forms of mental journeying all retain the link between the mental body and the astra-physical processing of the mental perception. The closed eye, mental probing of your surroundings that you described above, is still centered in your brain bound consciousness and is completely dependant upon your prior knowledge of the room, and also upon how you feel about the objects within the room. The Step Eight mental wandering however, severs this link. This is why it still takes so much effort in spite of having mastered the previous seven Steps. :)
A true mental wandering of your room would be a direct perception of the objective reality of your surroundings. This would not "look" anything like it does with either your physical or your astral eyes. Instead of form, the mental eyes perceive *essential meaning*.
During that Step Eight phase of proving, the student wanders with their solitary mental body and strives to perceive the essential meaning of their *mental* surroundings. [Every physical thing exists in the astral and mental realms as well. The solitary mental body's eyes, can perceive the "real-time" mental-plane level of the physical realm, in the same way that the astral body's eyes can see the "real-time" astral-plane level of the physical realm. And just like the astral body, the solitary mental body can also venture beyond the "real-time" zone.] Then, after returning to their physical body, they look at the same *physical* surroundings with their *mental eyes, from within their physical body*. If the perception of the *mental* surroundings by the solitary mental body, matches what one sees of their *physical* surroundings with their *mental eyes while in their physical body*, then the experiment is a success. If they do not match *in essential meaning*, then it means that during the mental wander, the link to the astra-physical processing of the mental perception was not sufficiently severed and has distorted the original mental perception.
In other words, the Step Eight form is not like stepping out of your body and looking around with your physical eyes.
>> OK. I realise unconscious creation of larvae are part'n'parcel of everyday life for most people, but I think I should ask this anyway: Is practicing Astral Projection, of Robert Bruce's or any similar type, detrimental to the vitality or health of any of the bodies (physical, astral or mental)? The reason I ask this, is that when I projected, I would often feel exhausted afterwards. <<
I think it is detrimental, but not because it is exhausting work. Rather, it's the ease with which confusion and delusion arise that makes it detrimental. I think that any exploration of the psyche must needs be done with clarity, purpose and a full understanding of the "ground rules" in order for it to be beneficial to one's overall health.
>> Since starting IIH's Steps, I have decided to stop practicing these projections. I am not putting down Robert Bruce nor anyone who projects, but I got the impression that it may be a good idea to leave conscious exploration of the psyche (that's essentially what projecting is, right?) until after the Elemental Equilibrium "kicks in", or even further along development. <<
In IIH, the conscious exploration of the psyche begins with the soul mirror work. When approached in this context and in this very direct manner, it's what leads to the Elemental Equilibrium.
>> Nevertheless, I have had some spontaneous projections since making this decision, one of which (seemingly) lasted about two hours (but perhaps significantly shorter in physical time). I am aware of your correspondence online on this very subject; near the end you recommended to stop and analyze your state of mind, your surroundings etc, as soon as you separated. Is that still good advice, or should I simply abort the projections entirely (usually getting up is enough to stop it)? <<
Personally, I look upon a spontaneous event such as this, as a gift of sorts, and as such, I try to take full advantage of it. Unless it's terribly inconvenient timing, I don't abort them. Instead, I go with their flow, analyze them and learn as much from them as possible.
>> You wrote: "The astral condensation created in such a manner carries the imprint of your will and your desire but it is NOT a "copy" of your true astra-mental body. It carries only a small imprint of one part of your self; whereas your natural astra-mental body, is saturated through and through with all of your own characteristics (it IS *you*)." Does this imply that I would only have partial awareness of my Self, and/or partial consciousness? <<
Yes. The mental body (i.e., conscious awareness) cannot fully integrate itself with such an astral form and therefore, the bridge to the astra-physical processing of the mental perception is incomplete. This would be typified by spotty memory of events and frequent loss of control over the experience.
However, I must add that if someone works with this technique long enough, they would likely learn how to compensate for these draw-backs. They would naturally tend to condense astral forms that carried more and more of their own imprint.
>> Quick question. Could a lower form of mental journeying be normal meditation? <<
Yes, meditation is one of the lower forms of mental journeying.
>> How else could I know the *essential meaning* of something, with no prior experience of experiencing the *essential meaning* purely. The objects in my room, for example. When (if) I ever learn to mental wander, will the essential meaning of those objects be similar to how I described my non-sensory perceiving of them? Or is it necessary to experience their *essential meaning* without the physical senses present to be able to fully grasp the *essential meaning* alone? <<
Only the mental eyes can perceive the raw essential meaning itself. However, we are ALWAYS using our mental eyes when we use our astra-physical eyes. In other words, we perceive essential meaning all the time but are focused upon the astra-physical layers of our perception of it and therefore seldom perceive the essential meaning *directly*. We usually perceive it through the astra-physical filter. So, in order to achieve *direct* perception of essential meaning, one must dissemble the normal mechanisms of perception and separate and purify the astral and mental sensoria. The first time you *directly* perceive essential meaning with the solitary mental eyes, there's a sort of "Aha!" experience in which you realize that you've been perceiving this layer of reality all along without recognizing what it was.
>> You wrote: "A true mental wandering of your room would be a direct perception of the objective reality of your surroundings. This would not look anything like it does with either your physical or your astral eyes. Instead of form, the mental eyes perceive *essential meaning*." I have come to understand that; however I feel the analogy of telling a blind person how to see, is an accurate description of how I feel right now :) <<
;-) Sorry 'bout that! Perhaps this will help(?): When you described your closed eye probing of your surroundings, you described the *personal significance* of the objects in your room. Personal significance is an aspect of the subjectifying astra-physical filter. With your solitary mental eyes, this filter is not present and instead of their *personal* significance, you perceive their *universal* significance (i.e., their *essential* meaning). In other words, you perceive the *essential* thing the stirs your astra-physical filter to action and generates *personal* significance.
>> I am having difficulty differentiating how my experience of *essential meaning* of objects can be removed from the astra-physical experience. I realise I am capable of perceiving *essential meaning*, right now.. I just feel that if I was able to peel away the physical, then astral, and see what's left (the *essential meaning*), then, and only then, I'd understand! :) Or am I overcomplicating matters? <<
No, you're not overly complicating matters. :) However, the doorway to direct perception of essential meaning is always open to you. For example, the one-pointedness and emptiness of mind meditations can both lead to direct perception. As an experiment, the next time you engage in one-pointedness, try to go deeper than *personal* significance. Try to look *through* the layer of personal symbol, to the underlying essence (i.e., essential meaning). The "trick" is to isolate just your mental awareness and set aside your emotional and physical awareness.
>> Are there any noticeable effects of a damaged cord? <<
Edginess, fatigue, spaceyness, foul mood, emotional volatility, etc., are the usual outer symptoms. Internally, it's felt as a sluggishness in the process of integrating emotional states (hence emotional volatility as you react to external events). To my astral eyes, a healthy cord appears like freshly polished silver, but a damaged cord looks like tarnished silver with fundamental blemishes.
>> How is it repaired? <<
Physical and emotional nourishment and deep relaxation are the best cures since they support your own natural healing mechanisms. Lesson One in my new Archaeous series is another excellent method, since it mimics how the body itself heals and strengthens the cord at a physical level. http://www.ABardonCompanion.com/MP3-Links.html
>> I'm assuming it DOES repair itself, or else parents of young children would be dropping like flies! <<
;-) And a lot of parents display symptoms. However, with parenting in particular, there are instincts that take over and compensate. Plus there's the factor of the emotional nourishment that a parent receives from parenting, which is very healing in this regard.
It's VERY rare that a cord will be so abused as to actually be the *direct* cause of death. It was designed by Nature to survive quite a bit of abuse and still function sufficiently to support physical life. Nonetheless, its vitality is a part of one's overall healthiness.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
26-28 Oct 2002