I used to do a lot of dream work. I spent over a year studying my dreams as a means of inner discovery and self-improvement.
Nowadays I don't do much dream work but I still love applying the gift of dream interpretation for family and friends (word of caution: be careful who you ask to interpret your dreams because they can give WAY MORE information away than you think!).
Anyways, during this particular period my ability to recall my dreams suddenly stopped. I think it was a stress thing. So I started telling myself before sleep that "when I awake I will remember my dreams with clarity".
What happened next was not what I expected; each time I woke up (even during the night) I'd be stuck between sleep and wake states, resulting in sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis, if you've never experienced it, can be scary.
Your mind is awake but your body isn't, so it feels like there's a million ton weight pressed against your body. No matter how hard your mind tells your body to get up you are completely stuck there, unable to move.
This would happen regularly and I actually started to feel a bit frightened. Some times in the paralysis it felt like a dark spirit was crawling towards me from a hiding place under the bed.
It took me a while but I finally figured what the problem was... I had programmed my mind to do this!
My subconscious was merely fulfilling the command I was giving it each night, which was "when I awake I will remember my dreams with clarity".
The result was that as soon as I started to wake up, my subconscious mind sprang to attention and began recalling my dreams, however this was before my conscious mind had reintegrated with my body in the waking state.
I could have simply reprogrammed the command by changing the statement but instead I chose to have fun with it!
I was going to see if I could travel out of my body when I was in sleep/wake limbo land.
That night when I went to bed I repeated my statement then drifted off to sleep. I woke at some point in the night and again my mind woke up but my body stayed asleep.
Now, rather than fighting my way to wake up I studied my surroundings. I could make out my bedroom clearly in the dark but I couldn't tell whether my eyes were open or shut.
I willed myself out of my body and floated through a tiny gap in the window, turning back around to study the bricks on the outside of my apartment. I remember allowing myself to rise above our apartment block so that I was looking down at its roof.
Astral projection can have therapeutic benefits
That was the first of many astral travel experiences but I must say I never used it as anything other than a form of entertainment.
However there are plenty of therapeutic benefits astral travel can provide if you go into it with that intention.
For example, you can heal energetic wounds, gain forgiveness or forgive someone no longer on the earth plane, view past lives to understand your present life better, view Akashic records, meet and learn from your spirit guides.
If you'd like to explore these astral projection possibilities grab the book Astral Projection for Beginners by Edian McCoy. It's perfect for the novice and presented with step-by-step instructions.
Or for a little taster, before you sleep, tell yourself "when I awake I will remember I can astral travel".