The role of trance in the induction of OBEs (out-of-body experiences), astral projection and even WILDs (wake-induced lucid dreams) is absolutely and obviously essential. It is perhaps the most important step towards wringing these rather convoluted yet extremely interesting and rewarding experiences out of the human mind.
How do you go about inducing trance though and what are the pitfalls that you have to watch along the way?
Trance is a very contradictory phenomenon in regards to the induction of lucid dreaming and phenomena concerning conscious-exit projection.
On one hand, it is indeed a very natural state, one which every one of us experiences on a daily basis. Our minds are essentially built for it.
On the other hand though, the sort of trance needed as a path to astral projection and other OBEs, is not easy at all to achieve and to maintain.
Before we get into the finer points of this rather fascinating state of the human mind, let us see exactly what you need to achieve it.
While there are different definitions of trance and many ways through which such a state can be achieved, we will be focusing on the kind of trance required for having an out-of-body experience or a wake-induced lucid dream.
As I pointed out in my last article, deep physical relaxation is an absolute must for trance. Though easy to cover when sticking to the script I provided, many trance-hunters neglect its finer points, thus effectively sabotaging their trance-focused efforts.
A clear mind (and by that I obviously mean the surface mind and not your deeper consciousness), is also a major requirement. While to some, the clearing of the surface mind might be a challenge, it is normally a rather simple exercise. If you have any nagging thoughts on your mind, simply take a minute to ruminate them for a few brief moments and then let them go for good.
To aid with your trance-induction, you will want to use a mental technique as well. Though slipping into trance is possible without such an apparent artifice, something like the falling mental technique can move things forward in this regard for you by leaps and bounds.
What exactly is trance though and how can it be defined from the point of view of the avid oneironaut, forever in search of experiences, such as AP and LD?
Trance is that state in which you find yourself just as you are going to sleep. Right on the boundary between sleep and wakefulness, there’s a point where your physical shell, your body, is asleep, but your mind didn’t quite get there yet. This is trance.
Given how it results in noticeably (and measurably) less bioelectrical activity in the brain, the state of trance can actually be pinpointed and measured through an EEG machine.
The less such bioelectrical activity occurs, the deeper the state of trance is. This reduced activity, correlated with the altering of the brain waves, generates a bevy of – shall we say – interesting sensations for the person who manages to keep conscious.
As far as readily describable sensations are concerned, the state of trance is characterized by warm and cozy feelings in the body, as well as a general sensation of heaviness.
The mind begins to ramble, often incoherent thoughts running through it. Such incoherence is usually caused by physical and/or mental exhaustion, and as such, it is obviously an obstacle in the path of lucidity at this point.
The heaviness in the body (which turns into complete paralysis as one wades into deeper stages of trance) is a clear sign that one has indeed achieved trance.
Some say that the meaning of this sensation is that consciousness has withdrawn from the physical shell, into a sort of inner projection of self, called the ethereal body. That does indeed explain why with trance, one takes a major step towards external projection.
As alluded to above, there are several stages of trance one can go through. For the sake of simplicity, three such stages have been defined as distinct, though the lines among them are often blurred.
The light trance state is obviously the easiest to attain and the most tenuous to maintain.
Much like a daydream, this stage of trance is characterized by the above described warm and fuzzy feelings in the body, coupled with occasional hypnagogic imagery projected onto the backs of the subject’s eyelids.
A feeling of dissociation from one’s physical shell and environment is also present during this stage of trance.
External projection is already possible at this point, but as already mentioned, this state is quite tenuous and even the slightest physical discomfort can break it. This is why deep physical relaxation is so important, among other reasons.
As one sinks deeper into trance, he/she will arrive to the state of full trance, which brings a few more elements into the sensations-picture.
In addition to the body feeling heavier and heavier, as the links of one’s consciousness are slowly but surely severed with it, a slight sensation of falling rears its head too.
Since trance can best be described as a continuous battle one’s consciousness wages against the draw of the abyss of sleep, or a sort of balancing act even, with the deepening of trance, the draw of sleep becomes more pronounced as well.
As the REM sleep stage sneaks up on the person in trance, occasional dream imagery may sneak into more-vivid-than-before hypnagogic imagery that often accompanies this stage of trance. This should be viewed as an indication that – most likely on account of less than sufficient sleep – the subject is losing his/her grip on trance and is slowly falling asleep.
Most of those who achieve this trance-depth will have to fight off bouts of such REM-temptations, which is best done by simply ignoring them.
This is the stage, during which the loss of control over one’s physical shell can indeed become complete, leading to a sleep paralysis-like state, which can be scary to some.
Some oneironauts have reported a continuous falling sensation during this stage too, which can also startle some people.
It is important to remember that – much like sleep paralysis itself – this trance stage is wholly harmless, despite the radical sensations it generates. One can attempt to pull out of it by repeatedly attempting to perform some sort of minute physical movement, such as wiggling a toe, but if all else fails, and one really wants to exit, simply falling asleep is perhaps the best strategy.
If you’re looking for external projection, a light trance is the stage you need to be in. There’s no need to reach a deep state of trance.
I’d even go as far as to assume that if you have reached a sleep paralysis-like state, you have probably already projected, but your consciousness missed the opportunity to slip into your astral body.
In such a case, you can opt to simply terminate the experiment by allowing your mind to follow your physical body into the realm of the Sandman.
While it is obvious that trance is the handiest and most straightforward way for you to astral project or to attain lucid dreaming, it is just as obvious – even from the above – that it is no walk in the park.
What kind of challenges will you face when trying to attain a state of trance?
The most daunting of these challenges is the continuous “danger” of falling asleep. Needless to say, sleep deprivation exacerbates this problem, and indeed, since most people do not get enough sleep, this issue is a major one.
Somewhat contradictorily, people who do not get enough sleep find it much easier to fall into trance. Unfortunately, they then find it quite impossible to mentally focus, and they end up slipping right past the stage useful for trance work, into sleep.
For proper trance, mental relaxation and a well-rested state are both extremely important. This is the very reason why most people find it easier to slip into proper, controlled trance early in the morning, after waking up, or even during the night.
Some people find it easier to attain a state of trance after waking up an hour earlier than normal. Others set their alarms and awaken during the night for the exercise. In such cases, preparatory actions are usually not required. The deep physical- and mental relaxation needed is provided by the sleep that leads up to the trance attempt.
While some people take to trance like fish to water, others find it simply impossible to attain the state.
If you happen to be one of these people, the first thing you need to do is to methodically identify the weakness at the core of your inability.
There are scores of possible weak links in the trance-chain, as I’ve already explained above.
If you find yourself unable to enter trance, go back to my previous articles and guides and read them through again. Repeat the experiment, paying keen attention to every detail and try to pinpoint the problem.
Do not measure your success against other people. As said, some have a natural proclivity towards this type of mental exercise, while others don’t. Your success should only be measured against your own previous abilities and accomplishments in this regard.
Remember that trance CAN be learned. All it really takes is some patience and practice. The more you do it, the better you will become at it over time.
That said, some people are met with problems on the opposite end of the spectrum: they find it too easy to slip into trance.
The dangers entailed by this problem are quite obvious: you do not want the lines between physical reality and your trance reality blurred. Those who become very good at attaining trance, may indeed get to a point where they’re liable to slip into trance at a moment’s notice and quite unexpectedly.
If you happen to be one of these people, suspend your trance-related activities for a while.
What is my recipe for attaining a deep-enough level of trance to make AP possible?
There are a few mental and physical tricks you can employ to facilitate the onset of trance, above and beyond heeding all the advice I’ve already delivered in this article and in the previous ones.
Assuming that you have mastered deep physical relaxation and the clearing of your surface-mind, let us take a closer look at the mental techniques you can adopt to ease your path to trance significantly.
Before that though, there’s still time for a quick practical tip: when beginning your trance attempt, hold your lower arms up as you’re lying in bed, so they are perpendicular to the surface of the bed. This way, you’ll delay your mind going to sleep, even as your body goes under.
Back to my mental techniques though.
What I have personally found efficient in this regard is what I call the falling technique. It consists of imagining and visualizing a scenario about falling, and then focusing on this feeling. As pointed out above, the sensation of falling is part and parcel of the deeper trance experience.
Through this technique, you will essentially be ushering in this deeper trance stage, “by force” so to speak.
In theory, you should be free to personalize this technique, making it all about what works best for you falling-wise. I will provide a sample script for you though, just to give you an idea how you should apply it.
My sample mental technique script
Having gone through all the preparatory steps and having achieved proper physical and mental relaxation, I like to imagine myself stepping off a concrete diving platform, backwards.
It does not hurt to have already attained a shallower degree of trance before commencing this mental exercise.
As I start falling feet-first (and even before that), I try to focus on the texture of the structure supporting the platform. I usually imagine a concrete/metal combination in this regard, and I see lower platforms whizzing by on my left.
My fall does not actually end with a splash in the water though. It just goes on and on, as the feeling of slight vertigo in my stomach persists.
If you like to be reminded of what this feeling is really like, go and ride an elevator downward, focusing on the moments right after it starts moving.
As I’m falling further and further, I have found that my trance level becomes deeper and deeper.
The mantra I keep repeating in my head while falling is “Let go, let go…” The interesting thing about such mantras is that over time, you can condition your mind to instantly conjure up the whole above described scenario, as soon as you say them once.
The above script is just a sample, in the sense that you don’t actually have to stick to it word-by-word.
In fact, I recommend that based on it, you should develop your own falling technique, based on a situation/experience closer to your own soul.
You can indeed imagine yourself being in an elevator which has one of its walls removed to expose a side of the elevator shaft.
You can also picture yourself falling through colored clouds, or even slowly floating downward on a massive feather. There are no boundaries in this regard, and once you get the hang of the technique, you will find yourself coming back to it time and again.
Taking advantage of the natural state of trance is one of the most reasonable and logical paths towards higher-level mental experiences such as astral projection and wake-induced lucid dreams.
The techniques presented in this article and in my previous/subsequent ones can all be learned and mastered through perseverance.