In this chapter the magician will learn how to separate his astral body from his physical body by means of conscious training, and how to get to places he wants, not only with his spirit but also with this soul, to places he wants to visit in the shape of his astral body. As we shall see, the emission of the astral body is different from mental wandering or the state of trance caused by akasa. The state during which the mental and astral bodies are separated from the physical body is called ecstasy in the terminology of the occultists. The perfect magician is able to go anywhere he likes in his astral shape, though inmost cases he will content himself with mental wandering or the state of trance. As a rule, the astral body when united with the mental body but separated from the physical body will only carry out jobs that need to be done my physical magic action. When emitting the astral body, certain precautions have to be taken, since in this case both links between the mental and astral body and the physical body, the so-called mental and astral matrix, are loosened from the body. The mental and astral bodies are connected to the physical body only by a very subtle elastic ribbing that shines like silver. If during the period in which the mental and astral bodies are loosened from the physical matrix, the latter were touched by another person, no matter whether skilled or unskilled in magic practice, the said ribbon, being extremely subtle, would break in two at once. The connection between the physical body being thus interrupted, physical death would be the consequence. Therefore utmost care has to be taken right from the beginning of these exercises that nobody should be able to touch the body of the magician when he puts himself in the described state. The thin ribbon would be torn to pieces, the electromagnetic fluid in man being much stronger. Even the tender life-ribbon of an advanced magician would not be able to resist that fluid. A medical expert examining the body of a person killed in such a manner would come to the conclusion that death was caused by heart failure or embolism. In its state of ecstasy the physical body is, a in the case of apparent death, without life and feeling; its breath has stopped and its heart has come to a standstill. The following lines are intended to give you a clear picture of the practical side of the procedure. Apparent death too is a state of ecstasy, though caused by the pathological conditions in the person concerned, which can be explained easily by any magician.
It should be added, however, that the mental matrix, the binding agent between the mental and astral body, is kept working by normal breathing, which supplies the blood vessels with the four elements and akasa via the lungs. We all know from experience that there can be no life without breathing. The astral matrix, the connecting link between the astral and the physical body is kept alive by food. The magician will now become aware of the connection between the food supply and breath and will have found its true cause in the preceding chapters dealing with conscious breathing and well-balanced nutrition. If one point or another is neglected during this stage of development, disharmonies, diseases and other inconveniences will be the result. Many mental and psychic disturbances are caused by irregularities in or neglect of these two factors. Therefore it has been pointed out right from the beginning that body, soul and spirit must be equally developed and kept in order. If the physical body is not well balanced, not strong enough and tough enough, and if it does not have a sufficient reserve of electromagnetic fluids stocked by substantial food, rich in vitamins and minerals, thereby procuring itself an adequate elasticity, ecstasy training could have an ill effect on it. Therefore any magician will agree in that ascetical training necessitating diet reduction must be considered extreme and therefore unhealthy. Many oriental methods demanding asceticism and ascetical training are one-sided and no doubt dangerous to people who are not natives of India and whose physical structure is not accustomed to the local climate. If the magician, however, has been able to develop equally the three steps of existence, i.e., body, soul and spirit, he need not fear that there could happen any disorders in his mental, astral or physical bodies. But the person not going through this course step by step, but neglecting here and there the necessary precautions must account for possible disharmonies. The magician will therefore not start practicing the emission of his astral body unless he is quite certain to have a thorough command over all the steps recommended up to this point. In the case of mental wandering the most subtle part, the astral matrix connecting body and soul, remains in the body, but when the astral body is separated from the physical body, everything is pulled out of the latter, which makes double precautions necessary when one proceeds to ecstasy training.
The procedure to be followed when emitting the astral body actually is quite simple, especially for magicians that have a good command over mental wandering. The separation of the astral from the physical body is carried out as follows:
Sit in your asana posture (though these exercises also can be done when lying down) and let your mental body escape from your physical body. Your consciousness now being transferred into your mental body, watch your physical body. You will have the sensation of your physical body being asleep. By means of imagination you must now think that your astral body, much the same as your mental body before, is being drawn out of your physical body by your willpower. The shape of the astral body must be equal to the shape of your mental and physical body. Then unite yourself with your astral body by entering the astral shape. When doing so you will have a queer sensation, as though the astral body were not quite yours, and therefore you must at once consciously connect your mental to your astral matrix. Otherwise you would not succeed in keeping your astral body in your imagination, the astral being constantly pulled towards your body as though an invisible magnet were working on it. If you watch your physical body during this exercise, you will realize that there are irregularities in your body's breathing. But the moment you concentrate your thoughts on uniting with your astral body and on breathing regularly, you will ding yourself actually united with your astral body.
Right from the moment you are thus uniting yourself with your astral body -- like a spirit beside your physical body -- do not watch anything else but the breathing. This exercise has to be repeated until you have become accustomed to breathing in your astral body which you have drawn out of your physical body and with which you have united yourself spiritually.
As you see, it is only conscious breathing in the astral body that brings about this separation of the astral matrix. If, by repeated practice, breathing in the mental as well as the astral body has become quite familiar to you, you may go another step forward. If you begin breathing in your astral body, your physical body will stop breathing. Because of the separation of the physical body from the astral shape, the former will lapse into a state of lethargy, a sort of morbid drowsiness, the limbs stiffening, the face turning pale just like a dead body. But as soon as you stop breathing outside your physical body, wanting to end your experiment, you will instantly notice your astral body, as if pulled by a magnet, at once being pulled into your physical body which now begins to breathe again normally. But not before you spiritually transfer your mental body, i.e., your consciousness to the physical body, so that the astral and the mental body reassume their physical shape, will you recover your senses and gradually come round again.
What we usually call dying is the same process with the only difference that the matrix between the physical and the astral body is destroyed. In the case of normal death, the astral matrix between the physical and the astral body has been broken in two by a lethal disease or for some other reason, and therefore the astral body together with the mental body, having lost its footing in the physical body, has to emanate automatically from the latter whether willingly or unwillingly. During this process, breathing is transferred to the astral body without the astral body becoming conscious of it. That is why deceased being at first do not feel any difference between the physical and the astral body. They will come to realize it gradually as soon as they notice that the material body no longer is of any use to them, and that the astral body is subject to very different rules (the laws of the akasa principle)! have written about this already in the previous chapters concerning the astral plane. Consequently the practice of sending the astral body out deliberately is an imitation of the process of dying. This evidently proves how near you come to the border between actual life and what we call death when you practice such exercise. Therefore, proceed with caution.
Provided the magician has got a perfect control of sending out his astral body, (1) the fear of death has become absolutely superfluous, and (2) the magician does know exactly the process of his dying as well as the place where he is going after stripping off the mortal frame.
After frequently practicing the deliberate separation of the astral body from the physical one, breathing in your astral shape will become a matter of routine, so that you will not notice it any more and you will experience the same sensations in the astral body as if you were still in your physical body. If you wish to return to your physical body, you have to hold the breath deliberately back in the astral body so that the astral body is able to disentangle from the mental body and to reassume the shape of the physical body. In this moment when the astral body reassumes the physical shape, the body will automatically begin to breathe again, which makes the return into the physical body possible. This should always be considered first. Being subject to very different laws, the mental body does not breathe in the same rhythm as the material body does in connection with the astral body. Only if you have become accustomed to the astral and the mental body going out from and returning to the physical body, so that you can do so as often as you please, considering the precautionary measures with respect to your breathing, only then are you truly able to withdraw successively from the physical body. In the beginning of this preliminary exercise, do not stray far from the side of your body. Thus you have the opportunity to stand beside your physical body or to take up its actual posture, the asana.
An entirely different exercise is to observe not merely the body, but to take notice of the immediate surroundings, similarly to sending out the mental body. After all, it is the same process as mental wandering; you should feel, hear and perceive every single object, with the difference however, that the mind is in a way taking a robe with it - in our case, the astral body, which allows sort of a more physical effect. Supposing you will pay a visit somewhere in your mental shape only in order to observe an event that might cause a good or bad psychic sensation, you can neither perceive nor feel it in your mental body, nor can you be influenced in any way. On the other hand, if you make the same experiment with your astral body, you will perceive it as intensely as if you used your physical body.
In the next exercise you will learn to withdraw gradually from your body, step by step. At first you will feel as it were pulled back from your physical body by an invisible attractive power, similar to that which a magnet exerts on iron. This is to be interpreted by the fact that the bond between the astral and the physical body id fed, preserved and kept in balance by the most subtle fluid. By performing the exercises of sending out the astral body, you are committing a deliberate act against the lawfulness of the natural elements in your body, which must be overcome. Consequently the movement of your astral body requires a greater effort than if you would move away with you mental body alone. This is the reason why you should draw away from your body only a few steps at first, and return to it instantly. Because the magnetic attractive power is constantly pulling and influencing you, it will provoke various feelings in your astral body, such as the fear of death and the like. These feelings must be overcome at any event. Having advanced to this point, you should master all these occurrences. Extend the distance from your physical body with every new exercise. As time goes on you will be able to cover greater and greater distances. And the farther you move your astral body from your physical body, its attractive power will become all the weaker. Later on, when travelling very far, you will find it really difficult to return to your body. This will become a tricky problem for the magician, mainly if he is wandering about in planes or regions that allure him so much that he is beginning to feel a little sad at the very idea of having to return to his own body. Here you see that the magician must be absolutely the master of his feelings, because as soon as he gets accustomed to the idea of feeling quite at home in his astral body, not only on the physical level but also on the astral plane, usually he becomes weary of life, feeling inclined never to return to his physical frame. A longing will overcome him to destroy by sheer force the bond of life that still ties him to his physical frame. Doing so would mean to commit suicide in the same way as on the physical body. Besides, it would be an offence against the Divine Providence and naturally would have karmic consequences. It is quite understandable that the temptation to commit such a suicide is very strong, especially if the magician is nearly pining away for grief in the physical world after all the blissfulness he experienced on the other planes.
Having made good progress in these exercises concerning the sending out of the astral body, so that he can cover any distance, the magician now has the opportunity to use this ability for manifold tasks. He can transfer himself anywhere with his astral body, wherever he likes to be, he can treat sick people by accumulating and condensing the magnetic or electric fluids in the astral body and conveying them to the patients. The treatment with the astral body if by far more pervasive ad effective than by the mere thought-transference or the mental wandering, because the fluids the magician is working with will become effective only on the sick person's corresponding plane
The magician can exert a lot of other influences too. He can materialize himself with the help of the earth element, which he condenses in his astral body on the astral plane under the very nose of an experienced adept as well as a layman to such a degree that he can be seen, heard and perceived with the physical eyes. The issue in this respect depends on the duration of the training and on the capacity of the accumulation of the earth element in the astral body. It is obvious that the magician also can perform physical acts with the help of his astral body. Producing phenomena - as adepts see them - such as knocking sounds, and influence on terrestrial affairs, etc., find a satisfactory explanation here. Really and truly, no limits exist for a magician, and it is entirely up to him in which line he specializes. In any case, he knows exactly how to manage all these things, such as how to condense only one part of the body, i.e., one hand, while the rest remains astral. If he is able to accelerate the electronic vibrations of an object with the help of his imagination, he will also manage to "spirit" away any objects corresponding to the measure of his forces and his development, before the eyes of other people and transfer them to the astral plane. In these instances the material objects are no longer subject to the material laws but will become astral. Therefore it is a mere trifle for the magician to transfer such objects to the farthest distance with the aid of his astral body, and to bring them back again to their original form. From a layman's point of view, such phenomena seem to be chimerae, but any experienced magician will easily be able to produce such and even more astonishing phenomena that otherwise might be spoken of as sheer miracles. But as you have gathered from what I have explained up to now, these phenomena are no miracles, for in the true sense of the word, miracles do not exist at all. The magician recognizes the Higher powers and their laws, and he knows how to utilize them for the benefit of mankind. A number of examples could be quoted here, but some hints may suffice for him, who seeks illumination.
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