Astral Projection Is Real-The ultimate revelation in the new Netflix series Behind Her Eyes is one of those “you have to see it to believe it” moments that has left viewers scratching their heads. The show’s final minutes centre on a revelation of “astral projection,” or the ability to purposely induce an out-of-body experience.
Hundreds of podcasts, books, and courses claim to teach people how to leave their bodies whenever they choose. It’s frequently associated with lucid dreaming, or the capacity to direct your dreams.
Your brain’s body schema–its view of your physical form–is altered when you have an out-of-body experience. Nothing is “leaving” your body, but your brain is not seeing it in the way you are used to, giving the sense that your consciousness is separated for a moment. The soul leaving the body and migrating to some form of new plane of consciousness is often thought of (and shown) in astral projection, however the scientific explanation does not support the existence of a soul apart from the physical body.
The out-of-body experience is not a scientific confirmation of the existence of the soul. Dr. Claude Messier, a professor at the University of Ottowa’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, says to OprahMag.com, “It’s basically a new way that the brain processes.” “It’s consistent with a variety of strange or unusual ways the brain can work.”
We met with Dr. Messier and Dr. Susan Blackmore, a psychologist who released Seeing Myself: The New Science of Out-of-Body Experiences in 2019, to learn more about the science behind astral projection.
Although the phenomenon is true, it is commonly referred to as “out-of-body experience” rather than “astral projection.”(Astral Projection Is Real)
Dr. Messier and Dr. Blackmore, who had her own out-of-body experience in 1970, have spent decades researching these experiences and are sceptical of the typically mystical explanations for astral projection.
“The bottom line,” Dr. Blackmore continues, “is that I believe we now have the contours of a complete neuroscientific explanation of what out-of-body experiences are.” “That doesn’t mean we know everything, but we have a good idea of what’s going on. It’s pointless, if not completely useless, to speak in terms of astral projection, because that’s an old notion that no longer fits the facts.”
Dr. Blackmore says in a 2017 piece for BBC Focus that when “the body schema is disrupted by electrical stimulation,” the brain might lose track of the body, resulting in a sense of detachment between the mind and physical form. This gives you the experience of being separated from yourself, as well as the perception that your body is “outside” of yourself.
Because the vast majority of persons who have them do so involuntarily, and stories of them are based on anecdotal data, there is no scientific consensus on how to induce one.
The various literature on astral projection contain conflicting advice on how to allegedly initiate the experience. Remembering your dreams, breathing a certain manner, being in a state of “deep physical relaxation,” and “energetic body stimulation,” according to Robert Bruce and Brian Mercer’s book Mastering Astral Projection, are all things you may do to increase your chances of having an out-of-body experience.
The term “extra-corporeal experience” (ECE) is also used in some situations, such as in Dr. Messier’s and colleague University of Ottawa professor Dr. Andra Smith’s collaborative study, “Voluntary out-of-body experiences.”
The temporal parietal junction, which was previously thought to be linked to out-of-body experiences due to its involvement with bodily perception, and the cerebellum, which “showed activation that is consistent with the participant’s report of the impression of movement during the ECE,” were among the areas where they observed brain activity.
Adele uses “astral projection” in Behind Her Eyes to leave her body, travel, and effectively spy on people. Science does not support the ability to go to any form of astral dimension. According to Blackmore, experiments were conducted in the 1900s to see if those who experienced out-of-body experiences possessed any psychic powers, but no proof was found.
Out-of-body experiences are frequently depicted in fiction as the soul separating from the body, implying a separation between the two that researchers do not accept.
Scientists in this corner are focused on how the mind and body work together, not on how they appear to be distinct, which is why the disconnect is so startling. Messier relates the phenomenon to aphantasia (when a person can’t produce a mental image) and synesthesia (when a person can’t form a mental image) (when the triggering of one sense automatically leads to the activation of another).
Because of how bizarre and unfamiliar it feels, some people who have experienced out-of-body experiences choose the mystical explanation over the scientific one, according to Messier.
“It’s difficult to believe you exist.”
The concept of “floating above yourself” is based on reality.
The classic representation of an out-of-body experience involves a person feeling like they’re floating above themselves, according to Messier and Blackmore.
One of the reasons, according to Blackmore, is that that viewpoint is pretty simple for the mind to put together. She asked a group of students to close their eyes and imagine the room they were in from various angles, with the majority of them indicating that it was easiest to do so by looking down or from the doorway, rather than from other vantage points such as the floor.
“It’s truly a matter of cognitive simplicity; it’s the most straightforward view to create,” she explains.
Blackmore also claims to have seen the room she was in from a bird’s eye perspective during her out-of-body experience.
Astral projection has its origins in religious writings.
Various religious sources, including the Qur’an and Hindi scriptures, discuss the concept of the “astral body.” Ancient Egypt had a separate idea of the soul from the physical body, which was divided into eight parts, including the “Ba,” which was the most similar to the Western concept of the soul.
While the idea of leaving the body for a spiritual awakening has a long history, Dr. Blackmore believes that the explicit concept of astral projection is more closely linked to Theosophy, a belief system founded by Helena Blavatsky that emphasised spiritual experiences over hard evidence.
“The phrase ‘astral projection’ only dates back to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky in the 1890s,” Dr. Blackmore explains. “There is no evidence of any type to back up Theosophy’s seven bodies and higher astral planes, and hence to back up the term astral projection.”
Physical or emotional trauma can trigger out-of-body experiences.
Out-of-body experiences are typically triggered by stress, physical changes in the body, or traumatic events such as abuse, according to Messier and Blackmore. When the image and understanding of our physical being in our brain—often referred to as a body schema—is disrupted, the mind’s perspective of the body might be altered.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that out-of-body experiences occur when the body schema, or mental representation of our own body in space, is broken. “It’s been so disrupted that it’s separated from sensory input, and we rely on imagination instead of sensory input,” Blackmore explains. “It’s impossible to get rid of your body schema.” It’s built-in…when it’s entirely blown apart, it splits and floats away in your imagination.”
Out-of-body experiences, according to Messier, are similar to the sensation of a phantom limb in amputees, which occurs when a person continues to feel the sensations of an appendage they no longer have. The brain’s body schema has not yet adjusted to the new reality of being without the limb in those circumstances.
“Your brain’s body picture has difficulties anchoring itself to your body,” he explains, “so it’s moving about in the incorrect areas.”
These experiences are difficult to investigate since so few people can leave their bodies on command.
Out-of-body experiences are extremely rare in most people, making them nearly impossible to recreate for scientific reasons.
Messier and Smith’s 2014 study focused on a student who claimed to have had out-of-body experiences her entire life and that she could actively activate them, which is akin to astral projection.
“The person we researched was able to have these experiences because she used to do them as a kid as a game, not understanding it was anything exceptional,” Dr. Messier explains. “She was just passing the time while attempting to sleep, and she’d been having trouble sleeping, which is common among people who have out-of-body experiences.”
Messier and Smith scanned the subject’s brain extensively, though the study was plainly predicated on the assumption that she was speaking the truth regarding her capacity to cause out-of-body experiences.
“I can make myself feel as if I’m moving, or I can make myself feel as if I’m moving.” “I’m totally aware that I’m not moving,” the person stated. “There is no dualism of thought.”
Messier thinks that by conducting this study, persons who have out-of-body experiences will be less concerned that they are suffering from a cognitive problem or handicap. The occurrence might happen to anyone and is unrelated to any mental health issues.
Behind Her Eyes isn’t the only show in which astral projection is discussed.
Behind Her Eyes’ ending is undoubtedly one of the most frightening applications of an out-of-body experience, but it is far from the only one. They appear in films such as The Big Lebowski, If I Stay, Ghost, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in various incarnations.
The 2019 horror film ASTRAL is about a character who has found out how to leave his body and ends up in contact with an evil spirit, while the Marvel picture Doctor Strange has a particularly surreal astral projection scene.
Characters in Supernatural TV shows such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, of course, Supernatural, astral project.
Dr. Blackmore notes that, when done right, out-of-body experiences can be beneficial and enlightening to the public; nevertheless, in many situations, they serve to further divide those who believe they cannot happen from those who believe they can but question the scientific explanations.