The second main occasion for conscious exploration beyond the body happened during the daytime, one Saturday or Sunday afternoon, while I was sober but (if truth be told) recovering from excessive drink the night before. My fragile physical state induced me to lie very, very still, very, very quietly, on my own, on the bed. It was actually quite pleasant.
As my body slipped down as if towards sleep I absentmindedly listened to the distant and disparate sounds of a lazy afternoon, which drifted both in through the open window and down from the living room, where John was watching television. At a certain point I recognised that I had fallen into a meditative state of almost total relaxation, but had managed to retain mental consciousness.
Avid adolescent reading of Carlos Castaneda, tales of the Happy Hunting Grounds, physical transformations, the hand of God, etc, had inspired me towards achieving the zen-like state of being and awareness for many years, precisely so that I could attempt an out of body experience without dying. For this reason I already had an idea of which barriers needed to be overcome. I had come close to my aim on other occasions and recognised certain signs as being my prelude to ‘astral projection’.
One of the signs I’d come to recognise over time as a herald of impending separation from my body, was a peculiar scenario regarding my right arm. In order to let the body sleep whilst the mind remains awake I find it essential to have a focus requiring no mental effort but which stimulates sufficient interest to distract me from other physical functions, such as: Blinking, twitching, scratching, snuggling, or any other dozy activities.
In this regard, ambient sound is often more conducive than silence, which tends to bring about complete relaxation to the point of sleep. An audible focus, on the other hand, allows the mind to drift, although the noise should not be so stimulating that it actually becomes arousing.
On several occasions prior to this one I had found that this drifting of the mind was often followed by a strangely vigorous movement, a ‘waving of my arm’, which seemed to behave quite independently of my body as a whole. Even stranger was the fact that I could never quite ascertain whether my arm was physically and actually moving, or it was my dream arm flapping anxiously for no good reason that I could fathom.
At such times I tended to wonder whether people would be worried if they could see me, as I realized that if I was physically moving I might have appeared to be having a fit. Maybe I was having a fit, but whatever the case might have been, it usually ended up with me just falling asleep anyway.
This time, however, I seized the moment with a bit more determination and instead of wondering what it was all about, I concentrated on the surreal action until I was able to control it. This took quite some effort: The rest of my body was still dormant but the arm seemed to have a life of its own, as if it were strong but struggling to grasp something. After around quarter of an hour I began to see that I might be able to use it as a kind of lever in order to climb out of my physical shell.
With this in mind and with a great effort of will, I made a powerful swinging motion from my shoulder in an attempt to get out, and was able to direct the movement quite successfully. I was surprised, though, at the amount of resistance I felt, in that my dream or ‘astral’ body seemed to be attached to my physical self by a really thick and springy cord, rather like a bungee rope.
‘Getting out’ was actually more difficult than one would imagine. I had always assumed that it would be like serenely floating away, although I also had an idea that one could be ‘sucked’ out of the body forcibly by an external force.