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Why we need have no fear of death
on 25 October 2012
There has been extensive work on parapsychology, especially on Astral Projections or Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) and related phenomena, with a vast body of anecdote and speculation around the concept of what is variously called the Astral or Subtle body, or the "double", the idea that there is an etheric counterpart to the physical body, as supported by accounts of OBEs, apparitions, deathbed observations, Near Death Experiences (NDEs), etc. and as indicated by different spiritual traditions.
Here in this contribution to the John Hunt Publishing Made Easy series, we have a straightforward, accessible and short introduction to the concept of the Astral or Subtle body, particularly in the context of the Astral Projection or Out of Body Experience.
It is a very personal account, as the author uses her own vivid astral experiences to illustrate the book throughout, although she does also draw on the accounts of others who responded to a questionnaire on Astral Projection.
After explaining the astral body, the book goes on to describe the inhabitants of the astral world, found at different levels depending on our different states of consciousness, and defined by the author as the Lower Astral, the Planes of Desire, and the Summerland. In this astral world we are told that there are helpers, guides, the recently deceased, astral forms of humans still alive in the physical world, non-human inhabitants and debris. In later chapters the author describes the symptoms accompanying Astral projection, with some thoughts on NDEs (according to an article in New Scientist recently, 18 million Americans have had an NDE), and lucid dreaming, journeys into outer space and other dimensions, and a final chapter on how to prepare for our own Astral projections if we are so inclined. Indeed the author explains up front that the book is intended as a map for our own astral journeys.
It is an easy read for all those who are curious, even cynical or sceptical, about the paranormal and prepared to find out more with an open mind.
It is clear that conventional science cannot explain many paranormal experiences and there is a need to expand the boundaries of science. It seems we have to arrive at an expanded idea of consciousness and reality to accommodate the different stories we hear of individual experiences such as these described so vividly by the author.
It is hoped that books such as this one will help to stimulate more open discussion and research, change the minds of the skeptics and filter through to society at large that such phenomena are respectable subjects for further study. It is encouraging that this is beginning to happen.
Along the way the author urges us to wake up to reality and become conscious that life may be but a dream - per Ram Dass - and she muses on the importance of allowing our young to be open to this idea. Otherwise, she says, we deny our young their spiritual birthright and leave them open to finding their experiences through drug and alcohol addiction.
As an aside, I was also intrigued that my passion for travel might be a displaced longing for my spiritual homeland.
There is a short bibliography and suggested further reading with a few useful websites.
If I were being really picky I could say that the book could have gone further - to emphasise that the subtle body is not just about the individual - but with what happens between us. It connects us with the environment, with society and with the cosmos.
Could this work bring healing into medicine, a matter dear to my own heart? If medicine were to take a greater note of the etheric double, would this give a greater insight into many of our mental health issues? There is brief reference to "depression as a spiritual journey", which happens to be the title of another book by the same author. Might it be possible also that these various extra sensory and subtle body experiences may provide an empirical basis for some of our traditional religious and spiritual beliefs, making them more rational? Having said all that, the book does what it says on the cover - it is Astral Projection Made Easy, and it fulfils that promise. The author may like to explore these issues further.
For the sake of the future of humanity do we need to all become more aware of our connectedness, at all planes of our existence, at all energy levels, which would facilitate the much needed cooperation between all humanity on a massive scale? For this to happen we need to be not only better informed but also wiser. This little book is one step in that direction, it is important for the contribution it makes to the debate, and I enjoyed reading it. Review by Eleanor Stoneham author of Healing This Wounded Earth and Why Religions Work: God's Place in the World Today.