By Sharukh Vazifdar February 2010 Travelling beyond the physical to higher planes of being may sound outlandish, but that is exactly what happened at a workshop on astral travel Just two weeks ago I was talking to a friend about how rooted to the physical we are, and we both felt a need to explore higher realms, particularly the astral. When I heard about a workshop on astral projection, I realised this wasn’t mere coincidence, if there is such a thing at all! Immediately I signed up, and eagerly awaited it that weekend.A horde of thoughts rushed through my head as I made my way to Dr Syed’s workshop that Saturday. “Will I be able to do it?”, “Is it easy?”, “What if I get lost?”, and so on. On reaching the premises ten minutes past the allotted time, I found the hall dark and people lying on mats following their breath. Peace prevailed. I quickly joined in and started the relaxation procedure. Within minutes I was in a different zone altogether, the buzzing, hot streets of Mumbai left far behind. Dr Syed guided us through a fairly simple relaxation, instructing us to visualise our consciousness leaving our bodies. On coming out of the meditation, many of the participants in the room said they felt a certain heaviness in the room, probably some sort of presence. The 20 participants at the workshop ranged from the mid-20s to the mid-60s and included graphologists, housewives and bankers.Dr Syed hails from Sufi lineage and has had the opportunity to learn from both Indian and Sufi sages, and western techniques like NLP. Apart from astral projection, he has been holding workshops on past-life regression since the past 15 years. According to him, there are three dimensions of being – physical, astral and causal. Both the physical and astral are characterised by duality, while unity exists in the causal. According to the doctrines of Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, the astral body is one of the energetic constituents of our being which is associated with feeling. The Tibetan mystic Lobsang Rampa describes the astral body as the ‘ego’ (not in the Freudian sense) which is connected to the physical body through a silver cord of light. The most commonly agreed upon description is an energetic body, similar in shape to our physical, that dissociates itself from the physical body during sleep or when in a trance, and can travel to the astral realm and through time and space.Unlike the technique of astral projection that I had read about, where one consciously attempted to rise out of the body, Dr Syed used energy to raise our vibrations and allow us to experience a higher realm. He introduced us to the concept of dual consciousness. Be aware of the body while at the same time experience another reality, he urged us. Now, on hindsight, I realise that we use different senses to experience the physical and the non-physical, so a dual consciousness sounds appropriate. Floating high – Dr Syed On day one of the two-day workshop, we did an astral projection session where we sat in a ring holding hands, allowing us to collectively raise our energies. I felt as if my palms were vibrating and pulsating, hitting against the palms of the other. We then rose as a collective through the clouds to the Himalayas to Mahavatar Babaji’s palace. I couldn’t ‘see’ him but I felt a great presence. I also felt a lot of vibration and saw the colour purple on my third eye. I also noticed that I was involuntarily swaying back and forth, from my neck upwards. The hugging ritual afterwards allowed us to release any excess energy. Everyone was so ‘tuned in’, that we felt a warm, or even hot, connection between our chests during the hugs. In the sharing session after the meditation, almost everyone described a very strong tapping or heat in their third eye region. Dr Syed concluded that since we are laying our first steps on our astral journey, some of what we see or feel may be imagination, but as we gain proficiency, we will be able to see more of the invisible planes. “Ninety-nine per cent of reality is invisible, only one per cent is visible. And the visible is created from the invisible,” adds Dr Syed.The second day promised to be more interesting and intense. Dr Syed started off with a small talk on consciousness before and after birth. Before birth, the soul is based in joy and love, whereas after birth it moves into a fear- and survival-based zone, because of a sense of separation.Since Dr Syed comes from a Sufi background, one of the projection sessions involved twirling, done while standing as well as sitting. Not the fast twirling that knocks one off one’s feet, but the gentle slow twirling that massages the insides and throws your senses off. This twirling greatly raised the entire group’s energy. Shortly after, Dr Syed came individually to each participant, raised their hands and guided them to Mahavatar Babaji’s palace. When he did this with me I could see streaks and flashes of golden light along my arms, as though there were neon lights inside them. Also, this time there was no travelling through the clouds or over the Himalayas; I ‘energised’ there instantly. Once again, Babaji connected to me through the third eye. This time Dr Syed also called down two ascended masters, who are considered prophets and sages. Dr Syed has instructed us to continue these journeys at home and has invited us to the subsequent workshops he will be holding, something I will definitely make place in my schedule for.Fuelling his growing interest in alternative healings and practices, George Thattil says that this workshop was natural progression for him. During his meeting with the ascended masters while astral projecting, a wrist injury that refused to go away for fifteen years, inspite of reiki and acupressure, has miraculously been healed. “I really don’t know how or what happened, but the pain in my right wrist is completely cured and I also did Surya Namaskar putting full pressure on this hand which I never could do all these 15 years, thanks to the great masters and Master Syed,” says George.I can’t describe the journeys of these two days sufficiently in words, nor am I able to sum up what I have seen for another to comprehend. Each person took from the workshop according to their consciousness and spiritual development. I experienced a great many more realms and far deeper journeys than what I have described here, some too personal to share. I believe that on the pathway to enlightenment, one needs to explore the mysteries of the spirit and familiarise oneself with them. After all, it’s about time we all moved beyond just our physical reality.
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