Tag Archives: prana

Chuck’s Place: Astralogy

Astral & Physical in coincidence…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

I define Astralogy (‘As-tral-o-gy) as the study of all things astral. My studies in the exploration of consciousness—from shamanism, depth psychology, to spirituality—led me to the utility of this ancient Hindu knowledge in identifying the known dimensions of life beyond the physical body. The astral body is the essence of human life during its entwined sojourn with its earthly traveling companion, the physical body.

The astral dimension is the first subtle, or spirit, dimension beyond the physical dimension of everyday life. The astral body is the soul body, directly attached to the physical body, which is capable of disengaging from the physical and partaking in activity on the subtler spirit dimension of the astral plane. This is often the activity that takes place in dreaming.

When fully attached to, or in coincidence with, the physical body, the astral body aligns, through its chakras, with the nervous centers of the physical body, as it runs every aspect of human life from its mental and emotional dimensions.

The life force energy that sustains physical life has been called prana. Prana is taken into the physical body through food, breath, and the astral body, which absorbs prana more freely when in the astral plane, disengaged from the physical. This energy is then transmitted through the chakras to the physical body.

The astral body has many names, including: the double, the soul, and the dream body. The designation of double refers to its shape, the exact replica of the physical body, composed of subtler energy, appearing visually as phosphorescence or luminosity, such as appears when seeing an aura. When fully in-body, the astral and physical bodies cozy up to each other as intimate symbiotic partners.

The assignment of the designation of soul refers to the fact that at the time of physical death the cord to the physical is broken and the astral issues forth, unattached, into the astral domain. This soul body that leaves contains the mind, emotions, identity and experiences of the life just lived. Much like a crustacean sheds its limiting outer shell to expand, the human physical body is shed at death, as its companion soul launches into infinity.

The astral body functions as the dream body when we sleep, as it separates from the physical body in a process called discoincidence, often experienced as a falling sensation when drifting off to sleep. From this disengaged place, the astral body is freed from its limited function when in-body, which is to literally conform itself to running the operations of the physical body, largely through the subconscious, which is housed in the mind of the astral body.

The dream body in this discoincident state both recharges in a greater field of prana from the astral dimension and has the capacity to become conscious and project itself, through intent, to various physical locations throughout the universe, as well as to locales in the astral dimension. This is the basis of out-of-body travel, channeling, and remote viewing.

Waking experience of the astral body reflects in our thoughts and feelings. Anyone in deep concentrated thought is generally in a frozen, barely-breathing state, impervious to physical surrounding. Although this would register in certain brainwave states, with activity obvious in a brain scan, in this case, the brain is merely the hard drive for the mind, which is seated in the astral body. The absentminded professor is literally an astral body fumbling through the physical world.

Activated emotional states issue from subconscious defense or offense programs in the astral body as well, spurring the physical body to activity. Some of that ‘will to action’ is at the behest of the conscious ego, which itself is part of the astral body, however the subconscious will is the true engineer of both physical and astral movement.

What distinguishes conscious from subconscious will is its ability to tailor its suggestions to the subconscious will. The subconscious will lacks this intentional ability, it acts simply by the power of suggestion, be that originating from desire, habit or archetype. However, it is the subconscious will that turns on the body programs of action, wherever the suggestion might originate from.  All things mental and emotional, regardless of how physically experienced, originate from and are part of, the astral body.

All forms of dissociation in waking life depict slipping into the astral body, out of phase with the physical. This can happen in blunt trauma, where the astral is protected by projecting itself a distance away from the physical upload of overwhelming sensory data, observing from a detached distance.

This can happen while walking, running or driving, when the astral subconscious takes over the operation of the body, while the dream body projects into the astral territory of thought and fantasy. Just look into the eyes of someone you are talking to and ask yourself the question: Are they really listening or are they elsewhere, in astral-land, with their subconscious directing their ‘knowing’ nods?

Though many seek to explore the far ranging possibilities of discovery and encounter in astral travel, it is perhaps best to begin by getting to know the astral in its everyday presence in physical life. After all, we have all of infinity to partake in the unfolding discovery of everything, but in this moment in time and space we decided to partner, intimately, with a physical life.

That partnership deserves the fullest recognition and exploration, as the limits it offers provide extraordinary experience that we will carry with us into infinity to great advantage.

In coincidence,


Chuck’s Place: Calmness Begins In The Breath

“Digestion begins in the mouth! Digestion begins in the mouth! Digestion begins in the mouth!”

That was Jan’s 5 am recapitulation of a third grade memorization at St. Mary’s, sixty children loudly responding to the question from their teacher-nun, “Where does digestion begin?”

What prompted this discussion was an effort we’ve been making to memorize an affirmation that Robert Monroe had formulated for safe out-of-body travel. It’s been a long time since either of us has taken up the task of memorization! Of course, shortly after that discussion we encountered that affirmation again in our morning reading. A specific portion of it was cited as being essential for out-of-body practitioners to enter a whole new dimension of exploration!

Breathe deeply and stillness will come... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Breathe deeply and stillness will come…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Simultaneously, I was drawn back to Swami Vishnudevananda’s classic book, The Illustrated Book of Yoga, where I remembered having read about the very specific relationship between the breath and the mind. In a nutshell, I’ve come to the distilled proof: You can’t breathe and think at the same time!

Obviously, this “proof” is not completely true. We don’t completely cut off respiration when we think, but concentrated thinking does significantly slow, and sometimes halt, respiration for significant periods of time.

This proof can easily be tested. Take a moment and purposely and intensively focus your attention on any sound in your environment. Notice what happens to your breathing as you do so. My experience is that my breathing slows down or pauses as I concentrate on the sound.

The same relationship with our breath holds true when our mind becomes attached and preoccupied with a thought; breathing slows down or is halted for a period of time. Therefore, if you want to shift yourself away from a burgeoning thought fixation, turn your attention to breathing. Take in a slow deep breath. Do several of these slow deep breaths and you will break the fixation of the mind on its thoughts and feel revitalized within your physical body in the bargain!

As I see it, the mind is a separate body from the physical body. The mind, or mental body, actually resides in the energy body, a body separate and distinct from the physical body. When people say they have been out-of-body during waking life, off daydreaming perhaps, it generally means that their mind, or mental body, had scooted away from the physical body and gone off with the vital energy the body takes in when we breathe, what the yogis call prana. While the mind concentrates, consciously or unconsciously, on its thoughts, the body is shortchanged of its normal intake of oxygen, diminishing the vital energy of life as it is completely monopolized by the mind.

The body is often rigid, constricted, tense and immobile during intense preoccupation with thought. If the body is simultaneously in motion, it operates like a plane without a pilot, subject to collision and injury, much like the Absentminded Professor!

Actually, the mind does often utilize the physical brain when it thinks, which is why overthinking generally causes overheated brain circuits and headaches. The mind does not need the brain to function as is evident in out-of-body exploration when the energy body journeys beyond the body and uses the mind quite naturally to navigate its course. However, we can be in the physical body using the mind/brain connection and still be cut off from, or beyond connection with, the physical body.

Ahhh...fresh as a beautiful bed of flowers! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Ahhh…fresh as a beautiful bed of flowers!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

When the mind is intentionally directed to the breath, however, the prana or life energy it has monopolized is dispersed throughout the body, in each conscious breath, reducing the anxious concentration of energy in the mental body, a frequent generator of high anxiety. So, as is highly recommended for all cases of anxiety, breathe and become calm!

And so, taking a tip from Jan’s childhood memory: Calmness begins in the breath! Calmness begins in the breath! Calmness begins in the breath! Perhaps the nuns of St. Mary’s might give that chant their stamp of approval!

Deeply breathing,