Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection have so much in common that they are often seen as one in the same. The beginning of my path within spiritual development started with dreaming. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been an active dreamer and have always had a nack for influencing my dreams. When I was a kid, I was more scared of shadows in the dark then any nightmare. Oddly enough, even what would seem nightmarish for many would rarely gave me irrational fear. I’ve always defined a nightmare to be a dream that leaves you with irrational fear when you wake up. Kind of like the feeling of being stalked or the panic of being late to something really important. This has always been a rare occurrence for me.
Lucid dreaming is when you realize that you are dreaming, mid dream. It’s a little bit of a surreal feeling that leaves you either started, confused, curious or ecstatic. There are two common ways to induce a lucid dream, the first is the most common approach and is how I begun my practice. It is the sleep induce lucid dream and there are many methods to developing this practice. Remember that this is not something that you just become good at overnight. It takes many nights, the creation of habits and an understanding of your sleep patterns and cycles. It’s all about slightly disrupting your sleep at the right time during your sleep cycle to just almost wake you up.
Far less common for most, is the wake induced lucid dream or WILD for short. This is usually far more intentional than any other method because it requires that you you slowly and consciously fall asleep and deliberately merge into the dream state while keeping awareness. This sounds very familiar to astral projection because the the induction techniques and process are comparable. Both are common in that your body is asleep but the difference lies into how your conciousness is projected.
While both are very similar states of being where your subconsciousness potential is unlocked through concious exploration, there is a slight difference in approach. With a lucid dream, your conciousness is projected inward while it is projected outward with astral projection. Either way, with proper lucidity and experience, dimensional realms may be crossed with either method. Astral projection seems to require a more nimble entry as there is less association with sleep and more with meditation.
I am only just beginning to explore astral travel so my experience on differentiating both states will further develop as I gain more experience. I have noticed that lucid dreaming does have its own form of language on the other hand. My subconscious speaks to me in the form of comparisons, allegory, archetypes and symbolism. Much of all my reading on astral projection make very little reference to this subconscious language as many believe that astral projection is a better tool for the exploration of superconciouness. It’s the exploration of the universal mind rather than the individual. Again, I’m still learning so let us know what differences you have experienced between astral projection and lucid dreaming.