It is perfectly acceptable to visualize yourself as you are in reality â i.e. dressed in sweater and jeans, or whatever â but some romantic souls find it easier, or possibly just more fun, to see themselves as a mysteriously robed and hooded figure. That is okay too, but pay attention to detail â mysteriously robed and hooded figures do not all look the same.
Spend as much time as you need to build up this imaginary figure fully. A good idea is to set aside a particular time each day for the exercise and devote 10 to 15 minutes daily to it for a week or more. Avoid rushing this preliminary stage: it is actually the most important part of the whole exercise, the creation of the âBody of Lightâ after which it is named. As you practice, you will find the visualization becomes progressively easier until a simple effort of will is enough to call it up in its entirety. Once you have reached this stage, proceed to phase two of the exercise.
Phase two involves you imagining that you are rising from your chair and walking around the room. Close your eyes and try it out. Remember how the room appears from the viewpoint of your chair, close your eyes and try to visualize that same scene. If you find the details difficult, open your eyes again for a refresher. Keep working at it until you are perfectly capable of describing the room in detail with your eyes closed.
With this achieved, imagine yourself rising from your chair and walking slowly round the edges of the room in a clockwise direction. Try to see in your mindâs eye how the perspective of the room changes as you move. Try to remember those small objects and ornaments which were not necessarily visible from your chair, but which you know to be in the room nonetheless.
If you have difficulty with this part of the exercise, open your eyes, stand up physically and walk clockwise around the room. Then sit down, close your eyes again, and try to duplicate the journey in your imagination. Keep working on it until your visualization becomes easy and vivid. Now try the same walk anti-clockwise.
After a time â and how much time varies with the individual â you will discover the visualization no longer requires much effort. When this happens, try visualizing yourself in another room, again walking around it first clockwise, then anti-clockwise. Select a room you know well, but try visualizing without first visiting it if at all possible.
You should find your mental pictures of the second room come faster and easier than the first since you are, of course, exercising your visualization ability. When you have thoroughly explored the second room, mentally extend your range and visualize yourself wandering throughout your entire house.
Many people visualize extremely well and have little difficulty with any of this. If you are not so fortunate, keep trying: there is no time limit on the exercise and practice will eventually bring it right. Just donât devote more than, say, 20 minutes each day to the practice: this is more than enough, so long as you practice regularly.
The final step in this stage is to imagine yourself exploring some more distant and less familiar scene. Indoors is easier to most people, but if you are feeling really confident, you might try imagining yourself in an outdoor location. Once again, you should explore methodically. Avoid visualizing people during any part of this exercise since this will introduce complications, which will slow your progress.
When you are totally happy that you can quickly and easily visualize any area you set your mind to â and visualize it in detail â you are ripe to move on to the final stage of the exercise. This is the crunch. You have now trained yourself to do two things. One is to visualize a sort of mirror image of yourself standing some distance from where you are seated in your chair. The other is to imagine yourself walking around various locations and examining them in detail. For your great leap forward, you are now going to combine the two previous aspects of the exercise. First, visualize the mirror image of yourself exactly as before. Do this with your eyes open if at all possible. When the figure is definitely there and stable, imagine yourself looking out from its eyes. There is a knack to this, rather like learning to balance on a bicycle. The first few times you try, you will probably fail. But then, for no apparent reason, you will suddenly find you can do it.
Imagine the room from the viewpoint of the figure you have created. Look around and note the details, including your own (physical) body seated in the chair. Once you feel the focus of your perceptions is firmly seated in this imaginary body, have it walk around the room in a clockwise direction, exactly as you did in your imagination during the second stage of the exercise.
Since you have already practiced this again and again, you should find it relatively easy to maintain the new perspective. But if you find your consciousness flickering back to where you are sitting in the chair, donât let that worry you. Simply start up again from the beginning. As you continue with this exercise over a period of time, projecting your focus of consciousness into the imaginary body and having it carry you from room to room, one of two things will happen. Either you will gradually find the reality tone of the experience increases until you can âseeâ vividly from the new body, or you will reach a stage where there is a sudden âjumpâ after which the experience of the new body seems far more real to you.
At this point, try exploring a totally unfamiliar area while in this imaginary body, then visit the same area when you get back into your physical body. (Which, incidentally, you do by reversing the initial process: from the viewpoint of your new body, simply visualize how your room looks from the physical body sitting on the chair.) Do not be too shocked if you discover that the scene you saw while in your imaginary body is confirmed in every detail when you visit the spot in reality.
What, you might reasonably wonder, is going on here? If you have successfully followed the technique all the way through, it seems fairly obvious that you have managed to project your consciousness into a second body, that you have, in essence, created a phantom. But while this body can take you anywhere you want to go â and pass through solid walls in the process â it is equally evident that there are substantial differences between the experience and the sort of projections described by people like Monroe and Muldoon.
Where, for example, is the separation of one body from the other? In this exercise, you did not actually separate anything from anything â you simply imagined a second body standing in the corner. And where was the peculiar state of consciousness apparently so necessary for etheric projection, the hypnogogic borderline between sleep and waking? Where was the physical incapacity? You were in a perfectly normal state throughout and if you want to move your physical body you could do so with no trouble whatsoever.
Whatever the similarities, you might be tempted to conclude you were not projecting your etheric body at all. And you would be right. The Body of Light technique brings you closer to something even more exciting than stepping out in your etheric body. It introduces you to astral plane projection.