Let's get this straight, when it comes to magick I'm like a child. I don't think I've ever successfully pulled anything off on purpose. But there is one thing I can't get out of my mind. As the title states "Astral Projection". I am a very mental person, I mean in the sense of thought. I'm pretty sure I'm not insane. But I live my life in thought. Surprisingly enough, mental and astral projection have been far out of my reach. My goal is to spend more than a little time in the astral plane. Hours on end. Maybe not days, but hours. Just to see it. Problem is, I'm always at the brink of it. Just out of my reach and I'm powerless to effect it. So I need your help. How do I achieve astral projection. I think this all spirals down to the fact that I have severe difficulty meditating, but I'm no expert.
Hmm... In all honesty to me it sounds like a case of trying too hard. The more you try to force yourself into a meditative state, or the more you try to pull free of your body, etc, the more you get into your own way. When your thoughts become focused on things like making yourself relax, it becomes inherently impossible to -actually- relax.
If you are treating astral travel and meditation like an escape, it may be that your mind keeps dwelling on the things you are trying to escape from as well. Or you might just be being too harsh on yourself and your expetations. Getting frustrated or impatient also tends to break the ol' concentration.
It may just take trying some different styles or techniques, or even a brief re-examination of your undersanding of meditation. I know how confusing it can get, especially starting out, because there are all sorts of different meditations that can be found or learned through books, online, talking with friends, or from spiritual teachers of nearly any tradition. But often while information on different exerises and things to do is aesy to find, getting an actual definition of what meditation -is- can be much more challenging.
Meditation is any physical or mental exercise that is used to bring an individual to a state of relaxed focus within the present moment. The idea is to reach a state where you are physically and mentally relazed, and where your thoughts are primarily engaged in matters of the present moment.
All of the other things one does; balancing energy, connecting with the higher self, healing, astral projection or trvel, dream intents, exploring ideas or current chllenges or other introspections, are all techniques that use meditation as the primary tool in their construction.
It might help to start simply. find a single thought or activity that you can easily focus on, and use that to bring your thoughts away from the past or future and into the present. The simplest way I know of is by placing focus and awareness on your breathing. Most people have a self-defined pattern of breath, espeially when relaxed. ... for example in, out, pause, in, out. or maybe in, pause, out, pause. Start by becoming aware of what your natural pattern is. then chenge it slightly. extend the pause between breaths by a half-second or so. Or reverse the pattern, for example in, out, pause changed to out, in, pause. This makes your pattern of breathing a conscious act rather than an unconscious one, and does so without a need to force things so it is still possible to remain physially and emotionally relaxed.
Maybe even start with a deep sigh; draw in a slow, full breath until you start to feel a stretch in the chest and/or abdomen. Just a soft stretch, don't make yourself strain or cough. Then suddenly relax your muscles and let that breath fall out of you uncontrolled in a whoosh until your lungs are as empty as you can comfortably get them. As you let that breath out, imagine it carrying all of the physical tenstion and stressful emotions you have out and away. Then immediately return to calm, normal breaths.
Practicing exercises like these for ten or twenty minutes every day will help your body and mind get used to being in that state of presence and mindfulness. Then you can start to turn that to purpose through whatever visualizations or other practices you use to meditate on specific tasks or topics.
As for your attempts to go astral, there is a technique that I found useful that might be worth a try. It is called a dream intent. The idea is that when in a dream state, especially a lucid one, the mind and soul already have one foot out. so to speak. So before bed you would enter into a meditative state, use some visualizations to get your energy balanced and flowing, and then use that state to in effect plant an idea into yourself that you will enter the astral instead of the dreamscape.
It helps to use your meditation to engage your attention to mindfulness of your energy first. I usually focus on letting go of any negtivity or other fluff and chaff I might have picked up during the day, then run my attention through my chakras to balance them out among eachother and open their flow up to the rest of my body and aura. By the end of that I am usually solidly relaxed. From there I am also basically asleep but still lucid. I use that to declare that instead of entering a dream state I will lift away to the astral levels of awareness. Usually to meet with my guide. But you can of course declare a different intent as you see fit.
Just keep some sort of journal close by for the morning; like with dreaming, memories and experiences of the astral an fade out fairly quickly.
Oh, And if it is any colsolation, even the 'experts' have just as much challenge in reaching that state of relaxation sometimes. It is fun (and reassuring) to find youtube uploads of discussions and interviews with monks and spiritual leaders. You get descriptions of how even they sit there, smelling the incense, counting their breaths, and wonderinng what to make for dinner. Or wondering if the washing machine is going to act up again. Or any number of other intrusive trains of thought that will bubble up while you look for that elusive moment of stillness.
The object isn't to shut the brain up, that's basically impossible. The idea is to guide that train of thought onto a single rail. In fact sometimes the whole point of the meditation is to let those random thoughts have free reign, and to 'listen in' to ones that feel important so you can trace it to its roots and discover something about where it came from. It is a common practice for paths involving Self-realization.