Some people will have heard about Astral Projection, Out of Body Experiences, or Remote Viewing, but it is unlikely that many have had a "real" conscious experience, even though most of us do it at least once every night.
To avoid confusion, it is important to understand the difference between Astral Travelling and Astral Projection. Many forms of visualisation are associated with Astral Travelling, which is a process of projecting the "consciousness" into visual scenes - i.e. in meditation or temple work - with the effect of "feeling" we are actually "there".
Astral Projection is the process of projecting our "Astral counterpart" with the effect of "knowing" we are actually "there".
There is a great difference between the two, for Astral Travelling does not remove us from the physical body, but Astral Projection does.
Most experiences of Astral Projection are unconscious, the person only becoming aware of them in "dream states", such as memories of flying etc., but there are those who have had a genuine "conscious" experience, even if only very briefly.
On such occasions there is absolutely no doubt in their minds that they were actually there, and many would argue that they were indeed physically present, for the senses generally do not seem to be impaired. It is interesting to note that those who have "consciously" experienced a projection cannot be persuaded that it was just a figment of their imagination or a dream, for it would be like trying to persuade the reader that they are not "actually" reading this now.
In astral projection, the conscious mind leaves the physical body and moves into the astral body.
In astral projection you remain attached to your physical body by a 'silver umbilical type cord'. Some people are able to see the cord when astral projecting. To astral project, as with all out-of-body experiences, one must feel totally relaxed, clothing fitting comfortable, reclining is best. Often a comforter is best over the body as the physical body sometimes gets cold when you travel out.
When you astral project you are consciously aware of things you encounter while out of your physical body.
Some people can astral project naturally. Others are afraid to remove their consciousness from the physical body and never learn to astral project.
The concept of astral projection has been around and practiced for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China. It is currently often associated with the New Age movement.
Psychics often say that the subconscious (or dreaming) mind contains the spirit or astral body, resulting in falling dreams or waking up with a falling sensation or sudden jerk. Most dreams are not remembered by the conscious mind, making the experience of astral projection a subject of subjectivity.
Conscious Astral Projection, takes much practice and time, for you will be seeking to train yourself to become aware of another "body", just as in childhood you had to learn to handle and use the "physical" entity you are housed in now.
Like in all spiritual ventures, there is no easy route. It takes immense determination, and there are those who work for years with little success. Often the reason for this is a secret fear of the unknown. This alone is enough to prevent us from conscious achievement, for the desire to discover can be overridden by the desire to remain in the "safety" of what we know.
The main thing to remember is that "consciousness" indicates "control".
You can stop the experience at any time you choose, and this desire will automatically bring you back into your body.
You cannot and will not go anywhere that is against your own Desire and Will.