I decided to write this post as a sort of a clarification, and to expand a little bit upon the meaning of these two abilities. I noticed that many people think about lucid dreaming as something that is happening exclusively in the mind, and believe that through it they can satisfy their unfulfilled desires, have a lot of fun, enhance their personality, as well as work on various obstacles that they have in daily life. Such usage is what many ‘experts’ in this field promote. The former boast with the titles of ‘scientist’ and use it in authoritative way to explain what lucid dreams are all about. Such people ignore, ridicule, or demean the ability of astral projection, which is defined as the projection of consciousness (inside the astral body) out of the physical vehicle. For these people, there is nothing in us that can be projected out in that way, so they label it as a silly occult mumbo-jumbo. Or, there are some others in this field who think of it as real, but also as something that is happening solely within ones own mind.
According to the esoteric teachings, an average person (who has not yet done any spiritual work) possesses various things inside of them, such as consciousness, mind, subconsciousness, as well as non-physical bodies, such as the vital body, the astral body (the body of emotions), and the mental (the body of thoughts). This is what comprises the person’s psyche.
Astral projection is when through the mean of sharp concentration, the person manages to have his body fall asleep while his mind remains awake. It is at that instant his astral body (together with consciousness) is projected onto the astral plane. Such process happens every time we go to sleep, though the difference being that in the former case the person consciously projects out of his body and is conscious in the astral plane, whereas in the latter case the person enters the world of dreams.
In the case of achieving the conscious astral split, the person is awake in the astral plane – the fifth dimension of nature – a dimension as real as the one in which we live, though different. If such is achieved, many doors of possibility opens up, and the person is free to explore the physics and the complexity of the astral world, the Universe, and himself.
Now, in the case of lucid dreaming, the same awakeness happens as in the first case, but in another way, with some differences. When we dream during the night, we are also inhabiting the astral world, and we may travel in various places in it, or we may just stay floating, standing, or laying close to our physical body, but the astral body itself and the consciousness is always projected out when the sleep arrives.
While dreaming, we are outside of our body in the astral world, and most of the time we are inside a subconscious ‘bubble’, which is projecting various images on the screen of this bubble, and which we experience as a world in itself. And while we are inside this bubble of illusionary projections of the subconscious mind, the bubble is surrounded by the real world of the fifth dimension. Sometimes, we are not submerged in this illusion and we are able to see the reality of the astral world, though being asleep we may act as if drunk or incoherent.
If while in such a state we become aware that we are inside a dream, an awakening of consciousness happens and we become aware in the astral world, and have what is commonly called a ‘lucid dream’ , though a more correct term would be “becoming conscious in the astral plane”. That’s because, depending on the level of consciousness that we have in that particular instance, we may notice that the dream images start to dissolve and we see the reality of what is around us. Nevertheless, due to the strong influence of subconscious mind upon a person who doesn’t do any form of spiritual work during the day, if he or she trains only in lucid dreaming, yet during the day continues with habits that goes against development of consciousness (various vices etc.), they may indeed only experience the lucid dream. i.e. instead of of waking up to reality of the astral plane, they only wake up within the above mentioned illusionary bubble.
In conclusion, the most important thing for the student of knowledge and reality, when it comes to this particular subject, is to consciously reach the astral plane. Whether that be through the means of waking up within the astral plane or by achieving conscious astral projection, is less relevant. Of course, to train to have astral projection at will would be ideal, but for most people that is a difficult task, though still something that can be learned. That’s why it is of great value to work on conscious exploration of the astral plane by the mean of both astral projection and by waking up within the astral plane.
HDP, January 2019.