Others use various methods of astral travel to get there - it works better for me than sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. A few nights ago, I continued in my analysis of my astral techniques and with the help of Raziel obtained a few more insights.
The astral plane is the crystal ball of the mind's eye. When the waking world is removed from the perception by the darkness of night, the perceptual sphere first lights up with a kind of pixelated flare. This flare is normally the faculty used to create perception from sensory images. If one maintains ones eyes forwards in the socket and breathes deeply (death pose yoga is good) then these pixels begin to replaces by coloured blobs, which can become surges of colour, and, slightly deeper in trance, the appearance of flashes of daylight in the darkness. As we talked about before, the position of the eyes in the socket can be used as a kind of joystick, if one lifts the eyes up in the socket one will experience more intense visuals and if one drops them down then one is probably listening to egoic thoughtplay and is no longer having an astral experience.
The visions experienced on the astral are created by the mind working on this pixelated flare, blobs and patterns and attempting to resolve it into faces, animals etc - which of course it does extremely well. The more ''chaos'' that is playing in the minds eye, the more possibilities there are for interpretation, the more opportunity for ordering. For a wizard, what makes the astral more than watching a magic lantern is that they are using it for a purpose - for divination, for communion with spirits (whether ''objective'' or ''subjective'' ultimately the experience occurs in this mind's eye), perhaps even for rectification of the self.
Last time I worked with Raziel on this he pointed out that I subconsciously used my facial muscles to create sense impressions in my mind's eye which I could then use for the technique of ''carving out the letters''.
This time under his direction I began using my facial muscles and eyelids to 'stir' up the astral and create 'retinal pulses' and other forms of pulses that my mind could then play with. These retinal pulses may have appeared as fluctuating small shapes on the pixelated flare but rapidly my mind turned that into birds, or butterflies. Once you are consciously aware of actually how you are stimulating the vision then you can access them more rapidly and they will become deeper. Once your mind is free to ''go with it'' it will rapidly turn that blob of multicoloured retinal protein into an astral gate.*
I noticed that I was experiencing a sensation of movement, as if I was moving upward on the astral, a perfectly normal experience for those who go there, but I realised that I was using my eyelids to move as a form of flippers creating retinal pulses which are then interpreted as 'ripples on the waves', a kind of 'wake' left behind by my astral voyage and the mind simulate the sensations of movement. There is an important idea about reversing on the astral as well but its not exactly clear how I can put into words at the moment.
Again what is important to realise here is that the mind is capable of simulating amazing environments absolutely perfectly. The ''spirits'' one meets along the way may well be objective but they must still communicate with you in that mind's eye (as all experience occurs there) thus anything that you can do to make that mind a more fertile place for imagery the better the communication one will recieve. If the spirits one meets are ''subjective'' then they are only in the sense that they exist within Arikh Anpin, your own higher mind and seen from the normal viewing perspective of Zeir Anpin (i.e. your normal egoic self) they still appear to be different people/beings. Your mind is just as powerful in the simulation of personality as it is in geography.
The other realisation, via Raziel, was that this is *always* my experience - i.e. it is always an experience saturated with consciousness and a dominance of the facial muscles and eyelids , that in some ways the ''physical'' is experienced in the '''astral'' and that when I die, that experience continues pretty much in the same way. I realise now why the seven facial appertures have such significance beyond basic physiognomy. What the discarnate (''dead'') and the incarnate (''alive'') share is that they are both experienced from this consciousness point of view which is immortal.
*Similarly flaws in crystals, or images on glass are interpreted as angels, ghosts, etc. Although I often discount these appearances I think in the hands of someone trained they can be ways in which the ''spirit'' can be communicating with the aspirant.
Follow Jacobus Swart for important Practical Kabbalah points, the link below is relevant to this post: