By Bob Peterson, August 5, 2002
Almost every day, I get e-mail from someone who, whether they know it or not, is experiencing awareness during sleep paralysis (ASP).† Usually I give them a brief explanation of whatís happening, but I decided itís time to write it down in an article that more people can benefit from.† Iíve studied and experienced multiple ASPs and OBEs, so Iím speaking from experience.
What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep Paralysis is a normal, natural bodily function that causes our physical bodies to be paralyzed during sleep. †Its purpose is to prevent us from hurting ourselves when weíre dreaming.† Itís supposed to happen every time we sleep and it usually sets in long before we start dreaming.† When itís not working properly, we have serious problems like sleepwalking where people get hurt.† Normally, we are not conscious when sleep paralysis sets in, so most people donít even know it exists.† However, once in a while, someone becomes conscious during that period, and thatís when it becomes Awareness during Sleep Paralysis, or ASP.† To the best of my knowledge, this happens more often upon waking up.† Basically, your mind wakes up before your body does.† Eventually, your body catches up to your mind and wakes up too.
When someone becomes conscious and aware of their sleep paralysis state, they usually donít know whatís happening to them.† Naturally, because theyíre conscious, they try to move, but canít.† When they find out they canít move, they start to become agitated, distressed, afraid and may even panic.† Theyíre stuck between reality and the hallucinated world of dreams and canít seem to get to either place. Often, they struggle and thrash against the paralysis, trying to get free, but that rarely helps.
To make matters worse, fears can easily become manifest as very realistic hallucinations in the ASP state.† Therefore, people commonly see monsters, demons, witches, or other unsavory creatures attacking them.† It is so common for people to see old hags trying to sit on them that they coined the word ďhaggingĒ to describe it.† Often they seem to wake up ďjust in the nick of time before the monsters get them,Ē when in reality the fear-induced shot of adrenaline breaks them out of the paralysis.† For the most part, these creatures are hallucinations that can be disregarded, but I realize thatís easier said than done.
Most of the time, ASP sufferers struggle to regain control of their body and eventually win.† Sometimes, however, a person may seem to wake up, only to discover that theyíre really still asleep and dreaming that they woke up.† We call this phenomenon ďfalse awakenings.Ē† Sometimes a person can have several false awakenings in a row, leading them to become frustrated that they canít wake up, or worse, terrified they may never wake up again.† ASP sufferers are often reluctant to discuss their experiences because theyíre afraid that people will think theyíre crazy.† Many people have keep this their little secret all their lives.
How common is ASP?
Actually, ASP is quite common and nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of.† It happens to thousands or maybe even millions of people every day, but I donít have any statistics to back that up.† I get e-mails about ASP almost every day, though, so youíre not alone.
Usually when people learn about ASP and what it is, their fears lessen.† When their fears lessen, they tend to see fewer monsters.† Therefore, your best advice is to not panic, remain calm, realize that youíre safe, and this is a natural thing your physical body does.† Then, if you want, explore the state.
Usually, you just have to wait for it to wear off.† Itís thought that sleep paralysis has something to do with the chemistry of the brain, and youíll automatically break out of it when your chemicals stabilize.† Until then, all you can do is wait for it to end, or use it as a jumping board for the OBE state.† As I said before, extreme emotion like panic or anger will sometimes cause a change in brain chemistry, and that may break you out of the ASP state.† Once you learn to control it, Iím hoping youíll want to explore rather than end it.
In my experience, in the ASP state, you are out of your physical body and inside your energy body, but usually youíre stuck to the body and unable to move.† So on the one hand, youíre out of your body, but on the other hand, youíre unable to go anywhere or do anything; a truly frustrating experience.† Struggling against the paralysis is often futile, and if you do win, youíll return to your physical body instead of leaving it, which is frustrating if OBEs are your goal.
Believe it or not, it took me twenty years of trying before I learned the secret of how to turn ASP into OBE.† Before I learned the secret, it was easier for me to induce an out-of-body experience from a fully waking state than it was from the ASP state.† The secret lies primarily in knowing whatís really happening, so here it is:† In my experience, in the ASP state, your consciousness is associated with your energy body, not your astral body, and therein lies the problem.† Your energy body is closely associated with your physical body, and therefore prying on it and trying to dislodge it is useless.† That wonít happen until youíre dead, or close to it.† The secret is, you need to transfer your consciousness from your energy body to your astral body.† How do you do that?† First, close your eyes and keep them closed.† Second, try to push forward with your consciousness and imagine that your consciousness is moving forward.† Even though you may not feel any movement, your consciousness will move forward in your astral body.† If you have serious doubts that it is working and open your eyes prematurely, your awareness will zip like a ball on a rubber band back into your energy body.† Instead, keep your eyes closed and have faith that your consciousness is moving forward.† Keep pushing forward with your consciousness as hard as you can, just like walking underwater, until you are about fifteen feet (five meters) away from your body.† Of course, since your eyes are closed, you can only approximate how far this is, so donít obsess on the distance, just take a best guess.† Once you are safely fifteen feet away from your body, you may open your eyes, and you will be in your astral body and free to roam.