Sure, I understand. I've been there with the astral. Well, I wasn't really using the term "astral projection" because I started with Monroe (OOBEs in Locale I and II) but the belief was there, somewhat similar if not the same.
Then I met Bedeekin of Astral Viewers (Admin) and I thought he had a good theory on physical and non-physical realities. As active members of that site we came to use his terminology for quite sometime. It was something like this:
1st phase OOBE = physical realm projection or Monroe's Locale I.
2nd phase OOBE = Locale II or metaphysical realm (astral projection/lucid dreaming)
But I soon realised that the guy was wrong and somewhat biased. I was always one to question everything and never really held on to such views as it was becoming increasingly evident that Stephen LaBerge was on the mark.
Bedeekin himself admitted he used to have what he thought were 1st phase OOBEs at the beginning and that they tended to be short-lived compared to "2nd phase OOBEs". I had this too, but, soon I realised what was really going on, and, on discovering Michael Raduga, I realised that someone else had come to this conclusion sooner:
1st phase or Locale I's do not happen. They are an interpretation from lack of deepening (hence the often short-lived duration) or when the phase recreates a near-twin simulation of your bedroom or a very localised portion of the universe (very rare) and this tends to happen more with people with "photographic memories" which Bedeekin said he did (he was very visual and an expert in special effects).
However, the more Bedeekin employed deepening techniques, the more he began to have longer experiences where the environments were brighter, colourful and more on the surreal side. This is what he didn't seem to understand, but, those short-lived, washed-out or colourless phase experiences which resembled the physical world in structure (at least) were nothing but shallow phases.
won't say "you're not real" to that creature I encountered. Instead I'll ask it why it's there and see how it responds.
And that is a good start and very reasonable. In fact, it is the best approach...
It is not so much that the creature isn't real, more like the creature has a different nature and may represent an aspect of your personality that, if given attention, may uncover some benefits and profound realisations.
A good book to read on lucidity and dream characters is LaBerge's Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming
. That, I must say, is a must for the phase state lover. There are many examples of experiences there and how you can use them to your benefit.
For example, a woman had taken part in a debate about egoism and altruism. I apologise if I have already narrated this before, btw! In this debate, the woman was arguing that one must always regard others before oneself. In other words, she favoured the altruistic side.
That night, she had a nightmare in which a horrible creature chased her and wanted to kill her. This was recurrent and she'd wake up in a sweat. Eventually she learned about lucid dreaming and told herself that, next time she was being chased by the creature, she would take that as a cue and realise that she was dreaming.
That happened. The creature was coming for her, and, as she was running, she remembered the MILD method and realised she was dreaming. As we say here, she entered the phase via dream consciousness...
She stopped, turned around, and came face to face with the creature. She asked it: "why are you doing this to me?" - immediately, the creature decreased in size and morphed into something more pleasant-looking (this is another example of why LaBerge and Raduga resonate with me as something similar has happened to me).
The creature was no longer scary, more vulnerable-looking and resembled something like a petulant child. Apparently, it was not happy with the woman's altruistic view. It said "I'm angry that you prefer others over me". It was somehow threatened...
She realised that the creature was a side to her that she had been ignoring. It made her realise that there has to be a balance between egoism and altruism - after all, how can you take care of others if you are not looking after yourself? You are a person too and deserve as much attention as everybody else.
She patted the creature on the back and explained that she would never forget its needs. The creature seemed happier and walked away never to be seen again. Today, Freud would probably describe this creature as an element arising from the id (this seems evident in that the creature seemed in need of attention and a little organisation from the ego - and possibly felt threatened by the direction in which the superego was going).
Whatever the case, the woman experienced a profound sense of self-integration upon awakening. This was beneficial and decreased her tension (wahey, another use for the phase state!
We are not just one person, 12padams. We are many - as the mind can house an infinitude of possibilities. Give it a read and consider the approach of entering your mind when you're in the phase.
In saying this, I am not saying that we don't also visit other people's minds or, more precisely, that many can share a mental realm... perhaps the phase world isn't just an individual thing (the interconnectedness of all things in the universe is indeed supported by quantum mechanics ergo the possibility of shared experience in a state of consciousness where thought is action is still there - otherwise I wouldn't consider my ESP experiments).
I have also said before that perhaps the phase may also provide a glimpse of an afterlife - or in the least something similar to the endorphins/DMT-induced 'spiritual' experiences during the dying process. Something like the film Waking Life
where one cannot wake up from the lucid dream world because there is no functional physical body to wake up with. Slowly, the mystical phase journey would prepare you for the final stage of non-being.
Imagine, during the dying process, what seems like an eternity in the phase, may happen only in the space of a few minutes while the brain is still active. Then the slate is wiped clean as we return to the absolute void.
I actually think this is feasible if ultimately and intrinsically we represent the emptiness (hence why children are like 'sponges'). Not saying that we remain non-existent forever, perhaps the universe brings our awareness back into being as a different lifeform (provided that the right coordinates in space eventuate themselves), but, then again, I'm only surmising here.
Also restricted movement what could it mean?
This, I don't know, but, I have a theory. If the phase state is quite close to the waking state, but somehow maintains itself, the brain may find itself in the predicament of not knowing which of the following types of organised information to bring into consciousness:
1) the growing sensory input that tells it there is no motion and that the body is really lying in bed (even though through lucidity you already know this because you remember that you went down to enter the phase), or...
2) the illusory senses of the phase which are still pending and in need to be processed...
So... instead of ignoring one, the other, or both, it fuses them together. Ergo, the restricted movement! Other elements in this experience (and it bears repeating) also seem to support this:"An abrupt foul occurred but vision of that environment was retained. I could feel myself lying in bed, and yet, the molten hallway scenario was visible. The music faded as I came to an astonishing realisation. The droopy right eye in the phase was my physical eye pressed against the pillow. Slowly things started to make sense as the waking state took over. The strange mass blocking the way in the phase, turned out to be Staceyâ€™s arm partially illuminated by daylight oozing from the blinds. The contours of the covers and its many folds also reinforced the optical illusion of another reality which was increasingly becoming less apparent. The mysterious black door to my right, in the phase state, was nothing but a dark gap between two pillows on which my wifeâ€™s head rested."