Awakening in the Internal Worlds, otherwise known as lucid dreaming, astral projection, astral travel, or out-of-body experiences (OBEs), are perceptions of matter and energy that are beyond the reach of the physical senses. Anyone, anywhere, regardless of any distinctions or qualifications, may acquire their own personal knowledge of these living realities, if they are willing to make the effort.
The basis of understanding these experiences is the consciousness. Our consciousness is an energy that has many capabilities we scarcely suspect, much less are able to utilize at will. The original purpose for the emergence of all religion is to guide the individual in the awakening of their consciousness. This is a practical effort and has nothing to do with belief or theories. It is something that one must do from moment to moment. By returning to this root purpose and discovering the practical tools that aid in this effort, anyone, from any religion or background, can discover how to awaken their own consciousness and thus see for themselves the many worlds that exist beyond the physical one. Such experiences come naturally as one frees the consciousness from its cages, and awakens it to perceive clearly, without filters or suppositions. This is because the very nature of the consciousness is perception. Unfortunately, we have imprisoned our consciousness in a cage of delusion.
There are many techniques that aid in the awakening of the consciousness and its eventual freedom from the cage. These techniques follow a very strict series of steps that always begin right now, by making the effort to awaken the consciousness from moment to moment. This effort is called Mindfulness, Watchfulness, Awareness, Self-observation, and by many other names. Without this effort, success in awakening in other worlds is impossible. One must first awaken here and now, in the physical world, before one can awaken in the internal worlds.
When the consciousness is awakening, then it can be activated when it is outside of the physical body, either provoked by will (such as in meditation), when the physical body sleeps, and even after death.
The effort to awaken the consciousness in the dream state is called Dream Yoga. This term is most known from the tradition of Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa, although the tradition of Niguma also includes Dream Yoga. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "yug," which means to "reunite" or "yoke together." This is the same as the root of our word religion, the Latin word "religare,"which means "to bind together." What is sought in both cases is the union of our consciousness with its source, but this can only happen when our consciousness is awakened and purified of all that is unclean.
The yogic tradition of Tilopa has been maintained in Tibetan Buddhism for hundreds of years. It is a series of teachings of which dream yoga is a vital part. It has been practiced and taught by all the Dalai Lamas, and such great initiates as Tsongkhapa and Milarepa.
The basic goal of Dream Yoga is to harness the power of the dream state and use it to awaken the consciousness. You can learn more about this by reading scriptures from the tradition.
Quite simply, this term refers to how our consciousness departs from the physical body. Everytime our physical body sleep, the consciousness departs from it, and experiences what we call "dreams." This is a form of astral projection, but in most cases the consciousness is asleep, unaware that it is away from the physical body. While dreaming, we generally do not realize it. And when we return to the body, the memory of the dream is generally lost, or if recalled, appears hazy and unreal. This is all due to the weak state of our consciousness.
It is possible to consciously project oneself out of the body. By means of constant training from moment to moment, the consciousness can be strengthened to be be awake, aware, and sharp; thus, when it leaves the physical body, we remain aware of ourselves, and conscious of what transpires. From this state, one can investigate any phenomena in nature or oneself.
Eventually, by awakening consciousness and transforming our experience of life from moment to moment, dreaming ceases. Then, we have arrived at the goal: an awakened consciousness that perceives all phenomena as they truly are.
"True illuminates have no dreams. Dreams are for those who are asleep. True illuminates live in the higher worlds, out of the physical body, in a state of intensified wakefulness without ever dreaming." - Samael Aun Weor, Mental Representations