According to the class text, sleep paralysis is not considered to be a serious health problem, and is relatively common among most Americans. Similarly interesting and not discussed in the text is the phenomenon known as astroplaning (could also be considered an OEB, which is discussed within the chapter). Typically, astroplaning is when one meditates for a significant amount of time and claims to be able to leave their physical body behind with their spirit free to move about. The film industry capitalized on this idea with a horror film that came out last spring titled Insidious. The film revolves around a young boy who is capable of leaving his body at night to travel around anywhere he pleases, including other dimensions.
http://www.therichblog.com/insidious (Insidious brief outline and still frames from the movie).
It's interesting to note that astroplaning is described to be self-induced. That is, people meditate or focus on obtaining a goal of being able to astroplane. When I was volunteering overseas last year, I encountered a girl who practiced meditation regularly. When I inquired as to what she receives out of meditating, she said that when she 'finally' experienced the sensation of leaving her body from meditating, the feeling was unparalleled. Whether or not she belonged to a specific religious denomination, I'm not quite sure. This idea of leaving her body due to meditation was strange to me, and chapter five of the textbook reminded me of this conversation of astroplaning and meditation.
Moreover, it's interesting that my first time experiencing sleep paralysis was after I had seen the aforementioned movie Insidious. So, of course after seeing the horror film, I was under the impression that I was now part of this elite group of people who would be able to travel through space and dimensions. In any regard, I woke up shortly after this and was able to function normally.
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(above: tips for successful astroplaning)