Out of body experiences ("astral projection")
The sense of being "in your body" is provided by your conciousness' attention and focus on the qualia (this is the neurophysiological consciousness scientist's word for the quality that self conscious experiences exhibit) derived from your sensory inputs about your immediate surroundings. The room is bright, you are aware enough of it that you feel like you are in a bright room. Pretty straightforward and basic.
When you enter a transcendent state, your attention will become focused "elsewhere" - very elsewhere. The inputs that will be influencing the qualia of which you are conscious will not be sense derived, but will be built upon your experience of "another place," outside of space and time, via however it is that we experience this. As you focus more intensely on this source of data, the inputs from your everyday senses will diminish in the their importance to your sense of where you are and when.
At some point, you will no longer be meaningfully conscious of you place in space and time. You will instead be conscious of being "somewhere" different - somewhere that does not feel real in the normal sense. Your experience may take on shades of meaning that relate to ordinary sensory information, or it may not (in other words, there may be phantom experiences of sight, sound, small, etc. based on your minds interpretation of what you actually are experiencing).
That is the first half of what is normally called "astral projection." You are no longer "in your body," at least as far as you experience your consciousness' location. Time and space will have lost most, if not all, of their meaning, since they depend on sensory input to have any meaning. Five minutes in this state may "seem" like a week away from home, or, less likley but quite possible, a week in this state may seem toyo like but a brief moment. Remember that any interpretation of a "sense of time" under these conditions is not a real quality of "where you are," but a residual component of how you are used to experiencing everyday reality - just like the phantom sensory qualities that may occur.
The second half of this astral projection thing is the one that strains the credulity of most skeptical listeners - the sense of "going somewhere else" in the real space time universe and perhaps interacting with it, even gaining information that could otherwise be known to you. You are no longer just "spaced out," or meditating, you are claiming to have "re-emerged" in another place and perhaps time, somehow.
To understand how this is possible, you must remember that the space and time universe has no "one to one" correspondence with the "other place." Any experience outside space-time is necessarily accessible to and from all points in time and space. Thus there is no good reason why you cannot reach "back" from your voyages "out there," and sample space time information of any kind.
Put slightly differently, every piece of space and time may be represented somehow in the place beyond it, even if only as residual information brought there by others who have also "travelled" in this way. Part of what you assimilate or learn while in your transcendental state may very well be exact and accurate information about some other place and time as shared by another traveller.
Since ego and the sense of self are largely lost in these voyages (since these are entirely space and time dependent concepts), you will not have a sense of the information "coming from someone else," as far as you can understand based on your previous experiences in real life, it will be as if you experienced these things yourself.
Upon your return, you may very well discover that you "know" something you could not possible know under ordinary circumstances. This is quite mind blowing...
© Huw Powell