Stumbled upon this place very recently and i'm looking forward to learning more from all of you as well as hopefully sharing some perspectives to encourage some ideas i have not seen fully discussed yet.
The path that led me here is as loosely follows; (apologies if it is too long to read but i hope it's interesting if not helpful in any way to anyone)
Around 6 years ago, i began investigating Lucid dreaming , conciousness, reality,philosophy etc. After a while of cultivating insight and beginning a 'self' healing process, i began to have my first spontaneous out of body and astral experiences which i was initially too fearful of to relax in to, each time they happened. Life continued and i continued to explore what ever worldy insight i could fine.
Like many of us in the west, The words and teachings of the Dalai Lama were a welcoming 'entry level' introduction for me to various Buddhist concepts. Some years passed, and my own 'spiritual' progression and healing continued and my interests wandered around eastern philosophy and mysticism in more depth shortly after i began to experience the beginning signs of Kundalini awakening (prior to even knowing what Kundalini was).
While still interested in the ideas of out of body experiences and the astral plane, i bought various books, one of which being The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangal Ripoche which introduced me further to some slightly more in depth Buddhist ideas and concepts, but was still not the 'right' time for me to feel able to dive in too much.
I began experimenting and exploring Shamanism and the accompanying natural plant medicines that can induce interesting altered states. Drawn to amazonian shamanism , i felt the attraction to eventually partake in an Ayawaska ceremony towards the end of 2011.
During this experience, i had first hand experience and confirmation of the 'spirit world' but also i felt as if i went to the place before birth. Feeling imeasurable states of bliss, i was slowly drawn back to the realization of Global suffering and during this experience i began to examine the nature of suffering and how i was to understand and inetgrate the flux i felt from experiencing my own 'personal' yet transcendental state of bliss while still being aware of the suffering symutaenously occuring in those moments.
My interests in shamanism increased, but the following journeys didn't have any Buddhist undertones but were still none the less, very important in the shaping of everything that followed. Once again, i began to spontaneously have astral experiences, many of which were not too pleasant as i encountered beings who strongly resembled Preta /Hungry ghosts. These were human spirits who were projecting their own addictions,afflictions and obscurations into a dream/astral environment of which i was being drawn in to.
I began to learn proper discernment and was able to tell the difference between my own projections, and those of which i was spontaneously appearing within.
During the peak of this, i was tormented and plagued with spirits of a demonic and dark nature, both when asleep but on the astral plane, and eventually while i was still awake.
One night, i was told a psychic mantra for protection by an Asian sounding man. I do not know the language of the mantra or the language it was in, but i hope to find out possible translations on here. I won't share it now as i'm unsure if it is meant to remain secret or not but it was a three sylable mantra and "Your psychic mantra" came before it.
After recovering from a few traumatic weeks, i began to slowly integrate my experiences for the months to follow and prescribed myself some more psychedelic self therapy to help form a clearer of understanding of why i experienced everything i did. The astral experiences continued, but they were mostly pleasant or neutral, with the occasional malevolent spirit/entity appearing which i would now meet with fearlessness as i knew i had certain beings i could call on to remove their presence if it was interfering with my energy in any way.
No less than about a month ago, after a spontaneous re-interest in Buddhism , i began exploring once again but was met with confusion and uncertainty as to which teachings,schools and lineages i should explore in more depth.
No sooner than these questions raised, was i met with another male voice during a hypangogic dream or astral state " You should practice Chöd "
After some googling and pleasant surprise that this personally reccomended dharma practice was relevant to the previous astral experienes and apparitions of mine, The next day, i bought "Machig Labdrön and the Foundations of Chöd" by Jerome Edou.
That just about sums up where i am at the moment. I'm currently studying more than meditating and discerning which parts of Chöd, will be benefical to my existing world view and which parts i do not need to concern myself with at the moment but i can feel a fast transformation occurring as i learn more about Compassion, Bodhicitta and how i am to respond and act to the spirits i encounter, some of which i know are merely projections and manifestations of Ego, and some of which i know are as 'real' and objectively 'seperate' from myself as i am to you in this physical realm. In the very near future, Rather than fleeing or asking for help, i aim to be able to subjugate the darker beings and trigger some kind of compassionate self/non-self awareness to these beings and those who are clearly unconsciously suffering at the hand of their obscured afterlife/other realmly projections.
Anyway, Thanks for reading & May your day be full of compassionate insights relevant to y[our] path.