Have you ever had a dream so real that you thought you were actually there? Have you ever felt a tingling feeling or vibration, followed by a sensation of floating out of your body as you drifted off for a nap? Have you ever found yourself consciously aware and interacting inside a dream, as opposed to watching the usual non-sensical images flash by behind your eyelids? If so, you may have had an out-of-body experience!
It is said that 1 out of 10 people have had, at least one OBE in their lifetime, while others in that same group have experienced this phenomenon many times. The truth is, although waking OBE’s are more rare, compared to those occurring in a sleep state, it is quite common for anyone to experience an OBE in a sleep state, it’s just that 1) we don’t always remember them, and 2) if we do, we often pass the OBE off as a really clear and vivid dream, if left undistinguished.
The phenomenon, “out-of-body experience” was coined by George N. M. Tyrrell, as late as 1943, but the experience of it has been recorded throughout history, even in many sacred texts. A famous biblical passage has an astonished apostle Paul recounting his extraordinary experience when he writes the following verses in 2 Cor. 12:1-4. In third person Paul writes,
1. Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
3. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—
4. was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
How awesome would it be to be caught up to the third heaven and hear inexpressible words? As some of you may already know, just the realization of having had an out-of-body experience, let alone understanding the contents or implications of it, can be quite astonishing, to say the least!
So what exactly is an out-of-body experience (OBE)? While having one, does a person actually leave the physical body in some way or is it a shift of consciousness that creates this illusion? The expansive nature of the spiritual mind and body can be very complicated for the physical brain and body to understand. The spiritual mind and body are infinite and unlimited, whereas, the physical brain and body are finite and very limited. When only looking at something from a narrow and limited point of view, it makes sense how some could reject the notion of an OBE as valid and legitimate. Also, there is a saying, “We don’t like what we don’t understand.” Too often, our lack of understanding of a subject can cause undo prejudice and fear. It isn’t until one has actually become aware of having had an OBE, that one’s position, point of view and awareness on the subject, starts to shift. OBE’s don’t have to be considered strange, as they are naturally occurring events that happen when the conditions for them are right.
According to the Monroe Institute website, in 1956, while experimenting with sleep-learning and studying the effects of various sound patterns, Robert Monroe, a researcher in the field of human consciousness, stumbled upon a way in which an OBE could be purposely induced. Using himself as a guinea pig, he described the state he was experiencing; being separate and apart from his physical body as an “out-of-body experience.” Although this induced OBE came as a surprise, the following link tells the story of his first experience of accidentally leaving his body.
Since Monroe made this discovery, naturally, the direction of his life changed. With this new and exciting discovery, Monroe began to work on methods of inducing and controlling this and other forms of expanded consciousness in a laboratory setting and accomplished amazing results before his death in 1995. His research popularized the term, allowing it to be catapulted into even further awareness. Today, the Monroe Institute is an organization dedicated to the exploration and expansion of the limits of human consciousness. Monroe once said, that when you have experienced an out of body state enough times, there is no doubt that life after death is real!
An OBE can be induced by:
- injury and trauma to brain and body due to an accident or illness
- physical, emotional, mental pain
- electric simulation of the brain
- sleep deprivation
- sensory deprivation
- fears or anxiety
- chemical drugs or psychedelic plant medicines
- certain dream states
- near-death experiences.
It’s important to note that, although all near-death experiences are considered to be out-of-body experiences, an out-of-body experience is not always a near-death experience.
From the research of Monroe, and many other pioneers of human consciousness, we know that OBE’s can also be induced by carefully following certain procedures. Many say that a relaxed body with an alert mind is optimal for success, so you can see why this state could be considered challenging, since not many conditions consistently present such a state.
Here are a few common signs of an OBE that may occur when drifting off to sleep:
- hearing buzzing, humming or other sounds
- hearing music
- hearing talking
- experiencing a tingling sensation and/or a vibration
- feeling a sensation of floating
- sleep paralysis.
- a feeling of heaviness
Here are a few OBE indicators which may occur while you are asleep:
- a visitation from a loved one or visiting a loved one- deceased or living
- lucid dreaming that turns into an OBE
- a dream that turns into an OBE
- experiencing flying, floating, hovering
- seeing yourself sleeping, and/or out of body
- experiencing an event in history or visiting a distant land
- return visits to familiar places
- thinking in your dreams (One does not normally think in a dream)
- noticing that your thoughts can take you places
- upon waking, having a feeling that you have been gone from your body- the sense that you have been away – learning something, is a common feeling.
An out-of-body experience is not bad and wrong, in and of itself, as some might try to say. That’s not to say you can’t have a bad experience. I only had one of those, and that was the only one I ever tried to induce. On the other hand, OBE’s can be profound spiritual experiences that have immense value to those on the receiving end, sometimes, even life-changing. OBE’s can give us the opportunity to check on our friends and family who live far away, or even those loved ones who are deceased. After-death communications may occur in an out-of-body state. My post, Kevin’s Journey Into The Light is a good example of this.
Some waking experiences are rather shocking when they happen, as was with the apostle Paul. While minding your own business, it is like being spontaneously transported into another space and time (dimension) to have this incredible experience. It’s extraordinary, but very difficult to explain how it happened or when it will happen next. I have experienced these waking OBE’s on many occasions. Some professionals think it’s either because of the surgery that was performed on my brain back in 1984, or the resulting near-death experience that led to my 45 seconds of clinical death. Whatever the case… I am grateful for such spiritual experiences that, on many occasions, have allowed me to visit my spiritual home and family, as not to feel so separate from them. Other waking OBE’s include people actually seeing themselves while in a waking state, like a doppelgänger, then, at some point, it quickly vanishes, leaving a person to wonder if they were losing their mind. This is not too common, but it happens.
Although there are many ways to view an OBE, most of them puzzling, I admit, it is my experience that an OBE is simply a shift in consciousness that, if the conditions are right, allows the subtle body and mind’s consciousness the freedom to escape physicality for awhile. In other words, when this happens, you are literally “out of the box” and experiencing something from a perspective that is outside the regular confines of the physical brain and body.
So next time you have a dream in which you travel to far away places, visit friends and family or just talk to your deceased loved one, consider that… maybe you did. Just maybe you did.