The out-of-body experiencer (OBEr) knows consciousness away from their body. OBErs may find they can look back at their body from the outside; interact with other beings of light; and “travel” to earthly locations or to other realms.
The OBE can also be experienced within the near-death experience (NDE), such as watching doctors work on ones’ body from a location in the operating theatre. The separation from body may also occur within a shared near-death experiences (SNDEs); or shared death experiences (SDE).
The best way to understand an out-of-body experience is through personal examples:
- While standing at the back of the huge conference room, filming the speaker, all of a sudden I felt I was being pulled out of my body. I was floating over the packed room. Luminous light surrounded the speaker. Slowly, as I flew over the rows of attendees, I could see light around each of them. I was bursting with gratitude, universal love, and joy. I seemed to move slowly from the back of the room toward the centre of the stage, up high, just in front of the presenter. After completing a full slow circle of the enormous conference room I could feel my spirit being sucked back into my body like a vacuum. I stood, feeling my body fully, how strange it felt. Suddenly the enormity of what I had just experienced flooded me with tears. I quickly exited the theatre; I couldn’t believe what just happened to me.
- I don’t remember leaving my body, but I do remember being high up on the wall at Grandma’s house. I was watching and listening while Grandma told my father about an NDE experience she had the night previous. Then the phone rang. I found myself back in my body, in my house, sitting on my bed where I had been reading. I recalled everything about the room my Dad and my Grandma were sitting in, including details of the story Grandma told, which I repeated to my Mom who had called. Shortly after, my Dad came home and he recounted the story to my Mom on the phone. He told my Mom Grandma’s story just as I had told it to my Mom minutes before.
- While meditating, I went deep into a dark void. This is an empty space, where my senses are absent. Then I feel a lifting, a lightness, across my chest. I lift up, up, further and further. I sense two beings with me. I think they are my guides. They travel with me to a beautiful place that defies description. First, a waterfall, I float behind my guides, and then a table with at least twenty light-beings. I hover in the middle. The sensation of love and empowerment are incredible. Several of them lift to me, and take me to another place, which feels higher, farther. I see a luminous, bright repository that I am “told” (without speech), is the place of all knowledge. It isn’t a building, but it appears separate, like walls made of see-through luminous energy. I linger, ask questions and then I am sensing heaviness in my chest and I am back in my body, uncomfortable and yearning to go back to the place of love and all knowledge.
The OBE phenomena is varied.
Some individuals have had hundreds or thousands of OBEs, by choice. As in the third instance, you may meditate or create an environment where you find passage to the OBE state. Yet, many other OBEs are spontaneous, as in the first two examples.
There are two different types of OBEs, ethereal and astral. As you may have guessed, the ethereal plane is earth-related. One can travel through this plane to other locations on the earth, as in example two, above. They can observe themselves and others on the earthly plane.
Interestingly, there have been many OBE travelers who “return” to accurately describe something they saw which relates directly to reality, such as what someone is wearing or an account of an activity they could not possibly have know about.
Astral OBEs, also referred to as astral travel, is the experience of traveling to other realms. Experiencers claim this could be a spiritual realm, or another planet or universe altogether. Some astral travellers have developed guides or “maps” of the various spiritual realms, and even hierarchies of spiritual realms.
Features of out-of-body experience
According to researchers Alvarado & Zingrone, (2015), features commonly experienced in an OBE were the sense of floating (71%), as in two of the previous examples. The experience being in familiar surroundings is slightly less common at 69%. As in the second example above, seeing the physical body (65%), and seeing the surroundings from above (63%) are also very common. Some people report a feeling of “consciousness oscillated in and out of the body (1%), seeing a ray of light or cord connecting the physical body with the OB location (2%), manipulating the environment via thought (3%), and hearing music (4%).”
OBEs can be induced through drugs or electrostimulation. In the personal examples above, I was awake, aware, and NOT taking any substances. I had not been ill and I can attest I felt perfectly fine. Since the age of 13 I have been able to travel during OBEs by meditating, sometimes deeply, sometimes very superficially. In some cases, my OBE is completely spontaneous. These examples took place at ages 33, 13 and 55.
For me and many others, connecting either for an ethereal or astral experience brings peace, joy, wisdom, faith, love, and energy.
There is a knowing that I am part of an all-loving universal consciousness.
There are lessons in each experience which seem tailor-made for the experiencer. I call these my “outside mind” lessons. They seem detached to both “I” or ego, as well as to the local consciousness I identify as my brain/mind. At the same time as being “outside mind”, OBEs inform the “I” of the mind/brain, and become applicable, grounded, and valuable lessons for everyday life.
There is no definitive science on where consciousness lives, but for me, I am conscious, aware, and learning valuable lessons from that place outside my brain, which I refer to as universal consciousness.
For further resources, check out the Monroe Institute https://www.monroeinstitute.org/