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WikiPedia Article: Out-of-Body Experience

An out-of-body experience (OBE or OOBE) is the subjective perception that one is no longer in one's body, while generally being able to perceive it from the outside. It is sometimes associated with near-death experiences, hypnopompic or hypnagogic dreams, mystical trances or occult phenomena, and psychoactive drugs, mainly dissociative hallucinogens such as ketamine, DXM and PCP.

An OBE may be contrasted with astral projection, which does not require being able to perceive one's own body from the outside, and which does not typically posit that one's consciousness or soul is actually traveling through our day-to-day physical reality. An OBE may also be contrasted with dreaming, lucid or otherwise, by the intense perception of being awake and of the reality of the experience.
 

Features of an Out-of-Body Experience

Not every OBE has exactly the same features, and it may be that there are several different types of OBE that have different causes and meanings. Based on collections of firsthand accounts of "spontaneous" OBEs, some observations can be made:

  • These people have really had the experiences they describe; they are not "faking" them.

  • They weren't in general "trying" to have the experience through auto-suggestion, hypnotic trance, etc. A lot of these people seemed frightened and/or confused by the experience; some even to the point of doubting their sanity.

  • There is no question that they really believed they were physically "out of body", and that this is a key feature of the experience. Even though other features of their experience might be self-described as dreamlike, the OBE part was experienced "lucidly", and was very real to the experiencers. Several described their subjective state as "very awake", "more awake than usual", etc. Some quotes:

  • I knew that these were not dreams, I can now tell the difference and that's what frightened me, a dream you can ignore but not an experience like these it made me want to try and find out why are these things happening to me.

  • Consciousness was as clear and lucid as any wakening experience.

  • I was very alert. It was exactly as if I was awake.

Many properties of these OBEs were similar:

  • In the great majority (55+) of these 66 cases, the experiencer reported being asleep, on the verge of sleep, or having been asleep directly previously. A fairly large percentage of these cases refer to situations where this sleep is not particularly deep (due to illness, noises in other rooms, emotional stress, exhaustion from overworking, frequent re-awakening, etc.).

  • In most of these cases, the experiencer then feels themselves "wake up"; about half then note a feeling of physical paralysis:

  • I soon realized that I was capable of moving only my eyes. Neither my head nor fingers would budge. I remember desperately trying to move even a toe to no avail.

  • Suddenly I could no longer move or even lift a finger. As I was struggling to move, there was a sudden jerk and I was pushed out of my body and was floating upwards.

  • I had gone to bed, woke up suddenly and found that although I was fully conscious I couldn't move a muscle.

  • I lay paralyzed, unable to move or blink.

  • Then my mom woke me for school and I felt sensation slowly return to my limbs (before that I couldn't move anything).

  • In some cases, the feeling of being outside the body is something that is suddenly realized after the fact; they see their bodies almost by accident. In other cases, they either will themselves out of their bodies or find themselves being pulled from their bodies (these are usually preceded by the feeling of paralysis).

  • The OBE is not generally long; on the order of a minute or so. The experiencer may note that the subjective experience is much longer than the objective time passing.

  • The OBE may or may not be followed by other experiences which are self-reported as being "as real" as the OBE feeling; alternatively, they may fade out into a state self-reported as dreaming, or they may wake completely.

  • The OBE is sometimes ended by a fearful feeling of getting "too far away" from the body.

  • Many of these OBEs end with a feeling of suddenly "popping" or "snapping" back into their bodies.

  • I was lying in bed and I felt myself rising. This freaked me out, so I slammed back into my body.

  • As soon as I noticed myself still lying on the couch I was instantly shot back in my body.

  • I reached the floor and touched my bed in a sitting position. I whooshed back into my body.

  • I realized that I was floating and became very frightened. In that instant of revelation I felt a sense of great speed and an impact as though I had smashed into a brick wall. I "woke up" crumpled up at the bottom of my bed in the hotel.

  • I was pulled violently back into my body and I jerked.

  • The next moment I was fully awake and in my bed, no journey upstairs, nothing, I was back in an instant.

  • Some people experience spiritual epiphanies; others experience a general feeling of peacefulness and love; and still others experience fearfulness and anxiety. Finally, some experience only the OBE itself, not as a spiritual experience directly.

  • A majority describe the end of the experience as "then I woke up".


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This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Out-of-body experience. Content  is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
















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