OBE: The Out Of Body Experience

The phrase out-of-body experience is a 20th century expression some say was first used by parapsychologist George Tyrrell in his book Apparitions. Other’s credit Robert Monroe, the man who brought astral projection to Western attention. The term ‘out of body experience’ is used to describe the sensation of floating outside of one’s own body and/or perceiving one’s physical body from a distance. While OBEs are quite similar to astral projection, spirit walking and other psychic phenomenon, Tyrrell wanted to take the mysticism out of the concept and study it from a scientific perspective. George Tyrrell documented these stories from antiquity of spirit walkers, traveling through the a spirit, or astral plane with glimpses of the afterlife often called near-death experiences (NDEs).

Study of OBEs crosses many areas of science and mysticism, including psychology, neurology, pharmacology, religion, esoteric anthropology and, in more modern times, the many human potential movements that blend stage magic, religious trance work, hypnosis and quasi-scientific concepts like neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). In the decades that followed Tyrell’s work, little was done to advance his ideas, but that is mostly because his theories had more to do with the quest to explain ghosts as simply hallucinations of the subconscious.

In addition to the religious or spiritual OBEs mentioned above, hypnosis, meditation, trances and lucid dreaming can overlap into the space covered by these experiences. The concept was made most famous by the work of Robert Monroe and his books and Hemi-Sync binaural audio tracks used to make training oneself to have OBEs much easier, especially through lucid dreams. It was his experimentation with sleep-learning, the idea of teaching a person through sound while they are unconscious, that gave him the sensation that he would later call his first out-of-body experience. His description of the event was sudden paralysis and vibration along with a bright light perceived through his closed eyes.

At the time, little was understood about sleep paralysis, so the idea that a person could remain consciously aware of their body as sleep paralysis occurred was a new one. Over the course of several months, Monroe continued his practices with sleep learning and eventually went on to write three of the most well-known books on the subject of OBEs, beginning with “Journeys Out of the Body” published in 1971. Monroe passed away in 1995, but his daughter continues his work today with the company he founded, Hemi-Sync, a recording company that specializes in audio programs that are designed to make altered consciousness more easily attainable in less time with less practice than traditional meditation.

Learn Out Of Body Travel

Learn Out Of Body Travel

Noted psychology author and writer on philosophical skepticism Celia Green first correlated lucid dreaming with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and published extensive research papers on out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams, apparitions and spontaneous hallucinations (not induced by drugs). Working with Charles McCreery, a psychologist in Oxford, Green’s efforts were primarily based on the experiences of ordinary people, that is, people without known psychological conditions, mental illnesses or drug abuse histories. She was unable to make a clear connection to the root cause of the sensations, but believed she had ruled out pathological issues.

Understanding OBEs is a point of contention between deists that believe in eternal souls and an afterlife (or reincarnation) and atheists that believe in a rational world view where existence is transitory and assume that OBEs are either a trick of the brain or some other as-to-yet unexplained phenomenon. Before the mid-20th century, most of the writing about OBEs (especially as termed “astral projections”) dealt with the subject as esoteric spiritual concepts. In fact, prior to Green’s work, most research by parapsychologists was concerned with whether these subjective experiences could provide proof of an eternal soul and afterlife.

In spite of the hundreds of cases studied by Green and McCreery, it is only in recent years that advanced technology to perform sleep studies has given a more scientific understanding of the OBEs. Even today, the conventional wisdom in the scientific community is that OBEs are most likely a product of the imagination related to dreams. The foremost expert in lucid dreaming in the past couple of decades, best-selling author Stephen LaBerge, has written extensively on the subject of inducing lucid dreams and treats OBEs as the same type of experience.

Where OBEs most differ from lucid dreams is in their spontaneous occurrence during a near-death experience, in severe trauma or in a hospital emergency room. In many of these cases, patients with limited oxygen to the brain or no vital signs claim knowledge of events that happened while they were clinically “dead” according to the medical team trying to revive them. Most reported experiences of near death involving out of body experience seem at odds with the scientific explanation of OBE. Near death survives report the experience too vivid and too detailed to be considered a dream or hallucination. A recent book by Chris Carter ‘Science and the Near-Death Experience‘ certain has but forth a compelling argument for the possibility that consciousness survives death.

Out of body experiences are still actively researched. Can the brain create an out of body experience? Presently, that seems a good possibility. Does that somehow prove that there is no such thing as a real out of body experience or an experience that there is some sort of awareness that continues when the body is clinically dead? No. Perhaps the answer is being more open minded that both possibilities are true.

If you are interested in talking with someone who had a near death experience, you might enjoy talking with Psychic Nefertari. It was after a near fatal car crash Nefertari discovered she’d developed psychic talents she never suspected. You can reach her at 1-866-327-9032, toll free USA and Canada.

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