Emerging Paradigms of Consciousness Research: News and Views on Consciousness and Mind Science Connected and Gathered from around the Internet

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung "

Out of Body Experiences

The Art of OBE

Two common questions I get when talking to people about out of body experiences are: "What does it feel like?" and "How do you know you're not dreaming?". The one question I always expect, but rarely get asked, is: "How do you do it?". Here, I'll attempt to cover all three questions, but first I must stress that I am still learning the art of the OBE myself.

What Does it Feel Like?

Well, for me, it feels just like getting up out of bed and walking or floating away from my body. I'm sure different people will have differing experiences of the Out of Body phenomenon, for example, I have only experienced what some people call the vibration phase before the separation stage one time.

Okay, here's the long answer:

I begin lying down and relaxing my body and mind, the same as I would if I were going to sleep. Sometimes I feel itches, or aches, and try to ignore them. After a while I begin to notice my mind drifting a little as my body tries to go to sleep, pieces of dreamstuff flash through my consciousness, sometimes I hear music, or voices, sometimes I imagine myself to be somewhere else, sometimes I see visions of colours and patterns. This phase is what is termed the hypnogogic state. Here I struggle to keep myself aware, while maintaining a relaxed/passive mind state. At this point I could easily slip into a lucid dream state if I'm unable to maintain consciousness. I stop noticing my body, some people talk about experiencing paralysis, but I experience this more like a loss of awareness of my body or non-location. Sometimes I get a sensation of a wave of energy moving up my body, one time it felt like a very light satin sheet was gently being pulled down off of me. Only once have I ever experienced vibrations here, and they were extremely uncomfortable. Often I will feel an obvious shift in my state of mind, towards a state that is more clear and feels like a "higher" or more aware state of consciousness. Around about this point I will attempt to move away from my body, sometimes by rolling left or right, sometimes by floating upwards or sinking downwards, or by doing a forward roll, sometimes I will just sit up and walk away. How I choose to "separate" depends on what feels right at the time, and sometimes I have to try a few different things before I get one to work.

How Do You Know You're Not Dreaming?

The skeptic in me would say, I guess I don't, but then having experienced something so real and vivid and seemingly tangible, I guess I don't really know whether I'm dreaming right now either. Perhaps this whole reality is one big collective dream. No answer I can give here will ever truly satisfy someone who has not experienced it for themselves, so here are a few more questions to ponder on.

How could you explain to someone who has never had a dream, what dreaming is?

What do we mean when we say "reality", and as our imaginations are so vast, how do we know if we have ever experienced it?

What is so "unreal" about your own imagination?

How Do You Do It?

Haha! This is the on going question in my life that I still have not yet satisfied.

The methods for achieving an obe, or a lucid dream experience are as vast and many as there are people to experience it. In other words, everyone seems to have their own method and variations of methods that have worked best for them, and it seems to be a "trial and error" journey to get there.

Two things that will help you..

1. You have likely spent your entire life going to sleep or unconscious as your body rests each night, but in order to achieve an experience such as this, you will need to begin retraining yourself to be able to retain consciousness as your body sleeps. Robert Monroe, aptly named this state "Mind Awake - Body Asleep". It is not easy breaking a habit of a lifetime, but it is possible..

2. You need to make sure you are not afraid of what will happen once you're "out", fear will inhibit your abilities greatly in this area. This fear may be something that you gradually overcome, or you may like to take steps in line with your own belief system, ie; ask your angels, spirit guides, higher self, etc to protect you, imagine casting a shell of light around your body. How ever you choose to overcome your fears in this area, your aim is to be able to approach obe with a sense of excitement, adventure, and curiosity.

If you can achieve these two things you will be well on your way.

There are, of course, spontaneous obes that just seem to happen. They can occur randomly or during extreme conditions of the body, such as trauma, shock, sleep deprivation or sensory isolation and can be just as real and meaningful. My first obe occurred during a period of trauma and mild sleep deprivation. They can also occur when you have been thinking a lot about obe/lucid dreaming like researching or reading/talking about it, as you are doing right now..

Check back here for more articles about my own attempts and methods for achieving out of body experience.

Happy journeys

..Is all that we see or seem,
but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Allan Poe