An out-of-body experience (OBE) is precisely what the name suggests: an experience where your consciousness is separate from your body, which frees you to roam an open world while the body remains unconscious.
It’s a common experience that’s linked to lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis.
Your experience with OBEs, lucid dreams, and similar dream-related phenomena depends on your mindset and the control you’re able to exert over your surroundings.
Conscious sleep paralysis, on the other hand, is almost always a negative experience.
Sleep Paralysis, Lucid Dreams, and OBEs
Lucid dreaming (and by extension, OBEs) has been praised for providing a vibrant, expansive worldly landscape in which people can work through the problems in their waking life while doing pretty much anything else they want – even fly.
Sleep paralysis isn’t as fun.
Despite that the body falls naturally into paralysis when we sleep, retaining consciousness during said paralysis is a scary thing.
Sightings of demon-like entities and other dreamlike visions have been reported along with an intense sense of discomfort and confinement. We’ll learn more about that later.
Even lucid dreaming can be a negative thing sometimes, and I recommend practicing it mindfully. Be conscious of whether your techniques lead to where you want to go or to continuous episodes of sleep paralysis.
Since sleep paralysis, lucid dreams and OBEs are so closely related, you might experience one when intending to experience another.
When trying to lucid dream, for example, you might end up in a state of conscious sleep paralysis. The same could be said for an OBE, because sleep paralysis precedes it as well.
You might want to get comfortable with sleep paralysis if you attempt to induce an OBE or lucid dream.
It won’t be easy due to the countless reported experiences with “demons” and shadowy entities during SP, but waking up in that state seems to be a natural consequence of attempting a lucid dream or OBE.
35 out of 100 People Have Had an OBE
Lynne Levitan and Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. describe an OBE as an experience wherein someone perceives or thinks they’re perceiving the world from a place outside of the body. 35 out of 100 people have had an OBE at least once, and the experience can be disturbing or “profoundly moving”. (1)
According to Lynne and Stephen, one explanation for OBEs is that consciousness separates from the body and travels throughout the world in another form. Hallucination has been suggested as a potential explanation, but it wouldn’t explain why so many people’s experiences are so similar. (1)
Lynne and Stephen believe the out-of-body experience is a natural “mental event” that can happen to regular, healthy people. It could be “a kind of dream”, but most who have an OBE report that it feels realer than a dream. (1)
As Lynne and Stephen write, one sensation which accompanies the OBE is the feeling of having another, more subtle body, which they refer to as the “out of body” body. Other experiences include feeling a sense of energy or vibration, as well as hearing loud noises. In some cases, the sensation of paralysis can precede an OBE. This establishes a link between sleep paralysis and the latter. (1)
OBEs: A Type of Lucid Dream
Rebecca Tuner at World of Lucid Dreaming writes that an OBE is most likely to occur when sleeping, meditating, or practicing exercises that involve wake-induced lucid dreaming. Some people have OBEs frequently, and some can even induce them at will. (2)
Rebecca writes that an OBE can be considered a type of lucid dream. Induction techniques for OBEs are similar to those used for lucid dreams: OBEs and WILDs (wake-induced lucid dreams) both begin when lying in bed, “ideally” after having just woke up. In both cases, the body will reenter sleep paralysis and fall back asleep. The mind, however, will stay awake. This can cause the feeling of being “stuck” in the body with the desire to break free. Most won’t know it, but they’re already dreaming by this point. (2)
Sleep Paralysis Tricks the Body
Rebecca writes that sleep paralysis, combined with continued mental activity, tricks the body into dreaming you’re lying in bed. The room around you will look mostly the same with a few small tweaks, and when you get to this point, you can consider it a lucid dream. You can then leave the body by using your imagination to swing, float, or roll out of it. Despite that you can leave it, your body will feel like lead due to the sleep paralysis. (2)
In this state, she writes, you might see “dream characters” that are commonly perceived as ghosts, angels, or demons. They can help or hurt your effort to break free, and their behavior depends mostly on your expectations and your mental state. You can even “teleport” away from them and into a new dream location by visualizing your desired destination. (2)
(Continued in part 2 tomorrow)
- Lynne Levitan and Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., “Other Worlds: Out of Body Experiences and Lucid Dreams”, Lucidity.com – http://www.lucidity.com/NL32.OBEandLD.html
- Rebecca Turner, “Out of Body Experiences: Are OBEs Real or Lucid Dreams?” World of Lucid Dreaming – http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/out-of-body-experiences.html
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I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run The Culture of Awareness, a daily news blog dedicated to raising social and spiritual awareness and supporting the evolution of the planet.
I also have a personal blog, Openhearted Rebel, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.
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