OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES
The OBE can be intentional or involuntary, as with near-death events when people report finding themselves floating near the ceiling of their hospital rooms, perhaps observing medical staff attempting to revive them. Trauma, illness, or water and food deprivation, as with Native American vision quests, can trigger OBEs. Lucid dream states are opportunities for intentional OBEs. For the purposes of this article, OBEs may be spontaneous, and astral projection a conscious choice, though some would argue otherwise.
Neuroscientists are puzzled — while the experience is no longer dismissed out of hand by medical professionals, science holds the view that OBEs involve neurological or brain dysfunction. After his own experience, Dr. Raymond Moody MD became interested in near death OBEs, and for decades interviewed hundreds of experiencers and collected data, defining common qualities of OBEs. Moody identified nine common elements of a near-death OBE — some experiencing all, some, only two or three.
The tantrics mastered lucid OBE and dream states to overcome the fear of death by learning that we are not our “bodies.” They also discovered that the physical body can experience deep healing during OBEs — the mind can be tough on the body. And rather than losing time to practice meditation during sleep, yogis continued working through the night while the body rested. Some athletes learn lucid dreaming to practice and visualize their game. By working in a dream or out-of-body, not only do they visualize, they have a “felt sense” of their practice, and can actually acquire the muscle memory for winning habits. Others benefit from the opportunity to explore past lives as well as accelerated personal development
Astral Travel or Projection, are terms used to describe the ‘out of body experience’. The existence of the Astral Plane and the Astral body is recorded in texts and esoteric material pre-dating cultures as ancient as the Phoenician, Chaldean and Sumerian.
Historically, in both the East and West, the existence of the astral body or the subtle body has long been acknowledged, and on the basis of that recognition, profound esoteric healing techniques and modalities were developed. These healing practices remain widely used to this present day with great efficacy. Think energy Healers, Reiki Master’s, Distance Healing and any number of practitioners specifically working with the energetic body.
Classically, the Astral Body is described as an intermediate body of light linking the rational soul to the physical body, while the astral plane is an intermediate world of light between Heaven and Earth. Astral projection or travel signifies the astral body leaving the physical to travel the astral plane.
There is a physical ‘button’ or switch’ if you will, that is activated when you are deep in meditation, sleeping or engaged in conscious Astral projection or travel. The switch, located deep in our brains, is known as the pineal gland and it releases a chemical known as DMT (Dimethyltryptamine). This chemical is what impels your soul from your body when sleeping, triggers the near death experience and activates the passage of the soul when the body is dying.
The benefits of practicing conscious astral traveling and out of body investigation are immeasurable as it spreads beyond the boundaries of the physical and rational. A great many people experience a profound shift and an inner blooming of their spiritual being, their perspective of themselves as spiritual and physical beings undergoes a transformation. They experience life with greater consciousness and vitality, certain in the knowledge that they are more than just a physical being destined to lead a short, physical only, finite life.
“From the astral world we come at birth, and there we shall return at death. Someone asked me why we should try to connect with the astral world now. To this I reply, “Because that is where you will realize the freedom of your true nature. You were there as a soul cloaked in an astral form to start with; and because you are not there now and have lost that memory is why all your misery persists.” By entering that other world, we learn the causes and healing of all suffering and diseases. We discover the secret of our existence — what happens after death, and where we were before birth, and how to live in the material world without losing our divine connection” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
A Reddit user shared this story: “[My friend] claimed he was able to leave his body during sleep and basically travel around in his spirit form. I took it with a grain of salt for obvious reasons, but I didn’t dismiss him right off the bat because I knew him pretty well and he wasn’t the type of kid that would try to troll me about these things.
“At the end of the night [of hanging out at my place], I told him ‘hey, why don’t you prove to me that you can really fly around as a spirit and come to my room tonight [traveling from his house to mine during sleep]?’
“I came up with the idea that I would write a note on a post it and he would have to guess what I wrote. He agreed.
Fast forward to the next morning. I get a call from him telling me that he had … read the note. … He got it right. “This experience has really blown my mind. I know it would be hard for most of you to believe me, but this really happened and I am 100 percent positive that there was no way he could have seen what I had written on that post it.”
Another case recounted by the Mayses was that of George Ritchie, M.D. In 1943, when Ritchie was 20 years old, a soldier about to attend medical school, he died. He was pronounced dead on the night that he was supposed to catch a train leaving the army base in Texas to go to Virginia for medical school.
Ritchie later said he rose out of his body, though he didn’t realize it at first. He floated eastward, still trying to get to Virginia. He passed through a town and asked a man for directions. The man seemed to ignore him. Ritchie leaned on a pole and went right through it, at which point he realized what had happened. He flew back to the hospital, where he saw an illuminated being who helped him
Ritchie later said he rose out of his body, though he didn’t realize it at first. He floated eastward, still trying to get to Virginia. He passed through a town and asked a man for directions. The man seemed to ignore him. Ritchie leaned on a pole and went right through it, at which point he realized what had happened. He flew back to the hospital, where he saw an illuminated being who helped him return to his body.
After his recovery, he drove eastward and found the town of Vicksburg, which looked exactly like the town he flew through and stopped in. He had seen blinking lights in a town he flew over along the way. The Mayses confirmed with a woman in one of the towns along what would have been Ritchie’s route, that there were four blinking lights in the area in 1943.