Out of body experience (VTP, the terms “out-of-body experience” or “out-of-body experience”, the English out-of-body experience (OOB, OBE), extracorporeal experience (ECE) are also used) - a neuropsychological phenomenon in which a person experiences the illusion of leaving his own physical body and sometimes also sees it from the side (autoscopy). Experiences can occur as a result of a malfunction of certain areas of the brain, sensory deprivation, dehydration, stress, the effects of psychoactive substances and other factors that cause an altered state of consciousness. It also occurs in healthy people, in particular, during falling asleep or after waking up. Some people claim that they can experience this experience of their own free will, and this ability arose spontaneously or developed in the course of meditative practices. According to various estimates, such experience in life occurs in at least 5-10% of people.
The phenomenon has long been considered one of the possible evidence of the existence of the soul or paranormal phenomena, but in recent years it has been actively studied by scientific methods. In the early 2000s, experimental techniques were developed that allow this experience to be experienced in subjects through electrical or transcranial magnetic stimulation of certain areas of the brain, under hypnosis or in virtual reality. It is assumed that experience occurs when the multimodal integration of the channels of perception of one’s own body is violated. The mechanism of the phenomenon is still poorly understood, and, in the absence of a generally accepted scientific theory of consciousness, its study is carried out by empirical methods.
Out-of-body experiences, like near-death experiences, can have a strong transforming effect on a person’s personality. After a vivid out-of-body experience, the fear of death decreases, and a person’s attitude towards the world and himself changes, as a rule, for the better.
I was lying in bed and was ready to fall asleep when I had a distinct impression that “I” was at the level of the ceiling and was looking down at my body in bed. I was very amazed and scared, immediately (after) I felt that I was conscious again in bed.
The experience of leaving the body is a subjective experience that can only be described by the person who has experienced this experience. The following characteristic elements are usually present in these descriptions:
- the feeling of separation from a motionless physical body and exit from the physical body in a "different" body,
- a change in the subjective perspective of perception with the transfer of its center to a point outside the physical body,
- autoscopy, that is, the perception of one’s own body as if from the side, usually from above.
In this state, a person seems to soar somewhere under the ceiling and looks at his physical body lying on the bed. The body remains motionless, but the person experiences sensations, as if he could move in a "floating" body or even move in space. The duration of this experience is usually from a few seconds to several minutes.
The experience of leaving the body should be distinguished from other types of autoscopic phenomena. AT autoscopic hallucination a person perceives his double as existing outside himself, but at the same time he still feels himself in his body. The intermediate between the out-of-body experience and autoscopic hallucination is the so-called geautoscopic experiencewhen a person cannot judge with certainty whether he perceives his body “from within himself” or from some point outside himself. Moreover, as a rule, an autoscopic hallucination can be understood by a person as an illusory, hallucinatory experience, while an out-of-body and geautoscopic experience is very realistic for a person.
Contributing Factors [edit |
For the first time I became immersed in infinite space as a teenager. At that time I did not know what meditation was. It was the beginning of the eighties and literature on this topic was not widely distributed.
During falling asleep, I began to notice a strange phenomenon. Before going into sleep, the phenomenon of infinite space very often appeared. Then I did not know what to do with it and did not really think about it. Although sometimes the thought arose that if you plunge into infinity, you can get into another "dimension".
Having talked about this topic with my peer, I found out that he also has such states before going to bed. If you have experienced this, then “Infinity Meditation” is your technique. If there was no such experience, then it can and should be learned.
It can be called up using the Gradual Relaxation technique. Details about this technique are here (How to relax and go into a trance).
Out of body practice experience
The main emphasis when doing meditation should be done in the evening. Since the physical body is already quite tired and can easily relax to the state necessary for practice.
It is best done one hour before you go to bed. If you engage in meditation just before bedtime, it is likely that you will fall asleep in the process of practice.
Starting position, lying on your back. In the process of relaxation, follow the “Gradual Relaxation” technique. Periodically, when you relax different parts of the body, shift your attention to the forehead (between the eyebrows). A good indicator is a sense of pressure in it (this factor is optional). It says that internal energy activates the third eye chakra.
It is very important to completely relax the body first. If the energy of the subtle body goes into the third eye before you relax, then you may soon lose the feeling of infinity (if it starts). If this happens, then do not interrupt meditation. With experience, you will learn to plunge into this state more than once.
Attention! Keep in mind that at the beginning of meditation, energy always acts stronger, making its way. Therefore, it is very important to relax first and then practice.
Infinite Space Calling Techniques
The “Gradual Relaxation” technique is fundamental to induce the effect of infinite space. However, this is not always enough. To gain the experience of infinity, you must use the following additional techniques. They must be done after you have completely relaxed.
First technique. Turn on your imagination and imagine that your physical body begins to disappear (imagine - imagine that it begins to dissolve). Mentally tell yourself that this is happening, and you cannot do anything about it. You need to believe it a lot!
The second technique. She is more radical than the first. You must imagine that you are about to die. Imagine, feel that the life force is leaving you. Connect the breath. With each exhale, feel that you are dying. No need to be afraid. No matter how you try, this will not happen. But the right state of immersion in infinity can happen to you.
If the second technique is radical for you, use the first. At the beginning of my practice, I often used the second technique. Being in meditation imagined that I was dying. There was no fear. On the contrary, when the immersion in the inner space begins to go, you need to keep yourself in control so as not to be emotionally excited - it is so breathtaking.
What will happen
When you begin to experience a state of infinite space, concentrate all your attention on it.
Note. Try not to let your thoughts slip away. Although it will still be. Therefore, you need to catch the moment when thoughts and images begin to distract you and return yourself back to practice.
So, in the process of meditation, you began to experience a state of infinity. Thoughts and visuals are under your control. Next, give all your attention to the endless space in front of you. You will begin to feel that you are immersed in it, and it is in you. There will be a feeling that you have become very small, and around you there is an infinite space that cannot be covered by an internal gaze. In the beginning, this can be frightening, but with practice the fear will pass.
Then another condition may come. It will seem to you that a little more and you will experience an out-of-body experience. It can be very emotional. You may lose a relaxed state due to this arousal. At this point, you need to try to control your emotions.
Attention! If you began to plunge into the inner space, in no case do not interrupt meditation because of fear or because of the "enough for today" reason. When you enter infinity, it is likely that the experience will be successful and you will leave the body.
The next thing you can experience, plunging into the inner space, is the feeling that an invisible force begins to pressure you. It is as if something surrounds and presses on your body from above. It will seem that something “crushed” you. These are sensations of the second energy (etheric) body. If you ever experience them, you will never forget. You will understand what state you need to strive for when doing meditation.
This sensation of the energy body alone is enough. Then it is necessary to deepen this state with imagination and concentration.
When you get used to this condition, periodically try to extend the arm or leg (the physical leg or arm should remain in place). The moment will come when you will feel how your etheric hand begins to go beyond its physical envelope. Or you can shift the leg of the subtle body to the side.
These feelings will be absolutely real, because at this moment you will be in full awareness. There will be no rupture of consciousness as when leaving a body on awakening. First you sleep there, then the consciousness moves to a prosonovoe state (trance state) and you make the exit technique. There is no falling asleep or awakening. You are fully aware when doing all the meditation.
At the time of separation, we must again try not to overexcite. Since the first out-of-body experience is indescribable delight. You need to keep calm at all times. Believe me, this is not so simple. Since you are always in a fully conscious state, the emotions and feelings that surged at this moment will be a stumbling block to you.
When the first successful experience occurs, you do not need to relax. It may seem that you have mastered the WTO. And now it has become your constant reality.
Out-of-body experience through meditation requires a lot of vital energy from an energetic (etheric) body. Since the exit is due to its vitality. Need a constant practice of meditation. It needs to live. Only then will this be your second state.
More on the essence of the phenomenon
People who have experienced the exit of the soul from the body usually give similar characteristics to this sensation. First of all, a person feels separation from his physical body, feels “outside of it,” he can even see it from the side (most often from above). Also, in a person in this state, the subjective perspective of perception changes: it is transferred to a point outside the physical body. Despite the fact that it remains motionless, a person seems to soar above him, observing everything that is happening around. He can move in space, see surrounding objects, experience emotions.
Causes and factors affecting the manifestation of the phenomenon
The situation in which such a sensation is most often experienced is clinical death. Religious people call this state the exit of the soul from the body. But this is not the only situation in which you can experience this.
Various psychotropic and psychoactive substances can also cause the appearance of such sensations.
Among patients with schizophrenia, people suffering from schizotopic or post-traumatic disorder, one can also meet those who have experienced the phenomenon.
Out-of-body experience can come through meditation or involuntarily. For example, Robert Monroe published a book on similar techniques and founded his own institute, where such conditions are actively studied and investigated. It also provides training in out-of-body practices and practices of changing consciousness.
Such experiences can also occur with a sharp change in the position of the body in space, for example, in aircraft pilots, during a car accident (if the car rolls over or a person flies out of it), during a free fall.
Some people claim that they felt a separation from their physical shell, but such a phenomenon is quite difficult to study and fix, therefore, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty whether this is the same phenomenon.
There is also evidence of the fact that experiencing out-of-body experiences can also be in a state of deep hypnotic trance. Research on this topic was conducted by Professor Etzel Cardenia. According to his data, the subjects, under hypnosis, felt the sensation of leaving their own body, free floating, slowing down or stopping time.
At a time when the mind and body are in separation, the perception of the environment usually does not change. A person sees everything in the same colors, the same shapes and sizes.
Recommendations for preparing for the ECP
People who consciously want to experience this need to follow a few recommendations. First, you must follow a special diet. It is recommended to eat light food, refuse foods such as meat and nuts. Before practice, you should not eat at all, and you can only drink water. It is also necessary to perform certain breathing exercises. Yoga, mantras and special meditations can also help to achieve a state of bodylessness.
To fix the results, you can write down each of your experiences in a diary so as not to forget any important details and track the patterns that arise. It is also important to study the theory of this phenomenon: reading special literature, listening to lectures.
Steps required to achieve ECP
- Complete relaxation. It is necessary to create such conditions under which nothing - neither extraneous sounds, nor the natural needs of the body, nor physical discomfort, will be distracting. Clothing should be as comfortable as possible. It is not recommended to set time limits.
- Meditation. Meditation on the chakras is suitable, meditation aimed at abstracting from the body, focusing on a specific thing
After the stage of complete relaxation has begun, it is necessary to come to the stage of abstracting from the physical body and the altered state of consciousness. Ways to enter this state:
- Lifting method. This technique is quite simple: you must imagine yourself floating up, rising above your physical shell.
- Vibration. It looks like a light electric shock. At first this can be frightening, but it is a natural manifestation of an out-of-body experience.
- Sleepy paralysis. At this moment, a person is not able to lift a finger, he feels as if he is very heavy.
- Auditory hallucinations. At the very beginning of the department you can hear strange sounds. They can be in any form: voices, hissing, crackling. They must be ignored, since they exist only at the subconscious level.
- Fear. It is completely natural to experience fear of death or injury during an out-of-body experience. However, according to studies (Canterbury Institute Experiment), it is difficult to suffer during such practices.
Most of the research work is to collect and study information from those people who have experienced this condition. However, over time, this phenomenon changed from mystical phenomena to neuropsychological ones. In neuropsychology, this phenomenon is associated with the way in which the idea of a physical body is formed in the human mind, how it connects with the representation of one's own "I".
For the first time, an out-of-body experience as a neuropsychological phenomenon was singled out by surgeon Wilder Penfield, whose patient experienced a similar condition during a brain operation. Then, in 2002, scientists led by Olaf Blanca achieved similar results through electrical stimulation. Moreover, they managed to localize that part of the brain where out-of-body experience occurs. It turned out to be the right angular gyrus between the temporal and parietal regions.
In 2007, experiments were conducted on out-of-body experiences in people immersed in artificial reality. The participants in the experiment had the feeling that they saw themselves from the side, but at the same time, people could feel touches of the body.
Historical Facts about the Phenomenon
- Out-of-body experience was first described in ancient Egypt. There he was called "ba."
- The great philosopher Plato spoke about this state. He described it in his essay Republic.
- В Древнем Китае описывались опыты таких практик после медитации.
- Некоторые современные шаманы заявляют о том, что по собственному желанию могут покидать физическую оболочку.
Теории, объясняющие феномен внетелесного опыта
Существует несколько групп объяснения данного состояния. The first group explains such phenomena by the existence of the soul, the dualism of consciousness and matter. The theories that fall into this group are not scientific, their experimental verification is either difficult or impossible at all. They are found in religious works, esoteric writings, philosophical treatises.
The second group relates it to the phenomena of the psyche, but does not exclude that there are various paranormal phenomena. Proponents of this theory are trying to confirm the authenticity of extrasensory perception during this state, but so far it has not been proved.
Finally, the third group perceives out-of-body experience as a neuropsychic phenomenon. They study it using neuroscience methods. However, even the theories of this group at the moment do not explain all the features of this phenomenon. You can only study brain reactions, but otherwise you have to rely on the comments of the subjects, which complicates the objective interpretation.
Experiments with the phenomenon
Out-of-body experiences are of great interest for study. Nevertheless, some experiments were carried out.
- In Holland, scientists were able to weigh the physical body of a person before and during a state. The difference in weight was approximately 50 grams.
- Researcher Robert Morris and his followers studied this phenomenon for two years. They examined it with test subject Keith Harari. For example, he could, leaving his physical body, read documents in another room, and then retell them to researchers.
The phenomena of lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis (waking dream)
A lucid dream is a state when a person understands that he is sleeping, but can control his actions.
To enter this state requires regular practice, keeping a diary and meditation. One of the important trainings is a reality test, when a person tries to argue why what is happening now is not a dream.
Sleepy paralysis or waking sleep is a condition in which a person, being conscious, cannot move.
In this state, there are visual and auditory hallucinations. It can occur due to lack of sleep or improper mode. This condition in itself is not dangerous, but it can cause a feeling of fear in a person experiencing it.