Questions and Answers

There are a few questions that are frequently asked about the out-of-body experience. Here is how I would answer them, in no particular order:

What do you do during an OBE?

Mostly, I explore. I experiment. I have an insatiable curiosity, so I just go out and try things. I also love to fly.

Can you lose your body?

If anyone has lost their body, they obviously hadn't lived to tell about it. But all indications are that you can't lose your body for good. I believe that your oversoul has invested a great deal of time and energy in creating and maintaining a physical body for a purpose. Your oversoul is not going to give up your body until your purpose has been fulfilled. Thousands of people have experienced OBEs, and wandered thousands of miles away from their body. After a certain period, they usually just lose consciousness and find themselves back in their body again.

What about possession?

Perhaps if you have mediumistic tendencies, spirits can temporarily inhabit your body while you are out. However, spirits cannot possess your body long-term unless you give them permission to do so. My clairvoyant friend, LD, told me of an OBE where a spirit of a woman entered her body without permission. The woman was trying to animate LD's body, but couldn't. LD returned to her body to find it occupied. She was so angry that she yelled at the spirit to get out "or else." The spirit said no, but LD got furious and yelled "Now!" The unhappy spirit quickly left the body, and LD entered it again. The point is, even when you are out of your body, your oversoul has a "claim" on that body. Other spirits do not have the power to animate your body.

Can you encounter something evil like a demon?

I don't believe in evil. There are only two kinds of demon: The first kind is the demon we create from of our own fears. If you don't believe in evil, you cannot encounter these demons. If you understand and face your fears, you can face these demons and destroy them with an act of will. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

The second kind is the spirit of a dead person who is playing the role of a demon to make him/herself appear more intimidating. But that's different from evil. Remember this: They are just a spirit like you and me. They have no more power than you do, despite how they look or act. If you are a gentle soul, just visualize a white light around the spirit and send feelings of love to the poor misguided spirit. If you're ornery, tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, and walk away. If you're playful, make yourself into a big demon and give them their own treatment. They can't harm you, and they can't possess your body unless you give them power over you by being afraid.

What are the psychological effects? Can you go insane?

Again, I can only speak from personal experience. One common definition of "sane" is when a person is an integrated person functioning normally in society. I can say this much: I haven't had any problems holding a job. As a computer programmer and analyst, stress levels are high and my brain functions are constantly being taxed. My OBEs haven't done any noticeable harm.

There is an excellent book called With the Eyes of the Mind by Gabbard and Twemlow that contains an in-depth study of the psychology of OBEs. It compares the OBE to other psychological phenomena. In short, they found that the OBE shouldn't be grouped with psychological disorders such as dissociation, schizophrenia, autoscopy and other body boundary disturbances. OBE falls into a category of its own.

When is the best time to practice?

The best time to practice is in the morning, when you are awake, refreshed and not likely to fall asleep. I mostly practice Saturday and Sunday mornings because I can sleep in late, wake up refreshed and then have plenty of time to practice. I also recommend you take a nap sometime during the day, and use that time to attempt to leave your body. Naps are better than bedtime, because you're usually not as tired. You can relax and really get into it, without being so tired that you just fall asleep right away. If you only practice before bedtime, make sure to go to bed early so you won't fall asleep immediately.

What's the difference between an OBE and a lucid dream?

Some people believe that OBEs are the same thing as lucid dreams. It's easy to confuse the two. I'm not an expert in the field of lucid dreams, but I can offer my opinions. Lucid dreams seem to come in two categories: The first type of lucid dream happens during the onslaught of sleep. It is possible that these experiences are actually OBEs. The second type of Lucid dream occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which researchers acknowledge as the "dream" state. Scientists have developed a few commercial devices that monitor the eyelids of a dreamer. When REM sleep is detected, the machine flashes a light or sends another signal to the dreamer. When the dreamer recognizes the signal, they can wake themselves to a fully conscious lucid dream.

Studies have shown that OBEs do not occur during REM sleep. From personal experience, I can say this much: I have experienced them both, and have seen the difference. Lucid dream scenery seems "fake" when compared to OBE scenery. In lucid dreams I realize the scenery is "fake" and can make the scenery dissolve, leaving me floating near my body.

What's the difference between meditation and OBE?

In some forms of meditation, the goal is to clear your mind of all thoughts, which is very similar to quiescing your mind for an OBE. Some people report accidentally leaving their body during meditation. Others go into a state of meditation when trying to induce an OBE, but never leave their body.

When I meditate, my mind becomes empty, and I go into a kind of trance that I can't explain. In this trance of meditation, I don't have any perception. I don't have dreams or hypnogogic images. It is as if the world has completely stopped, and my consciousness has been extinguished. When I come back from meditation, I have no memories.

When I induce an OBE, I don't induce nearly as deep a trance. I retain a thread of alert consciousness the whole time. Once I reach the OBE state, my consciousness becomes normal again. After the experience, I have complete memories of the experience.

How do I know if it was real?

My general rule of thumb is: If you're not sure, then it was not a real OBE. A true OBE should leave you with no doubt in your mind. In a genuine OBE, you should literally feel as if you are separate from your body. It won't seem like a dream, a daydream, a visualization, or a fantasy. It will feel absolutely real.

Is consciousness as clear during an OBE?

In an OBE, as in life, consciousness can be crystal clear or muddy. I've had OBEs where my consciousness was more intense than normal waking life. I've also had OBEs where my thinking was more "muddy."

What's the difference between OBE and Near Death Experience?

This is how I think of it: The out-of-body experience is one typical feature of a Near Death Experience (NDE). Typical NDEs have some other common features that aren't usually found in an OBE (although that doesn't mean they can't happen). Some of these features are: Gliding down a tunnel, having your life flash before your eyes, seeing a bright light, meeting dead relatives or friends and being told it is "not your time."

Also, NDEs usually happen during times of bodily trauma. OBEs often happen from a state of perfect health.

Has anyone seen God, Jesus, etc., during an OBE?

It is more common to see deities during NDEs rather than during OBEs. It's interesting to note that when this happens it seems to be based on the person's religious convictions. Christians tend to see Christ. Buddhists tend to see The Buddha. Hindus tend to see their deities. I believe there is only one God. Perhaps certain powerful spiritual entities on the other side can appear in a form makes the participant most comfortable. Personally, I've never seen a deity during an OBE, except the childhood experience in chapter 2.

When you leave your body, aren't you technically dead?

Why doesn't brain damage or rigor mortis occur?

Your body does not die during an OBE. It goes into a deeply relaxed state.

Is OBE related to UFO phenomena?

Many victims of "alien abductions" describe symptoms similar to OBE phenomena. They describe tunnels, vibrations, weird sounds and sights and total paralysis. They describe how aliens appear out of thin air beside their beds or walk through walls. Victims are levitated out of bed and are pulled outside through the wall. I believe many such victims are merely misinterpreting symptoms of typical OBEs. I think a lot of "abductees" would be relieved to know the true nature of their experiences!

I must also add that not all claims of alien abduction can be dismissed as OBEs. Some UFO cases have compelling physical evidence that wouldn't be left after an OBE.

Can you inhabit the body of a medium while OBE?

Around 1903, an invalid by the name of Vincent Turvey learned how to induce OBEs to free himself from his disabled body. Spiritualism was still popular then, so Turvey started visiting seances during his OBEs. A few times he actually sent messages through the medium during the seance. In his book, The Beginnings of Seership, Turvey has signed testimonials from people who were present at these seances. I believe him because he had witnesses and because he was too physically ill to stage such elaborate hoaxes. I've never tried it, and I don't know of anyone who has, other than Turvey. But I believe it can be done.

Is there a such thing as astral sex?

I've read about astral sex in only a few books. The following experience, which I labeled a lucid dream at the time, is the closest I've been.

03/08/83 Thu

Last night I had an interesting experience that I'd like to share. Last night before I went to sleep at midnight, I prayed to God. I asked to have an experience where I would reach my soulmate through a dream....Some time in the middle of the night I found myself in a dreamlike state and was semi- conscious. I was not in a recognizable place. I was with a woman with light hair, and I don't know if she was my soulmate or not. We got very close to each other, and just before we embraced I became conscious in the sense of a lucid dream.

The intensity of the experience is what caused me to be conscious. We embraced and at first I thought we were hugging. Then her body became less defined and started melting into mine. I was surprised and my body started melting too! As we melted into each other, energy started shooting out in all directions with the intensity of the sun.

I can't remember any more.

What do you see when you look in a mirror?

The following is an OBE where I looked into a mirror. What I saw was surprising.

12/25/85 - OBE #121

...I stayed in bed, practicing OBE. I used the rock-my-consciousness method to loosen myself from the body, but I felt somewhat attached to it, even as I was swinging away. On one outward swing, I twisted to my left, reached out with my astral arms, grabbed onto the bed and pulled myself completely out of my body. I paused there, crouched down on my bed, looking at the drapes on the bedroom window. Everything looked normal from that point of view.

I had been planning to try to visit CRA, and I paused to think about visiting her. I thought, "There's plenty of time for that. First, I want to experiment a little bit." My eyes were closed because of the previous two OBEs.

I paused, trying to think of a good experiment. "I know," I thought to myself, "I'll try looking into a mirror!" As soon as I thought that, I felt a strange shift of consciousness and I opened my eyes.

I found myself in a strange room with a mirror. I walked over to the mirror and looked at it. At first I saw my own image, but without a beard--I only had a moustache. I thought to myself how much I looked like BA (CRA's husband). My image slowly turned into BA's image and I thought, "Hmm. Maybe I'm a counterpart of BA. But I have a beard and a moustache, and my image doesn't reflect that." I looked into the mirror again, trying to fix the image. I noticed the image wasn't smiling; it had a very serious look on. So I smiled into the mirror and watched my image change.

My image changed slowly into the image of a woman I've never seen before, and then slowly turned into an image of DS, smiling! (DS is a member of our discussion group). I thought, "Whoa! That's not me. I wonder if DS is a counterpart too!" I bid DS's image farewell, and looked into the mirror and saw myself. This time I looked normal in all respects. I was smiling, and I noticed I was wearing the same clothes my body had on in bed. I thought, "Good."

I wondered whether I should visit CRA, or do another experiment. I tried to think of other experiments I could do, but I lost consciousness and immediately came to in my body.

This story had an interesting aftermath. Here is what I wrote in my journal the next day. The next day, I narrated the OBE to the discussion group and BA was there. As nearly as we could tell, BA was just getting up and dressing during my OBE. He most likely was in the bathroom looking at a mirror! Was the image I saw of him real?

How long does it take to learn?

This varies from person to person. Some books claim to be able to teach you to leave your body in 30 days or less. But that depends on a lot of factors, like the reader's belief system, how often they practice, the methods they try, and their attitudes during practice.

Some people have tried for ten years or more before having their first OBE. Others have done it on their first try. Don't be discouraged if you don't get results for several months. Everyone can learn this skill with practice and patience.

What's a typical OBE practice session like?

On a typical practice session, I will wake up naturally around 6:30am. I'll get up, visit the bathroom, then drink something with caffeine. I'll stay up for about a half hour to clear my mind. I'm usually too tired at that hour, so I'll go back to bed and sleep for another sleep cycle. Around 7:30am, I'll wake up naturally, stretch and start my first attempt. After about twenty minutes of trying, I will give up, roll over and go back to sleep.

When I wake up from that sleep cycle, I'll make my second attempt. Again, I'll keep at it for about twenty minutes before giving up. I'm usually successful on my second or third attempt. If I'm not successful by 11:30am, I quit practicing.

How long does it take to induce an OBE?

Typically, it takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to induce an OBE. My fastest induction took around thirty seconds. My longest induction took more than an hour.

What's the most common mistake during practice?

The most common mistake people make is trying too hard. Many people try so hard to induce an OBE that they never reach that totally passive state of mind I mentioned in chapter 24, step 2. If you "try hard" instead of letting go, you'll never be able to quiesce your mind enough to induce an OBE.

Why do it? What is it good for?

I believe there are many good reasons to induce out-of-body experiences. It may help us prepare for the afterlife, and uncover the secrets that lie beyond death's door. And that, in turn, can bring a better understanding and appreciation for life; We gain the realization that life is, after all, only temporary. After an OBE or two, there is no longer a fear of death. Also, it may help us develop psychic abilities. It may also help us contact departed loved ones. Perhaps in the future, we can use it to explore the far reaches of space, or the depths of the oceans. Or maybe to find missing children and to catch criminals. Besides, it's fun. Most important, OBEs can help us to be more spiritual. We can find our own answers instead of relying on religion, superstition and dogma. We can explore our own inner space and discover our inner selves. Maybe we can experience our true oversoul, or superconscious self. Perhaps we may even reach Ecstasy, Satori, Nirvana, Christ-consciousness or whatever you want to call it. Perhaps we can even experience the divine, the infinite soul, or God. The possibilities are endless.

There are still many unanswered questions about the out-of- body experience. It seems like the more I answers I find, the more questions pop up.


Side-to-side Swaying

This is similar to the method described in chapter 24. Lie down with your arms by your side. Relax your body to the point where you can no longer feel your arms. As vividly as you can, imagine that your arms are stretched out perpendicular to your body (not by your side). Hold that feeling and simultaneously slow down your mind into that quiesced state mentioned in chapter 16. If you find it difficult to reach this point, your body is probably not relaxed enough. You should be so relaxed that you do not feel your physical arms at your side. Do not continue until it feels like your arms are outstretched. Hold your mind in that quiesced state.

Then visualize that both hands are holding onto handles that are anchored. Hold that visualization until it is stable.

Next, visualize that you flex your right outstretched arm just a tiny bit, which pulls your body slightly toward it. This imagined movement of your body should start out very small, approximately one millimeter. Your physical body should not move (if it does, start over.) Then flex your left arm, pulling your body back to the left.

Again, flex your right arm, then your left arm to "sway" your body slightly from side to side. Keep flexing your arms right- left-right-left. As you do, develop a rhythm to your swaying. Each flex should only take half a second to achieve, so a complete cycle of right-then-left should take approximately one second to complete.

Continue to hold this swaying pattern for about thirty seconds (the exact amount of time isn't important), then slowly start to increase the amount of pulling. Over about four minutes, increase the amount of swaying to about six inches per side. At that point, the vibrations are likely to hit you. Ignore them and keep swaying for about ten more seconds. Then you will be free from your body. Use the side-to-side momentum to swing yourself away.

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