Having an out-of-the-body experience doesn’t make you special.
They’re pretty common. According to surveys, around 10 percent of the population has had one.
It’s pretty common. That’s something that needs to be said and understood.
It’s more common, too, in some families than it is in others.
As with any experience, any knowledge, or anything else you might have, what matters is what you do with it.
An out-of-the-body experience is a sensation where the mind seems to be apart from the body. People report floating above the room they’re in and looking down at their body, sometimes connected by a silver cord.
Sometimes they’re not in the room where their body is. Sometimes they’re in an entirely different place.
Sometimes they’ve been declared clinically dead.
Sometimes they haven’t.
No matter the details of the individual experience, out-of-the-body experiences are fairly common and transcend cultures.
When this happens with a phenomenon, there’s going to be a number of different names for it. Out-0f-the-body experiences are no exception.
The experience goes by a lot of names. It has been called a near-death experience, autoscopy, astral projection, and spirit walking. There are different connotations among the terms, but they all mean roughly the same thing. Near-death experience refers to an experience one has had when they’ve been clinically dead. Astral projection is when one is asleep. Spirit walking is a term used in Native American culture. Autoscopy is the term for a group of similar phenomenons.
Skeptic organizations have gone to great lengths to debunk them in presentations, in magazines, and on the Internet.
While it’s important to make sense of them, that’s more of a process for the person who had the experience to reconcile against the ideas of these groups and his or her own.
There’s no reason why there couldn’t be more than one cause, some more common than others.
The individual is the one who has the experience. Even if the skeptic accurately determines the origins of the experience, it doesn’t really matter. The experience has its effect on the individual, That’s where the impact lies, though the impact can extend beyond the individual.
What should matter in an out-of-the-body experience?
The two main things:
1. What did you get out of it?
2. How did it change you (if it did)?
Like all of these subjective experiences, it’s personal.
Beyond that, if you tell others about your insights and they benefit from it, all the better.
Unfortunately, when you say you’ve had these kinds of experiences, some people will immediately assume you’re on drugs or crazy.
Most people who have had them have no physical proof of their experience. Others assume they’re lying.
You’re probably not going to convince them you’re a liar. They’ve got a lot emotionally invested in their rationalist perspective.
It shouldn’t bother you. It’s the way it is.
They’re looking at it this way because some people who have had out-of-body experiences look at it as a way to soothe and buffer their ego. The out-of-the-body experience is a source of pride.
This attitude and way of carrying yourself doesn’t fool anyone except another fool.
There are two broad classes of writing about the phenomena. One one side is the writing of skeptics who try to discredit people who have had them. They suggest many of the people who have had them are simply lying, under the influence of drugs or have something wrong with their brain.
The other side a those who attempt to assign some metaphysical reasoning and importance to the phenomena.
Neither of those groups provide much in the way of utility to the person who has had an out-of-the-body experience and wants to know what they can do with the information.
How to analyze the out-of-body experience
If it happened while you were sleeping, analyze it like it was a dream. Take the components of the dream and, one-by-one, try to understand if there was some symbolism behind the components.
The components of a dream are the language with which the subconscious communicates.
If this approach doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, try to verify the experience to yourself. For example, were you floating above a room or your bed? Were you able to read anything on a book or newspaper in the scene? Did you travel anywhere? Take careful note of any details you might remember. Could it have been a really weird dream?
Some people have said their out-of-body experience took them to another land. As with a more conventional destination, it’s important to get as many details as you can.
Do you feel strongly about your out-of-the-body experience? Some people who have been clinically dead come back and, after the experience, say they look at the world with new eyes. Often, they report going through a tunnel and meeting loved ones who have departed on the other side. They say they are no longer afraid of dying. That kind of out-of-the-body experience would be profoundly transformative.
Some people desperately want to have something amazing happen to them. They want to be regarded as special by others. Telling others this happened to you is a way of making yourself stand out from others. This is a temptation to be avoided.
Individuals like this present irresistible targets for skeptics to skewer. They serve as strawmen to discredit the whole phenomena.
It’s illogical to think that even though out-of-body experiences can be induced in a laboratory and that sometimes people lie about having them, that every report of an out-of-body experience is a lie, the result of a damaged mind, or being under the influence of some substance.
It’s a personal experience where actual physical proof is impossible.
The only thing that matters in the great scheme of things, therefore, is the insight gained from the experience, even if the insight is, simply, that yes this happens sometimes.
Beyond that, the only other thing that matters is what you’re able to do with that insight. Did it change you? Should the experience have changed you?
People usually don’t feel like they gain insights from drug trips, though anything is possible.
That’s as hardcore scientific as studying these phenomena is ever going to get. The scientific method is focused on the material world. Out-of-the-body experiences occur in another realm. They’re an experience.
Being able to reproduce them doesn’t prove that they don’t occur at least sometimes and that the sensation is valid.