Experiences where sensation occurs distant from the body have been reported throughout history. For most, this experience is rare – often stemming from physical trauma, such as surgery. A few can conjure out-of-body experiences at will.
An out-of-body experience (OBE) is conscious awareness detached from the physical body. Though still energetically tethered to the body, the mind sensates remotely.
OBEs were known to the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, American Indians, Hindus, Hebrews, Muslims, and Oceanic peoples. 90% of the cultures in the world have a tradition regarding OBEs.
15–20% of people experience an OBE sometime during their lives. obes tend to be spontaneous, typically occurring during sleep, meditation, anesthesia, illness, or traumatic pain. Many recall the experience as blissful.
The validity of out-of-body experiences has been repeatedly confirmed by out-of-body travelers relating physical details of environments they could not have otherwise known.
“There is no duality of body and mind when this happens. I do not see myself above my body. Rather, my whole body has moved up.” ~ anonymous 24-year-old female Canadian psychology student capable of at-will OBE, who had her out-of-body experiences physiologically monitored via MRI. She thought out-of-body was a normal experience for everyone.
Innumerable near-death out-of-body experiences have also been documented. A study of 140 survivors of cardiac arrest found numerous instances of awareness while their body was non-functional, yet they had “explicit recall of actual events related to their resuscitation. One had a verifiable period of conscious awareness during which time cerebral function was not expected.”
“It has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating. In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a 3-minute period when there was no heartbeat. This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted. Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.” ~ American physician Sam Parnia
Out-of-body experiences illustrate energyism: the mind-body monism of physicality as a mirage of the mind.
Ishi Nobu, The Hub of Being, BookBaby (2019).
Laura Martisiute, “4 bizarre out-of-body experiences that turned into case studies,” All That’s Interesting (24 January 2018).
Sarah Zhang, “Why people have out-of-body experiences,” The Atlantic (26 July 2017).
Tim Newman, “Out-of-body experiences: Neuroscience or the paranormal?,” Medical News Today (19 July 2017).