LiveScience put an article a little while back called Out-Of-Body Experience Is Traced In The Brain with the tagline: “What happens in the brain when a person has an out-of-body experience? A team of scientists may now have an answer.”
Spoiler: They don’t have the answer. Not even close.
But the average person interested in the topic for spiritual reasons or because, like me, they are researching afterlife evidence might have googled out-of-body experiences, read that headline, and might have given up without even reading the article, imagining that science will eventually destroy every hope we have of an afterlife by debunking and disproving the many miraculous experiences that we use to study the afterlife. I have a great respect for science, however, science has never disproved the separation of consciousness. Science attempts to explain away such experiences as NDEs or OBEs, but their best explanations still fall flat and remain unproven.
In this case, the headline is completely misleading. The experiment described in the article might have scientific merit for the study of the brain, but it has absolutely nothing to do with ‘out of body experiences’ as afterlife researchers know it.
Typical out of body experiences occur in the twilight stage when your body is falling asleep but your mind is still conscious, sometimes referred to as the hypnagogic state When your body falls asleep completely, it activates a type of paralysis to avoid us acting out our dreams. This is a common source of night-terrors. Apparently, if you can retain your conscious awareness through the paralysis stage, you can then separate your consciousness from your body which is often experienced as floating up out of the body. Looking back, your sleeping form is visible on the bed. Once out, most people sense that they have an energy body that they can use to explore the energy duplicate of the physical world, or aim higher into different areas of the non-physical universe. Afterlife pioneers like William Buhlman spent 40 years exploring these worlds, even coming across deceased family members. His two books about his experiences are immensely worthwhile, if you are interested in his experiences. Another author, Cyrus Kirkpatrick, actually stumbled into the afterlife during an out-of-body experience. Disoriented, he arrived in an earth-like park to meet an Indian couple walking down the path. The man holds up a hand and says, “Welcome to the afterlife – what do you think of it?”. If you are interested in reading more about the topic, links to both books can be found in the Evidence of the Afterlife page on this site.
Out of body experiences do not require any special equipment, only practice and visualization techniques . It is done in a meditative state, while falling asleep, or even from when a dream becomes lucid. Out-of-body experiences also happen spontaneously to the very ill, those in comas or preparing for death, or those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also happens to normal, healthy individuals. It seems that whenever our brain doesn’t have a complete hold on our consciousness (such as when falling asleep or in specific circumstances where the brain is dysfunctional), our consciousness can more easily disconnect and awareness continues in it’s natural state, similar to when we leave our body in death. When an out-of-body experience happens during a near-death experience, patients can describe everything done and said by doctors while their body lays on the gurney, flat-lined, unresponsive, and for all intents and purposes, dead. There is no explanation for how a patient can have any conscious experience while their brain has no activity, nor their body a heartbeat. Yet, these patients can know what family members are doing down the hall, or what a surgeon said and did while attempting to resuscitate them.
The article, however, doesn’t study any of this, nor does the experiment bear any resemblance to a real out-of-body experience. Here’s the description of the experiment from the article:
In the latest experiment, the participants lay in an MRI scanner while wearing a head-mounted display that showed video from a set of cameras elsewhere in the room. The cameras were positioned to look down on the body of a stranger, while an image of the participant’s own body lying inside the scanner was visible in the background.
To produce the out-of-body illusion, the researchers touched the participants’ body with a rod while simultaneously touching the stranger’s body in the same place, in view of the cameras. For the participants, this technique produces the illusion that their body is in a different part of the room than where it actually is.
“It’s a very fascinating experience,” Guterstam said. “It takes a couple of touches, and suddenly you actually feel like you’re located in another part of the room. Your body feels completely normal — you don’t feel as it’s floating around,” he added.
The experiment takes place in an MRI scanner while the subject is completely awake. The ‘illusion’ is created through a video monitor that tricks the brain into thinking they are in a different area of the room. A real OBE doesn’t require a video monitor to fool your brain – your consciousness literally is in a different part of the room. The last sentence says “Your body feels completely normal – you don’t feel as if it’s floating around.” In a real OBE, your body does feel like it’s floating around. In fact, that’s one of the biggest indicators that you are out of your body – you are walking through walls, floating up to the ceiling, and flying around your neighborhood.
Although the headline suggests that science has now found a biological basis for out-of-body experiences, thereby negating any spiritual foundation of the experience, it’s obvious that the experiment is completely different – using a different set of variables and technology. The use of the video monitor to trick the brain into feeling out-of-body is very much like the equivalent of looking at a magic-eye picture and seeing a sail boat. No one would suggest that you are about to jump in and take it for a sail. It’s simply the power of suggestion dressed up with VR glasses.
If you’d like to learn how to have an out of body experience for real, check out my page Evidence of the Afterlife and scroll down to the Out-Of-Body Experiences section. Listed there are some great books and websites that describe the truly amazing things that can be experienced out-of-body, as well as techniques for achieving this yourself. Happy sailing!
Hey.. don’t go yet.. have you ever had an out of body experience? I would love to hear about it because I’m really trying hard to practice. Leave a comment and tell me about it!