The Psychology Of Out Of Body Experiences

Jayne Henderson, Going Postal

An out of body experience can be a truly life changing event, and there are still many mysteries and uncertainties surrounding the phenomenon. An estimated 10% of the population have experienced an out of body experience (OBE), and while their stories have similarities, many who study the discipline have difficulties explaining the reasoning and cause, and the psychology of it all. Some theories believe it to be a spiritual experience that brings the individual closer to God, while others theorise that it occurs in a deep state of hypnosis or lucid dreaming. Whichever may be true, there is still much to be discovered regarding the science and psychology of OBEs.

The Science Behind It

An out of body experience occurs when a person’s consciousness is temporarily detached from the physical body and then travels outside of the body. It is quite often referred to as the soul temporarily leaving the body. Out of body experiences are also referred to as astral projection, and have long been studied as being the most spiritual experience you can embark upon in your life on earth. OBEs have been used to question the thought and theory of the self, and why your true self is able to leave your physical body. It has been referred to as a cognitive map, or an alternative mode of mental being, in which the soul or the mind acts as if it were witnessing the world not from the usual perspective of the physical body, but from some other location nearby. Near death experiences are a common trigger for OBEs, and it involves the individual having the ability to leave their body, witness the event as it occurs, before re entering the self and returning the physical body to safety.

Differences In Out Of Body Experiences

With the case of OBEs, separating yourself from your physical body normally occurs in a few different ways. Spontaneous out of body experiences occur either when you are sleeping, or are very close to sleep, and can sometimes seem at first as being a state of hypnosis, or very lucid dreaming. A floating sensation accompanies this type, and the individual is still usually able to dictate movements and speech. Near death experiences can also trigger an out of body experience, and these are the experiences that can many believe bring your true self closer to God. When feeling threatened and scared being so close to death (such as in a car accident, or near drowning), a powerful altered state of consciousness is entered that gives off the impression of mind-body separation and greatly enhances the individual’s clairvoyant capacities. Extreme physical effort and being in a physically demanding environment, such as climbing and marathon running, also produces OBEs as the psychology of the brain is severely tested in these conditions.

The separation of the mental and physical self experienced during OBEs is an interesting area to study. And while the causes and reasonings behind the phenomena may vary for each individual, having an out of body experience is certainly memorable as it enables the psychological self to temporarily leave the physical body.

© Jayne Henderson 2019

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