Out Of Body Experience Essay, Research Paper
Out of body experiences, or OBE’s can most commonly be defined as ” the soul’s temporary excursion from the body.” This type of phenomenon tends to get confusing because of the fact that there are a variety of different circumstances in which the soul may leave the body. To narrow the subject down, astral plane projection, which is a specific type of OBE, will be discussed. In astral plane projection, the soul leaves the body; it enters a whole new world of consciousness on a different plane. On this new plane, the normal laws of physics no longer apply. In this paper, I will attempt to explain Astral Plane Projection, and also discuss a few world writers who have themselves experienced this amazing phenomenon thereby, reflecting upon their experience through their writings.
Before it is at all possible to fathom the actual experience of an astral journey, one must understand the physical world, leaving your body, or mind, located between these two worlds. The physical world has to do with everything we perceive as reality, such as a phone we hold, swimming in water, or anything else existing of matter. On the other hand, “the Astral World is the inner, mind-side of matter, aspect of an overall continuum. It may be perceived by your mind, it may also be influenced by your mind, but it is certainly not the same thing as your mind”(Brennan, 77). The self or mind, is the force which makes it possible for extension onto the physical world, or our actual body, as well as allowing us to leave our bodies and enter astral world. Our imagination plays a big part in the astral world. Since we are not trained through our lives to exercise and strive for full potential of our imagination, their leaves no question as to why the average person cannot perceive the astral world. Therefore, this dimension of physical universe that all of us can experience, consciously or otherwise, is out there. However, some of us may need to train the inner sense before ever experiencing this plane of consciousness.
“We are scarcely aware of the great potential that is in us—-mental, artistic, spiritual—-for if each of us has a second body that can soar through time and space, we may also have the power to transcend in other ways the limited abilities of the physical body” (Greenhouse). Astral journeys have been recorded throughout the world historically, and new evidence is continually being documented. The first century A>D>, the writer Plutarch told about a soldier in Asia Minor whom while unconscious, roamed for three days in another dimension. Five hundred years earlier Plato wrote, ” We are imprisoned in our bodies like an oyster in a shell.” Astral plane projections were known in ancient Israel, Egypt, Persia, and India and were mentioned by St. Paul in the Bible. Many of the modern day studies or cases, have been thoroughly recorded, and described in great depth, allowing for a better understanding of astral plane projection. In many cases, there is usually a reason or motivation for projectors to leave their bodies, even in involuntary cases when the process is more or less unconscious.
Astral plane projectors have described their experiences, and although they differ to some degree, they seem to share similar characteristics. The individual’s astral self may be experienced to move out of the physical body in a variety of ways. The case collections of the reported astral projectors include floating, rising, being lifted, and less frequently falling, spinning in a spiral, whirling, looping the loop, and zigzagging. At the end of the experience the astral self was said to float, sink, or fall back into the physical body, to return at such a tremendous speed, producing a feeling of intense reverberation. Malleability seems to be a common theme in astral plane projection. Many astral travelers may have the capacity to influence the shape, size, density, apparel, and motion of the parasomatic form by directing attention to the desired state.
Carl Jung was a psychoanalyst who wrote of his own experience. In Jung’s autobiography (1963), he described in some detail his own out-of-body experience after he fractured his foot. His OBE can be placed in the category of astral plane projection. This rapturous state he experienced, he described as “utterly real.” “He understood the experience psychologically as a kind of peak experience in which he had attained an objectivity that is possible only when the self is completely individuated. He felt that he was detached from value judgments and from emotional bonds on earth” (Gabbard-Twemlow, 188). This out-of-body experience had a profound affect on Jung’s life and contributed to a belief that there was a realm of existence outside of time and beyond death.
Many world writers have experienced astral travel, thereby incorporating this knowledge through their works. Rumi, the Persian Poet, for example, had a wide range of out-of-body themes sewn into his poetry. In “The Marriage of True Minds”, soul travel is suggested in the last two lines. “This is the greatest wonder, that thou and I, sitting here in the same nook, Are at this moment both in ‘Iraq and Khorasan, thou and I.” It is the reunion of two minds through soul travel. There is also a paradox in these tines because they talk of sitting in the same nook, and at the same time their physical bodies are so very far away. Also, in the seventh line, “Thou and I, individual no more, shall be mingles in ecstasy,” there is an example of the great joy and euphoric feeling that soul travelers may experience. It is as though weight has been lifted from them, freeing them forms their superficial shell or physical body.
Another poem by Rumi, dealing with soul travel is “The Mystic Way”. In this poem, Rumi writes about the physical plane versus the astral plane. “Our speech and action is the outer journey, our inner journey is above the sky. The body travels on its dusty way; The spirit walks, like Jesus, on the sea.” After death, we will leave our physical shell and move on as spirits to a more powerful, brighter place, existing of vibrations rather than matter. Therefore, if our outer journey is on a lower plane, we in physical form should spend a great deal of effort bettering our inner soul. Yet, most of us disregard our soul, and constantly focus on the outer appearance and materialism, leaving many of us terribly self-indulgent.
William Blake was a writer in the late 1700’s-early 1800’s. His lyrical poem, “The Mental Traveler”, deals with the use of astral travel as an escape from the physical boundaries that encompass us. Blake seems to be writing about how our soul is almost imprisoned when we are born. There is a great deal of imagery presented in this poem. After the baby is born, “she binds iron thorns around his head, she pierces both his hand and feet, she cuts his heart out at his side to make it feel cold and heat.” The physical world is shown as a haven for material items. However, no one will ever be truly satisfied until they can fulfill their soul by setting it free. “The stars, sun, moon all shrink away, A desert vast without a bound, And nothing left to eat or drink, And dark desert all around.” They seemed to have left everything that is really important, but the experience allows him to grow internally. He then returned to his physical body and the line that occurred at the beginning of the poem, appears once again. “She nails him down upon the rock, And all is done as I have told.”
George du Maurier’s “Peter Ibbetson”, wrote a story of a man imprisoned for life who spends each night in his second body with the double of the women he loves, and what they cannot have in reality becomes possible in another, perhaps, a greater, reality. “Healthy tired in body, blissfully expectant in mind, I would lie on my back, then I would stretch my limbs and slip myself free of my outer life, as a new born butterfly from the durance of its self spun cocoon, with an unutterable sense if youth and strength and freshness and felicity.” This story is romantic fiction; however, more and more cases of real life astral romance have been coming to light in recent years.
Astral plane projection has been around for centuries. It is in historic literature as well as modern day literature. It is constantly being studied and documented. In this day and age, it is unable to be scientifically proven. Eventually, with the rise of technology, we will hopefully be able to study this phenomenon in a broader spectrum in which will result in us understanding it better.