Image Credit www.flickr.com/louish
Have you ever felt as though your sense of awareness was outside of your physical body? That you were looking back at yourself from another place in the same room? If so, you’ve probably had an out-of-body experience (OBE). But not all OBEs are the same.
A sense of leaving one’s body
My colleagues and I last year conducted a study examining the potential differences in accounts of out-of-body experiences.
We asked a number of questions, summarised as follows, about the specific features of OBEs reported by participants:
The results indicated that people who reported spontaneous OBEs did not commonly have a distinct sense of floating out of their body. In fact, such individuals typically found themselves spontaneously “out-of-body” and looking back at themselves from a different place in the same room.
Induced or spontaneous?
Induced experiences can be defined as those in which a person wilfully brings about an OBE. These can be produced via meditation, self-hypnosis, visualisation and other techniques involving body perception.
I believe research along these lines is important as it differentiates between types (or qualities) of OBEs. If you have ever had such an experience, you might recall particular features of your own body perception and aspects of the environment during the experience.
Given experiences appear to differ broadly, based on individual accounts, we can ask: which factors might predict the type of OBE someone is more prone to have?
Interestingly, there have been a plethora of studies into factors that may cause OBEs, but few that have considered differences between types of OBEs.
We believe we have successfully demonstrated there are differences between spontaneous and induced OBEs – namely, the distinct sense of “body separation” experienced by people who have induced their OBEs, and the absence of such a sensation for people who experience spontaneous OBEs.
There may be more differences between these types of OBEs, and that’s what we must look at next.
Author : Alexander De Foe