This morning I had what I think was my first out of body experience that I witnessed with full consciousness from start to finish. Some of you probably won’t believe me or think that I’m crazy. But I’m going to try to describe it.
Update Jan 6, 2015: Listen to my interview on the Pillowtok Podcast with Gossipist where I speak about out of body experiences and lucid dreaming
Let me preface this with the fact that I have been meditating every day for about 2-3 months consistently. I’ve been learning about spiritual enlightenment, the ego, the mind, and even the science behind what we believe to be Heaven.
While my mediation practice is about discovering my true self and detaching myself from my emotions and thoughts, I have been able to experience a few mild states of peace and bliss, sometimes accompanied by sensations of energy pulsing through my veins and a pounding heartbeat and shortness of breath. I think my desire to have an out of body experience or transcend into some spiritual existence ends up preventing me from actually experiencing it. That’s kind of the way mediation works – if you try hard or want it, it won’t come.
So my meditation this morning wasn’t very different from any of my other sessions. In fact, I felt like my mind was pretty distracted and jumping all over the place. I observed a slight annoyance grow into a severe agitation and desire to quit. I noticed a heap of nausea and a sensation to throw up and I quickly stopped and went and laid down hoping I wouldn’t barf. I chalked it up to being something in the smoothie I ate earlier which has consistently given me stomach aches lately and I am not sure why.
I watched an episode of The Wire on my laptop and then afterward I closed my eyes and didn’t care if I drifted off to sleep. What came next was extremely fascinating.
As I lie there with my eyes closed, I wasn’t trying to meditate or be present. Suddenly I visualized a rectangular black box. It could have been a memory of the TV screen in the room. My awareness started to move into the black box and then out of nowhere I was literally yanked or sucked out of consciousness. Like a noticeable change of dimension that takes about a second to occur and it is very hard to miss. This is not drifting off to sleep!
Now this effect has happened to me in the past but often in the middle of the night while I’m half asleep. And it’s typically accompanied by an extreme state of fear and dread. When I’m half asleep (or already asleep) I would have experiences which I think are called night terrors. Or moments where I am semi-conscious and aware of my surroundings but unable to move. I’m overwhelmed with extreme fear with no distinct source. When I have these night terrors, all I know is there is a supremely evil presence in the room and I just have to get the fuck out of there but I can’t. I would try to yell for my wife to wake me up but she just hears an increasingly loud groaning coming from me. It freaks her out and she has to shake me awake and when I finally come to I feel like she saved my life!
Sometimes, during these night terrors, I would try to attack the evil presence. It felt like me floating and diving into the darkness in a rage of suicidal fury. Only eventually I would get shaken awake by my wife and realize it was not real. I would attempt to go back to sleep but instead of drifting peacefully off to sleep, I would feel the sensation of being sucked back into this terror state and I would try desperately to avoid it. I would turn on lights and listen to music because I was so afraid of falling asleep.
Controlling my Awareness
What I’ve learned in my meditation practice is mindfulness. To simply observe without judging or reacting. So I vowed next time I would have a night terror I would try to sit and live with the fear and surrender to it calmly without trying to escape. Where would it lead me? What would happen?
So this morning when I felt that sensation of being sucked out of consciousness, I witnessed a rush of fear take over me. But this triggered me to be mindful and I immediately “woke up” and became conscious that this was happening. I recognized the feeling and the associated fear and when I brought the feeling into my awareness, I witnessed the fear melt away in an instant. Just like that. What followed was a slightly cool sensation of energy rushing through my arms and legs. Like a shiver or chill but it lasted longer and felt wonderful and tingly.
Woah, Something is Happening
I immediately started to get excited and think, “Is this the beginning of the enlightenment experience? Am I going to start hallucinating and seeing angels and meet God?” I quickly noticed my wanting and refocused on the sensations. I started to become light and noticed that I was tipping over to the left and it was like I was floating. I then was able to navigate my way through the living room with full consciousness. Like I was a floating spirit. I was so excited that I was experiencing this!
I floated down the hallway and into the office where my wife exited the doorway and passed through me and I was curious if she noticed me or not. She didn’t. She was in her bathrobe and she went into the office as I was hanging out in the hallway. I was still so excited I wondered where this would go next.
Before I could go any further I started to come back to earth so to speak. I “woke up” laying on the couch just like I started. And my wife ended up coming out of the bathroom and into the room and obviously had no clue that I was just having this experience. She was still in her pajamas, not her bathrobe so my vision of her in my OBE was a hallucination. It was not real. She was in the bathroom getting ready the whole time this was happening to me on the couch.
I’ve had lucid dreams before where I realized I was dreaming and could control myself and make decisions for a while before I woke up. I’ve had night terrors and woke up before sleep paralysis wore off and felt like I couldn’t move. But none of those have been truly conscious. In fact, I really couldn’t understand what was happening.
This time I witnessed everything from start to finish and was not a dream or a middle-of-the-night foggy memory. To me, this is really cool and interesting. I feel like I could recreate this experience. Next time this happens I’ll tame my excitement and continue to observe. Perhaps a deeper experience is out there.
I was able to do it again last night. I woke up after about 2 hours of sleep and was lying on my back in bed. I noticed the sensation of being pulled back, but it wasn’t as strong. In fact, it’s like it tried a couple times before it finally “got” me. I did feel a slight fear and was nervous about it but I let it go and sure enough, I floated up and out of my body.
This time I remembered to look back at my sleeping body to see if I was there and I was. I even tried to touch my face. That was totally weird. I feel like my mind creates what it wants to see in some ways though because I felt I “knew” my wife was in the bed too and I saw her there. but in reality, she hadn’t gone to bed yet.
I continued to navigate down the hallway into the living room and out my front door. I was thrilled that I was able to get here so easily it seemed. I decided I was going to go run down the street! I remember choosing to lock the door behind me thinking the cat might get out. Then I started blissfully running down the street in the darkness and rain! It was amazing! Then I saw an older african american man running on the sidewalk as well but he didn’t notice me. I ran along side him for a second before I ended up coming back to reality.
When I came back to reality, I had a slight feeling of satisfaction but a little uneasiness which causes me to want to pull the blankets over my head and sort of hide until I fall back asleep. And that’s all I remember from last night.