Are out-of-body experiences real?
While scientists study the “mystical” out-of-body experiences and come up with theories, let’s try to explain what they are and where they come from, as well as how one can experience astral travel.
An out-of-body experience may be provoked by many different reasons, quite unpleasant ones: brain injury, sensory deprivation (lack of external stimuli), a near-death experience, the use of dissociative and some other drugs, artificial electrical stimulation of the brain, dangerous lack of sleep or dehydration, etc.
However, Canadian neuroscientists led by Claude Messier found a 24-year-old student capable of experiencing it by a simple act of will. After studying the function of her brain, they found a lot of interesting things.
As the researchers themselves describe the girl’s unique abilities,
“she can see herself spinning, lying or rolling on a horizontal plane in the air over her own body. It is reported that from time to time she can watch her body moving on, feeling that her “real” body remains motionless. According to the student, having such experiences is not connected to any particular emotional state.”
How is that even possible?
To find out, the scientists tracked the brain activity of the girl using fMRI. As a result, the brain scan detected a marked reduction of excitation in the visual cortex and increased activity in the areas associated with the perception of the kinesthetic image of one’s own body, its position, and movement in space.
Are out-of-body experiences real? At least, this study shows that such unbelievable things are quite possible and are real for the person experiencing them. However, it doesn’t provide any evidence that someone is indeed able to leave their physical body. All we know for now is that it’s possible to have such a subjective experience in your mind.
The 24-yar-old student was able to evoke this state with the help of her willpower. But does this mean that her “soul” has a unique gift to leave her own body? According to scientists, the explanation of this phenomenon has nothing to do with paranormal and mystical stuff.
Today, experts believe that all these astral travels are nothing more than a hallucination. They are caused by a small glitch in the coordination of neurons responsible for the primary processing and synthesis of incoming information, which most likely leads to confusion between the visual and tactile stimuli that get in the higher centers of the brain.
Roughly the same happens in cases of synesthesia when a stimulus “jumps” from one sensory system to another and leads to creating color sensations for sounds.
By the way, the Canadian neuroscientists believe that if one person has learned to evoke these “astral hallucinations” at will, why can’t the rest of us learn to do the same? If this skill does not have any practical use, we could at least get a new amazing experience. Among the methods to prepare the mind for an out-of-body experience, a simple self-hypnosis technique can be used.
How to Have an Out-Of-Body Experience? A Self-Hypnosis Exercise
First of all, find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie down, relax, close your eyes, and imagine that your hands are touching an endless thick rope. Do not move, but imagine the process in detail, try to feel like moving your hands and fingers and touching the rope.
Once you have a clear image of that in your mind, start to climb up the rope. Feel the tension in your muscles. Do not try to see it visually, but only to feel it, just like if you were climbing up in the complete darkness.
If you try hard, then pretty soon, you will ‘get out’ of your own body. Have your eyes mentally “open” (or at least open your “third” eye) and see yourself from a height.
The reality of out-of-body experiences remains subjective
So are out-of-body experiences real, according to science? They are, but only to the person having them. It’s still unclear whether they are just hallucinations or something more tangible. In any case, they are strictly internal experiences, which makes it difficult to establish if it’s indeed possible for the consciousness to escape the physical body. Science tends to regard them as hallucinations or brain ‘glitches’.
Are out-of-body experiences real, according to you? If you managed to have one with the above exercise or practice astral travel using any other method, please describe your experience in the comments below!
Copyright © 2012-2021 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.