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Other approaches

pic Other approaches Other approaches picPerhaps all the distinctions and problems are artificial, perhaps the mind is neither ‘in’ nor ‘out’ of the body. Grosso argues the possibility [Gro81] that one is always ‘out’ and in an OBE just becomes conscious of that fact. Should the distinction between normal and paranormal then be dropped? Let us consider the state of affair that is considered normal: the ‘in-the- body’ experience. What does it mean to be in a body? LaBerge [LL91] argues that saying that one is in a body implies that the self is an object with definite borders capable of being contained by the boundaries of another object — the physical body.

However, we do not have any evidence that the self is such a concrete thing. What we think of as ‘out-of-body’ in an OBE is the experience of the self. This experience of being ‘in’ a body is normally based on perceptual input from the senses of both the world external to the body and the processes within the body. These things give us a sense of localization of the self in space. However, it is the body, and its sense organs, that occupy a specific locus, not the self. The self is not the body or the brain. If we think that the self is a product of brain function, even this does not make it reasonable to state that the self is in the brain — is the meaning contained in these words in this page?

It may not make any sense on an objective level to say that the self is anywhere. Rather, the self is where it feels itself to be. Its location is purely subjective and derived from input from the sensory organs. Putting aside the question of the essential nature of the self, perception is undeniably a phenomenon tied to brain function. So, when we find ourselves experiencing a world that seems much like the one we are used to perceiving with our usual equipment — eyes, ears, etc., all things linked to our brains, it would be logical to assume that it is our usual brain creating the experience. And, if we were to really leave our bodies — severing all connection with them — it would be illogical to assume that we would see the world in the same way.

Therefore, LaBerge points out, although no amount of contradictory evidence can rule out the possibility of a real ‘out of body experience,’ in which an individual exists in some form entirely independent of the body, it is highly unlikely that such a form would utilize perceptual systems identical to those of the physical human form. Spiritual teachings tell us that we have a reality beyond that of this world.

LaBerge concludes that the OBE may not be, as it is easily interpreted, a literal separation of the soul from the crude physical body, but it is an indication of the vastness of the potential that lies wholly within our minds. ‘The worlds we create in dreams and OBEs are as real as this one, and yet hold infinitely more variety.

How much more exhilarating to be “out-of-body” in a world where the only limit is the imagination than to be in the physical world in a powerless body of ether! Freed of the constraints imposed by physical life, expanded by awareness that limits can be transcended, who knows what we could be, or become?’.

‘ in retrospect.