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An Account of my Involuntary Journey into the World of Out of Body Experiences.
Around the age of 12 my quality of sleep went from fairly normal to simply strange and it would take me the better part of two decades before I could expect to have a glorious night of uninterrupted sleep.
My journey into out of body experiences (OBEs), though long, began and ended rather abruptly. My first experience ever was short and terrifying. I woke up to find myself completely awake and conscious, but completely paralyzed. I literally could not move a muscle in my body! However, it wouldn’t be long before I accepted this paralysis as the gateway so to speak for what was to come. What followed generally ranged from a series of loud and unusual noises to buzzing sounds and vibrations throughout my body. Often times even though my eyes might be closed, I would be able to see everything around me as though the full moon was just outside my window.
In the beginning, the experiences were quite frightening. A few times, I felt something on my chest suffocating me, attacking me and even pushing me into the mattress if that’s possible! Other times I would hear voices and occasionally I would see undistinguished figures. Sometimes I could feel the presence of other beings! I’d say my earliest experiences ranged from creepy to terrifying.
Were my OBEs straight up hallucinations? I would have to say my first experiences were indeed. But as I became more experienced and learned how to maintain my focus and clarity throughout a trip, I think it is more accurate to say that my OBEs were more psychic than hallucinatory.
In the beginning of course, I wasn’t really concerned with the dictionary definition of an OBE, I just wanted to figure out how to put a stop to them, the paralysis and the weirdness in general. Later, I did learn that body paralysis is completely normal during sleep especially during dream states in order to avoid injury to ourselves and others. But since I wasn’t privy to sleep science at the time, I just had to figure out how to snap out of this state so I could get some zzz’s! Within the first couple of months I accidentally discovered that although my body was immobile, if I focused my energy on my toes and could manage to wiggle even a single digit, I would be able to break out of the sleep paralysis and accompanying weirdness, allowing me to fall back asleep. Often times to my dismay however, I would awaken shortly thereafter to find myself once again in a state of paralysis and buzzing.
Once in a while, I would find myself separated from my physical body where I could see myself lying in bed, but within the blink of an eye I would be pulled back into my physical body. And since I didn’t seem to have any control over any of this, my growing frustration fueled my determination to get answers.
Being young and fairly unbiased, I ignored the possibility and any accompanying fear that there was something wrong with me. But I also knew ‘normal’ people wouldn’t be able to help me, so I took my case into my own hands and hit up my local library to start researching. I came across some books by Robert Monroe, an author and researcher of OBEs. From the experiences recorded in one of his books Journeys Out Of The Body, I began to understand that while my experiences were unusual, they weren’t something to fear or be ashamed of. It seemed there were many people throughout the world searching for how to have an OBE!
Over time I learned how with focus and concentration I could take my OBEs to the next level. I learned how to step out of my physical body at will, pass though walls into other rooms and eventually fly. Sometimes, I would play games and try to see what my mother was doing in another room late at night. I did find that I could get bits of information, but a lot of times my own imagination would get mixed in if I got distracted by other thoughts for even a second.
The closest analogy of this loss of clarity that can occur is similar to the experience of falling out of a state of lucid dreaming. When we become aware that we are dreaming within a dream, we can begin to take control over our actions and our dream environment. But this awareness and power can all be lost in a heartbeat if we get distracted and lose the awareness that we are in fact dreaming. What was a lucid dream quickly phases back into a normal unconscious dream environment where anything goes.
Over the next couple of decades I would experience well over a thousand OBEs and they ranged in experience. As I mentioned, in the early days they were often frightening, but eventually they became very adventurous and sometimes I looked forward to a night of exploration and travel. There were even some extra-extraordinary experiences I can recall. One of which was during my university days when I awoke to find myself soaring like a rocket though outer space. I have never before or since experienced such speed or traveled so far during an OBE. I was traveling like light itself! I was so shocked by the experience, I immediately wiggled my toes to snap out of it. Sometimes I wonder how far I could have gone and what I might have discovered if I had allowed that experience to continue.
Eventually, the novelty of OBEs wore off and I once again found myself longing for a normal sound sleep. I really did try to make the most of my experiences. After all, I conquered a lot of fears of the unknown and I journeyed in psychic spaces on a nightly basis- experiences many people would give their left toe for (although that would be a very sad irony!) Nevertheless, it would take another decade before I discovered how to finally put my OBEs to bed.
In 2009 I was reading Oliver Sack’s book Musicophilia about people who heard music in their head as clearly as if it were playing on a loud speaker in a room. At one point, Sacks describes some studies of epileptic patients who would experience these auditory hallucinations or ‘auras’ as a precursor to an oncoming seizure. What struck me was the way he described the subjects’ aura experiences and the physiological triggers for their hallucinations. This was huge for me because the auras these patients experienced were very similar to my initial out of body experiences.
Ultimately, what I gleaned from the book was the answer to a question I had been searching for for over two decades. The research in the book indicated that epileptic subjects with auditory hallucinations or auras were found to have electrolyte imbalances in the auditory cortexes of their brains. Similarly, subjects with visual hallucinations during their auras were found to have an imbalance in the visual cortex and so on and so forth. So being my own Nancy Drew, I put two and two together and figured out that I must have some electrolyte imbalances in different areas of my brain.
Immediately, I cut out coffee and any other beverages and foods that might potentially aggravate or deplete my electrolytes while also supplementing with more electrolytes. Shortly thereafter I also got into Earthing and grounding bed sheets which supply a constant flow of negative ions to our bodies while sleeping. The results for me were incredible. Within a week, my OBEs of over twenty years disappeared and I’ve been sleeping like a baby ever since!
I am sharing this deeply personal experience with the hopes that if you know someone out there who has struggled with insomnia, OBEs, night terrors or any other abnormal sleep experiences, there is a solution. And I have found that diet can make a world of difference.
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