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Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE)
Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE)

Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE)    
"...the person having the experience typically describes how, when in a laying down position, he suddenly finds himself floating above his ordinary body which he can see lying some feet beneath him. As often as not he describes how his floating self appears to be attached by a tenuous cord or cable. This seems to have the property of infinite extension, for the floating self sometimes goes off on a voyage of exploration, being apparently able to propel itself to any desired destination by the mere act of thinking about that destination.
Eventually the traveler decides to return, sometimes with a reluctance and hesitation, sometimes with a degree of panic, whereupon the floating self descends into the self, usually gently, but sometimes with a "plop", and normality is resumed. The memory of the experience, however, remains; at least, it does so in the recorded cases, though one is left to speculate whether the experience may be more common without leaving any trace on the memory and therefore never recorded. One is also left to speculate as to how a memory of the experienced is registered, since awareness appears to reside in the floating or disembodied self; rather than in the recumbent self which, however, still retains all the solid matter of the body, including the mechanism of the brain for registering experiences and recording them for future reference. The brain is matter; mind is an activity and is usually regarded as an activity of the brain. Assuming that we have souls, does the brain pass information to the soul through the mind? Or does the soul pass ideas to the brain through the mind? Or is it a two-way traffic, the brain instructing the soul and the soul activating the brain, the mind being the flow of messages in each direction? If the floating self can gain experiences which the recumbent self can register as memory, it presumably does so through the soul which both selves share.

Persons have described very similar experiences while anaesthized and apparently profoundly unconscious and undergoing a surgical operation. Such experiences have also been described by persons who have rendered unconscious in an accident. Their descriptions include the experience of looking down on the recumbent body and also of being aware of their loose attachment to it by the silver cord.

The claims of those who say that they have had OBE are further corroborated to some extent by death-bed phenomena. There are on record instances where the by-standers say that, shortly before death, they have seen a second body rising in a misty form from the recumbent body of the patient. They say, moreover, that the two bodies are joined together by a silver cord. There comes a point in time, they say when the cord snaps and the second body disappears and the body dies.

Some who say that they have had an OBE also claim that they have had a preview of the hereafter, or, rather, of the immediate hereafter. But, in the nature of things, such claims can be neither verified nor refuted.
Layers of bodies?
Some theories go further and state that we have a whole series of bodies, which peel off like onion skins and mark different stages of our progress, first here, and then in different strata of the hereafter. This theory, in one form or another, is very old and belief in the possession by us of more than one body is widespread. It finds its place in the Anglican theology. The Order of the Burial of the Dead in the Book of Common Prayer incorporates the difficult and disputed passage from the book of Job which in the Authorized Version runs, "...though after my skin worms destroy the body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:26), and the thought is picked up by St. Paul in another passage incorporated into the Burial Service where he writes, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?...That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die...Thou sowest not that body which shall be, but bare grain...But God giveth it a body...There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial...There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." (I cor. 15: 35ff.)

Copyright © 2004, Albert R. Lane, All Rights Reserved