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An Out of Body Experience (OBE)

Updated on October 15, 2012
Empty beach chairs, Ananyana Beach Resort, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.
Empty beach chairs, Ananyana Beach Resort, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

First of all, I don't consider an out-of-body experience to be "astral projection." When a driver gets out of their car, the car is not projecting the driver. Personally, I think the term betrays the bias toward the physical body. The temporary human shell is not the real and true self.

I've had many OBEs, but only one with a vivid ability to see without human eyes.

No drugs, trauma, surgery or the like were involved. In fact, I had been in a "conversation"—spiritual counseling session—at the time. It was about 8pm at the Scientology Advanced Organization in Los Angeles, about 1971. The counseling being performed was called "Power Processing," and included questions about other people and relationships. I think it had to do with me helping other people. The counselor was a gentleman named David Light, and for my experience, quite good at what he did.

At one point during the session, the room seemed to grow gray—almost foggy. It seemed there was a tunnel between me and the counselor (or "auditor"). I closed my eyes and suddenly couldn't feel anything—not the chair in which I sat, the eyes I had just closed, the clothes I wore—anything!

Instead, I saw the pink stucco of the outside of the building, the pavement of the driveway 15 feet below me, the wall adjacent to it, and the near-empty parking lot next door at the Chez Claude Restaurant (Olympic Blvd and Westlake). I remembered looking at the bluish gray blinds which were closed between me and my body which still sat in the 2nd story room of the building next to me.

The experience lasted for what seemed like only a second or two, but it was as vivid as anything I've ever seen with my human eyes.

Then I thought to myself how strange it seems that I'm not casting a shadow on the side of the building. Light was passing right through me.

Suddenly, I felt air coursing into my lungs and I again felt the chair beneath my body. I opened my human eyes and saw the counselor still sitting there.

Photo of the author in Cebu, Philippines by Juvy Martin. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.
Photo of the author in Cebu, Philippines by Juvy Martin. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

The Reason for Return

Over 40 years later, and only a few weeks ago, I finally realized what happened and why I suddenly snapped back into my body.

Certainly, I had long been attached to my body, but that was not the whole reason for the sudden return that evening. Even at only 21 years of age, that's plenty of time to become attached to my body and to want to keep it. But something else forced me to return so quickly.

In order to understand the forces involved, one needs to understand what the real relationship is between spirit and body.

I have studied many religions, including Scientology, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) and Taoism. Each strives to return the individual to a more spiritual nature, one containing greater humility and love.

Perhaps the Bible explains it best, but even there interpretation can be tricky. My best current understanding tells me that we were created in the image and likeness of God and are thus inherently baby gods. Heretical statement? Blasphemy? Not if you read Genesis 1:26 carefully. Why would God be interested in Homo sapiens bodies? He's not Homo sapiens! Wouldn't He instead be interested in children who are also non-physical, spiritual and immortal sources of creation?

Genesis 3 describes the fall of "man," but I suspect that the instantaneous "death" of Adam and Eve was merely a spiritual death, rather than a physical, literal death. After all, Adam was said to have lived to the ripe old age of 930 years.

And how did they die spiritually? The type of "fruit" they ate is a clue. But could it have been merely a spiritual product ("fruit") rather than physical fruit? After all, the fruit was from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other Tree in the Garden was called the Tree of Life. And the Kabbalists show this tree as a non-physical pattern or matrix of concepts like wisdom, understanding and restraint.

The Tree of Knowledge is thus based upon a powerful dichotomy—good-evil. Could it also include other dichotomies, like wisdom-stupidity, compassion-indifference, confidence-doubt, generosity-selfishness and others? It struck me that these might make up the blindfold of "darkness" that the spirit took upon itself when it took the product of knowledge. But what knowledge?

In the Bible, "knowledge" has many uses. In one such use, it puts man lying with woman. In fact, the act of man "knowing" woman in the biblical sense refers to sexual relations. Thus, could it be that knowledge of the physical universe is to become intimately involved with that universe. Jesus talked of the righteousness of being "in" the world, but not "of" the world. Could this be referring to the same "knowledge" of the world?

When I became self conscious about the light passing through "me," suddenly I had resumed the blindfold of "knowledge" of the physical realm known as ego. This imperfect knowledge is the dependency of the spirit on physical methods of perception and control—knowledge through the physical body. Without a physical body, the spirit becomes effectively blind.

Somehow, the Scientology Power Processing had made me temporarily humble enough and unselfish enough to see, once again, without the need for physical eyes. I had returned to the "Light" of righteousness, forsaking the physical realm. I was still "in" the physical universe, but not "of" the physical universe.

And now, I long to return to that "Light" of no longer depending on physical eyes.


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