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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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    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Awesome, Nell. Powerful experience.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      This has happened to me too, many years ago, I fell asleep, and woke suddenly and realised that I was above my body, looking down on the clock and dresser, I must have gone back to sleep but still remember it! another time I woke with a jump, and jumped straight out of bed! looking up I had seen something swirling on the ceiling, with a long cord to my body! it soon went but I believe that it was my spiritual cord attached to my spirit!

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      My own experience occurred when, filled with a sort of 'rage at life' I waved my arms in front of my face whilst shaving and yelled with a heartfelt plea: "If there really is a God then show me something - show me!"

      The next moment I was looking at my own physical self looking at itself in the mirror. The presence which is the REAL me was off to the right looking at this little feller who was suffering. At that same moment I felt incredible joy, love and compassion and, in that moment, I knew that I was these. That was way back in 1970. The memory has stayed with me all of my life

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks for the questions and kind words.

      I've had numerous exteriorization experiences, but this was the only one with such clarity of vision.

      Not frightened at all. What I realized later is that the only way this happened was because I gave up my Ego (self-concern) and thus my vulnerability. Fear simply isn't possible from this viewpoint of loving others as yourself.

      As far as me mentioning this to the spiritual counselor, I don't clearly remember. I suspect that I probably did, because this was the type of thing that happened regularly at the Scientology Advanced Organization.

      One short video I saw a few months ago (and have seen several times since then) has come the closest to renewing that feeling.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Did this happen to you only on that one occasion so many years ago? It didn't frighten you, even just a little? Did you mention what happened to you to the other person in the room? Sorry for being so inquisitive.....I'm just interested. Very impressive hub..Up+++

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks, Dan. I like your added dimension to the puzzle -- revealing the lucid dreamer connection.

      It seems we are all dreamers, dreaming these physical lives through the continuity of consciousness of these Homo sapiens bodies.

      When human consciousness dies, continuity of consciousness dies, unless ... unless! the true self awakens and restores permanent, spiritual continuity of consciousness. Then it can be said that the sleeper has indeed awakened.

      We don't have to wait until bodily death for that awakening.

      Dan, you made my day! Thanks,... and keep up the good work.

    • Dan Barfield profile image

      Dan Barfield 

      5 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

      Very interesting indeed! I like the link you made between your loss of that un-physical state and the moment of identification with the 'I'. Similar to the moment of self realisation for the budding lucid dreamer - who then wakes up.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you, OMGirdle, for your wise words.

      I keep learning. And it seems more than ever, to me, that our spiritual nature is hidden from us because we have taken on the false, ego self -- a "self" which separates us from each other and from God.

      Until we vanquish ego (let die the self which wants to be first), we will be forever in darkness. At death, we return to the spiritual world, but we remain in darkness, unless we are reawakened -- reborn. But this means that we need to let go of our attachments to this world while our bodies are still alive.

      Bless you. And may you continue to make long strides on your path.

    • OMGirdle profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Because we are physical and do not remember our spiritual existence prior to birth, we accept only tangible knowledge as being the truth and finality in validating life. Yes, there is faith, but many do not extend their believes into the realization that we are first spiritual beings cloaked in flesh. Most fear death as being the end and do not wish to understand it is only a return to our original state. People also fear those who have been gifted with a means of communication to our spiritual family because they have allowed the actual to be the only definition. I've always know I was a spiritual being and experiencing this physical realm is nothing more than a test I must endure. The spiritual world is parallel to ours and they walk beside us. But because we have been deluged with absolute values, most are blinded by what we want to experience rather than the accurate experience itself. Your topics are intriguing and I look forward to reading more. Voted up!

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you, Violet, for getting carried away!

      Yes, the Matrix is a perfect metaphor for this. What I found particularly delicious about the Matrix series occurred at the end of the second installment. This is when Neo, who had already become a master at bending and breaking the physical laws within the virtual world of the Matrix, learned to bend the physical laws in the supposedly "real world." This is when he brought down one of the robots by pure creation.

      This tended to indicate that "reality" of the matrix was really software within software. Another movie that touches on this theme is "The Thirteenth Floor."

      That you liked this hub, you might also like my "Anatomy of a Miracle."

      And, thank you for your exciting insights.

    • Violet Flame profile image

      Violet Flame 

      5 years ago from Auckland, NZ

      What a powerful experience!

      The physical body and this material world are but figments of our illusion, very much like a dream reality. For a brief moment, you broke free from that glue and discovered the un-real-ness of the body. If the body is unreal, then the world that supports the body is also not real. This world of dichotomy is basicly an illusive world of separation: man-woman, good-bed, here-there, now-then, men-god. I love it how you identify the tree of knowledge as the metaphorical source of this separation. The minute you acquire the knowledge of "God", you are no longer one with God, but have projected God to be outside of the self. In my hub "The dreaming reality" I mentioned that the neuroscientists have come to an conclusion about our world: it is an neuro-illusion much like the "phantom limb" symptom suffered by amputees. Basically, the poisoned apple from The tree of knowledge gives us the hallucinating belief that convinced us that we live in a world where everyone is separated from everyone else. When in truth, we are not here. You do not have a body. "You are at home in God, dreaming of exile, but perfectly capable of awakening to reality." (A Course In Miracle). The reality, apparently, is that we have never left.

      Have you noticed that so many enlightened beings, or avatars, seem to share the ability to manipulate this human world as if the basic newton rules do not apply to them? Teleportation, transfiguration, resurrection, elevation, instant healing, immortality...just to name a few. I feel that one simple explanation is that they see through the illusion and the world is no longer real to them.

      In that memorable afternoon, you discovered for yourself that you are also not bound by your body, or physical space. In that powerful moment, for those stunning seconds, you know that your body is not real. Your body is only a shell, and an illusory one at that. Only the ego keeps us bound to the dream.

      I love the movie The Matrix. One night a few years back, I was meditating on the empty space of the "computer construct" portrayed in that movie, as the ultimate place to create one's reality. I was thinking that our world is basically an empty space, subject to whatever belief system that's running the program, before a "world" could be manifested. I had my eyes close, thinking of that pre-manifested state of infinite emptiness, somehow I went so deep, I "felt" my legs moving back and forth like a child dangling his legs up and down because his legs can't reach the ground. BUT, in the "real" life situation, my adult legs were firmly on the ground. So, how could my legs be moving up and down and firmly on the ground at the same time? Needless to say, I was stunned back to "reality" and felt that must be what it feels like when the self "bends" instead of the spoon. ("remember, there is no spoon, it is the self that bends")

      oops, i think i got quite carried away.....

      thank you for an excellent hub and a brilliant meditation on the ego/body xoxo

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @Cherry4, I understand. Yes, drugs are bad for you. But they also use drugs in surgery. Many people experience something similar with tunnels toward the light when they undergo the trauma of an accident or the reduced consciousness of surgery. So, it's nice to hear of someone discovering such things without an NDE.

      Keep having beautiful experiences and learning from them.

    • Cherry4 profile image

      Cherry Ann 

      5 years ago from New York


      many of the things i am still trying to understand and i know it will be all on God's time and i should say that i never used drugs in my entire life, never even tried a cigarrette. All i know is one minute i am with people and the next i am not. I still have to understand the term near death experience because I thought that meant for e.g. if you got into an accident or something bad happened and one thinks they are dead but they are not etc. Not sure but either was I know I am not mad or there are other crazy people like me around and that makes me

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @Cherry4, what you experienced is somewhat different from mine, but similar to that of NDE (near-death experiences). Beautiful. It's nice that you received your experiences without trauma or drugged surgery.

      To be able to "see" without human eyes proves that we are inherently spiritual. Somehow, I hadn't needed proof, but the memory of those moments adds comfort to my life. The study of those moments allows me to understand the path I need to take -- one of humility (selflessness), love and faith (fearless confidence).

      Bless you @Cherry4. May God be with you always.

    • Cherry4 profile image

      Cherry Ann 

      5 years ago from New York


      I thank you for this hub because when i told some what happened to me on not one but a few occasions they look at me as though something is wrong or that i am weird.

      From a child growing up i would see and hear things which i did not understand, then one day in a classroom while the teacher was teaching just like you said i did not see my teacher anymore..i saw a beautiful lady but not just any lady, she was not from here and she was heading toward the light and asked me to follow her. The light was so pure, i did not want to return. Another time God came for me, held my hand and took me places, so clean i did not want to come back. In the classroom my friend called me and i snapped out of it, only then i realized everyone was still there but before they were not there. Anyway i do not want to stay too long but I am happy that someone knows what i experience.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks, @Quirinus. I sometimes re-read this writing for my own encouragement. It reminds me that I (ego self) am not important, but that the child of God within is divinely precious.

    • Quirinus profile image

      Queirdkus Ω Ibidem 

      5 years ago from Sitting on the Rug

      Thanks for sharing, lone77star. So happy to hear someone has experienced what some of us only know by faith! That what we are is basically spirit or soul, residing in a physical body. I'm sure this will be encouragement for all of us to keep on walking in faith and love.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks, Ana. I know what you mean by the change in perception of reality.

      Perhaps equally profound, for me, is the perception of self holding the strings of attachment to my own beliefs, values and understanding. Awareness of being aware tickles in a place I cannot describe.

    • profile image

      Ana Louis 

      6 years ago

      Interesting. I too have had one of these experiences - years ago, and it has tugged at my sense of reasoning for 39 years. I know that I occupied two realms for probably seconds. There was really no way at the time to determine if I was seeing something past, present, or future. All I know for sure is that the experience changed my perception of reality.

    • lone77star profile imageAUTHOR

      Rod Martin Jr 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks, @carol7777. There is so much more to learn, if we are only open to it... if our cup is empty enough for circumstance or God to fill it.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I found this interesting and it makes you think there is a world out there we do not understand. We only know what we see and what we hear. Thanks for sharing this unusual experience.


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