The Four Out-of-Body States
by Bob Peterson
You are an out-of-body traveler. We all are. I agree with the majority of OBE authors that we pop out of our bodies every night during sleep. Of course, most of the time we're not aware of it because we're unconscious.
As a matter of fact, based on personal experience, I believe there are four distinct states in which our identity is separated from our body. It depends on whether or not we're conscious and whether or not we're hallucinating.
The four states are as follows:
1. Ordinary dream = unconscious + hallucinating
During ordinary dreams, we are outside our bodies, but as I said, we're not conscious, so we're not aware of what's happening. We also are hallucinating, which means we're watching and experiencing the fantasy dream-world that plays in front of us, which is a construct of our own mind. According to Sylvan Muldoon and others, while we're dreaming, we're usually floating a couple inches above our physical body, watching the dream hallucination play out. I've personally watched the entire creation of a dream from start to finish, so I've seen this first-hand. With dreams, the illusion takes on a life of its own and the dream progresses and tells a story within your mind, whether you want it to or not.
2. Shared dream = unconscious + not hallucinating
Some authors, most notably Robert Moss, have written about shared dream experiences. In these experiences, two or more people can, for example, meet in a well-known location, see the same things, do the same things. Later, when they're awake, they can describe the dream to one another, and verify what actually took place in the dream. It's as if they are sharing the same experience, in some objective non-physical reality, but they're unconscious. When they wake, they clearly remember the experience as a dream.
3. Lucid dream = conscious + hallucinating
Many people think OBEs are the same as lucid dreams, and I acknowledge that unless you've done them both and seen the qualitative difference yourself, it's hard to tell. In a lucid dream, you're completely conscious and you know you're dreaming. However, since you're hallucinating, your environment is an artificial construct of your own mind. Since it's a complex fantasy created by your own mind, you have complete control. You can make a dancing purple elephant appear if you want, and do so as a conscious act. You are God of that dream-world. Some people use it to enact elaborate sexual fantasies or deep mystical experiences, but still, you know it's not real, both during the experience and when you wake up.
4. Out-of-body experience = conscious + not hallucinating
OBEs, on the other hand, are also conscious experiences, but you're not hallucinating. Like waking reality, you know you're not dreaming. You can even transition from am lucid dream into an OBE by "waking up" from the lucid dream, or dissolving the dream hallucination. It can be tricky to do without waking up your body in the process. When you do, you can watch the illusion of the dream hallucination dissolve, and often find yourself floating comfortably above your physical body. I'm not saying that you see the physical world; I'm only saying that what you see is not a dream hallucination. Unlike a lucid dream, you can't easily manipulate the objects in front of you. In fact, except for traveling somewhere, things that happen are often unexpected and out of your control. If you want, you can sit there bored and nothing would happen; in other words, there isn't a story that keeps unfolding in front of you like there is in a dream.
Understanding the four out-of-body states is an important step in learning to control your consciousness and induce the various states.
11 December 2012