Jade Shaw is the ‘Astral Projection’ (also known as OBE) consultant for new Netflix six-part psychological thriller ‘Behind her Eyes’, which releases summer 2020. Here she offers an insider guide to Out of Body Experiences and how they can support your wellbeing.
When I first started studying out of body experiences (OBEs), around ten years ago, not many of my friends knew what I was talking about. These days, with increased mental health awareness, developments in neuroscience, popular culture (and the likes of NetFlix) this age-old technique is steadily gaining popularity.
The great thing is that OBEs can be learnt. It’s an empowering technique that can help an individual improve their wellbeing on many levels. Some of the most common questions that I’m asked at my workshops and on social media usually include one or more of the following: What is an OBE? Why is having one good for your wellbeing? Is it safe? Are there tangible psychological benefits? Does it actually work? Can you really learn how to have one?
The answer to all of above is yes…
What is an OBE?
An OBE sometimes known an astral projection, happens in an altered state. An altered state literally just means a different state of perception other than our everyday state, such as a day dream, the hypnotic trance, meditation, deep sleep or a lucid dream.
It’s estimated that around 10% of people in the UK have had an out of body experience (OBE) of some kind. During an OBE, the person appears to see everything that is going on from outside the body, they have a different perspective.
Not to be confused with lucid dreaming, which is when you are aware that you are dreaming, during an OBE, the individual’s self-awareness seems to leave their body temporarily – and don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe; it’s a recognised psychological phenomena that has been studied by neuroscience and practised by over 46 cultures world-wide.
It is something that you can learn to induce, just like you can a lucid dream. Although, the term out of body experience was first coined by George Tyrrell in 1943, ancient traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism and the Mexican Toltec have been practising it for hundreds of years. The Dalai Lama even says consciousness can be trained to leave the body!
What are the benefits?
We sleep for a third of our lives – that’s around 30 years! However, a common way to practice having an OBE, is during sleep states. It’s time well spent because when using this ‘down time’ to have an OBE because gives you the opportunity to deepen relationships, transform fears, heal the psyche and discover one’s potential. Practical benefits that aid everyday life include:
- Finding answers to pressing problems
- Discovering insights to recurring illness
- Finding guidance with decision making
- Healing with grief
- Better sleep hygiene
- Greater connection to others
- A general reduction in unhelpful fear!
These benefits positively impact everyday life via career, relationships, health and spiritual growth. This is because OBEs can often happen spontaneously when the person is at a crossroads in their life or in need of change or guidance.
What does it feel like?
People often say having an OBE feels ‘realer than real’ and one of the most commonly reported feelings is awe, it’s a bit like having a powerful dream. The difference is you have a strong sensation that you are not in your physical body and you know that you are not dreaming. It feels a little surreal yet can be profoundly exhilarating. There may be floating sensations, the experience of being an energy body and for some, especially beginners, it may only last a couple of seconds.
How will you know?
Trying to induce an OBE may take some practise as it’s a skill. Remember, you are not ‘leaving’ your body, rather, you are expanding your consciousness beyond it, and you can return to the waking state whenever you need to.
You may feel a sense of separation such as floating up, sinking back, popping out or spiralling sideways. You may have an energy body or be a floating point of awareness and can travel to different places with your intention.
How to have an OBE
In a nutshell, to an induce an OBE as you fall asleep, you will need to set an intention, be familiar with some basic mindfulness and do some simple visualisations.
Here are my 6 steps to having an OBE.
1) Prep: Creating a Plan and Setting an Intention
Firstly, set your intention. Why do you want to have an OBE? See the list of benefits mentioned earlier. What life challenge do you wish to solve at present? Choosing a meaningful motivation is very important as it will increase the likelihood of an experience if it resonates deeply with you.
2) Setting the Space
When in bed, a half reclined position helps us to not fall asleep. Anything you can do to help yourself completely relax is ideal. Say a mantra or affirmation to boost your motivation e.g. I am more than my physical body, I can easily have an OBE. And then, remind yourself of your intention or reason.
3) Overcoming Fear: Circle of Allies
It helps to feel confident and assured, so imagine you are surrounded by supportive energy. Call on your fearless and loving protectors such as your friends, mentors or ancestors – those who will support your journey. It doesn’t have to be people. It could be an animal – think of the qualities or energy of the object. Imagine or feel them at your sides.
4) Process: Mind, Awake, Body Asleep State
Let go of any tension in your body and rest in awareness. Remind yourself there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. On the out breath drop deeper into a relaxed state, if you think you are fully relaxed, try to let go even more. Even tell yourself ‘let go’. Practise some simple mindfulness techniques and breathing to stay with the moment.
For the next couple of minutes allow yourself to drop deeply into the hypnogogic state (cusp of sleep), see how long you can hold your awareness in this state. Do not fall asleep.
*NOTE If you start to ‘nod off’ and feel your awareness drop into sleep. Momentarily open and close your eyes to raise your waking awareness a ‘notch’ and go straight into an ‘exit technique.
5) Bring on the Vibrational State
Start from the feet and work your way up to the crown. Visualise a ball of energy coming to life in each chakra point of the body: these are the feet, lower abdomen, abdomen, heart/chest, your throat, your forehead (the point n between your eyes) and the crown of your head.
Try to imagine what this would FEEL like, SEE each ball in your mind’s eye, BELIEVE it’s happening. As each ball springs into life you want to escalate the overall ‘feeling’ of the building up of energy, like your body is ‘powering up’. Encouraging any vibrations or physical sensations.
6) Exit the body
Roll Out Technique: Imagine yourself slowly rocking from side to side. Don’t actually rock your body, just imagine your body is rocking. Each time add a bit more swing and weight so that you rock a bit further.
Remember how it feels to physically rock the body, try to connect with the real kinaesthetic sensation. Believe it’s happening. Increase the size and velocity of the rock.
When you feel the rocking cannot get any bigger – rock totally out and away from the body. You might end up rolling out or rocking to pushing your energy body up seated. Usually people end up rolling out.
Also – roll out when you start to feel yourself REALLY moving. It should get to the point where you are not imagining anymore but you genuinely feel like you are moving.
NOTE* Don’t rock ‘out’ too early, nothing will happen, you might have to start again. Try to gage where you are in regards to the Mind Awake Body Asleep State OR Vibrational State.
You might feel a little dizzy due to the sensations. Try not to THINK about this happening in your head (or via your eyes) but FEEL it in the body as though you are actually moving.
!!Remember do not move your physical body!!
At this point you may slip into an OBE, or you may fall into sleep or a dream. If you do have an OBE, just explore the experience, and bring to mind your mantra, intention or question you are hoping to address.
Keep a Journal
Write your experiences down, what did you see, hear, feel or encounter? Even if you fell asleep and remember nothing! Reflecting on the content of our experiences allows us to notice patterns, make sense of them and increases recall and memory.
About the expert
Before becoming an OBE teacher, speaker and researcher, Jade was an international choreographer who worked for the Royal Academy of Dance and Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
However, in 2014, she had a transformative OBE that changed her life. She left her company and 12-year career in the arts to teach workshops on the practice for personal and spiritual growth. Compelled to explore her experience, she was interested in both the science and psychology behind OBEs. As a result, she embarked on an MSc in Transpersonal Psychology.
Jade is the ‘Astral Projection’ (also known as OBE) consultant for new Netflix six-part psychological thriller ‘Behind her Eyes’, which releases summer 2020.
She is also a speaker on OBEs and has attended various events at diverse venues throughout the UK, from London’s largest alternative health organisation Alternatives to private member clubs Soho House and Ace Hotel.
She has delivered workshops at the renowned College of Psychic Studies and abroad in Croatia & Prague, including Europe’s largest Mind Body Spirit Festival and the academic conference Beyond the Brain.
She holds a BA Hons in Dance & Culture, a foundation degree in Movement Psychotherapy and is a member of the Science & Medical Network as well as a Winston Churchill Trust Fellow.
Jade runs workshops and courses across UK and Europe, inviting her students to expand their minds and embrace their potential for the purpose of self-transformation.
To find out more about Jade Shaw and the OBE workshops she runs, please visit www.JadeShaw.com