FEATURE - September 2017
You Don’t Have to Die to Have a Near-Death Experience
The Next Level in Meditation: Exploring Consciousness with an Out-of-Body Experience
by Luis Minero
People are dying to hear of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs), those tales of visits to the afterlife and back that seem to be cropping up everywhere. Books on NDEs like Simon & Schuster’s New York Times best-seller Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben are flying off the shelves. Rev. Todd Burpo's 2010 tale of his then three year old son's round-trip to the Pearly Gates and back during an emergency appendectomy, Heaven is for Real, sold more than 10 million copies by the time it was made into a movie in 2014. That movie has since grossed $101 million worldwide. Little Annabel Beam’s miraculous cure after meeting Jesus when she fell 30 feet into a dead tree earned nearly $74 million as the movie "Miracles From Heaven" starring Jennifer Garner.
What drives this thirst for heaven-and-back stories? Most people are looking for reassurance, it seems; the reassurance these accounts provide that we are more than our physical bodies and that there is life after death. Carol Fitzgerald, president of the Book Report Network, six websites that connect readers with books, says, "In uncertain times, which is what we're experiencing now, people look for comfort. The concept that people have seen 'what's next' and shared what it's like gives hope and a feeling that life on earth is part of a journey with a greater reward."
As astounding and comforting as these accounts are, they all involve a very real and harrowing brush with death – a sobering reality that many people overlook in their awe of tales of angelic beings and otherworldly realms of euphoric light. Few realize that it is quite possible to have a similar experience without being anywhere near death’s door.
Similar to an NDE, an Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) allows us to explore the other side to receive guidance from angels and guides, learn our greater purpose in life, and explore non-physical reality. Likewise, those who have had lucid OBEs report the same benefits that individuals who have had an NDE attest to- they lose their fear of death and, consequently, the phobias and insecurities they may have had, and they become more secure, open, and helpful to others. Unlike an unplanned and risky NDE, a lucid OBE can be produced safely and at will. Furthermore, because an OBE can be repeated often, its benefits are multifold relative to the profound benefits that individuals report from having had only one NDE.
The trick to having an OBE is to learn the various techniques that can be used to disconnect from your physical body, become lucid while you are disconnected, maintain that awareness, and remember it when you wake up. Like any other human capacity, such as learning how to read, swim, or ride a bicycle, we can all develop our capacity o project outside the body. It is just a matter of acquiring some information and dedicating time and effort to the training required, and the capacity will develop accordingly.
During an OBE, our physical body remains at rest, usually in the sleep state, while we- the soul, spirit, or consciousness- distance ourselves from our body, exploring and experiencing other realities. We travel with a vehicle or body subtler than the physical one and with quite different and unique abilities from those of the physical body. We can venture far away from the body and gain access to realms and planes that are not necessarily similar to physical reality. In nonphysical reality, perceptions are much more refined and not limited to the basic senses that we are accustomed to inside the body. We can enjoy an expanded level of awareness, accessing information and memories that are beyond the physical brain. Communication can take place without the barriers of language. As a result, we undergo new and meaningful experiences and acquire greater knowledge, which in turn leads to a greater appreciation of the nature of our existence.
Reports of OBEs have peppered history since Herodotus, who lived between 425 and 485 BC, referred to the Out-of-Body Experience in his writings. Throughout the centuries, great writers like Plato, Plutarch of Chaeronea, and Honore de Balzac have all mentioned OBEs in their literary works, as well. Today, numerous celebrities like Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor, William Peterson, Bill Clinton, and most recently, Tracy Morgan, have reported lucid projections in an NDE. Reading their stories can inspire and comfort, but why not experience the phenomenon yourself? An OBE is an expansive, safe, and accessible experience that can facilitate the reassurance, personal evolution and enlightenment that many are looking for. But, do not take my word for it. By all means, please go ahead and experiment! Have your own experience.
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Luis Minero is the author of Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience and the president of the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to consciousness studies. In particular, IAC places emphasis on the out-of-body experience (OBE) and bioenergy, as these are considered key research tools to explore and examine non-physical aspects of reality.