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Jeanne R's Experience

Experience description:   

I was sitting at a desk facing a wall in a large studio adjacent to the university photolab where I worked part-time, reading Robert Penn Warren's novel *All the King's Men* in preparation for an American literature class scheduled a few hours later.  I suddenly found my consciousness viewing myself from behind, from a point high in the ceiling near the far corner of the room to the right behind me.  I could see myself across the room, sitting on my winter coat in the chair at the desk, still bent over the desk (apparently still reading the Warren novel). After a short time I sensed that another consciousness had taken the place of my own and that its perspective on my body had moved to a point more directly behind my body but still near the ceiling above the opposite wall. This consciousness seemed to have long been a part of 'me' because (I somehow knew or sensed) she was familiar with me; my impression was that she had long resided either within me or adjacent to me.  Her attitude toward me was not overtly compassionate, nor was it hostile or indifferent.  I heard her saying, as she contemplated me across the room, that "she is really a mess" or "she is really in a mess." This thought did not disturb this other consciousness; she seemed to take it in stride, without alarm, conveying to 'me' that things were not really so dire.  Then I found my usual consciousness again resident in my body and after brief reflection on what had just happened I packed up my books and coat and sought out the university counselor's office.  I spoke almost immediately with the head counselor, told him what I had experienced and told him about the car accident three months before.  He called a neurologist whose office was about 8 blocks from campus and arranged for me to go there right away.  The neurologist could find no neurological explanation for my OBE.  I'd also told him about the pain and siren experience I'd been having on awakening.  He prescribe Valium and sent me away. 

I should add that I recollected just after the OBE that at the moment it occurred I'd recollected (in the midst of my reading) that a dream I'd had the night before, of a conversation with a fellow student, had been with a different person (also a fellow student) than the one I'd thought I'd been conversing with. I don't know when I first thought that it might have been this recognition that 'shocked' me out of my body {given that the re-cognition of my dream suggested that 'I' knew more about my dreams than I thought I did}. A month of two later I learned in a conversation with another fellow student that the person I'd realized I was actually talking with in my dream [whom I'd known only casually] had been present at the surgery the day following the accident; that he, like the fellow I was then talking with, was an intern at that hospital; and that he'd fainted during the surgery apparently because of the copious amount of blood flowing from my forehead wound as the surgeon cleaned and sewed it up.  I've speculated since then that the same level of my subconscious mind that recognized, in the moments before my OBE, who it was that I'd been talking with in my dream also remembered the presence of this individual in the operating room during my head surgery -- and that I blocked or covered over his identity in my recollection of the dream because I'd been observing the surgery out-of-body and was frightened by his response.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?     No      

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No      

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          Uncertain      I had been in a car accident about three and half-months before the OBE.  I was at the time a junior in college and had three incompletes to finish from the semester in which the accident occurred and was meanwhile taking a full schedule of new courses.  I was still getting around on crutches.  I had spent a week in the hospital for about a week following the accident due to surgery to repair a rip in my forehead from contact with the windshield.  For some weeks before the OBE I had been experiencing a quickly increasing pain in my jaw on awakening, accompanied by the sense of increasingly loud sirens.

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           Normal.  I was reading just before the OBE occurred and also had just momentarily become aware of the actual identity of the person in my previous night's dream.  Then my consciousness shifted to the location near the ceiling behind me across the room, first near the corner.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Yes    

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            None. When it was still my ordinary biographical consciousness up in the corner, I merely observed myself from across the room, feeling nothing.  When the point of view shifted slightly to the left, more directly behind me, and the other consciousness took over, 'she' did not seem to feel or express any emotions either.  Rather she was a calm presence merely observing my current state in my embodied biographical life.  The residual feeling I retained later from the nature of her response was that my biographical life in the body was only part of a larger whole of experience, and that it was 'no big deal'.

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           The room was silent before and during and after the OBE.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    No           

Did you see a light?           No      

Did you meet or see any other beings?           Yes     I encountered only the other consciousness temporarily taking the place of mine, experienced internally, not seen.  I might have seen 'her' later however: a few years ago I asked shortly before falling asleep if I might be allowed to see my 'higher self'.  While still awake I instantly was presented with the face of an individual who resembled me in a number of details and whose facial expression suggested immense calm and certitude.

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No      

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          No      

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?          Yes     I was aware that I was seeing my body from behind, across the room, both from my own consciousness at first and then from another consciousness also observing my body from behind.

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   No      

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    Uncertain            I don't think I realized the significance of the experience while it was occurring, but I know I realized it afterward.  The trouble is that at the time I had this experience I did not know what to do with it; I had then no knowledge whatever of paranormal or spiritual experience or even of the research into them.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?             Uncertain      I recognized my body as a limiting physical structure after the relocation of my consciousness in it.

Did you become aware of future events?       No      

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?       No       Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?   No      

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Yes     I had to a certain, but limited, degree an appreciation of the unknown depths and complexity of consciousness.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       At the time I don't think the OBE affected my life or relationships significantly.  In recent years, pursuing an understanding of consciousness on many levels, I've increasingly realized how little we know about the nature of consciousness and the 'reality' in which our local embodied lives arise within a larger, unseen, structure of being.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Uncertain      I think that if I had not had this experience, which has remained so vivid for me over all these years, I might not have pursued paranormal investigations when I had the time and opportunity to do so beginning about 15 years ago.

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes     I've described it briefly once on an internet forum.  I don't know if any of the others reading it took it seriously as a veridical example of how consciousness can exist outside the body.

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  I was at first shocked about the experience when I found myself back in my body. I was not terrified but perhaps frightened enough to realize that what I'd experienced was not 'normal' and that I should seek psychological or medical advice about it, which I immediately did.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      The best part about it was the seed of recognition it planted for me concerning our misunderstanding of ourselves as limited -- in our knowledge and perhaps in our entire existence -- to only one perspective on 'reality' obtainable during our immediate, limited, life experience. The experience itself was actually marvelous and I would not have willed it away even then.  There was nothing I considered 'bad' or negative about the experience at the time or at any time since then.  I consider it to have been a fortuitous experience, a door briefly opening into the larger world of which we are part.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?        Only that I wish it had occurred later in life when I might have known how to proceed in finding out more about experiences of this type.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         Yes     I had several similar experiences after the sudden death five and a half years ago of my 21-year-old daughter in a car accident. These experiences included three incidents in which I felt that her consciousness/spirit had physically manifested/taken space in my body intentionally in order to demonstrate her survival beyond the body.  On the second occasion I sensed that her consciousness had suddenly taken over and filled the space of my own consciousness (which had shifted to the left in my head and observed and felt her emotions for a period of about four minutes). On the third occasion I felt her consciousness and energy bolt upwards in my body exiting (I think) at my fingertips.  I was so shocked by this experience -- which occurred as I was saying goodbye to her boyfriend {as aggrieved as I was by her loss} and about to hug him -- that I leapt back trembling, my arms thrown out in the air above my head, shouting "Derek, I'm so sorry.  She was just here.  She wanted to be part of this hug." It was 15 minutes before the trembling in my arms stopped and I calmed down enough to say goodbye.

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes