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Letter of Appreciation for Contributors
Dear OBERF (Out of Body Experience Research Foundation)
We greatly appreciate your willingness to share your experience! We have now developed the expertise to process your web form contribution and output it into an easily readable format. As a courtesy, we would be happy to e-mail you back a text file (.txt) the experience you contribute. The text file format was chosen as it is the most easily translated among different word processor programs. You may be assured we have and will continue to keep all experience contributions confidential to the extent you desire.
Your contribution will help us understand Spiritual Spectrum Experiences and related experiences, and will touch the lives of many!
As always, sharing any submitted experience is subject to the advance approval of the experience contributor.
Thanks again for your willingness to share!
-OBERF Jody & Jeff
We acknowledge and express our appreciation to the many experiencers who have shared their experiences over the years. The willingness of these special individuals to share is the foundation of our awareness and understanding of Spiritual Spectrum Events.
The Out of Body Experience Research Foundation (OBERF) will use the following methodology for this investigation:
1. Develop a web site to serve as the focal point for requesting spiritual experiences and publishing results as they become available. We are always interested in any comments and suggestions regarding our web site.
2. Increase awareness of the OBERF project and web site. Hopefully our colleagues maintaining other web sites regarding spiritual spectrum events will be kind enough to include a link to our web site. We will strive to maintain links from our sites to other major spiritual spectrum web sites.
3. Accept communications regarding experiences in a variety of formats (see web section titled "Questionnaire)
4. Submissions will be studied by OBERF staff. Results will be periodically published to our web site.
It is our hope that this research and the sharing of results will contribute to our collective understanding of spiritual spectrum events, as well as enhance public awareness and acceptance of these experiences.
We acknowledge our efforts to research spiritual spectrum events have some significant limitations. In expressing our awareness of these limitations, we will strive, whenever possible, to minimize their impact on the validity of this research and its results.
A significant limitation is the definition of
OBE. The definition we have selected is: "A lucid experience associated
with perceived consciousness apart from the body. This specifically excludes dream-like states and
experiences impaired by associated substance use. "Perceived consciousness
apart from the body" is a vital component of the out of body experience.
definition is good, but not perfect. We consider it a necessity to define OBE
for the purpose of this study. We recognize this definition will be considered
too broad by some and too limiting by others. There are a variety of paranormal
experiences this definition excludes. As we learn about OBE, this definition
may be modified if necessary.
There are also some concerns regarding whether it makes any difference whether the OBE is induced or spontaneous.
There is really no specific categories for spiritually transformative events or NDE-Like events. Eventually, as we get more information, we may need to revise the questionnaire to be more specific towards each spiritual spectrum event.
Studying events are difficult. Information regarding the experience is only available, directly or indirectly, from the experiencer. There is generally no associated physical evidence to collaborate the experiencer's account.
In our experience, experiencers generally strive to truthfully and accurately convey their experience. Their experience is perceived and conveyed through the filter of their unique belief system. Experiences usually occurred many months or years prior to the time it is conveyed, and this may result in parts of the experience being forgotten or distorted. We will rely on the honesty and integrity of the experiencer in sharing their experience. There is no procedure to evaluate the honesty of the experiencer. We may receive experiences that are confabulations. We can only hope it will be rare that we encounter such meaningless deceit.
Our research methodology has limitations. We will receive a disproportionate number of responses from English speaking adults with access to a computer and the Internet. Respondents are further characterized by their ability to find this web site and their will to communicate their experience. These respondents contacting us are not representative of the population of all experiencers worldwide. We intend to compare and contrast experiences among different cultural groups to help clarify the significance of this limitation.
As investigators, we have our own personal limitations. We freely admit our bias that the experiences are real and associated with a higher power. Our understanding of other's experiences will be filtered through our own belief system, which may introduce some distortion. We will strive to be conscious of this, and diligent in minimizing such distortion. A firm commitment to seeking the truth will be vital for all of us in this endeavor.
As we collectively seek to understand spiritual spectrum events, it is important to be aware that understanding experiences will be affected by differing individual's belief systems. Experiencers usually immediately accept the reality and significance of their experience. This acceptance is based on personal experience, which the great majority of us lack. Spiritual experiences cure Spiritual experience disbelief. Certain things in life require their being experienced to understand. I cannot adequately convey the experience of riding a roller coaster to one who has never ridden. You must ride a roller coaster to understand the roller coaster experience. Similarly, you must experience a spiritual event to fully understand spiritual spectrum events.
In understanding experiences, patience will be necessary for both the experiencer conveying the experience, and those seeking to understand experience. Those of us without a personal experience may not fully understand as the experiencer does, but we hope to understand to the greatest extent possible. This is what OBERF is all about.
Sharing an experience that may be very difficult to describe will require patience. But most of all, sharing the experience is an act of love. It comes from the experiencer's hope that the others lives may be enhanced by their understanding of the events. We are deeply grateful to the many experiencers who have shared.
There are two groups of people who are skeptical of spiritual spectrum events. There are the "closed mind" skeptics and "open mind" skeptics. Skeptics may have belief systems with both closed and open mind elements.
Closed mind skeptics are characterized by a belief system of unwillingness to seriously consider the possibility that the experience might be real and significant. The experience is so different from their personal life experience that their belief system will not allow them to seriously consider the possible reality and significance of a spiritual spectrum event. There are many closed mind skeptics. Sharing an experience with a closed mind skeptic (a significant act of courage) is likely to be unrewarding and stressful. Closed mind skeptics are among the greatest barriers to advancing understanding of spiritual spectrum events. We hope we can all be patient in dealing with closed mind skeptics, and in doing so be remind of the importance of dealing with issues of close minded-ness in our own life.
Open mind skeptics are characterized by a belief system of willingness, at some level, to consider the reality and significance of the experience. Their conclusion following such consideration is to remain skeptical. To the extent open mind skeptics are rigorous in their search for truth, their input is beneficial in understanding experiences.
As public awareness of spiritual spectrum events grows, skeptics are concerned about the temptation some may experience to confabulate experiences (especially a "dramatic" experience) for monetary or other gain. Unfortunately this is a reasonable concern. Human nature being what it is, we would be surprised if there were no confabulated experiences among the many published books describing "dramatic" experiences. We believe the overwhelming majority of experiences are conveyed honestly.
In response to the open mind skeptics, open minded believers stress the consistencies of the spiritual spectrum events among diverse cultures and age groups. This suggests the experience is not mediated by unique past life experiences or belief systems. The experience is frequently followed by a significant change in attitude, which is generally described as life enhancing by the experiencer and people around them. This lasting life enhancing aspect of the spiritual experience is generally not associated with experiences induced by chemicals (drugs or activities associated with elevated endorphin levels in the brain) or hallucinations.
The strongest evidence for the validity of the spiritual spectrum events comes from the large number of experiencers who hear conversations or see events while in their out of body state and clinically unconscious. They accurately convey these events later, leaving people they heard and saw astonished and mystified. These events may be geographically close or far from their body. Skeptics have no alternative explanation for these extensively documented experiences.
by Dr. Jeff & Jody Long
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