Sal S's Experience

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Experience description:   

This was a small OBE arising from sleep paralysis. I had three instances of sleep paralysis upon waking in the morning within a period of a few weeks. On this occasion, I was sleeping with my then-fiance. It was morning, and I woke up unable to move. I was trying to wake my fiance up so she could help me wake up, but I couldn't move or make myself heard. Suddenly I realized that I could get closer to where she was lying, a couple feet away, by simply "willing" myself closer. I tried doing that in increments until I was right up on her visually, just inches away--then suddenly I was back on the other side of the bed, awake and in my body. Sometime in that process I realized I was out of my body. That part wasn't frightening--just the paralysis part was frightening.

On one of the other occasions, I tried clapping my hands to wake myself up, and I felt as though I was clapping over my chest, but my physical arms weren't moving.

The first one described above was a small OBE experience, but I was fully conscious and my "movement" toward my fiance was under my voluntary control. I would say that I definitely was not hallucinating, nor was my brain creating the visual illusion of seeing my fiance, with her back turned toward me. As I recall (and I can still see the image in my mind's eye as I write this) what I saw when out of my body corresponded exactly with what I saw once I woke up, i.e., she was in the same position, the bedsheets were in exactly the same position, etc. Had my brain been manufacturing a replica of this scene when I was paralyzed, presumably it wouldn't have matched exactly what I saw when I woke up. (I don't recall if my physical eyes were open, but I don't think so. I was lying on my back.)

I already believed in life after death and out-of-body experiences, but this personal experience deepened my conviction that I am not just my physical body.

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?          No

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           Fully awake and able to think calmly and make decisions.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No, like being awake but unable to move my physical body.

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

Did not see my own body.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Fear at the initial paralysis, changing to practicality of figuring out how to solve the problem.

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           No.

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?           No

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? Yes

Only to the degree of figuring out how to move, and I didn't get very good at it, just a matter of a couple feet with a few tries.

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

Only noticed vision, since it was a quiet room in the morning. One interesting thing in hindsight, I was only inches from my fiance's back, and as I recall I was able to see in sharp focus, closer than I might have been able to with my physical eyes.

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

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Yes

Just an increased certainty about life existing apart from the physical body, adding to my current beliefs.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       It hasn't affected me except that I can speak with personal conviction that the teachings that man is not just a physical body are correct.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Yes

Inasmuch as it gave me intellectual certainty based on personal experience.

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes

On a few occasions, with like-minded people mostly. Since it was not an impressive experience as OBE's go, little reaction. I assume that people who have a materialistic set of world assumptions would assume it was a hallucination.

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  Relieved mostly, and afterwards intrigued.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      The paralysis coming right out of sleep is frightening. Knowing I could calm myself and figure out a way to handle a crisis was helpful. Afterwards, it was interesting to reflect on the implications of the experience.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?        What I gained was the absolute intellectual conviction that man is more than a physical body. I am sure I was not hallucinating, and that the reductionistic interpretation that the brain manufacturers a substitute experience during sleep paralysis is incorrect. I can't prove it to anyone else, but the experienced definitely proved it to me, personally.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No

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

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    Question 21 asks if there have been any changes in beliefs. But you might want to ask what the previous belief system was, the purpose being to try to isolate previously "naive" subjects who had no previous knowledge or belief about the type of experience. The ideal subject would be one who had no previous belief or understanding, and who experienced something verifiable in their environment, with credible witnesses. You might then want to see if you can get affidavits from those witnesses as well.