Unlike lucid dreaming, the out of body experience (OBE) has yet to be proven under laboratory conditions. And yet the two phenomena are strangely linked.
An out of body experience happens when your awareness is transferred beyond your physical body. When it happens during severe bodily trauma, it's often called a near death experience (NDE). And when it's induced at will and used to travel to other planes or dimensions, it's called astral projection (AP).
Many people write to me asking if their experience was astral projection or a very vivid dream. I'm hardly qualified to answer this being a pure lucid dreamer, but I know a lady who is. Erin Pavlina - a lucid dreamer, astral projector and intuitive counselor - explains the three conditions surrounding this phenomena:
1. It's a normal dream. You can tell if you are only dreaming that you are in an astral state because you won't experience the separation process.
2. It's a lucid dream. You can consciously induce an out of body experience from within a lucid dream, but it's still only a dream inside your mind.
3. It's a real OBE. You know that you are awake in your real bedroom when the separation process begins. There are no dream characters or constructs. There's a strange, unearthly quiet about it and you feel a bit like a ghost.
Dr Robert Monroe famously documented his out of body experiences in his groundbreaking book, Journeys Out of the Body. He was at first incredulous when he began having OBEs against his will but soon traveled to places far removed from the material and spiritual realities of life on earth.
The concept compels us to rethink our ideas about life and death - and maybe even induce an out of body experience for ourselves.