wikiHow to Analyze an out of Body Experience

Three Methods:Processing What HappenedInterpreting the Events in Your OBEDiscovering Your Inner State

An out of body experience (known as an OBE) is a situation when you are perceiving the world from outside of your physical body. Contrary to popular belief, OBEs can occur at any given time, not just while you're asleep or near death. While they are not well understood yet, OBEs are thought to be a type of dreaming. Out of body experiences are difficult to remember, so it is good to start with dream recall techniques to help you piece together what happened.[1] Understanding the circumstances around your OBE can then help you interpret what happened to you.

Method 1
Processing What Happened

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    Meditate immediately. If you can, give yourself a few minutes after the OBE to collect your thoughts. Try to process what just happened. Walk yourself back through the events of your experience. The sooner you actively recall what happened, the more accurate your memory will be.[2]
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    Write down the experience. Try to remember everything as it happened. Where did you go? What did it look like? What sensations did you feel? Write all of these details down in a dream journal. Record every detail that you can remember.[3]
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    Draw a picture of what happened. It may help your memory and understanding if you sketch a picture of the scene to help you place details more vividly. Use colors to express the scenery. Include where you were in the scene. Where were you when the OBE started? Where did it take you? This creative exercise can help you process what happened.
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    Identify what you were doing when it happened. What you were doing just before the OBE occurred may be able to help you identify what type of OBE it is. Try to identify what happened beforehand to understand why it might have happened.
    • OBEs that occur in the evening or early morning may be related to sleep processes.[4]
    • Lucid dreaming is a dream that you are aware of. Lucid dreaming often occurs during REM sleep, during intense daydreaming, as a result of purposeful meditation, or from repetitive activities, such as driving or exercising. Most OBEs are considered to be a type of lucid dreaming.[5]
    • Near Death Experiences occur when a person has almost died. These can result from an accident, disease, or other “close calls.” Some people report seeing doctors and nurses treat them while others say they saw a light.
    • Certain drugs—including meth, cannabis, ketamine, and cough syrups-- can cause hallucinations. Drug-induced OBEs can be extremely dangerous. They may cause the user to harm themselves or others.[6]

Method 2
Interpreting the Events in Your OBE

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    Identify other presences. In some cases, people may feel as though there is a ghostly or divine presence in the room with them during their OBE. In others, they may simply see a “double” of their own body. Try to remember who, if anyone, was in the room with you. Identify them if possible.[7]
    • Meeting deceased loved ones during this experience may be a way of grieving after their deaths. You may also feel as though they have a message or advice for you.
    • Encountering a divine presence in the room is a spiritual experience for many.
    • Some people report seeing ghosts or multiple spirits in the room. Some believe that these spirits have messages to pass on to you. [8]
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    Determine whether or not there was a cord. A silver cord tying your spiritual/floating body to your physical form is seen by some to be symbolic of the relationship between the body and the soul. This cord is what many believe keeps you tethered to your body and to this astral plane. You may have even felt this cord pull you back into your physical body.[9]
    • Did you feel as though you were limited in your movement? There have been a cord or similar force keeping you in place.
    • Did you feel as though you had free movement around the room? There likely wasn’t a cord.
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    Discern if you saw a tunnel. A tunnel of light is common in near death experiences. You may have felt you were “moving towards the light” or that you were passing to the afterlife. Some believe this is a spiritual experience wherein you have visited heaven. Some believe it is representative of being reborn. Others believe it is a disruption in brain wave patterns.[10]
    • Visiting paradise or heaven is much more common in naturally induced OBEs (such as near death experiences, sleep paralysis, or unprovoked lucid dreaming) than in forced OBEs (such as hypnosis or provoked lucid dreaming).[11] The reasons for this are unknown.
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    Locate where you were taken. Think about whether or not you traveled in your OBE. Did you stay in one room, or did you move from room to room? Did you fly through the heavens? Did you visit another planet? Some people also report visiting distant friends and having conversations. You may be seeking something that is missing in your life. You might also be coming to terms with your beliefs of the afterlife and universe. Consider the reasons why you might have been taken where you were.
    • Astral projections are a type of OBE wherein people feel as though they have been transported to a “heavenly” or “alien” realm. These may be accompanied by bright colors, spiritual encounters, floating, and teleportation. Some people believe that this is a visit to higher planes of reality.[12]
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    Compare the scene to its real counterpart. Staying in one place during your OBE is perfectly normal. You may have seen the room you are in from above. This may be your brain reconstructing the location of the room from previous memories.[13] It could also be an illusion of perception.[14] Look around the room. See if objects were in the same place as they were in your OBE.
    • If objects are in different positions, you may have been imagining your room based on previous memories.
    • Was there anything you saw from above that you wouldn't be able to see from below? If the answer is yes, you might consider that you really left your body.
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    Tune into the noise. Many people report hearing strange sounds during their OBE. Some believe this is because sound cannot transmit to other astral planes or that your brain is interpreting new sensations as sound.[15] It could also be a neurological response to your condition.
    • You might hear the sound of static, wind rushing in your ears, or cracking.[16] These sounds could be your brain trying to make sense of your situation.
    • Voices, both peaceful and malevolent, are common.[17] This could be a result of your dream state, in which your brain is processing things you heard that day. Can you identify what is being said? Was it a coherent sentence, or was it just rambling? If it did not make sense, it was likely insignificant, and you can ignore it.

Method 3
Discovering Your Inner State

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    Consider your physical and mental state before the OBE. OBEs can be caused by exhaustion, stress, or some medical conditions. Take in account how you were feeling before your OBE, and understand that there could be a medical explanation for it.[18]
    • Strokes and epilepsy can cause OBEs, even if the sufferer was not close to death.[19]
    • Many OBEs happen as a result of interrupted sleep patterns. If your OBE happens in middle of the night or just after waking, you may still be dreaming (even though you are awake). In these situations, a paralyzed sensation is common.[20]
    • Stress hormones can trigger OBEs.[21] Carefully consider what is happening in your life. Have you been extremely busy? Is there something that is worrying you?
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    Examine your emotions. Just by recalling how you felt during your OBE, you may be able to piece together what your mental and spiritual state are.[22] Tap into your emotions. Describe the different sensations that you felt. These may be reflective of your overall mental health.
    • A common sensation is to feel at peace while outside of the body. You may be at peace with yourself, or you may realize that your earthly problems are insignificant.
    • Returning to the body can cause feelings of pain and discomfort.[23] This may mean that you are hesitant about returning to life. You may be uncomfortable with your body.
    • Fear and panic are more negative emotions, but because you may see strange beings or objects during your OBE, they are perfectly natural.[24]
    • Once you have identified your emotions, try asking: “Why did I feel this way? What happened that caused this?”
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    Explore your fears. If you felt afraid during your OBE, try to understand the causes of that fear. Were you afraid you would not return to your body? Did you think you were dead? Were you worried that spirits or other presences would harm you? Try to pinpoint what caused the fear, and consider different reasons why you might have felt that way.[25]
    • Fear of death is common, especially in OBEs. You may have worried that you would never return to your body. You may have anxieties about where you will go when you die.
    • If you felt another presence in the room with you, you may have been afraid that they would harm you. You may not have been certain if they were friendly or evil. This might explain an underlying fear that spirits can influence your life.
    • If you were frightened by being transported to another place, you might be scared of change or the unknown.
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    Find links between your out of body experience and real life. OBEs are almost always guided experiences; that is, they are influenced by your memories and experiences in real life.[26] Think about who and what you saw in the OBE. Why do you think they appeared to you then?
    • Are they a cause of stress in your life?
    • Are you unable to see certain loved ones because of distance or death?
    • Are you anxious about death?
    • Do you have any unresolved problems in your life?


  • Out of body experiences do not always have to be spiritual. Even if you don’t believe in spirits or the afterlife, you can still have an out of body experience.[27]
  • You can try to induce an OBE to try to relive the events of a previous OBE.


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Categories: Paranormal Beliefs | Philosophy