Spiritually Transformative Out-of-Body Experiences
Updated: Jul 6
A fascinating new study by Shaw, Gandy, and Stumbrys (2023) affirms the reality and positive effects of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) across cultures. OBEs are transcendent experiences in which the self temporarily exists apart from the physical body. OBEs may be triggered by extreme life events (e.g., trauma, near-death experiences), occur spontaneously (e.g., with psychedelic drug use), or be intentionally induced through personal practices (e.g., meditation, dreamwork, hypnosis).
Although this study was limited to non-self-induced OBEs, it affirmed several common positive aftereffects: decreased fear of death, greater inner peace, greater self-awareness, and greater self-acceptance. OBEs also prompted reevaluation of relationships and spiritual beliefs.
We may easily integrate transformative experiences like OBEs into our everyday lives. However, another recent study (Brook 2021) shares that many people find it challenging to make sense of their “spiritually transformative experiences” (STEs) or reap the benefits of them without support.
As someone who regularly has OBEs, I know how challenging it can be to find people who can talk nonjudgmentally and knowledgeably about these experiences. I also know how helpful it is to have support when making changes to old ways of thinking and behavior as we become the person we’d like to be. If you’d like to talk about a transformative experience, schedule a spiritual guidance session with me.
Brook, M. G. (2021). Struggles reported integrating intense spiritual experiences: Results from a survey using the integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Inventory. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 13(4), 464-481. https://doi.org/10.1037/rel0000258
Shaw, J., Gandy, S., & Stumbrys, T. (2023). Transformative effects of spontaneous out of body experiences in healthy individuals: An interpretive phenomenological analysis. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory Research, and Practice, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000324