Friday, April 11, 2014

How to have an out of body experience

You can have an out of body experience right now, and it isn’t even that hard. 

Illustration by Jason Reed 
You can have an out of body experience right now, and it isn’t even that hard. Some people can do it more easily than others, and it may take a little practice. But it is something that anybody can do, and it can be done scientifically. 

Senses and the self

Let’s start with a question: Where do you feel like the center of your “self” is right now? Most people feel like the center of their consciousness—the vantage from which they are experiencing the world—is somewhere behind their eyes. This makes sense: Your eyes are there, your ears are there, and even your mouth and your nose are there. Four out of five of your senses are all focused in a single area, so it’s no surprise that you feel like the center of your self is “in your head.”

Although both philosophers and scientists are still developing theories about exactly what our sense of self is really for, they all agree that it plays a key role in organizing all of the information that comes in through our senses. We are getting nerve signals from our skin, from our ears, from our eyes, and from our noses. All of these signals contain different types of information, and yet somehow we end up putting them all together to form a single, at least somewhat coherent, picture of “the world around us.”

Thomas Metzinger, in his book Being No One, says that the whole reason we have a self in the first place is to build a single coherent mental model of the world. Or as he eloquently puts it: “One main function of conscious experience may be to construct a final phase in a process of reducing information, data, and uncertainty originating in the buzzing, blooming confusion of the external world.”
You will feel the center of your self becoming freed from that position “behind your eyes.”
To get rid of the feeling that you exist “behind your eyes,” you need to get your mind to build a mental model of the world that isn’t based on information coming into your head.

Lie on the floor and close your eyes. Try to do so where it’s quiet, so you are not distracted by sound, either. While you are lying on the ground, let your mind wander to different parts of your body: Focus on the way the floor feels against the back of your neck, against your shoulders, against your backside. Rub your hands against the floor, and feel the texture.

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