By Leah Larwood
If I told you that there was a wellbeing technique that would give you self-empowerment, insights to recurring illness, reduction in unhelpful fear and a greater connection to others, what would you say?
Sign me up?
Well, there is something that can do all of those things, and more. It’s achievable through an out of body experience (OBE). I went along to a workshop last year, which explored this naturally occurring phenomenon.
Although OBEs have received somewhat of a revival of late, especially on Netflix, it’s actually something that’s been practiced for centuries. Not to be confused with a near-death experience, an OBE is used interchangeably with the term astral projection and non-local consciousness – it’s an expanded state of consciousness where people feel they are traveling within non-physical realities. Or simply put, when your self-awareness leaves the body temporarily.
And don’t worry, it’s all perfectly safe – our body has a clever way of always bringing our state of consciousness back to our psychical body. Some say it’s the last real mystery for the modern world, and this topic is tipped to soon catapult into the mainstream.
In fact, themes of expanded states of consciousness are bursting into the mainstream, through books, social media and block busters such as Avengers Endgame (2019), Black Panther (2018), A Wrinkle in Time (2018), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Flatliners (2017), Dr Strange (2016) which all involve Soul Travel.
There are even workshops, meet-ups, courses, events and most recently, a documentary that’s been made about OBEs. Jade Shaw is an OBE teacher, speaker and researcher and one of the UK’s leading lights on the subject. I attended one of her popular workshops last year and I’ve been really intrigued by the subject since. Before Jade became an OBE teacher, she was an international choreographer who worked for the Royal Academy of Dance and Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
However, in 2014, she had a transformative OBE that changed her life. She left her company and 12-year career in the arts, to teach workshops on the practice for personal and spiritual growth. Compelled to explore her experience, she was interested in both the science and psychology behind OBEs. As a result, she embarked on an MSc in Transpersonal Psychology. In fact, Jade is also the ‘Astral Projection’ (also known as OBE) consultant for new Netflix six-part psychological thriller ‘Behind her Eyes’, which releases next summer.
Shortly before her life-changing OBE in 2014, Jade had been running her own company, though she wasn’t experiencing enough job satisfaction. She’d read about out of body experiences and had intended to induce an ‘experience’ - she had even been practicing some techniques. Then one night it happened. She said: “When I turned around and looked back at my physical body I gasped - an inhale of shock and awe held me to the spot. How could I be here and there at the same time? I nervously edged over to get a better look, I remember thinking why am I so scared of seeing myself, it’s just me right? Suddenly a deep insight flowed through me. I realised I had self-identified with my body for my entire life, every feeling I have ever felt, every decision I have ever made was from the false belief that I am a limited being. I knew I wasn't limited to my physical body and if this is true perhaps there were other areas of my life that I’m not limited to either, in fact perhaps there are no limits, only possibilities.”
Before her first OBE, she describes herself as: “Quite highly strung and a bit of a control freak. My husband called me a ‘stress head!’ I haven’t totally changed but I definitely feel more at ease, I can let things go and relax into the flow of life.”
Jade, a self-proclaimed skeptic, added: “I must admit that I was dubious when I first heard about OBEs. I’m a straight-talking Yorkshire lass, my approach is usually ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ - so this blew my mind.”
It’s estimated that around 10% of people in the world have had an out of body experience (OBE) of some kind. During an OBE, it is possible to see everything that is going on around you from a different perspective, while unconscious.
So when can an OBE occur? An OBE tends to happen in an altered state of awareness such as during deep relaxation, meditation or on the cusp of sleep in the hypnogogic (falling asleep) and hypnopompic (waking up) states. Triggers can take place during dreams, lucid dreams, sleep paralysis, when undergoing an operation and near-death experiences. While others have been known to experience an OBE awake during the day while conducting rather mundane daily tasks.
Spontaneous OBEs happen at random, often when the person is at a crossroads in their life or in need of change or guidance. However, self-initiated OBEs have been practiced by over 50 traditions worldwide for the purpose of self-growth!
Once an individual has had an OBE, this remarkable experience will shape their life in profound ways. Through this practice there are many benefits including:
- answers to pressing problems
- insights to recurring illness
- guidance with decision making
- healing with grief
- better sleep hygiene
- greater connection to others
- self empowerment
- a reduction in unhelpful fear!
To present her findings to the world, Jade Shaw recently produced a documentary, which explores the transformative effects of OBEs and how it impacts self-growth, spiritual growth and wellbeing. Insight Out Documentary Trailer:
As for me? I have had a few suspected OBE experiences, though the jury’s out on whether they were in fact just incredibly vivid dreams, some lucid. Though it’s something I’m keen to explore further. To me, it just seems like a fascinating subject to explore – after all, it’s ‘free therapy’. I’m a big believer of using self-empowerment tools, the more you have in your armory, the better.
If you’re interested in learning more, Jade runs workshops and courses across UK and Europe, inviting her students to expand their minds and embrace their potential for the purpose of self-transformation.
There’s more here about her events and documentary screenings here: https://jadeshaw.com/