Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The benefits of out-of-body experiences

Gianna Kali over at Beyond Meds sent me this article from Discover Magazine, an extract of which appears below. Thanks, Gianna! I'm pleased to have my own intuition about the benefits of out-of-body (OBE) experiences validated by Dr. Sohee Park's research team at Vanderbilt University. You may recall that my son Chris underwent several OBEs when we visited the sound shaman a couple of years ago. You can read about his reactions to this wonderful therapy here, here, here and here. I dragged Chris to this therapy and to other therapies such as The Alexander Technique, because I knew from observing Chris as a child that he had a fragile sense of self, as the Vanderbilt study hypothesizes is the case with many people who have received a schizophrenia diagnosis. The sound shaman helped Chris get a better sense of who he really is. The Alexander Technique together with voice lessons to bolster his love of music have really made a difference in his growing sense of self.

Park’s student Katharine Thakkar was testing the idea that people experience psychotic experiences because they have a weak sense of self. It’s an idea that others have suggested before but it seems like something that would be hard to test with experiments. But not so: over the last decade, psychologists have shown that our sense of self is far from the fixed, permanent feeling that we assume it is. Instead, it is disarmingly pliable. You can tweak it. You can study it. Our brain continuously constructs our sense of self using information from our eyes, skin and joints. By tweaking that information using simple illusions, scientists have warped and displaced our sense of self in the lab.

The study has broader implications for helping people with schizophrenia. Activities that promote a stronger sense of body awareness, such as yoga, dance or playing a musical instrument, might help to alleviate some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

But for RM, it seems that learning more about his condition was enough. A year on, his diagnosis is unchanged, he still gets out-of-body experiences, and he still hears voices. But gone are the days when his experiences would require a stay in a hospital. He is now hoping to establish himself as a freelance writer, and he’s even had a paper on religion accepted in a peer-reviewed academic journal. For him, knowledge has proven to be a potent treatment. “We check up with him regularly and he’s been doing really well,“ says Park.

Coincidentally, today I received my invitation to an upcoming lecture on the same topic. Keep in mind that your mainstream psychiatrist will be against your participation in these kinds of activities. However, if properly handled by the clinician, they are a pathway to growth.

The Hypnagogic Light Experience: Engelbert and Dirk invite you to a trip with Lucia, the Lucid Light Stimulator (LLS)

Engelbert Winkler, PhD. (clinical psychologist, psychologist for health and psychotherapist) and Dirk Proeckl PhD MD (specialist for neurology and certified psychologist) have invented a LUCID LIGHT STIMULATOR called Lucia Nr. 3.

Lucia Nr. 3 is a neurostimulation lamp which allows the person who is exposed with closed eyes to the lamp to enter immediately into a profound trance which otherwise can be achieved solely after many years of meditation practice, through psychedelic drugs, or through stimulus deprivation, etc.

The computer-operated interplay of its light sources activates a large variety of experiences (the vision of intensive worlds of color and shapes, the impression of existing without a body/immaterialness, etc.) and allows for an individual light experience which is every time anew highly impressive.

Lucia Nr. 3 induces a transcendental experience which otherwise occurs only under extreme conditions like high performance sports, through consumption of entheogen substances or at the onset of death. The neurostimulation lamp opens completely new perspectives for therapy and self-awareness.

Website: (also accessible in English)

1 comment:

  1. oh good! so glad it was validating and that you shared it!!


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