DREAMS AS OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES
by Bob Lepak
Many people have learned that dreams can be used to gain deeper insights to themselves and what is really going on in their lives. However, there is another aspect to dreams that is of interest. Often the scenes themselves seem to make no sense at all when we relate them to our feelings and experiences of the past few days or weeks. Perhaps we find ourselves moving about in a strange place or maybe we dream of the same place now and then. In some cases we may recognize that we are moving. We may see ourselves flying, walking, running or rolling about and even experience such things in the first person. Often, when we awake, it seems to make no sense. Or sometimes we are left with the ineffable feeling that there was some kind of reality couched in that strange series of events that seemed to take place in a far and distant land. It may well be that the land was not so far indeed and that the movement was real. Perhaps the dream was a camouflaged version of an out of body experience (OBE).
Why would OBE's be experienced as dreams? Consider the daily activities you pursue. You go about your business, doing your work or play, and take for granted the physical landscape that surrounds you. In fact, you depend on it to help make sense of the world. After all, when we walk down the street, most of us expect the houses, cars and residents to look pretty much the same as it did on our last walk. What if the street disappeared and we were left hanging in the air? What would we think? I suspect most of us would expect to fall or even be killed. Imagine if the very building you work in were to look different every few minutes. The stable world, with its various familiar landmarks, represents an important frame of reference for our egos. In dreams we construct many of the same familiar landmarks for the sake of reference and understanding. Perhaps we do the same with some OBE's, especially when entering or exiting the physical body, so that they appear familiar and are least likely to startle our egos.
Recognizing OBE Elements in Dreams
I believe that we often experience OBE's in dream form. Further, I maintain that the dream forms of OBE's, which I call Dream Out of Body Experiences or DOBE's, are useful in that they provide a familiar landscape, so to speak, so we can deal with them from our everyday point of view. The landscape may be geographic features like, mountains, lakes, yards, fields and the sky. They may also include people, animals, plants and man-made structures such as houses, schools, stores and streets. Any of these elements occurring in a dream does not necessarily indicate a DOBE. It is more important to take note of how you are interacting with such things or try to realize the symbolism in them. Floating, various forms of movement, certain types of lighting, vibrational states and changes in awareness may be indicative of a DOBE. I will draw upon some of my own experiences to illustrate my ideas. When I use the word dream I am implying that it may really be an OBE dressed up in symbols that are more akin to life in our physical world. That is, it may be a DOBE.
Floating or Flying
Many people have dreams involving floating or flying. In one such dream of mine I found myself floating about fifty feet above my neighbor's yard. When I looked around I saw two others nearby. My first thought was that I was dreaming, but it was quite lucid, and that I was also sleeping in my bed a hundred feet away. It was then that I reasoned that this must be an OBE in dream form. So, trying to contain my excitement, I decided to try moving up and down in the air, but found myself becoming tipsy. After I stabilized myself I looked over at my companions. The light was like dawn. The next thing I noticed was blackness and no awareness until I awoke in my bed again.
In the above case I was clearly aware of the unusual state I was in, of floating, and of the surrounding scenes. This was followed by a momentary loss of awareness after which I found myself in bed awake.
In some dreams we are shown a path or direction to follow. Once, I found myself in a young hardwood forest with bright sunlight filtering through the leaves of poplars and maples. It was a wonderful feeling to walk through the forest as it is one of my favorite activities. I found my way to a path and followed it out of the woods to a farm with grassy, green fields. Off in the distance was a classic red barn. Feeling a need to get there I walked toward it, still admiring the beautiful blue sky. Then all went black and I awoke in my bed. I sat up believing that this was an OBE in dream form, a DOBE. The path in the woods seems to have represented the way to the barn which, in turn, may have symbolized the way back to the physical body.
In another dream I found myself in a large, square tunnel which was beneath a rolling landscape. My family was with me and we felt a need to explore the place. As we did so I noticed that it was illuminated with a soft light that came from everywhere inside, especially the walls. At some point we decided to curtail our journey and hurried back along the same path. When we neared the beginning of the tunnel all went black for me and I awoke in bed once again.
Water seems to be a clue to DOBE's in some cases. For example, I was in my red canoe paddling along toward a bridge. When I got there I realized that there was a waterfall on the other side. However, it was too late to turn back. So, I guided it over the edge at the safest possible place and fell about twenty feet toward the bottom. I hit the bottom and, of course, fell out of my canoe. As I went under water I decided to swim to the edge toward a tree lying along the bank. I made it but felt a bit numb. Again, things went blank and I woke up in bed. The falling downward may be interpreted as falling back toward the physical world.
In all of the above examples the direction I had to travel in was indicated: a path in the woods, an underground tunnel and a river. In every case I followed it and, after a very brief break in consciousness, woke up in the physical body again, which may have been symbolized as the barn and tree in two of the dreams.
Vibrations and Paralysis
Vibrational states and catalepsy accompany the dissociation and reassociation of the astral body. In one dream I found myself in my aunt's yard but there was an unusual stone wall in front of it. My cousin and I were climbing down the wall but, as she was more agile, she reached the sidewalk ahead of me. When I finally got to the bottom I called for her to wait. While heading for the sidewalk across the street I tripped over something and fell. But then things slowed down and I began to feel the body-wide tingling and paralysis that I experience during an OBE. Suddenly, I became well aware that this was not just a dream. As I finally hit the ground, between two boulders, everything went black. Then, I awoke in my bed, my body still strongly vibrating from the reassociation of the astral and physical bodies. This seemed to me to be a clear indicator of a DOBE. The climbing downward, and continued walking afterward, seems to have been the representation of the way back home to the physical body.
In still another case I found myself in my kitchen with my parents. As I was talking with them I began to feel off balance. Then, as everything slowed down, I began to fall to the floor and the vibrations commenced. Unable to move, I called to my father to let him know what was happening. It was at that point that my awareness faded momentarily. I awoke afterward with the vibrations coursing through my physical body.
The two examples just cited strongly indicate a continuum between some dreams and OBE's. The paralysis, vibrations and brief loss of consciousness, all traits associated with OBE's, continued into the waking state which suggests a true reassociation event between the astral and physical bodies.
Light in the Darkness
Various forms of light are often reported during OBE's and NDE's. Once, at the end of another dream, I suddenly found myself in my basement. I stood at the bottom of the steps then turned around to face the wall. What I saw was perplexing. Squinting, I could see scintillations of blinding light coming through tiny cracks in the rock wall, which seemed to emanate from a light source in the crawl space beyond. I was transfixed by the light and found it difficult to take my eyes away. As I stood there I knew that it made no sense and even told myself that this couldn't be happening because there is no light in the crawl space. I felt a need to turn back and go up the steps. As I did I lost awareness but woke up immediately in my physical body again. When I sat up I expected to see the light in the room. That's how strong the impression was.
Recently, I found myself in a dream in which I seemed to be moving in my upstairs hall. As I turned and went down the steps I noticed a bright light filling the landing at the bottom. It came from the living room. Going down the steps I gradually became aware that this was an OBE. Then, I was suddenly aware of something trailing behind me, coming out of my head. When I was halfway down I was stopped by some invisible force. So, I put my hand up to examine it, much like your hand against a window. While I saw nothing I clearly felt something. So, I pressed against it, looking at the light below. Without warning I began moving backwards, up the steps, at an increasing speed with a tugging at the back of the head. I moved through the hall and into the bedroom. Again, I lost consciousness but awoke in bed and sat up, awed by what had just taken place. I told my wife about it but she was aware, as she often is, that I was out.
Again, recently, I found myself in what I thought was a dream. I was hovering about three feet above my physical body in a prone position. As if it just clicked in, I realized that it was not a simple dream, but an OBE. I became aware of three others standing or floating nearby, one at my feet, the other two to my right. Then I became aware of a soft green light that seemed to emanate from everything in the room, including myself. It was fascinating and I seemed to be lowered downward into my physical body very carefully. I unable to move anything except my eyes. This was followed by a brief loss of awareness. In a few seconds I was awake in the physical body. I looked at the foot of the bed and saw what appeared to be a green triangle ornamented with numerous raised dots. I thought it might be the helper present beforehand but I had no way of really knowing. In a few seconds the triangle simply disappeared.
In two of the above cases there was a bright light, that focused my attention, and steps, directional indicators, leading to the physical body. It is interesting that the light and steps were in opposite directions. In the latter most case the light was generalized, soft in nature and coming from everywhere. Both forms of light have been reported in OBE's and NDE's.
A Meeting Place
Do we ever travel to places to learn something or meet others? Along those lines I have often found myself in a dream in which I was in a large room at the end of a very long hall. The building seemed to be a school. In all cases I had either just arrived or was just leaving. Usually there were others present, sometimes dozens. In a couple of cases, when I was quite aware of the dream from within, I left and walked down the hall. Then, I lost awareness and woke up in the physical body, lying in bed.
Often, I have had dreams involving another school setting. Specifically, it was a college library which represents a source of knowledge and understanding. In every case I had to climb many steps to get there. Once, when I found myself there, I saw people studying books. One person helped me sift through a book which had drawings and writing. It was virtually impossible for me to focus on the letters but the pictures were easy. In another case I searched for and found my book. It had my name on the binding. I wanted to open it up but I lost awareness and woke up in bed.
In these two cases the school and library may have represented familiar places to gather with others and perhaps learn. The steps and hall indicate direction and movement again. And, as is typical, the momentary loss of awareness is present in these dreams.
You might ask if I believe that all dreams are OBE's in disguise. I would answer with an emphatic NO. However, in some cases, dreams seem to contain elements indicative of OBE's. They may be presented in forms or symbols present in daily life so as not to startle the ego. Such elements include, but are by no means limited to, the following: floating, flying or falling; directional indicators like paths, roads, sidewalks, rivers, tunnels and steps as well as movement along them; certain peculiar forms of lighting commonly reported during OBE's or NDE's; the vibration and paralysis that occurs at dissociation and reassociation during OBE's as well as the continuation of these states into the physical body; a brief loss of awareness, typical of OBE transitions, when going from the dream to the waking state; and repeatedly finding oneself at a familiar place, which may be a temporary stopping point on your way elsewhere or a place to seek information.
So, while you probably get some useful insights from your dreams, you might also examine some to find elements of OBE's. Look back over your records if you have any. See if you can see some of them in a new light. Even more, try to recognize elements of OBE's while in your dreams and you may become more lucid, perhaps even washing away the various landmarks and familiarities that might expose their true nature.
Bob Lepak, December 3, 1995
Copyright © 1995, Bob Lepak, all rights reserved
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