If we leave our body, if we float away, see our physical selves far below from where we are high above, are we dead?
I’m not so sure.
Waiting to make a point in my college religion class, one in which I felt my teacher was wrong, I overheard my professor start to read from, what he described as, the oldest written work in human history, the Bhagavad Gita.
And as my teacher barely began to read from it I heard the answer to my question. A question that I was certain was going to topple his relentless insistent pontification. And it bugged me, that my question could be so easily dispatched by something written that was so old. How could I be so ignorant and dumb about something that was written, and already understood, more than five thousand years ago.
Upset with myself for being so cocky, I admonished myself by saying, “Why don’t you just relax!” Or more specifically what I meant to say, “Why don’t you just let go of all of your preconceived expectations of what you believe should be the answers in your life and instead allow yourself to be at least just a little bit open minded that maybe, just maybe, there’s something else. And by doing so you just might learn something.”
The very next second I found myself floating outside of my body.
It was completely unexpected. One moment I am in my body, gazing out of my eyes, listening through my ears. The very next second I am floating up over my head. Looking down at my hair. Seeing the part I’d combed earlier in my hair. Realizing that I am several feet above the level of where my head would normally be viewing my immediate surroundings.
I was still hearing my professor speak. But his words were no longer coming in through my ears. The audio of my teacher’s voice was so much clearer, more pure. More immediate to “me”. It was coming to me directly, just not using my ears.
But, if I am not in my body, if I am not listening with my ears, if I am not seeing with my eyes, than who is “me”? What am I, if I am not that body I am seeing down below.
I gazed around. And realized that apparently I had some “spherical sight”. I could see in just about every direction all at the same time. I could see to the left, based on the posture and position of that body I had just left behind a few feet below. And I could see to the right. Even more, I could see the ceiling up above. And I was looking down at the top of my head underneath me. But, what was I? If I am not in a body, if I am not using my eyes, my ears, what am I using?
I looked around a bit more. Everything in the room had a nice glow. The usual tables and chairs that are normally in a college classroom underneath that ghastly fluorescent lighting that shines down on everything from the ceiling all had a nice soft glow around them. A glow I had never observed before. For the first time classroom desks and chairs were actually rather pretty. Their surrounding soft glow I was seeing made them that way.
I looked around at my fellow classmates. They were, or, at least their bodies were, all attentively sitting up and paying attention to this teacher, who was still quoting from the Bhagavad Gita. They all looked so studious. But I sensed something more. That what their faces were doing was as significant as what my physical face was doing right at that moment. Which was basically meaningless – because I was not in my body. I was neither behind my face, using my face or depending on my face. I was several feet up above it.
Everyone in the class, I sensed, was in a similar state as me at that moment. We were all sharing this wonderful moment of being free, not physically confined. We were all one united in spirit. Who cares what our bodies were doing when we were all so combined in spirit. And it was a wonderful feeling. A sense of universal connection.
And, with that, I floated back down and into my body.
That felt like a thud.
My body, something I’d been used to since its birth, felt heavy. obtuse, weighted. Like I was wearing a really heavy old coat that was pulling me down.
I wondered, can I, willingly, leave my body again? I did just enjoy what I’d just experienced. It felt so comfortable, so natural. Can I do it again? Drift out, and up? But how?
While still inside my body I kind of physically “squeezed”. I thought by squeezing that this might help me to “pop” up, and out. Kind of like taking a “poop”, but in reverse. Up, instead of down. Through my head, not out my butt. And, weirdly, it worked. I found myself floating above my body once again. And it felt wonderful. I was free.
Relaxed, I permitted myself to just float above my physical form that was sitting down below. My body was fine. I could leave it there. it wasn’t going anywhere. Not having my body made things easier. Think of travel. It’s dragging that physical form around that makes traveling hard. Buying tickets for seats, filling a car with gas. Leaving the body behind I wouldn’t need to do any of that again. I could just float wherever I wanted to go.
But then I wondered, what was my connection to my body while I was out of it? I could see my hands resting on my knees far below. Several additional feet away. I wondered, even though I am outside my body, can I make my fingers move? I looked at my hands, from a distance, and used my mind, as a thought, to wiggle my fingers. And, to my surprise, even though my fingers, hands and knees were fairly far away, my fingers “wiggled”!
And that is when the ecstasy set in. Just wiggling my fingers gave me such a pleasurable rush, like nothing I had ever experienced, ever, before, that I was completely overwhelmed with sheer bliss and exhilaration.
If I tried to compare this feeling to anything I’ve ever felt while in my body I don’t think I can. One normally, for instance, thinks that sex feels pretty good. Or eating some delicious dinner. But take everything you’ve ever felt that felt good, add it all together, multiply that by a thousand, and then by another thousand, and only then are you approaching the ecstasy that I felt just by wiggling my fingers from outside my body.
It was then I realized that we have, since childhood, been taught that we all have five physical senses. But if I am not in a physical form, and manipulation of a distant physical form can be quite exhilarating, just how many senses do we have while we are not in our body? And the number “255” popped into my head. Oh my God! We have at least 255 additional senses that are beyond the five we are normally limited to experiencing while we are in our physical form? That’s a lot. And, if they all feel as good as what I just felt, or maybe even better, well, that could be simply amazing. Like, “wow”! You know?
Wondering about it all, I gently let myself drift back down into my body, calmly, peacefully. Within the next moment the teacher stopped speaking and allowed all of us to take a bathroom break. How ironic, being given a bathroom break for a body that no longer was essential. I stood up. Or rather, I directed my body to stand up, and followed my fellow students out into the hallway. A good friend in class was drinking some water from the school water fountain. I excitedly said, “Did you feel it? Wasn’t it great?” And he looked at me, like what? I continued, “When we all left our bodies! Wasn’t it amazing?”
My friend replied, “I didn’t leave my body.” And he just looked at me, before heading back to the classroom.
It was only then when I realized that he didn’t share in my recent experience. Perhaps no one else in the class did. Then what was that I was feeling? This universal connection of bliss, of consciousness, of connection on a deeply spiritual level that I felt with everyone else in the classroom while I was floating above my body.
I’m not sure. Perhaps that is what we really are all of the time. When we are detached and not really in our bodies. Connected to each other not physically but the deepest way possible. By our hearts and souls. And while I was outside of my body I “felt” it. It’s just that, while we are in our bodies, we don’t know it. We can’t see it.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.