International choreographer, Jade Shaw quit her successful career after a powerful Out of Body Experience (OBE) otherwise known as an astral projection. Jade left behind her career at Saddlers Wells Theatre to explore the transformative effects of ‘out of body experiences’. So what is an out of body experience like? if they indeed do have such transformative effects, can an out of body experience improve wellbeing?
Out of Body Experience…
Jade studied the effects of out of body experiences for her MSc Transpersonal Psychology research and is now a teacher and speaker on the phenomena. Jade has just launched her first documentary ‘Insight Out’ and is consulting on a new Netflix series.
Jade’s documentary explores expanded states of consciousness, how to harness sleep states for self-growth and examines whether using altered states of awareness is the new path to wellbeing.
Altered States of Awareness
- Tell us a bit about your first out of body experience, where were you? What did it feel like?…
When I was a child I was petrified of the night. I had to sleep in a sleeping bag with the landing light on until I was 18. This was because I often felt as though someone was grabbing the end of the bed and shaking it back and forth – I’d hear unusual sounds and sometimes it would feel as though I could see through my eyelids. It was straight-up, super scary stuff! Aged 10, I became really fed up, I wanted it to end, and my Mum even considered taking me to a child therapist.
Then one night I noticed that if I slowed my breathing down, it would tame the experience and bring it to a stop. So that’s what I started to do, and the experiences subsided.
Journeys Out of the Body
Fast forward to the future. In my 30s I met my now husband, I ran my own dance company, and no longer slept with the light on anymore. Then one day, I walked into a dusty old book shop and picked up Robert Monroe’s book ‘Journeys Out of the Body’ and discovered that there was a name for my childhood experiences. Specifically, the vibrational state – feelings of shaking, unusual sounds and visual perceptions, which occur when an individual temporarily leaves their body.
‘It made me think… if I had allowed this vibrational state to continue as a child, would I have had an out of body experience?‘– Jade Shaw on Childhood Out of Body Experience
I really felt drawn to unravel my childhood experiences and after some more research I thought, OK let’s give it go, see if it’s possible.
So I tried, and it didn’t happen. Tried it again, still didn’t happen. I thought god I couldn’t get rid of this when I was a child and now it won’t happen at all. So after a month of trying I got a bit impatient and gave up.
Then one night I’d got up to go to the loo, and when I got back in bed I dropped straight into the vibrational state. I was in an altered state and I knew that if I did an ‘exit technique’ I could leave my physical body.
Little side note here – there are many ways you can exit the body – you can float out, sinking through the back, sit up out of the body AND shift out sideways – so that’s what I did!
Moving out of the physical body…
When I moved out of my physical body it felt a little like when you get glue on your hands as a kid and you peel it off your fingers. It was a bit like that but peeling away from my whole body, detaching from it a bit like Velcro. And I thought…
OK I’m in my room, my body is on the bed, I should go do something, so I flew out the window and dropped to the street below.
It was early morning and I could see, with crystal clear clarity, the dew on the grass and the sunlight beaming down, it was realer than real! It was like having high-definition glasses on, where my senses were highly attuned. I peered down at my body, I was translucent and I looked like the invisible woman!
‘I had a sort of ‘energy body’ and when I moved my arm it was like when a light leaves a trail behind.‘
But then I thought, I should verify this experience, I need to find a door number so I can have evidence of it when I get back. So, I travel down the street and come to some cross roads, the house on the left-hand side with a green door was a number 18 and I thought to myself OK I’m going to remember this. What do I now? I’m still out of body!
I know, I’ll call out something and see what happens. Where do I want to go? ‘Take me to Nirvana’.
As soon as I did this, suddenly everything was out of my control… I start to float upwards, like an unseen force is lifting me up, up, up, above the trees but before I reach the clouds I passed through a sort of thin membrane like a flat sheet of static hanging in the sky. Passing through it felt like when you break the surface and slowly rise out of water, moving from one atmosphere to another.
Then I’m in a huge tunnel that fills the entirety of my perception, there’s no up, down, left, right – no sense of space. I’ve lost my energy body and I’m now just a point of awareness and I’m drifting towards a bright white light.
Then for the first time in the experience I start to get scared.
As soon as I felt fear *click* I was back in my body. I sit up with a bolt which wakes my husband up, he’s yelling what’s happened, what’s happened?!
‘I think I just had an out of body experience’– Jade Shaw
I said: “I think I just had an out of body experience” and he says, “Ohhhh ok, well done!” Then rolls over and goes back to sleep. Typical! (He has had a few OBEs before). It felt like I was ‘out of body’ for around 40 mins but time and space doesn’t work in the same way so what can feel like forever, might be a short amount of time and vice versa.
That same day I went back to the house on the corner to check to see if it was the same door number. It WAS number 18. The same one as in my experience. I looked up the tunnel of light and other people had seen it too. I wish I hadn’t got scared because people have had profound experiences upon reaching the light.
No limits, only possibilities…
Seeing myself separate from my physical body when I had self-identified with it for my entire life, made me realise that I am not limited to it, and if I’m not limited to it, maybe there are other areas of my life which are not limited either, in fact maybe there are no limits, only possibilities. Connecting to this ‘knowing’ particularly in difficult times has brought me much reassurance and courage.
When I left my own business, it was in the height of its success and we were going to receive a big investment for a three-year project from a national governing body, to roll it out across the UK. But I couldn’t go on doing the same work knowing what I then discovered.
So I took the decision to leave and explore out of body experiences further. This led me to undertake a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology, the study of consciousness, spirituality and psychology to investigate the transformative aspects of the experience and how it how it impacts people’s lives.
The new path to wellbeing?
- Can an Out of Body Experience be good for your health?
‘the answers, guidance and realisations one has during an OBE seems to recalibrate our sense of self to align with a deeper purpose’– Jade Shaw
Definitely! I’ve found that it can help alleviate stress about the big things in life, people begin to recline into their life rather than gripping onto the edge of it. It can dismantle looming fears such as dying, making big decisions, and stepping into the unknown such as a new relationship, job or hobby. This is because the answers, guidance and realisations one has during an OBE seems to recalibrate our sense of self to align with a deeper purpose, this can evoke inner transformation, and in some cases, radical life changes.
5 benefits of an altered states of awareness:
OBEs evoke personal change, allows you to align with your best-self.
You’ll receive insights and realisations, the ability to tap into a higher awareness.
Connect with people and places beyond space and time.
Transform fear, reactive patterns and overcome limitations in everyday life.
Release the fear of dying and cultivate compassion at the point of death.
What causes an Out of Body experience?
The need for self-survival and/or self-evolution. I’ve found spontaneous OBEs that happen at random often springboard into a person’s life when they appear to need one, perhaps at a crossroads in their life, where a big decision has to be made, or when someone is in trouble. An OBE might arise where they have access to information that can help them in some way. This is why I believe long term practice can lead to self-actualisation, stepping into our most authentic self. However, some people have naturally had these experiences since childhood.
‘I believe long term practice can lead to self-actualisation, stepping into our most authentic self.’– Jade Shaw, on altered states of awareness.
- You’ve researched and studied lots of individuals who have had OBE’s, what’s the most inspiring story you’ve heard?
Probably the stories where people have connected with dead loved ones, it really pulls at the heart strings. In fact, I often weep when telling these stories at my workshops! Caz’s case is an example of this. She said… “One of the most life-changing OBEs I ever had was when I met my Dad after he died. The way he died was really horrible and I had a lot of guilt surrounding it, it was just the most awful feeling, and about 90 days after he died, I had an OBE. I went specifically to look for him and I had quite a simple interaction, just asking him how he was, it was nothing astounding but when I came back from that, the guilt just lifted, which was really something I had no control over it – my logical brain was trying to work out whether that was actually really him, but my physiology just changed. That was pretty massive’.
Induce an out of body experience
- Can you induce and OBE and in what circumstance would that be advisable?
Yes, many cultures around the world have a practice to self-initiate OBEs, such as the Ancient Mexican Toltecs and Tibetan Buddhists. You have to get into an altered state of awareness such as trance, meditation or becoming deeply relaxed. What is amazing is that we have the opportunity to transform our world from the edge of our bed every night. I’ve found that harnessing the hypnogogic (falling asleep) and hypnopompic (waking up) states is easiest because we pass through them every day. But you don’t have to be in a sleep state to have one.
“You have to get into an altered state of awareness such as trance, meditation or becoming deeply relaxed.“– How to induce an out of body experience
- You are the ‘Astral Projection’ Consultant for the new Netflix series ‘Behind her eyes’ which releases in 2020, what was that like? any spoilers?
I’m not allowed to give anything away I am afraid! However, working with the actors and guiding some of them to experience the early stages of the OBE state to inform their characters was an honour. One lady managed to get her energy ‘head’ out of her body but she became too excited and snapped back in, if we become over-emotional we tend to return to the body immediately.
Special thank you to Jade for sharing her story. To find out more you can visit Jade’s website.