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False Awakenings, OBEs, and ME
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Since I craved lucidity, after college I set out to explore the possibilities of that realm, and far from avoiding the "between" phase taught myself to incubate lucidity at will by sending myself into this preparatory state directly, mostly during daytime sleep since the transition proved easier then.  My limbs usually replicated themselves first.  Then my perception would switch wholly to that of the mental body and I could leave the room, either conventionally or, just as often, by leaping out a dream window.

No longer did I fear being "out of body."  I could see, finally, that far from going anywhere, I merely suppressed physical reality for a mental version of my own fashioning.  No "silver cord" linked the two versions of myself -- except on one occasion, when something similar appeared attached to my thigh and I broke it off in annoyance -- nor did I have to make a return trip; I would wake up from these OBE-induced lucids the same way I did from any other dream.  Likewise, I never saw my material body, so my consciousness had not detached itself in any literal sense, though I might have a dual awareness of what each body perceived, such as a bedfellow who was, in fact, a pillow.

One characteristic of my variety of OBE still puzzles me, though.  After an interim of neglecting this procedure, the duplicate body becomes sluggish, and I have to exercise it limb by limb to get it working.  If that fails, however, I can simply imagine walking away, until eventually my awareness will jump to that pictured location and I can get on with the local lucid.  Also, I have more control over a lucid dream originating in an OBE than one coming about during an ordinary dream, but the OBE episode will usually prove less vivid and end more rapidly.  To this day I sometimes wake up to write down dreams, then later find I have only imagined having penned them.

Although I have never seen an illusion of my physical body during an OBE, I have seen representations of the "astral" body in formation.  If I get my eyes open a crack while in sleep paralysis and think/move the duplicate hands towards me, I can see nearly transparent, ghostlike hands and even touch my face with them while still aware primarily of the normal body.  Once, after working with rubber cement for hours in an unventilated basement, I became ill and stumbled up to bed.  This time when I got my eyes open I saw an eerie replica of my arm, all in a smoky gray color, floating several inches above my real arm as it lay upon the cover.  Another time while napping in a very bright room my body became limned with blue-white light.  This overlap between real and dream eyesight could also account for sightings of apparitions in one's room.  All it would take is to hallucinate with open eyes.
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