My First O.O.B.E

O.O.B.E – Out Of Body Experience.

Have you ever had one? I had one for the very first time today. As I'm sure is always the case initially, it happened quite by accident.

At the moment, it's my job to travel to different parts of the country and help people with their figures. It was on the train to Reading this morning that I had my first O.O.B.E.

Or perhaps it's happened before? Perhaps it was simply my first conscious O.O.B.E.

Last night we went to see Blur in Wolverhampton. We didn't get in before midnight. I had to be up at six. I was tired, but I bought some coffee before I got on the train.

Due to a lack of communication between the department responsible for seats and the department responsible for windows, the windows and seats on trains sometimes don't align. You sometimes get  seats with nothing but the beige space between the windows to look at.

I was sat in such a seat. I didn't have a window. Keep that in mind.

I was phasing in and out of consciousness as the coffee fought a futile battle with my fatigue. The fatigue won, and I drifted off.

Except, I didn't quite. I simply became aware of my own face. It was wobbly and dim, as if I was gazing at my reflection in a grubby window.

Only, there was no window, remember?

Also, my eyes were shut.

I was having a  lucid vision of my own sleeping face. It was such a strange thing to see that I almost immediately woke up.

Or did I simply re-enter my body?

Either way, my first bleary thoughts were that it was a strange thing indeed to be able to look at your reflection in a window with closed eyes.

Then reason sunk in, and I realised the impossibility of what had just seemingly happened.

There was no reflection, as there was no window.

And even had there been, how would I have been able to see myself if my eyes were closed?

No. The only possible explanation is that I enjoyed my first ever O.O.B.E.

Of course I'd like to try it again. But that, obviously, is easier said than done.

What am I going to do? Replicate the exact conditions in which it occurred?

The state of mind was a strange one. I'm frequently tired, and I drink so much coffee that I'm probably going to die the Balzac way. But there's a question of balance: How will I ever meet the same balance of caffeine and fatigue again so as to induce another O.O.B.E?

And what of the external influences? Was the train journey important? The time of day? Monday mornings are never to be trusted. Was the specific seat in which I was sat important? The specific seat in the specific carriage in the specific train on that specific journey to Reading?

Will it only ever happen within 12 hours of a Blur show in Wolverhampton? Is it necessary to have read the four pages of Asimov I managed before drifting off?

Head to far down this road and you wind up like Mel Gibson in What Women Want: Applying the same cosmetics in the same quantities and engineering an identical fall into a bathtub to induce an identical electric shock in order to give himself the ability to hear what women are really thinking.

That way madness lies.

But as arcane metaphysical abilities go, this is one I'd like to master.

Those who are able to control and apply their O.O.B.E partake in what some call astral projection. They can will their animus to leave their body and just drift.

Can they control the drift, or do they simply will themselves to go with the flow?

Either would be wonderful. Drift to wherever, or flow to wherever. Where will you go? And what, exactly, is causing for you to flow? What strange currents are you following, ethereal jellyfish? Are you bound to this plane, or have you sights on time and space itself?

Who wouldn't want such abilities? But if you require further encouragement, listen to The Moody Blues:

Thinking is the best way to travel.

You need never let the world get you down again. If things get too hard, lie back and drift to somewhere else.

Anywhere will do.


  1. It seems to've affected your otherwise impeccable spelling as well - "Head to far" indeed.

    Jumping straight into astral projection's a bit extreme, try lucid dreaming first - that is, taking control of what you do and where you go in your dreams. It's a lot easier than it sounds.

  2. It would involve keeping a dream diary. I'm afraid that were I to keep a dream diary, people would think me pretentious.

  3. Well you don't have to tell people you keep a dream diary, and why would you have to keep one anyway? You may've misunderstood what I meant by lucid dreaming.

    It's like this: Usually when you're dreaming, it's like watching a film, right? Well if you do it lucidly, it's more like one of those adventure game books. Something happens, and you decide what happens next. I've managed to have flowing conversations in dreams, it really is a lot easier than it sounds!