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Observations placeholder

Crichton, Michael - from Travels - Going out of body



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Michael Crichton – Travels [his autobiography]

I had done such things since childhood, when quite by accident I discovered I could shift my awareness out of my body and move it around the bedroom. The most comfortable place seemed to be a corner of the ceiling, looking down on myself. But I could also send my awareness outside, and roam around the backyard, or through the house, if I didn't mind the feeling that I was snooping on other people.  As a kid, I didn't think anything about this. It was just a way to spend time before you were sleepy. I  assumed that anybody could do it. Sometimes in museums, if things got boring, I would amuse myself by trying to guess what was in the next room. But that seemed pretty ordinary, too.

One summer, after college, I had worked at Columbia Medical School. I had a dormitory room for the summer, at Physicians and Surgeons Hospital. The room was bare, nothing in it. I used to lie on the bed at night, go up to the ceiling, and look down on myself lying in bed. By then I was old enough to think this was odd. I had pejoratives to apply to it, like "dissociative state" and "schizophrenia." So I stopped doing it.

….I visualized myself leaving through my third chakra, moving up to the astral plane - which to me appeared as a misty yellow place.  So far, so good. I began to see why people so often imagined heaven as misty or cloudy. This misty astral plane was agreeable. It was peaceful to be standing here, in all this yellow mist. I felt fine.

"Do you see anybody here?" Gary said.

I looked around. I didn't see anybody.


"Stay there a minute and let's see if anybody comes."

Then I saw my grandmother, who had died while I was in medical school. She waved to me, and I waved back. I wasn't surprised to see her up here. I didn't feel any particular need to talk to her.  So I just waited around. This astral plane was rather featureless. There weren't any palm trees or chairs or places to sit down. It was just a place. A misty yellow place.

"Do you see anybody else?" Gary said.

I didn't. Then:  "Yes. My father."

I felt worried. I hadn't had an easy time with my father.  Now he was showing up while I was vulnerable, in an altered state of consciousness. I wondered what he would do, what would happen. He approached me. My father looked the same, only translucent and misty, like everything else in this place. I didn't want to have a long conversation with him. I was quite nervous.  Suddenly he embraced me.  In the instant of that embrace, I saw and felt everything in my relationship with my father, all the feelings he had had and why he had found me difficult, all the feelings I had had and why I had misunderstood him, all the love that was there between us, and all the confusion and misunderstanding that had overpowered it. I saw all the things he had done for me and all the ways he had helped me. I saw every aspect of our relationship at once, the way you can take in at a glance something small you hold in your hand. It was an instant of compassionate acceptance and love.

I burst into tears.  "What is happening now?"

"He's hugging me."

"What are you feeling?"

"It's . . . all over," I said.

What I meant was that this incredibly powerful experience had already happened, complete and total, in a fraction of a second. By the time Gary had asked me, by the time I burst into tears, it was finished. My father had gone.  We never said a word. There was no need to say anything.  The thing was completed.

"I'm done," I said, and opened my eyes. I had bounced right out of the trance state.

The source of the experience

Crichton, Michael

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Science Items

Activities and commonsteps