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Observations placeholder

Heywood, Rosalind - The Infinite Hive - I indulged in three out-of-the-body type experiences



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Rosalind Heywood – The Infinite Hive

Whether it was merely through meeting Mary and her friends, who took such things for granted, or through a touch of subconscious jealousy and desire to compete, I cannot tell, but in the course of the next few years I indulged in three out-of-the-body type experiences myself.

They taught me that such experiences seem as real at the time as Westminster Abbey or a piece of cheese. The first two were induced by music, one at a Queen's Hall concert, the next, surprisingly in an hotel in Paris.

On that second occasion we had come back from a New Year's dinner party, which in spite of good food and good friends, had seemed rather 'unreal', and on returning to our hotel I felt a shock of delight at hearing Chopin being played superbly in a nearby salon. I crept in. The pianist was alone and when he paused I said, greatly daring 'Play me the G Minor Ballade.'

'No,' he replied 'but I will play you the A flat.'

It was a beautiful performance, and when I had thanked him and returned to our room I lay down on the bed to mull it over.

Almost at once the whole vivid soaring climax existed again simultaneously, not in sound but to my inner eye in colour.

I was swept into it and up it until I emerged at the top into a vast and beautiful marble hall, oblong, with painted walls and the whole of the east end open to the night sky and the stars.

While I was staring enthralled at these splendid surroundings my husband thought I looked odd and touched me gently. The effect of his touch was far from gentle: it forced me back sharply and painfully into my body (I naturally do not suggest that this is really what happened: it is what I experienced), and shaken and disappointed I told the poor man what I thought of him in no uncertain terms.

At the Queen's Hall, too he had thought I looked odd and had forced me back by a touch; but on that occasion I could not afterwards remember what I had experienced when I 'went out' on the music, beyond that it was glorious and that to be brought back so suddenly to 'this muddy vesture of decay' was acutely painful and disappointing.

My third excursion was not triggered off by music but by a thoroughly petty motive: mere curiosity. One of Mary's friends, whom we had come to like very much, had asked us to stay for the weekend, and he remarked at dinner that he and a group of friends practised meditation on agreed subjects, sometimes together but also separately every morning at eight o'clock.

 'What will your subject be tomorrow?' I asked casually.

He would not tell me. 'These things,' it appeared were not for the uninitiated.

At that, like an inquisitive child, I thought, 'Very well! I shall find out for myself.'

Next morning I got up early and at eight o'clock sat down on a hard little upright chair in the middle of my brightly lit room and prepared to 'listen in'. After a few moments I found myself in a serene and shining world of motionless peace, and there I could have stayed, calm and content, for ever. At the time I did not analyse it; I was just content to exist; but on looking back I see it could be described as a glorified version of a phase of going under an anaesthetic.

The beautiful peace did not last long. It was soon shattered by agonizing thunderous bangs which crashed right through me. I tried to leap aside, and then came a very shaking experience. I had nothing with which to leap. No body. No edge.

And nothing else had an edge. Yet all the time the terrible bangs went on. Desperately I sought for an edge to something, somewhere. Then, suddenly again without conscious transition, I found myself back in my body shaken and furious. And the cruel bangs had turned into the mildest of taps on my door.

(Ever since I have well understood why mediums, honest as well as fraudulent, can fear sudden noises and lights. In a state of dissociation these must be very trying.)

 I rushed to open the door and there was my husband atrociously cheerful, to say that breakfast was ready.

The source of the experience

Heywood, Rosalind

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Science Items

Activities and commonsteps