Robert Monroe is the founder of The Monroe Institute which researches the (OOBE or OBE) known as the out-of-body experience. He discusses his transformation of consciousness below.
It is defined as an event in which the experiencer (1) seems to perceive some portion of some environment which could not possibly be perceived from where his physical body is known to be at the time; and (2) knows at the time that he is not dreaming or fantasizing. The experiencer seems to possess his normal consciousness at the time, and even though he may reason that this cannot be happening, he will feel all his normal critical faculties to be present, and so knows he is not dreaming. Further, he will not decide after awakening that this was a dream. How then do we understand this strange phenomenon?
OOBEs are a universal human experience, not in the sense that they happen to large numbers of people, but in that they have happened all through recorded history, and there are marked similarities in the experience among people who are otherwise extremely different in terms of cultural background. The OOBE is generally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, seemingly experienced by “accident.” Illnesses sometimes bring it about, especially illnesses which are almost fatal. Great emotional stress sometimes brings it about. In many cases, it simply happens during sleep without our having any idea of what might have caused it. In very rare instances it seems to have been brought on by a deliberate attempt.
The experience of an OOBE is usually one of the most profound experiences of a person’s life, and radically alters his beliefs. This is usually expressed as, “I no longer believe in survival of death or an immortal soul, I know that I will survive death.” The person feels that he has directly experienced being alive and conscious without his physical body, and therefore knows that he possesses some kind of soul that will survive bodily death. This does not logically follow, for even if the OOBE is more than just an interesting dream or hallucination, it was still occurring while the physical body was alive and functioning and therefore may depend on the physical body. This argument, however, makes no impression on those who have actually had an OOBE.
The OOBE is generally extremely joyful to those who have it. Approximately 90 and 95 percent of the people who have this experience are very glad it occurred and find it joyful, while 5 percent are very frightened by it, for the only way they can interpret it, while it is happening, is that they are dying. Later reactions of the person as he attempts to interpret his OOBE can be rather negative, however.
In some instances of OOBEs the description of what was happening at a distant place is correct and more accurate than we would expect by coincidence. Not the majority, by any means, but some. To explain these we must postulate either that the “hallucinatory” experience of the OOBE was combined with the operation of ESP, or that in some sense the person really was “there.” The OOBE then becomes very real indeed.
courtesy of ~the monroe institute~