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Author Topic: how to tell the difference?  (Read 3896 times)
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« on: September 12, 2005, 18:45:44 »

How can you tell the difference between OBE and Sleep Paralysis?

I had a weird dream last month.  I could see myself lieing in bed but I was dreaming in my dreams.  I had to wake myself up twice just to leave my dream.  Usually when I see my room in my dream.  I would try to move my toes right away because I was told that it is nightmare when you see yourself or your room.  I'd start moving my toes like i'm twitching or I would relax my body, count to 3 and get up.  When I see myself lieing in my bed in a dream.  I can't move anything but my toes.  Even when I try to move sideways. Moving sideways will never happen because my body is really heavy plus I have this feeling that I'm gonna run out of air or i'm gonna die from nervousness.  This kinda nightmares or dreams only happens when I go straight to bed after eating heavy foods.  Sometimes I don't even want to go to sleep because I hate the feeling when I see myself lieing down.  It feels like someone is watching me.  Some witch or ghost then I can't move any part of my body but toes.  and when I wakeup,  I got this bad goosebumps from head to toe.

How can you tell the difference between OBE and Sleep Paralysis?  I don't recall hearing any loud noise so i'm probably having nightmares.
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Telos
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2005, 19:50:50 »

You're definitely in the right forum. Or, at the very least, in a forum which has a goal to investigate these phenomena. I think your question is a good one, and has provoked many thoughts in me, so I'm going to elaborate a bit.

I've just been reading that sleep paralysis happens at the level of the spinal chord, which connects our brains to the rest of our bodies. Doctors have basically theorized that it's necessary to prevent us from actually acting our dreams - since the chemical processes for many actions that we perform in our dreams are almost identical to what we do while awake.

One researcher was able to "turn off" this sleep paralysis in a cat, so that when a cat fell asleep, and started exhibiting brainwaves characteristic of dream sleep, it nonetheless got up and started to run around the room, as it hunting a bird or something.

If we could conclude that all OBEs happen while asleep in the dream state, then we could answer your question by saying that sleep paralysis and OBEs are connected the same way sleep paralysis is to dreams.

However, there are rare cases where people report OBEs while they are completely awake. For example, I've read of an athlete having one while one a long distance run, a minister while preaching, and an student while having an engaging discussion with friends. In all instances they were brief, lasting on the order of seconds, and the jury is still out, so to speak, if these were "authentic exits" of the body and not a vivid perception of an imaginary world model. But the fact remains that, if we describe such instances as OBEs, then sleep paralysis does not seem at all necessary and connected to sleep only by accident.

Before I read your post, I was expecting you to ask the tired old question "how do you tell the difference between OBEs and dreams?" A question which no longer makes any sense, for modern consensus has been that lucid dreams, OBEs, and astral projections are all identical. But the way you worded it was interesting.

Now that I look at it again, it seems you were asking a different question. Are you referring to "Sleep Paralysis" as the feeling or condition of being immobile while awake? When you say...
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When I see myself lieing in my bed in a dream. I can't move anything but my toes.
Do you mean you are seeing yourself from an out of body perspective? If so, does that mean you are trying to move the body your looking at, the one still in bed, or the one you are looking from, floating above you...? I'm sure I don't understand what you're asking now.

I hope I've helped a little!
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2005, 19:50:50 »

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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2005, 20:52:51 »

Quote
When I see myself lieing in my bed in a dream. I can't move anything but my toes.
Do you mean you are seeing yourself from an out of body perspective? If so, does that mean you are trying to move the body your looking at, the one still in bed, or the one you are looking from, floating above you...? I'm sure I don't understand what you're asking now.

I hope I've helped a little![/quote]

i'm not sure if it's an out of body perspective but I can see from chest down because i'm lieing in my back.  Then I would try to roll my physical body but It's really heavy to move it so what usually do is move my toes until I can move every part of my body or my wife would wake me up because I told her to wake me up when I start twitching my toes.  I know i'm dreaming because I can see everything in my room but the only thing is I can't move my physical body.  It's like i'm awake in my dreams but I frozen.  Can't move any body part.  I'm just lieing there hoping that I won't die from my nightmares.

We usually call this nightmare because you're just lieing there feeling scared, feels like you're running out of air and struggling to move. I guess the scariest part is not being able to move.

This nightmares or dreams happen when i'm really really tired or If I fall asleep after a heavy meal.  Sometimes it would happen 2-3 times in 1 night because if I don't get up and drink water.  I'd end up sleeping again then i'd see myself lieing down.
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Telos
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2005, 06:17:56 »

Oh, okay, I understand now.

In this case I think it's fair to say that your experience is on the border between waking and lucid dreaming (i.e. OBE, AP, etc.). So, to answer your question about how to tell the difference in this case, the difference appears to be very slim.

When you are looking at your body from the chest down, are you doing so with open eyes? Or as a kind of "seeing through closed eyelids" experience? In one of my first OBEs I had a sensation of closing my eyes and immediately opening a different pair of eyes, and I was in a dream world.  It was amazing and beautiful, but unfortunately I never had an experience quite like that ever again. Nonetheless, I think you would be surpised to know that the transition from waking perception to sleep is actually quite sudden - perhaps as sudden as the transition from sleep to wakefulness. So the difference you are asking about is potentially very minute.

I hope I am not being too wordy, for I am doing my best efforts to help in as thorough a way as possible. I think leaving the paralyzed state into a full OBE (i.e. lucid dream, AP, etc.) is a subtle and precious thing, and we do a disservice to aggrandize it as some pivotal mind-body separation or something. The actual experience needn't be so dramatic, to still be pleasent and beautiful.

Whatever the case, you need not be worried by this paralysis. You've actually secured yourself some great tactics - wiggling your toes and sleeping with a partner. No harm can possibly come to you. It's an unusual experience and you are justified in being frightened, but, however unusual the experience might be, it is a very ordinary occurence. You would not be able to survive, actually, if your body was not able to temporarily paralyze itself each and every single night.

It's worth mentioning that paralysis does not happen the whole night, but occurs intermittently during the most vivid dreams. In truth, your body shifts quite a bit while you sleep... so sleep paralysis never really occurs for any lengthy period, and it's appearance and disappearnce is usually quite sudden. Its evanescence contributes to its harmlessness.

Next time it happens, embrace it as a good thing. I know that may seem strange at first, but hundreds of people who visit this forum actually try to have it happen to them! See it as an opportunity to use your mind without the distractions normally offered by the body.

And, to expand that reasoning, everything you think is a nightmare is actually a great opportunity for something. I firmly believe that, and have benefited from that belief time and time again! And I hope you do too.
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2005, 06:50:28 »

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And, to expand that reasoning, everything you think is a nightmare is actually a great opportunity for something.


I've wondered if nightmares aren't actually attempts to make us become lucid or aware.
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2005, 06:50:28 »



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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2005, 20:46:44 »

Here is my explanation from the physiologists point of view:

OBE paralysis is usually not REM paralysis. A typical OBE method put your brain first into non-REM sleep. During separation you're not paralyzed in the sense of real paralysis. REM and REM paralysis will be switched on by the first vision you got on your bedroom before, while or after separation. Then a lucid dream begins.

From this point on OBE is not much really different from lucid dreams, at least not in physiological terms. What makes the difference is the quality of the initial sensory input (your bedroom), and the fate of the 'state stabilizing sensory feedback.' When intent is not clear beliefs play the main role.

In REM sleep paralysis a group of neurons in the brainstem actively inhibits voluntary movements by hyperpolarizing spinal motoneurons. On the other hand, "NREM-paralysis" is caused by extreme muscle relaxation, visualization or both.

These activities gradually close the "sensory gate," a function of the thalamus. The "sensory gate" regulates the flow of sensory information toward the cortex. Every sensory information (except olfactory) have to pass through this gate before become a conscious sensation "in the cortex."

The mechanism that closes the sensory gate is pretty inseparable from the nature of sleep. Deepening sleep in general, whether conscious or not, entails the gradual closure of the sensory gate.

In the second stage of NREM sleep (S2), usually preceeded by lost of consciousness, sleep oscillations of the stronger kind, called "sleep spindles" shut the gate. Depending on the technique you have used various degree of attention remains on your body representing a particular filter mode of the sensory gate.

As a result, in S2 you're in "mild NREM paralysis," and by S3 you enter "total NREM paralysis." Neither occur with REM paralysis by default. REM sleep often starts in S2 but could superimpose onto other sleep stages too, even wakefulness. Except very rare cases REM comes with its own, active paralysis you're all familiar with.

In S2 the body feels very slow, faint and spacious. Even while you couldn't move your physical body you often think you're able to. The border is quite messy anyway, a couple of times I've even finished a turn in my dream body that has started in the physical. At the beginning it's so easy to confuse the premature dream body with the physical thinking that you're actually turning and tossing in bed. It causes a lot of false awakenings.

Of course, there are hypnagogic WILDs too (phasing). When REM latency is less than 15 minutes, we call the REM period as "sleep onset REM period" (SOREM-P). It happens when REM-pressure is greater than the preference for NREM sleep.

So we have two type of WILD, one has its own paralysis and begins in S2 by the subjective feeling of separation and an other which occurs by REM-intrusion.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2005, 07:48:13 »

Also, the sleep paralysis is just a part of the definition of REM, physiologically speaking.
This paralysis is what gives rise to so many nightmares, "alien abductions", tortured by demons in bed..etc. Being awake while the body is paralyzed gives rise to fear, and since you are In your dreamstate, the Fear is what brings about the "reality" of such "living" horrors during this time. That is why it is nearly impossible to convince an abductee, or someone who claims they were raped by a monster, that they really were asleep and dreaming...because they are convinced, and rightly so, they were Awake (Lucid) at the time of the "attack"...because they Were! But just not in the real world, but their dream world.
And a dream world can look, feel, etc. nearly identical to your waking world. THAT is why the Reality Tests are necessary!!! wink

But once one becomes a proficient Oneironaut...then one knows otherwise Cheesy

Kind of an aside, and the next step into deeper sleep patterns:

One can/does still dream in the other sleep states (non-REM); ones that are deeper sleep, theta and delta BW, and Not have the sleep paralysis that is associated with REM state. Thus usually/may/can lead to sleepwalking.

One can Also be lucid in these dreams; and without the sleep paralysis, one MAY find themselves in a lucid/nonlucid dream, and sleepwalking...like the cat experiment - acting out your dream. Not all sleepwalkers are lucid though; most don't remember anything due to the deep sleep state.
But for those of us who can become Lucid while sleepwalking...you can sure bet you're gonna wake up on the move; in a different room, building...or even different country! shocked ( I speak from vast experience!)
This is a bit rarer though, and is usually genetically passed down. Most outgrow it in teens...others go thru adulthood and have to find means to keep self secured indoors. rolleyes

The TOP expert in the field of LD, with over 20 years of scientific studies in sleep labs at Stanford is Stephen Laberge.
Check out his EWOLD: Exploring World of LD.
and www.lucidity.com for literature.


hang Lucid!

ofp
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Ensoņador
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2005, 16:30:05 »

I wouldnt qualify all alien abduction experiences as "self created dreams", or as "just in your mind". Yes, it is a good scientific explanation, but its better not to jump into conclusions so fast.

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Telos
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2005, 00:03:55 »

Ensoņador, I appreciate your insistence that we work under the framework of skepticism.

I wonder, then, what you would say to those on this board who say we should work under a framework of "acceptance?"
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2005, 20:49:02 »

There is always much more in everything around us, but when we find a logical explanation for something, we tend to believe that we  have resolved the mystery. We need quick answers to our questions in order to feel safe, and when something odd happens, we make tremendous efforts to place that event in our believe system and cosmovision by adjusting that phenomena to our old point of view. Sometimes, when we cant manage to place wierd phenomena in our know world perspective, we need to change our perspective from its ruths, and adjust it to that fhenomena.  What I mean to say is that explaining OBE from a brain perspective is in my opinion a limited and parcial view of the whole thing, same with aliens and other religious stuff.  

I can respect others point of view, but that doesnt mean I must ACCEPT them. It is safer or more comfortable to marriage with a point of view,  because many people cant manage to live not knowing anything. They want to accept certain things and deny others. What I suggest is a Yes and No posture for investigation. So, Yes and No, I am being skeptic.
Continue next page....

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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2005, 20:56:12 »

For example, yesterday I was atacked by a demon wich wouldnt let me move. I was already out of my body and he tried to posses me. ŋWas these a sleep paralisis experience mixed up with my imagination, or did that atack really happened and that being was not in my mind but in another dimension of the real? I think both hypotesis are right. It was a demon from another realm, but also a part of me. It depends on wich perspective do I want to believe, and I keep both, for I want to see the whole scenario not just part of it.

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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2005, 22:58:41 »

Quote from: Telos
However, there are rare cases where people report OBEs while they are completely awake. For example, I've read of an athlete having one while one a long distance run, a minister while preaching, and an student while having an engaging discussion with friends. In all instances they were brief, lasting on the order of seconds, and the jury is still out, so to speak, if these were "authentic exits" of the body and not a vivid perception of an imaginary world model.

Telos, in actual fact these experiences are not so uncommon and can last quite a long time.  I gave a few examples here, including someone who sat a 30 minute driving test whilst watching from the roof of the car (skip down to the quotes):

http://www.astralpulse.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=15313&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=78

catmeow
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Telos
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2005, 04:06:33 »

Ensoņador, I wonder how you stay sane!

Wow, catmeow, thanks for that link!
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2005, 22:45:10 »

Quote from: Ensoņador
For example, yesterday I was attacked by a demon that wouldn’t let me move. I was already out of my body and he tried to possess me.
Ensoņador, perhaps you should stop right there as that was your actual experience and anything we say about it falls under the area of speculation.
Quote from: Ensoņador
ŋWas these a sleep paralysis experience mixed up with my imagination, or did that attack really happen and that being was not in my mind but in another dimension of the real? I think both hypotheses are right. It was a demon from another realm, but also a part of me. It depends on which perspective do I want to believe, and I keep both, for I want to see the whole scenario not just part of it.
If you look at the rest closely, it is full of holes no matter which way you go.  The best you could do is find out what YOU want from it, if indeed YOU want something from this experience. Do you want to know who the demon is? Ask him the next time or ask any other demon the next time.  Do you want to destroy it? Make a valiant effort to do so the next time or simply tell it to go away. Do you think he is from another dimension? Wait and follow it and see where it goes. Of course, many of these are easier said than done. If the demon is indeed a part of you, what part of you is it and why does it separate from you? These are some of the simple questions you may inquire about.
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