I think it's important to address the most obvious question:
Are out of body experiences real?
This is a great question.
When I was younger, I believed they were real, but didn't have any proof. And I desperately wanted proof.
The most obvious interpretation of an out of body experience (OBE) is that it must be our spirit leaving our body, and this is what happens when we die. On top of that, OBEs feel very real. More real than dreams.
But OBEs are weird. For example, I have had OBEs where I started floating off in my bedroom, and went into the hallway, only to be in a different house. Or float into the office, only to remember that we don't have an office.
However, I have had OBEs without a break in consciousness – for example, returning to my body, with my vision in tact the entire trip. I've also seen things that sort of seem like reality, like one time when I saw a black plastic washer under my bed while out of body, only later to realize that there was a black plastic guitar pick in the same location in reality, which I didn't know about at the time of the OBE.
I performed tests where I made dice with raised edges, then rolled the dice in a closed container. Then left my body, stuck my non-physical arm through the container, and felt the dice to discerne the numbers facing up.
After waking up, and checking the dice, I was wrong every time.
Over the years, I have grown agnostic to the question of whether they're real. I would love to have an answer, sure. But I don't. And I will probably never have an answer. So I just accept the experiences as experiences, and that's it.
In fact, I have the same attitude towards dreams. While most dreams don't feel real, I have had some dreams that felt very real. I have had dreams of dead friends and relatives that felt very real. I know that is a common experience for a lot of people.
So, are they real?
I will tell you this though.
I have come to the conclusion that I should be kind in every state of consciousness, whether the experience is real or not. In the rare instance that it actually is real on some level, I will be happy that I acted with compassion and kindness. If it isn't real, then nothing was lost.
It's strange to treat dream characters with respect as if they are real – characters that I'm almost certain I manifested during a dream and are a complete figment of my imagination – but I think I would rather be safe than sorry.
Once you decide to approach every experience with kindness, then it doesn't matter if it's real or not. This insight has allowed me to move past trying to prove something one way or another.
I know it isn't a satisfying answer, but it's the best I've found.