I have a long history with out of body experiences (OBEs).
Most of my OBEs have been pretty boring, believe it or not. Other people seem to have such interesting and amazing experiences, and I feel a little left out. Mine are typically localized to my room, and consist of me staring at my non-physical hand, refracting light like a glass bottle.
Still, some OBEs have stuck with me through the years.
One experience that I keep coming back to happened the morning of May 25th, 2006, when I was 23 years old. Thankfully, I wrote a journal entry that morning.
At that time in my life, I was meditating heavily, and trying to leave my body most nights. I was in the military and living in a dorm.
By pure chance, a friend of mine knocked on my door at 6:30am, needing to borrow a shirt. I obliged, and realized as I was going back to bed, that it would be ideal to try and induce a trance and leave my body.
This general technique has worked well for me – waking up earlier than normal, staying awake long enough to remove any drowsiness, then returning to bed to surf.
This time though, I was doing terrible. My mind kept wandering, and I was becoming frustrated.
Out of frustration, in a semi-trance state, I asked for help, from what I believed at the time to be my higher self:
"Can you please help me have an OBE? I honestly really do want some help. I don't think I can do it on my own this time, and I really want to have one, and I won't freak out if you help me."
Looking back, I find it really funny that I specifically said I wouldn't freak out. I don't remember thinking that, but that's what's in my journal entry. Apparently sometimes I freak out!
I continued meditating, but eventually lost consciousness.
Surprisingly, I woke up, being yanked out of my body by a non-human intelligence! I couldn't see them, but I could feel their grip.
I was a bit shocked, and returned to my body, only to feel a pair of hands grabbing my ankles, and another pair grabbing my wrists. They pulled me back out, into the center of the room.
I went back to my body again, curious if it would happen again.
Sure enough, a pair of hands grabbed my ankles, and dragged me back.
As they were pulling me, I reached down, and grabbed one of the hands. I shook it, in an attempt to say "thank you".
The experience continued like normal, by myself, and was uneventful afterwards.
Why does this experience stay with me?
It's one of the few instances where I felt another presence while out of body. The vast majority of my experiences are solitary.
It's also noteworthy because I specifically asked for help, then received it.
When I was 23, I used to talk with my higher self regularly. At around 25, I had mostly stopped. I felt I was talking to myself, and phrasing it as talking to my "higher self" or "subconscious" was unnecessary and weird. Everyone talks to themselves in their own mind, as they work through things. It felt silly to try and dress that up, in a more mystical sounding way.
Thinking back on it though, I think there is something to it.
Even if it's just a purely mental exercise, the act of posing yourself questions, and listening for a response is a useful one. There is a lot of noise in the brain, so settling down your thoughts, and giving those quiet ripples in your own mind a chance to be heard is important.
I don't know if the responses come from the depths of my own mind, or maybe from external entities – but I'm trying to be less obsessed with decerning what is real, and instead just take experiences at face value.