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Excerpt from "Loving to the End…and On, A Guide to the Impossibly Possible"

Out of Body Intimacy

by Lynn B. Robinson, PhD


          What adult among us has failed to laugh at the scene in any kind of show where the guy is heaving his body against that of his pulchritudinous female partner, not even seeing her, uttering grunts of primeval delight, while said partner is rolling her eyes toward the ceiling, maybe even filing her fingernails as she pretends he is an amazing lover?  And what adult among us has failed to feel both longing and satisfaction when actors in a show look deeply into one another’s eyes, and caress one another in slow, caring movements that make us believe they really appreciate the feel of each other?

          It’s those luscious feelings we want to know about, the ones we most desire.  What happens after death? Do deeply loving feelings exist when we are no longer in physical bodies? In the first chapter of my book, Loving to the End…and On, A Guide to the Impossibly Possible, Bev is bedside with her dying husband.  As he is taking his last breaths, Bev has her head on his chest, listening to his heart.  As his heart stops beating, Bev experiences leaving his body with him and declares those moments to have been the best of any in their long, happy, very intimate relationship. “Better than sex,” she explains.

          Sometimes I, the essential I, am aware of traveling outside of my body.  For those of you who are unaware of such experiences, you might feel you have had a very special dream and perhaps that may have been so.  There is a different quality to out-of-body experiences which is difficult to describe.  It is more existential than imaginary. 

          Once during dreamtime, I was aware of being somewhere with a being to whom I felt extremely close but could not specifically identify.  I was also aware that my body was in bed, lying by my husband.  We were both asleep.  While out of body with my companion, I experienced something unlike physical sex but better.  I have tried for years to find human terms to describe those feelings of union, of deeply penetrating, all-encompassing fulfillment, of love so strong that it left no room for anything else. The word ecstasy is an inadequate descriptor.  As I often do when I awaken in the morning, I remembered having been out of body during sleep.  And, I remembered the incredibly sensory, satisfying feelings of my dreamtime experience.  Often, I tell my husband of those experiences.  That time I could not.  I did not know how.  I still struggle with understanding.  It was more like the ecstasy of religious experience than of carnal sex.  Deeply felt marital union can also have some of those characteristics. I still cannot name my dreamtime companion nor do I need to do so.  The knowing, the loving, was deeper than names. Some of my extraordinarily religious or spiritual friends might suggest I had a brief union with the Divine.  Perhaps that is a definition of deep intimacy.

          Twenty-plus years ago, while sitting on a ledge overlooking a very deep canyon in Sedona, Arizona, I was meditating, breathing in the beauty and serenity of the site.  I closed my eyes, took deep breaths.  I became aware of moving swiftly outside of my body, soaring with a beloved companion.  I knew I was with my mother!  I had missed her since her death several years before.  It was wonderful, fun, loving.  Then I heard a voice from somewhere behind my body saying, Lynn, it’s beginning to get dark.  We need to leave now.”  My consciousness snapped back into my body, and it took me a few minutes to reorient myself, to realize where I was.  And then I felt the moisture on my face, the tears streaming down from the joy of having been with my mother and the sorrow of having to leave her.  I have not forgotten the feelings, our reunion, nor its intimacy.

          When my mother’s only sibling died, she left a small bequest to my brother, sister and me.  My husband and I decided to use her generosity to move our growing family into a little larger house closer to my work.  Within a few days of getting settled in our new home, I was awakened from a deep sleep.  I tentatively opened my eyes and clearly saw my aunt standing at the foot of my bed.  I jiggled my husband’s arm and shoulder, asking him if he could see her.  No. And when I looked again, she was gone.  When fully awake in the morning I reflected on what had happened. I realized my aunt had said nothing.  But I also realized that she was letting me know she was pleased to have participated in the finding of our lovely new home. And even more remarkably, I realized I had seen her looking like the photographs taken when she was in college before I was born and before a fire had left her beautiful face scarred and needing heavy camouflage make-up.  We had shared a remarkably loving, intimate, illuminating moment.

          Mine are not the only intimacy stories.  Friends have told me of indentations on the pillows of a deceased spouse when they have felt the presence of their loved one in bed.  One, whose story is told in Loving to the End…an On, has described a beloved cat stroking her hair in the exact manner of her deceased husband.  Others tell of feeling caressed by the scent of a favorite perfume or aftershave of a loved one no longer living.

          Those stories and many, many more assure us that out of body intimacy is possible, beautiful, fulfilling.  We experience intimacy in our physical bodies, and when we are open to possibility, we can do so in unexpected ways to the end…and on.

         

Lynn B. Robinson, PhD is a professor emerita of marketing and a former business consultant, an author and speaker, a hospice and community service organizations volunteer, and facilitator for a local affiliate of IANDS, she is the author od Loving To The end…And ON  www.lynnbrobinson.com


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