For a number of years I meditated in a prone position, lying on my back in what hatha yoga calls the savasan, or the corpse posture. True meditation requires a high degree of physical relaxation in conjunction with a high degree of mental alertness. I found the prone position suitable for both.

I will not go into details of the procedure for meditating. I will say that meditating in this particular position involves the progressive relaxation of the various voluntary muscles of the body starting with the feet and working slowly and steadily upwards towards the neck and head. I mention this, since it is also part of the procedure for inducing out of body experiences.

As a consequence, I induced out of body experiences quite often while meditating in this posture. I did not attempt to bring these experiences about purposely. When they occurred I simply let them to run their course.

For the most part, my out of body experiences were rather pleasant episodes. One in particular, however, stands out as very unpleasant. Since it involved my own illusory body, I shall describe it to you here.

I sometimes meditated before sleep since it brings about a very relaxed state conducive to restful repose. On one night I did so and brought on an out of body experience during the process. As this happened with some regularity I was not alarmed.

Sunset had long passed and my room was pitch black. Heavy blinds covered the windows and blocked out all light from outside street lamps.

It took perhaps an hour to relax my body totally from feet to head. I was very relaxed physically, yet still very alert mentally. Although mentally alert, my thought process had slowed down. The slowing down of the process of thought following physical relaxation is quite normal, by the way. In fact, it constitutes the basis and purpose of many methods for personal stress management.

The profound relaxation of this technique of meditation brings on a very deep slowing of the process of thought. Eventually, it will lead to the state of deep sleep if allowed.

On this particular occasion, since I wanted to go to sleep afterwards, I had allowed myself to begin getting drowsy. Soon I started feeling very light and experienced the familiar sensation of drifting slowly upwards and off my bed.

The room was dark, of course, so I could not see anything. But I felt as though I had drifted upwards off the bed and towards one of the corners of the small room. I shall not get into a discussion here about whether such an experience is objectively real or not. There can be no doubt about its subjective reality.

There is no point getting into a discussion about hallucinations or delusions. Self consciousness seems to disengage itself from its physical moorings during such experiences. We can leave it at that for now.

This particular episode began like most other out of body experiences I have had. I felt pleasantly light and seemingly floating comfortably in the air. I felt myself drifting gently, like a feather in a light breeze.

Shortly after it commenced, the experience changed. Suddenly, I began to feel as though I was suffocating. I had difficulty breathing. It felt as if something was standing on my chest or squeezing me tightly. I grew frightened. Nothing like this had ever occurred before.

At the same time I had trouble breathing, I felt as though something was hanging onto me and dragging me down. Even though I still floated, I felt heavy. The pleasant feeling of lightness had vanished. Everything had suddenly become thick, oppressive and very unpleasant.

The darkness and quiet of the room accentuated the feelings. I felt isolated and alone in an experience that was proving to be frightening.

For a moment or two I could not distinguish specific sensations, but soon enough I began to feel quite distinctly that something was holding onto me. I felt like something had wrapped its arms around me and was just hanging on, like a dead weight. And it grew heavier by the second.

I felt a surge of resentment about that. Something had perverted my pleasant experience into precisely the opposite. I wanted to know just what it was that had attached itself to me so suffocatingly. I wanted to see it. I wanted most of all to be free of it.

No sooner did I experience the desire to see just what it was than I could "see" it. I use quotation marks because it was still dark in the room so I could not see it in the ordinary manner of seeing. But I could make out an image. Exactly how I could perceive this image I do not know, but it became quite clear.

Something heavy and opaque had attached itself to me with appendages that resembled the long, thin arms and legs of a spider monkey. The thing was small, about the size of a monkey. Its arms and legs clasped me in a vise-like hug so tightly that it made it difficult for me to breathe. Most of my discomfort resulted from its constricting embrace.

The face was right in front of my own, not more than an inch or two away. And what a face! I could see it quite clearly. It was grotesque.

The head was round, bald and gray. Except for a rather large beak, the face was devoid of features. The beak resembled a gigantic finch's bill. To top it off, it had no eyes!

Except for its lack of eyes, the head and face looked very much like that of a gigantic, featherless bird. The body and limbs, however, looked quite simian.

With this eyeless visage perched in front of my face and its weight oppressively suffocating me, I felt immediate disgust and loathing. I also felt fear and revulsion. What if I could not get it off me?

Immediately, the thing hanging onto me changed its appearance into that of a beautiful woman. With that transformation I knew I was dealing with an illusory body. But whose? And did it matter whose?

I could sense that it was drawing energy from me. When I had felt the sudden panic that arose when it first grappled me, I had also felt energy drain away from me. When I suffered disgust and revulsion with its first appearance, I could feel distinctly a flow of energy from me to it.

When it changed its form into that of a beautiful woman my emotions of disgust vanished. In fact, I rather fancied having a beautiful woman hanging onto me. That feeling of lust also sent a strong current of energy to it. Whatever I felt, it seemed to absorb energy from me.

It fed on my feelings! Whether I felt fear, disgust, loathing or lust, it did not matter. It took energy from them all. The form of emotion did not matter, only its energy, its intensity. The more strongly I felt something, the more readily it took energy from me.

As it absorbed energy from me, it grew stronger and I grew weaker. I was trapped with it. Out of body, I was on its turf, so to say, and it was stronger than me. I could not simply force it to go away. Trying to do so would only feed it more energy and make it stronger.

To rid myself of it I had to try something else. Instead of fighting it, I had to surrender. I had to try to become totally emotionless. I had to drain whatever feelings I had of their intensity. I had to stop being a source of energy for the thing. The only way to do that was to put myself into a state of total apathy.

I sensed that I had to rid myself of this psychic entity in order to bring the experience to an end. As long as it clung to me, I was trapped and nearly helpless.

So I relaxed even more. I let my feelings subside. It took awhile to overcome the intensity of what I was feeling, the fear, the loathing and the lust. But I eventually managed to eliminate the intensity of my feelings, at least to the point that the psychic parasite could no longer derive energy from them.

It grew slowly weaker and finally faded away. The experience came to an end. Believe me I was glad to be out of that one.

For a moment or two while it was fading away, I felt a pang of regret and pity for it. As you might guess, it took energy from that feeling and grew momentarily stronger.

It could do nothing else. Its sole function, I presume, is to feed off emotional energy. What purpose it fulfils in the overall scheme of events I am not entirely positive. It may simply be a karmic phenomenon, the manner in which certain types of energy are returned to the matrix to be recycled.

I did not want to risk having such an experience again, so for a very long time I used a different method of meditation. Not until several years later did I try meditating in a prone posture again. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred.

I assume that the thing is still with me. I have no reason to think that it appeared once only to vanish forever from my life. And I find it very far fetched to think that it was an entity from some other plane of existence, time or any of the other varieties of balderdash used by many to explain such occurrences.

Like the experience of samadhi, I have not repeated my encounter. I guess I just needed to know from my own experience that the thing is here fulfilling whatever purpose it must. I do not need to encounter it on a regular basis to accomplish whatever that purpose is. At least not yet.

It had been my own illusory body, of course. How do I know it was my illusory body? Just my intuition and feeling. I am certainly not going to claim that it was a being by the name of Grinch from Betelgeuse.

I have not seen any such entities before or since. I guess that means I am not particularly sensitive to their presence. For which I am glad! Individuals who are sensitive to them must endure dreadful trials because of their sensitivity.

Such psychic entities must hang around the people who generate them, or in places where people have felt very strong emotions. To encounter such an entity as I did on a frequent basis must be awful. And I can understand why sensitive individuals usually try to desensitize themselves to them.

The question immediately arises: do other unpleasant, or for that matter malevolent, entities inhabit the psychic world. Is the psychic world a realm of evil spirits and demons as depicted by religious orthodoxies and esoteric doctrines? Are there friendly ones as well? Who knows?

We have yet to discover evidence of living beings on any other world than our own. No proof, of course, that they are not there some place. But if they are, what does it matter? Until we make contact with them, they do not really matter to us. Nor do we matter to them.

My opinion about possible other inhabitants of the psychic realm is the same. Everything that we might encounter can be readily accounted for by our own minds. There is no need to hypothesize outside entities to explain any phenomenon. No final proof, of course, that they are not there some place. But if they are, what does it matter? They are not yet part of our experience.

Like the many possible alternate universes of the many worlds theory of quantum cosmology, they probably never will be part of our experience of reality.

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