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From Shadow Lands to Cosmic Insights

In Shadow Land, a rare and intimate autobiographical narration describing the mediumship states experienced by Elizabeth d'Espérance (20 November 1848 – 20 July 1919) and the many phenomena the medium accounts for, one can glimpse and insight into – the many times reported – ineffability of certain out-of-body experiences where one experience a non-dual state of cosmic union.

Astronauts often comment on a similar state named the overview effect. A state experienced when overtaken by an intrinsic sense of being certain of the deep interconnection with Earth they feel peering it from above. Dr Edgard Mitchell (moonwalk Apollo 12 astronaut) described “a sudden explosion of awareness, a profound sense of interconnection, an epiphany”, leading to the understanding of being part of everything he was observing. Much like in such accounts, out-of-body experiencers, account of a similar state, often steaming from what was initially thought as a “normal” out-of-body experience but ending up with cosmic proportions.

What makes Out-of-Body Experiences evolutionary?

In biology, evolution refers to the evolutionary processes stipulated and brought by natural selection, common descent, and speciation. One could say evolutionary experiences are behavioural traits steaming from experiences that lead to adaptive (rather than maladaptive) psychological changes that provide evolutionary psychological adaptation feat - in any stage of our evolution - to the species' survival.

Such experiences can indeed be described as evolutionary because they are not simply, as often reported, life-changing experiences encouraging self-examination and our fundamental perception of how we see the world; such experiences actualise our psyche to new dimensions of being, fomenting profound personality changes and the onset expression of non-dual awareness: an essential understanding in our divided society.

The power of out-of-body experiences as an evolutionary tool is exemplified by their power to lead to instantaneous egocentric transcendence; they provide insights not only into the nature of reality but equally into our own – from shadowlands to cosmic insights.

MSc. Neuroscience,

Sleep Consciousness Researcher,

PhD Candidate.


D'Espérance, E. (1918). No país das sombras, Federação Espírita Brasileira.



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