ie.: The idea was "(blank)". It didn't come from myself, it was divine inspiration, dumb luck, etc.

or maybe: My essence/spirit was outside my body. It was "(blank)".

  • In your first example, it's possible you mean ex machina, which is used in describing stories, etc. In your second utterly and totally unrelated example, you're talking about a dualist view of life (a "religious", not "scientific" view, if you will). It's also possible you're just looking for "supernatural" which is a synonym for "spooky".
    – Fattie
    Jun 29, 2015 at 4:01
  • The term "disembodied" might fit somehow.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 30, 2016 at 19:44
  • @Jordan Smith - if you were an actualist, you'd call it "pure intent". cf. actualists.org/pure-consciousness-experiences Dec 5, 2019 at 19:41

6 Answers 6


The two that immediately spring to mind would be external:

  1. Outside of something; on the exterior.

And extrinsic:

  1. external, separable from the thing itself, inessential
  2. not belonging to, outside of

In regard to the second part, if you truly felt your spirit had left your body, there is a set phrase for this: out-of-body experience.

People who have near-death experiences (another set phrase) often report out-of-body sensations as a part of the experience.

People who are able to intentionally induce an out-of-body experience, wherein they "travel" to other places, are practicing what is sometimes called astral projection.

See also remote viewing which has been a recurrent topic discussed by Art Bell on his radio show Coast to Coast am. Here is one such episode:



ecstasis or ekstasis: to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere from ek- "out" and stasis "a stand" a form of ecstasy

  • 1
    Welcome to English Language & Usage! Please cite any sources you've used in this answer.
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 11, 2018 at 14:41
  • I'm rolling this back to the answer you had. If you want to delete your answer you will probably need to register your account, then a delete button should show up at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, you should be able to flag with the "in need of moderator intervention" flag and tell the mods to delete your answer.
    – Laurel
    Dec 12, 2018 at 19:31

The word for something that arises outside oneself but affects or becomes parts of oneself is "exogenous." This seems to fit with the "The idea was" part of the question.

"External" merely means on the exterior and given no sense of the thing outside being intimately connected to the inside, which seems to the thrust of the "or maybe" part of the question. "Extrinsic" is good except for the connotation it has of "inessential," which the word gets from its antonym "intrinsic."

If you're content with a technical term specifically tied to the spiritual, then there's always "ectoplasmic."


The idea was uncanny

Though the title of the OP merely asks for a single word that would describe something “outside of oneself,” the body of the OP is somewhat more elaborate and describes this something as of "divine inspiration, dumb luck, etc." For this reason, and despite Parthian Shot's apt and officially selected answer ("external"), I would also suggest the adjective "uncanny" as a suitable descriptor for the experience of something unusual, or even preternatural, whose origins lie outside of the normal, day-to-day, self.

uncanny adjective: strange or mysterious, especially in an unsettling way. "an uncanny feeling that she was being watched"

synonyms: eerie, unnatural, unearthly, preternatural, supernatural, otherworldly



Extracorporeal has the exact meaning of something being outside one's body.

Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extracorporeal):


adjective ex·tra·cor·po·re·al \-kȯr-ˈpȯr-ē-əl\


: occurring or based outside the living body "the heart-lung machine maintains >extracorporeal circulation during heart surgery"

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