More rubber body parts

A few weeks ago I wrote about experiments being conducted at Vanderbilt University. The original article appeared in Discover Magazine. In this well-known experiment dating back to a Princeton University party game, a rubber hand is introduced and stroked in time with one of the volunteer’s hands while the other hand is hidden under a table. The findings of the Vanderbilt study confirmed its premise that people with psychotic episodes have a weaker sense of self and therefore experienced the illusion more strongly than people of a similar age and background who didn’t have schizophrenia.

Try this, Descartes!

This month’s Nature Magazine has an article on neurologist Henrik Ehrsson’s research. While what is going on in the laboratory makes for most interesting reading, there is enormous danger with these kinds of experiments done in the name of scientific progress because of the dark science of mind and body control of another human being. Read the article below. See what you think.

It is not every day that you are separated from your body and then stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife.

But such experiences are routine in the lab of Henrik Ehrsson, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who uses illusions to probe, stretch and displace people’s sense of self. Today, using little more than a video camera, goggles and two sticks, he has convinced me that I am floating a few metres behind my own body. As I see a knife plunging towards my virtual chest, I flinch. Two electrodes on my fingers record the sweat that automatically erupts on my skin, and a nearby laptop plots my spiking fear on a graph.

Out-of-body experiences are just part of Ehrsson’s repertoire. He has convinced people that they have swapped bodies with another person1, gained a third arm2, shrunk to the size of a doll or grown to giant proportions3. The storeroom in his lab is stuffed with mannequins of various sizes, disembodied dolls’ heads, fake hands, cameras, knives and hammers. It looks like a serial killer’s basement. “The other neuroscientists think we’re a little crazy,” Ehrsson admits.

But Ehrsson’s unorthodox apparatus amount to more than cheap trickery. They are part of his quest to understand how people come to experience a sense of self, located within their own bodies. The feeling of body ownership is so ingrained that few people ever think about it — and those scientists and philosophers who do have assumed that it was unassailable.

“Descartes said that if there’s something you can be certain of in this world, it’s that your hand is your hand,” says Ehrsson. Yet Ehrsson’s illusions have shown that such certainties, built on a lifetime of experience, can be disrupted with just ten seconds of visual and tactile deception. This surprising malleability suggests that the brain continuously constructs its feeling of body ownership using information from the senses — a finding that has earned Ehrsson publications in Science and other top journals, along with the attention of other neuroscientists.

“A lot of people thought the sense of self was hard-wired, but it’s not at all. It can be changed very quickly, and that’s very intriguing,” says Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Ehrsson’s work also intrigues neuroscientists and philosophers because it turns a slippery, metaphysical construct — the self — into something that scientists can dissect. “We can say if we wobble the signals this way, our conscious experience wobbles in this way,” says David Eagleman, a neuroscientist who studies perception at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “That’s a lever we didn’t have before.”

“There are things like selfhood that people think cannot be touched by the hard sciences,” says Thomas Metzinger, director of the Theoretical Philosophy Group at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. “They are now demonstrably tractable. That’s what I think is valuable about Henrik’s contribution.”

Read the rest of the article here.

The brain’s self healing process

I’ve been feeling exceptionally good since my brief seven minute exposure on Sunday to Lucia, the Lucid Light Stimulator. Slept well — two nights ago I slept for ten hours straight and woke up feeling relaxed and buoyant. I walk to work and marvel at the colors of the leaves, the grass, the passing cars. Focusing on the colors distracts me from cramming my mind with the usual mundane nagging thoughts.

The brochure describes the hynogogic light experience this way:

Extreme circumstances – i.e. during a near-death experience, competitive sport, or deep meditation – are able to set physical and mental regeneration processes in motion. This can lead to a realignment of the entire organism.

In this context, multi-disciplinary research in the 1980s was able to prove a significant increase of quality of life and spontaneous healings.

The cause for these changes taking place was described as a confrontation with a very bright light.

The Viennese neurologist and founder of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, Viktor E. Frankl, (1905- 1997), described the mental dimension of a human being as a dimension in which disease is not experienced.

The hypnagogic light experience taps into this source of well-being in the light.

I felt how the warmth of the light enveloped my body and filled my inner self with every breath I took. It seemed like boundaries between my body and soul dissolved.” (Client describing his experience with the hynogogic light treatment)

Lucia No. 03 presents the access to a high performance neurostimulator, which facilitates the EEG wave pattern that usually only shows up after years of practicing meditation,. After only one treatment one will experience an intense and incredible effect.

The hypnogogic light experience is effective without having to engage in prolonged practice:

  • a quick and sustainable deep relaxation
  • an out-of.body experience
  • a spiritual or inter-dimensional experience
  • experience of time and space having no importance
  • allowing self to slow down
  • increase of mental abilities
  • increase of awareness

The hypnogogic light experience is effective in clinical therapy for

  • fear and depression
  • traumatic and mental symptoms
  • pain
  • addictions (intervention and therapy)
  • life crisis
  • burn-out syndrome
  • sleep disorders
  • sexual disorders including lack of libido

Light: The Perennial Healer

This interview with Drs. Engelbert Winkler and Dirk Proeckl is published at The Light Connection.

Publishing since 1985 (as The Light Connection), The Life Connection (TLC) is distributed the first of each month, and provides a guide to San Diego County’s resources for improving health, the environment, relationships, and expanding human potential.

We do not represent any one organization or philosophy and believe that diversity of thought strengthens us and allows for greater understanding. We do not necessarily agree with all of the articles published, nor do we think there is any single solution that works for everyone. Ultimately we feel that each of us must decide what is best for ourselves; and that there is power in knowing ourselves.

Light: The Perennial Healer

An interview with Drs. Engelbert Winkler, Ph.D., and Dirk Proeckl, M.D., Ph.D. by Beverly Brodsky

Drs. Engelbert Winkler, Ph.D., clinical psychologist , and Dirk Proeckl, Ph.D., M.D., neurologist and psychologist describe their Lucid Light Stimulator, which they will demonstrate at the First Spiritualist Church on Oct. 15, from 5 to 8pm. See their website: (click on the British flag for English).

BB: I have been studying your website and work with the Lucid Light Stimulator (LLS), with great interest. What does the LLS do?

EW: Our intention is to help people go into the hypnogogic state and beyond. It’s the state in between being awake and dreaming, a kind of altered state of consciousness. We get people to go beyond that state, into a trancelike state, similar to a shamanic state of consciousness.

What motivated you most to come up with this device?

EW: When I was a child, I had a Near-Death Experience. While studying psychology, my main interest was the neurology when an NDE appears. As a psychotherapist, I found a way to use the healing potential of that light state. First, I used ordinary hypnosis to suggest imagining having an NDE. To improve clients’ visualizations, I used external, steady light. People went much deeper in the trance, and reported experiences and changes similar to what occurs after an NDE.

DP: That was the beginning. We studied people’s EEGs; then used both steady and flickering lights, producing a much more intense experience. I came from the neurology, where a flickering light is to map the brain. Later, combining Englebert’s research into mystical states with mine, we had more effective outcomes. Now, with the LLS, we can induce a state like the shamanic experiences, or even the ancient Greek Mystery cults, which initially took place in caves, inducing altered states of consciousness.

What a serendipitous partnership.

DP: We also we contacted some specialists from the United States, including Rick Strassman, about the neurochemistry of DMT.

I read in Dr. Strassman’s book that people taking DMT had both positive and frightening experiences. Do your clients have more consistently positive experiences with your device?

EW: We have a better way of reacting to the negative experiences, because we can just switch it off. The other thing is that we can use it in our therapy.
Tell me about your research.

EW: Consciousness is variable for everybody. It’s our own consciousness, and we can nudge it. That’s not only therapeutic, but also transformational. If you are open to the experience, the healing effect is maximized. When people sit in front of the lamp many do get better, but not everyone.

How can you tell which ones are helped?

W: Only the client can know. It can be used for ordinary therapeutic purposes. Many symptomatic problems, say anxiety or depression, may be a healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation. Working with the lamp changes people’s attitude, and the attitude changes everything.

I understand. How long have you been working with light?

EW: The lamp we are using we’ve had for four to five years, but before we had different prototypes, including the original steady light in hypnosis, going back to 1990.

This is such a wonderful idea. Have you written a book?
EW: Yes, the Western Book of Death, which is about using NDEs with hypnosis for people who feel suicidal. This is not yet available in English.

Have you worked with terminally ill people? What happens?
EW: Yes. Today in hospice a young man went to Brazil to see the healer John of God, and when he returned he described seeing all those colors. His experiences with the lamp were identical to what occurred with the healer.
That’s fascinating. In Stanislov Grof’s book The Human Encounter with Death, he did a study where he gave LSD to terminal patients who lost their fear of death. Would the LLS allow people to achieve their own sort-of psychedelic and near-death-like experience, without drugs, and be healed by it?

EW: Yes. The lamp can be used in that way, but if the patient doesn’t want a psychedelic experience; they just want deep relaxation, it may be used for that. Or if someone just wants the aesthetics, they see beautiful colors and forms. When we worked with Tibetan monks, they reached a state ideal for meditation. It gives you a trip into yourself, and whatever you want to be there, you’ll experience.

What are your plans to bring this to the US?

EW: As you know we are coming in October. Our main interest is just to show the light to as many people as possible. People change in a valuable way. We don’t usually make plans, because since we started working with the Light Device, everything happens in its own way. I don’t think that we have found the lamp; rather, the lamp has found us.

It sounds like a way to shift our consciousness to perfect health—in mind, body, and spirit.
EW: Yes, the idea that there is something like health or disease is unhealthy. If everybody could let themselves be the way they are, everything would be perfect. I know many people who are very ill, yet they are very healthy at the same time.

In my NDE I felt that everything is perfect just as it is. Yet it’s hard to remember that without shutting down the ego.

EW: The ego is the wrong point of reference. From that perspective, everything is wrong.

You say on your website that mind and con-sciousness defy our ability to put a definition on them. Can you explain that?

EW: I don’t think consciousness can be defined. Consciousness is a word, and nothing more. We are making mental images of things that we think are real. If we just say what we experience, everything would be fine.

That is why, as Kenneth Ring says, the light experience is very important. If things go on as they have, we will become sicker. Only a change in attitude can help. The light experience in all times changes attitudes quite dramatically. Our device is not the only way to achieve this change. For some, they can go out in nature and reach the same state. It’s easy to do, but is not generally known.

On Saturday, October 15, from 5-8 pm, Engelbert Winkler Ph.D., and Dirk Proeckl, M.D., Ph.D., will demonstrate their Lucid Light Stimulator. See more information on their website. First Spiritualist Church is located at 3777 42nd Street, San Diego, CA. 92105. 619-284-4646 Love Donation $15.

The benefits of out-of-body experiences

Gianna Kali over at Beyond Meds sent me this article from Discover Magazine, an extract of which appears below. Thanks, Gianna! I’m pleased to have my own intuition about the benefits of out-of-body (OBE) experiences validated by Dr. Sohee Park’s research team at Vanderbilt University. You may recall that my son Chris underwent several OBEs when we visited the sound shaman a couple of years ago. You can read about his reactions to this wonderful therapy here, here, here and here. I dragged Chris to this therapy and to other therapies such as The Alexander Technique, because I knew from observing Chris as a child that he had a fragile sense of self, as the Vanderbilt study hypothesizes is the case with many people who have received a schizophrenia diagnosis. The sound shaman helped Chris get a better sense of who he really is. The Alexander Technique together with voice lessons to bolster his love of music have really made a difference in his growing sense of self.

Park’s student Katharine Thakkar was testing the idea that people experience psychotic experiences because they have a weak sense of self. It’s an idea that others have suggested before but it seems like something that would be hard to test with experiments. But not so: over the last decade, psychologists have shown that our sense of self is far from the fixed, permanent feeling that we assume it is. Instead, it is disarmingly pliable. You can tweak it. You can study it. Our brain continuously constructs our sense of self using information from our eyes, skin and joints. By tweaking that information using simple illusions, scientists have warped and displaced our sense of self in the lab.

The study has broader implications for helping people with schizophrenia. Activities that promote a stronger sense of body awareness, such as yoga, dance or playing a musical instrument, might help to alleviate some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

But for RM, it seems that learning more about his condition was enough. A year on, his diagnosis is unchanged, he still gets out-of-body experiences, and he still hears voices. But gone are the days when his experiences would require a stay in a hospital. He is now hoping to establish himself as a freelance writer, and he’s even had a paper on religion accepted in a peer-reviewed academic journal. For him, knowledge has proven to be a potent treatment. “We check up with him regularly and he’s been doing really well,“ says Park.

Coincidentally, today I received my invitation to an upcoming lecture on the same topic. Keep in mind that your mainstream psychiatrist will be against your participation in these kinds of activities. However, if properly handled by the clinician, they are a pathway to growth.

The Hypnagogic Light Experience: Engelbert and Dirk invite you to a trip with Lucia, the Lucid Light Stimulator (LLS)

Engelbert Winkler, PhD. (clinical psychologist, psychologist for health and psychotherapist) and Dirk Proeckl PhD MD (specialist for neurology and certified psychologist) have invented a LUCID LIGHT STIMULATOR called Lucia Nr. 3.

Lucia Nr. 3 is a neurostimulation lamp which allows the person who is exposed with closed eyes to the lamp to enter immediately into a profound trance which otherwise can be achieved solely after many years of meditation practice, through psychedelic drugs, or through stimulus deprivation, etc.

The computer-operated interplay of its light sources activates a large variety of experiences (the vision of intensive worlds of color and shapes, the impression of existing without a body/immaterialness, etc.) and allows for an individual light experience which is every time anew highly impressive.

Lucia Nr. 3 induces a transcendental experience which otherwise occurs only under extreme conditions like high performance sports, through consumption of entheogen substances or at the onset of death. The neurostimulation lamp opens completely new perspectives for therapy and self-awareness.

Website: (also accessible in English)


I was planning to do a longer post on body and soul, but then had my own out-of-body experience in the early hours of this morning that captures my frustrations with the slow pace of the way things are going. I was drifting between sleeping and being awake, thinking about my conversation with Chris last night that left both him and me frustrated. From my perspective, nothing is happening with him, he is going absolutely nowhere, confining himself more and more to the apartment while eating everything in sight. A high school friend who is getting married this summer was in town and Chris didn’t feel up to meeting him. Perhaps even more frustratingly, if that is possible, Chris seems to look at paid employment or going back to university as an intellectual exercise, something best thought about but never actually achieved. He is stuck in his own mind.

Under scrutiny, he appears to think that Ian and I somehow need him to be with us, as if we would completely crumple up and die if he wasn’t there to support us in our declining years. The situation is becoming once more intolerable. What do we have a headshrinker and an occupational therapist for? The OT has been working with him for a year, and still he is shedding more and more activities.

So, I put it to Chris once again: Chris, maybe you are not so concerned about us as you profess, maybe you are angry with us and this is your best revenge. Do you think you are doing guard duty by hanging around the house to protect me from Ian or Ian from me? I posed the last question, because it is a time-honored tradition to be angry with one or both parents. People who mature beyond the anger move on, people who don’t are stuck. Chris mumbled something about maybe he was sticking around to make sure Ian and I don’t divorce. As if!

That line of reasoning was getting us nowhere, so we all went to bed. Eventually, after trying out several dreams, I saw my chance to end it all. Like some kind of manic cartoon character (a woodpecker or a buzzard with attitude), I was hovering in the air, getting a bead on a some acreage down below. I started to back up and take a run at it. At first I hesitated, because I thought I knew what was coming, then I thought “what the heck, go for it.” As the land came up and tilted towards me, I hit it full on — and immediately morphed into another dream.

There is never an end. There are only beginnings.

Holistic explanation of an out-of-body experience produced by sounds

I am publishing an e-mail (below) that I received from the sound shaman about Chris’s out-of-body experience while undergoing sound therapy. It is interesting how postively this is viewed by practitioners and adherents of “mysticism” (for lack of a better word) in comparison to traditional psychiatry, for which out-of-body experiences are thought to be destabilizing, particularly for someone with a mental illness diagnosis. I broached the subject last night at dinner with my dream analyst friend Val. She was very enthusiastic about Chris’s OBE and felt that it was absolutely healing.

Long ago I identified the body/mind integration as essential for Chris’s healing, but have been frustrated by not being able to find enough therapies that address this so directly. The assemblage point shift was important in this respect. Tomatis also is directed to integrating the person with the environment. I have been looking for something that potentially works faster than psychotherapy, which can take years. The goal is to feel emotionally integrated with the environment. In this respect, the Family Constellation Therapy that we undertook with Dr. Stern also fills the bill emotionally.

Note from the sound shaman
“Chris had a very interesting experience. I am very pleased as this is exactly the purpose and effect of the sounds – to expand our perception of the body and who we really are. The mind (thoughts) and the body (movement and emotions) produce changes in our electric field. The sounds – which have no specific reference in our mind (sounds that we have never heard before and so have no link to specific memories) – are perceived in the moment. Each sound is the actual vibration of light (i.e. specific colours). Our emotional system is not disturbed as the information contained in these sounds, and thus the processing work load required by the brain, is based on the natural vibration of light – slowed down by many octaves.”

Some sing low and some sing higher

I continue to mull over the events of the last few days. Chris and I both underwent sound therapy last Thursday, but my experience wasn’t nearly so dramatic. I could tell from the new way the sound was mixed, that I was being coaxed towards a deep meditative state. I almost got there, I could see how close I was to leaving my earthly baggage behind, but I got scared and refused to go any further. Maybe next time. Probably next time. I see the logic of release.

Recalling Dr. Stern’s clear alarm about Chris’s out-of-body experience and lucid dreaming, I have to smile. While I fumbled around to try to convince her that this was an all round good experience, I brought up the fact that Chris was also in the church choir, which so far nobody has questioned as being detrimental to his mental health. I told Dr. Stern that high church music whips people into a passion of ecstasy and abandonment to the Holy Spirit. This seems to me to be the opposite of grounding. “You know, Dr. Stern, I always say that the closer to the altar you get, the higher strung the people are. Who’s closest to the altar? The priest, the rabbi or the minister and the choir. In my experience, there is a higher proportion of “not regular folk” in this population compared to the population at large. I sometimes think it would be a good idea if Chris had more opportunities to split rocks and less time to spend hanging around the choir. ”

Dr. Stern looked rather stunned at my layman’s view of things. But think of it. In many ways it might be a good idea if Chris didn’t spend so much time hanging around the church, reading his Bible, and wearing choir robes. It mimics the psychotic behavior that we are trying to eliminate. Going to church may exacerbate mental illness!

I am not about to suggest to Chris that he drop choir, as it’s the first activity that he chose to resume after he got out of hospital. Playing the ball as it lies I assume that choir must be good for Chris, despite all of the reservations I have expressed. He is who he is, and he’s all about music. The church choir is a counter-intuitive activity to engage in, just as having an out-of-body experience is counter-intuitive to becoming grounded as most of us understand the concept – More African drums – less Mozart! Maybe, there is another way to look at it. Maybe we have been looking in all the wrong places, telling people to do certain things for good mental health, when we should have been telling them the opposite. I recently heard about a study on sugar’s effect on children, and guess what – the study concluded that sugar does not increase hyperactivity in children. I give up. How does anyone know what to do for good health when faced with contradictory evidence?

You go with your intuition and ignore all the noise.

Going where nobody else is headed has its drawbacks

Yesterday evening, Ian and I had our quarterly meeting with Dr. Stern, Chris’s psychiatrist. We hadn’t had a chance to meet since Chris was released from the hospital in May. We spoke about his overall good progress, how Ian and I were pleased to have him home with us and how we are content to let things unfold at the pace Chris was setting. Then Dr. Stern dropped the bombshell. She leaned forward, and in a clearly worried voice, said “what’s this about Chris having an out-of-body experience? Chris’s occupational therapist told me about this and she also told me about a lucid dream.”

It has been my policy all along not to tell Chris’s psychiatrists about what outwardly kooky looking things he is undertaking in the world of holistic healing. I have learned, as this experience shows, that it only worries them and they want to put a stop to it.

Most, if not all, psychiatrists would not want their schizophrenia patients having an OBE, because to them, it is exactly what you don’t want them to have. Dr. Stern said she wanted Chris “in” his body and grounded, not out-of-his body and floating in space looking down at himself. It is exactly the sensible sort of thing a cautious psychiatrist should say, except that what has changed is that energy medicine has opened up a whole other realm of healing possibilities. I tried to handle this as best I could, knowing that Chris and I were headed to the sound shaman the next day for another go at it.

I tried to reassure Dr. Stern that actually, the meditative state that he achieved was a grounding state, not an excitatory state. I told her that an OBE for someone with a history of psychosis was actually a good thing, but it was counter-intuitive, because most people would think an out-of-body experience can lead to the person becoming destabilized and this was not in fact what was happening. Please note that this way of thinking is not only not widely shared, but not widely known. There’s me, and there’s the sound shaman, and beyond the two of us, who else knows about this counter-intuitive way of looking at schizophrenia? There must be a secret society somewhere, or maybe this is well-known in Eastern mysticism, but with Chris’s Western diagnosis of schizophrenia I was treading on very thin ice with Dr. Stern. Come to think of it, Western medical diagnoses are not included in Eastern mysticism texts.

Do you do yoga, Dr. Stern? I enquired brightly. “Keep in mind that yoga is used in many programs for schizophrenia patients.” Dr. Stern was more inclined to feel that yoga was more of a physical workout than a mental one, and that deep meditation is not something recommended for someone like Chris. Dr. Stern is a good psychiatrist and an excellent Family Constellation psychiatrist, but she is not a yoga person, nor all that familiar with energy medicine. Dr. Stern doesn’t “do” energy medicine, and this is where it gets tricky with a psychiatrist. What I am doing with Chris is clearly out of most traditional psychiatrists’ comfort zones. I only later thought about Chris’s former holistic psychiatrist, who taught us about energy medicine and got Chris to practice visualizations. Where is the line drawn between lucid dreaming and say, visualizing you are a shining ball of light in space with giant meteorites bouncing off you?

The out-of-body experience and the lucid dreaming were all news to Ian, who thankfully didn’t jump in and punch the air with “let’s put a stop to all this nonsense now!” I told Dr. Stern that lucid dreaming was something Chris does and it didn’t start recently. I was praying hard that the session would soon be over. I needed more information from the shaman to bolster my weak case in Dr. Stern’s eyes. “I understand your concerns, Dr. Stern, and if I were you I would feel the same way. I will look into this some more and share further information with you.” Inside me, I am really just hoping that all this will not be raised again.

When it was time to leave, I excused myself to make a phone call from Dr. Stern’s inner office. As I entered, I noticed a large jagged quartz crystal on top of the table near the door. Now, what was that there for if she is not a proponent of energy medicine and the healing power of gemstones and vibrations? Is this just a decoration that psychiatrists put in their offices now to show solidarity with the holistic crowd in the same way all companies claim they are eco-friendly? Or, is it just a nice decoration with no other meaning? All of this I ponder.

Chris’s second visit to the sound shaman

“I was in a good mood that day and was happy to head out into the country. I was well rested and alert, but was slightly irritable, perhaps at the memory of our first trip out where we were delayed and nearly had to turn back. Having already undergone the therapy once before, I knew how it mattered that I be attentive but relaxed, to keep my body open, because this time around I had the tendency to become somewhat passive, which spoils the therapy as it works on the mind especially, and I think partly through the mind then the body.

The therapy lasted less than one hour, but I felt many changes. I tried to dissociate better my feelings about a color, red or green say, and allow the color to dominate my perception with as little judgment as possible. There were flies in the room, which at first I found irritating but later I found this a silly reaction to have, after I became more present in the room. The “sound/colors” themselves aren’t like anything else you’re likely to hear, because they’re pure sounds, they’re as natural as breathing. Once you hear them they take up the room. Listening to a color is much different from listening to Mozart; it’s the difference that having an author makes to the sound, as you follow music in Mozart but hearing the color red for example is like a mosquito bite and not “interesting” per se.

However, I began to fall into a sort of trance, which wasn’t quite sleep, or it was rather an aware sort of sleep that instead of relaxing into my body and dreaming I left my body and begun to experience the room while my body “powered down.” First I began to say to myself, this is just a sound, a basic unrefined sound but just a noise really and then my head refused to make any noise, any comment or utter any “thoughts” as I was released into the space or “aura” around me. I could see my body lying down from four feet away in any direction, and it was the best impression or image of myself that I’ve found in a long time, better than any mirror image can give. Those flies which I found irritating I realized were in harmony with my feelings of irritability which I had carried in with me, and I could fly around the room as if the flies were part of me. The only pain I felt was at the head level, when I could see that a big dark block at my head masked or obstructed this free flow of energy I experienced. To stand up in that state would have been impossible. Just as I was about to fall asleep the music stopped and it was time to go.

The sound technician explained that adepts at yoga, monks or shaman masters train for years to enter such a state, and that I was very lucky to enjoy it so early. That night I slept soundly and experienced a lucid dream in the morning, but this one was much clearer and longer than any I had previously experienced. The dream was pure fantasy or very close; actually it took the form of an episode of The Simpsons! I had been thinking about skiing the night before, and in this dream the Simpson family went skiing high up in the mountains, and Bart and Lisa got involved in the dangers and thrills of racing and jumping. When I felt scared at the outcome, and the dangers posed to the characters was too great, the story changed, based on my emotions. I suddenly had the power to create a dream and change it based on my emotions. The next day as I was reading on my bed in the afternoon I saw a woman wearing white enter the room and tap me on the shoulder, I could feel the touch but the woman I didn’t know, it was still a dream. My head was telling me to get off the bed and do something else, and here was this woman who appeared also compelling me to get up.

However, I don’t believe that this “awareness” the therapy opens within me should be relied on as a permanent change. There are many habits built into me that must be recognized first if I want to avoid becoming a “ghost” that just reacts to every little breeze or stimulus. From a personal point of view, emotion is more important or as important for a person, but mind can increase awareness and therefore enrich the emotional experience. The therapy has made me more aware of the physical manifestations of mental blocks: My head was quite unwilling to leave this form and it stayed there, while my body which has been through countless ordeals was more flexible. It’s interesting to know just how much my body has priority over my head, the sounds reaching all my cells without interference from my mind. The next step would be to train my mind to listen to my body first before the noise of the outside world, and to calm the tensions existing in the body which cause the mind to have fear and to shut down.”

Why diet isn’t everything

The state-of-the art research that I mentioned in my last post links many disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, etc. to wheat and gluten intolerances. Chris’s doctor determined that he suffers from candidiasis, a systemic overgrowth of the yeastlike fungus Candida albicans. This fungus is normally found in the intestines, but an overpopulation can occur due to a number of factors, among them weakened immunity, poor digestion, a diet high in foods that tend to foster yeast, or the use of antibiotics, which kill off essential helpful bacteria that aid in maintaining the proper balance of flora in the intestines.

Candidiasis can be a lifelong problem. It interferes with digestion and nutrient absorption, which in turn affects physical and mental health. Nutritional deficiencies further contribute to intestinal dysfunction and candidiasis. The two produce a negative feedback loop toward deteriorating mental health. Eventually the brain itself becomes overwhelmed by yeast. Various combinations of vitamins and minerals are prescribed in addition to restricting or eliminating wheat, gluten and dairy products from the diet. In addition to the wheat/gluten/dairy intolerance another widely implicated factor in schizophrenia is excess copper.

Some people have been known to recover quickly from schizophrenia by taking just supplements and changing their diet. A lot of people do not. Dr. Dietrich Klinghart, a German physician who with practices in Germany and in the United States, maintains that if schizophrenia is not cured at the physical level (level I – vitamins, herbs, nutrition, etc.) the problem most likely resides at level IV of the healing pyramid. Level IV is the intuitive level of dreams, trance, meditative states, out-of-body experiences, and the collective unconscious. Dr. Klinghardt’s five levels of healing form a healing pyramid, with the upper levels exerting a trickle-down effect on your state of physical and mental health. Healing cannot take place at a lower level if there is an unresolved issue at a higher level.

Having worked with many of the therapies discussed in Dr. Klinghardt’s healing pyramid I am mindful that all the good work that vitamin and diet support can accomplish can be overruled by the mind. Until the mind is ready, the body will not follow. I have seen this recently in Chris. He was doing really well, he was no longer on medications, he was taking vitamin supplements and he was adhering to a recommended diet. We were all in shock when he started to become unravelled. His mind, I am convinced, put the brakes on further progress. He was becoming a victim of his own success. Heartened by his progress up up until then, my husband and I had begun to encourage him to go back to university full time, to develop himself further as a musician, to think in terms of possibilities. He panicked. Psychosis was his escape hatch.

Why he panicked is goes to the heart of the matter. Getting to the essence of cause is where schizophrenia begins to get really, really interesting. The trip is a long one.