Self induced schizophrenia
Twenty-five hours after I arrived in Virginia Beach (November 5, 2009, around 4:30pm) I decided to lay down for a nap. It was bright outside, so I took a hotel towel and placed it over my eyes to make it a little darker.
I didn't go to sleep right away, so I did my usual relaxation thing, mentally walking through the body and relaxing each body part. In short order I had several experiences that I can only describe as schizophrenic. As I laid there in bed, very wide awake, I heard a voice from one person, and then later, a second person.
The first person had the voice of a young man, and he told me he had brought the water and tea I requested. Laying there, I assumed he was some sort of room service person. I knew the whole thing wasn't real, as I had completely locked the front door and balcony door, and there was no way anyone else could be in the room. But when he asked me if I was all right, I decided I better take the towel off my head and look. Sure enough, despite the complete reality of the situation, there was nobody there.
A short time after putting my head back on the pillow and the towel over my eyes, a woman named Ann or Anna began talking to me. She was in a hurry to get out of the room, but I "felt" like she had to get dressed before she left. So I talked to her the whole time she was getting dressed. I was trying to get any piece of information I could from her, but the only useful thing I got was her first name, and she finally got dressed and left.
A long lucid dream
I followed these schizophrenic experiences with a long, lucid dream, and didn't get out of bed until two hours later at 6:30pm, but for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on the schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, and several questions
Later in the evening it occurred to me that the first two experiences were a form of self-induced schizophrenia. Somehow, by relaxing my body and my mind, but also staying awake, I was able to induce these experiences that as far as I know, match the descriptions I've heard of the schizophrenic state: I heard voices so real that I would have absolutely sworn were real if I didn't know that the doors were locked. And even knowing that the doors were locked, the first experience freaked me out enough that I still sat up in bed to check.
All of this made me wonder several things. First, do people who have schizophrenia have brain wave patterns that match the brain wave patterns I intentionally induce through my relaxation methods? (I did some research, and yes, they do. I'll write more about this in the future.)
Second, I wondered if I could be of any use to doctors studying schizophrenia? I've done this several times before, so I'm wondering if being able to do this voluntarily would help them in their research?
Third, I wonder how this state relates to hypnosis? I don't know much about hypnosis, but from the few things I've heard, they seem to use a similar relaxation and countdown method, with the big difference being that someone else is telling you to relax, instead of me telling myself to relax.
I listened to a radio episode of hypnotic regression therapy one time, and the man who was hypnotized described the experience as I did above: totally, convincingly real. But while he saw his own death in a "previous life" (and described it in detail while hypnotized; and I must say, the woman who led the regression did not suggest anything to him, other than he go back in time, first to his youth, and then further and further back), I heard the two stories I shared above. So I have to wonder, was his previous life experience real? Was anything about my experiences real? Or are they all just what the Zen people call "makyo" -- illusions that you have to move past?