Common steps and sub-activities
Dr Moody’s deprivation chamber
Whilst researching the origins of near death experiences, Dr Raymond Moody the author of Life after Life, rediscovered the use of the psychomanteum used by Greek physicians for both spiritual experiences and healing. But what he built was not actually a psychomanteum, it was a little different.
He called his new invention the ‘Theatre of the Mind’ and built it in his home/office facility in an old gristmill in Alabama. In addition, he set up detailed selection criteria for participants to test this device, his research trialled 300 subjects and he recorded the results in the 1993 book, Reunions. Dr Moody now uses it to help people suffering from grief and trauma. There are now a number of operating ‘Theatres of the Mind’ in the United States .
The room Dr Moody devised has low light or near-darkness. The room is insulated against sound and the person sits in or lies on a comfortable recliner chair, so the principle mechanism by which this works is actually sensory deprivation. The chair is fitted with speakers, and the subjects first listens to some soft music which helps produce a state of relaxation. Then there is silence.
The person lies down facing one or more mirrors, but although he looks at the mirror he cannot see himself, thus the effect is to confuse – the person expects to see a reflection, but instead he sees nothing! As such this works in part by befuddling.
In his use of the device, Dr. Moody took long walks with his subjects prior to their entering the room, to promote a feeling of well-being and trust. Dr. Moody’s initial process took a good part of the day. In this immensely relaxed state, his patients stared into the "clear field" of the mirror for about forty five minutes to an hour.
There is the possibility that the effects are being obtained primarily by visual deprivation and other forms of sensory deprivation. But it works. Note that there is no guarantee of the kind of spiritual experience you obtain, it will be just a spiritual experience prepared by the Composer geared to what is needed at the time, but if you ‘pray’ hard enough – which is what Dr Moody is helping the participant to do, you may get what you prayed for.