Seabrook, William Buehler - On Sensory deprivation
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
William Seabrook - Witchcraft
The more civilized Melewi, the most cultured mystic sect of Islam, whirl until they’re dizzy. The completely civilized mystical mandarin sits cross legged, bends his head down over his fat belly, and stares at his own navel.
They're all the same thing, really. If you have the will-power to sit motionless for eighteen hours or so, in an ordinary chair, keeping your mind as open and empty as possible and stare fixedly at the point of a lead pencil, you'll end by having all sorts of exciting sometimes beautiful and sometimes terrifying revelations,--even though they're nothing but illusions.
If, as I suspect, these revelations, messages, experiences in telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritual vision, - are never extrasensory or supernormal, but merely well up from the depths of the experimenters' released subconscious, they can be nevertheless violently exciting and have been known to produce (as a sort of by-product) sublime masterpieces in poetry, religious and mystical prose. etc.
If anything more important comes out, it's more likely to come by hammering at the door, by breaking the door open, if there is such a door, than by discreet, cold tapping followed by the insertion through an imaginary crack of a spook visiting card printed with stars and circles.
If and when the door does open the subject is sure to see more clearly with his extra-sensory vision, when he has baggage checked his normal five senses in the waiting room outside.