Have you ever had a near death experience? A moment when you feel like you caught a glimpse of the other side? Maybe this happened because you were very sick, or in some horrific accident. Or maybe your frame of mind was such that you just got there?
Several years ago while researching for my book Communicating With the Dead, I had the chance to interview Dr. Raymond Moody about his work on NDEs. Dr. Moody noticed in his medical practice that some of his patients who were on the verge of death, but survived, came back to describe similar experiences: a light at the end of a long tunnel, seeing loved ones who had already passed on, a sense of peace and calm. His next objective was to try and create that experience for people without putting their bodies and health in mortal peril. So Dr. Moody constructed a psychomanteum chamber.
This chamber consists of a small, dark room, with a comfortable chair set low to the ground so your feet rest on the floor in a semi-reclining position. A small light is placed behind the chair to offer just enough illumination to see where you are, but not much more. Then the mirror is placed at an angle so the viewer doesn’t see their own reflection, but can look at the clear optical depth of the mirror. By relaxing, the viewer sometimes experiences visions in the mirror akin to a near death experience.
I’ve tried this experiment on several occasions. This isn’t for the claustrophobic! When I first experimented with the chamber, I tried to slow my breathing and relax. I focused my gaze beyond the plane of the mirror. It’s similar to the way you look at those 3-D images that look like a mess until you focus at a point beyond the edge of the paper and then the image of something like a sailing ship pops out.
As I stared at the mirror, it suddenly turned snowy--like a television that’s tuned to a channel with no reception (back in the old days when TVs did that). At that point I was shocked, I gasped a bit, and my focus was lost. I felt like I was tuning in to something, but I don’t know what or why.
I’ve tried using the chamber a few times since, but the results were mainly mixed. I’d see something like a dark cloud, but I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t the low light combining with my eyes trying to focus. The main point of this experiment is the mirror. For millennia, seers have used the mirror (or the reflection in a bowl of water) to try and catch a vision beyond our earthly realm.
We explore mirror gazing because something deep inside of us tells us there’s more out there, if we could just find a way to communicate with it. Different techniques work for different people. The same way musicians play different instruments. They all make music, but for some reason the saxophone resonates with some people, the guitar with others, and the cowbell with Blue Oyster Cult.
Keep trying. All we can do is keep trying. Keep turning around these ideas in our heads until they make sense to us as individuals. Mirror gazing doesn’t require a large investment. Chances are you already own one (maybe the very mirror you used to try and summon Bloody Mary last month). Try this. Don’t stare at your own reflection, but look off to the side and past the plane of the mirror. Does this open up something for you? If so, let me know!