Awakening in the Abyss

If you had asked me in 1991, I would have told you without hesitation that I believed these mind tools represented a breakthrough in human evolution, providing humans access to richer, healthier lives. I’d said something to that effect so many times on TV and radio shows and in interviews and speeches that the words came easily to my lips.

And yet in 1991 I found myself in hell. I emerged from a fog of exhaustion that had accumulated in the year following the birth of my son and found that my own life was filled with pain, suffering, and sickness.

I was so profoundly exhausted I could barely force myself out of bed. Every muscle and joint in my body hurt so badly it was almost impossible to fall asleep, and what little sleep I did get had no restorative effect at all. My brain felt stuffed with cotton. It was difficult to think. I was barely able to sit at my computer and type a coherent sentence—the idea of actually writing something original, creative, sparkling with energy, seemed impossible. Clearly something serious was wrong.

A friend sent me to a doctor, who ran a series of tests and found that I had a severe case of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). A key factor in the onset of CFIDS, he told me, is stress. As I looked around me at the shambles of my life, stress was not hard to find. It was everywhere.

I was in a nightmare of a marriage that I had been seeking to escape from for over a year. The stresses caused by the birth of a son placed even greater pressures on the marriage. At the same time, in part because of these stresses, my own business was going down the tubes. I no longer had the energy to go out and do Megabrain Workshops and seminars. My magazine, Megabrain Report, sat dead in the water—I simply didn’t have the strength of write the articles for it and publish it. My last book had been completed in the months just before my marriage. Now years later, my agent wondered where my next book was, but I didn’t even have the energy to think about what that book might be. What this meant in real life was money problems. The already high stress levels of my marriage were intensified by economic uncertainties.

And of course I was not using any mind machines. When I had still lived inNew York City, my apartment had been filled with an assortment of them, and my days had been filled with frequent mind machine meditations. A couple of float centers were nearby, and I went in for long floats several times a week, sometimes floating for up to eight hours at a time.

But in getting married, I had moved away fromNew York City. To my surprise, there were no float tanks available in the area where I lived. By early 1991 it had been well over three years since I had floated regularly. I had plenty of mind machines, but I couldn’t really use them at home because of the stressfulness of my domestic situation.

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