Here’s the story I mentioned at the end of the previous post.
Many years ago (39 to be exact) I had a girlfriend who I will call Anna. One night while we lay in bed, about to go to sleep, she told me that she had experienced telepathy several times. The fact that we were about to go to sleep is relevant to the story.
I said, “Can we try testing this? I’ll think of something, and you tell me what I’m thinking.”
I thought of the letter T. I tried to keep my attention focused continuously on that idea — in Yoga, this kind of mental activity is called single-pointed attention — but at this time, I had not yet started to practice meditation so I probably couldn’t hold the idea for very long. I also pressed my forehead against the back of Anna’s head.
Anna began to emit a list of seemingly random guesses. She pronounced each one as a question, tentatively and half-heartedly. It was clear from her tone that she had no idea what I was thinking.
It was soon evident that our experiment was a failure and after a few minutes, we got bored and lapsed into silence.
I began to drift off to sleep, and then an interesting thing happened. As sleep enveloped me, my thoughts suddenly became free and effortless, a riot of associations. But because I had been maintaining one-pointed attention for several minutes, or at least making an effort to do so, my focus on T continued automatically, and every association had something to do with T.
Suddenly my mind was effortlessly filled with multiple forms of the idea T. I saw the top of a T-shaped cross arm on a phone pole; I saw a big black letter T superimposed on that cross arm; I tasted tea; I smelled tea; I heard somebody saying “T” — all of this simultaneously, filling my mind and pushing every other thought away because there was no room for anything else.
This state of mind was involuntary and effortless. I could not have brought it about deliberately.
At that instant Anna jerked around to face me, almost injuring my nose because it was touching the back of her head. “T!” she exclaimed triumphantly. “You’re thinking T!”
She wasn’t guessing. She knew what I was thinking and she knew she knew.
This story would be pretty good evidence for telepathy except that I was half asleep and might have murmured “T” out loud without realizing it. But Anna said she wasn’t asleep and that I was silent.
If telepathy did occur, perhaps it could happen only because as my brain fell asleep, it went into a peculiar state which I could not have brought about voluntarily.
I wonder if a similar effect could be produced by the state that Patanjali calls samyama. It might be interesting to experiment with adept practitioners of Raja Yoga to see if people can detect the yogis’ thoughts when the yogis are in that state.