I put on my optional blindfold and lay down. From there, Barham guided me through an unwinding technique. Her voice was cool and relaxed, and as time went by it started to sound less like a human being and more like the robot AI, a mix between HAL 9000 and voice-over from an instructional yoga video. She focused on every part of my body, countering breathing exercises with a sedating countdown until every nerve was numb. My limbs were feeling heavy, but my mind was wide awake.
At this point, she "put" me in the cabin by recounting with perfect detail everything I had described before. This is where I stopped being cynical and started feeling something.
I often daydream -- about winning the Super Bowl; being Superman; punching Tom Brady; winning the Super Bowl while Superman is punching Tom Brady -- but this was different. This vision was vivid, almost cinematic. I was wholly absorbed. She had me picture a long marble staircase. I walked down it several times as she counted down, slowly, opting back into the relaxation techniques until I reached a bowl of eggs at the bottom. Each egg had a number on it, 1 through 10. I was to choose the egg that best described my current point of relaxation. I started at a 4. By the time I took my fifth trip down the stairs, I was a solid 9. My body felt asleep, but not in a numb, tingly way -- it was like I had an intravenous injection of Advil PM. And I liked it.