“You—are having a thought?” asked Dr. Darshan’s assistant.
“Yes,” the client answered. The sensors adhering to the back of the client’s head lightly rattled.
“Stop,” said Dr. Darshan. She pointed her pencil at the indicators below the rapidly fading digital-image meadow on the computer monitor. The full red bar graph pulsed as its level rose. The diminished blue and green bars barely moved.
The client was having a feeling.
The client often had a feeling at 22-36 Hz resembling an inhibited thought in the 4-7 Hz range. In order to reward the 15-18 Hz range, region 8R of the parietal and region 3R of the temporal should, optimally, produce neither thought nor feeling.
This last of five sessions on 12/31/09 concluded the eighteen-month course of neurobiopractice for the client.
During these final sessions the client was, at intervals of 1200 milliseconds, distracted by threshold indications in the 3-bar graph as measured by the troughs and peaks of the 5-band EEG signal.
The client’s region 3R and region 8R, experiencing a thought dreaming a feeling, had not completed the virtual meadow, its shading, its color, and its hidden presences in the true measured depth.
Due to the client’s emotional instability the volume of meadow audio was set at Constant Zero.
Desiring to complete the meadow, the client concentrated on the outlines of brook and of pendant tree branch. The client sent in-breath through the bottom of his throat, the back of his lungs and upward, a resting pulse rate of 42, his upper lungs the faint pool into which a blue veil poured, in-breath over the smooth stone and down, the misting field beyond the brook, the hill and saddle of hill in the distance, the lineage of benevolent hemlocks there, mother and father, the vigilant hemlocks, in-breath over the frosted window of his breastbone, the dampening of the curtains of his respiratory system, faint open paths of damp gravel on the brook banks, faint grass surrounding the pool, his belly filling with cooling in-breath, filling to brimming, tipping down, spilling out-breath down, again, to the vague bottom of him.
“At Are,” said Dr. Darshan’s assistant, studying her own computer monitor. When Total Reward was Adequate, she called it to the client’s attention, she said, “At Are,” shorthand for A-T-R. When Total Reward was Ideal it was I-T-R, designated as “It Are.”
A few redbud leaves at a percentage of 6% gray turned cinnamon, their stems almost rain-black, the rest remaining latent, a thought in him again shedding its papery skins, blood coming into the stones in the streambed, all of the stones all at the same instant, a pure feeling emerging that the client could not drown, Region 3R a hatch of pale blue duns, Region 8R the last unbound light of stars above the horizon, the morning hovering, the meadow hovering, he the mist in the arms of the hemlocks, the hovering arms. Neither a thought nor a feeling. Inside the stream, the form of a white carp, and he the indwelling breeze and he the carp-shadow and rippled pool surface and spilling stream.
“At Are,” said Dr. Darshan’s assistant, one redbud branch hot with color, the others turning a relative value of 76% shifting into the 80th percentile, lupine crowding the banks, the white flashing inside the carp causing it to tremble, and the client barely breathing, the client breathing, breathed into.
“You—are awake?” Dr. Darshan’s assistant asked. “You—are awake? You—are awake?”
Deer Food appeared on the nearest gravelly bank, the client’s friend, the beer-gut green squirrel named Deer Food, standing out of balance, facing away from the client. Over his strong gem-green fur shoulder, Deer Food gazed, Deer Food’s characteristic drunken gaze, eyes 3% of gray, his nicotine-stained darker-green paw out, out and making a request.
“Think me a cigarette, Client. Client? Client: You—are awake? Feel me a light.”
Pink Bic lighter. Bubble in the plastic chamber.
Cigarette in his mouth, Deer Food flicked the black trigger.
“And?” Deer Food asked. On Deer Food’s loose, knee-length swimming trunks, the perfect spathes of calla lilies.
“At Are,” said Dr. Darshan’s assistant.
Deer Food flicked the trigger once more. White spark.
Blue spark. “And?” Deer Food asked, face vertigo-bright behind the fire.
“At Are,” said Dr. Darshan’s assistant.
The client’s disregulation mitigated by 18 Hz in region 3R, Deer Food’s cigarette tip catching, his green color and the color of the meadow grass and moss sharpening.
“Kind of you,” Deer Food said, drew harder, said, “Mercy.” The mist behind Deer Food slowly shrugged, the unmoored morning.
“I do not fully appreciate this part,” said Deer Food. Crocuses and goldening poppies covered the ground around the client and Deer Food in the next moment, and in the next came the absolute value of sunlit sky, absolute value of stream, of land and fire, the pathways seamless between regions. Reflected in the pool, something arrived, the pattern of waves caused something to arrive: another season, snow cast up from the ground by gusts, snow whirlwinds arising, demons choosing not to kneel.
“It Are,” said Dr. Darshan’s assistant, reverently.
“It Are,” said Dr. Darshan.
Behind Deer Food, at the 18 Hz range, a feeling failing to complete the client’s thought, the instantaneously realized body of the frail, hungering creature appeared: the deer.
The deer bowed toward the pool.
Behind Deer Food, for 480 milliseconds at the 15 Hz optimal range, the deer reappeared.
And, with it, Deer Food.
“You—are having a thought?” Dr. Darshan’s assistant asked.
The meadow was drained of all color, the pendant branch entirely withdrawn, the stream a bed of barely visible bloodless stones, the flowering ground gone, the gravelly bank gone, the whiteness of the carp, the carp gone, its lace ghost.
“It’s a feeling—a feeling inside a thought,” the client would have said, had he words, to his own reflection on the computer monitor, to Dr. Darshan’s assistant, to Dr. Darshan, to the last visible part of the meadow: the calm omniscient hemlocks.