Here’s a sobering news article: The “Choking Game” has killed at least 82 children.
You can read more about the Choking Game (also called the Fainting Game and numerous other names) at Wikipedia’s entry for the “Fainting Game.” Basically, it’s a daredevil game that adolescents and even younger children play in which they submit to choking or strangulation just long enough to get a “dreamy feeling.” Obviously, this is a terribly inexact science and so dozens of youths have lost their lives looking for this momentary pleasure.
One of the continual challenges of mystical spirituality is learning how to celebrate extraordinary experiences of the Presence of God, without orienting our lives to trying to engineer such experiences. This is particularly difficult in our day, when we as a culture are addicted to experiential “highs” — even if the quest of such experience has potentially deadly consequences.
Everyone wants to feel good. We all crave pleasure and seek to avoid pain. But I think we need to reflect on what it means to live in a society where children risk death for a transitory high, and where ecstatic experience has become more important to spiritual seekers than living a holy life.