I'm sorry about your mother Captain Kathryn
And yes I can see that people will take that kind of experience more to heart. It's the oddness of thinking you can access someone who is no longer with you any time via brain stimulation.
Oh thank you. You don't need to be sorry.
I think if he believed in whatever afterlife "his people" (
) believed in, than maybe it's possible that it was real to him even though it was probably just a replacement for psychoactive herbs. When you have a hallucination, you interpret your surroundings based on memories and experiences, just like you do dreams. When you are experiencing a hallucination or a dream, it feels very real in that moment. It's possible Chakotay believed that by achieving such a highly evolved conscious state of his subconsciousness, he could access the spirits of those who have passed on.
Like I mentioned, Star Trek never defined it's stance on religion. I think it was real to Chakotay, but most likely NOT actually real.
There are people walking around every day claiming to have heard God's voice, have seen ghosts walking around, seen aliens, people who talk to God and swear they get a response back. Is it real to them? Yes. Does that make it real? No. But it doesn't make it any less real to that person.