I sat down with intent to write about my very first sensory deprivation tank or floating experience. However there isn’t much to write about my first experience.
Before my first float, I did my research and I was genuinely excited about trying this. So much so, that my first float was in the basement of a private residence. The owner was someone I had spoken to once on the phone and met in person 15 minutes before my initial float. Now I wouldn’t advise doing that. I some how rationalized that my martial arts experience and weapons training would serve me well if the shit hit the fan. After speaking with the owner I learned that he was a pistol instructor and a former instructor for the United States Olympic team. Knowing he was probably a better shot then I was, I just threw caution to the wind. I have been floating for nearly 3 years now, roughly once a month and consider Brooks (owner) a close friend.
Below you’ll find 3 Tips I share with folks interested in mediation through Floating.
Tip #1 – Always Takes More Than One Time
Give it a couple of floats before you commit or write it off. My first experience was uneventful on a spiritual level but positive enough that I knew I wanted to incorporate this into my life. Since then, I have had some interesting experiences in the tank, which I talk about later in this post.
Are my visions as vivid as watching my fingers type out this post? Yes and no. Most of the time I just sleep. To help myself relax into a float, I go through my pre-float ritual. I spend the first 10-15 minutes focusing on what is going on in my life, whether something is bothering me or on things that I have yet thoroughly thought clearly thru. I prioritize goals and identify areas to refocus my energy. After that, I go full Tyler Durden and take the hands of the steering wheel. Once I do let go, I become unaware of what is going on and once the float is over I recall everything like a dream I have just awoken from.
Tip #2 – Relinquish Control
Most people are afraid to let go, give up control over their thoughts, emotions and lives. Allowing yourself to be in an enclosed space that is pitch black and sound proof can be intimidating. You are in roughly 8” of water with 800lbs of Epson salt. No chance of drowning. The air and water is heated to arguably the temperature of your skin. Matching your skin temp allows you to lose the sensation to your body, which is something your brain isn’t accustomed to experiencing. I’ve known of people whose necks will tighten up. If you experience this, you have not fully relaxed. If you stop trying to support your head and lay your head back fully into the water the tension will leave you.
Once you are able to let go, everything becomes fluid. With the lack of sensation I become unaware of what is going on and my thoughts go ape shit. However, depending on the number of floats you have or your experience with meditation, it doesn’t take much to calm and silence the noise. Throughout the float I may have to bring myself back and refocus as my mind may race again. Don’t become frustrated; this is what it means to meditate. If you are aware of this happening and you’re able to refocus, you are well on your way.
There is peace in the nothingness. Once you overcome your inner noise, everything becomes still and quiet. It is a comforting experience exploring the ins and outs between consciousness and unconsciousness.
With multiple floats I am now able to marginally experience the feeling of being in the tank either by sitting in a chair or while in bed meditating. I am unable to let go as fast or with as little effort as I am if in the tank. I am able to deeply meditate but unable to access the nothingness. This nothingness sounds creepy and it can be if you cannot get past the sensory deprivation part. It isn’t hard but you may need to give yourself a pep talk prior to entering and once in open the tank door a few times until you are comfortable enough knowing you can get up and out at anytime. In my podcast I interviewed the owners of OmFloat and we discuss the top 3 questions people have prior to floating. This is a great starting point.
Tip #3 – Lose the Expectations
As humans, we tend to have expectations for almost everything in life. To get the full benefit of your float, it is best to go in without any expectations. You are going to unplug. I have read about and have spoken to people who have had profound experiences while floating. I can’t speak on that.
Floating has allowed me to recall memories as early as when I was 2 years old, either segments from a day or a few minutes. I have felt the calmness of looking down onto earth and felt the physical act of being catapulted into space. I have spoken with an unknown voice and been denied the access to speak with deceased relatives. But these experiences are far and in between. 98% of my floats right now are just deep relaxation sessions where my mind feels like it shut offs and indexes, nothing mystical or magical. When the 90 minutes is complete, my body thanks me. It thanks me by making colors more vibrant, provides me an overall calmness, I even smile. With my senses tweaked I am able to enjoy the effects of my float for hours and sometimes a day afterwards.
My main goal is still the same, achieve a higher meditative state for self-exploration and learning. From whom or to what I do not know, however floating is helping me achieve that goal.