February 3, 2009
I’ve always wanted to try out a flotation tank ever since I first stumbled upon the idea. The basic premise is that you have a closed pod filled with salt water, cutting you off from all sensation. You wear ear plugs, and the water is set to your body temperature so that you feel nothing. I recently tried this at a boutique in Los Gatos, called Cloud Nine. It was a fantastic experience.
First, you get in through the top of the tank, which essentially looks like a shuttlecraft from Star Trek. Then you recline into the water and close the sliding door on the top. The tank is illuminated until you use the intercom to indicate you are ready. I didn’t know what to expect, and my intention was to be open to anything.
The light wasn’t dimming, so I commed out to ask if it was going to. Of course, it immediately started to dim. Then it went black, and there was only me minus my environmental sensations. It felt like I was floating in space, but even more so, as their was nothing to see or hear outside of myself. All I could hear was my breathing which sounded incredibly loud. Eventually even the breath receded into the background, and then I could hear my heartbeat. I was surprised I hadn’t heard it earlier.
I worried about falling asleep in the tank or the experience ending too soon. These subsided at what I assume was halfway through the experience (I was in the tank for an hour and a half). It became impossible to tell time in the tank. At that point my thoughts became very distant and took on a texture of newness. I still identified with my thoughts, but they were no longer as significant. After that my thoughts returned to a more familiar state, and the experience was soon over.
What I immediately got was some perspective of how in a hurry I am. Ranging from the cellular to high level abstraction, there is an unnecessary sense of hurry.
This has also affected my meditation in that it is now easier to detach from my thoughts as a primary component of self-image. It is easier to be in the present, and experience myself as a totality of many different things.
I intend to schedule another isolation tank appointment again. I have the feeling there is a range of self expression the tank can accelerate coming in contact with.