I have done the float tank therapy (also called sensory deprivation tank or isolation tank) about 3 or 4 times now. If you don’t know what that is, basically they are enclosed tanks filled with about 10 inches or so of water that is set to body temperature and filled with massive amounts of Epsom salt. The idea is to deprive you of all senses. The salt makes the water buoyant so that you just float at the surface. It’s also completely dark and without sound. All you can hear is your breathing and maybe your heartbeat. (I don’t always hear mine but some people do). Basically it’s as if you are floating in nothingness.
The first few times I have gone, I felt a wonderful sense of calm after, but nothing profound to speak of. The last time I went before this one, I wasn’t really mentally prepared for it, so I didn’t even get much of the post-float calm. I feel that it is essential to surrender yourself to the experience in order to receive the benefits. Not everyone will have a profound experience, or even a pleasant experience and I’m sure some people have had a negative experience. It’s all about how you approach it.
For previous floats, I scheduled them weeks in advance. This time was literally spur of the moment. I scheduled us the night before, and got their first appointments available in the morning. We dropped our youngest son off to school and headed over. I was definitely mentally prepared, and had every intention to fully surrender. The other times I thought about how much time had passed, and even got out of the tank during my first time just to check my phone for the time. This was different. I didn’t think about it. I fully took in the experience. When thoughts came, I let them go by. I focused on my breathing and the sensations around me, like my hair flowing behind me. I would see some slight visuals, and focused on that. Then, without any real conscious thought, mantras started entering my thoughts. The one that was first and kept repeating was “you don’t hate, your ego hates”. Then after that I heard “you don’t NEED love, you ARE love.” It was a bit bizarre because I don’t think I have ever heard those words exactly, and these are not things I tend to say to myself.
After that I went back and forth with a few random thoughts creeping in, and a few times I almost felt like I fell asleep for a second but woke up, but the “dream” was just the things I was just thinking about so I don’t think I was dreaming, but I’m not totally sure. Now, I realize that doesn’t make much sense. The experience itself was confusing. This has happened in past float experiences as well. Perhaps this was lucid dreaming, I’m not sure.
The other part of this was getting in touch with my true self that I had last seen as a newborn baby. The other day I watched a documentary that talked about what happens after death and the ending songs had the lyrics “do you remember who you are?” And in that moment, I had a brief glimpse of myself as a newborn baby. Before the conditioning of my environment and my experiences tainted it with what would turn into my ego that would become the front and center of who I thought I was as it does with all of us. It was a teeny tiny glimpse of enlightenment (satori), until this floating moment. I feel like I got in touch with that preconditioned being. A preconditioned me.
I experienced a few more visuals before I heard what sounded like my GPS saying “you have arrived”. Then I floated there for a few more minutes, trying to be in silence and then the music started. This is how the people who run the float center let you know time is up. That hour went by twice as fast as it did in previous sessions.
I got out to get into the shower and looked down at my body and I felt like it was the first time I had ever seen it. Like I was just born. No judgement, no thoughts, just awareness and peacefulness.
After that I felt like I was elevated. Everything looked different, or rather APPEARED different. They describe this as a “post-float glow” and I definitely had it- times 100. It slowly faded away after about an hour, but I still remained at a higher level than I was before I went into the tank, and it gave me a little taste of what it’s like to be your true authentic self, free from ego. This is absolutely worth doing the work to get there. Life is beautiful there.