It’s a Sunday night at 10:30 pm. Usually, I’d be getting ready for bed and cozying up with a good book by now. Well ,tonight is different. At 7pm I got in a deprivation tank at a place called Levity in Tucson, AZ. It’s a tank big enough to fit a very large person into, filled with 10 inches of just below body temperature water (about 93 degrees) and many pounds of Epsom salt which makes one become buoyant in the water so there is not even a chance of sinking. There is no light or sound whatsoever, even with eyes open, it’s pitch black. At one end, there is a black door which opens easily for entering and exiting.
Since it was my first time floating, I was a bit nervous. I showered, put my earplugs in and laid down in the water with my head away from the door, closing it behind me. The session was scheduled for an hour. At first I felt the way others have described it, claustrophobic a bit, restless and just slightly uneasy. I did as instructed and put my hands above my head so I could float comfortably. After about 10 minutes, I considered getting out, but I stayed instead. After 20 minutes I started to settle in. It’s the same as when I meditate, when I hit the 20 minutes mark is when I start to really feel peaceful and settled. My mind floated in and out of thoughts, but this time it was different because I knew I didn’t have the ending timer set for 30 minutes, and I was committed to staying the full hour. It was also different because even though my mind was drifting and grabbing thoughts, it was not able to go anywhere negative. At one point, I got scared that my mind would grab onto something horrible or negative and I’d be in some dark loop, but I stayed peaceful. Even thought I accidentally tested the waters by thinking of negative things, the mind just said, “Nope, I’m not going there.” Instead I just drifted and floated for an hour with peaceful thoughts and listened to the sound of my underwater breathing. I was counting breaths for a while, then just the out breaths, then, at one point, maybe 30-40 minutes in, I started to face my ego. Truth be told, this was my motivation for going. I wanted to separate my random fears and thoughts from who I truly am at my core. I wanted to start to know which was which. So laying there with nothing else to do but go down the rabbit hole of who am I without my ego, I started to get some ideas. I thought about how I am trying so hard to accomplish things and how if I were to just let them be, just be, it would all be so much easier. I’m not talking about work that I know needs to be done like editing manuals and getting physical work done. I do know that those things cannot just be contemplated away. What I’m specifically talking about is being willing to be vulnerable. “What if I were just okay with my life exactly as it is?”, I thought, “Maybe the only way any true and lasting change will ever happen, is if I just start loving the here and now”. These thoughts are not new, in fact I know I was being reminded of things one of my favorite speakers, Byron Katie says often. “Who would you be without the thought?” I turned around thoughts about other people onto myself, I looked at letting go of needing to change anything about myself and I just floated and breathed. When the hour was up, I was glad. I was ready to get out and I felt really good. I showered, and left thinking it was nice but nothing profound. But as I drove the 20 minutes home and after arriving home, something seemed different. It wasn’t until about an hour after getting home that I realized how clean and clear and zen my head felt. There was no monkey mind thoughts going on inside, no negative thoughts about self, or how I should be better or work harder or any of those random thoughts that I tend to get throughout my day. I just felt peaceful. I texted a friend during this time and I said, “It feels like my mind just had a shower. I feel physically clean in my head.” There’s no other way to describe it. I have another 2 sessions already paid for, so if I can float once a week or even once a year and feel this good, then I’m in. I’ll be traveling again soon, and I usually have some major insomnia and jet lag when I get return home. This time, I’m planning to head straight to Levity to float. I have a feeling I’ll be sleeping soundly in no time.
Last thought…right as I drifted off to sleep this came to me: “It doesn’t matter” Whatever people think about me, and even what I think of myself, doesn’t matter!