Another float down.
Yesterday I did my 3rd float, this time in an Oasis tank. Its a bit more intimate in that if you are laid back floating you could reach up and touch the ceiling of the tank.
I arrived 10 minutes late (traffic), jumped into the shower quickly as I could and made my way to the front of the tank.
Noticing I had a level of anxiety from being late and rushing, I forced myself to take just 5 seconds to breathe and be present before I opened the hatch. This practices immediately calms me down from any level I’m at. Much like pausing a video game for a second when you know its about to get intense.
A sign on the tank read “Warning, this tank remains at 97.3 degrees”. Not something I’ve seen on other tanks.
Opening the hatch a wave of warm steamy air hits my freshly scrubbed face. For some reason I expected a harsh chemically pool water smell. Instead its more a salty, stuffy and slightly plastic smell.
Not wasting any time I step in, slowly shutting the door as not to splash any water on the rim of the door into my eyes. Laying down with my head towards the back of the tank I assumed the position.
I started off with the float noddle under my neck. It seems to help prepare my neck muscles to relax. But I didn’t need it very long, maybe 2 minutes and I was ready to sink the whole weight of my head into the dense salty water.
Ear plugs in and the water level hovering around my temple, I can feel and hear air bubbles slowly escaping from behind my ear plugs.
Then I realized, the warning on the tank was indeed necessary. It was Hot in there!
I’ve never been in a sauna but I can imagine it is similar. Hot, humid, stuffy air blanketing the top half of my body as I floated on balmy salty water. As if I was in a dark tiny greenhouse in the middle of a South Carolina summer. lol.
I know that sounds like horrible conditions to relax in, but you have to keep in mind WHY.
Consider the ancient Indian sweat lodge . A steamy hut with a hand full of men, half naked inside sweating profusely during a ceremonial cleansing of their bodies.
Floating maybe considered this ancient technique adopted to a modern style with a touch of luxury…and salt of course.
You don’t float for just the sensory deprivation environment. You float for the after effects too. That glorious after-float glow is the cherry on top of your isolated float sunday. Sweet, savory and fleeting.
I had to remind myself of this several times while I considered exiting the tank. Those itchy moments before the body starts sweating was happening to me and it was uncomfortable. Over the duration of the float that feeling would come in waves. I’d feel the discomfort and then a bead of sweat roll down my forehead. Not what I experienced in the other tanks. Never the less, I persisted.
The heat and humidity aside, I did notice my lower back and neck muscles relaxed and loosen. I could feel my posture lengthen slightly. Pressure was more evenly distributed than previous floats. More than likely its because I had gotten familiar with how to float. I knew what my body should feel like in the water and I let it go.
Aware that I was physically floating properly…it was now time to mentally float.
I’d watch my breathe as it slowly (over 10-15 mins) decreased. Before I knew it, I was taking short relaxed breaths. My body was definitely relaxed and my mind was subdued.
It is this time when I start some visualization techniques. I imagine energy (kundalini) move from my feet to the top of my head and out. This almost always works for me after a few times or so. And I know its working when I get this weird esoteric sensation.
Its as if my awareness is pulled into the center of my head and I can sense a void around me. In this void, without seeing anything, I can experience being the size of an atom at the same time being as large as a galaxy. I know it sounds crazy but that’s the best way I can explain it.
I remember several occasions where I reach out and I can grab an atom between my fingers while also being as tall as a skyscraper. This uncommon “scaled interaction” is very familiar. Having experienced it while going to sleep as a child, I recognize it and know I’m in my inner space.
The hard part is staying in that state. Once I’m aware of it I tend to get excited and happy. Part of me is observing this excitement. And then a question of “who is the observer” comes up and I merge back into “reality”. The reality is that I’m happy being out of my mind floating in a hot humid salty water filled tank.
I guess the Inner World is so enticing as an escape from reality and even your own thoughts.
As I have stated before, watching the breathe is a great way to anchor your thoughts from wondering far off into the potentially infinite abyss of the human mind.
Floating tends to amplify critical thinking, imagination, worry, anxiety…etc., all powerful catalysts in our everyday lives.
We, however intentional or not, place these catalyst as damaging or productive on our Life’s scale of influence. That is to say we give meaning to the immaterial thoughts that snowball down the hill into our reality or melt away in the dry summer of our own ego.
Simply put, we choose to be positive or negative in our interpretation of our mental navigation.
The stillness of floating provides a doorway for physical distractions to vacate and let the mind deal with itself. Yet it is up to you to decides how you want to use your float.
Do you want to quiet your mind and meditate?
Do you want to put yourself into a more creative/imaginative state?
Do you want to just relax, just let go, and maybe fall asleep?
Whatever it is you choose, the float is yours. Make it your own.
In conclusion, I was very satisfied with the float after pushing thru the uncomfortable temperature of the air. The feeling and relief once I walked out of the lobby into the open air was worth it.
If you have had similar experiences let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email.