3.11.15

The Sensory Deprivation Tank

Luminous tendrils extend upward, swaying in an invisible current. Letting my awareness trace the lines up into the dark I become aware how each soft glowing filament connects my weightless body to a group of friendly jellyfish-like entities pulsing gently in the vast blackness. Each thread sending and taking exactly what is needed. Any resistance or hesitation syphoned away. Somehow getting worked on by these undulating aquatic angels doesn’t seem the least bit surprising. Serene light begins to supersede the jellyfish-vision, eventually extending everywhere. My eyelids flick open. The light remains stubbornly visible as I blink. Its elegant blueish-pink gradient extending from somewhere beneath me upward into forever. No body. I realise that this light has the exact same quality as a summer dawn that I waited up to see with a friend years ago. Or is it that actual morning? Am I back there on the beach? For a moment I am unsure as the perfection of that moment engulfs me again. Then I feel that it’s more than a vivid memory - it’s a knowing … a radiant ever-dawning goodness. Somehow it is that morning as a tangible force. My life-stuff. And then silky blackness again, punctuated only by my breathing. Or rather, I am being breathed. It feels right. “How long have I been in here?” I ask myself. The words tumble clumsily into the expanse. In this place a single thought seems to gate crash infinity like a drunk arriving at a prayer meeting. Startled at the brashness of my inner voice my mind opts for absolute stillness. An abyssal stillness that drills down into ever deepening recesses of stillness which give way to yet quieter places.

This was my sixth time floating in a sensory deprivation tank and I had taken to it like a deep sea organism.


During my first float I bobbed there, naked, in salty darkness waiting for something to happen. After what felt like an eternity (or was it five minutes?) I conceded that it was very relaxing but nothing special. So I just let my limbs and mind rest in the nothing. And then as I lazily kept an eye on that nothing it gradually took on an unmistakable character. The nothing was somehow holding me, feeding me. Then the stammering realisation: this nothingness is something. Vast, vibrant and satisfying. Sensuous weavings of thought, feeling and memory suspended in unconditional darkness. Each new inner contour receding again into soft limitless space...

My first breakthrough experience would become a stumbling block. I climbed out of the tank, my being ringing like a temple bell. I couldn't wait to get back in. And I spent the next few floats trying to get back to that deep place unsuccessfully. The experience remained enormously relaxing, with the after glow lasting several days. But no cosmic womb. Until my sixth float, having more or less given up, I was cast further out than I could have imagined. That’s the thing - the experience is predicated on absolutely relinquishing control. And when you do...

The tank has a lot to teach. If you have not tried floating in a sensory deprivation tank yet I highly recommend it.

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