Why would anyone want to deprive their senses? Why would anyone not want to feel anything? Well, simply put, just because you are in a sensory deprivation tank does not mean you don’t feel anything. All you are doing is minimizing the amount of EXTERNAL stimuli coming into your nervous system. So what does your nervous system do? It cranks up the volume. It tries to detect any sort of stimuli and yet still minimal is coming… so what happens?
You actually begin to become strongly aware of everything that is left to notice: the physical sensation of your inner body, your emotions, your thoughts, all of these elements of our internal world are now on center stage and in the spotlight. And for many people, who have never done a consistent meditation practice this could be very alien to them. It is like going on an intimidate with YOURSELF!! You get to check in and see how you are doing on a very personal level. You can see the state of your mind; is it racing, is it bouncing around like a kid in a candy store, or is it calm, quiet, alert and simply observing? You can feel the state of your body; is there unconscious tension that is being held for no apparent reason, are you only able to feel certain parts while other parts are numb. or are you relaxed and able to feel you body as one unified sensory node feeling your entire being simultaneously? You get to sense your emotional state; are you upset about something or someone, are you anxious, are your afraid or nervous, or are you at peace, perhaps excited?
It is very rare in our overly externally driven and distracted contemporary culture do we get to block literally everything out and go within. We are not used to this as a general population and thus seem to manifest a lot of various diseases because of this disconnection we have with ourselves.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is a very popular quote from Mahatma Gandhi. And what I think he is getting at with this quote is that ALL true and significant change starts from within. First becoming aware of our inner-world and strengthening our weakened personal connections, and then identifying what within us is subjectively positive or negative. It is only from awareness can any change be made. This is a little bit of why we go into sensory deprivation.