Floating is like hopping into a high-level 'think tank' for 90 minutes. But, it also adds more fluid cognition and creativity to your post-float, waking hours.
I got hooked on this spiritual brand of "freedom." It was a quest in the realm of the psyche, pursuing the Buddhist notions of liberation and enlightenment. I sought internal freedom, which became another attachment serving an ulterior motive.
How could freedom be synonymous with hard work? Next to each other in a sentence, they seem to create an immediate paradox. How do struggle, strain, and toil relate to feeling untethered, sovereign, and carefree?
Your experiences while practicing floatation therapy and sensory deprivation are just as varied. Fluctuations are natural. Life comes in waves, cycles, seasons, rhythms, and patterns. You may have floats where you see the face of Buddha, implode into yourself without a sense of space or time, or find yourself meditating in an ancient cave with giant yogis telling you that life is to be lived outside. You may also have floats where you experience nothing.
McKenna’s famous advice echoes through my mind, “Do not give way to astonishment. Hang on. Pay attention, pay attention.”
I resolved to resist being distracted by the chaotic intensity of this catapulting from the neurochemical slingshot. I wanted to touch down on the other side with more to show for it than a wild story. My mind’s eye was pried open, keen to extract something.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re one of the rare individuals who has decided to take life into your own hands and choose how it’ll unfold. If so, congrats. Making that choice is a critical step.
Now comes the hard part -- staying on your path and making progress towards your dreams.
Many dream about being able to leave their job and thrive as an entrepreneur, but it’s often not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s challenging when your pay check is directly tied to how hard you hustle and how much you can get done, especially in the beginning of the journey before the work pays off.
Oftentimes the paths of spirituality and enlightenment can lead to intensified suppression of, or "processing" away, the darker aspects of one's own nature – our arrogance, vanity, greed, intolerance, violence, and perversion.
In this vein, to be spiritual and awake means to associate oneself with all that is shimmering and pure, and to divorce oneself from all that is dark, raw, animalistic, and brutal.
But this darkness is an integral part of who we are. Pop-spirituality, religion, and moralism are apt to shrink our senses of self to exclude it, so we form a false axis in our consciousness that’s repelled from the negative and into the positive, away from darker depths and into bright open sky.
"I know what is good for me but that doesn’t mean I do it."
How many areas of our lives can we say this to; our nutrition, our rest, our social time, our exercise, our meditation practice?
In many areas of our lives we don’t live up to our potential and it is mostly because we don’t set ourselves up for success.
Of all of these areas mentioned above, our meditation practice probably get’s pushed back the most, yet it can be a foundational pillar to support all the other areas of self-care we know we should be doing but struggle to do so.
The evolution of mankind has been rocky at best, and food security has always been a struggle (and for many still is). Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute on Aging's neuroscience laboratory, believes that, "evolutionary pressures selected for genes that strengthened brain areas involved in learning and memory, which increased the odds of finding food and surviving.”2
In other words: you had to be smart to survive, and in past times that often meant thinking on an empty stomach.
Our evolution through times of famine and scarcity has taught our body to function at its highest levels in the absence of food. Even at the most basic level, the way our body uses and stores food is built around the idea of surviving and thriving without food.
That spare tire you hate? Your body spent millennia developing the ability to create that. It ensures that if you had to survive a harsh winter, your body would have its own internal fuel source.
Three misconceptions that hold people back from using this effective form of therapy.
“But what if I’m claustrophobic?”
This is probably the most common fear that stops people from starting. To dispute this concern, let’s look at claustrophobia and floatation tanks.
This is the first of a 3-part blog series dedicated to the new floater. In part 2, we’ll cover preparing for your first float, and in part 3 we’ll discuss the learning curve and accumulating benefits of floating.