Floating has been a pinnacle turning point for me and multiple friends of mine. It has been a part of my life for approximately a year and learning about myself and the way I can incorporate my body and mind into what I do creatively, has been such a rewarding experience. Being creative is in my nature, and not producing something new simply makes me itch. Over the course of the past year I have been able to find better and more effective ways of deliberately opening up, accessing, and emphasizing that creative part of my brain. For those creative types out there, the hope of this piece is to inspire you to utilize floating as an amazing tool to access your creative endeavours. This is opposite to the relaxation concept of an isolation tank. Instead of winding down and relaxing, we are in fact winding up!
Here are five steps that have helped me access the most colourful parts of my brain, whilst in the isolation tank.
1. Choose Your Focus
When I go floating, I set the intention of what I want to create before I even get to Float House. For example, if you are a painter using oils and have a general idea for a new painting, set the focus on that topic. A photographer would focus on taking pictures and a woodworker on sculpting. Sounds easy and elementary, right? It is. I have found, simply setting the focus on the topic, sets the mind into action. Sometimes focusing on a topic can be challenging in a dark and isolated space with nothing but your own thoughts, and it takes practice. This is why I set my focus outside of the tank. I have found an hour of focused thought outside of the tank is required in order to really spool up my creativity and get best results.
2. Set an Intention
Setting the intention of what you want to create allows the mind to wander freely on the subject. Take your focus and set a more specific goal. If you tell yourself, "I am now setting the intention to get new inspirations on my new painting," some topics that seem unrelated can actually lead you to better ways to create your work. The trick is to relax about the subject and be presently aware of anything that could help or enhance what you want to create. By setting an intention, your mind will be looking for validation of what you want to create, regardless of the topics that wander through your mind in the tank. It takes practice. Questions you could ask yourself, if we were talking about a painting, would be: "How big do I want it to be?", "What colours am I going to use?", "What is the theme?", "How else could it look when it is finished?", "What would make me excited to look at?"
3. Use Deliberate Thought and Non-thought
This is the most esoteric subject that I have come to understand over the course of creating my own work. Describing it to others can be difficult, as this is from my own perspective, involving my own mind and how I have come to understand the process that works for me. During my time in the tank, after setting the focus and the intention, I use a combination of present awareness and deliberate thought in order to "spool up" and "flow" my thoughts and create thought momentum on a subject.
Think of it this way: if you have a vehicle at rest, the object is to get it going down a hill as fast as you can in neutral. The only issue is, there are inclines and declines along the road. The trick is knowing when to apply the gas (deliberate focused thought) and when to let the car glide (present awareness). For some reason, as the car gets faster, the car will begin to pick up more and more speed going downhill, and glide over the inclines. This is where you can keep the car in neutral and enjoy the ride so to say. Now talking about ideas in the tank; topics about your original intention will begin to flash into your mind at a staggering pace. This leads to our next topic: thought momentum.
4. Use Thought Momentum
Thought momentum is a real thing. Have you ever had an experience where something simple happened to you, like stubbing your toe in the morning and then your thoughts began to spiral out of control? This, if directed and used deliberately and positively, can lead to amazing perspectives on work you want to create. As stated before, if done properly, the car is now rolling down the hill and picking up speed. At this point, you can use that same momentum in your thoughts to allow incoming ideas and inspirations. I have experienced it time and time again, there is a specific point at which the thoughts will "take off" and these ideas and inspirations will flash, flash, flash onto the screen of the mind. This is where you can sit back and relax as, almost like watching a movie, ideas flicker continuously. This is when applying the present awareness is extremely important, as any deliberate thought can actually apply brakes to the vehicle. This may not work for everyone, as we all have our own methods of inspiration, but this is what works for me.
Last but not least, document it! After a float, the mind can only hold onto so many things for a certain period of time. It is absolutely key to document even the smallest most seemingly unimportant things that came to you during the float. After a few months has passed, I continue to be amazed at how something written down six months prior, becomes so relevant.
These guidelines may be for more experienced floaters who are comfortable in the isolated environment.
As this could be a confusing topic for some, if you ever see me around, please feel free to ask any questions you may have! Otherwise, happy floating!