As I settle into the light engulfing coffin, my back feels the water and instantly recognizes the experience. The water straddles my body and I begin a weightless float, disconnected from the relentless forces of gravity. It’s awkward at first, trying to get westerners to relax is a little like trying to get a cat to go swimming with you. Settling in requires more work than you’d expect and it can be a bit intimidating for beginners. As the boundary to where my body stops and the water starts dissolves, certain paradoxes begin to take place. You think it would be claustrophobic in the tank, but actually it feels like I have too much room. Your mind wants to run wild and continue creating anxiety, but this is not the place, there is nothing to be anxious about. This helps you realize how many of the problems and anxieties we face in day to day life, are actually only illusions created by the mind. A busywork for the brain that helps keep the senses sharp. But the true nature of the mind is quiet. As the stillness of dark overtakes, silence becomes my only sensory input, the tank acts as a revitalizing relaxation from the stresses of daily life. Life’s only true rule is living, it’s not as serious as we make it.
As I fall further and further into this expansive state of relaxation, the experience changes into a completely different realm of consciousness. Since your body is becoming more and more relaxed, your mind is slowly tricked into thinking that it’s actually ok to start dreaming. It becomes easy to chase thoughts down a rabbit hole and almost make them come to life. A form of literal day dreaming if you will. The ability to become so lost in one’s thoughts and ideas that you can manifest them inside of your mind. That is when one is experiencing the full potential of the what this activity has to offer. This sensory deprivation makes for a forced conversation with yourself, nothing to distract or entertain. It’s a sit down conversation with your own consciousness, a talk that usually reveals some very important information about the true nature of your thoughts and personality. Are you willing to have that talk? While each session in the tank is different, they also seem to be one in the same. Each person is subject to the same external factors, but the internal experience is digested in many different ways. One of the most interesting ideas of the whole situation is understanding that truth.