Sunday, July 12, 2015

My First Float

A few months ago I saw an Instagram post of a friend who went to a"float spa."  Being the curious person that I am, I goggled the spa, Flotation Philly and read the info on their websight. Immediately I knew I needed to try it.  It took me a little while to get around to booking the appointment, but this past Thursday I "floated" for the first time. The experience was so profound, that I feel compelled to share my take a ways with you.

I didn't have a ton of expectations going into the experience. I hadn't done any other research other then reading the website and did not talk to anyone who had done it before. All I really knew is that I would be spending time in a sensory deprivation tank… with out light or sound, floating in a tank full of salt water.

When I first saw the tank I feel a little intimidated. I have had claustrophobic episodes in my past and was slightly concerned it might be a problem. However when I realized I was in control of closing the door to the tank and that if I opened it a light outside would come on I was able to relax.

I locked the door to the room and showered as instructed, put in my ear plugs and stepped into the tank.   I closed the door and all light and sound were gone.  I lied down in the water and effortlessly floated at the top.  The water is filled with 1000 lbs of salt water, so ones body is completely buoyant. The water is also the same temperature as your body, so I was neither hot or cold.

So my first thoughts were anxious in nature, realizing how vulnerable I was.  However quickly I was able to push that away.  My next observation was that the muscles in my neck were tense.  They quickly relaxed though and I began to experience  100% physical comfort.  I noticed that the only thing I could hear was my heart beat and my breath.  I began noticing how slow my respirations were becoming. It was very strange to breath so little, and a few times my mind worried that I wasn't. But eventually the breath become comfortable.

The boundaries between my body and the water slowly dissolved.  I slowly felt my "self" slipping away. And I had the thought that being in the tank was like a temporary death.  That sounds scary, but it wasn't, not at all.

Prior to going in, I though that I might struggle with turning my thinking mind off laying in a tank for 45 minutes, but it wasn't difficult at all.  I've practiced meditation in the past and the tank was like taking a zip line to the best meditation experiences I've ever had. It took hardly anything to become present in away I've only had glimpses of before.

It seems to me that my ego and my thinking mind had left me.  There was still a "me" but It wasn't the same.  When I thought about things, like my family or lifting there as an abstract quality to it.  I 'felt' about them, rather than thought. 

And then the visualizations started.  I wouldn't call them hallucinations they were more like dreams, except they were dreams I had control over.  And I wasn't asleep.  I could also describe the feeling as an out of body experience, as it seemed I had left my body to play in my mind.  It was like  my brain became a playground of infinite possibilities.

Suddenly the soft music began to play signaling the end of the float. I got out of the tank I came back to reality.

I've been thinking about the experience since I got out of that tank and have some definite take a ways to share.

First of all, the sheer level of relaxation was phenomenal.  I'd 110% take the tank over a relaxation massage any day. Second of all if the tank has zero outside benefits (there are claims that there are many), the trip of it was totally worth it.  I've done my share of drugs in the past and this was better than most of my experiences.  Considering it requires no drug and there's no risks or side effects, how can it get any better than that. 

The biggest take away however lives with me now, after I have gotten out of the tank.  I am blown away by the power and mystery of the human brain. There is so much we don't know or understand.  I believe in the power of creation, how we create our own reality, but after this experience I believe even more strongly in the power of our mind to create our perceived reality.

I am also renewed in my beliefs that our egos, our thinking minds are an illusion.  That what is real, our authentic self, lives in the present moment.  From that place we are our most powerful selves.  All the feelings of not being good enough, all the little dramas of life, all the things we have or think we know have nothing to do with essence of who we are.

People ask me all the time, how I was able to make changes in my life.  Sometimes specifically in regards to losing weight and also in regards to the ability to love and accept myself.  The answer to those questions are multifaceted, but they all boil down to the fact that I was able to pull apart the thinking part of my brain, from the part of myself that is whole and connected.  With practice, I learned to live more from my authentic self, and as I did the other parts seemed to loose their power. 

I wish that I always lived from my "authentic self"  but that  just isn't the case.  My mind, my ego they suck me in all time (sometimes years at a time it seems.)  However now that I KNOW that I am not my thoughts or my fears or the negative voice in my head who tells me I am less than- I can never really forget.  Getting in that tank was a profound reminder of how much joy there is to be had when I am present and connected to that part of myself. That particular benefit of floating for me is invaluable.

As you can imagine, I will be floating again.  I am very curious to see how it will be the second time around.  I am wondering what will happen when I consciously choose to look at different areas of my life while in the tank.

I totally recommend giving the experience a try and if you do please let me know how it goes!!

Curious? Watch this documentary: http://youtu.be/nHnbKjQGhHw

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