Walking around the world at large, there is a constant influx of stimuli. Sights, sounds and colour – we are constantly barraged by the multifarious, often beautiful and sometimes distressing multitudes of sensory data. Sometimes, when walking around either without having had a chance to close your eyes, or after having been shut off for a while, you begin to notice exactly how loud (both visually and aurally) the world really is.
You have to wonder, then, what it would be like for our minds to be denied this constant barrage of sensory information. How, exactly would the brain react? What sort of experience would a sudden relief be? This happened to be one of the things I was curious about. An opportunity to enter a floatation tank at Float Culture presented itself, and I, with a little bit of trepidation and with some curiosity fueled excitement, entered one of what has in the past been called a sensory deprivation chamber.
What I found once I entered, after the initial adjustment, was a very unique and positive experience. Much has been said about the vast benefits of meditation. Meditation, in essence, is an exercise whereby one observes their mind and body in isolation from the distractions of the outside world. It takes sustained practice to achieve this.
What I found a floatation tank does is to expedite this slow process. It does not take long for your mind to adapt to the lack of stimuli, and meditatively, start automatically looking within itself. Practically, this presents itself as a very relaxing experience whereby you don’t even notice the passing of time.
Theoretically, this is quite similar to a state achieved by long-time deep meditators. Without an external world to conjure up sensations or feelings in your mind, your mind is free to conjure up the same from within – and when it does this, in a way similar to how an overfilled glass will start spilling water, a mind affected by constant stimuli will start relieving and healing itself.
The incredibly relaxed and positive state of mind is immediately appreciable after a float – after my one float, I spent a considerable time just “floating” in a way, going about my day. Sustained floating practice, I would imagine, would enable this relaxed state of mind to be sustained for longer periods of time.
All in all, both the time spent inside the tank and that spent outside after, are incredibly positive experiences. Our minds need relief – floatation tanks are, essentially, simple effective quick ways of achieving much needed meditative states.
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