I booked a session in a sensory deprivation salt tank recently as a unique and trippy thing to do with a friend that was in town. I was able to expand my consciousness, communicate with those no longer physical, and have other experiences that words fail to describe…in 45 minutes.
Prior to the experience, I was nervous. Every time I would think of the appointment, I would receive a surge of adrenaline-tinged anxiety that I was going to get trapped in the tank. So I made the appointment with a friend in the idea that I would no longer have that fear.
What I did not count on was that while the fear of being trapped was gone, a nameless fear had took its place. This was worse, because I couldn’t devise a strategy on how to deal with a fear that had no name.
The day of the tank session arrived and it all seemed quite simple. Get naked, rinse, get in the tank, close your eyes, and someone would knock when your hour was up. There is no light allowed in the tank. There is 800 lbs. of salt water at 92 degrees F put into the tank until there is 10 inches of water. You wear ear plugs to block the salt and sound. The door lays over the opening so you are never locked in. There are a couple of breath holes, it’s all very simple and straight-forward.
And yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was getting into a coffin. Luckily Oliver was there. I knew he would go into the tank, love it, and be telling me how cool it was after. This teaches me that social pressure is a good motivator for me.
I get in the tank and shut the door. I figure, just go balls to the walls and everything will work out great. I am immediately disorientated, thrashing around a little. Salt gets in my eye, that starts hurting. I have no idea which was is out and I get really nervous. Repeatedly stabbing my arm in the air, I find the door and open it and dab my eyes to get the damn salt out.
At this point, I had no idea I would be having a full-blown conversation with my physically deceased relatives.
I climb back in.
I decide to keep my eyes closed at first. The support of the salt water gives the impression of lying on a waterbed. I find that I am keeping my neck tight, not fully able to relax my head back. I climb back out of the tank and regroup.
I picture telling Oliver that I couldn’t get comfortable in the tank and feel ridiculous.
I climb back in.
When my arms are put above my head, lying on the water’s surface, my neck elongates and my head rolls back. I feel the water ebb to mid forehead. Finally, I feel very supported and I relax. The water is forming the world’s most perfect mattress. Am I feeling sleepy right now? I feel myself gently start to tumble forward. The sensation of tumbling picks up speed, like I am constantly on the crest of a roller coaster or ferris wheel, just as the descent downward starts.
I think to myself, “this is kind of freaky, I am falling while I am dreaming”, then realize I’m in the tank…I had completely forgot. The falling sensation continues and as I become more aware I’m in the tank, I open my eyes to…nothing, because it’s pitch-black. That freaks me out, and I open the door to the tank.
This time out of the tank I berate myself internally. Something trippy was starting to go on, and if I could have stuck with the falling, maybe I would have had an out of the body experience!
I climb back in.
I lay back, put my hands above my head, and decide to keep my eyes closed and just enjoy the float. The falling sensation ensues, and I decide to enjoy it. Isn’t it funny how when you make up your mind to enjoy something, the entire experience can change? All I did was change my internal view of a physical sensation, and then…
Expanded consciousness ensued. The sense of the boundary of what made up me and what I sensed was my body was suddenly huge. The tank seemed to grow to an Olympic-sized swimming pool. My awareness was the size of the Olympic-sized pool, and the entire building inside and out that contained the “swimming pool”.
What I am calling my awareness I would equate to the area that someone thinks and feels at any one time. When reading, my awareness is normally just on the words that I am reading in my mind, and the area in my brain they are being read, and possibly also off in some “virtual workspace” where I am contemplating the ideas and words I am reading at the same time.
Sometimes, such as in meditation or qigong or something physical, my awareness expands to the confines of my physical body more or less.
When I use Kurt Leland’s energy body sensing techniques, my awareness expands into the energy body I am focusing my perception on.
In the sensory deprivation tank, I could sense, feel, think, and literally be, some type of energetic area that felt the size of a building that would hold an Olympic-size swimming pool. (Let me Google and find a pic of the outside of an Olympic size swimming pool and paste below).
The expanded awareness sensation is really cool. It opens the doorway to considering that you might be more than just your physical body…which is always a good thing to remind yourself about. What happened started out very indiscreetly, and if I had not had a lot of practice, I might have missed it.
I began to notice my hands. Not my hands floating in the tank over my head, but another set of hands I was looking at, in my mind. I’m looking at them, and I see that there is a table setting below them. My visual perception begins to open up, and I see an elaborate dinner table set for 8 people with a very decorative fall theme. Oranges and browns, multiple courses, fancy stemware, etc., and I realize the style of the table settings, and the placement of the table seems familiar.
A very strong smell of ham is in the air. At that point my Aunt, who transitioned from physical when I was around 10, is smiling in her kitchen. I’m looking over at her no differently than if I were looking at any physical person in their physical kitchen.
I start to doubt this immediately, and then a wall to the right of the kitchen becomes a wall of Encyclopedia Britannica’s. Aunt Gerry had a very decorative set of hard cover Encyclopedia Britannica’s that I used to spend hours reading.
“Between the ham and the encyclopedias and the fancy dinner table, you would realize it was me.” She said. Only it was not spoken and heard in the typical fashion that someone talks and hears. She had smiled at me, I recognized her, and then that thought was immediately in my head in her voice.
I went over to hug her, not sure how this transportation occurred, did I virtually walk over there, float, who knows? The resulting hug had me crying in the sensory tank in a happy way.
As the embrace ended, my grandfather who had passed appeared. He was smiling his trademark smirk/smile with a mischievous sparkle in his eye. We shared an embrace that was powerful…I highly recommend hugging people in expanded awareness, it is incredible.
We had a fast paced exchange of conversation that again, much like with my Aunt, was some kind of thought transference that I could hear and understand as though it was a conversation. A conversation in the physical world involves someone speaking, the other hearing, and the person hearing thinking about and/or digesting the information in the words. Here in expanded-awareness-speak, all 3 happen at once seemingly.
I wish I could relay thought for thought what happened, but maybe all that matters is the intent of our conversation. I was told to have more fun with the challenges I have in life, and to not create or believe that some of my goals are so difficult when they are really simple. Maybe someone out there reading this can relate to that?
The kitchen scene with my grandfather and aunt disappeared and I had this additional otherworldly experience that reinforced the message and intent my grandfather conveyed. But that is for another blog post.
Even if I hadn’t experienced expanded consciousness and communication with transitioned family, the feeling AFTER the floatation tank was worth the float. I felt this wonderful mix of blissed out relaxation and a buzzy high, to the point where I was giggling for no reason and slurring words on occasion. The core, deep relaxation I felt in my body was better than any super deep massage I had ever had. I did not feel safe driving home!
This sensation slowed down the outside world and made it seem like I was watching a very amusing play that I was also taking part in. It lasted until the next day.
It’s safe to say that I am a fan of sensory deprivation tanks. If you are in Chicago, hit up the place I went, SpaceTime floatation tanks. I should also mention that they appear to have some anti-aging properties also. The lady that co-owns the Chicago location looks about 28 years old but told me she is a lot older than that.
What do you think of my sensory deprivation tank experience?
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