A few weeks ago, I went into a float tank for the first time. It was pretty interesting. I had about 5 minutes of true relaxation back then. The rest of the time was spent getting used to being in this weird chamber, and with the thoughts of my by default racing mind. Today, I went back with Lowen and tried it again.
If you want to know more about what a float tank even is, probably best to read the first post first.
People had told me I needed to do it a few times at least to start really getting it. And it’s true. This second time was much better.
This time, I booked a 30-minute massage before floating. It was pretty good and I listened to a podcast while getting massaged. Massages in itself are amaaaaazingly meditating for me. That’s probably the biggest thing I miss being outside Asia, the abundance of massage shops and the low price means you can go pretty much every day.
After the massage, I walked into the float room.
Last time stepping into the float tank felt really irritated parts of my skin as the salt hurts wherever you have scratches and wounds. So this time, I put some vaseline on those spots. That helped a bit.
I also put yellow ear plugs in to avoid any sound getting in. Last time I sometimes still heard some stuff from outside the tank. This time, I was excited to be really deprived of ANY senses.
I switched off the light in the float room and entered the float tank. I laid down and as I was used to the experience I wasn’t really scared anymore. So instead of waiting for 10 mins, already after 1 minute I also turned off the light inside the tank.
First of all, I was about 10x less tense than last time. I think it was because the experience was new, but also as I was in a pretty stressed mental state. If your mind is ALREADY full of thoughts, it’s probably not going to help to enter a float tank at all. That’s why the massage helped. I also didn’t drink any coffee beforehand which also helped.
I still had lots of thoughts though. They were a bit more positive than last time and were more about planning my future and what to do with my business and what to make next etc. Those are fun thoughts for me.
After about 20 minutes I got the “bored” feeling again. I was like “oh god do I have to be here for an hour, no time for thhiiiiss sshiiiit”. I turned a bit in the water moving sideways and back.
My hands and arms felt unnatural as they floated next to my body with my palms down. So I moved them to support my neck. That felt better but meant I was very aware of supporting my neck. I moved them under me. Which felt good too but meant I kept feeling the floor of the tank.
The point here was NO SENSATIONS, so this didn’t work.
So then I tried to just put my hands next to my face with palms upwards. That worked amazingly. I looked kinda like I was doing a WAVE but inside a float tank. But it felt very relaxing. I kept my eyes open.
Then it happened. I entered the FLOAT STATE.
I had it last time for 5 minutes but this time it was way more intense. I entered some kind of optimal meditative relaxation state. My mouth opened in awe. The thoughts I just had before were suddenly cleared by this state. And I had some weird mental breakthroughs in these thoughts. It’s like suddenly I was overclocking my brain’s processor and could process my thoughts in overdrive and clear them up.
Removing negative thought patterns
It got crazier.
I was able to visualize one of the biggest repeating thought patterns in my head which related somewhat about age and what I’m supposed to do with my life. My life’s philosophy has been pretty much do whatever I think is fun but then you near age 30 and lots of people around you seem to be doing this scripted life (which is fine too). And you start stressing like “what the hell am I doing then”. But then you see lots of people (on the interwebs) think that what you’re doing is great too. So it’s like this weird pull and push. The point is that this stress about age and life became a obsessive negative anxiety fueled thought pattern in my head for years. It’s like I’m running out of time but to do what? I already do lots of shit.
So, I was able visualize this whole thought as a cone shaped grey object. I drew it, I know, it looks weird af:
And during this FLOAT STATE it just moved out of my head. Like I saw it moving out. I cleared it. After years. I saw it was there for years and I just removed it.
I remember this from doing mushrooms years ago. I was able to visualize the good and bad thoughts and put the bad thoughts in a bubble and push it away. Extremely similar to this.
The point of clearing this thought pattern was that I should just be dealing with what’s going on NOW, not what happened and not what’s going to happen. It doesn’t make sense.
I have no idea if this was all placebo. It didn’t feel like it. It felt really like I had a sort of extra level access to my mind. A lot like very deep meditation. Or like a very very deep conversation where stuff starts re-arranging in your mind.
It gets weirder.
I had other visualizations.
I got an extreme visual craving for fresh produce. Haha. Like really clean, organic vegetables. I felt I had to eat food that was good for my body. And there was this very clear argument made in my head that this good food is nutritious. It has substance. Unlike shitty processed fast food. Unlike alcohol and drugs that are just poison.
But it didn’t limit to food. My mind then moved to friendships. I saw how you have friends where you have a real bond with, like they’re in a way nutritious for your mind. And having friends that aren’t is like eating fast food, it’s bad for you and empty inside.
It went further. I thought about how we’re always thinking about sex. Everywhere I traveled, I encountered the rampant sex industry in each city. We all watch loads of porn. Our minds are racing about sex. We desire it. But we get it in the wrong ways. That was the feeling that I got. Most porn doesn’t have substance. Paying for sex doesn’t have substance. It’s empty shells. It’s fast food. It’s processed. It’s not real stuff. This desire is a desire for something empty. It’s like a dark empty void. Like fast food.
These are super captain obvious conclusions. And I don’t know why I thought them.
The point that kept coming back is that everything in your life needs to be substantial, as in literally filled with feeding substance. Either mental substance (people) or actual physical nutritious substance (food, drinks). And you should shy away from stuff that is empty. This seemed like a great point. It was almost as if it came from the deepest of myself, or maybe the universe. If there’s a difference. Who knows.
What’s interesting here is that these are pretty moralistic Christian values. And I’m definitely NOT Christian, and far from religious. It’s almost like I had some internal moral compass that was talking to me to only desire the good. I guess the point is that we all desire the wrong stuff and if we take too much of the wrong stuff we’ll go into a rabbit hole that’ll eventually kill us. Like desiring for the empty superficials shells of sex, parties, drugs and shitty food, it won’t fill us up inside with the good stuff. That this strikes with default religious values might explain where these values come from. They come from deep meditation. And what is like deep meditation? Prayer! Could it be?
People that go on psychedelic trips come back with similar conclusions “do good”, “we’re all connected”, “love your peers” etc. I go in a float tank, and I get similar stuff. And people in church say the same stuff.
But do I agree?
The funny thing is, I don’t even know if I agree rationally with these thoughts. I think porn is fine. I think (non-exploited) sex workers are fine. I think fast food is fine. I always kind of feel like “let everything go”. So this comes from a weiiiiird place.
I’m not spiritual. It’s probably just my brain cortex. Because what’s bad for procreation and family building? Hookers. Porn. Fast food. But it’s cool to see that. It’s probably instinctual. But yeah, it definitely felt like mushrooms without the hallucinations.
So anyway, that last half hour a lot of stuff re-arranged in my mind.
And the last minutes I just kinda lied there in probably one of the most relaxing and least tense moments of my life.
It was really great. And having been in the float state for about half an hour while being in the tank for an hour was a pretty good score.
I’d definitely recommend at least going twice. The first time I managed to hit about 10%, the second time I think 50%. It’s a very strong tool for meditation and clearing your mind of debris. Almost like vacuum cleaning your brain.
I floated for a third time where I visualized my future
P.S. I'm writing a book on bootstrapping startups called MAKE, which you can pre-order now. And I'm now on Instagram and Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my adventures. I don't use email so tweet me your questions.
My second time in a sensory deprivation chamber