In Brighton England myself and my girlfriend Melanie had our first memorable sensory deprivation tank experience.
Modern society provides sensory over-stimulation
In modern society sensory over-stimulation is the norm. Our minds are always processing and interpreting the many visuals, and sounds of everyday life. The high levels of which would not be present in a natural environment.
The amount of information modern human senses have to process is tremendous. In relation to the tribesmans senses it would be something like senses on cocaine, D-bol, and speed combined.
Natural environments allow the senses to rest as the amount of information to process is far less.
We were curious to find out what it would be like if some our senses had not only less information to process, but no information to process.
This led us to discover the sensory deprivation tank.
Sensory deprivation tank???
We arrived at the healing center shortly after mid day and the assistant was enthusiastic to show us the two types of sensory deprivation tank the center boasted.
The first was a traditional tank also known as a float pod. It sounds like something from a science fiction movie and it’s resemblance didn’t disappoint. Imagine an escape pod used during an evacuation following a spaceship collision.
The second was dubbed the float cabin. The float cabin resembled a vault or chamber. It was around 6 foot in height and looked as one might imagine an elites safe to look, minus the possessions.
With the exception of the shallow ground water heavily mixed with Epsom salts and the array of LED lights on the ceiling posing as stars, it was deprived of everything else.
The assistant advised us the float cabin was far less claustrophobic so it would be our safest option seeing as we were float virgins. It also meant we could float together.
The sensory deprivation Journey begins
Following a brief shower we entered the chamber fully nude. The doors closed behind us. I turned off the LED lights making it pitch black so we could have a true sensory deprivation experience.
Without sight we tentatively led back allowing our ears to sink below the water line. It was comfortable to say the least.
The watery pillow supported our heads and cradled our floating bodies.
The first thing that I noticed was my complete lack of vision. Everything was in total darkness.
Secondly how sound had been completely muted. Two of my strongest senses were now absent and a third being unusable. I didn’t feel like tasting the Epsom salts. Only the sense of touch and smell remained.
I had been stripped of my prominent ways in which I perceive reality. It was surreal and intriguing.
My eyes are burning
As I began to relax I was aware of how fast my heart was beating. I had been practicing some fairly strenuous movement prior to the float and my heart was still racing as a result.
It also felt as though not enough oxygen was getting to my brain leaving me devoid of clarity. I started to take deeper breaths to loosen up.
After a very short period of time (ten minute perhaps) I rubbed my eye. I had completely forgotten that I was partially submerged in Epsom salts.
It stung like a lemon. I began to make groans of discomfort. After I told Melanie what had happened her laughs echoed throughout the darkness.
I was forced to leave the chamber to wash the my eyes in the shower. Anyone who uses a sensory deprivation tank must remember this rule. Don’t rub your face. A newbie mistake.
Luckily the sting subsided pretty quickly and I was able to return to the float.
Sensory Deprivation Tank Round 2
I began my second attempt at bliss. For a little while my mind was still focusing on the very recent stinging event.
As I began paying attention to my breathing these thoughts quickly subsided. With every breathe life was becoming more tranquil.
I relaxed knowing there was nowhere I needed to be and nothing I needed to do.
My body floated around like a seagull on the ocean. Soon enough I wasn’t aware of my limbs. It was difficult to perceive where I ended and the water began. I was water.
My mind began to drift as time went on. I became the observer watching from a far and then nothing. Black hole oblivion in the serenity sense of the word.
I was there but I wasn’t. I was had temporarily transcended time and space. Fully immersed in the experience.
And then a tap on the window and the all to human voice of “session finished” dragged me back to the present reality.
The After Glow
After another brief shower we got clothed and left the center.
The sounds and the sights of the city were more intense than usual. Everything appeared more vibrant and sounds were more crisp.
To put it simply we were more present. We headed for the beach enjoying our lasting calm. We discussed our individual experiences.
Although our rest from gravity and sensory input had ended we both felt a sense of stillness that remained throughout the rest of the day. That night I slept like a baby remembering the serenity of the float.