My First Time in a Sensory Deprivation Tank

Isolation tanks, sensory deprivation tanks, or float tanks are enclosed bathtubs filled with salt water warmed to your body temperature. It’s like the Dead Sea: there’s so much salt in it that you float. Once you close the tank, it is pitch black. The room is soundproof and you have ear plugs in, so you can’t hear anything.

The only input you have is your consciousness.

The introspection part of float tanks appealed to me. Having conviction in everything I do helps me get through the day-to-day. I always take the chance to look deeper inside.

When I first went inside the tank, I had a lot of trouble letting go. The salt water went over sores and scratches and it burned a bit. My neck was really stiff from day-to-day stress; and also from worrying that if I loosen my neck, my head would be too deep in and I’ll get Satan’s semen in my eyes.

Eventually, I was able to fully let go and be able to enjoy my body not being so tense. It was interesting that there wasn’t any difference between closing my eyes and keeping them up. Both acts led to pitch black.

The experience of floating in an isolation tank is one-of-a-kind. I’ve never felt weightlessness before. It’s fun to imagine myself floating in the cosmos.

Inputs

It’s beneficial to not be bombarded by inputs all the time. Sometimes when my mind has idle time, I would use it to check social media because FOMO and I want to be always consistently learning. It is important to have true idle time for my brain to process all the information I gather day-to-day, decompress, and make connections between ideas.

Humans are mostly deterministic in their behavior. The majority of our actions are motivated by the past. The more inputs I receive from the world, the fuzzier my true intentions get. There is a clear path and there are goals I want to strive towards, but I am constantly distracted by meaningless things.

Waking up at 430am every morning appealed to me because of how peaceful it is. It is the only time where I truly have time to myself because there’s nothing else going on.

Past Trauma

If you’re still having an emotional reaction to an event that happened to you at least 18 months ago, you’re not over it. It’s because your brain still hasn’t fully processed:

  • What led to the event happening
  • What was the event
  • What happened after the event
  • What could you take away from the event?

Until it’s processed, the trauma is a weight that burdens you with every interaction you make with others.

I started thinking about when I was born, then pre-school, then K-3, then 4–6. I felt like revisiting these memories were like ripping a band aid. It was interesting to find out that I still had an attachment those times.

I thought about the past relationships I’ve had. I was processing my thoughts more rationally than usual. It was as if I was looking at these thoughts from a third-person perspective. This part of the float was very uncomfortable mentally. But this was what I signed up for.

Self-Esteem

On the flip side, I thought about times when I felt great about myself. I’ve always had a natural curiosity for people and a penchant for social environments. The times when I was happiest was when I was self-validated in my worth. I was unabashed in expressing myself, and allow others to do the same.

Over time, I’ve become more introverted as I “adulted up” and focused solely on my career. I became more sensitive to other people’s opinions of me. As a result, I’ve stifled myself in my interactions with others because I was too self-conscious that I would be turning them off in some way.

Caring about the approval of others and attaching myself to cynical people knocked the winds out of my sails.

I’ve recently had trouble feeling good about myself. But the tank gave me a good starting point to work from.

My mind was going at a good pace sorting itself out, but my 90-minute session ended.

It felt like it ended abruptly. I could definitely go for a two to three hour float.

The act of re-adjusting to the world quieted my mind. I enjoyed my shower and mindfully got dressed. I had to take a few minutes in my car to enjoy the peace of mind.

On my drive back home, a car to my right cut me off and made a 3 lane pass. If I didn’t brake, I could’ve t-boned him. How I would’ve reacted initially was, “that fucking retard”. But my actual reaction was, “Whoa, that was close. Eh.” The emotion of distraught came well after the event, but it went away instantly. I felt at ease and accepting of conditions. The last time I felt this at peace with the world was after a one hour guided meditation session in Santa Barbara.

I’m definitely going to float again very soon. I felt like I was reaching the peak of my float state right when it ended. I definitely spent a good 15–30 minutes trying to get myself used to the tank, so I think the next float will be a lot more productive.