Three Days In A Sensory Deprivation Tank

3-days-in-a-sensory-deprivation-tank

I was alone with my mind.

A mind that creates everything. It creates what I see, feel, smell, touch, taste. It creates the world around me, the people, things, and a physical sense of self. It creates emotions, feelings, and problems.

It creates “my” universe.

But for a brief moment that universe did not exist.

Just as it can create it, it can destroy it. There was no world, no people, no city, no time, not even me. There were no problems, emotions, feelings, senses.

For that brief moment I felt that nothing existed. It’s incredibly hard to grasp and describe looking back on it, but it was the most free moment of my life. I’d later be told that what I experienced was “it.”

 

Whoa heavy man, right?! Did that not blow your fucking mind? Are you sitting there in complete contemplation of your existence? No? Or are you sitting there thinking “okay Leddy drank a tub of LSD and has became a freakin hippy weird-o? Okay, okay, what am I talking about here?…

Last week I spent 3 consecutive days, one hour each day, inside a flotation tank (AKA isolation tank or sensory deprivation tank) Before I get into my experience with this, you’re probably asking what the hell is an isolation tank.

An isolation tank is a soundproof, lightproof tank that is controlled to minimize and basically deprive you of any sensations (5 senses). You are lying down in water that contains 1,000 pounds of epsom salt that give the water a silky soft touch and allows you to float on top of the water. The water is also the same temperature as the outside of your skin so after a few minutes of lying there, your body feels as if it’s floating.

You’ve probably heard the saying, if one of your 5 senses is lost or diminished, your other senses are heightened. But what if all your senses were diminished? What happens then?

Our brain is constantly working to process all of the sensations you deal with every second and so is always distracted. But with nothing to see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, the mind and body begin to relax in a way it never has.

This allows the mind to think more clearly, body and mind to heal faster, bring up suppressed thoughts and memories, and sometimes even hallucinate.

 Float

Just to be absolutely clear…this is not me

***Note – everyone experiences this differently. I’ve done this 5 times total and no 2 floats have been the same. I’ve heard various stories of other people experiencing everything from a relaxing 1 hour nap to people going with god on a mental journey through time and space and everything in between.

Day 1:

I walked into a small room just outside of where the tank is located. In front of me was a large sliding glass door that I opened to find what looked similar to a large bath tub that was about 6 feet wide and only about 1 foot deep. There is a light on the ceiling which is about 6 feet above you with a switch on the wall right next to you.

I felt a bit anxious as I slowly waded myself into the water. I laid back, and instantly floated to the top of the water, my body bobbing on top of the water like a buoy in the ocean.

After a couple minutes of getting myself comfortable I turned the light out and the room went pitch black. I laid my head back in the water and my ears dipped right below the water.

Lying in complete isolation, I started noticing all the sounds my body was making. My heartbeat was loud like a drum, my breath sounded like large gusts of wind whipping by. I could even hear myself blinking, which sounded like a loud camera shutter every time I opened and closed my eyes. I actually started laughing because of how loud my blinking was.

I soon felt a connectedness inside my body that I had never felt. My body felt suspended in the air like I was drifting through space. One of my worries going into this was feeling claustrophobic, but it felt the opposite, I felt like I was in limitless space, just floating.

From there my mind began to wonder. You know when you are “day dreaming” about someone or something to the point where you completely lose where you actually are? This happened to me, but far more intense then I’ve ever experienced.

I was maybe 3 years old wearing jean overalls pretending to play golf with my uncle behind the house I grew up in Westchester.

Then I was 5 years old sitting on the carpet of my kindergarten classroom with my classmates. I looked in a mirror and saw a kid with a giant mane of bleach blonde hair. I panned my view and vividly saw a couple of my old classmates I could remember.

And suddenly, I was back in the tank. In fact, I shook up a bit. I laid there again in the darkness and smiled at the brief moment of reliving my childhood.

When the float ended, which is signaled by light music playing in the tank, I turned on the light. I could barley move. My body felt so heavy, so relaxed, so weak, that it took a few minutes just to stand and get out. It felt like my entire body was made of jello.

The owner, Sam, sits you down with a cup of hot tea after and talks about your float. The first thing you realize upon leaving the tank is how stimulated your senses are. Everything was so bright, so vibrant, so colorful, sounds were loud and clear. It was like my senses had re-awakened after a long nap.

Walking down the busy streets of NYC after is a trip in itself. The city seemed to explode with sound and color. It was like I was experiencing the city for the first time.

NYC

The bright lights of Time Square were DAMN bright that day

Day 2: 

Day 2 was far different. I barley remember what happened.

I vaguely remember fading in and out of consciousness through out the entire hour.

All I remember is the feeling of muscles tightening then loosening. At one point I could feel all the individual knots and tensions in my body begin to loosen and unravel.

It felt as if hundreds of tiny hands were loosening the knots all over my body. I felt a mental and physical exhaustion that I had never felt and kept falling asleep.

When it was over and I had to leave the tank, I felt dead. I sat there for a few minutes with the lights on and just couldn’t move. I felt as if I weighed a thousand pounds.

I finally got up and walked. I felt such extreme exhaustion and actually felt depressed. I didn’t understand it, but I felt like I could not deal with anything, even just having a conversation with Sam or being awake sounded like too much work.

He explained to me that what I experienced in the tank was likely an extreme mental fatigue. My mind brought to light deep seeded problems that I suppressed that were so mentally exhausting that I feel asleep in the tank, but I couldn’t remember anything I thought about.

Coming out of an isolation tank can be like awakening from an intense dream.

You may remember the dream vividly for the first few minutes, but unless you right it down, you usually forget it shortly after. Or other times you’ll wake up not remembering your dreams at all.

And that is basically what happened to me in this float. Whatever I thought about or happened in there, my mind quickly blocked it out, but whatever it was, drained the hell out of me.

For the next couple hours I walked around zombie like. I got home and didn’t want to move from my bed. I was frustrated because I thought this experience would make me feel physically and mentally better. But this would all change on day 3.

Day 3:

If day 1 + 2 was astronaut training then Day 3 is the day I went to the fucking moon.

Very shortly after entering the tank. I immediately felt my body and mind become more alive. By the third day your body and mind have become used to the sensory deprivation so it’s easier to “jump right in” so to speak.

I felt like my body was more alive than it had ever been. As I laid there, it felt like every cell in my body was becoming more alive and vibrant with my every breath. It then began to feel like my body was expanding and becoming larger. I felt inflated, like I was 10 feet tall, and my body was radiating with life.

I was later told I experienced what’s known as cellular breathing. Where you are so in tune with your body that your breathing flows through every part of your body.

Near the end of my float something happened.

For some reason so many problems, anxieties, and issues flooded my mind. Past problems, current issues, and future anxieties crashed through my mind like a storm.

They were so loud and I became so frustrated. “Why can’t I just enjoy this?” I thought. “Why can’t I just shut my mind the fuck up and just be happy?” “Why am I am I always fucking worrying about something?”

“What problems even exist right now?!”

That question stopped everything.

I said it again. “What problems exist in this moment?”

Suddenly, nothing existed. In that moment there was nothing. No problems, no worries, no past, no future, no world outside, no people, there was just that moment.

Consciously I knew a world outside of that room was still occurring, but for me I realized that I create everything I experience, and so for me, there was only that moment, and nothing outside of it existed.

It’s incredibly hard to describe and writing about it doesn’t do it justice, but for the first time in my life I truly saw how powerful the mind is. (I actually recorded my conversations with Sam where we talk and describe this further, so if you’d like to hear it in more detail for better clarity, message me)

The moment was probably no more then 15 seconds, but it was the most amazing and eye opening moment of my life. I felt god like. I saw just how much I create my world. How much I create my own suffering, my own reality, and can choose how to live and see everything. How nothing exists outside of this moment and how I choose to make it exist.

For a few years now I have learned and understood the concept of being in the “now.”

How we often live in the past, making us suffer, be sad or angry, or we live in the future, which makes us anxious and worried, but never truly live in the moment. But understanding something doesn’t always make it easier to experience it. And for me, that was the first time I ever truly experienced it.

Shortly after experiencing this moment, the float was over and I realized I had a huge smile on my face. In fact, I started laughing and I couldn’t stop.

I sat down to drink my tea with Sam and still kept smiling and laughing. I kept thinking, “I’m creating all of this.”

I’m creating this room, these sounds, the way this tea taste, the way I feel, the thoughts in my head, I am even creating Sam sitting by me asking why I’m smiling so much.

People talk about how you “create your own reality,” but the first time I actually experienced and saw what it means to create your own reality, and it was really an indescribable moment of peace and clarity.

This euphoria probably only lasted another 30 minutes after leaving before feeling back to my “normal” self.

I wanted to stay in that moment forever.

I shortly went back to my warring mind of past and present, but now I have a new understanding, that with practice I (and anyone else) have the ability to create and live any reality you want.

Ready, Fire, Aim

ready-fire-aim

Before I quit my job I didn’t think a lot about it, what I’d do next, what might happen, I just knew I wanted to quit. Before I asked out this girl I liked, I didn’t take time to think about if she’d like me back, if it’d work out in the long run, I just knew I wanted ask her out. Before I decided to travel the world, I didn’t take time to think about all the different things that may happen, I just knew I wanted to travel. Even before I started this blog, I didn’t take time to worry about what people might think, what might become of it, I just knew I wanted to write and help others.

Usually we fail before we even give ourselves the opportunity to fail.

We think about doing something that we want to do, but shortly after the initial excitement of thinking about what we want to go after, our mind immediately begins to race and think about the possible things that could go wrong and reasons to NOT do it.

Internally we start playing out all the different outcomes of our upcoming decision in our head, and usually almost all of them are negative.

By the time it is ready to take action, we’re paralyzed with fear and anxiety because of all that might go wrong by going after what we want. In our heads we’ve now made up a million excuses why we shouldn’t do, that all sound very reasonable.

No matter how big or small the thing we wanted is, we’ve turned it into a monster and back away from it before even trying.

overthink

Introduce: Ready, Fire, Aim

The concept of ready, fire, aim is the moment we know we want something, we need to go after it as soon as possible, before we overthink it, and then you can figure it out along the way. The point of it is to act before we allow our mind to stop us from what we want.

We fail before we even try because we spend too much time “aiming.”

Too much time thinking about it, trying to plan it all out, overanalyzing it, weighing out all the outcomes, questioning it, putting it off until later, waiting for the right time, and then it never happens.

When you find something or someone that you want, you need to act on it fast. The more time that you take, the more time you allow your mind to make up excuses, make up failed potential outcomes, to convince you you shouldn’t even try.

Ready.

So first, just make sure you are ready to take that first step. Ask yourself “do I want this?” if the answer is a confident “fuck yes,” then go. That’s it.

Getting ready should be extremely quick, just doing the bare minimum to take that first step.

In the dating industry this is known as the 3 second rule. It means if you see someone you want to talk to you have 3 seconds to do it before you start making up all the reasons not to approach them. After that, you likely never will.

Fire.

Just go. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in your limiting thoughts, just go as soon as possible. Even if you have no idea how you will continue from there. Just take that first step.

It’s just that simple, yet it can still be very scary and difficult.

In that moment (and even after) your mind will still begin racing telling you stop, not to do it, running all sorts of failed scenarios through your head. But now you’ve already got the ball rolling, which is half the battle.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 3.49.45 PM

He decided to ask. He walked up to the random women, terrified. Everything in your body is telling you ‘just go the fuck home and jerk off, don’t do this.’ But he walked up and said ‘hi’.”

Whenever you make a decision to do something outside of your comfort zone your mind will try to stop you. That is why going after it before letting yourself think too much about it is so huge.

Aim.

So now you’re off and running. You’ve gotten through one of the hardest parts, which is just taking that first step. You probably still have lots of worries and fears. You may not even fully know what the fuck you are doing or what the next step might be, but that is fine. Figure it out as you go. Going after what you want in life, especially if it’s something you’ve never done, will always be nerve racking.

After quitting my job I was fucking terrified. I thought “what have I done, why did I do that, what will I do next, that was nuts.” After asking that girl out, I was nervous, I wasn’t sure what would become of it. After deciding to travel, I freaked out, I didn’t know how I could do all that alone. After starting this blog, I worried what people would think of me, if I’d actually be able to help anyone.

I had not a clue what would become of any of these decisions, and still don’t for some of them, but I knew I wanted them, and possibly would have not done some of them if I allowed myself to “aim” too long and overthink.

Richard Branson said “If you someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”

You may still fail and it may still not work out. But at least you got to the point of actually failing, instead of just failing in your mind. Now you will know how to do it better next time. And you’ll discover how much more you are capable of.

A Guide To NOT Punching People (And Maybe Even Liking Them)

Motion blurred pedestrians on zebra crossing

You are walking down the crowded streets. Everyone shuffling along like herds of cattle with you among them. People all around you talking, yelling, bumping you, racing past you.

There are thousands of people all around you and yet you notice none of them. They are simply a backdrop to you. Why? Because you are so wrapped up in your own thoughts, what is going on in your head, where you need to go, what you are doing, your problems and worries.

You feel annoyed at all the people around you. They are nothing more then a disruption to the endless play going on in your mind. Everyone around is just background noise, talking, yelling, laughing. Someone bumps into you. Gets in YOUR way, interrupts YOUR thoughts, disrupts YOUR mental dialogue with yourself. You think about how that person is inconsiderate of you, is an asshole, maybe you even want to punch that person.

Rarely do you see other people around you as anything more then an obstacle in your way.

Your daily problems, thoughts, issues, worries, and desires are all infinitely louder and seem more important then anything or anyone around you. This is how I used to suffer walking through the streets of NYC and how many people suffer everyday.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was actually the cause of a lot of my anger and anxiety. And of course I didn’t realize it because I was too caught up in all the bullshit going on in my head. It wasn’t I met a Buddhism teacher who opened me up to world outside of my mind. And man, what a better world it is.

Why are we like this?

Simply put, you’re selfish. And it’s understandable.

Everything in your life happens from your perspective.

Everything you experience happens from your point of view. It happens in front of you, behind you, next to you, through your eyes, what you see, your thoughts and interpretations, your senses, your mind.

So it’s natural that we are so selfish. It is also easy to see why other people piss us off so much. People appear to get in your way, disrupt your thoughts, what you are doing, and are more often viewed as obstacles rather then fellow humans. We criticize, judge, scold, and label others.

Ok, so now that I have you thinking your a self-centered selfish human, what do you do about it? Or some may be asking, “why should I do something about it?”

Looking outside yourself:

First off, I hate to take away from your “unique” sense of self, but your problems, suffering, worries, anger are NOT unique or special.

Everyone around you is fighting a fight in their mind that you know nothing about it.

99 problems

Almost everyone walking down that street is also wrapped up in their own minds, warring with their own similar problems the same way you are, but on the flip side, they are viewing you as the obstacle in their way. (Now who’s the asshole in the way, right?)

Intro the concept of “Be the healer”

A powerful concept that I learned that not only made me less anxious, angry, and annoyed at people around me, but actually had me happy and smiling at people around me, is called “be the healer.”

I know, i know, it may sound like some hippy, “lets all hold hands and love one another” crap, but this concept is amazing and had a huge impact on my level of happiness, helped with my anxiety, and own mental issues tremendously when it came to being around crowds of people.

Wether you know it or not, most of your suffering comes from your dislike or annoyance of other people around you and not of yourself. You say to yourself “people are mean, people are selfish, no one understands me and my problems, no one knows what I’m going through.”

People around you make you angry and anxious, which causes your suffering and negativity. So if we can feel good about everyone around us, we will feel good and positive ourselves. ***Mind explosions***

mind blown

The weirdest mind explosion GIF I could find

So if you really want to be different, unique, and happier (wild concept, I know) look at and feel the pain of others around you.

What am I talking about and how do you do this?

First, get out of your head and your own mental story.

When you are walking down the street, be present. Notice everyone around you, look at each individual that passes you by. I mean actually look at them. Look at their facial expressions, the way they carry themselves, how they walk, look them straight in the eyes and see them, smile at them (seriously).

Feel your connectedness with everyone around you. Feel their problems, their pain, their anger, their worries and anxiety (they all have them too).

Realize their problems are not so different then yours. Realize these people are not your enemy, they are not obstacles, in fact, they are your key to happiness.

This was a bit weird and uncomfortable for me at first and may be for many of you, but it gets easier and easier with practice.

The first thing I noticed when doing this is how pissed off, in pain, stressed, or worried most people around me really looked. I could really see people’s minds going frantic by their facial expressions and way they carried themselves.

Watch as you suddenly start viewing people less as objects and obstacles and more like fellow humans. Once you can see people as fellow humans, that have similar problems, pains, and struggles to you, you will feel calmer and happier around others because you no longer see them as objects.

My favorite experiences with this is a few times I’d be walking by someone who I could see was very caught in their mind. I would catch eyes with them, smile looking directly at them, and it’s like that person suddenly snapped out of a trance and came back to reality, usually smiling back. Watching that exact moment someone gets out of their own mental battle and connect back to reality is quite a cool thing to see.

Through out this, you may catch yourself wondering back into your head and back into your problems. That is okay. When you notice that, just re-direct your focus on everyone else.

Also realize that some days it will be easier to do this then other days. Some days this will be  difficult.

You may wake up after a lousy sleep, hungover, late for work, your boss yelled at you, your significant other is bitching about something you don’t understand, your neighbor’s dog shit on your lawn AGAIN, and the last thing you have in you is any amount of sympathy or positive feelings toward the human race.

Kanye

Kanye just aint in the mood to deal with people’s shit today

That is okay. BUT, and this is very important, you need to observe these negative feelings as they arise.  As you are walking down the street and these negative feelings arise (anger, anxiety, worry, whatever) notice them. Don’t judge yourself, label them, or get frustrated that you have these feelings. Dont fight these feelings or lie to yourself that you feel great.

Often times people will think “damnit I have been so good lately and now I have the urge to kick everyone in the teeth, I just can’t do this crap.” But don’t let yourself become consumed by this, just allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling, shine a light on it, observe the feeling and then try to focus your attention outwards.

This may all sound a bit strange and awkward, but this had more of a positive impact on me than I could have thought.

Try and let me know how it worked for you!