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.
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.
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.
The bright lights of Time Square were DAMN bright that day
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.
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.