When I first heard about Sensory Deprivation tanks, I was instantly intrigued. I recall a time I spent hours reading and watching videos about people’s experiences, enticed by stories of self-reflection, relaxation and euphoria. Most people seek thrills, in this instance I was chasing a calm
Though I didn’t quite embrace the full experience the first time I tried floating one year ago (had too much caffeine before the float, was unsure how to keep steady in the water, left the room lights dimmed which seeped a teeny bit of colour into what should be a pitch black tank,) I still felt very chilled afterwards. I didn’t quite take a psychedelic journey into my own mind like I expected, but I was still happy with giving it a try and knew I’d be down to do it again.
My second float, however, blew me away. Although the opportunity arose on a whim, I felt more prepared and open minded going in. First walking in to Float Sense I felt pretty similar vibes as the last time. I was greeted by a chilled out Randy who co-owns the place with Craig (whom I met the first time.) Again, I was shown the ropes. I told Randy about a problem I had last time, splashing around in the tank. He recommended me the gem technique (very important for first timers) of spreading my body until the palms and soles of my feet were against the walls of the tank. Hold in position until you find yourself balanced and then very slowly bring your arms and legs slightly more in. This quickly helped me find balance more smoothly this time around.
It takes a few minutes to let yourself go within the tank, body and mind. But once you finally do, it’s just you and your thoughts. My body’s temperature started to blend with the water. Soon, self reflection began.
Interesting questions started to go through my head as I lay in silence. I imagined what it would be like to freely surf the galaxy, completely demagnetized from gravity’s pull. I compared it to how I felt in the tank. In those moments the two experiences seemed one in the same. I was floating in a spacious abyss. I thought about the changing times and wondered what it was like being a part of this world hundreds to thousands of years ago. What was it like to build the pyramids? What was it like to roam with dinosaurs? What is the world like through the eyes of an insect? Maybe I once knew these answers, for my body could simply just be a vessel for my aged and ever-living soul, constantly changing through rebirth.
“Who am I right now?” I wondered. “Who do I want to be?” There was a fair-sized gap between the two, but I found comfort in feeling like I’m on a rocky yet right path. I looked at my progressions from last year and want to continue building upon that, growing past moments I feel I’m being knocked back a step. Learn my lessons, thicken my skin.
At one point, it felt like I was watching a very faint visualization within the blackness of the tank. I wasn’t sure if I was actually seeing something or if it was just my imagination, there was a blue hue in front of me. It flickered at times and at others it almost looked like I was lying at the bottom of the ocean, watching waves dance at the surface. I feel like I’ve seen similar colour visualizations before when I was nearing a dream state or having a headrush. As mentioned, it was a very faint, almost non-existent visualization, but apparent. It was an intense little portion of the float experience, I was extremely alert and interested in what was going on.
After some more self-reflection, calming music elevated. The float was over. I very slowly exited the tank. Normally a very fast-moving individual, I found myself taking my time with every little step I took. A shower has never felt so soothing.
When I opened the room door, natural light shined in very brightly through the windows. I had another small conversation with Randy before making my leave. There was a business-y looking man sitting outside, we shared eye contact and a gentle hello. It’s always great to have nice little moments with friendly strangers, even if it’s only a nod and a smile.
As I walked back to the skytrain reminiscing about the experience, I was alert and care-free. It felt like I was really absorbing the world around me, every little sound was picked up, there was strong clarity of mind. I felt positively content and was happy about it. It was almost kind of strange re-entering reality, but in a good way. I felt a little bit different, but a comfortable different.
Would recommend, will definitely do it again. Just keep in mind that everyone’s mind works differently and with floating being such a mental serenade, it’s best not to go in with any kind of expectation or hope of a certain outcome. The event will unfold how it’s meant to for you as long as you’re accepting of it. Embracing each moment as it is instead of getting caught up in what you think it could or should be. In my opinion you will develop a greater experience. Open heart, open mind – it’s how life should be lived tbh.