I can remember it like yesterday; it was a good few years back when I was finding out about this strange and intriguing new concept of sensory deprivation and float tanks for the first time. A very close friend of mine had begun working in a float centre and I awoke one morning to find a message from him in my inbox inviting me to come down and try it out. My initial reaction of confusion and ignorance on the subject soon turned to anxiety and bewilderment when I discovered crawling into this dark and mysterious space to be alone with myself and my thoughts for a full ninety minutes. I can remember thinking “why would anyone want to do that!?”. “Deprived of my senses!? Won’t I lose my mind!?”. “There’s no way I can be in that kind of environment, I’ll definitely panic”. Low and behold, my worries couldn’t have been any more misinformed. For starters, this was one of my best friends in the whole wide world trying to get me to do this for my own benefit. Surely he would only be looking out for my best interests, not wanting to torture me. Even still, I can still recall being in the car heading down the freeway feeling rather tense and apprehensive about what I was getting myself into. Luckily for me, I had two other friends that would be floating at the same time, so that I wouldn’t have to forge ahead on my own. Upon arriving at the float centre, my nerves eased a bit when my pal Michael sat us down for some tea and a pre-float briefing. Since it was a brand new idea for me, I really didn’t have too many preconceived notions about what the experience would entail. It was good to have someone I felt comfortable around and trusted to reassure me that it would all be fine and that I was fully in control of my situation. Better yet, one of the other friends in our group had floated once before so there was a good mix of complete rookies, and a few who had some prior experience.
I might also note here that at this point in my life, I had a lot going on. I was struggling with self-image, confidence, anxiety and depression, and generally neglecting my wellbeing as the stress of poor lifestyle habits was starting to mount its grip. Often times we’re so wrapped up in what’s going on in our own lives that it isn’t until the ones close to us step in that we realise there’s a problem or that we might not be handling said problem(s) in a healthy fashion to begin with. A good friend will recognise when this is happening and help steer us back on course in these types of situations.
Though there were some preliminary challenges inside of the float tank, the vast majority of it far exceeded anything I had conjured up in my imagination in a very positive way. I felt myself let go of the fears I had, fully and properly relax, and really experience quite a healing and transformative experience. Perhaps the best part of all of this though, was that I had my closest friends to help me interpret and process this experience. To emerge from the float tank and to walk out into a room full of smiling faces of some of the people I hold most dear, only solidified how impactful of an experience it really was.
For the next two and a half hours, we sat on the sofa drinking tea and sharing what had gone on in the void of the float tank. I found it so helpful to have a second and third perspective and insight on some of the things that popped up during the session. Better yet, to have direct feedback, suggestions, and support from people who know me best helped me retain so much more from my float than if I had tried to sift through it completely alone. While the float tank is an extremely personal experience and part of the aim is to foster a better understanding of, and relationship with yourself, having someone that’s close to you with whom you can share these deeper experiences with can provide integral in helping you find greater understanding and connections. Who would have thought that being alone in the dark for an hour would help form such strong bonds with one another!? You’ll just have to grab a friend and find out for yourself!
26th November 2018