All I have to do is float in the tank? Is it completely dark in there? Is the water warm? What if I start to freak out? All of these questions ran through my mind as I embarked on an excursion into sensory deprivation. Traveling can mean many things: de-stressing, seeing old friends, or simply enjoying the scenery of a foreign region. This particular mode of travel wouldn’t be quite so literal. This was a journey into the mind, far more influential than any road trip or vacation could ever be. Traveling through my subconscious, floating, would send me down paths I didn’t even know existed. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
The subtle smell of incense in the air immediately struck me as I walked through the door. The Float Seattle staff greeted me quietly, and I quickly discovered the entire environment was meant to be a place of tranquility. I was led back into room #1, given some guidance and instruction, and left to begin my float.
Stepping feet first into the compact, rectangular tank, I slowly shut the door and submerged into the warm water. I floated effortlessly to the top; the water was intensely salted. Although I was anxious about how I might feel in this minuscule tank in the pitch black, I was soon overcome with relaxation. My entire body discerned its weightlessness in the buoyant water. Focusing on my breathing, I could sense my body rising and sinking with every breath…in and out…in and out. White and purple light began to gently shine through the roof of the tank. Vibrant purple cascaded down through my peripherals. A small circle appeared to form. Within that circle, it was as if smoke was moving in different patterns, eventually meeting in the middle, at the top, like two cells fusing into one. Focusing on this ever-changing pattern of light, time flew by. Before I knew it, music softly played, a signal that my first float had come to an end.
In a slightly larger tank, I was eager to return and see the light show I witnessed in my first float. Again, focusing on my breathing, I sought out this show of light, and grew frustrated when I could not reproduce it. I decided to let go of this search, and allow the float to take the wheel. As I began to relax, I craned my back and felt it crack! loudly. With both my ears and spine completely submerged, I could feel vibrations pulsing through the water. I will never forget how distinct this crack! sounded. Drifting further into a tranquil state, a small air bubble trickled up my neck, tempting me to scratch it. Tilting my neck further back, I felt it line up in perfect symmetry with the rest of my spine; each vertebra stacking one on top of the other as my spine elongated and released pressure. Gently floating side to side, only a slight bump into the tank wall reminded me of my true location.
After two successful floats, I was feeling confident and prepared for my final conquest. Attempting to keep my breath calm and quiet, I quickly drifted off. Experiencing tunnel vision, and a subsequent cerebral haze, I felt incredible. Heavily sedated, but incredible. This float was a place for self-reflection and internal connection. Letting my mind wander, I jumped from thought to thought, eventually spiraling down the road of a distant memory I had tucked away from years past. As my tranquil state intensified, I started to recognize a flashing light—similar to what you would see after gazing into a bright light, or from rubbing your eyes too vigorously. The light danced across my line of sight. Not making any particular shapes, simply existing. I found myself wishing the float wouldn’t end, as I felt much more comfortable in the water after my previous experiences.
Floating is for the deep thinkers, the over-analyzers, and anyone who’s looking to explore their mind. Let your thoughts go, don’t steer them in any direction. You never know where your mind might travel.