I always knew we weren’t alone in the universe. I thought that the only way to encounter them is with bright lights and flying saucers in outer space. It never occured to me to actually encounter them in our own inner space.
- Graham Hancock -
What is sensory deprivation?
The subconscious experience of floating varies on a personal basis. Yet, the physiological changes remain constant. A rush of endorphins leaves us feeling happier because our stress-produced levels of cortisol are minimized. Our brainwaves change from Beta (awake, aware) and Alpha (awake, deep relaxation and meditative state) to Theta. In Theta, our brains operate at lower frequency, linking our conscious and unconscious in what may be considered "subconscious." The mind gets no input for one hour. The brain doesn't have to process anything from our external environment, which is strikingly different from our daily lives where the brain weeds through auditory, olfactory, tactile, and visual information. It's nice to give the brain a little break for once, don't you think?
According to The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary:
A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of space-time dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously.
My Experience With Infinity
I was escorted to a large room with a white pod agape in the center, which looked like NASA designed a tanning bed, filled it with water, and illuminated it in blue. I showered and turned off the lights in the room before submerging into the salty pod. Buttons on the side of the pod allowed for adjusting lighting and music in the enclosed chamber, but I opted out. I also wore earplugs to silence the possibility of background noise, as I desired complete sensory deprivation. I lay on my back, half expecting to sink to the bottom, but bounced buoyantly on the surface of the water. Initially, I scanned my body for tension, releasing it from the front of my neck as I had the urge to hold my head up, rather than allow the water molecules to support it. I felt my body drifting in the pod, trying to surrender to the hydric environment. I felt as if my spine were made of building blocks, twisting on each other, making minuscule adjustments to my positioning for optimization of posture. I focused on my breath: my deep inhales rose my body to the surface, which then sunk slightly with exhales. My heart rate and inhalation were the only audible sounds, besides a background fan in the room producing white noise. Eventually, the fan shut off, and I started hearing music...
It was about this time that I was getting frustrated with my right earplug. My tiny ears have prevented me from wearing multiple headphones, and it seemed they were rejecting the earplug. No matter how many times I crumbled the darn thing and shoved it into my eardrum, it was slowly ejected, creating bubbles from my right ear drum to the base of my cranium. The culmination of the earplug and sudden appearance of music confused and frustrated me. I kept thinking, "THIS IS MESSING UP MY SENSORY DEPRIVATION!" I wanted SILENCE and NO FEELING. Thus, I took the earplugs out and let them float about the pod. My next mission was to stop the music. Where is it coming from? It seemed to be coming from my pod, even though I turned it off. I sat up, and began groping the sides of the pod to find the button controls. I was disoriented to say the least. I felt all around the pod, with no idea of where the buttons were located, and became worried--how did I drift so far from them?! Looking back, I could have opened the top of the pod to illuminate the inside, but I wasn't even thinking. Eventually, I found the controls, and switched off the music. I guess it was on softly, and the background fan had muffled it completely.
Ahhhh, silence. Finally! Time to relax and let go...
I resumed my supine position, and almost immediately felt a release of tension throughout my entire body. A gentle, rushing softening. I lay with my eyes open, but was not seeing. The darkness in the pod was profound, and I was comfortable without visual input. I tested myself, sometimes thinking my eyes were closed, when they turned out to be open. I saw darkness, but felt light.
I completely lost sense of time. I felt a radiating warmth from the middle of my chest, and saw green lights flashing, and a smoky green aura arising from my chest. The warming sensation seemed to expand and contract, radiating no further than my rib cage. I was not thinking at all, and I wasn't even aware of my lack of thought. I simply was existing. I'm not sure when, but at some point I know my mind left my physical body. I was no longer aware of the green lights, or the central warmth. I can't even tell you I was breathing or had a heart rate. In all other forms of meditation, I have been aware of my breath, sometimes focusing intently on it. For what seemed like an eternity, I lost all awareness of my physical body. It could have been two minutes, but it felt like hours. It wasn't until the lights gradually illuminated the inside of the pod that I was brought back to life. What was most surprising is, when the lights came on, my eyes were already open. I had been awake the entire time.
What a freaky realization. I was awake, but not aware of being awake.
I felt an immediate rush of energy throughout my entire body, from the tips of my fingers, between each spinal segment, and to my pinky toes. My inner body beat with my heart, and I was acutely aware of being alive. I felt love, and bliss. So much love. I felt as if I had slept for hours, and went on an intergalactic journey into the void...
In the constraints and prism of our body lies an infinity of the mind. I am infinite. I am free. I am love, and love anchors my soul to the Earth. I am the universe, and the universe is within me. I am filled with infinite abundance. I am empty, but in a warming and comforting sense. I am supported. My mind and heart are wide open, and I allow the universe to fill me with its beauty. I do not fear the void (death) because I can see the absence of awareness--of consciousness--is the epitome of bliss. I let go, and the universe has spoken to me.
- If you wear contacts, take them out. You don't want to worry about getting salt in them, and they may dry out a bit. Confession: I forgot to take mine out and remembered a few minutes into the float... oh well, next time I'm making this adjustment!
- Check music/lights beforehand. There's no wrong way to float. Lights on, starlights, meditative music, silence. Personally, I wanted the full experience and preferred no lights, no music (hence my freakout when music started).
- If you have small ears, don't wear earplugs. Seriously. If your ears don't work with them, don't try it now because it's 100% a distraction. Little bubbles coming from your ears while submerged under water is not conducive to relaxation. I pulled mine out a bit into the float.
- Most importantly: Just do it. Float with an open mind and heart. See what exists in your infinite consciousness when all stimulation is removed. Observe yourself, and come to your own realizations about the world you live in. Who knows what you will feel and see!
Click "Read More" for a video from Joe Rogan regarding Sensory Deprivation.