A Universe in a Tank
Today I went to have a floating session in an isolation tank. I’ve been wanting to do this for long, curious about what’s there when nothing is left there, no sensory input, no gravity.
I’m used to dark. I usually go to the sauna in our building sitting or lying in the darkness. The body feels normal though. With this tank, the body floats in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to try.
There is a short briefing about showering, ear plugs and lighting. Then I am left on my own. I quickly shower, and move myself into the tank with water and Epsom salts. The tank is spacious enough. They told me some people leave the tank door open for their first floating session to get used to it. I have the door open for just three seconds, then I get up and close it.
I lie down in water. The body moves around touching the sides of the tank. I wonder when the momentum of movement will stop; then I realize all I need to do is to stop – Stop whatever I’m trying to do. The neck is a little bit sore, and I realize my head is not totally relaxed. What do you mean? I ask myself, totally relaxed to the water? Yes, I heard myself say.
So I’m just floating in the middle of nowhere, completely giving myself to water, with zero efforting.
There is this familiar panic coming up. I always have this panic when I feel I’m losing control, such as when I do scuba diving. I want to get out of here. This is ridiculous. I’m not enjoying it. Why am I doing this? I’m not even sure if there’s enough oxygen in this tank. It doesn’t make sense. Outside is the beautiful sunshine…
Yet I’m just floating there in the middle of nowhere.
Interesting. My thoughts don’t seem to have much power over my actions at this moment.
I don’t know if my head has drifted away from the door. I feel I’m spinning, but my body is not touching anywhere, so I should be fine. After a long time, I notice my pinky toe on the right foot is slightly touching the tank. That little touch is the entire anchor for my body. I wonder if I could remove that anchor. I move my toe just a tiny bit, maybe one inch away. All of a sudden, my whole body starts to fall, fall, fall… I don’t know where I am falling to. Or maybe that’s not the right way to say it. It feels a void from the top of my head is drawing me in. Maybe that’s not the right way to say it. Is my body spinning or turning up side down? I don’t have control over any sensations I’m feeling.
So I’m just floating there, in the middle of nowhere.
A millennium has passed. A few galaxies I have travelled. Now I come back to the tank. Silence. I can’t feel any water. “Me and the water are one.” That makes a spirituality cliche. But more exactly, I can’t feel my body. I can only hear my breathing. Every inhale, I feel this blowing up expansion, boundless; every exhale, it comes back to normal, only to be blown up again. I love inhales. It feels endless, infinite, and unlimited. I’m as big as universe.
I bring myself to enjoy that sensation with each inhale. It’s so quiet here. “Kemila?” Oh, I can still hear my own voice. Why do they say it’s sensory deprivation? I can hear it when I speak.
The tinnitus that’s with me 24/7 is even louder here. Sensory deprivation. I wish they could deprive the ringing tone in my right ear.
I wonder how much time has passed. I’m enjoying this so much. They say when the time is up, I’ll hear music. I really don’t want to hear any music. I feel I can be here forever. In reality there is no time. May this floating be eternal then. I don’t want to hear the music… Am I worrying about the music that is not even here?
Here’s my mind. Here’s my breathing. Here are the body sensations… Who am I?
Is there a next?
I’m just floating in the middle of nowhere.