A Really Great Noisy Float

This week's float log comes from fall 2012, before I had a tank at home, when I interned at a float center in Colorado. Over the course of 3 days I was able to learn hands on, and do 4 floats, for a total of about 8 hours. I'll share an experience from one of these floats.

It had been nearly a year since my very first float @ Float On in Portland, and I had only had one other float since, so I was due for a float for sure. This would be my third. Nice number. I was delighted when I showed up to intern, and there was a 3 hour space open in the Samadhi tank. First things first, we thought a good long float would be the best way to start an internship.

This float center, which I will keep anonymous because they don't normally offer internships, does a lot of things very very well. The owner is a loveable and smart guy and thus attracts quality help, and together they craft a very nice space. They have great float tanks and a nice and approachable motif. One thing with their operation, however, is soundproofing. Being on the second floor of a mini mall, with a busy fast food restaurant on one side, a jazzercise a couple doors down, and countless other phantom vibrations in the structure of the building, there is an unintelligible jumble of sound in their water. This is the number one stress of the owner, and he says he will eventually move because of it. So it's less than ideal in that manner, but you know what? I ended up really liking it. Here's why:

Somewhere around 90 or 120 minutes into my float, I found myself listening to the vibrations in the water. I was listening so intently that it was ALL I was doing. Turns out, this is a very powerful meditation technique. Be it a candle to watch, a mantra to repeat, or to simply listen to what is happening all around; restricting one's awareness to a singular sense or event can be a doorway into higher awareness. As it happened for me, I was listening because I wanted to know why it was so loud. (Really not that loud, but with absolutely nothing else going on, it's quite noticeable). I wanted to tell the owner what exactly I was hearing. I wanted to know it for myself as well, to be able to protect against such sound in my float spa. So I tuned in to sound with all of my awareness, listening deeper and deeper, so that after a while I became listening, "I" disappeared. At that point I wasn't exactly sure that the sounds were coming from outside of me. At that point I wasn't sure what was inside of me and what was outside of me. At that point, I made a quantum leap in perspective. Most often when I find myself in this type of experience I will attempt to "catch" myself. Unconsciously, I will stop the blossoming I feel happening because it is outside of my comfort zone. But that "will-less will," as Houdini called it, was simply not there. I even sent a few thoughts to my arms and hands to move, just to make sure I still had control. And they wouldn't move. I knew I could, through great effort, knock myself back into my normal consciousness and move my arms if I so wished, but I really didn't wish that. Not at all. And there was a buffer to my normal erratic impulses. Cool.

The following moments were so simple, and so profound, that I will not be able to describe my experience. But I can tell you what I noticed. What I noticed was the WAVES coming off of my body, corresponding with my heartbeat. At that level of stillness I found myself in, each heart beat was a tremendous event that affected all of my surroundings. Some fear welled up in me that I would make the waves go away by paying attention to them. But they did not go away. I got to stay in the eye of this equatorial storm, in seemingly slow-motion. It was very strong around my head, neck, and chest. My arms were pumping somewhat strongly. Lower down in my pelvis it was quite weak. And in my legs I could feel nothing. Or could I? With attention I could notice some pulsing in my legs. Wait, maybe I was causing it to be stronger by putting my attention there? I remember reading in a Chinese Medicine book that "where Qi flows, blood follows." I had heard of people doing amazing things with their bodies by the power of their mind. And during this spell in the tank, I felt that I was experiencing what I had read about. My legs have sustained major injuries through my years of skateboarding and snowboarding and cartwheeling around the planet, could this be a way to rehabilitate them?

It was about there that I started to come back to my more normal state of consciousness. Within a few minutes I had thoughts of starting the nuts and bolts part of my internship. So I got out. Whether my thoughts brought me back or whether I ran out of "high state stamina", I do not know. But getting out was nice too :)




*Bonus*
Did you know? That on a size graph of all things known to man, between galaxies and quarks, the human cell is right in the middle? With the numbers of our cells being in the billions, and hosting trillions of "bugs" (the vast majority of them symbiants), that makes us quite large indeed! Feel that heartbeat. You're an immensely influential macro-microcosm.