My first “Float” was a memorable one. I'd watched many YouTube videos and a couple of excellent documentaries about these sensory deprivation float tanks before I went myself, so I was more than a little curious what my own experience would be compared to those who had gone before.
Getting into the tank at first felt just like stepping into a Jacuzzi, but that changed when I closed the door. The complete darkness was odd to start with, but floating so high in the water was a completely new experience. In fact, it was a little disorienting at first, especially when I lay back and lost contact with the floor and sides of the tank. I was losing sense of which way was up, and felt like I was spinning to the left. I had to stop a moment to reach out and touch the sides of the tank to get my bearings. After that, determined to relax and focus on my breathing, I let my fingers slowly float away from the wall.
In the stillness, I was unsure, at times, where the line between the water and the air was, as they are kept at the same temperature; but actually floating was no trouble at all. You may sink like a stone in the ocean, but everyone floats in these super-salt-saturated tanks.
It was very comfortable, and my breathing quickly slowed and deepened of its own accord. It did, however; take me a long time to relax my mind. I was too keen on “analyzing” the experience, wondering how much time had passed, and anticipating something funky happening! I think it took a good hour, but finally I let go and entered into an extraordinarily relaxed state of mind. Problems, confusions, anxiety, and concerns melted away until they had nothing of the force and urgency they previously possessed. Answers to formerly pressing questions came easily, and with a matter-of-fact clarity. Other concerns, simply ceased to matter at all, and I could not recall why they had been such a source of anxiety before.
On a couple of occasions, I became so curious about the time, that I wanted to get out and check my watch, but I made myself put that aside, and drifted back into my developing awareness.
There were no far-out psychedelic experiences for me, but when I finally did decide it was enough, I felt that I had learned much. Slowing climbing out, I picked up my watch to see that two and a half hours had passed! The longest I had ever “meditated”, even in a class setting, was one hour, so I was pretty impressed by that alone. But what impressed me more, was the continuing feeling of release and calmness. Exiting the facility, my words to the proprietor were: “I think I finally learned how to relax!!” Lessons had been learned about letting go of concerns that don't really matter, in the larger scheme of things. And many questions I had regarding personal direction and purpose had also been wonderfully laid to rest.
A month has passed since my first float experience, and some of the old stresses have creeped back in, but I rest easy in the knowledge that I will soon be getting that nonsense sorted out in my next scheduled Float. :)