The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank

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The Deep Self, Chapter 4: 4. Gravity

Our BookSleuth is specially designed for you. I finally took it in the isolation tank in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands with three dolphins there. I took LSD for the first time, in the tank, with three dolphins under it in a sea pool. I was scared shitless. It was micrograms injected intramuscularly. But I knew that I had expanded way beyond anything I had ever experienced before, and as I was squeezed back into the human frame, I cried. Lilly recounts that some of his more intense experiences in the tank had led him to make contact with extra-dimensional beings, and visit hyper-advanced civilisations.

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However, these downright crazy experiences are not commonly reported among those who use isolation tanks, even among veteran users. Commonly reported experiences do include a heightened level of introspection and a feeling of the mind leaving the body. Recordings of Joe Rogan on YouTube praising the tanks for their ability to create altered states of consciousness have recently increased their appeal.

Many have likened the sense of introspection and loss of bodily awareness to experiences of deep meditation. Both isolation tanks and meditative states have been linked to a decrease in alpha wave activity in the brain, with an increase in theta wave activity which interestingly is also associated with sleeping. Some clinical data, as well as anecdotal evidence, back up the ability of these tanks to cause hallucinations. Brady found that just 15 minutes of near-total sensory deprivation could produce intense hallucinations in many test subjects.

That said, there has been very little research done in the area of sensory deprivation, so it is not clear exactly how an isolation tank affects the brain and consciousness. With the rise in popularity of floatation tanks, they are now being used for many purposes. Some use it as an aid to meditation or self-hypnosis.

Some use it for its relaxing, stress-reducing effects it has been shown that floatation therapy can reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. And some use it for purposes of self-improvement and self-exploration. There is even some evidence of the physical benefits of using these tanks as well. It has been discovered that because the Epsom salt contains magnesium, this magnesium can actually be absorbed through the skin and correct any magnesium deficiencies the person might have.

Although it was my first time, and it was only an hour long, I can see the potential benefits. During the first 40 minutes, I tried to get used to the feeling of being in the tank.

What It's Like Inside A Sensory Deprivation Float Tank - Healthy Crush

But in the last 20 minutes or so I felt that I became way more introspective — it was almost like receiving a life lesson from myself or having a life review. And it feels like I learnt some very important lessons. I look forward to experimenting with these tanks again. Update : I have since had a few more experiences with the floatation tank. My second one was two hours long, but since I was hungover and needed the toilet the whole time, it was difficult for me to fully immerse myself in the experience.


That said, my mind was still definitely altered — some emotionally charged memories were explored in a different light, for example. My third experience was an hour long, but I meditated before this session and fell into the altered state of mind much more quickly than the two times before. It involved a deep analysis of myself and thoughts about how I need to improve my life. I felt tired and rundown anyway, but during the hour-long session I was sort of dozing off and in that half-asleep state, my mind became flooded with random meaningless thoughts, noises and images.

Oh well, better luck next time I suppose.

The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank

My fifth experience was as good as always — I had the life review I usually get, with the important parts of my life being emphasised. My imagination and creative thinking were enhanced so that I could explore topics in both a visually and intellectually different way. I will definitely continue to use the tanks whenever it is financially viable — the only downside to them is that they are pretty expensive.

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