How to experience sensory deprivation and why you should care
What follows is my own experience with a sensory deprivation (flotation) tank and it’s also chapter 8 of a new book “Awaken to Oneness – How to Live by Design and not Default” I’m currently writing.
If you had one thing clarified for you that you knew would change your whole life, what would that be?
This was something that was “haunting” me, I knew I had to get clarity on “how” too show my students the steps to becoming Awaken to Oneness Masters, not through word lessons but through world lessons.
And then came the revelation
There’s a beautiful story told in Mark 8:24 where a young man comes to Jesus asking him to heal his eye sight. Jesus takes some dust and mixes it with his spittle to form mud and put this on the young man’s eyes as a manifestation of being blind. He then tells him to go wash himself in the bath of Siloam. (John 9:7)
Now for the untrained ear this does not really mean anything, but for the trained adapt who understand the hidden world of analogy and symbols there’s a whole revelation in the above-mentioned story.
The word “Siloam” from Peshita Greek translates to “five senses” in English. So Jesus is actually telling this young man to go wash his “five senses” (Or to get rid of his five senses, Paul repeats this statement when he says, “I am not moved by the seen, but by the unseen”). Now, I can write a whole chapter on this statement, but for the sake of this chapter I want to get back to what happens after this young man has completed the exercise of washing himself of his “five senses”.
He gets back to Jesus and Jesus asks him, “What do you see?”
“I see people walking around like trees”, he reply. “Not good enough” says Jesus, “Let’s repeat the process. When the young man gets back the second time he responds when asked the same question, “I can see clearly people walking around” (Mark 8:25). In a nutshell it means that if you surpass your five senses you will have clarity. Please take note that I’m not saying you should ignore you five senses, but that you should be aware of the illusions that’s often created by your five senses.
Come on guys we’ve all been there, you here things that’s not being said, see things that’s not there or vice versa.
And then by chanceJ
I’m fascinated by the way the brain work and the interaction between the mind, body and soul/brain. One day as if per chance I got hold of the book “Mega Brain” by Michal Hutchinson and lo and behold it was spelled out for me what happened at the bath of Siloam. I highly recommend you reading this book!
What happened at the bath of Siloam was that senses were blocked out and of course Michal states that such a blank-out device does exist.
It is known as a flotation tank, it not only is an enormously effective tool for enhancing mental functioning, but is by far the most intensively researched, well documented, and widely used of all the devices mentioned in this book.
The Case of the Incredible Disappearing Body
Although modern floatation tanks make use of sophisticated technology, the way they work is quite simple. Essentially, the tank is an enclosed container about the size of a closet turned on its side. The vessel contains a shallow pool of warm water (about ten inches deep) in which over eight hundred pounds of Epsom salts have been dissolved, creating a solution so dense – far more buoyant than the Dead Sea or Great Salt Lake – that anyone who lies back in the water bobs on the surface like a cork.
What follows is my own experience with a flotation tank
PS, This is also part of a new book I’m currently writing “Awaken to Oneness – How to live by Design and not Default”, Chapter 5: Sensory Deprivation
For my initial initiation into floating I visited a day spa with a floatation tank to see if I could reproduce similar experiences as described in the previous chapter, and to my “astonishment” doing the first float took me into one of the deepest meditative states I’ve experienced in my entire career as a meditator.
To understand the essence of what I’ve just said you have to remember that I have been involved in meditation practices for close onto 46 years, I don’t think there’s a technique “under the sun” that I have not tried to effortlessly go into a deep meditative state.
Some of the techniques worked better than others but the bottom line is that it still took effort (sometimes a lot of effort) to get into that trance like state. And here I was, 10 minutes into “tanking” and I was “gone”. Without any effort from my side except getting into the tank lying on my back….and I was one of the deepest meditative states that I have ever experienced.
Needless to say, I was hooked
When I got home from my first “tanking” experience I showed my wife Alida a picture of the sensory deprivation tank.
“What’s that, it looks like coffin?” The tone of her voice clearly suggesting that I have a snowball hope in hell if I think I’m going to convince her to join me in a tanking experience.
“Sensory deprivation tank!” I said proudly. She knew that I had read about sensory deprivation tanks and that I thought that it was a great tool for exploring beliefs! Especially after I’ve made the connection between Jesus telling the blind man to go wash himself in the bath of Siloam (five senses) John 9:7
The tank was a beautiful fiber glass chamber about 2,400 cm long and 1,000 cm square. It contained a solution of water with plus minus 400 kg’s of Epsom salts dissolved in it.
The water is so saturated with salt that your body floats effortlessly. You lose any sense of gravity. The temperature is brought up to the same temperature as your skin, around 94 degrees, so there is no sense of hot or cold. It is neutral. The tank is so dark that you can’t tell if your eyes are open or closed. The tank is also soundproof.
When you are in the tank, you float weightlessly; there is no sense of feel, no sense of sound, no perception. You are just there, consciousness, deprived of external stimuli or present time sensation.
“You went in there?” she asked.
“Yes.” I smiled cheerfully.
“And closed the door?” She knew that I was “a little” claustrophobic.
“Yes. That’s why I actually went to the Spa isn’t it”
“For how long?” She asked looking wistfully at the picture of the floatation tank.
“At first for thirty minutes but I’ll be cranking it up to sixty minutes very soon.”
She shook her head the same way she had when I told her in 1990 that I’m going to close my business (I was in the building construction industry running a very successful business at that time, making lots of money), and change careers to eventually do what I’m currently doing – running a coaching training company.
“O-okay, Ockert. I hope you don’t drown.”
She was still too young to be a widow”J.
For the next few weeks, I spent every opportunity that I had in the tank. Going to the spa every time for a float however very soon became a “schlep” and I decided to build my own tank.
You can see pictures of how it looks when you read my book on this subject
Of course it did not look as well as the tank at the spa but it did the same “work” and I was happy using it.
Yes, of course I am going to buy myself a professionally build tank and make it part of my coaching practice. I’m hooked on tanking, and I want my clients to have the same “out of this world: experiences that I had ‘tanking, you will know why as you keep on reading.
Feedback of my own experiences.
One of the first things that become evident during sensory deprivation is that the mind is more than willing to compensate for any lack of sensory input. Sensory input actually keeps the mind somewhat in focus and under control, like wet-sheet wrapping someone who is severely disturbed J.
When the body’s sensory input is deprived, the mind compensates and becomes a three-ring circus with steam calliopes, high school marching bands and auctioning contests. It is a chaotic experience that somehow you must rise through to reach the stillness beyond mind.
I float somewhere in the middle of the confusion, quite sure that whatever I am doing is wrong.
Here’s what it’s like:
How do I tell if I’m awake or dreaming? What’s real and what’s imagination? Should I meditate on something or just let it happen? What am I supposed to do? Maybe I should read more books on tanking first. No, I can’t do that because I am already in the tank. Or am I in the tank? Where am I? Who am I? Am I inside or outside the body? What body?
Let’s find a place to start. Start what? Who’s us? I don’t feel anything.
Calm down, I tell myself. But who said that to me? Are there two of me? How many selves do I have? One sounds like my grandfather. What’s going on? Why am I talking to myself?
Why did I ask that? Who did I ask it of? I’m still talking to myself. Don’t I know what I know without asking or saying it to myself? There, I just asked myself that.
This is incredible! It’s like my own private inner room session with God! (Blue room meditation) But I’m the only one here. Who did I say that to?
Instant insanity! Man goes insane in tank. Am I still in the tank? I forgot. Yes, I’m floating in a tank. But where?
I’m not floating in a tank. I’m floating in a mind. Why did I say that to myself? Why didn’t I just know that?
Why did I ask that? What’s going on here? How could I not know? I give up.
Okay, anybody gets to say anything he wants.
Until we come up with an answer that everyone agrees on.
Why did both Moses and Jesus have to study in Egypt?
What’s the question?
Who are we?
A few floating sessions later, the subtle perceptions that exist beyond the thinking brain/mind began to turn on. It was like a room with a rock-and-roll band playing full throttle, and in a corner was a portable radio playing classical music with the volume set very low. You had no idea the classical music even existed until the band took a break. That’s what happened.
The Mental Rhythm Band grew exhausted and took a break!
I began to wake up as who I am. Not know, but experience. What a surprise! It was that old detached higher self part of me that watches interestedly without judging.
“How you been?” I asked myself. As always the answer was, “Okay.” After integrating this new viewpoint, I began exploring the subtle background images that surround the thinking brain/mind: resisted experiences, conceptions, births, traumas, deaths. The entire record of the existence of who I thought I was floating like a bubble in a sea of inexpressible awareness.
At another level of being I am the sea of inexpressible awareness. I watched the illusion of substance and separation unfold. Lifetimes after lifetimes. Lives within lives. Parallel lives sharing lessons. And the inexpressible awareness, the-always present, watched silently from its space-lessness.
Creations floated like bubbles, each containing and defining a separate measure of
Awareness – seminal selves! Bubbles collapsed and merged into one another until they disappeared or until they reached that remarkable threshold quantity of consciousness that blurted forth, “I am.” The birth cry of consciousness.
Here was where the new lessons of Awaken to Oneness unfolded, watching consciousness define itself from the void, rising and ebbing in that no-space sea of inexpressible awareness.
And for the first time I understood/experienced the “reality of Genesis: 1: 1-2 ”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Without form, and void; and darkness:
From this viewpoint a thought-form can be perceived or apperceived (meaning perceived without the use of sensory organs). It is something!
This was another revolutionary idea. Do you know how long people have been studying consciousness with the assumption that it was made of nothing rather than that it was made from nothing? Something from nothing – primal creation.
There are several levels of conscious activity – different concentrations of definitions (mind stuff) and undefined awareness. For example, I can create a mental image of a tree – that is one level of conscious activity. I can create doing something with that mental image – that decision is another level of conscious activity. I can then carry out my decision to modify the image of the tree and monitor or correct what I decided to do.
And then another piece of the puzzle fell in place:
I clearly saw the similarities between the Old Testament Tabernacle, Jacob’s ladder and his Temple (Bethel – I’ve seen God face to face), the altar that Jacob build, Pheniel (Pineal gland), King Solomon’s Temple and our bodies being a Temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
As if by magic the dots were connected and I knew the reason why most people live their lives by default instead of design was because they were not using the escalator of effortless success!
We have to start climbing the stairway. That is still another level of conscious activity.
As the point of view changes, the character of what is perceived changes. Time serves as a good example of this. From one level of consciousness the subject of time appears thus: I am in the present moment; there is a past, and there is a future.
Moving to another level, and a different point of view, there is only the present moment, and in this present moment I create an idea called past, an idea called present time and an idea called future. Rather than being an instant in time between a past and a future, now becomes timeless NOW containing these ideas about time.
From this level the past doesn’t exist or influence me unless I choose, or feel the need, to create it. 1 Corinthians 5:17. “Old things have passed away all things has become new”
Move up another level, to a transcendent point of view, and the concept of time disappears all together. All that is, was, or ever will be blends into a singular, motionless trace within infinite awareness. Time becomes a tool, the sequence in which things are contemplated.
From here, undefined awareness can contemplate the whole linear space-time fabric of existence simply as a creation: dimensionless possibilities waiting for the touch of awareness to unfold.
I had a realization: Truth is relative to the point of view from which it is perceived.
What I look “as” and where I look from determine my perception of truth.
I experienced deep compassion as I understood that everyone, from their viewpoint, is seeing truth. I think this is a key understanding for creating a harmonious civilization.
Eish! …….. Another piece of the Awaken to Oneness Material were born (The compassion Cards)
Instead of asking if something is true or not, you could ask: From what point of view or from what definition of consciousness is the statement true? From what point of view or from what definition of consciousness is the statement false?
Relativity is near ultimate truth! Had Albert Einstein had a tank, he might have understood this sooner.
The Story of the Awaken to Oneness Materials
How does the Awaken to Oneness Materials affect future generations?
One of the goals the Awaken to Oneness Materials is to make people more aware, to remind them that their highest nature is nonviolent, and to increase the amount of compassion and cooperation on the planet.
If you fired an arrow, stopped it in its flight, and sighted along the arrow, you would see where it was going. If you stopped the Awaken to Oneness Materials in flight and sighted along it, you would see that it is headed toward an enlightened civilization.
Every person who Awaken to Oneness shifts the collective consciousness toward the goal of greater tolerance and understanding (More about collective consciousness in the chapter on the 100th Monkey Syndrome). The hope of future generations is that we awaken a consciousness that is increasingly immune to irrationality and that values wisdom. Helping yourself to Awaken to Oneness helps everyone else, including future generations.
With “Awaken to Oneness” everyone wins.
Your Awaken to Oneness Assignment:
Find a spa that has a floatation tank and go check it out for yourself …….if you are so inclined
Okay, enough for today.
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