Citation: romala. "First Time Float: An Experience with Floatation Tank (exp65563)". Erowid.org. Sep 5, 2007. erowid.org/exp/65563
First of all, some background info... I am a female college student, and fairly experienced with altered states of consciousness. I have had a couple years' experience with being heavily involved in heroin and cocaine use, but have since avoided both substances with the help of some lifestyle changes and the aid of psychedelics. I now use LSD regularly, and am open to other plant-based mind-expanding substances, but will no longer put harsh and addictive chemicals into my body. I have also had my share of experiences with Salvia divinorum, marijuana, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, DXM, alcohol, amphetamines, and various pharmaceuticals over the last five years (I recently acquired some pure DMT, which I have yet to try - it's next on my list :) I also have an interest in other states of consciousness, such as the dream state and meditation, with or without the aid of consciousness-enhancers.
I don't know where I first heard about the isolation tank concept, but I recently decided it was an experience I would like to have. I did an online search and found that the only flotation center in my state was about half an hour away from me. I set an appointment for the following week.
When I arrived, I was surprised to note that the center was actually a house in a residential neighborhood. The woman who welcomed me in had a very peaceful aura and I felt right at home. The house was beautifully decorated and very inviting. She showed me to the bathroom and floatation room. I decided against using earplugs, although they were offered, feeling that they would be a distraction. After a quick shower, I climbed into the tank. The feeling was difficult to get used to at first - the water and the salt make the air seem so thick that it is seemingly difficult to breathe, and since I am sometimes claustrophobic (more in crowds than in physically small spaces, though) I wondered how I would react to the closed space. I did keep the door closed for a while but found that made me anxious, so I propped it open a little ways. I felt a lot of tension in my head and neck, and it took me awhile to get used to it all. There was definitely some initial discomfort.
No real sense of time, but I would estimate that about 30-40 minutes in (it was a one hour session for $25, a special as it is usually $30) I finally slipped out of normal consciousness. What I remember, although I canít recall specific images or thoughts, was that it was exactly like I was dreaming. The only way I can describe it is as a waking dream state. The imagery was very colorful and vivid and flowed together smoothly. When the time was up and the owner called my name, it sounded so far away - although the transition back to normal consciousness was rather abrupt - I also tend to feel that way with waking from sleep to an alarm or whatnot.
The best advice I can give for achieving this state, which the owner told me prior to my first float, is that you cannot try to relax or will yourself into relaxation, but that you have to learn to let go and just let it happen. This worked well for me. She also said that getting into that state, physically and mentally, of letting go and relaxing becomes easier each time. I went back last week for my second float and, indeed, found that I adjusted a lot quicker.
I think it would be interesting to do a series of regular floats, either daily, or weekly, etc. and note how the experience progressed and the benefits as they translate into regular consciousness.
Another neat thing about the experience was that afterwards you could go and sit in this little room and relax by a pond/waterfall thing. This was very calming, as I think that, for me, getting out of the tank and going directly back out into the world would have been too abrupt. I spent about 45 minutes (it felt like much less time - I think my perception of time was still somewhat distorted) sitting in this room and drawing a picture in the community/collaborative journal that is provided for any floater to read or contribute to after their float.
The next day I embarked on a moderate dose LSD trip, acting as a guide to a friend whom I have known for nine years and explored states of consciousness with, but she had never tried LSD. I take that responsibility very seriously, as this was only my second time acting as a guide, and my first with this particular substance. I think the floatation really helped prepare me for this in that I was still in a very peaceful and open place the following day, and everything went smoothly. One thing that bothered me a bit while tripping was the feeling of the salt/water inside my ears. It was almost painful at times, but I was able to redirect those thoughts and focus on supporting my friend. It was not a huge problem, more of a minor annoyance, I suppose, but such things can be magnified by psychedelics - I wonder if I even would have noticed it had I not been tripping. However, the second time I floated I used earplugs. It felt kind of strange and was less preferable than going without, but itís certainly a matter of preference - something to experiment with and decide what works best.
Overall, it was a great experience and something I plan to continue. Thanks for reading. Peace~
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