Archive for April 22nd, 2009
Floating Toward Samadhi (2005)
I’ve always been interested in the isolation tank experience, which I first became aware of through the works of Dr. John Lilly. Nowadays these are commonly referred to as floatation tanks, and a few months back I started scouring the web for places in California to float, in particular the Sacramento area where I would be spending a few weeks during April. This led me to Lee and Glenn Perry of Nevada City, who I later discovered had been colleagues of Dr. Lilly as well as early designers of the commercial versions of these tanks, which they sell under the Samadhi brand name.
I really had no pre-conceived idea of what my experience would be like, as it had been many years since I’d read Lilly’s books, so I went into this adventure with an open mind. Having dabbled with meditational states over the years, I had some idea of how to approach this experience: mainly, to attempt to shut off the internal chatter and go with the flow. Prior to embarking into this realm free (for the most part) of external stimuli, Lee gave me a brief tank orientation, mainly on how it worked, without getting into how the individual can use it for whatever intended purpose. As I later discovered, this is the approach that Dr. Lilly taught the Perry’s: namely don’t pre-program novice tanksters; let them come up with the own reasons and methods of using the tank. Similarly, I didn’t try to pre-program myself (much). I just went in, remained calm, cleared my mind and tried to objectively observe what happened. And what happened was pretty remarkable, though not earth shattering or the attainment of total mind blowing Samadhi, by any stretch of the imagination. But it was a valuable experience.
When I sat with Lee and Glenn afterwards, I stated that it was hard to put into words what I’d experienced, to which Lee replied that we simply don’t have the words in our limited earthly vocabulary to describe this experience. However, I found it similar to states I’ve encountered in the hypnogogic realm, and was very relaxed and refreshed afterwards. I certainly intend to float again. It also conditions your hair quite nicely!