You’ve got your first float under your belt (hopefully armed with our floating tips) and you are ready for your next experience in the tank. Are you wondering what to "do" once you get in there? Here are some tools that might heighten your experience:
1. Do a body scan. During your first float you probably figured out how to fully relax in the tank. It can be strange at first, to totally relax in the water. Daniel Finfer described it in his blog:
"my body had adjusted to the sensation [of floating], but I still felt tense in my neck and in my legs. That’s when I realized I was still actually holding myself up — to some capacity. I released every muscle in my body in one of the single-most refreshing instances I’ve ever had, and just really let go."
Once you are at the point that Daniel describes, where you fully let go and relax, you can play with scanning your body for any areas of tightness, constriction, or pain. Scan your body and really "feel" any areas that want extra attention. For example, if after relaxing in the tank you feel a constriction sensation in your neck, go into the feeling. Place all of your attention on it and allow it to be until it goes away. Then move to another area of your body, and so on. You can also do a body scan by starting with your toes and working your way up your entire body, putting energy and attention into fully relaxing each part of your body.
2. Focus on your breath
You may have noticed during your first float that one of the only sounds you hear in the tank is your breath. One very simple way to meditate is to focus on your breath. Don't try to change it. Just place all of your attention on listening to the sound of, and feeling the sensations of, your breath. You may notice that your breath is shallow or deep, or that there is a coolness around the tip of your nostrils when you breathe in. Just keep your attention on your breath. Whenever you notice that your attention has wandered from the breath - maybe you start thinking about work or life stress or any other thought other than your breath - bring your attention back to your breathing.
Meditation is really just focusing the mind on one thing. There are countless examples of meditation techniques that all boil down to giving the "monkey mind" a bright shiny object to play with, so as to distract it from our normal pattern of obsessive thinking. Focusing on the breath is something simple for the mind to focus on.
3. Expand outward
Another meditation technique that you might find useful once you are a seasoned floater, is the technique of "expanding outward" taught by Tibetan zen master. American yogi Richard Alpert (aka "Ram Dass") described it this way:
Many years ago I spent time with a Tibetan teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche. In an interview he suggested a meditation technique in which one expands one’s awareness outward. He suggested we do it together. So we sat facing each other and he said, “Just expand outward.” And I started to expand outward.
After about twenty seconds he said “Ram Dass, are you trying?” And I said, indignantly, “Yes!” He said, “Don’t try, just expand outward.” And it absolutely blew my mind. Really.
The technique is pretty ethereal, but give it a try and see if it doesn't connect with you. Or don't give it a try, just expand outward.
4. Gain new insight
Lots of floaters have experienced increased insight and clarity while in the tank. There are reports of increased athletic performance, development of complex theories, and drafting books while floating. Others report being able to easily find solutions to their life dramas while floating.
In her blog, Kelli Hastings described her experience:
I brought into my field of attention my life issues – two of them – one at a time. They both seemed completely trivial while in the vast infinite peace of the tank. The resounding answer I got to each issue was the same – everything is fine, everything will always be fine, just relax and stay in the flow – no need to worry over anything. There is nothing to do but to just be.
Try bringing a problem with you into the tank and see if the resolution doesn't become clear after "floating on it."
We would love to hear about your experience in the tank! Let us know if any of the above tools worked for you or about tools that you have tried while floating.