Meditation tag

Sensory Underload: Ninety Minutes Inside An Isolation Tank

Because 5 months in the woods wasn’t enough to isolate me from the surrounding world, I decided to kick it up a notch.

While on my little walk thingy, I became a big fan of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.  It served as my social fix when I wasn’t in the mood for actual interaction.  For those who are unfamiliar, Joe Rogan is a stand up comedian/UFC commentator/host of Fear Factor/Carlos Mencia basher.

One of the many reoccurring theme’s on the podcast is Rogan’s fascination with introspection.  In several episodes, he would reference a “sensory deprivation tank” (aka isolation tank/flotation tank) that he had set up in his house.  The tank, as Rogan puts it, “is the most important tool that [he’s] ever used for developing [his] mind“.  This, coming from someone who is an outspoken proponent of both psychedelic drugs and marijuana.

Naturally my curiosity was piqued.

For those who are unfamiliar (me, as of 3 months ago) an isolation tank is basically a giant metal coffin with about a foot of salt water at the bottom.  The water is heated to the same temperature as a human body, eventually resulting in an inability to feel the water.  After an individual gets inside and shuts the door behind them, there is only total darkness.  Once the water settles, the only sound you can hear is your own breath.  Because the water is extremely dense – about 800 lbs. of Epsom salt is dissolved into it – a human body, which is made mostly of water, floats very easily.  The theory goes that because there is no sensory input causing distraction to your brain, the mind is left to more freely wander.  Beneficial claims include everything from pure rest and relaxation, to improved health and vitality, to being a shortcut toward enlightenment.

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The Greatest Present of All

If you could develop a Pie Chart of what your brain is consumed by on the average day, what would it look like?  I took the liberty of providing mine…:graph22

A couple items to note:  1) Yes, that says “ninja tactics” and 2) no slice of the pie is dedicated to “passive observation”.

Lately, one of my most reoccurring thoughts has been to spend less time thinking, as ironic as that may sound.  That doesn’t mean I aspire to be more like Paris Hilton.  Instead, I realize I spend far too much time wrapped up in my own thoughts.  On average, all but 2-3 minutes a day are spared from processing some bit of information: “what I should make for dinner,”, “what time to set my alarm for,”, “who I need to call back,”, “words that rhyme with raspberry,”  etc.   I can mentally prepare an entire conversation with someone, with their physical presence being entirely optional (I know, I’m crazy).  My brain is hyperactive – every second I can direct my attention elsewhere is like providing water to someone crossing the Sahara. Read more