I just enjoyed my 31st birthday and what made it sweeter than the half-dairy, half-plastic icing on my cake was what my wife got me. One hour in a Sensory Deprivation Tank! A lot of peeps don’t know what a Sensory Deprivation Tank is exactly (more commonly referred to as an Isolation Tank). so I thought I’d give a basic summary of what it is and what I hope to get out of it.
Sensory deprivation… sensory deprivation… Hm… Sounds like some deprivation going on of the sensory kind. Well, that’s exactly right, Timmy. You see, we living organisms are constantly bombarded with tons of information stimuli from not one, not two, but five senses and most of that information is filtered out. In fact, we only consciously “interpret” a fraction of the information we receive and therefore, we are constantly struggling identify what reality is. This is how perspectives, biases and other close-mindedness happens. To put it simply, we choose the things we want to be reality and ignore anything opposed to it. This is pretty much a good thing overall, kind of like a fail safe because if we were to receive all information all of the time, we would flat out just go insane.
“The human mind, Kant contended, must be born, not as a clean slate, but with built-in ‘modes of perception’ that work to organize the multitude of information our sense organs are constantly imparting to us. Without such built-in processing mechanisms, we would experience reality as an unintelligible jumble of sense experiences.
So, our reality is only in what we interpret it to be. Think of two individuals walking into a beautiful museum with extraordinarily gorgeous works of art. Person X has always taken the time to notice beauty and gladly walks through the museum, taking in the wonderful experience. Then Person Y comes in and experiences the same museum but in a different reality. They notice the dirty gum stuck to the floor from some irreverent kid on a field trip or maybe the small disgusting potato bug crawling into one of the cracks between the paintings. Everyone assumes we share the same reality, and we do on a basic nuts and bolts level but the truth is, we differ in realities as we do in personalities.
But what is a Deprivation Tank? Well, my good friend, Mr. Wik E. Pedia pulled me to the side one day and told me, “An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. [They] are now used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine.”
I’m interested in the former, the meditation. I’ve been meditating off and on, regularly and irregularly for many years now and I’ve found profound benefits in calming the mind and resetting my perspective. Just like everyone else, I receive uncountable mounds of signals that my brain receives, then hands off a thimbleful to my consciousness while bucket loads thrown in the recycle bin. From this arises my perspective on life and thus my reality. So if me meditating on a thin bathmat in a less-than-quiet bathroom can alter my perspective / reality, what is an hour in a Sensory Deprivation Tank going to do for me? What happens when that data stream of signals and information is cut off?
I don’t really know yet but I do know I’m excited and I will most assuredly post my experiences once I have them to share!
If you have experienced this adventure, please let us know through the comments. I’d love to hear about them!