I took a float today, which refers to a sensory deprivation float tank. You climb into a coffin-like box (a sarcophagus, for those who love to use a thesaurus) filled with warm salt water. You plug your ears, turn out the lights, and close the lid on yourself. Then you lay still for an hour or so.
That's it. That's floating. The floating part is easy because the salt water allows you to float, like taking a swim in the Dead Sea.
It's warm so you don't feel any temperature change on your skin (but it may remind you, at first, of swimming in public pools in summer with so many kids splashing around that you are certain there's more urine than water).
If you can lay still, and not freak out about being in a coffin, or floating on urine-temperature water, it allows your brain to calm down thanks to the sensory deprivation. This takes a few minutes to achieve because your thoughts have to settle. Your subconscious has to be convinced there's no input coming other than the occasional drip of condensed water from the ceiling.
I find it to be like having a dream while waking. Not a day dream, where you might work out some fantasy or disaster in your mind. More like an actual dream, where your brain interprets stored up thoughts and feelings from the day and you see images that are the brain's attempt to make sense of the thoughts.
In the float tank, my thoughts bounce between being mindful of my breathing, the fact that I'm in a float tank, and various strange images.
After the float, I'm chill as fuck. I've never gotten high, but I'm guessing it's a little bit like that. It's an all pervasive chill. My joints and muscles are relaxed. To me, it's better than my best night of sleep.
Why bother? (I know: I really didn't answer that, yet.)
I've never had a million dollar idea, or a flash of insight on a particular problem from floating. So I've never gotten my money's worth from the floats directly.
It's part of my overall strategy to be mindful, calmer and present. I also walk, meditate and practice yoga. These occasional floats (which are between $60 and $90 a shot) are assuring my brain that I don't have to worry about everything.
Nowadays, that's a critical thing.
Also, I'm hoping it improves my ability to be creative and help me write stories, novels, and screenplays that are entertaining and compelling.
But I can't quite shake the worry that other people have urinated in the float tank before me.