“What am I looking at in this picture?”
– A door to a sensory deprivation chamber.
“What’s a sensory deprivation chamber?”
– I’m glad you asked.
The first time I floated in a sensory deprivation chamber at Float Lab in Venice, CA, was around the year 2007. I floated for 3.5 hours not ever wanting to get out. I clearly remember the disruption of hunger pains that stifled my meditation in the chamber, reminding me to nourish myself before I passed out from my otherworldly transcendent experience. Doing my best to integrate the out of body experiences, anti-gravity sensations, and child-like wonder back into my adult “normal” self took a few minutes as I enjoyed the last few moments of freedom from ALL distractions. The warmth and weightlessness of the saline water soothed every muscle, ligament, joint, pore, hair follicle I had/have on my body. The moment I walked out of the front door, into the busy, gurgling sounds and movements of the Venice Boardwalk, I felt a calmness that I had never felt before. As if I was observing the world around me like it was a movie, and I was a polite bystander, bearing witness to the “noise” of the world with a deep sense of peace and safety that was indestructible. It was as if I was a tether in the vibrations of consciousness, oscillating on the waves of awareness that spiritual gurus and mystics often speak about, and normal humans regurgitate into catch phrases that warrant likes and shares on social media. “Just Be You.” Great idea! But, who am I? Who is underneath the “personality,” the “identity,” the “academic?”
Well, in that moment, I was clear. I had returned to my essence.
The feeling of BEING that resonates like a faint memory of what it was like “to be” before being born. A memory I would often drift to as a child, a memory great artists like Salvador Dali discuss as inspiration to their work.
A week ago, I returned to the Float Lab at their new location in Westwood, CA. A phenomenal new location with 7 chambers and state of the art sound proofing and equipment. I was so impressed with the aesthetics and new technology Crash (owner) and his team had developed, that I was too stunned to take photos. (Besides the one I took of the chamber door. See above).
A sensory deprivation chamber is a chamber that contains a depth of 12 inches of saline water (that you effortlessly float in) and is completely void of light (you are in complete darkness) and sound (you can’t hear anything but your own mind and body). It is a vessel for deep body relaxation while feeling “weightless.” Hence, sensory deprivation- deprivation from senses.
It is place to meditate, reconnect with yourself and allow whatever experience you are presently having, to present itself to you.
I have been floating on and off for the past 8-9 years and dream of the day I can have my own personal chamber at home. As the new generation would say: #goals.
I strongly believe in the healing and perception shifting experiences of the chamber because I have seen it for myself and within others.
As a treatment resource, I have taken clients floating who have stabilized in sobriety after entering drug and alcohol treatment for 30 days or more. This was often a rewarding intervention for most clients who had never experienced a sense of being alone with themselves, without the fear of loneliness hijacking their experience and tempting them back into “escape” mode with substances. There is a huge difference between being alone and feeling lonely, and being alone while being able to tolerate your moment-to-moment experiences in order to be present with what is non-judgmentally. Unfortunately some people react to feeling lonely by isolating from the world and support systems/groups that help keep a person connected to community, and most importantly, to themselves. Disconnection reinforces dysfunction- connection gives you more possibilities and opportunities.
Floating provides for an experience that is solely about YOU. Your thoughts, your feelings, your fears, your dreams, your bodily sensations, your transcendence, your everything. It creates a safe place for you to self-remember and access your internal navigation system that guides you back to YOU. You have everything you need, deep inside of you. (That phrase – totally true.) Reconnect to yourself so you may connect with others in a healthy, productive way.
I highly recommend this resource for you and anyone you love.
Check it out for yourself, and float on.