Everywhere I turn, another person, place or thing. Coming at me, going by me. Lights, sounds, colors and textures assail me, force me to evaluate them. Friend or foe? Threatening or benevolent? A room full of people stabs my heart with suicidal loneliness. Me and my tank and no other person place or thing, and I am soothed with sweet solitude. No money and no room for tank. I suffer greatly, every day a walk through thorns and brambles, ceaselessly tearing at my skin.
My tank arrives and I eagerly tear open the packing, set it up, throw in the salt and water and climb in. At last I am home! HOMe, sweet hOMe!
— Terrence Brannon
So there you have it folks. The innermost thoughts of a tank addict. Yes, I am a junkie. But as fate would have it, there are times where there is no tank available to me. At these times, we need some method of getting the effects of an isolation tank without actually having one. Let’s take a look at a few.
Willis Earl Beal and The Church of Nobody
If you make it far enough in the Life Integration Principles that Bill Harris offers in the Centerpointe trainings, it will be clear that “Truth” cannot be spoken. But Willis Earl Beal does a pretty damned good job through a combination of sincerity and soulful singing, as evidenced in “Church of Nobody” volume 1 and the indy movie “Memphis“.
Self-Inquiry is extremely kindred in philosophy to Isolation Tank Gnosis. The text “Reality in 40 Verses”, by Ramana Maharshi is perhaps the most succinct theory. Let’s look at two verses from the text:
5. The body is made up of the five sheaths; in the term body all the five are included. Without the body the world is not. Has one without the body ever seen the world?
6. The world is made up of the five kinds of sense perceptions and nothing else. And those perceptions are felt as objects by the five senses. Since through the senses the mind alone perceives the world, is the world other than the mind?
So what does this have to do with the floatation tank? The floatation tank is a device which erases out the body. it also erases out sensation. In other words, it destroys the illusion that “the world” is real, solid and permanent. Once you consider yourself to be a particular self — I am this, or I am that, then you have taken what was formerly a whole pie and cut yourself down into a particular slice. Now you consider everything outside of that small slice “the world” and then, as is stated in Reality in 40 Verses, you come up with a creator for yourself and that world. Some people call it “The Divine” others call it “Orgasm” others call it “God”, Jehovah, Yahweh, Krishna, you name it.
Nisargadatta Maharaj, a contemporary of Ramana Maharshi and source of the widely acclaimed text “I am That” [speaks similarly](https://youtu.be/Uzd0txiRN2E?t=10m41s):
The concept “I am” comes spontaneously and goes spontaneously. Amazingly when it appears, it is accepted as real. All subsequent misconceptions arise from that feeling of reality in the I-Amness. The moment the feeling “I am” appears, the world also appears. Any image you have of yourself is not true. True knowledge is to abide in your own self.
So there you go. The tank, from the perspective of Isolation Tank Gnosis, is a device to free you from the unreal – the unreal world, the unreal body and the unreal I as a separate entity. And when a tank is not available, Self-Inquiry is the way to free yourself from “the world.”
It is worth noting that other paths involve themselves in “infinite game play” – they work on improving their self-image (I am worthy of income, sexy women, etc), which then leads to miraculous “wins” in themselves and “the world” around them. Scientology, Low Magick, Centerpointe Research, The Secret, Science of Mind, OneTaste and Abraham Hicks Law of Attraction all congratulate themselves for having worldly desires and achieving them. This is not to say these paths are wrong, but they certainly have a different aim and outlook. That being said, I most certainly would rather have health and prosperity until fully realized than be sick and broke.
One thing that often happens to me in my float sessions is that an entire block of tension will drop out from my body all at once. I remember once it felt like hitting an air pocket in an airplane. It seemed like my body fell 4-6 inches in one second because my muscles had relaxed so much.
At other times the relaxation is more gradual. But relaxation is certain. Why? Because epsom salt is a muscle relaxant and the reduction in stimulus will take your brain out of beta and into the alpha/theta range.
And that is the amazing thing about a float session. You enter the tank rather thick and solid and you come out smooth and fluid. And you didn’t do anything in particular in the tank. But the environment of the tank smoothed you out.
And that’s where Yin Yoga comes in. In Yin Yoga, you assume a bodily position and remain in it for at least 3 minutes. Over the time of simply being in that pose, your body starts to melt. You start to find space and opening in the very same position. Words simply can’t describe the way you become more and more open gradually in these poses. But I can tell you, it feels great. I start a pose with the intention of being in it for 3 minutes and sometimes stay there for 15 minutes, dozing off to sleep and coming back to waking — just as I often do in tank sessions!
So I would say that Yin Yoga offers me some of the relaxation benefits of a tank session. I don’t think Yin Yoga is particularly good for astral projection, but it certainly is a good vehicle for consciousness study.
Yoga Nidra is a technique for putting the body to sleep while you remain awake watching it. It involves placing your attention on each of your body parts, one at a time. As you continue to rotate your consciousness around the body, your muscles become more and more relaxed. There is a statement: “we define ourselves by our tension points.” This being the case, Yoga Nidra certainly helps to reduce your apparent identity. I would say that the relaxation in Yoga Nidra is very close if not more than what you can achieve in an isolation tank. It is excellent for consciousness study as well as astral projection.
Yoni Mudra / Pratyahara
Instructions from E.C.C.O.
- You are expected to expect the unexpected every minute, every hour of every day and of every night.
Centerpointe Audio Brain Wave Entrainment
Hi-tech yogis take note, with these audio tracks, you enter the brainwave states associated with meditation regardless of what you do – the audio itself meditates you! And much much faster than Eastern methods.
The isolation tank is a tool which eliminates your focus on the things that you normally think are you – you know, the body, gravity, earth, etc, etc. And it is a very effective tool at doing so. Now, zazen is another way of forgetting the body. Let’s look at the end results of zen practice:
Eventually, you’ll want to just follow the breath and abandon the counting altogether. Just be with the breath. Just be the breath. Let the breath breathe itself. That’s the beginning of the falling away of body and mind.
See that last part about the body falling away? That looks pretty much like what you can expect from a tank the second you dive in. Zen takes longer and most people give up before getting there. Many people, like Shane Stott, thank God for the tank for this reason.
But that being said, you do start to get on top of your thoughts pretty quickly with Zen instead of being at the effect of them. So follow these instructions and let the fun begin.
Stop All Thought
Haanel “Master Key” Bardon “Initiation into Hermetics”