How To Use A Floatation Tank
“Relax turn off your mind and float downstream . . . “
- The Beatles
Lately I’ve been asked by a few people the best way to use a floatation tank. This has been my response so far. I've been working with a tank for almost 10
years on a daily basis and I can say unequivocally that the best way
to use a floatation tank is to open the door and get in it.
I’m only half joking because there really is no way to tell someone how to float other than encouraging them to find out for themselves.
There are so many ways to use a tank that its impossible to say
what's best for one individual. And what works now might not later.
Things you can do with the tank: almost any meditative technique,
creative visualization, simulate the experience of death, listen to guided meditation
tapes, work with important questions like who am I?, pray,
recapitulate recent events seeing them in a new light, etc.
Or you can just hang out in a state of reverie and let it take you
where it will. Many deep insights happen in this way.
If you’re studying something, inputting lots of data, floating right
after a study session will help you retain the new knowledge much
Generally, the longer you float, the deeper you go. 2-4 hr floats are
very good. If you have the time and can work you’re way up to 5-7 hr
floats you'll notice rather profound shifts in consciousness. But any
amount of time can be good. I once worked all night, floated for 20
minutes then had the energy to work another 30 hours.
I feel that it took me 6 years of daily floating before I learned how to optimally use the tank AND THAT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING !!! But each one of those floats was an adventure in itself and brought tremendous discoveries, even the failed ones. There were times when I knew something was happening that was out of the range of my conscious mind. There are also periods of gestation when nothing seems to be happening.
I advise all floaters ‘not to lust after results.’ Find joy in every step on the path and pay close attention because this journey will never happen in the same way again.
I think that the Lord's new instruction to humankind admirably applies to
the question of how to use a floatation tank:
"Be who you are. Do what you do."
- from the play Creation Story Verbatim by EJ Gold.
So I say float as Thou wilt.
Diary of a Floater
My name is Oz Fritz and I’ve been asked to write about some of my experiences using the floatation tank. I plan to file regular reports. It’s a tool that I’ve been working with consistently for about 23 years now. I still float on a daily basis and find it just as useful if not more so as when I first started. I’m a sound engineer by profession; a seeker of the vast untapped potential of the human nervous system by inclination, an explorer of the Unknown by habit.
In my opinion, if everyone floated regularly, especially the leaders and powerful people whose decisions affect all our lives, things would look much different on our planet, more hopeful and more orientated toward life sustaining goals that benefit and nourish us all. Perhaps I’m an overly optimistic idealist, but it’s hard to deny the clarity of thought engendered in an environment largely free from external stimulus, i.e. the tank. I don’t know if floating can change the World but I do know that it changed my world significantly for the better.
Sometimes people ask me, “what do you do in there?” I’ve tried all kinds of things and have experimented with it in a wide variety of ways. It’s certainly not my intention to tell anyone how to use the tank. I’ve always admired John Lilly’s caution against trying to program anyone’s tank experience for them. Rather, I offer my experiences and experiments as a record to show what is possible and what floating has done in my life.
I began floating at a transitional point in my life when I was making a switch from working as a live soundman touring with bar bands to a recording engineer. I had recently moved to New York City to increase my chances at getting a job in a recording studio. Though I had done some recording in the past, and working at live sound has the same basic goal of trying to make a group sound good, it still was starting over from scratch. Just getting in the door of a reputable studio was a challenge. I spent three hours waiting in the lobby of a top studio called The Hit Factory, the last studio that John Lennon worked at, only to be told “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” which, of course, they never did. Finally, I was fortunate to get an internship at an up and coming studio in Greenwhich Village. An internship was an unpaid job that involved answering the phone, making coffee, cleaning up and running errands.
I got interested in floating through reading books by John Lilly, particularly The Center of the Cyclone. At this point in my life, at the ripe old age of 27, I had an advanced case, almost an obsession with consciousness exploration. Floating sounded like a great way to satisfy this vice without having to drop out of life or suffer the physical mortifications of the extreme yogis. I was sure there would be somewhere to try it in New York but didn’t get around to it because I didn’t feel ready, whatever that meant. It was like a catch 22, I wasn’t conscious enough to try a tool that would raise my consciousness or so I dreamed. Finally, I was given a three float package for my 28th birthday so I thought I might as well give it a shot.
At that point I had just gotten the studio internship and was living at the Sivananda Yoga Center on 24th Street to save money. The rent was very low, but there was an obligation to attend their mediation service held every morning at 6 am. It started with a half hour of seated, silent meditation which I found torturous. I never came close to achieving any kind of transcendent experience with this technique, I was just glad when it was over. My first time in the tank was just about the exact opposite. This was clearly the technique for me.
I also saw that my hesitancy and nervousness in trying out a floatation tank was the result of a deeply buried, unconscious fear. If you’ve ever read any of John Lilly’s accounts of tank work you know that he’s written about some pretty far-out encounters. I wasn’t quite ready to go way beyond the Earth game to visit distant sectors of cosmic space and bump into vast non-human entities which for all I knew was a common occurrence when floating. Believe me, it’s not. I also had impressions about floating from seeing the film Altered States which now seems an unrealistic portrayal of what it’s like when you float. This fear became completely dissipated when Sam Zeiger, my guide for the first voyage, gave an orientation before I got in. He had me feel how light the tank door was, how easily it opened. “You can get out whenever you like if you want to. You can even put a towel in the door to have it be opened just a crack if it’s too dark.” I’ve never been afraid to use the tank since.
For more information or to get your own tank go here.