no deprivation here

In mid-June, I tried something I’d never done before — a sensory deprivation tank. The version I went to is basically a very small room, just big enough to lie down in, and the bottom is filled with body temperature water with enough salt content so that you are totally buoyant. Once the door closes and the lights are turned out, it’s completely silent and dark. You are enclosed in a tank with no external input arriving to take you out of yourself.

On examining my experience both during & after, I found the phrase “sensory deprivation” to be somewhat inaccurate. What felt more apt to me was a pair of phrases: “external sensory deprivation” and “internal sensory amplification”.

The outside world was shut on the other side of the tank door. Inside the tank, my ears were just below the water line, and I could hear my breath very clearly. I felt the warm water on my skin, and, after a short while, I felt internal movements, like my heart beating.

It was a whole other world of movement and life, all within me.

The session was 45 minutes long, and it felt like a time of discovery (and, to be honest, occasionally of boredom). As I write this, I haven’t yet been back, but I’d be curious if future visits would continue with discoveries, ideas, & mindfulness, or if those moments of boredom would increase with an experience that was no longer new. Perhaps I’ll go back sometime and find out.

Have you ever tried anything like this? What discoveries or observations did you have?