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.
Harry Palmer’s Buck Mountain Technique
In Living Deliberately, Chapter 2, Harry states:
Now the young disciples came to me. They were sure I knew, because I said I didn’t know. They didn’t know either, but what I accepted matter-of-factly, they resisted. “Tell us what to believe, Harry.” Have any words more dangerous ever been spoken?
But as long as they helped with the chores, they were welcome. When they thought too much, I instructed them how to create stillness: “Close your eyes. Let go. Look for something in your mind that is not a thought. Concentrate on the space between thoughts.” Eventually, for the ones who were willing to practice, their mental skies cleared.
I can attest to the power of these instructions to create super-trippy dream states. Can’t comment on the waking state efficacy.
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“.
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. I’ve heard good things about the iRest formulation of Yoga Nidra.
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.