12 The Theory of Isolation Tank Gnosis is Completely Useless

The theory of Isolation Tank Gnosis is 100% useless. USELESS! You read that right. Let me state that again, so you know it’s not a typo:

The theory of Isolation Tank Gnosis is 100% useless.

That right useLESS, not useFUL.

In contrast, the practice of ITG is vital because it gives direct experience. All of this theory does not give any of that. It is just me popping off at the lip about a bunch of high-sounding metaphysical nonsense that I have run across during my dazed and confused search for the truth.

How can I know what the secret of nature is? People just want to be interesting when they try to explain everything.

Juliu Horvath, Founder of Gyrotonic

If you came here for a lecture, forget about it…. Truth exists between the words I speak.

Robert Adams

Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.

Balance Yoga Center, San Jose, CA also Swami Vishnu-Devananda, Sivananda Yoga-Vedanta Centers.

So why am I writing a theory section? Well, mainly because I found it useful to organize my thoughts. Also, I think the theory section is a usful smokescreen. It is a red herring that teaches an important lesson about valuing the words of others over your own direct experience. That’s why acceptance into ITG as a servant only requires practice in isolation and service training with a focus on allowing others to practice in isolation — no theory! It does not require agreement with this long-winded theory section.

So now that you know that words are very useful for injunctive things (go do this) and grossly inadequate for descriptive things (e.g., trying to describe enlightement), let’s devote 4 or 5 chapters to describe spiritual states.

Elaboration on the cover diagram

Similar to what Franz Bardon did in my favorite work on High Magick, “Initiation into Hermetics”, I will now go over the cover diagram:

In the cover diagram we see a large triangle pointing towards the word “YOU.” What this means is that ITG’s intent to point you to You (union of the lower self with the higher self). Also note that you are above and beyond the triangle – the religious . Just below the image of the person floating, we see the letter “I” with a plethora of punctuation behind it. This represents the spiritual aspirant at the start of his journey. He is uncertain as to who she is, how the world got here and what her purpose is. On the other side of the woman floating is”IAGII! IIIAG!” This is the proclamation of one who spends 8 weeks in Isolation – I Am God In Isolation! In Isolation I Am God! So Isolation is the path from confusion to permanent blissful realization of the true nature of yourself and the world.

Going back to the word “You” above the triangle, if you notice the letter “O” in this word has circles inside and outside of it. The meaning of three concentric circles is revealed in Harry Palmer’s “Living Deliberately.”

You will also note three triangles inside the large triangle. These inner triangles are the cornerstones of ITG:

  1. The gnostic viewpoint – using the self to discover The Self as opposed to a church or group
  2. Spiritology and Avatar are two very similar spiritual systems which both insist that all that you are experiencing is the direct result of your thinking. Both systems have their way of processing you to a state of clear — your original state of Unlimited Creator Abiding in High Indifference.
  3. The “I” stands for Isolation. Isolation, be it via dwelling in the wilderness or floating in an isolation tank is our way of offering you the zero point of Spiritologie/Avatar iathe Gnostic Viewpoint.

Let’s take a different viewpoint on the three triangles inside the large triangle. A fractal is self-similar patterns repeating at different scales. So we can presume that the diagram is using these triangular patterns to refer to the fractal nature of reality – the whole universe really is just “I” at various levels of self-similar reflection and magnification. And these “I” are as small as a grain of sand and larger than the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

Just to show you how easy it is create viewpoints on what is perceived, let’s create a different theory on why there are 3 letter “I” around a big letter “I”. The reason is that three eyes are hinting at the fact that the real you exists at the third eye.

Oh, I’m sorry, the 3 “I” have to do with the triune nature of a human: I the body, I the mind and I the soul.

No, I take that back. The key to the whole diagram are the letters “G,I,s/a”. Those letters are an abbreviation for “Gee, I see all!” and note that the person floating appears to be opening up to a cosmic experience of seeing herself as one with everything.

See how quickly the path to truth gets obscured when you spend time reading books, listening to lectures and philosophizing with others instead of just laying in a tank for 8 weeks?

Elaboration of the elaboration.

Similar to the fractal nature of the universe, where every point represents the whole (as above, so below, microcosm = macrocosm), let us now delve into our elaboration. We said that a Recluse in search of enlightenment is initially confused about who she is. Hence the diagram shows “I? I. I: I! I…” The diagram is saying the person lacks a certainly about self. Now through floating (the image in the very center), the Recluse arrives at the conclusion “I Am God In Isolation. In Isolation I Am God!” (IAGII. IIIAG!)

Let us now “prove” the how the ritual, dogma and definitions of Isolation Tank Gnosis lead to this conclusion. Remember we have one ritual (the Harry Palmer Intensive) and one dogma (all you need to find God is to be alone) and a series of definitions covered in the Evangelism section. Time to slap some bread on all that lunchmeat to make it digestible. Here we go:

  1. TRUTH exists for YOU Alone.
  2. When others agree with YOU, it becomes a Reality
  3. TRUTH needs just one. Reality needs 2 or more. Since 1 precedes and creates 2, TRUTH is primary cause. Reality is secondary effect.
  4. TRUTH has the following synonyms GOD, Love, Isolation, Oneness, Imagination, Delusion, Illusion, Hallucination, Orgasm, Creativity, Life Force, and most significantly YOU.
  5. Some have postulated that “GOD is All”. (see footnote 1)
  6. If so, then GOD is One
  7. GOD as all-one must be Alone.
  8. In isolation, YOU are alone.
  9. From (7) we have God = Alone. From (8) we have In isolation, you = Alone. Putting (7) and (8) together, we conclude In isolation, You = God.
  10. Because Isolation is the permanent god-state, Isolation in and of itself is an entirelysufficient practice and path to God-realization.
  11. The Isolation Tank provides isolation.
  12. The Isolation Tank is therefore a complete, sufficient, and efficient practice for God-realization.
  13. Rejoice and repeat: “I am god in isolation. In isolation I am god!” (IAGII.IIIAG).

Now that the complete doctrine has been laid down, I would like to acknowledge my source of inspiration for such a terse style of delivery. It was completely inspired by Ramana Maharshi’s text “Reality in 40 Verses”.


  1. This is only a particular postulate about God. See “Simulations of God” by John C. Lilly for even more.

Elaboration of the elaboration of the elaboration.

It is time for one more round of elaboration. That’s right. Just as Swami Ananda left Harry Palmer with 3 circles, we are now going to take one more tour into this diagram. Just as the movie “Inception” led us into layer upon layer of dream and waking states, we now delve directly into the heart of the diagram, for the heart of Isolation Tank Gnosis is simple: float for 8 weeks and be free.

In the very center of the diagram we see the Recluse floating in solitude. There are no words here, just a Recluse free of so many other-determined distractions:

No lights or pictures to react to. No need to evaluate the images as pro or contrasurvival. No need to think or recall or analyze. No sound to react to? Will it kill me or enhance my survival level. Water at my skin temperature allows my boundaries to melt away. For the first time in decades, 800 pounds of epsom salt buoy me up, no gravity to chain me this bird who wants to take flight. No need to do 1000 calculations per second on how to maintain balance. I am ALL alone. I am ME! I am FREE!

The complete comfort of the isothermal supportive bath in the dark and the silence affords a complete physical/mental/spiritual resting place…

John C. Lilly, “The Deep Self”

Isolation Tank Gnosis in Creation Poetry

Having fed, the left side of the brain with proofs and reason, let’s see if some poetry will lay a firmer foundation. Don’t worry if you don’t understand this. Each verse will be expanded upon in the following chapters.

  1. Limitless, ineffable Primordial Samadhi is neither being or not-being. Utter nothingness. Utterly utter nothingness.
  2. From Primordial Samadhi you arose as Pure Being – a subject with no objects. The Vedas refer to “The one without a second”, or “The Self”. No places people or things. Pure Being.
  3. Pure Being believed there had to be something else – Imagination. The solitary subject imagined other objects.
  4. But the Pure Being was not fooled. Just as a movie film has still images, no illusion of solidity or motion could fool Pure Being. The great law of impermenance disintegrated all objects and Pure Being always returned to Utter isolation. Oh, the bitter desolation of knowing you are all-one (alone)!
  5. Pure Being was alone – all one with no one to play with.
  6. Pure being continued the cycle of genesis: imagination, intention, creation, perception, experience…over and over.
  7. The intent of the Pure Being was to create something other than itself. To create other-determinism, thereby reducing its self-determination for the sake of playmates in game after game. How nice it would be have places to explore and people to be with!
  8. Eventually Pure Being successfully implanted itself with enough limitations that it soon had a playground of apparently solid and fixed matter, energy, space, time, and life forms: Consensus Reality. And many of the creations were superior to the now-limited Original Subject. Some could outrun it. Some could kill it. Some were much bigger. All apparently were freely autonomous and out of the control of The Original Subject.
  9. No longer was it completely self-determined. It was at the effect of its own creations.
  10. The full cycle of genesis was crippled. Imagination, intention and creation were cut out. There was only perception and experience.
  11. Repeated observation of perception and experience, with the faulty assumption of them being an eternal pattern, led to the sciences and mathematics: empirical attempts to codify what is perceived under the false assumption that it is fixed and unchangeable.
  12. The urge to return to your home as a free creator led to the creative arts and religion: the urge to produce fresh new creations and reconnect with Source.
  13. Some systems say Truth exists in Utter Nothingness. So be it. Other claim Pure Being as Truth. Very well. And indeed others, such as Isolation Tank Gnosis, abide in Imagination as Truth. I imagine that might be a good starting point or final destination. Regardless of which of these states is considered Truth, conscious abidance in any of them is entirely achievable with solo isolation tank work being the sole vehicle for the initiation, cultivation and mastery of said Truth.
  14. No other-determined hindrances can stop the journey. Only a failure to enter repeatedly enter the isolation tank can hinder you.
  15. Once stably back in Pure Being, the various implanted imaginations fall off as the false leeches they are. Self-determination to freely imagine returns. And the gateway to utter nothingness is available as well. Take your pick.
  16. The full cycle of genesis returns! Therefore rejoice ye: “In Isolation, I am God. I am God in Isolation! (IIIAG.IAGII)”

Well I hope you enjoyed this chapter of hypocrisy. I start with a quote by Robert Adams stating”Truth exists between the words I speak” and then spent a whole chapter trying to speak about the truth using words. But you, being wise, paid attention to the space between the words didn’t you? How did that work out? Write me a letter with your results and I’ll be sure to look between the words to get your drift.


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To the extent possible under law, Lord Terrence-Monroe Calvinsson de Sherleys-Womb has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Isolation Tank Gnosis, except where otherwise noted.

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