Cloud 9 Float Spa
While searching for a calm, efficient, and introspective form of meditation for myself, I came across a technique known as sensory deprivation to help achieve such a state. Unbeknownst to me, Coquitlam, British Columbia, has a business which offers just that.
A completely soothing experience from the moment you step in, to the moment you depart. Here is an account of my experience at Cloud 9 Float Spa and the wonderfully innovative form of meditation they offer:
As I opened the metal float tank door, the aura of a warm 37 degrees Celsius brushed against my bare skin. I reached in to feel the water. It was an odd sensation, perfectly tuned to my core temperature. I stepped in, feet first. My body began to displace the water loaded with 800 pounds of Epsom salt. I suppose buoyancy would be an integral part of a float tank. I wondered how well the water and salt would keep me afloat, and upon lying down, I was a cork, immediately bobbing to the surface.
My body was weightless. It took me some time to let go control of every limb and the tensions associated with them. I positioned my arms parallel to my body, fingers pointing to my toes. An odd equivalency of the buoyant force of water and the force of gravity left me with a floating sensation. I could push off from one end of the tank and gently reach the other, without knowing how much time or distance I had covered. Did I mention the float tank is completely void of light? Indeed. I thought I needed to pay Sir Edward Branson a cool $250,000 for a similar experience on Virgin Galactic, but instead, I experienced it safely on the ground, in my hometown, on Earth.
No light. Zero gravity. Ear plugs to simulate the cessation of all sound. I truly felt the awe and wonder of a complete void. But all was not quiet.
The busy chattering of my thoughts, their derivatives, and all the transitions, shot through my head at a rapid pace. What would I focus on while I lie here for an hour? But wait, how much time had already passed? Time… a truly human construction and measurement, no longer held any relevance. While I tried to estimate how much “time” had in fact passed, a deeper voice inside me scathed at the idea. I quickly tossed that thought out, and set off to explore the rest of my mind.
This is meditation. To eliminate the everyday noise that accumulates in us, to delve into our deeper consciousness, to ruminate on our actions and what our presence brings to others.
My mind stopped the rapid firing of neurons. I may finally have acclimatized to this new environment. All I hear and feel is the beat of my heart. I focus in on it. I feel the power of the pumps and the blood flow through my chest. I try to speed up the rhythm. I try to slow it down. I held my breath for a minute to see if that would speed it up. As hard as I tried to gain control of my central nervous system, it eluded me. Perhaps more training and trial and error could help me in my endeavour. (Impossible is nothing.)
As the intrigue with my heart rhythm faded, my thoughts became gentler. My mind was no longer scouring for topics as I lay there. I was overcome with the realization that life is not in fact about every day stresses, deadlines, and accomplishments. We are given a gift of great consciousness. One must not waste the power of contemplation. We are numb to our deepest thoughts due to the presence of radio, television, sports, and work. It is necessary for us, occupants of the human condition, to evolve our thoughts and inclinations.
A soft, ambient light begins to glow, accompanied with the sound of gentle waves lapping upon a white shore. This was my cue that an hour had passed. I was sure the timer was only set for fifteen minutes as there was no way that experience was an hours’ worth. I checked my watch, and indeed, an hour had passed. I suppose our neurons, which fire at ridiculous speeds and can probably beat everything except light in a race, would make time appear slow relative to the speed of our thoughts. What an interesting concept.
I got out of the float tank, showered under the glow of lavender lighting, drank some of the tea generously provided by Cloud 9 Float Spa, and was on my way. Clarity, the ability to see the “big picture,” and a general lightness to the excess weight thrown on one in today’s world were some of the symptoms of this introspective journey.
No drugs. No rituals. No postures. Just complete sensory deprivation, aiding in mental stimulation.