The Floating Plateau

So as an employee at Beyond Rest, I have been floating for well over a year now, I have noticed the experience has levelled out.. Like most people, my floats started off amazing and got better and better, but eventually it seemed I just couldn't get to the void anymore.. My first thought about this was "the novelty has worn off.." but that didn't feel right, floating isn't just another novelty, it's an incredible tool for personal development, among a plethora of other things.
I kept wondering, I realised eventually that I can't simply rely on the tank to do all the heavy lifting, I'd need to use the mindfulness tools that I'm so familiar with to achieve the same blissful state that once came so easily in the tank, the difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.

So in a bid to do just that, I thought I'd log my future floats and invite the members of Perth Float Community along to share my journey..
This is the first report of many, I hope you follow along and feel free to offer any advice or share your own experiences in the comments below :-)

Float 1, 3:30pm

I decided I would try a method that a co-worker uses in the tank, which is to count breaths as a means of taking ones attention off the mental chatter,
A breath in and out counts as one. I also went in with the mindset of whatever happens, happens. No expectations. I got into the tank and lay with arms outstretched above my head and began breathing.

At breath 8 I began to really notice myself relaxing.. In between breaths the chatter was still there, distracting me with all kinds of irrelevance.

By breath 13 it was getting difficult to remember between breaths that I was counting.. by the mid 20's I had lost count a few times and just continued on where I guessed I'd left off. Despite this difficulty, the rhythmic breathing alone had me feeling deeply relaxed, and the attempts at counting was helping to keep the breath on point. Eventually I gave up counting and instead kept moving my attention to either my breath or "body feeling" when I noticed runaway thoughts. This was very effective, I have a tendency to move around in the tank due to tension in my neck/shoulders. Surrendering to this with body awareness, I've decided, is a great way for me to stop moving and push through the tension.

I kept this up for the duration of the float, taking my attention gently away from thoughts and placing it on breathing and either my body's energy or my heart. The thoughts didn't altogether stop, but I did get to a state of relaxation far deeper than any recent float in memory. Another bonus of the meditation on my body was that I came face to face with a body of emotional tension/stress/anxiety, which came as somewhat of a shock. I consider myself pretty relaxed and stress free, a point which is frequently highlighted at Beyond Rest by people I spend time with!
Don't let this cool calm exterior fool you guys, beneath lay turbulence!

I think my experiment is off to a good start.. I put to use a mindfulness technique which definitely made a difference to my float, and learned something about myself in the process. I didn't completely switch off my brain, and I didn't slip into the void, but neither was I expecting to make such progress in one session.

This concludes my first entry, I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope you get something out of this project of mine in the future!
Peace :-)

Jonathan Gibbs

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