I can’t remember when I first heard about float tanks, I only know it was years ago. I’d read a few stories about the experiences people had in them and I was super curious.
A float tank is basically an enclosed pod filled with shallow, warm water (see below for photos). They keep the water around 95 degrees. This is cooler than your body, but meant to be the same temperature as your skin, in order to help facilitate the feeling of infinity or being one with the water. In the water they pour around 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. This makes the water extremely dense and anybody, of any weight or size, will float in this.
Float tanks were created in 1954 by the American neurophysiologist Dr. John C. Lilly. He wanted to study consciousness and brainwaves and he was curious about sensory deprivation, or the removal of all stimuli outside of a person. Since then, studies on the tank have shown that it does have an effect on the brain that is similar to deep states of meditation. People often describe feeling more creative, inspired, and relaxed while in the tank. Some things associated with repeated use of float tanks are reduced stress, healing of aches and pains, increased mental clarity and increased energy.
After you get into the tank you acquaint yourself with it and find whatever position feels most comfortable. When you’re ready, you close the lid and turn off the soft interior light. This step of being in a rather small enclosed space in the dark is what most people find to be a deterrent to trying this. But it was because of the stories I’d read of what happened that I knew it would be fine. Some people had epiphanies that changed their lives, and others felt as if their body melted away and they were floating through space, going on a journey that sounded like an out of body experience.
Once I had showered I went into my private room with the tank. I suddenly felt trepidation, even though I’d been so excited about this. The idea of closing myself in the pod gave me a little bit of nervous butterflies. But I knew I was on a time limit, and I wanted to get as much of the experience as possible. As soon as I felt comfortable I turned off the light and the darkness swallowed me up.
I took the first minute to float lightly, getting the feel for how I was moving and drifting ever so subtly over the water. I tried a few arm positions and was surprised to find keeping my arms back over my head was the most comfortable. This had seemed like a weird position before I laid back, but with my entire body supported, putting my arms up felt like the most natural thing. I also loved how it felt to have my whole body stretched out. At one point I extended my toes and reached back with my arms as far as I could. My back popped and it felt like my whole body released tension.
In the first few minutes I started breathing deep, and without telling myself to do so. My breathing slowed down on its own, as did my pulse. My breathing became so deep the sound of my breath seemed to fill my whole body, and this only relaxed me further, which made me breathe deeper and slower. I was truly in a world of myself, and the sensation of being in an enclosed space was gone before I knew it.
My mind stayed quiet active, and I knew it would be best to let go of any expectation and allow what wanted to happen to happen. I didn’t try to quiet my mind or the thoughts, but instead allowed them to fully surface and finally have their own chance to breathe free and deep.
As the time went on the perception of the edges of the tank faded further and further. A few times I even forget where I was, and it felt as if I was drifting in a wide open abyss. I mean I truly forgot, not in the sense of I was in a pod, but I forgot about the city I was in, the state, even the whole planet. I was in a state of pure existence. It never felt empty or overwhelming in its expanse. It instead felt calm and supportive, and as I felt more open so did my mind. All those thoughts that were jumbled together now had space to separate and sort themselves out. It felt as if these walls fell away, and everything that was crammed within my mind could be sorted through. It was as if I’d taken everything from an over stuffed closet and spread it out in a huge room, where I could see it clearly and with feelings of both detachment and clarity.
I began to get clear insights on things, and I knew which steps I wanted to take in areas that I had felt so utterly lost in. All the while, I continued to feel supported and relaxed. Sometimes the feeling of the water would be so tangible it was if I was laying on a bed. Except not really a bed, more like I was being held by a billion feathers and soft, pearly beads. Other times, I felt again like I was floating, and the sensation of the walls of the tank only came back to me a few times.
I seemed to drift into a very deep state of slow brain waves. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but at one point my body jerked and I sort of jolted back to full consciousness, in that way you do when you’ve fallen asleep unexpectedly and then you spasm and wake up. It was so strange because it felt like I’d jarred out of a deep sleep, but I could swear I was awake the whole time… after that a feeling of euphoria came over me and I had an epiphany.
Earlier in that day, I’d been thinking about the fact that nothing lasts forever. How no matter what you create or do, eventually, no matter how much you tell yourself it’ll last, it’ll be gone. In the one sense that new books, movies and ideas overtake the old, and everything is constantly changing. But also in the sense that even this planet won’t last. Even if you somehow created something that could somehow never be destroyed or forgotten, it would still, no matter what, be swept away when the sun overtakes our Earth billions of years from now.
Isn’t that a dark thought? It’s extremely pessimistic, and left me with feelings of Why bother? Who cares what you do, nothing is important because everything will eventually be replaced or destroyed.
I hadn’t even realized how heavy and dark my thoughts were until I’d gotten super relaxed in the tank. After I had the strange body jarring sensation, all of those thoughts came back to me. But now, they were all different. I realized that it was for that exact reason, that nothing lasts, that everything should be seen as special and cherished. Everything that’s happening right now can never be again, and that’s what should make me excited to do stuff, because whatever I do and create is a rare moment that I am blessed enough to be a part of. All I am asked to do is to appreciate it and to stay in the flow, to allow what stays to stay as long as it’s natural, and when I let go, to feel immense gratitude for all of the conditions that brought it into my life.
It was a dramatic and much needed shift in perspective. It helped me to also realize how powerful perspective is, and that looking at things one way can be depressing, and looking at them another way is uplifting and inspiring. As these thoughts filled me, I began to feel really excited. I wondered how I would stay in the tank with so much excitement running through me. Yet even with the feelings of being fully awake, I was still so relaxed, and looking forward to what I would realize next.
And just as I eased into that, the bells chimed, and my hour and fifteen minutes were up. I wanted nothing more than to stay in the tank and follow this evolution of thoughts and feelings. Before I’d gone in, the 2 hour option seemed insane. But at the end, I was wishing I’d chosen that.
A few days later I saw a coupon for a float tank at a different place. My experience at this one was much different. Like the first time, as soon as I turned the light off and got comfortable I started to effortlessly breathe deep. This tank was a little smaller and oval shaped and so I couldn’t put my arms over my head. I let them rest beside me, and this position had a strange effect on my body. At first my neck and back felt so tense from this. As I laid there, I realized that this position allowed my neck and back to open up more, and I soon noticed the tension felt like I was getting a deep tissue message. I could feel all of the tension and tightness slowly unravelling…
I continually closed my eyes and unlike the first time, my mind was very quiet. I was super relaxed and I may have fallen asleep a few times. I didn’t follow any trains of thought, until at the end, when something strange happened. I was overcome with feelings of negativity and doubt. It washed over me, and I couldn’t understand what was happening. Had I done something wrong? Why didn’t I feel amazing and inspired, like the last time?
As the feelings rose up, I could feel the truth. These feelings had been inside of me for a long time. It was like I’d put a cement floor over all of my frustration, anxiety and self-doubt, and the salt water bath had dissolved right through that layer and allowed it all to rise up so it could finally release.
When the music chimed to let me know it was time to get up I felt a sense of disappointment. I was just getting into some good stuff, some real truths, and I didn’t want to get out with these heavy, dark feelings hanging on me. But it was time to go, and I had to drive over an hour to get home, so I figured I could reflect then.
As I drove home, I reflected a little and just let my mind drift through what was coming up. I didn’t have any big realizations, but I did start to feel an incredible lightness come over me. It seemed there wasn’t anything I had to do except let those feelings go. I started to feel so good I was laughing. Laughing at nothing. Only laughing because I felt a joy and lightness I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I felt free and open and energized. It felt good to laugh hard and to laugh purely because it felt good.
I’m back home now, and I had something to eat (both times I did the float tank I was ravenous after!), relaxed a little, and now I’m feeling quiet tired. It seems a lot processes and happens in my mind and body during these sessions.
And yeah, I would do it again. If these float tanks were closer, I’d do it every week. I think it’s a powerful tool in helping someone heal, get clarity, or to perhaps have one of those magical, mind opening experiences of traveling through space.
If you live in the Bay Area, the first experience I described was at Oakland Floats, and I would highly recommend it. My experience there was fantastic. The second place I went to had smaller tanks, which wasn’t a problem in the claustrophobia sense, but in the sense that it diminished my feelings of floating. I kept bumping the balls and so it took me longer to relax. I also had a full hour and fifteen minutes at Oakland Floats, whereas the other place made me feel rushed as the time it took me to get undressed and showered was included in my float time. I didn’t like this because with that in mind, it ended up being about 45 minutes of floating. Trust me on this, because it sounds like it’s waaaaaaaay too long, but you need at least an hour.
For your first time, I would suggest going with a friend. Knowing my friend was beside me in her own tank really helped me to relax and feel more at ease. I also loved hearing her story after, and going with a friend is a great way to enhance your experience. Her experience was very different than mine, and I was amazed at what happened at the end. At the end, she truly felt the sensation of free floating, and it was as if she was floating upwards, going up through the infinite expanse of space. Pretty wild!
Be sure and let the attendant know if it’s your first time. There’s some important stuff to know about not getting the salt water in your eyes. Also, if you have sensitive skin you may felt a bit of discomfort at first. When I first got in my back and legs were itchy, and I was concerned I wouldn’t like it. But this feeling quickly went away, and it was no big deal. As a matter of fact, when I got out my hair and skin felt softer than they have in years! Along with the kinds of experiences I wrote about above, about the feelings of relaxation, surrender, and receiving much needed insight, soaking in Epsom salt does amazing things for your body and is very detoxifying. The place I noted where we went, Oakland Floats, has a really great FAQ and information section that can help you decide if you want to try this for yourself. If you were to ask me, I would give this a complete endorsement, but you will know for yourself if this is right for you or not.
Above left: At the second place I went to they had a super nice lounge to hang out in after your soak. You could have some warm tea and take a few minutes to process before getting in your car and driving. I loved the journals they had for people to sign. Most people were new and wrote that they enjoyed it.
Above right: The smaller and more circular tank. It worked just fine, but given the option, I would choose the rectangular and larger tank. What was most important to me was the time, and I will return to Oakland Floats based on the fact that my soak was longer.
Danu: Goddess of Knowledge
To begin, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose, and slowly, breathe out through your mouth.
Imagine you are sitting before a beautiful, tall flower. This flower is in a grassy meadow on a sunny, beautiful day.
Imagine now that you lean forward, and you smell the delicious perfume coming from this sweet flower. As you enjoy sitting before this flower, imagine your energy goes in through the top of flower. Take a few deep breaths, and visualize yourself shrinking and dissolving in until you are one with the flower.
From here, visualize your energy going down into the roots of the flower, where you are deeply rooted into the earth's soil. Imagine that you are spread out through the soil in these roots. Feel yourself pulling up nourishment, water, life giving energy. Feel how deeply connected you are to the earth. You are surrounded by and it cradles every inch of you.
Take a few deep breaths. Enjoy the sensation of being grounded in this dark, nutrient rich soil, absorbing it into your body, and sending all that healing energy up.
When you're ready, allow your energy to drift back up the stem of the flower. Visualize different parts inside of it as you go, imagining the chlorophyll rich green cells, the veins that carry the nutrients, and so on, until you come to the top of the flower.
Take another deep breath as you come up to the part of the flower swaying in the fresh, open air.
Here you feel yourself basking in the sunlight. The warm, life giving light that comes from the sun warms your petals. You know this is nourishing your leaves, giving them exactly what they need to be a vibrant green. With each deep breath you breathe in more sunshine, helping you to grow even stronger and taller. And with each breath out you release toxins, cleansing your body.
Take a deep breath, and enjoy knowing that all is well. All is being provided for you.
All is well. Even though you aren't doing anything except receiving from above and below. As you receive from these sources you feel that they are so happy that you are here, adding your unique beauty, and your unique expression to this world. You are a natural part of this world.
You receive from above, and you receive from below, and you feel that you are balanced and centered in this world. You are able to receive, and there is nothing you must do.
Continue to breathe deep.
From this point you may stay as the flower, open your eyes, or transition into a deeper meditation such as one where you notice your breath coming in and out.
As I began to explore how people connect with their guides and angels I discovered that there's no one exact and correct way. In the same way we are constantly changing in how we connect and bond with people, so do we change in how we connect with our guidance team. Which is the first thing you need to know: you can't do it wrong. If you think to yourself help me... I need you, and you feel a warmth come over, do not doubt that you've just called in the love and support that is coming to from your angels. You will always know what works for you, and it will change and evolve as you change and evolve in your spiritual journey.
If you feel you don't know how to connect, or that you've asked for help before and you were let down, I'd like to share a few things that might help. For one, we all have guides and angels. You have someone standing beside you right now, radiating divine love onto you and celebrating you for being exactly who you are. If you don't feel this, and you feel you're walking alone in this world, it's not because you're doing anything wrong and you've been rejected or forgotten. Opening up to receiving the love and guidance of our invisible helpers often comes with the same blocks we have with receiving love and support from people. We often either don't feel worthy of receiving, or we've been deeply hurt in our lives and lost the ability to trust.
Your guides and angels must, at all times, respect your free will. You are a powerful being, here in this world to learn and grow. Your team would never force something on you and choose what they feel is right for you (even if you think deep down it's a good thing). For example, if you ask for help in getting money for a car, but deep down, you don't believe anything will help you, then that's the belief your team must work with. This is Universal law, and it's in place to ensure you grow in strength. Angels and guides are here to assist you, not to usurp your personal power. In fact, they want to help you to grow that power and to grow in your self-love and self-confidence! Therefore, they cannot override your beliefs, and one of the best ways to deepen your connection and bond to your team is to change your core beliefs. These questions can help you in being more open:
- Do you feel worthy of receiving help?
- Do you believe help is available to you no matter what? Or do you believe you have to earn that help and be "a good person" in order to receive it? Essentially, do you put limitations on when they can help you?
- Do you close down to receiving help because of past experiences that made you feel you must do things alone, you will be abandoned, you will be hurt, or you will be rejected?
If you're struggling to connect more with your spirit guides, guardian angels or just a sense of a higher power in your life, part of the problem might also be that you're making it too complicated. One thing I've found when I search this topic is that a lot of people want to make this seem harder than it is. You don't need any sacred ceremonies, complicated meditations, to cleanse anything, pray under the moon, change anything, or pay anyone to connect you. This all ties into question number two.
Now, that being said, if any of that feels good to you, by all means do it. I've tried many things and all of it helped open me up and enrich my understanding. Once again, it comes down to belief. If you believe a certain ritual helps you to connect, then use it. At some point, you will most likely use it enough that you'll realize your connection is so deep you no longer need it. The need to use a ritual will fall away like an old skin, and you'll know that all you must do is think help me, show me you're here and you'll feel their presence.
The one ritual that I use to connect is a simple one: I take a deep breath.
When I need to feel my support, I close my eyes, put my hands on my heart, and take a deep breath. Deep breathing instantly connects you to your guides and angels. We tend to disregard this because for one, it's simple, and we have a hard time trusting things that are simple and easy. It's also not something we understand. It's not how we communicate with other people. When we want to connect to our guides we're sometimes looking to have a conversation that goes in the exact way it does when we talk to people. Spirit guides are, by definition, not people. Maybe they were once people, but as they exist now, they're energy in other dimensions, which is why they're so helpful! So let them talk to you in their own way, and you'll start to see they're "speaking" to you all the time.
Here's a great way to practice connecting to your guides and angels right now: imagine you are breathing in their energy, and breathing out your energy back into them. What does their energy feel like? It feels like Love. Pure Love. Take a deep breath in and breathe in love. You can imagine them as angels with wings, clouds of energy, or whatever feels right. If you're not good with visualization, just set the intention you will breathe in their love, and breathe out to deepen your connection and bond to their love. That's enough.
Breathe in through your nose, good and slow, and then breathe out through your mouth, sloooooooow. Keep doing this until you feel calm. Then say or think, 'thank you,' and know that as long as you're breathing, they're with you.
In several of my guided meditations I incorporate connecting to your guides and angels. This can be a powerful and easy way to get started, as my voice will guide you and you can relax and simply follow the guidance. One of my favorites is Morning Meditation because it starts your day off welcoming in the love and support of your team. I also love the Mountain of Strength meditation because not only does it call in your team, but it takes you on a deep and healing inner journey in which they are with you every step of the way.
If you struggle with question number three, and you feel you're blocked because of negative or traumatic past experiences, then I would suggest trying the Magic Cloud meditation. It uses subconscious imagery to connect you to a higher place, which works like hypnosis. It bypasses all of your conscious doubts and worries and allows you to connect on a soul level. Your soul never forgets that you are love, and that connecting to your guides and angels is as natural as feeling the sun on your face. The meditation is also deeply healing, as it washes away old things you're done with and brings in new and positive energy.
1.) I enjoy opening and reading my email. People are excited to work with me, and I am always receiving GOOD NEWS!
2.) I celebrate my steps and I celebrate when I allow myself to rest.
3.) I breathe in Love / I breathe out fear.
She'd brought with her some Legos, and I gave her a plastic polar bear I keep on my desk. At one point, she laid all the Legos down and put the polar bear in front of them. She told me the Legos were sleeping.
I asked her if the polar bear was guarding them while they slept.
She thought about this for a moment and then said,
"No. He's looking at the stars."
Her response, so short and so perfect, said so much about how she views life. It made me realize that our natural response to what the polar bear was doing was a reflection of how we see life.
Where she sees a chance to see the stars, I see things that need to be protected.
She sees magic. I see vulnerability.
She sees the whole Universe. I see imagined threats and dangers.
I'd like to change this. I'd like to see magic instead of things to be afraid of.
Tonight, I will look at the stars.
I will look up and smile and take a deep breath. I will breathe and enjoy this little corner of the Universe I call home. I will breathe in the love and breathe out the fear. I will breathe in the knowing that all is well. And I will breathe out the worry that's never helped me anyways.
Hi! I'm Melissa.
I'm the creator of this website and its guided meditations. Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and take a deep breath. This space is here for you.