What I Learned in an Isolation Float Tank
Or, Shut Up Already!
I just completed my second isolation float tank experience.
In case you don’t know, an isolation float tank is a sensory deprivation tank.
You get in this big enclosed humid room, lay nude on ten inches or so of warm salt-saturated water, bubble up to the top like a wine cork, watch the lights and sound go out and just, well, float.
Nobody else there.
You’re entirely alone.
Just you and your thoughts.
Not even a cell phone.
For ninety minutes.
So, why would anyone want to do that?
That’s why I didn’t do it.
I had a gift coupon to have an isolation tank experience at The Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, and never used it.
Not for five years.
I lost it.
Or hid it.
I didn’t care, either, as I couldn’t imagine “relaxing” in a dark room with no stimulation but my breathing, my thoughts, and the warm water under my butt. It sounded like an MRI tube and I hated those.
But after five years of avoiding my complimentary tank experience, I was given yet another gift coupon to have one, this time from my wife.
I figured the Universe (or my wife) was trying to tell me something, so I called The Zero Gravity Institute and booked my first session.
The institute is clinically clean, well kept, and futuristic looking.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew isolation tanks had been around for decades, stood the test of time, and that friends I trust, such as the publisher of Austin All Natural magazine, regularly did “the tank.”
So, what did I have to lose?
After a relaxing massage, and a quick shower, I was led to the tank.
I was surprised to see it large and spacious. You could stand and walk around in it.
It was like an enclosed hot tub.
Or a covered shallow swimming pool.
When I opened the large door, I felt the humid air and smelled the Epsom salts.
A soft light and gentle music were all I could sense.
I got in.
I lay back on the thick water and felt myself rise to the top of it, like an inflated big balloon.
Or a duck.
The lights dimmed to black.
The music softened to silence.
I lay there, with little stimulation, thinking, “This is different.”
And then all hell broke loose.
My mind was driving me up the sides of the tank.
It kept going into fear, wondering if I was safe, could I get out, what if I die in here, what if I go mad, and so forth.
I desperately reached for the inside door handle several times, wanting to assure myself that I could find it.
I occasionally reached down and pushed through the thick salt water to touch the floor, wanting to be sure I could stand and move if I had to.
I sometimes panicked in the dark, floundered about to get a sense of direction, splashed burning salt water in my eyes, and reached for the walls to be sure I could touch one.
This went on for at least 30 minutes.
I hated it.
I told my mind, “Shut up, already!”
I remember thinking, “I’ll never last 90 minutes in here! This is hell!”
I started imagining what I would say to the receptionist if I got out early.
“Sorry. Stomach upset.”
“Sorry. Forgot I had a call with Oprah.”
“Sorry. I thought this was for a haircut.”
But I let my monkey mind chatter and I kept breathing.
And then something happened.
Or maybe nothing happened.
The lights started to slowly come up.
The music started to play and gently grow louder.
Somehow “I” had left and the 90 minutes had passed.
And I was euphoric.
My brain was dancing with fireworks of delight.
I felt completely relaxed, and my body felt washed; as if it had been cleansed both inside and out.
I got out, showered off, got dressed, and felt giddy.
Now this is cool, I thought.
In the reception area, I was smiling.
I couldn’t stop smiling.
The owner told me I just detoxed my body and my mind. Endorphins were playing. I had gone into an alpha “non-mind” state of rejuvenation and relaxation. She added that I would feel the effects for a good week or more after this session.
She was right.
I slept better, had more energy, was more optimistic and relaxed, and accomplished even more tasks during each day than I normally would, and I’m already a pretty prolific and productive guy.
Afterwards I talked to a few people who had also experienced the tank.
They all had battles with their mind the first time.
They all realized that the monkey mind had to chatter and bite for thirty minutes before it would go on vacation and allow a deeper relaxation to occur.
So I wasn’t a wuss, after all.
I liked the first session so much, I booked a second.
The second was easier.
I already knew I’d be safe, so I didn’t flounder, reach for the door, or panic.
The “fight or flight” response was gone.
I just breathed, relaxed, and observed my mind.
When it’s just you and your breathing in an isolation float tank, your mind becomes the loudest voice in the room.
It can also be the most negative, belligerent and irritating voice.
My two tank experiences taught me what I already knew but needed to really feel: our minds are keeping us in fear all the time.
Not only in an isolation float tank.
It doesn’t want you to take risks or do anything unusual because you might get hurt. Even when it’s obvious that you won’t get hurt, the mind still keeps talking.
Your mind is talking right now, passing judgment on me and this article, warning you not to get in an isolation tank (or do anything out of your comfort zone).
Your mind is doing its job in keeping you safe, but it’s also, ironically, performing over kill.
You don’t need to be that safe.
While in the tank, I’ve learned to more closely observe and detach from my mind.
Sometimes I herd my thoughts like cats and nudge them into focusing on my goals for the week. That’s constructive use of my alone time. I call it The Intentional Tank Manifestation.
If my mind is going to talk, I might as well give it a task.
But at a certain point, about thirty minutes into my tank experience, “I” let go and simply unplug.
And that’s where the magic happens.
With my mind “off line,” my body can release, my unconscious can process, and I can remain open to inspiration and relaxation.
Again, when the lights came back up and music came back on, I was surprised that 90 minutes had passed.
Dressed and relaxed, the receptionist asked me how it was.
“It’s hard to explain,” I said. “I know I wasn’t thinking in there for ninety minutes, but I don’t know what I was doing if I wasn’t thinking in there.”
“You lay in there and think?”
“I lay in there and think I am thinking,” I replied. “But in reality, I have no idea what happens in there.”
Because I had no idea, I did a little research.
Turns out neuroscientist John Lilly invented sensory deprivation tanks in the 1950s. He and others discovered that complete isolation in a safe place triggered a relaxation even deeper than sleep.
The Zero Gravity Institute site explains it this way:
“The sudden lack of stimulation to large areas of the nervous system triggers a spontaneous chain reaction throughout the body known as the parasympathetic response. Muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption all drop dramatically. The entire chemistry of the body changes. The parasympathetic response is the body’s natural mechanism for healing and regeneration. “
Tank results prove erased anxiety and fear, and multiplied confidence and healing.
Most people experience profound relaxation, release of physical and emotional stress, and more.
Creativity increases, moods are brighter, and spirituality is alive.
People use tank experiences for ADHD, PTSD, addictions, depression, pain, recovery, spiritual exploration, athletic performance, improved sleep, high blood pressure and, well, the list keeps going.
It might grow hair, too. (Or not.)
The Zero Gravity Institute’s site also says-
“The endorphins released while floating create intense feelings of well-being, alleviating fatigue and chronic pain, as well as improving many of the higher brain functions such as memory and learning. The body’s endorphin level is what makes some people naturally happy and others less so. Happiness is not an illusion – it is an endorphin.”
After my second float, I drove home, turned on my computer, and wrote virtually all of this article in one sitting. I usually rewrite fifty times. Or more.
My next morning’s weight lifting workout was a record-breaker. I was unbelievably strong and energetic.
And an interview I did right after it was one of the best in my life; I was calm, articulate, and inspired.
I’m booking a third float right now. I’ll make “floating away” part of my self-care, along with massages, good books, music, exercise, healthy food and purring cats.
I spent two months trying to figure out my career – my rise from nothing to something – so I could explain it in some comprehensible way to the Austin, Texas writers group of the National Speakers Association.
I knew no one would care about my story unless I gave them something to care about.
I knew that the Law of Attraction alone wasn’t enough for most people.
Telling my birth, struggle years, first tiny successes and list of failures, shooting star moments and such, could be lengthy.
It might fit in an autobiography, but not in a short talk.
So I decided to answer the question, “Can people change?”
To begin, let’s look at the me of 1974.
Brace yourself –
I was broke, alone, unhappy, angry, and driven to be an author.
But my drive was more obsession than passion.
I modeled my life after self-destructive authors like Ernest Hemingway (who many said I resembled at the time) and Jack London.
And as a result of the unconscious belief that I needed to struggle, I went through homelessness and poverty and many “dark nights of the soul.”
I didn’t know that the Law of Attraction was in effect, matching my reality to my subconscious beliefs.
But, today, I am happy, successful, healthy, in a long term relationship, with fans around the world.
Look at me now –
This is what I wanted to explain to the Austin special interest writers group of NSA members.
With that in mind, I created “The APS Formula.”
“The APS Formula” is a 3-step strategy for going from nothing to something – like I did.
I delivered the formula at the private event for 12 people.
I stayed away from Law of Attraction and just focused on visible, practical, doable steps.
Afterwards, the group leader told me, “Out of a scale of 1-10, your presentation was a 17.”
I know you weren’t at the event. So I’m revealing the formula here for the time first ever in print.
Here it is:
The A stands for author/authority.
If you aren’t an authority, few will listen to you with any respect.
The best way to be an authority is to be an author-ity; write a book.
My 1984 book Zen and the Art of Writing proved I could write. Later books, such as Turbocharge Your Writing and Cyber Writing and Hypnotic Writing, all did the same thing.
My first clients all hired me for writing, including a businessman who paid me the largest fee of my life to write his book.
My first talks and classes were all on writing and publishing.
When the Internet came along, I wrote articles about copywriting, sales letters, marketing; and they were posted online. This made me one of the first cyber promoters and cyber copywriters.
Some people today still know me as a copywriter from this early period.
Today I’ve recreated myself as a musician. I wrote a little book, Healing Music, to establish my authority as a singer-songwriter.
And because of my self-help books, such as The Attractor Factor and The Key, I’m now considered a self-help, self-improvement, and spiritual teacher.
Again, you want to be an authority and being an author can do that for you.
The P stands for promote/product/passion.
I learned if I didn’t promote my own work, it died.
I also learned I had to create more product, which I did with Hypnotic Writing, Project Phineas, and others.
I also followed my passion, as when I wrote The Seven Lost Secrets of Success. I was on a mission. The book made people know me, like me, and want to do business with me. One company bought 19,000 copies of the book. (!)
Project Phineas was my home study course, recorded in my bedroom with pillows under the door. I recorded it with my passion for “Phineas,” P.T. Barnum’s first name. It eventually became my first Nightingale-Conant product, The Power of Outrageous Marketing.
It was my passion for metaphysics that led to Spiritual Marketing, which later became The Attractor Factor, which led to an invite for me to appear in the hit movie The Secret, which led to redirecting history for me.
Same with Zero Limits (and later, AT Zero) and my passion for ho’oponopono.
Same with P.T. Barnum and my book, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
These were all products that I was passionate about and heavily promoted.
I went on the cover of Austin All Natural magazine to promote myself as a musician, shortening a one-year program into three months to get it done and seize the publicity.
Again, you need to promote your book, create more product, and follow your passions.
The S stands for speaker/salesperson.
I found that I could reach people and sell people if I got on stage.
At first it was just breakfast groups. But those led to other groups. And adult education classes through Leisure Learning in Houston. I had six people in my first class and was so terrified I nearly passed out. But word got out that I was worth hearing.
And, over time, I got better.
I developed products to sell in the back of room at my talks, like Hypnotic Writing.
I’ve been a keynote speaker at the national NSA meeting.
I’ve spoken to 20,000 people live in Peru.
But I started with six people.
And I turned my success at speaking into a product too with Hypnotic Speaking.
The APS Formula is a greatly simplified explanation of my successes.
When I think about it even deeper, I intentionally and usually un-intentionally used all 10 of the steps I reveal in my book on P.T. Barnum.
Anyone wanting massive success should read, study and apply the steps in There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
Finally, I also think “The Great Something” was behind my rise from nothing to something.
I wrote a song about it, with a little inspiration from Melissa Etheridge, and it is on my new album, The Great Something.
If I can go from homeless nobody to famous somebody, you, too, can achieve your dreams.
Yes, people can change.
At least start here, with The APS Formula.
PS – It’s always wise to get help. Check out my Miracles Coaching program.
The two most popular books I’ve written are hands down Zero Limits and AT Zero, both about ho’oponopono.
Both led to an awakening for readers worldwide.
Both went beyond the Law of Attraction and the movie The Secret.
Both told the incredible but true story of Dr. Hew Len, an unusual therapist who helped heal an entire ward of mentally ill criminals in a Hawaii state hospital.
His method of healing is called ho’oponopono.
The basic four phrases of this Hawaiian healing method – I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you – are easy and practical.
Just say them inside yourself while addressing your connection to the Divine, or what I sometimes call The Great Something.
That alone works miracles, as my books report.
But there’s more to it.
I’ve been studying and practicing this method for more than ten years.
I’ve taught it, written about it in two books, shared it on numerous shows and in movies, used it publicly and privately, held three seminars with Dr. Hew Len teaching it, recorded healing music and songs with it, created a basic certification course in it, and much more.
I’ve also gone beyond it.
As I’ve explained in such books as The Awakening Course, ho’oponopono is actually a third stage tool.
There’s still the fourth stage of awakening, which is beyond basic ho’oponopono.
There are more methods, phrases, tools, and techniques to help you relax into the moment and be at peace.
There are deeper ways to attract miracles.
There are more ways to clean and clear.
There are other ways to awaken.
What are they?
I’ll be sharing them at a private event March 10-12, 2017 outside of Austin, Texas. Details are at http://advancedhooponoponolive.com/
I won’t be doing it alone.
I’ll have Austin All Natural magazine editor Michael Abedin (above left) speak about Reiki, Bach flower remedies and forgiveness. Michael is a terrific storyteller and riveting speaker. His insights will startle and soothe. He also tells good jokes. He’ll tie all of this to advanced ho’oponopono.
Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon will be discussing the use of Ho’oponopono infused music and its ability to align spiritual vibration, clean data/memory/beliefs, and clear your ethereal passages for Divine inspiration.
He and I have made several inspired albums of divine music. We will share how music heals and helps. We will also show you how to apply inspiration in any area of your life. You will learn to clean memory so you can receive inspiration.
Dr. Steve G. Jones, Clinical Hypnotherapist, will teach you about hypnosis and how to re-program yourself, enabling you to better practice Ho’oponopono. Dr. Steve will even be sharing an empowering hypnosis session. Together he and I will explain that you are in a trance right now, and how to awaken from it.
Dr. Steve is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist who has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 25 books on such topics as hypnosis, the law of attraction and weight loss. Steve has also created over 9,000 hypnosis audio recordings and 22 different online certification programs, which are sold in over 140 countries.
Chuck Pennington will show you how to harmonize with the Universal Mind and take that energy home with you. He will teach you how to create a Ho’oponopono Mastermind so you can help others as they help you.
Have you ever gone to a seminar, gotten home, and a week or two later that “seminar buzz” wears off and you’re right back where you were?
Chuck will show you how to maintain that buzz and to make sure that not only your thoughts, but your actions stay in harmony with the clearing and cleaning energy of the sacred spiritual advanced ho’oponopono weekend.
Harry B-Happy Bartholomew is a former Buddhist Monk, music producer and energy healer practicing and teaching Reiki, Adhisthana healing, Medicine Buddha healing, 42 eyes and hands of the Great Compassion Sutra, who first started practicing Ho’oponopono in 2008.
One of his main practices is his work doing empowerments using Gongs, Singing Bowls, and Ho’oponopono. During this spiritual retreat, he will not only perform these empowerments for all in attendance, but will also talk about his journey, how he uses his gongs and bowls as cleaning and empowerment tools, and how you can develop your own tools.
Everyone attending will be given a crystal, which will be infused with energy for clearing and healing. Many things in ho’oponopono are talismans, and this crystal will be set aflame with the clearing energy of the group. You will be able to carry it and use it as a touchstone for clearing.
I will of course review the basic ho’oponopono process, and teach everyone advanced methods of clearing and healing, including how to use EFT and ho’oponopono, and the new phrases for cleaning. I will share stories and processes that have never been revealed before, many of my own discovery.
There will be other speakers besides those listed above, too. Check the main site for up-to-date information.
Everyone attending will be certified as Ho’oponopono Advanced Practicioners.
If you have suspected that there is more to spirituality, healing and ho’oponopono, then this weekend spiritual retreat will be your cup of tea.
Details are at http://advancedhooponoponolive.com/
Because everything programs you.
You don’t have to be consciously focused on conversations around you, or the media blaring news over TVs in a bar or restaurant, or billboards in your field of vision as you drive, or even the music playing in the background as you work, walk, rest, exercise or lounge.
It’s still all programming you.
Your mind is picking up around 40,000,000 bits of information in every second.
Even right now, as you read these words.
You’re not aware of it all, thank goodness, because another part of your mind is filtering it.
That other part lets you become aware of only what is necessary to your goals and survival.
But that other part is also receiving all that other programming.
When it comes to attracting more of what you want using the Law of Attraction, you need to become aware of this hidden programming, and consciously surround yourself with what supports you.
And that’s where I want to talk about motivational songs.
Music can program you for lack and limitation.
I’ve written about this many times, explaining if you can’t seem to get what you want today, it could very well be due to the Rolling Stones singing “You can’t always get what you want” into your brain since the 1960s.
What we need to do today is carefully choose what we allow into our heads.
We have choice.
You can still listen to the Rolling Stones, or any other band you love, just with an awareness of the lyrics and the consciousness to prevent any limited thinking programming.
You can also search for more upbeat, positive music.
For example, more and more music is being called “healing music” and “self help” music. It’s music intentionally created to motivate you, inspire you, or even enlighten you.
A quick search brought up these top motivational songs:
You can of course create your own playlist of self-help or motivational songs.
Meanwhile, let me share some of my own adventures in making motivational music:
Back in 2011, when I began recording my first album, I consciously decided to make it a “meditation meets the blues” recording.
We also recorded it in record time (no pun intended), so I could be on the cover of Austin All Natural magazine announcing my first ever music album.
We succeeded, too.
My next album in 2012, was my first singer-songwriter one.
I knew I wanted to create songs that helped me feel inspired and motivated. The album title track, Strut!, was a rally call for people to “strut around” when they felt down.
It’s the positive psychology principle that just smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, will change your internal state.
Fake a smile to feel a smile.
Strut to feel like strutting.
My first major music video from the Strut! album became, over the years, my all-time most watched video. You can still see “Everybody’s Going Through Something” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzT_yljj-SU
At this point I’ve recorded five singer-songwriter albums.
I’m going to record album six in January, after my private songwriting lesson with the legendary Melissa Etheridge next week. (!)
I’ll again attract my all-star band back into the studio:
Together we’ll make more motivational songs.
But I’m not the only one creating music to help people.
In the last few years of making music, I’ve met many other artists creating their own forms of motivational songs, or healing music, and self help music.
For example –
I could go on.
Obviously, you have choice in what you listen to.
The Jive Aces, a really cool swing-jump-jazz dance band from the UK, has a video that makes me smile whenever I watch it. Over 2,000,000 have seen it. It’s “Bring Me Sunshine” and you can watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXvJ8UquYoo
The point of this post is to help you remember to consciously guard the roads into your mind.
Whether it’s audio or visual, you want to feed your brain what will nourish and support you.
Listening to the right music is one key way to do it.
Meanwhile, dance, sing and strut your stuff!
This exclusive article was first published in the April 2015 issue of The Science Behind Law of Attraction national magazine and in the April 2015 Austin All Natural Central Texas magazine. It’s mostly about the Law of Attraction songs on my latest singer-songwriter album, One More Day: Life Lessons in Hypnotic Song, which is sold out as a collectible CD/Book but now available for download on iTunes or from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/onemoreday
Law of Attraction Songs
From The Secret movie to World’s First Self-Help Singer-Songwriter, Bestselling Author Joe Vitale Releases Fifth Album of LOA Songs
“They are like complete self-help books in 3 minute song.”
An Exclusive by Dr. Joe Vitale
If you ever felt “I can’t get what I want,” you might thank the Rolling Stones. Their music, and much popular music, innocently but effectively programs listeners for lack and limitation. Their song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” started installing that limiting belief in listeners in 1969. Few think of music as an agent for programming, though. And few would look at that song as a type of brainwashing.
Yet music can slow down our progress with the Law of Attraction, and even prevent attracting what we want. It all happens unconsciously, of course. But that’s how the Law of Attraction works: you attract a match to your unconscious beliefs, not necessarily to your conscious ones.
While I like the Rolling Stones, too, I wanted to do something about music that limits. So I studied song writing, gathered experienced musicians, and recorded music that does the opposite: it joyfully rewires you to attract magic and miracles.
For example, the song “Feel It Real,” on my brand new album, One More Day: Life Lessons in Hypnotic Song, advises you to attract what you want by feeling it real. To add impact, I had Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster add her soaring vocals to my lyrics. Now you have a song that sounds great, feels great, and also programs you for a better life.
The song “The Hook” is a song I wrote to remind you not to take any “hooks” from other people, meaning don’t let them push your emotional buttons or engage you in a negative way. The song’s rocking mantra of “Don’t Take the Hook” becomes an awareness technique so other people don’t bring your vibration down. As long as you stay aware of “hooks” in life, you can stay peaceful, and focus on attracting what you desire.
And the title track song is a barnstorming rocker, made with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Joe Vitale (yes, he has the same name as me). It motivates you to “seize the day!” It says you have “one more day” so you better take action and go for your dreams right now. Today!
Then there’s a jazzy track called “Shock Yourself,” which is about getting out of your comfort zone. Too many of us get the same results every day because we do the same things and think the same things every day. The formula needs shaken up. The song urges you to “Jump and skip, chase away the blues…You are here to laugh and sing…You are here to live, not rust.” Again, the blend of words and music, with bass guitar by Glenn Fukunaga, flute by the other Joe Vitale, guitar by producer Daniel Barrett, come together to make a song that is hypnotic.
Music works on our body and mind in mysterious and wonderful ways. The melody can put you in a trance. I know from my work in hypnosis that when you are in even a light trance, you can accept beliefs. The words in a song can get installed in your mind. They are affirmations to music. You can become a new person in minutes with the right song. You could also become an unhappy person in minutes with the wrong song.
Every song on my new album is like a condensed self-help book. Instead of taking an entire volume to deliver the message, these songs do it in about three minutes.
For example, the song “Deep Within” points to the power center within you, beyond your mind and emotions. It guides you “deep within” to the soul or Witness behind it all. From there, you can attract whatever you imagine.
And the fun song, “Some Thoughts,” reveals that some of our thoughts are helpful and some are not. It advises you to pretend you have a “jukebox in your mind” so you can change your thoughts by reaching for the ones that make you feel good. It’s like changing a tune on the radio or on your audio player. It’s basic Law of Attraction in song.
I also have two instrumental tracks on the new album, created with me playing baritone saxophone on one and baritone guitar on the other, that are mind adventures. You can just listen as the music raises your vibration. These are also great tracks to relax to as you visualize what you want to have, do, or be.
It’s probably important to realize that I became a musician by attracting it. I wasn’t always a musician. I decided to be one when I was about 57 years old. It was on my “bucket list.” I had all the doubts and fears that anyone else might have attempting something new, but I also knew that “some thoughts” would help me become a musician and some would not. I went with the thoughts that were positive and supportive. And I made sure to “feel it real.”
Now, at the age of 61, I have eleven albums out, with One More Day being my fifth singer-songwriter offering. Many of the instrumental albums I recorded with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon are bestsellers. I’ve also been voted #1 singer-songwriter by Reverbnation. And several of my songs have been nominated for the Posi Award, considered the Grammy’s of positive music. I’m sharing this not to brag, but to let you know that you, too, can attract your dreams. Anything is possible.
I still love the Rolling Stones, but I’m aware that unless you stay alert, their catchy tunes (and many others by other bands, not just the Stones) can help you create a reality you don’t want.
If you want to use music to help you use the Law of Attraction in more joyful ways, listen to music that is upbeat, positive, and makes you feel like the super being you really are.
Dr. Joe Vitale is the globally famous author of numerous bestselling books, such as The Attractor Factor and Zero Limits, a star in the hit movie The Secret, founder of Miracles Coaching and The Secret Mirror, inventor of Hypnotic Writing, and a man “on fire” to live his passions and help the world. His main site is www.JoeVitale.com His new album, One More Day, is at www.OneMoreDayCD.com All of his LOA albums are at http://www.allhealingmusic.com