I had expectations when I went in but they didn’t pan out as I thought. When I stepped into the tank, I felt the tingly sensations of fear spike down my back. I knew there was a lot waiting for me in my mind, that busy space of pushing away and moving past. I closed the heavy door behind me, and was immersed in darkness. I laid on a bed of water, trying to release the tension in my neck and back. When I opened my eyes there was only black void and my ear plugs cancelled all sound. It was time to settle in and watch my mind as it started to become clearer, a visceral voice between my temples.
The first layers were imagined, shaving ice off a block, peeling an onion and then letting go of the shedding. The emotions that formed were pure; fear, sadness, panic, loss, resentment, anger. They blossomed inside of me, taking up all the space and then bridging the gap into the nothing. I tried not to be dragged away by each one but it had to happen, my mind was purging. After what seemed like an eternity, I caught up to my mind and body and calmed them enough to let go. I hadn’t moved my body for the entire time and it felt like each limb was a stick of butter melting in the sun. I could feel the wind of my breath and feel the color inside my body pulsing up to my chest and then out through the top of my head. I imagined that my arms and legs completely melted away or curled up like dried leaves into my center. My core began to disintegrate and I was moving energy, a beam of concentrated light illuminating the inside of the tank. I lost sensation but changed my focus to water, the last grasping of a material based mind. I saw the ocean, witnessing the underwater realms and swirled in the sand under a rock. I became on the out breath, a passing fish and felt the spines of its slippery body from the inside. I was moving through the glades of an underwater palace, coral and creature forms brushing past. This absorbed me, anything else was forgotten, as I recognized this way of being and accepted it. It felt like a gentle bump that made my body jolt in the tank, I was suddenly back floating, feeling the separation of the water and my body.
This body embraced me again. Like a child that had lost its mother, I felt it grab at me and ask where did you go?! I remembered instantly, the tank and the person inside of it. I had to go through the layers again, this time it felt like falling. My body was being digested by the earth, transformed into a seed, my bones buried deep. I felt the life around me, the tickles of earthworms, frenzy of burrowing animals. They moved past me and I experienced them from both a witness and from their innocence, just being and isness. My bones grew into roots and funneled up through the ground. I reached out into the air and sucked in deep, sunlight drilled into each new part of me and I reached higher and higher. I could feel my bones padded around with flesh. I was this body but my roots shot underground. I could feel the trembles of the earth, the moods, and the feelings that traveled up into my heart. Complete contentment, nestled in the curious folds of forest, I knew this way of life too and it felt so familiar.
I came back to the tank and my mind suggested I had been dreaming. I felt like I needed to stay in my body for a little longer this time because there was fear about being gone for too long. My mind circled around ideas, wondering if there was enough air in the tank, questioning if this much salt water was good for the body. The circling went on and on, and the image of shaving down a block of ice returned. I allowed the tank to disappear but I stayed with my body, seeing myself in space and watching the nebulas, galaxy formations in front of my face. I kept my eyes on this existence, the steady movement of the earth below me, the vast web of possibility in front. It might never have ended, if I could keep the balance between my body, mind and spirit at peace. The sound of the bell ringing brought me back entirely and kicked my senses into motion. I sat up in salty soup, heaved open the tank door and stood up. I followed my body’s knowledge of showering, drying, dressing and leaving. All the while processing the places I had just been and the healing that had begun.