Dark, quiet, alone. Sixty minutes in this “sensory deprivation” Float Tank may sound like torture to you. I spent 2 hours alone with nothing but my thoughts - no phone, book, music, or even people.
Just me, myself and I. Or rather, me, my thoughts and my inner voice.
Upon emerging from the experience, I felt discombobulated, out of sorts. What I came to realize though, was I was actually coming back together, back home to myself. I tried to remember the last time I was alone, truly. When was the last time I sat in silence for more that 20 minutes?
Even when “alone” I constantly find myself distracted: reading, listening to podcasts, posting on Instagram about how great it is to be “alone” or simply watching TV. I am always busying myself and engaged with SOMETHING external.
Can you relate?
Perhaps you actively avoid being alone. As I’ve described the Float Tank experience to others, they all say the same thing “I couldn’t do it…” or “How can you spend that long in the dark with your thoughts?”
My rebuttal is “How can you not?” How can we know ourselves if we don’t spend time alone? How can we know others if we don’t know ourselves? And how can we connect to the world when we are disconnected from our truth, our souls?
It sounds deeply spiritual, maybe like something for “others” but not for those of us in the Real World. To me, this is something that could make a profound difference on our society as a whole. If we all slowed down - just a bit - and tuned inward, what is possible? We are connected to all that is. As we start to heal ourselves, we can start to heal others… the world.
I am no expert in this. Throughout the process of writing this post, I constantly pulled myself out of flow. I checked my phone, my email. I send a text message, took a picture. So. Much. Distraction. Since my Float Tank experience, I have been reminded to return inward. The reminders are essential, as it’s a daily practice to not buffer, distract and hide.
Jess Lively has a podcast episode where her client’s inner voice covers this topic. She describes Love as a knowing that we all have as beings… but that our minds are constantly seeking and imitating. For Love is not something we know, it is something we understand, and feel at a deeper level, beyond the mind.
While reading The Alchemist I keep finding not-so-subtle references to this. He speaks of The Soul of the Earth, something that we all seek, but seeking is not how to find it. No, we must return to what we’ve lost.
My beloved teacher, Micah Springer, brought the message home in class. She spoke of “coming home” and returning to the primal knowing we all have, but are disconnected from. She reminded us (as I too believe) that all answers are already within. She also addressed our obsession with “capturing the moment” instead of “living the moment.”
So what do we do?
We walk through this world half-asleep. We feel disconnected from ourselves, others, nature and animals. We want connection so desperately and. constantly seek it externally. But we are too afraid to look in the only place that has the answers we need - within.
We cannot connect to others until we are able to connect to ourselves - possibly the most challenging task we have in this world.
Make a Joy List. Write down a list of things that are FUN for you. What makes your laugh, smile or forget about your problems? Then, start doing more of those things. The simple act of having fun brings you back to the present. It fills you up.
Talk to your plants and pets. Nature, animals and children are wonderful at brining us back to the present. All are so intuitive and react to our energy. Spend time communicating on an intuitive level. FEEL and communicate love without distraction… do it from within.
Breathe. How often do we hear this? It’s almost a throwaway statement - Just breathe. But if you use breath with intention, to slow down and move energy through your body, it will make a difference. Spend a few moments - or minutes! - each day with your breath.
Ask Jeeves. I once described my inner Q&A with a friend and she said “Is it like Ask Jeeves?” Yes! Pose questions to yourself and FEEL for the answers. I do this in a Q&A notes or word file. Ask questions from your mind, receive answers from your heart or gut… your inner voice.
Stare into space. Especially when out and alone, we feel we have to be doing something. I find myself craving the nothing, yet feeling awkward. Next time you are out at a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, try just gazing off. Let your mind wander and your presence focus on something in the distance. Obviously, you can practice this at home as well. My husband does this every morning. I used to think he was crazy, but now I see the wisdom in it. He is preparing himself for the day.
Rest in Bed. This is my favorite tool for going inward. Before you go to sleep, prop yourself up in bed with dim lighting. Rest your hands on your heart of belly and close your eyes. Focus on you. Breathe and allow your inner gaze to wander around your body. Stay present. Allow any thoughts that arise to float away. You may fall asleep. It’s all OK.
Let’s try to bring ourselves Home more often. If you try one of these tools, please share in the comments section below. If you have your own tools, please share for the greater benefit.
This life is a balance of inward and outward. I believe we can all find our way Home, if we are willing to explore.