How To Tell You’re Not Enlightened Yet

I went to the Float House today. For those who did not click on my helpful link let me explain, it’s a sensory deprivation chamber full of 90 pounds of sea and epsom salt heated to your body temperature so that when you lie down you can’t really feel where your skin begins and the water ends.

First off, I fucking love floating. I have a bath every morning and I’ve spent many an hour being weightless in Hawaiian waves feeling pretty smug about how relaxed I can get.

But in the wave situation I have blue sky to look into and in the tub I hear the sound of singing upstairs. I also have to do things like wash my hair and keep watch for sharks.

In this situation there is nothing. The darkness is inside and out and the water is so buoyant my body disappears. I am a floating head and these are my thoughts.

“My old neighbor is such a fucking asshole. Should I write the other neighbors explaining what an asshole my old neighbor is. I’ve moved. I’m free now. I should let them all know how they are being mind controlled by that oppressive bitch. Hmmmm, actually I could just write her and warn her that I know she is evil but I chose NOT to tell anyone else because I’m higher vibration than her. Yah, I’ll do that…”


“My Dad is such a fucking asshole. How dare he…get over it? Grow up? Go to therapy? I’m in therapy motherfucker and who’s paying for that shit motherfucker? Visa that’s who…I can’t even think about this bullshit right now it makes me want to punch a hole…”


“…I never checked the tank before I got in. There could be a snake coiled up at the bottom…I bet it crawled in from the tube that they SAY is for purifying the water but I really it’s for snakes to travel through…or rats, remember that weird story about the rat in the toilet bowl that bit that womans vagina…remember that essay I wrote where I called it a vagina and I got hate mail because I should have called it a vulva…”

And then my body starts doing this weird thing, it has this impulse to buck like a bronco. And it wants to twist and turn into itself like a little kidney bean.

“Oh God, how much longer….it must have been an hour at least, Oh God I’m going to piss my pants. I want to see. I want to see something that will take my mind off my mind for a minute…”

…I’m such a fucking asshole. I can’t be still for an hour and a half? I can’t even stand my own company. I used to be able to. I used to meditate and have a fierce yoga practice and now I’m just weak and…okay relax Emelia, relax. Try and relax.

You know when you put your attention on something so fully the opposite happens. As I’m trying to release the tightness in the back part of my skull I notice that my kneecaps are incredibly tense. How is that even possible? Stressed out knees. Really.

And then I swish around. I move a bit and the salt water creeps up my butt and I guess I must have a anal fissure in there or something because suddenly I’m stung with pain.

Even my anus is against me.

“I’m out. I’m out!”

I sit up in the blackness, push on the door and quickly emerge from the tank. I take a shower. I shake it off. I look at my phone. 30 min. 30 goddamned minutes have gone by.

I do some squats. I do some spinal rolls.

“You gotta do this kid. Come on, butt cut or not, you can do this thing.”

I get back in the tank and I close the door.

“Okay Em, you’ve got an hour left, your asshole is crying and your brain is full of harsh visions- the only thing you can do is accept that this is what’s happening- right now.

No need to change. No need to stop the dark. No need. No need. No need.

And for a little bit I’m comfortable being uncomfortable (which is quite enlightened if you ask me).

After the float I drive to a mall, order a burrito, sit in the middle of a food court and write this.

The over stimulus is a sweet balm.

My husband went in right after me. He said it was the best drug he ever took, fell asleep and bought a 10 time pass.

It’s a good test… lie in a dark box of water all by yourself and see what arises.