From the Archives: “I Want to Be Alone” (1976)

in Culture

By David Rensin

“Life is pretty dull if we have no surprises.” – Dr. John C. Lilly

“Me? I love tanks.” – General George Patton

The mouth of the tank lay open before me. Naked and expectant. I stepped into the warm salty water. I stretched out as the lid was fixed behind me, and began to float and familiarize myself with the surroundings. First, there was total darkness—and then a silence so complete that my breathing and heartbeat became deafening. Still, I could not relax. It was hot and damp, and the salt stung cuts on my hands and in my ears. I imagined suffocating, and, though I fought back my fear, I knew I wanted to escape.

Suddenly I realized that, for a few moments, all awareness of my body, my breathing, my environment and even the salty sweat on my eyelids had been momentarily suspended. A wave of exhilaration swept me and quickly turned to curiosity. How much time had passed? My restlessness returned, and I longed again for a cool breeze when there was an insistent pounding on the lid. I emerged. Physically drained of energy, slightly dizzy, and most of all confused about my experiences, I entered the bathroom and stepped into the shower.

So went my first experience inside an isolation tank. I had come to it virtually ignorant.

Its history had no meaning for me at all, and the only isolation tank I’d ever seen was in the TV pilot for Hawaii Five-0, where it was used to crack U.S. agents—McGarrett, of course, survived the rubber-suit-and-vertical-immersion trial.

My ignorance was convenient. Lee Leibner, who with her partner Glenn Perry owns the Samadhi Tank Company in Los Angeles, insisted that I log my first hour of tank time immediately upon arrival and …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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