I had seen an old movie called Altered States in which William Hurt was a scientist who went into a sensory deprivation tank in order to regress back to a primordial Neanderthal state—to discover his own origin—his inner beast. I wanted to do that too.
The tank was a sound and light insulated capsule about the size of a compact car—it contained body temperature water, saturated with Epsom Salt, about a foot and a half deep. The Epsom Salt water buoyed your body—like a cork on water—you couldn’t sink if you wanted to. And it made you feel very comfortable, very relaxed, almost stoned.
For the first half hour as I floated in the dark, listening to my own breathing—I was a bit freaked out, thinking that the gaunt, pasty guy that ran the place with the tanks might come into the room, take my wallet, and then stab and stab and stab me to death as I lay floating. But then, after a half hour or so, I got comfortable—and I got lost—my mind drifting more freely than my body—hovering aimlessly—evolving. I completely lost track of time—lost track of the concept of time—of concepts in general. I forgot where I was—I forgot who I was. I forgot that I was human. I imagined myself as algae or some kind of seaweed—like I belonged in the water—just drifting—floating forever—my body waving—anchored but free—connected to everything.
In Altered States, William Hurt went into the tank and became a primordial beast—he ran around naked and killed wild animals—and ate them raw. I went into the tank and became some kind of algae. Not quite as intense. But then again—I was some kick-ass algae. And I was home.