Seriously! Float, float again, schedule your next float, and well, float some more. It was Pascal that said ‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.’
I know what you are probably thinking, Levi, what are you talking about now? How can I possibly change the world by spending time alone in quite room? Shouldn’t I be out doing something? Wouldn’t I have a better chance at changing the world going door to door insuring everyone is aware of the ensuing apocalypse? Well, I am glad you asked as I don’t think there is one better way to change the world than to better yourself.
Let’s think about that for a minute. If what you want is for the world to be a better place, then you have to stop and admit that right now, materially, the world is arguably a better place than it has ever been before at any point in history. Yet, according to my google news app and social media threads, we are all losing our minds thinking the world is one spark away from a burning dumpster fire. An irrational sense of hopelessness is spreading across the rich and developed world. It’s a paradox of progress: the better things get, the more anxious and desperate we all seem to feel.
This is all due to hope. Hope doesn’t care about all the problems that have already been fixed. Hope only cares about the problems that still need solved. The better the world gets the more we have to lose. The more we have to lose, the less we feel we have to hope for. In short, I think hope is a zero sum game. I believe that instead of hoping for a better life, you can simply be a better life. Hope doesn’t even have to enter the equation. If you can’t tell, I have been reading a lot of Mark Manson.
Okay Levi, this still sounds a bit batty but assuming you’re on to something, how do I simply be a better life?
I’m not saying you should become indifferent, hopeless and well, a real darm fun sponge for your family and friends. Don’t become desireless, however, desire less. Choose one desire that you won’t be happy with until you accomplish it and allow yourself to suffer for said desire. However, let all other desires go that aren’t worth the suffering. Look at the underlying desire and ask if it is worth the overall desire, if not, come to peace with it and focus on what matters. This is the only path to a clear, calm, cool and collective mind. You know, the mind that’s not freaking out about your next instant gratification fix or whether you made an ass of yourself last night at karaoke. Clear minds lead to better judgment, a happy, peaceful and calm person. This is what will change the world as the only logical way to improve the world is through improving ourselves.
Okay, so how does floating fit in? Well, I heard a recent podcast with Naval Ravikant speaking to Joe Rogan about his own personal meditation practice and, in my eyes, it sums up floating brilliantly. I’ll do my best to summarize and hopefully not butcher what was said, but, basically what Naval states is that; we are over exposed to everything and the only way to survive in modern society is to become an ascetic, to retreat from society. That there is too much society everywhere we go. Society in our phones, our pockets, and in our ears. You’re being socialized right now and the only real solution is to turn it off, or more simply, float!
Floating is the Art of Doing Nothing. The idea is to rest your mind, teach it to settle itself and look forward to solitude; to build the superpower of being alone and enjoying it.
This is important because when we grow up we have all this stuff that happened to us in our lives. Some of it we’re processing and some it we’re absorbing and some of it we should probably work through and think a little bit more about, but we don’t. We don’t have the time. These preferences, judgements, unresolved situations and issues will get buried in us. This becomes our own internal email inbox that’s just piling up unanswered email after email, going back 10, 20, 30, 40 years.
So when you float and calm your mind, those emails start coming back at you, “Hey what about this issue, what about that issue? Have you solved this, did you think about that? You have regrets here, you have issues there”, and I’ll admit that can be scary. People will think, “This is not working, I can’t clear my mind and I don’t want to do this”.
What’s really happening is self-therapy. Instead of a therapist listening to you, you’re listening to yourself. You just lay back and float as those emails come through one by one and you work through each of them until you reach the magical inbox zero. Then there comes a day when you’re floating and you realize the only things you’re thinking about are the things that happened yesterday. That’s because you have processed everything else. Not necessarily resolved it, but at least listened to yourself. That’s when you arrive at the Art of Doing Nothing.
A float tank provides the perfect environment to practice and eventually master the Art of Doing Nothing. Lay back, close your eyes, get comfortable and whatever happens, happens. If you think you think, if you don’t think you don’t think. Don’t put effort into it and don’t put effort against it. That’s all you need! Just float and you’ll be a better life, no hope necessary. And this has a ripple effect on everyone else around you. When your mind is clear and calm, it will have a positive effect on others around you and in turn on others around them. So, if you want to change the world, be a better life and float!