An Artist's Mind in the Float Tank
About twenty years ago I worked with this guy Thom R. He was the first person I knew, who also knew, about sensory deprivation in a float tank. We would talk about expanding our consciousness in different ways while restoring stained glass windows. Taking drugs, meditation, sensory deprivation, exercise and things like that. He thought about building his own tank and he really instilled in me the desire to try it for myself. It always seemed a bit far out, and I never thought I would be able to experience it. Floating for myself became a mythology to me, a dream. Questions arose and research was done and my desire to
experience it grew.
My name is Justin Tyner and I have been a working stained glass artist in Philadelphia since 1999. You might have seen my stained glass mandalas at both locations of Halcyon Floats. I value creativity before most things. It's not always easy to find your inner creativity. General moods and ever-changing environment can sometimes tamper your creative output. I found myself searching for different ways to prompt creative change as an artist. One of my main interests is reading poems. Poetry is very stimulating for me as an artist to incite creative thought. It was in 2012 that I joined a Psychedelic/Poetry reading group at the University of Pennsylvania. The float tank reappeared to me there. Someone in the group was reading quotes by the famous philosopher/psychonaut Alan Watts. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” This quote stuck with me. I wrote it down and would read it often. As it happens in life, synchronicities occur and I like to follow them. Enter Halcyon Floats.
I don’t remember exactly how I heard about Keri and Halcyon Floats, but like I said before, researching ways to expand my consciousness was a common thing for me. In late 2013 I was aware that Keri was opening a business in Philadelphia that you could experience sensory deprivation in a float tank. I was ecstatic about it. She was crowd sourcing some of the costs and I jumped at the opportunity to be in on the ground floor. After years and years of reading about floating, I was finally able to float myself. That first time meeting Keri and speaking with her about the tank and what to expect was very special to me. What she stressed, was that each float is different for everyone, and that it is foremost a learning experience. She was right.
Each time I have floated has been different for me. Some common things that happen each time, though, is a relief from stress, a clear mind and relaxation. It helps me to go into the float tank with a purpose and a goal, an intention. I like to rely on it for meditating where nothing else can happen except non-thought. Creativity and imagination come from that place. One particular float session was my all-time favorite and I have not been able to get back to that space yet. I know it was winter and very cold, I entered the tank with intention. Within the first ten minutes of my float, something was happening that I never felt before. I was flying. The feeling of flying through space was all encompassing. It was exhilarating and I felt like I was being transported to somewhere else. The intensity was shocking, then it was over. Just like that.
I enjoyed the rest of my session and felt relaxed with clear mind. That feeling solidified the floating experience as an essential part of being an artist. Being able to access those hidden parts of your mind where creative thought and imagination come from can give the artist advantage in translating ideas into Art. Seek and you shall find.
The benefits of floating are different for different people. It can assist mind, body and soul. It relieves stress, heals, and can let you experience a type of freedom that can change you. Change that you never knew you wanted. Just take that plunge and join the dance.
Philadelphia, PA // Stained Glass Artist