Or how about when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, and can’t quite seem to access it, only to forget about trying, so you remember it later almost by accident?
How about those times when you try really hard to lose weight, only to find that you have either gained or stayed the same, only to give up focusing on the weight, and then it almost magically drops off you?
Let me introduce you to Aldous Huxley’s Law of Reversed Effort.
“There is a Law of Reversed Effort. The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed.
Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order that the immanent and transcendent Unknown Quantity may take hold.
We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to foster a state of mind, in which understanding may come to us.
- Aldous Huxley -
So how might this relate to floatation therapy you might ask?
Well, imagine you are lying in the warm tank and it’s your first float. You don’t know what to expect. You don’t even know what you’re “meant” to be doing, or thinking about for that matter. So you start thinking about that. You try and focus on your breath, but your mind is still active. You try and meditate, but still you seem to be more focused on your thoughts than before. You try and think about how you WANT to be feeling, and try and elicit relaxation that way, but its not working. You may even start to feel a little frustrated at the fact that the things you are trying you don’t seem to be relaxing you, and you are still in dialogue with your mind. You start to accept the fact that you are simply not relaxing, and just think “Oh well, forget it. I’m just going to lie here.” And in that moment, something almost magic happens. You chose to let go of having any particular experience, and without actually trying, you seem to find yourself in the place you were trying to get to all along!
Michael Hutchinson mentions this phenomenon in his “Book of Floating” where he compares a first-time floaters experience as being similar to being hooked up to a biofeedback machine for the first time: “The harder they try to achieve the desired state, the more it escapes them, until they finally learn – almost by accident – to let go, and the state just happens”.
First-time floaters are encouraged to enter their floatation session with no goals, no strategies, no expectation of any particular outcome and to simply allow themselves to “just be”. According to John Turner, a neuroendocrinologist who has conducted research into floatation therapy on hundreds of subjects “We’ve found that novice floaters usually need to float four or five times before they really begin to get in touch”.
So, if its your first, second or even fifth session in the tank… just lie back, relax and allow your mind and subconscious to drift to wherever it wants to go, finding its own path into a deep relaxation.
Stay tuned for our upcoming series of tips and ideas for enhancing your floatation experience!