Numerous profound aesthetic experiences and moments of creative illumination, insight or revelation have occurred in circumstances in which sensory input has been reduced in some way. we know stories of artists or scientists whose sudden creative intuitions or revelations have come to them in the confines of the artists garret or while staring into the fireplace, walking on the beach with attention turned inward and perhaps without judgment. The essential elements of all creative thought is concentration gained through some sort of restriction of sensory stimulation.
Professor Thomas Taylor of Texas A&M recently tested the effects of floating on learning and thinking. Taylor had tested subject groups to see which were visualizers and which were verbalizers. He concluded; “when the same learning records are analyzed on the basis of persons who are basically visualizers verses those who are primarily conceptualizers ( non-visual thinkers), a greater degree of learning occurred in the visual then in the non-visual group.”
Taylor also noted that the float group appeared to visualize better than the non-float group, and produced significantly higher amounts of theta waves, which are known to be associated with strong mental imagery.
“One of my jobs is to take data and feed it into a computer to construct 3D models of the earth’s surface. In the blackness of the Floatation, I utilize the computer-like qualities of the brain to program data into myself and can actually see the resulting models in my visual cortex.” In short, he hallucinates models which he’ll later construct:
“I’m just at the beginning stages, but the Floatation has amazing potential for use by artists, by designers, by people like myself who do technical work, by anyone, really, who works with his brain. Of course, my colleagues don’t quite understand what I’m doing.”
Seth Green (quoted in Cosmo Magazine 1999)
The floatation tank environment causes a person’s brainwaves to change from beta (wide awake and alert) to alpha to theta, which is associated with vivid imagery. This normally occurs in the 2nd half of an hour long float session so if it’s your first time, you shouldn’t expect instant results.
We all experience theta, but most people fall asleep at the onset of it. You are probably familiar with the telltale sign of theta – vivid mental imagery even though youare awake. The Floatation provides a reliable means to achieve and sustain this beneficial state without the years of practice that is normally required by advanced meditators to achieve theta at will.