Stephen Johnson

We are living in a time of swirling and changing perceptions. A time where time itself is understood to be the essence; cognitively but also physically, of what we perceive. It is an honor to be here with you, you are the builders and the keepers of a practice that slows and expands our perceptions.

Stephen Johnson opens Rise with an astute characterization of the times we are living in. While changing perceptions have always been present in the human experience, it seems humanity has breached a flood wall of conceptual limitations in recent times. We recognize new genders, new visions of mindfulness, quicker ways of communicating, and new versions of loving one another. In the flood that has followed, those who architect float experiences create new channels for perceptions to flow through those mentioned and those still only imagined.

This essential experience [floating], is deeply contemplative. It is a wisdom practice. That is part of its clinical, therapeutic, and spiritual importance. We need more centers of study and research into wisdom. We need to understand how these arts and practices affect our consciousness and our bodies. We need a new infrastructure of contemplation. Centers, Ceremonies, and Neo-Monasteries that research and teach contemplative techniques from various traditions and fields of which floating is one.

Herein lies a beautiful reminder, the float center is an oasis for those who journey in this world. Our clarity on this idea can communicate to others the value and importance of the floating practice.

In this state, in which the building blocks of our consensus-reality become more fluid and intertwined. We begin to sense and realize their innate connectedness. Empathy, compassion, self compassion, and loving kindness are essential aspects of this interweaving, this attunement. Thus can reveal themselves in our daily living.

In this state, or substrate, is the wellspring of reality or meaning. The protean, raw material, of creativity, this would help explain the effect of our experience of awe, of wonder, and of art. The timeless displacement effect, the energizing, the quiescence and arousal of bliss. In this state we are in the water-ease of reflection in which sense and impulse become image, become awareness. A becoming which is becoming “the.”

If we can learn to recognize and utilize this state, where our creativity and ability to change interweave, we can begin or continue more effectively to recreate ourselves, and yes, I believe our culture and our world... In the dark, in the silence, in the lab, in the forest, in the sea or in the tank. Where in this primordial like state there is a wafting and weaving of pluralities into relationality. It really is about opening and the float may be the most efficient and effective in terms of time and effort, path to open. Once you experience, once you know, you can’t go back.

Stephen’s words burst the conceptual thought framework he was previously speaking in. He describes the essence of the tangible experience a floating practice can encourage. It is easy to see these effects in our own practice. This leads to hopeful thoughts about change in our lives, cultures, and communities. We already are changing the world.

It is not often spoken about, that something so simple, so deep which quiets us, which allows us to see more and to feel more... maybe just maybe these attributes of simplicity, depth, silence, openness, vision, and feeling, create courage. The courage to open a business, the courage to conduct weeks of research, the courage to persevere, to perform, and to pursue a life of spirit. The courage to facilitate the healing response in oneself, in others, and in our world.

Rick Boling