Floating, Theta States & Recovery with Sean McCormick
Catch Sean McCormick, owner of Float Seattle and Float Bellevue on Episode 004 of the Optimal Performance podcast. He and host Ryan Munsey talk about floating, entering theta state to hack mental performance, and using float tanks to speed physical recovery and improve sports performance.
What You'll Learn from Sean McCormick about meditation and floating:
- WIN FREE Natural Stacks swag! Just leave us a review HERE to go in the draw to win a YEAR'S supply of CILTEP, Dopamine Brain Food and Smart Caffeine.
- Fact Of the Day: STACK performance enhancing methods of visualization, epsom salt baths and meditation to dominate your sport (or life)!
- Using float tanks to recover faster and improve your performance on the field
- Why You NEED more magnesium
- What is floating?
- What you need to know to get the most out of your float experience
- Nootropics, CILTEP, Dopamine, and hacking your brain for optimal results
- "You're confined only by the walls you create for yourself" So how the heck does a coffin-like pod help us break down those walls?!
- Breathe and meditate like a pro instantly!
- Seany Mac's top 3 tips to optimize your life
Links & Resources:
Email Sean: firstname.lastname@example.org
Floating and Theta States, with Sean McCormick
Ryan: You're listening to the optimal performance podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. This is the show everybody who's into performance and bio hacking should listen to. If you want to know more about performing optimally check out www.optimalperformance.com
Alright, happy Thursday all you Optimal Performers, and welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance podcast. I am your host Ryan Munsey, and I've got my guest and co-host here with me today. We are hanging out with Sean McCormick or Seany Mac, the owner of Float Seattle, Float Bellevue, author of The Float e-book, and you can find that at www.howtostartafloatcenter.com. So, Sean. Thanks for hanging out with us. How are you doing today, man?
Sean: Awesome, awesome. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm a big fan of all things, Natural Stacks, and also by the T-shirt, all things floating. So no, I'm stoked to have a conversation with you.
Ryan: Yeah, no, I am too. I cannot wait to hear more about floating. So, real quick, we'll summarise what we're going to talk about with our listeners. Obviously if they haven't picked up on it by now then floating will be you know, the main topic and what we talk about today. But we're also going to talk about hacking your physical performance, entering the Theta state and a whole lot more cool stuff. So, before we really dive into it, couple of pieces of housekeeping. One, just like any other episode of the Optimal Performance podcast you can find the shownotes on the blog www.optimalperformance.com, you can see the video versions of this and get all kinds of cool links and information there. And as always, a 5* review on iTunes can get you free Natural Stacks goodies. So, hint hint, go to iTunes, leave us a good review and we will be selecting a lucky winner to get some really cool free stuff. So, we're going to go right into our fact of the day.
So, this is really cool. Relaxed muscles heal and recover faster than tight, tired and knotted up muscles. And taking that even a step further, anti gravity conditions ease joint pain and help muscles relax. So a lot of elite athletes all over the world are stacking these benefits by using float tanks and that allows them to combine multiple recovery methods at the same time. It's nothing new that an epsom salt bath can ease aching muscles and help recovery and that's what you're getting at a super high dose when you float. But you're also getting stress relief, you can, if you're actively thinking, you can go through the process of visualisation, and even meditate.So, in a float tank or sensory deprivation tank you can stack many many of these things together and really hack your physical performance.
Um, so that's something that's really cool and, you know, Sean, one of the things that we mentioned in the summary that we wanna talk about is using float tanks to hack physical performance, which is not one of the things that's often talked about, with floating. So, let's jump in right in on that one and talk about how we can use these tanks for physical performance as opposed to some of the stuff that we commonly hear.
Sean: Yeah, I think that the biggest benefit for hacking physical performance in floating is for recovery. I mean there's the preventative aspect which is, you know, infusing your body with magnesium, lubricating the synovial fluid in your joints. We're all low in magnesium, every single one of us, we don't eat stuff off the dirt anymore, and we're not getting those minerals and electrolytes. So when you float, you're soaking and then through your dermis which makes it more bio-available and the second best method for magnesium is... Honestly what I've found is that MagTech is an awesome, incredible product, and I've tried a lot of nutrient magnesiums. I can actually tell when I'm low; I feel a little bit sluggish,a little bit soft, I feel a little bit sort of mentally, mentally slow. So there's a lot of preventative benefits and overall mind, body, spiritual, emotional, psychological health benefits to floating. But as far as hacking physical recovery, it's about recovery. Hacking physically is about recovery. So we have MMAs, both professional and amateur, that float with us on a really regular basis, we have a number of Seahawks who float on a really regular basis. They've gonna be starting to become a bit more regular now with main camp coming up.
Ryan: Awesome, awesome
Sean: Um, we have triathletes, cyclists, we've got swimmers. I mean like the benefits of just as you touched on, that anti-gravity response, that feeling of I don't have to tense a single muscle in my entire body, that's the only way for you to like really wrap your mind around that is to actually try it out. It is to float in a float tank.
Ryan: Yeah it's funny, every time I've floated, I've gotten the reminder from you know, whoever was helping me go into the room to say you know, remember make sure you let your head lay back, because we're so used to tensing our neck and trying to keep our head out of water. Yeah, if you can't see the video, Sean's showing how we always text and lean forward. Even if you're writing, you know, you're hunched over, whatever. So it's a very unique feeling to actually let your head fall back.
Sean: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, everybody's postures messed up, just from sitting. I mean we all sit too much. Even the people who are really good at not sitting, still sit a lot.
Ryan: Yeah, like me. I'm a gym owner but I still sit way too much
Sean: Yeah. Are you standing now or are you sitting?
Ryan: I'm actually sitting. Are you?
Sean: I am, yeah. Okay, so sitting a lot is actually really bad for your back, for your hips, and when you are completely laid back in the supine position and your head is kind of tilted upward and your chest and shoulders come back down, you know like the athletic position, and any lifting position. You know like that sort of exaggerated puffing of the chest, that sort of happens naturally when you're in a floating tank,and what that does is decreases compression on your spine so that elongates your spine traction and when everything is relaxed, all of your body, every single muscle in your body is totally relaxed, you get to a point when you're like okay, now it's relaxed. And then your head goes back a little bit further and it's like, oh no, that's relaxed! So eventually you get to a point where okay, yeah, I really am, I really don't have any tensed muscles. That is a profound thing for your body and your body goes into recovery mode on it's own and just as you touched on before, there's lots of different modalities and techniques that I go over with some of the athletes and people dealing with chronic pain, or post operative recovery, is that you can touch on some of those visualisation exercises, you can start at your toes and work your way down your foot, up your calf and over your head, always to the top of your head, and then back down again.
You know, you can visualise.. What I've done, which is one of my favourites, it's kinda silly. Whatever injury you have, I like to picture a million billion little construction workers- stick with me- so, a million little construction workers that are located all over your body that do the work to help you recover. Call on them to go to that left ecu, and start repairing that tendon, you can actually visualise those little tiny worker cells, you know, in their construction outfits, tackling that little area, applying spackle to it, you know, massaging it, cleaning it out, tightening that tendon, and actively, visually, focusing on that. The power of our brains to heal ourselves is totally underutilised by people and there's a million little tricks that we can do to expedite that recovery.
Ryan: So what you're describing sounds like a state in which our mind is very, very active as opposed to, you know, you hear a lot of people talk about going into a float tank and I think that sometimes people think that they're supposed to just think about nothing or sleep or something different from what you just said. So, talk to me a little bit about where you want to be with your mental state
Sean: Yeah, everybody's different. I mean, if you're floating for decreased stress then you probably don't wanna mess around with too much visualisation stuff, you probably just wanna go in there and focus on your breath. That centering of your breath as your brain starts to wander and you think about stuff that is pretty, not useful. Going back to your breath is a nice way to get deeper and deeper into that relaxation response through which recovery is expedited. So, if you're floating through stress, you probably don't want to be doing this sort of active floating. If you're floating for pain, then sometimes you just.. Sometimes most people just need some time for themselves. They need to be off the computer, they need to be away from their partner, and away from their kids, from their coworkers
Ryan: Cellphones, social media
Sean: Just have an hour, to an hour and a half to just like stop, everything. Turn your phone off. Don't silence it or put it on airplane mode, but turn that mofo off because that is liberating, to do that.
Ryan: And not only the liberating effect but it's also about being able to get away from the wifi and all those beams and radiation
Sean: Yeah, I mean, hopefully people are smart enough not to be sleeping with their phones underneath their pillow at night. Hopefully you're at least...
Ryan: Haha, Sean our production guy just looked at me like 'oh no'!
Sean: Yeah, I mean like at the very least turn it to airplane mode, but it's still emitting an electromagnetic frequency, it's still a fricking supercomputer that's right underneath your head as you sleep, so when you actually turn that off, step into a float tank, there are no electromagnetic frequencies, so for a minute... I mean, you do the same by leaving your phone in the car and going for a hike, to get away from those. But in a float tank it's sort of like I'm scheduling this hour to get away from stuff, including wifi, emfs and you know, other sorts of environmental perimeters.
Ryan: Yeah, you know, last weekend I was at a strength conference in Colombia, South Carolina, at the University of South Carolina, and got to listen to a former Navy Seal speak, who runs a facility in Virginia Beach. They're using floating to help Seals recover from concussions. I think that would be a really cool podcast for us to do, that's a whole discussion we could have for another time. But he was actually speaking about sleeping, turning your phone- not only turning it off, but making sure that it is at least 5-7 feet away from you. So it's interesting hearing both of you guys say something to that effect, so there must be something to that.
Sean: Yeah, yeah. The rabbit hole is deep, my man. We could take this thing a million different ways. We could talk just about consciousness in a float tank, we could talk just about getting away from the world...
Ryan: Well, before we go too too deep, I want to take, kind of, take a 2 steps back, and hit two kinda higher level questions. Number one, on your website for Float Seattle, you guys talk about having float tanks, isolation tanks and sensory deprivation tanks. I've always used those terms interchangeably, is that a mistake on my part? Are they different or are they interchangeable?
Sean: It's all the same
Sean: Um, you know, in addition to those terms there's also what's called REST, which is the academically appropriate term, which is Restrictive Environmental Stimulation.. Stimuli Therapy.
Sean: Even I get it wrong! Which is exactly what it suggests, there's also a thing called dry rest, which is where you're basically getting into a box with pillows that's dark and quiet with earplugs and a blindfold, you know to get that same sort of response. Just sort of isolated, just restricted from environmental stimuli. All those terms are interchangeable and we just use them so that if anybody thought it was something else; 'is a float tank the same as an isolation tank'? yes. Different than a Hyperbaric chamber.
Sean: Which a lot of people sort of get mixed up too
Ryan: So just give us the 101, so just in case somebody listening doesn't know what floating is. You know, tell us what is a float tank, what is all that?
Sean: A float tank is an enclosed tank or pod of 10" of saturated, nearly saturated salt water. So there's a thousand pounds of epsom salts in 10 inches of water. The water is heated to 93.5° Farenheit, which is the external temperature of your skin. So the environment in the water and in the air inside the tank is specifically designed to make it feel like there's nothingness. Make an environment in which you don't know where your skin ends and the water begins and the atmosphere ends. So you're totally buoyant on your back, the water comes underneath your chin and over your ears so your face is exposed, in a supine position. And the front of your body, you know your chest and your stomach and your pelvis and the tops of your legs are all out of the water. So whether you're a defensive lineman for the Seahawks or 110lb lady, you're going to float the same in this highly saturated epsom salt solution. And you float for however long you want, typical denominations we float for an hour, or 2.5 or longer if you're really going deep. And we...
Ryan: What's the longest someone's floated at your place?
Sean: What's the longest? I've got the record in Seattle at 9.5 hours
Ryan: Holy crap!
Sean: Yeah! So I floated, I started my float at midnight and I took a big long nap that day because I wasn't going in there to sleep, that wasn't my purpose. I've done that as well, but my purpose was to really try to take it as far as I could go
Sean: And it was awesome
Ryan: Were you awake the whole time?
Sean: I was sort of, it's tough to tell, honestly. I mean we closed down the shop.. This is when we first opened, we locked the doors and I told everybody that had a key, like, don't come bug me. If I'm in there for a day and a half, come in and check on me. You know, if I've turned into a butterfly and flown away. But, the 9.5 hours was you know.. The first couple of hours were totally, totally lucid. Going into my brain and resolving issues that I've had and thoughts that I'd had and creative ideas, and then the next couple hours were sort of in and out of meditation and visuals. I don't like the word 'hallucination', because it has the sort of, you're seeing stuff that's not there connotation, so I tend to use the words 'non normal states of consciousness', so it's visuals. But by the end of 9.5 hours when I got out I was pretty wrecked. I mean I was pretty.. I was just.. I didn't.. I was so taken aback by the outside world, and lights and sounds and what I had to do that day. It took me like a day and a half to recover, and I should have built up to it. I'd done an hour, 2.5 hours, 3.5 hours before, but 3.5 was the longest. And then I jumped to 9.5 and I mean I had some pretty profound experiences within that time though. I mean, yeah. It was wild!
Ryan: That's cool, that is really cool. So how did you get into floating, what made you wanna open not only Float Seattle but Float Bellevue so you now have two places.
Sean: Yeah. Um, I have always been interested in meditation. I've meditated since I was about 11 years old and I was urged by my parents to explore it a little bit, because I was a pretty busy kid. I had a lot of energy and sports was an excellent outlet for that. You know I am a lifelong athlete. That burnt off some of the energy but not all of it and so meditation was a way for me to sort of harness by thoughts and harness by brain and be more aware of myself and it really did sort of round off the edges a little bit. It did kind of smooth me out a little bit. And so, I've always been interested in meditation, and in my research into mindfulness which is a version of meditation, I came across this correlation between mindfulness and floating, in which your goal is to sort of get rid of your body. So you step outside your body for a minute. And that was really, really compelling to me. And so I floated at a guy's house in Bellevue, which is basically just across the lake from Seattle. It's another large city. And he had one in his basement and I found him on Craigslist and I was like, you know, I wanna try this bad enough that I'm gonna go to this guy's house and shower in his kid's shower in the basement, he's gonna see me naked, That's the way it goes. And my experience was transcendent. I mean, I went on my lunch break one day and got back in my car and was like 'what am I doing?!'
Ryan: It's like straight out of the movie Office Space!
Sean: Totally! Absolutely like that. Honestly like. I've gotta button this tie up, get back into my car and go sell advertising now. And it could not have been further from what I'd felt inside. So, after that, I kept waiting for a Float center to open. The last float center that had been opened- a proper commercial float center in Seattle- was like 1998, this was at around.. 2007. And so it had been a while. And so I thought 'somebody will open one, it's just too cool not to', and I kept waiting and waiting and waiting and in the mean time was thinking 'I'll just maybe do one myself', so I kept saving and saving and then just looked around some other centers around the world really. Traveled up and down the west coast, went to Europe and floated in a couple of places in Europe and was like, 'this is it! This is what I wanna do. And I think I can do it better than the places that I've seen'. And uh, so yeah, 2.5 years later, 2 float centers, an e-book, I'm in it, man! I'm way in it!
Ryan: That's awesome! So I mean, I have not been to your facility, tell me and our listeners what makes your facility different.
Sean: Well, it's the people really. I mean, the level of excellence of the float is kind of a given. It's got to be quiet, it's got to be dark, the temperature's got to be just right. It's got to be clean. The tanks have to be world-class. That's all a given, you know. What makes us a little bit different from the other centers that I've been to is that the people that we have working are so emotionally intelligent, so with it and so great at holding space for people, you know. You come out of a float and you're like kind of tripping a little bit and you've got a bunch of dopamine and you feel really nice and then somebody's like 'Well hey! How was that for you man? How are you doing?!' Like, that would be a mess, like. So it's you know, our walk through and the way that we address people after their float is like really specific, so that we can, we can really help people in the way that they want to be helped. And we've created a float center. And we is my wife and I and my business partner, who's a friend of mine. We wanted to create a place that we would want to float at. Where it would be easy to do. No stress. It's not awkward, just totally, all about you. Stripped down, basic, you know. So that's really what we... It's the easiest, easiest path to a hugely powerful practice.
Ryan: You know, I will agree with you on the statement you made about how it's always about the people and the environment that you create. And um, I'll actually give you some customer feedback. I called your Float Seattle location to try to track you down and Alex answered the phone. And I wanted to go floating, like. It was exactly like you said. The emotional intelligence and awareness is, it came through on a phone call.
Sean: That's awesome
Ryan: So I can only imagine what it's like to walk into that facility.
Sean: Well we pay a lot of attention, so much attention to the phone call, to the online experience. Like, we're just real people. This is not like, this is not a chain, this is not a you know, a corporate entity. We're just real people trying to be helpful and just trying to be authentic in everything we do. And that translates in the people that we have and the space that we provide, it's at the forefront of everything we do.
Ryan: And I'll have to add that the Natural Stacks guys, Ben and Roy, are very much like that too and that's what drew me to them when I met them last year. And I know that they've come to your place and you guys have done some things with them. How did you get connected with the Natural Stacks crew?
Sean: Um, my friend and partner in Float Seattle and Float Bellevue, and the e-book as well, has always been interested in vitamins and nootropics and was doing research into doing his own, building his own stacks. And came across the company actually before I did. And we, shortly there whereafter we opened. But like I'd been taking Parasine, Alpha Brain, Choline.. Among a million other nootropics, for a while. And just sort of stumbled on it, and read this story of Abelard Lindsay, and then reached out to Roy and then you know, got in touch with those two guys. And it just so happened that Roy was moving out here, to the northwest, and he lives about half an hour away from the float center. And yeah, it just sort of worked. You're right, the way that they approach nootropics, the way that they approach their business is really up front. We're going to be totally transparent, we're going to give you all of the information up front, and there's no shenanigans. It's just, it's an awesome company.
Ryan: Yeah, so talk a little bit about using nootropics and incorporating them with your floats.
Yeah, so. I can tell you what I do, I mean I know what some other folks do.. Like I'll tell you one little story. So we've got a guy who's a day trader, and he wakes up at between like 4 O'clock in the morning to umm, when the international markets open. And he trades from 3 or 4 in the morning until noon. And then he's done for the day. And what he was doing, this guy named Eric, is he was floating right after the close of the markets to like, wash it away, you know. But also to critique the trades he made during that day. And so he would go in and float, unaided by nootropics- he had never really messed around with nootropics until we got a hold of him- and he was using it first as a tool to enhance his career and his trading, and he saw results immediately. Like as soon as he started floating he saw results. And then he kept on it and now he's floating every single day. And he would cap his day, sort of make a distinction between I worked, and now I'm just going to be a person, you know, as best I can for the rest of the day.
And as we got to talking with him more and more readily, he was like tell me more, tell me something about some of these nootropics that we have. And so we got into mainly CILTEP, magnesium.. So that he could have it at night to get to sleep before he needed to wake up and trade again. And then he also took some of the Onnit products, and so he started tinkering around and then got to a point where he was floating now before the markets opened. We gave him keys to the shop and said 'hey man, if you wanna go do your thing, we're just gonna give you keys. We don't really wanna staff anybody at 2am, but if you wanna come in and float...', so he was coming in and floating on CILTEP. So he'd wake up, pop CILTEP, float for an hour and then jump right into the trading, and he said that his brain was working way faster than it was before and he could actually plot out his day in the tank before it even opened, and go through different decision strategies and buying and selling strategies before the markets opened and it gave him such a huge benefit.
I personally float with CILTEP, probably twice a week. And that's when I just, I need problem solving. When you're isolated from the outside world and highly focused and switched on mentally, you're able to achieve a ton in one hour. So that's how I use it the most, is a CILTEP and a float. But I've been tinkering around with the new Dopamine Brain Food and that's been really nice too, so I do that in the afternoons.
Ryan: How is that different from using CILTEP? I haven't gotten to float with Dopamine yet.
Sean: It's, it's, you know it's funny, it like, my buddy and I were talking about it. It doesn't, it doesn't, for me, enhance my wellbeing. What it does is, it sort of allows me to mentally feel at ease and at peace with where I'm at, if that makes sense. It doesn't like, it's not a happy pill, it's more of like a contentment pill, if that makes sense.
Ryan: It makes sense, it makes sense
Sean: So if I'm highly stressed or if I'm feeling down about something that I'm working on then, you know like, I've got a bunch of projects right now, and if I just sort of feel overwhelmed by it, then I won't take CILTEP that day and I'll just go float in like the afternoon or in the evening time with the Dopamine and it just sort of puts things into perspective. Like, you're making good decisions, you're on the right path. You know, feel good. Have gratitude for where you are and what you're doing. And, you know, things will work out. So that's how I've been using that recently.
Ryan: Okay, okay, awesome. So, as far as floating goes, do you have favorite times to float or favorite uses for floating?
Sean: It changes as I change. You know, when we first opened I wasn't a father yet- I've got a two year old now...
Sean: Thanks. So, I was in a different mind frame years ago, two years ago, when we first opened, and so I used it at different times. I always use it for physical recovery. I played, I played men's league soccer last night and I've got a stiff left knee, so I'll go in and float after this actually. I'm going from here over to the studio to float and I use it for the physical recovery, but traditionally my most favorite time to float is about 8.30 in the morning, after a workout. So I'll wake up, I'll have my fatty coffee, have my constitutional, and then I'll go work out like a crazy man, and really push it, and then as soon as I'm done with my workout I'll just go in and float, and.. After the float, I usually take a cold shower, I do a lot of hydro-therapeutic stuff, I mean I'll do ice baths and cold showers and hot/cold showers and stuff like that. Um, so, my favorite time traditionally is in the morningish, right after a workout. But I know a lot of people, a lot of our members, float in evening time just as a sleep aid because they cant turn their brains off, they just can't relax
Ryan: Right, right. Well you mentioned earlier, meditating. I think a lot of our listeners are aware of the benefits, but I think one of the highest hurdles for people to get into that is maybe being able to calm their mind and to kinda get into that state. So do you have any tips for beginners, or an easy intro into mindfulness or meditation?
Sean: Yeah, for sure. I do. And for the people who have floated 2 or 3 times without instruction, because we tend, we tend not to program people before we get them in a float tank, we don't tell them what to expect, we don't tell them what to do, what not to do. We just tell them to be. Go in, and just be. That's enough. After 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 floats, people are like 'okay, I'm totally blissed out, I love it, I want a little bit more information. I wanna know how to enhance this', and we give them some instructions. Attention setting, and one of the meditative practices that we suggest for them is what's called a cleansing breath, which uses both a visualization and a breath, and it's useful both in the float tank and in a seated meditation posture. Which is, every in breath you say 'in', and breathe in through your nose, and with every out breath you say 'release' in your head. And again every in breath you say 'in', every out breath you say 'release'.
Ryan: Then there's this added visualization to this. Which is, with every in breath you're going to picture your lungs and your body being filled in with bright white light. So it's hard in a pitch black float tank, but it makes it even more effective. And you picture your body being filled up with life giving, rejuvenating, divine, inspiring light into your body. You feel just sort of puffed up and charged. And you say 'in', and then 'release', you blow out the breath that no longer serves you. The toxins, the grime. You picture as the opposite to the in breath, you picture like a smoke stack. Gritty, toxic, dark, gross gnarlies that you're just breathing out and that sort of like clears out your, your astro body. It sort of lightens you a little bit. So now you're filling your body with white light and you're blowing out all the nasty stuff. Like that's a very basic, two part meditation technique, you know there's the personas that you can do, instead of washing over yourself with energy, you do chakra activations. There's a lot of different things you can do but that cleansing breath is what I've seen to be the most effective for people that are just like I don't know what to do.. I wanna meditate but I just don't know how.
Ryan: Right. Okay, very cool, very cool, thank you. Alright well on your website, you guys have a statement which I think is really cool. It says, you know, you are confined only by the walls that you build for yourself. So, we're going to kind of go down this rabbit hole a little bit deeper, that you mentioned earlier. How does getting into a sensory deprivation tank, you know, something that is small, confined, dark, you know, could induce claustrophobia if one was inclined, how is that gonna help somebody remove those walls?
Sean: Well, let's get to it. I mean, we live in a holographic universe where the things that are manifested, the physical things that we're surrounded by are created by us. This sort of consensus reality, this is a water bottle I'm drinking out of, I'm wearing a shirt..These are all things that we've created for ourselves. And you know, how you see yourself, on a larger level, is created by you, and the reality that you create for yourself. Who you've chosen as a partner, what you do for a career, what religious views you have, your views on yourself and reality and consciousness. These are all, basically constructs and boundaries that we've created. And anytime that you're able to get into a float tank, which is confined, you know as well as I do that as soon as you relax it feels huge in there! It feels really expansive. It doesn't feel like you're in a pod, it feels sort of you know, as if you're a baby floating in outer space. I believe that that is because that is a direct mirror image of consciousness.
Consciousness is infinite, we are infinite creatures. We have lived lives before and we will continue to live lives in the future, and it's the sort of cyclical nature of this thing, and it just keeps going and going and going and expanding. And you know, when you get a sense of that, because you're relaxed, because the environment is perfectly suited for you to experience the infinitudes of consciousness that just reside within your own consciousness; whether it be in your pinneal gland or you know, part of a collective unconscious, you break that boundary down. You start stripping away all of these things that you just thought of as a given. You know, I'm going to be sore tomorrow, well you don't have to be. I'm going to be cranky.. I've got this thing I've got to deal with.. But I mean, looking at it from a different perspective, without being inundated by stimuli and alerts on your phone all day every day, you start to like change your reality a little bit and, you wanted to go down the rabbit hole, we'll keep going!
Ryan: That's what we're here to do, man! Go for it
Sean: I believe in sort of a mind before matter view of the universe. Anything that exists was an idea before. Humanity, Gaia, it was all a concept. And anything that you do, anything that you create is all a thought. Before anything was created, the theory of relativity was an idea. A desk was a thought before somebody decided to make a desk. You know, like these things that you do creatively, these things that you do in your life, they're all concepts before and when you think in a broader way, when you break down the boundaries of these, these , you know Terence McKenna speaks a lot about boundary dissolution and whether it is the use of entheogens or psychedelics or float tanks, you know, you're dissolving those boundaries that are keeping you living as a sort of autonomic robot in this, you know, skype world where we're talking across the country, you know. That's an important part of.. We have to ask theses questions, we have to push the boundaries to ourselves. And if we don't have any boundaries then we can look at ourselves and choose our paths in a broader sense then man, the universe rewards you with all sorts of cool stuff. So that's what I think.
Ryan: That's a very cool answer, very cool. Alright, so, another thing on your website: Entering Theta State. So I love Flow, I love hacking it, I love chasing it and I know a lot of our listeners do too. Talk about how we can use floating to sort of enter 'theta state' and you know, how that works, what you guys are.. I know you said that you don't wanna coach or bias a floater until they've gotten a certain number of floats under their belt, but let's assume somebody has. How would we do that?
Sean: Yeah, well, I mean if you relax in a float tank then you're bound to have a higher occurrence and a longer duration of these Theta brain states, and the best way to describe that state for the listeners is you know, when you're falling asleep but you're not quite asleep and you're sort of half way between and maybe you'll have like a little mini dream but it's not really a dream and then you step off a kerb and you're like, ahhh! Like you were sort of tapping into that Theta state, where things are really vivid and really clear and feel really real. They are real, they're just real in a different way. And when you relax and you're in that state then those Theta brain waves states occur more and more. And I'm not a neuroscientist, I mean I'm a float dork, but not a neuroscientist, but I know, at least for myself as well, like you're creating new connections. Your neurons are changing, so every time that you meditate, every time that you float, you're actually evolving a little bit. You're enhancing your ability to get into that flow state, and it's effortless. You know, you probably have, we're probably in flow state right now. Just you know, novelty, fast thinking, being put on the spot.. And then you fall into this place where you're just cooking. You're not even having to work that far, it's just sort of like flowing through you, and the more you work at it, the more you meditate, the more you float, you strengthen your ability to do that.
Ryan: Cool, cool. So, if somebody was going to do something where they wanted the creative process or I know like Joe Rogan talks a lot about floating to help creative process or you know, your guy Eric who is the day trader, to float and then hit the market with a kind of heightened state. If somebody wanted to try to hack that, what would their intent be as they entered a float tank.
Sean: Well, intent is a big thing and for those people that I do sort of coach and give enhanced tips for, I ask them to set an intention. You know, you're here for a reason, what are you looking for? Setting an intention and more specifically saying that intention out loud, verbalising it, rather than like thinking to yourself 'man, I'd really like to figure out how to work smarter', you know, 'how do I work smarter' thinking in your head, it's a little different than showering, you know you're in the shower getting ready to get in the float tank and you say 'I'm floating today for insights into working smarter. How do I work smarter?', like that's a lot different. It's embarrassing, because you're talking to yourself, but also, sending that out into the cosmos, sending that out into the universe, you're going to get something back.
And if it's just a slight idea now or you go deep when you're in the tank, you can kind of forget about it when you're in there, because you're going to get into the tank and your brain is going to go where it needs to go. You're going to get exactly what you need when you get into the tank, every time. And if that's memories of your childhood or it's like hey, this person is a poison in your life and you need to kinda start stepping away from them. Like whatever you get you're going to get. But your subconscious remembers that you've said an intention and sort of subconsciously goes to work on it. So that's one way. The other way is just to relax, just to concentrate on your breath. Because your divine, higher self knows what it needs but it's just distracted by BS all day, you know.
Ryan: Yeah, I was nodding my head. Your first part to that answer, where you said 'every time you float you get exactly what you need''. I think that's so well said because just like you're getting into there, it's the sensory deprivation part, it's removing all of the noise and the chaos from daily life so that you can get in touch with what's going on in your subconscious. All the stuff that.. not that we consciously repress it, some of it we do, but it allows what's going on in your head to kind of come to the forefront, and like you said, you get what you need, exactly what you need out of every float.
Sean: Yeah, absolutely. That's the beautiful thing. You don't have to work that hard at it, you've just got to chill out, you know, find a way to relax and what needs to happen will happen.
Ryan: Yeah. Alright, well Sean, we're getting close to wrapping this up
Ryan: I know, I know. Before we let you go, we have one question that all of our guests answer. We want your three best tips for our listeners to perform at the highest level.
Sean: Can they be broad or specific or... For floating or whatever?
Ryan: You can go wherever you want with it, let's just say you are talking to our listeners and you can give them three pieces of advice on living their greatest life. What would you want them to know?
Sean: I think the first thing that I would say is breathe. Breath is the start of everything, you know. Before you can focus on a task, before you can reply to a question, before you can do anything constructive you have to breathe. Everything starts from breath. Breath is the catalyst, and if you're breathing properly and you're breathing deeply and you're allowing your body to be rejuvenated by that breath then you're going to be a lot better off than if you're kind of like, not focusing on it or panting slowly. I think whatever breath you're doing, everything starts there. So remember to breathe. There's lots of different resources you can find for effective breath work. I've certainly dabbled a little bit into what you call holotropic breath work, if you might have read that?
Ryan: No, what is that?
Sean: It's basically ecstatic states, ecstatic breath work. It's a shamanic practise that involves basically hyperventilating and reaching altered states of consciousness in that way. But breath is hugely powerful. You don't need anything else other than your lungs to really get you where you want to go.
Another thing that I would say is eat leafy greens! The Joe Rogan podcast, you know, Joe talks about the kale shakes. And honestly, I do them every day now and I feel more alive, and I feel more proficient at just being a better person when I have leafy greens in my body. Like I still really like pizza, and I still really like IPA, like I really like those things. But I also have to drink kale shakes, just to sort of even my things out. It's really made a huge difference in the way that my body functions.
The third thing that I would say is, follow your gut. You know, it's a cliche, but your first inclination is pretty much your right inclination. You know, I followed my gut, it took me a couple of years after my first float, but you know, that changed my path after I had that float in that dude's basement. 5-6 years later, I opened a float center but there's something in my gut that said 'this is powerful, this is meaningful, this is something very big', and whether it's relationship choices, career choices, like if you're not happy in your job, get out of there! Change things. You have control over it. Follow your gut because your gut is your higher self saying 'hey, woah, look at that, that's a good thing', or 'hey, woah, that's not a good thing'. So, breathe, kale shakes, follow your gut. Uh, yeah. I was not expecting to say those!
Ryan: No, but I really like that last one. The follow your gut. And I just wanna kind of expand on that a little bit, and the more that we practise living intentionally, being mindful, meditating, floating. I think the more you can be in touch with your gut, and like you said, that is your higher self. And it's, you know, you're getting that message or that signal for a reason, and the more you can start to tune into that, the better.
Sean: Intuitive, man.
Ryan: Alright, so Sean, where can people find you? I know we mentioned it earlier, www.howtostartafloatcenter.com, Float Seattle, Float Bellevue, anything else you wanna add?
Sean: Yeah, I mean, obviously we're on Facebook, Twitter; @FloatSeattle, @floatseattle on Instagram, you know, if anybody has any questions on floating on general.. If they're floating in their hometown and maybe not getting the sort of direction or guidance that they are looking for then you can email me, it's email@example.com. Hit me up! I think that this is the most powerful tool in self-evolution that there ever was. It's so strong and it's such a powerful practise that I'll drop everything to talk to somebody about it because I think it's so cool. So yeah, www.floatseattle.com, www.floatbellevue.com, and if anybody's ever up in the northwest then just hit us up, come check us out
Ryan: And if you're listening and you're not in front of a computer or at a place where you can write this down, don't worry. Go to www.optimalperformance.com and check out the show notes. Not only will we have these listed, but they'll actually be linked so you can just click on them so you can go straight to the social media links, email, whatever it is that you wanna get in touch with Sean or follow these guys.
Sean, thanks a lot man, this was awesome! I had a blast and I hope our listeners enjoyed it and we're definitely going to be talking to you again sometime soon.
Sean: Thanks man, it was my pleasure.
Ryan: You've been listening to Optimal Performance podcast, remember you can find show notes for every episode along with video versions at www.optimalperformance.com. And remember that Optimal Performance podcast loves your 5* ratings, so head on over to iTunes, show us some 5* love and not only will we read those reviews on the show, but you will be entered into a raffle to win some free Natural Stacks goodies. See you next Thursday.
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