Float on

Finally did the flotation tank after watching the movie Altered States back in the day. John Hurt and Drew Barrymore’s screen debuts by the way.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_States The movie deals with John Lilly’s sensory deprivation research while under the influence of psychedelics.

I did it for 75 minutes although I had the tank for 90. The water and air in the pod are 93-94 degrees which is your skin temperature so you don’t feel the temperature of the water. The water is filled with a ton of salt so that you float on the top of the water held up by all the sodium chloride chemical bonds. You could have total darkness or soft background lighting. You could have light background music or none.

I went with both on and relaxed and closed my eyes and when I was completely relaxed I began spinning. After about five minutes of that I finally opened my eyes to validate that in fact I was not spinning. Bumping in to the sides of the tank with your head or body part would be occasionally distracting but other than that you could go as deep as you wanted for as long as you wanted.

I would describe it as Extended Liquid Savasana.  For those who practice yoga this can come at the end of the class and provides the opportunity for meditation. It had the similar feel of being in hot vinyasa flow too since it was the same temperature and that made my mind tell me it was time to finish class and leave but I got past that.

I thought about reunion with my dead sister and that was too overwhelming to explore any deeper so I sat up and opened the pod and took a break.

I learned that all evolution is co:evolution since no organism or particle changes except in relation to and connection with other beings or things and that this is happening all the time.

I explored a deep fear I had that came from flight school training.  Before allowing you to get in a helicopter you had to have a month of ground school.  We learned about optical and proprioceptive illusions and did the famous altitude chamber.  We also did training to avoid the serious killer vertigo.  This could result from the three different chambers of the cochlea (representing pitch, roll and yaw) being spun out of control in some maneuver. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochlea  Maybe you were in a turn and then you also leaned over to change the radio frequency.  When you sat back up you could feel like you were still in the turn or worse upside down, sideways and backwards even.

That’s what happened to me after the put me in a huge, heavy barstool with a seat belt.  They would have you leaning forward with your head hanging down in front of you with your eyes closed.  They would spin you clockwise at a constant rate. Eventually your brain blocked out the constant and continuous stimuli and told you that you weren’t spinning at all and then eventually with no more stimuli that you were spinning the exact opposite way at the same rate of rotation.

When you arrived at this state the instructor told you to sit straight up and open your eyes and they simultaneously brought the stool to a dead stop. I wasn’t moving at all but my brain was telling me that I was spinning in every possible direction all at the same time at the same speed I had been moving.  It was the most disorienting feeling and nauseating feeling I can remember.  When I finally came down out of that I went home and lay on the couch for hours without moving.  I never ever wanted to feel that way again.  Way worse than any hangover I could ever remember from my younger days.

I have been hypersensitive to things like circus rides or strong g forces ever since which of course was the successful result of the programming to begin with.  The military wanted me to be immediately nauseous any time I was flying out of 3-d balance and alignment.  That made me think about both the good and bad programming that the military did on me and what of that code I willingly brought on board and what I removed from my OS.  I think most of the apps I kept are pretty useful.  except that swearing app, it’s oh so bad with veterans.

So float on!

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About Ian Benouis

Ian Benouis is a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs. He was a pilot-in-command and his aviation brigade flew more night vision goggle hours than any unit in the military except for the Task Force 160 Special Operations which his unit was ultimately rolled up into when the Fort Ord, California military base was shut down. Ian grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture. He has been healing himself of trauma for over 25 years with sacred plants, a spiritual practice, and being a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. Ian was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer after he got out of the Army witnessing firsthand the meteoric rise of the SSRI’s and synthetic opioids in the early 1990’s. He is a casualty of the drug war having been busted for a friend’s cannabis while in law school. Ian is an intellectual property attorney who has been working in the corporate world for over 20 years in the primary roles of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Counsel. He is a political activist in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space nationally and locally in Texas. Ian was previously the Chairman of the Board for a public policy foundation in Texas for over seven years. Ian was featured in the Spike Jonze produced episode Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic. In 2016 Ian organized a trip for six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers. Ian also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with iboga and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was captured on video and was released as a documentary on March 2017 entitled Soldiers of the Vine. He is member of the team working on the movie From Shock to Awe a feature-length documentary that will chronicle the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA and cannabis.