Productivity always seems to be fleeting.
I never feel like I have enough time in the day to accomplish all of the things I want to do and I certainly look at time as a hot commodity. But things changed for me after an experience this morning I’m about to share with you.
Today I hopped back into the Samadhi Float Tank for a second experience in three years.
The first time I participated out of sheer curiosity but today, it was for clarity.
What is the tank you may ask?
I first discovered the idea of isolation chambers for relaxation and inducing an environment where I could think outside of the box when listening to a Joe Rogan podcast.
He talked about going in for up to four hours and coming out with vivid hallucinations of life, discovery and enlightenment.
Now I’m not one to go and take hallucinogens, nor am I a woo-woo kind of person.
I can’t even be in the same room as an essential oil diffuser without feeling like I’m eating a can of Lysol.
But the float tank is different.
It’s a light-proof and sound-proof chamber, filled with 6-10 inches of water and 800-1000lbs of magnesium sulfate (known as Epsom Salt). The water is heated to a comfy 98.6 degrees (yes the same as your body temperature) and you must shower and remove your clothes before entering the tank.
You lie down on your back and float just above the water due to the high salt content. Since the water is heated to the temperature of your body, you lose sense of the water being there after the first five minutes.
Everyone has a different experience going in. The first time I went it for 90-minutes and found myself struggling to relax. I tried yoga breathing, talking to myself, humming a song and then I gave up and something magical happened.
Laying there in the silence, I heard my heart beating, I hear my stomach churning (probably should have eaten breakfast) and then it was as if I fell into a daydream.
Without getting too far into the experience, I want to fast forward two years to today when I got into the float tank for a second time. I went through the routine of removing my clothes, showering, getting into the tank and breathing deeply. I heard my heart beat, the feeling of the water rushed away. I was floating.
But my mind was cluttered. I started to worry about how I was going to spend my time in the tank and whether or not I could get the same experience I had the previous time. I was frustrated, my heart started beating a little faster, I moved around in the pool of water, tried placing my hands behind my neck and breathing again.
It seemed like nothing I could do would bring back the experience I had the first time around that placed me into such a trance and allowed me to visualize the answer to a big question that was burning a whole in my head for so long.
I had to accept that this time would be different and move forward.
As I was lying there, pondering how I could best use my time, an idea came to me.
I started to think about TIME vs. OPPORTUNITY and how we’ve been going about being PRODUCTIVE all wrong.
There’s a great video circling YouTube called “The Time You Have (In Jelly Beans)” and it essentially displays your life in Jelly Beans.
They remove the amount of time you spend sleeping, eating, working, etc. Until they get down to a very small portion and say, “what if you only had one day left”.
We constantly question what we’re going to do with our time here on this earth. We want to know answers to questions like, “will I be successful?” or “will I end up happy with someone I love?” and I think it’s great to ask questions.
But this way of looking at productivity is wrong.
Allow me to play out two scenarios.
In scenario one, I show up at your door and explain that we’re going to head out to a dinner tonight. There are going to be hundreds of people there including the President of the United States (let’s pretend for a second this is someone you really want to meet without getting too political). There’s a chance you could have time speak to him but I don’t know how much. It could be 10 seconds, or it could be 10 minutes. I can’t make any promises if it will happen at all but he will be there.
Where does your mind go?
Does it start to think about how you would do anything and everything to speak to this person? You start to wonder what you will do to ensure that you get your moment to meet the President. You might think about arriving at the dinner early in hopes that you can meet a Secret Service guy who would give you the opportunity. Or perhaps you think about who else might be attending that is really well connected and could get you in for the chance to speak with the President.
Now let’s jump to scenario number two. I show up at your door and explain we’re going to head out to a dinner tonight. There are going to be hundreds of people there including the President of the United States (still pretending this is someone you really want to meet). You are guaranteed the opportunity to speak with him for three minutes. Start thinking about what you want to say…
For a moment you’ll be shocked and ecstatic that you have this opportunity guaranteed to you that most people do not and then you’ll move on to consider all the questions you want to ask. You only want to ask smart questions because you are only guaranteed three minutes and don’t want to waste time. You think about what you are going to wear, how you are going to leverage that time best and most importantly what your actions will be during that interaction.
Here’s where the difference between TIME and OPPORTUNITY comes into play.
When you were told that there was only a chance you could have some time with the President, you started to think about how you were going to make the opportunity a sure bet. But when you were promised you would have those three minutes, you thought more along the lines of how you were going to be productive and take action during your time with the President.
The difference is that when we aren’t guaranteed an opportunity, we tend to focus more on making the opportunity happen then the actual actions we could take when the opportunity arises.
When an olympic lifter is visualizing going for a world record lift, they aren’t imagining whether or not they will walk up to the bar and lift it off the ground, they are visualizing taking in the deep breath, lifting the bar off the ground, getting it above their head, focussing on finishing with proper form and then placing the bar back on the ground.
What I’m trying to get at is I think that it isn’t good enough to say, “what if we only had x amount of time left on this earth” because the truth is we aren’t guaranteed that.
What we are promised is the fact that we exist right here and right now.
So with the promise that you exist and the guarantee that you are here right now in this moment, what actions do you want to take?
Stop thinking about how you will go and chase down the chance at having your moment and start being in the moment now.
You are promised nothing but what is right in front of you, right here and right now. So go be in it.