To raise money for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the organization is auctioning off a floatation tank used by Timothy Leary near the end of his life.
MAPS raises money and lobbies for research in using psychedelic (entheogenic) drugs in mental-health treatments. I donate to them and have the MAPS hoodie to show for it, but a $5,000 opening bid is a little rich for my blood.
But I did try the floatation tank experience, back in the early 1980s. From Wikipedia:
Flotation therapy developed from the research work of John Lilly although he was not primarily interested in therapy, rather in the effect of sensory deprivation on the human brain and mind.
People using early float tanks discovered that they enjoyed the experience and that the relaxed state was also a healing state for many conditions including stress, anxiety, pain, swelling, insomnia and jet lag.
As a result float tanks were produced for commercial uses and commercial float centres offering flotation therapy opened in several countries during the period from 1980 to the present day when there are hundreds of flotation centres in dozens of countries. In almost all cases these float centres offer wellness treatments and in particular the release of stress.
And it was John Lilly himself who donated this tank originally.
I found the experience restful and relaxing, but I did it without the DMT or LSD that made it really “cosmic” for some folks.
In the early 1990s I attended a nature-writing workshop at New Buffalo in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico. In the late 1960s, funded by one guy’s inheritance, it was a famous commune, until it suffered the typical fate of being overrun by losers and freeloaders, and the residents shut the gates, so to speak. When I was there, the owners were trying to make it a mini-conference center and extremely crunchy B&B.
There was a sign in the main room, which read something like, “Timothy Leary slept here. Or maybe he stayed up all night.”