LSD, Lilly and Me Floating in a Tank

8566188935_5a4ddaf85a_zby Gavanda

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind, there are no limits” —The Center of the Cyclone, John C. Lilly, M.D.

Isolation tanks, or float tanks, are increasingly popular these days and can now be found in large cities throughout the US West. Celebrity Joe Rogan deserves some credit for spreading the word as he often raves on his podcast about the benefits he enjoys from owning a tank and floating regularly in his home. However, the person who deserves the most credit is a scientist named Dr John C. Lilly who invented the concept during the 1950s.

You may have heard of Lilly if you ever listened to The Joe Rogan Experience, and you can usually find one of Lilly’s books for sale at a float studio. Lilly did much more than pioneer this meditative therapy; he took the concept further than any of us can imagine. Lilly was fascinated with exploring the human mind, and unlike most scientists today he was willing to experiment with his own mind rather than the minds of his test subjects. One such experiment involved taking LSD and then entering his isolation tank on multiple occasions to learn more about human consciousness.

Since I was interested in having a similar experience, I decided to read his book The Center of the Cyclone prior to my first journey. The book is a personal account of his LSD-influenced isolation tank experiences along with other stories of mind exploration. Lilly seemed to be writing the book not only to document his pioneering efforts, but also to provide assistance and warnings to others who might follow his path.


Before I describe my journey consider that I make a distinction between recreational versus medicinal use of psychedelics. I advocate for the legal use of psychedelic substances taken safely and responsibly for therapeutic reasons. As a distinguished scientist Lilly lived during a time when he was actually allowed to legally study the effects of LSD, a situation that quickly changed and is nearly impossibly today due to LSD being a classified schedule 1 substance. Schedule 1 substances are defined as drugs that have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

I choose to explore my consciousness despite the current legal status because I firmly believe the government has no moral right to decide how I medicate myself. Meanwhile alcohol and other mind numbing and dangerous pharmaceuticals are deemed legal while several healing and mind expanding substances are not.



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