God's Thoughts

The universe is one of God’s thoughts.

-- Friedrich Von Schiller

For those wishing to explore inner space without drugs or boring meditation techniques, flotation tanks may be worth a try.  I've floated in several over the years, although results for me have been inconclusive so far.  True, I never spent more than an hour in the tank at a stretch and found the experience more relaxing than hallucinatory.  Once I even fell asleep in one, which I can do just as easily -- and less expensively -- in my own bed. 

A flotation tank is a large egg-shaped container, a kind of Jacuzzi with a lid that opens like the trunk of a car.   These fixtures are pretty scarce in Connecticut, where I live, but you'll find lots of them in California, Colorado and other places where New Age types congregate.  You lie naked in about 15 inches of water that has been saturated with hundreds of pounds of Epson salts, causing you to float like a cork.  The water and the air inside the tank are heated to skin temperature, so you have no sensation of heat or cold.  You quickly lose any sense of boundaries between your body and its surroundings.  Your ears are under water, so there is almost no sound, apart from your own breathing.  When the lid is down, you are plunged into nothingness -- no light, no sound, no variation in temperature, not even the pull of gravity.  Some people compare it to being back in the womb.  It's just you and your thoughts.

Flotation tanks were developed by Dr. John Lilly in the 1950s to determine whether the human brain needed sensory stimulation to function.  The behaviorist school of psychology, which was then fashionable, held that the brain was essentially a stimulus-and-response mechanism that would shut down without external stimulation.  However, Lilly found that when test subjects were immersed in a sensory deprivation tank, their minds soon began to generate their own experience, feeding off stored memories and impressions.  In some cases, these experiences were so vivid they were nearly indistinguishable from external reality.

Is this how God created the heavens and the earth? Imagine God before creation, when the world was without form and void.  There he was, alone with his thoughts, floating in nothingness.  There are varying accounts as to what happened next.  Physicists believe things started off with a bang, a Big Bang.  The biblical account is more poetic, but not dissimilar.  God had only to say the word, and there was light.  Since there was as yet no one to hear, he must have been talking to himself, which is just thinking out loud.  His thoughts became the world and everything in it, including those wayward creatures who were made in his image.  What could God have possibly been thinking?  If you really want to know what he thinks, look in the mirror.

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