Blog: Mental Arts

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December 2014 Mental Arts Newsletter


Welcome to Our December Newsletter

As all of us are in the midst of the holiday season with all of its hustle and bustle and merry making, we are also fast approaching a new year. This is a wonderful time to contemplate and set a direction for the year to come. As you read through our newsletter you will see our endeavors of where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going, we invite you to join us along the way. Have a wonderful Holiday and see you in the New Year!

Lisa Sienkiewicz, Editor

The Office of Shaman – Now Available on Amazonslider-TOOS-Book-567px

Starting Friday, December 5th – and just in time for holiday shopping – will be offering both print and kindle versions of the fifth edition of The Office of Shaman: A Hermeneutic Rationale for the Inclusion of a Soul Concept in the Genesis of Human Thought by John Worthington.

(Copies will also be available at float centers offering Mental Arts classes. )

What the Book is About

For thousands of years, there have been individuals who demonstrated uncanny insight into how and why others think the way they do, who could identify and resolve the sources of other people’s pain and frustration, and who helped individuals, families and communities see and forge solutions to all manner of problems. In some cultures this role or Office was held by someone who others referred to as a Shaman.

We now live in a world where shamans may seem quaint and out of step with modern times. We have vast scientific knowledge about brain waves, artificial intelligence, social psychology, thought, quantum physics, and so forth. And yet people still suffer from frustrations and misunderstandings that require insight into both the physical and energetic components of human thought. What would the Office of Shaman look like in the current day and age, with what we know, and the new tools we have? Who are those who would fill it?

These questions are at the heart of The Office of Shaman by John Worthington, first published in 2007 and now available in print and kindle version at

A Unique Approach to History, Consciousness, and Even the experience of reading

The Office of Shaman is not a treatise on the philosophy of thought. Instead it is concerned with the practicalities of how thought works. As Worthington says, “This book is most specifically about awareness, the awareness of self, soul, mind and actions. It provides a framework you can use to understand why you do what you do and how you can make choices with applied insight, rather than blind reactivity.” Such awareness is critical to success in any endeavor, whether or not anyone has ever considered such awareness to be shamanic in nature.

The book builds on the model of thought developed by consciousness researcher and float tank inventor, Dr. John C. Lilly, the non-Aristotelian logic and language pioneered by Alfred Korzybski, and shamanic concepts in the work of Carlos Castenada. It interweaves history, a narrative story, and questions for consideration so that the reader does not merely “think about” the concepts, but has an experience.

The book offers a way to observe and describe the components of thought that is useful for anyone who is serious about understanding his or her own thinking and the dynamic functions of the soul. The book is especially illuminating for those who are compelled to cultivate a deep awareness of  “self, soul, mind and actions” in order to fulfill their own office, whether within their specific profession or art, or in their wider community. It is also a resource for anyone who is working in a float center or is serious about using floating as a tool to understand thought.


What People are Saying About the Office of Shaman…

Based on the title this book was not what I expected. This book is full of information on the way that we think and the tools to change your way of thinking. I have since shared this book with others who also have found it helpful.  

— Stacey Malloy


…provides a foundation for understanding the implications of living in an energetic universe, but moreover, provides practical concepts that I now use to tap into the energy that guides my life so that I can better express who I am.

— Ken Kaplan


The Office of Shaman has helped me understand why, despite all the yoga, meditation and self-help books, I was still struggling with stress. The format of introducing concepts and then watching how they play out in a story line is great and makes the material accessible….This book is a wealth of information for anyone interested in personal growth and self-development.

— Anne

For more reviews, click here.



Mental ArScreen Shot 2014-12-04 at 3.37.08 PMts Newsletter: Print version

If you would like to offer our Newsletter to your clients, we are now offering the print version of the Mental Arts newsletter to purchase for in your Float Center. Please contact us for pricing and additional information.




Making Room for Mourning During the Holidays

by David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT/

Last Tuesday I was out and about doing different errands, etc. However, as the day progressed I found myself increasingly tense. It was as though someone had gone in and over tightened all the screws in my head. When I paused to look at what was going on I sensed what was happening was an expression of mourning. Tuesday was two days before Thanksgiving and it was the first Thanksgiving since my father passed away in June. At a logical level, my thoughts were clear and “fine.” However, at a deeper level I was upset. I knew the only thing to do was to float. It was my day off. My float center was closed. I walked in and put myself in the float tank. Within a few minutes, I began to feel a sense of relief. My mind slowed down – the “screws” loosened. I came out feeling good. 

Afterwards I thought, “How do people get through the holidays without floating?” The holidays are wonderful as they are filled with singing, food, and many gatherings. In the midst of all the celebration of life, it is also important to make space to mourn those we have lost. One of the things I often tell my clients is if we have tensions in our mind we should resolve those tensions. If we do not resolve them we end up putting the tension in our bodies and it has a negative impact on our bodies and our relationships. Without floating I would have found it difficult to slow my mind and ease the tension in my mind. We mourn those we have lost but we do not have to be locked into the mourning. We can slow down, loosen the mind, and let the mourning through. Our mourning is meant to be expressed. Doing so allows other people to see it and, more importantly, to see what is going on for us. It is when we allow people to see what is really going on within us that we become closer to the people in our lives.

Interview with Great Lakes Flotation Owner, Terri Stangl

The owner  of Great Lakes Flotation LLC, Terri Stangl,  was interviewed on the WellnessWednesday show hosted by Theresa Callard Moore. The interview is now available online for download. Stangl talks about the basics of floating, its benefits for mind and body, and how she made the transition to a float center after a career in law. The recording can be found at

Wellness Wednesday is produced on Bold Radio by Callard-Moore, who is a Masters Level Social Worker and the CEO and Founder of Integrity:, the first-ever national holistic company that works to unite holistic organizations, holistic providers, and the community in order to bridge the gap between traditional health insurance and holistic health.

Articles on Great Lakes Flotation have also recently been published in Innovative Health Magazine and the wellness section of the View Newspaper group in Genesee County, Michigan.

Are We a Democracy?

by John Worthington, author of The Office of Shaman179572579

Matin Giliens and Benjamin Page postulated in a recent study that the United States can be categorized as a “civil oligarchy.” Big words in a way but not too difficult to understand, really.

What they actually said was, “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policy making is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then American’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.


In other words, these fellows are suggesting that groups like the NRA or perhaps the NAACP or the Roman Catholic Church or the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations or even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have more of a vote in Washington D.C than you or I do.

I suppose in some ways we could all be ever so afraid and subscribe to such a conspiracy concept but the last time I checked even Karl Christian Rove was surprised by the power of the vote of individual people in a presidential election. Karl was sure that his perceived oligarchy making political machine was making Mr. Romney president. But the voters of the United States had different ideas. Mr. Obama became president.

Fast forward two years and Mr. Rove and his political machinery are apparently still miffed at the voters of the United States and are still trying to thwart the President they elected. The oligarchy Mr. Rove has tried to empower has tried to vote down the President’s health care law more than 50 times, are now trying to defund a branch of government which has as it’s mission, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety.


Is it any wonder that Will Rogers said, “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Hey there oligarchy-ists, doesn’t that hurt?

I just don’t think that the American voter is as stupid as oligarchy set think they are. I think the American voter has a mind of his own and WILL use it. It’s a terrible thing to mistake belief for knowledge and the American voter has never forgiven that error.

In The News: Quantum Floats

Quantum Floats will be opening soon in Harding, New Jersey. Harding is very near Morristown. A building with three floors has been purchased. The basement floor will house ten float rooms. The first floor will house offices, a class room and a large open space for social exchanges both pre and post float. A second floor mezzanine will provide space for massage and physical therapy.

Architectural plans have been submitted to the municipal government and the beginning of construction is awaiting approval and suggestions from that government. The Grand Opening is tentatively scheduled for sometime mid-summer 2015. If you are a massage therapist, a physical therapist, or other wellness worker, have receptionist skills, or just like talking with people Quantum Float invites you to apply and be interviewed for a position.

Before starting employment, successful applicants must complete class requirements that include the Intro to the Rewrite, Program Theory and the Rewrite class. For positions other than float facilitators, completion of the the Harmony Class. For people who would like to facilitate floating the Tank Operator’s class will also be required. Since completion of this arduous curriculum is time intensive some leeway may be afforded qualified and motivated applicants.

Contact us for more information at:

My Experience with Floating

by Chris Olson, client at Great Lakes Flotation, Swartz Creek, MI/

I am relatively new to floating and wanted to share some thoughts about my experiences.  I have recently booked my first 3-hour session and am looking forward to it.  balance-110850_1280I have been doing 2-hour sessions since I have started and wanted to try an additional hour.  I am not nervous about the extra time mainly do to the fact that my float sessions are facilitated.  This means that I can talk to a facilitator before and after about my float session and this has greatly enhanced my floating experience.  The facilitator has kept me in check with some of my fantasies about floating and it’s very nice to discuss the experience with someone who has “been there”.  In some ways the facilitator acts as a guide for these new experiences and it is nice to discuss the aspects of the float rather than coming to my own limited conclusions on what was experienced.  Since I do not know many other people who float, it is important to me to be able to talk to somebody about it.  Honestly, I am not sure how my experience with floating would be right now without a facilitator to work with.  I know I would have a lot more confusion about what is actually happening and I would not know how to use it as effectively as a tool in my own inner discovery.  I still probably would have experienced the relaxation and the feeling of physical and mental stresses dissolving but I don’t think I would be working toward the understanding of myself and my bio-computer without a facilitator available after my float sessions.

Reflections of Tank Operator’s Class

by Patrick Paulo, Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/ IMG_2179_Fotor_Collage

In Tank Operators Class, we visited a cluster of gigantic rocks outside the town of Tapalpa, Mexico. At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss these boulders as being just a bunch of big rocks, but the class had me exploring how I think about these rocks from a Rocks_Mexicodifferent perspective.

I walked up to a boulder that was taller than the rest. The size of this boulder was astonishing. I was curious to how much of this rock is buried deep under the grass never to be seen. The class helped me realize that there are places in my thinking buried deep inside myself that I refused to explore. Going to these places meant making a difference for my clients. Imagine if a client comes out of the tank and begins to share with me their biggest and deepest fears. Do I tell them “everything will be okay” or do I venture with them side-by-side and face their fears head-on? A friend should share how they feel and how they think about things. Why keep those thoughts buried deep below the surface never to be explored?

In class, I experienced where I need to go with my clients to make a difference. I think Bernard M. Baruch said it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

The Truth That is Being Clung To…

by Ken Kaplan, Quantum Floats, Harding, NJ

92022058_FotorLast month, President Obama took executive action to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The executive order prompted an immediate uproar from the President’s political opponents who argued that the action will destroy our country. 

What followed was a demonstration of political theater with almost no consideration of the merits of allowing these immigrants to remain in our country free from the threat of deportation. The President’s opponents cried out, for example, that these immigrants would take jobs away from Americans. The overwhelming research, however, shows that our economy is greatly in need of these immigrant workers and that their specialized skills contribute to the growth of our economy.

The opponents of the President also decried that these immigrants do not pay taxes and will drain our economy of public benefits. To the contrary, undocumented immigrants contribute billions of dollars each year in local, state and federal taxes. Moreover, these immigrants do not qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits and their contributions to social security far exceed what they take out of the system. Those opposed to the President’s action also stood up and screamed that immigrants drive up crime rates when, in fact, the statistics demonstrate that the crime rate for immigrants is actually much lower than that of native born Americans. 

The whole episode reminded me of a Pema Chödrön quote where she said that “the truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” Holding fast to beliefs is like cordoning off a part of our mind as being “off limits”. In doing so, we reduce the amount of circuitry available to consider other perspectives and instead of Communicating with people, we end up arguing with them and nothing gets resolved.

What IS the Problem?

Wendy Johnson, Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/

Today I woke up to find an email informing the Float community that there is now an easier way to buy used tanks (of course easier to sell too, but the focus was on the benefit of buying).  That the reduced cost of buying a used ta149151242nk could help out new people opening tank offices, even allow them to have more tanks to open with.

What surprised me was that this was looked at as a great thing to help the float community grow, yet no one addressed why there is used tanks on the market in the first place.  Most of them, because the float centers they were previously in have been closed.  This does not represent growth in the industry so much as a problem in the industry.

Having a number of used float tanks available means not only is there a problem in sustaining existing float centers, but it hurts the tank manufacturers as well.  Their business suffers from lack of a growing market, and from reduced value because of the used tanks on the market. Yet no one in the industry is addressing this problem.  Float centers primarily fail, not from lack of business but because the operators get fried (overloaded).  Yet we have tank manufacturers selling to anyone that wants a tank, not considering if the person they are selling their tanks to, is trained and will be able to stay in business more than 3 years, whereby cutting off their own noses because the market becomes flooded with their own used tanks.

There are different things out there to help folks open a float center, but not in how to survive running a float center, and it ends up costing the whole float community.  And that has to start with people really understanding what happens to the Float tank operator, when they float people in their tanks.

Float Center Etiquettecandles-168016_1280

by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”

Back in the first days of public floating no one really knew what floating was about. Much less what effects floating would really have not for the client and especially not for the float operator. Lilly didn’t even know. He spent his time in self examination not in listening to people resolve their coalition conflicts. However, that does not mean that he did not recognize and understand the problem. Nor does it mean that he was only protecting the floater. He was mostly protecting the tank operator from his own lack of understanding.

“This computer has selfmetaprogramming properties, with limits determinable and to be determined. (Note selfmetaprogramming is done consciously in metacommand language. The resulting programming then starts and continues below the threshold of awareness.) Similarly, each computer has a certain level of ability in metaprogramming others-not-self.”

What a sad state of affairs we are in if we can only address the part of this statement that refers to programming others not self. I certainly understand why Lilly didn’t want the early tank office operators to talk to people coming in and out of those deep mental states that a float elicits in us. They had not understood that beliefs in real are what is addressed during many float experiences. They did not understand such phrases as inperience as opposed to experience. They did not understand that all of our external reality exchanges of information are based on and stored from our inperience. But with time those parameters should have changed.  I don’t think they have or if they have they have not changed very much

However, today I was privileged to witness a client begin to address a horrible event which took place between her bipolar mother and grandmother/caregiver. I was privileged to witness a woman begin to overcome a life time of shame due to a father who acted ever so inappropriately with his young daughter. I’ve been privilege to war stories and religious transformations. I’ve born witness to people transforming themselves from rebellious children into formidable adults in the space of a year or so.

These are experiences that are denied the tank operator who is too good to talk to his clients or to learn what Lilly himself had to say about how our thinking actually works. But more’s the pity that the clients of such tank operators are denied the ability to partake in such transformations.

Now I’m sure that the above will raise the hackles of the “It’s all Good” crowd. I suppose that will be the proof that it isn’t all good after all, but that won’t stop them from defending their positions to the death. I certainly understand why they’ll defend, too.

One thing that we all forget is that we are constantly being programmed by others not self. Consider what the tank inventor himself had to say about this issue:

“In the general purpose nature of the computer there can be no display, no acting, nor an ideal which is forbidden to a consciously willed metaprogram. Nor is any display, acting or ideal made without being consciously metaprogrammed. However, one’s imagined limits are sometimes smaller than those which one can achieve with special work. The metaprogram of the specific beliefs about the limits of one’s self are at stake here. One’s ability to achieve certain special states of consciousness, for example, are generally preprogrammed by basic beliefs taken on in childhood. If the computer is to maintain its general purpose nature (which presumably was there in childhood), one must recapture a far greater range of phenomena than one expects that one has available.”

In other words, since current tank operators are afraid they do not have the “special state of consciousness” that is inherently post float, then they are susceptible to being programed by other’s not self, simply because they do not address that level of programming in themselves. So whatever the client is selling post float the tank operator is buying but only because he’s sold himself short. Is there any wonder that there are so many burnouts in the tank industry?

Eliminating “Labels”

by Vanessa Worthington, Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/

What I have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri is that people are continuing to separate each other by race. Sargent Shriver said, “We must treat the disease of racism. To treat the disease we must understand the disease.”  When we see people as white or black, as rich or poor, as good or bad we are limiting our understanding of the equality and commonality of people by using dichotomies. How can we withhold judgement when we are attaching these labels on people?  A simple solution is seeing people 452415785as what they are – human beings. Human beings make mistakes. If we were to See mistakes as a wrong turn and the solution as being able to recognize the wrong turn as nothing more than to get back on track, that would enable us to find resolution. Instead of labeling someone as bad as opposed to good, or black as opposed to white, or Mexican as opposed to Canadian, or even democrat as opposed to republican because of a lazy or convenient label, we would not interfere with the resolution of everyone accomplishing what they are on this planet to do.  We all have the same brain structure and we all put on our pants one foot at a time. The problem is that we seem to have to label things, and the sad part is that we put labels on people. What is the risk of eliminating labels all together? I’m pretty sure that to eliminate labels won’t cause vital body parts to fall off.  But then again…..?

Float Facilitation

by Terri Stangl, Great Lakes Flotation

One of the most common questions asked at a float center is, “how did you get into this work?” The answer is never logical. The people participating in Mental Arts have had many different backgrounds and careers, including law, insurance, science education, massage, financial planning, landscaping, computer programming and sales – to name just a few. Few could have predicted the events and coincidences, which in hindsight, led them to a career at a facilitated float center.

As facilitated float centers expand in size and number, opportunities continue to emerge for those who also find themselves driven to work in a float center where they can make a difference in their own coalitions and community. Mental Arts offers introductory classes specifically for such individuals – where they can find out early on what is required to be successful in a facilitated float center, build program facilitation skills, and to meet float center owners who will be looking to add float facilitators, body workers, and others to their center staff.

 Anyone who wants to find out more about float facilitation, and the mental arts curriculum, should contact us at  Introductory classes are scheduled in December and January.

453206893Mental Arts is Pleased to Announce…

A series of classes geared to the Professional who floats and wants to bring his float experience to colleagues and employees. This is a week long encounter with ever larger abstractions and is designed to not only walk a busy professional through his own childhood programming, whatever that might be, but to also provide a structure for discovering methods and techniques for communicating across daunting differences in education, experience, and cultural bias. This class is held in Chapala, Jalisco Mexico on the shores of Mexico’s largest lake.  Lake Chapala.  Trips to Guadalajara for shopping and to some of Mexico’s oldest ruins are part of this week long adventure.  Accommodation is in a

very comfortable Mexican style house overlooking the Chula Vista Golf Course. Meals are provided but liquor is at the attendee’s expense. Pool table and swimming pool are parts of the accommodations. This is class is more of an experience than a study. There are class notes which are emailed to participants every day. Discussions always begin early in the day and extend well into the night. The staff is tireless in helping the attendee to understand as much as possible in the short time the class provides.

For more information please contact us at

Why I Float

Valerie Wierzbicki, client of Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/

Earlier this year, after a random urge to research floating and developing a strong desire to experience it, I discovered “Art of Floating”. It only took one session to know that I had discovered one of the greatest things I would ever bring into my life. Since my first session, I have been back multiple times, and have encouraged many of my friends and family to try it as well. It is easily one of the most healing, regenerative things I have ever experienced. The fantastic thing about it, that I have discovered, is that each session builds upon the last, no matter how much time has passed.

I have a very hectic life. Multiple jobs and a lot of stress. I start work around 3am and don’t return home until 7-8pm. True sixteen hour days, with a good portion of it as hard, physical labor. I have also in the past few years gone through some deeply traumatic experiences psychologically and emotionally, one being the sudden and inconceivable death of my lifelong friend and soul-mate. Losing him has left me shattered to the core. My body is tired. My soul and spirit, even more so. But I have discovered the answer.

My first float session left me feeling so rejuvenated physically. While in the chamber, I experienced a sense of awareness about my body that I had never been tuned into before. My heart was the greatest of these things, as I could feel every pulse, through every vessel, and it felt as if a great energy field was radiating out with each beat. I thought about how my heart is like this everyday, and how unaware of it I am, and if I can feel the energy output here, how it must influence so many things throughout my day. I unfortunately suffer from migraines as well, and I had been trying to conquer one for a few days right before my first float. I went in with a headache, came out without one. It was fantastic. My lungs felt more open, my body felt so good. But the greatest part of all, was the immeasurable feeling of peace that I had. It has been so long since I have felt any level at peace in my life. But, it was all ok after I left the chamber. My shoulders felt as if their burden had been lessened, the claws of grief around my heart, retracted. I felt alive, I felt the pacification of a darkness that had been shrouding me. And so now, I float to heal on every level. I float because my body, tired and sore from getting up at 2am and being pushed to my limits physically, needs to heal. I float because my soul and my spirit and heart need to heal. I float because the rest, the peace that it gives me is something that cannot be obtained in any other way. I float because it gives me hope that I can find strength and concord in this existence life has pushed me.

While I float and all this fantastic healing takes place, my mind is left to think and process and operate on a level not possible when there are so many distractions and stimuli in everyday life. I obtain the peaceful place I come to on my own. I understand it, because I found it. As I continue to float, I get better at being able to find this place outside of the chamber, although there is no substitute for the chamber itself. It’s almost like a psychological strengthening that allows me to slow my thoughts down and process everything clearer and with a more resounding understanding. I am so grateful for this beautiful place and the fantastic staff and how open and welcoming they are. Art of Floating has taught me so much, and I look forward to each visit, and I continue to encourage everyone I know to give it a try as well.

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