Ever been inside a sensory deprivation tank? What sounds like a medieval torture chamber actually provides some of the best mental training you can do for yourself. Picture an enclosed bathtub (or a coffin), filled with 6 inches of water so densely diluted with salt that you will float effortlessly. You go inside, lay down and close the lid. Darkness and silence. These tanks are soundproof and lightproof. There is no smell and unless you are drinking the saltwater, there is no taste. Now be still. The water is heated exactly to your body temperature so once you master stillness your sense of touch evaporates. You'll find the more still you can make your mind, the more still you can keep your body. And the more still you can keep your body, the more still the water around you is. You quickly learn on a basic level that controlling your mind has a direct correlation with controlling your relationship with your surroundings. I'm no zen master, but there's a life lesson in there somewhere. With all 5 senses now deprived there is nothing left to distract you and only one place for the mind to go: inside. That's where things get interesting. Can you be with yourself for 90 minutes? Can you sit through the space between your thoughts?
I look back on those experiences while I'm out here alone and realize how applicable they are now. During my 5 days in Hornstrandir, Iceland, I encountered more arctic foxes than I did humans. It's amazing what a vast amount of time a day has in it when there is nothing to run to. While the photography is beautiful, there are also hours of just sitting and watching. It takes coming out here to see how much we cope and validate our way though modern life. Nothing sharpens the senses like solitude and silence.