I had read somewhere that ‘if you believe you can fly, you will’ and this is exactly what I experienced at Skydive Long Island, New York. For a lark, I saw myself signing up, where the first thing you are told is that when you Sky Dive, there is a probability that you may die or get maimed for life. Despite these not so comforting words, I had to put on a cheerful expression looking at the excited faces of my friends, .
Before I go any further, let me share with you that I have a fear of heights, and terrible motion sickness. Why was I doing this? I like birds, airplanes and the sky and these to my mind are the perfect reason to jump off an airplane.
So, we troop into a small plane with two rows of benches. We sit astride with no seat belts, facing the tail. I see a cameraman sitting on the floor. He closes the door which is really a flap like shutter and we take off. As we noisily lurch skywards, I am inescapably committed to jump off the airplane or tag myself a coward. I choose the former, reminding myself that the worst case scenario is death and that I have attended enough Advanced Meditation Courses with the Art Of Living so the death-processshould not be unfamiliar; that I have died before in many previous lifetimes and can do it again.
“Are you meditating”
“How do you meditate?”
A part of me wants to give an Art of Living intro-talk and another wants to whack him because now I’m jittery again!! Thankfully, he wants to talk, telling me about his workplace: the sky.
Soon, it is time. We have climbed to 14000 feet and the door is open. I go over the instructions once again, pull on the eye glass and wiggle on the floor till my feet are dangling out of the plane. It feels similar to dangling one’s feet out of a truck; only, this one is in the sky!!
There is no turning back now. Breathe in ...and JUMP!!! And I am free-falling towards the Earth. I see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, green and brown Earth with a river. Strangest of all is that the Earth appears convex, nothing like what we see out of an airplane window. Though we free-fall for about 10 thousand feet, there is no perception of speed or the height ! It is something I have never experienced before.
Free Fall is the most magical experience one can ever have. It is a totally new experience for the body and mind. As the body starts taking inputs through the senses and before the mind can add labels and form concepts…you experience the PRESENT MOMENT, one hundred percent, un-adulterated, pure moment !!! As you fall, in that moment there is…no fear, no judgement, no like or dislike, no thoughts…not even thoughts of life/death/ loved ones. It is awareness minus the labels!!
Once back on the terra firma, I realized this is how babies must be experiencing life. For us, it is extremely difficult to live without labelling everything. We label our experiences into likes and dislikes, we form concepts of right, wrong, good or bad which compel us to repeat or avoid experiences. Every single sensory input that we experience is immediately labelled and stored and we become a sum total of our concepts; but when we are babies, the world and its experiences are so new that all we ever have is the present moment…
It took me a leap of faith to understand the depth of present moment. My sky Dive into present moment set me free.