Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tony’s Blog: I found myself plummeting towards the earth…didn’t hear the instruction to pull the cord

How surely gravity’s law
strong as an ocean current
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.
Each thing—
each stone, blossom, child—
is held in place
Only we, in our arrogance
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things
because they are in God’s heart
they have never left him.
This is what the things can teach us
to fall patiently
to trust our heaviness

Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Thus I found myself plummeting towards the earth from 12,000 feet in the air…terra firma rushing up to meet me at 120mph. I don’t know why it affected me so much. I only know that in that moment I felt totally alive. They call it “free falling” and I have never felt so free. But falling? That was not the sensation. I was flying! Free of the usual impediments that keep my holy body from fully experiencing life: No fear, no analysis, no ego, no judgment, no worry about performance, just the sensation of flight that I didn’t want to ever end. Consumed by wonderment and joy, I began to laugh. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t hear the instruction to pull the cord that would deploy the chute. So, the instructor pulled the cord for me a full 1000 feet below the intended level. Then a new sensation: gliding through the sky with an incomparable view of the world, the horizon, no obstructions. I was a part of the sky.

Upon reflection I realized that whatever nervousness and fear I had were felt most profoundly on the plane as it ascended. And isn’t that the case in so much of life. The narrative that we tell ourselves as we try to reach some kind of spiritual heights so often feels heavy and unobtainable. It is when we allow ourselves to dive down into the place of soul that we find the richness that creates awakening.
As Jung put it:
"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."
The gravity that incites our skydiving experience is the gravitas that informs our transformational experience. Don’t fall into trouble, dive into it, and in the diving down we reach the heights that we had all along been looking upward to attain. It takes commitment and a certain kind of trust.

When the young people that we work with choose to face their wounds the healing begins in that choice – free fall becomes flight. The biggest surprise of the entire skydiving experience for me was when I was kneeling in the doorway looking out and down just before the jump. I had expected that to be the most anxious moment, but I was surprisingly calm. I discovered peace amidst the chaos and noise of the plane. Peace that comes from defeating indecision. There was no deciding to do. The covenant with myself had been confirmed. With a slight movement we tumbled out of the airplane and down…toward a higher understanding of life.

Tony LoRe

No comments: