A medley on flying, falling, floating and leaping
Having my feet off the ground has been with me as far as I can remember back. Memories are bright and happy. During my life, many versions of flying have been added in dreams, visions and physical experiences. My inner-world life I feel as vividly as my the outer world.
A Guru once said: “Reality is where you feel.” I have seen and experienced my episodes this way, they were all real. I have written a story about the Guru’s advice, Where Reality is.
Elves, Butterflies and Dwarfs
My earliest impression happened in a time before communicating with the outer world.
A landscape spread in gently undulating green hills, leafy trees standing apart with fruit and flowers in all colours. We played tag, hide and seek, all flying. Most exciting was swirling through the branches of the trees.
When tired, we dropped into soft grass and played with the flowers. We? Butterflies, beetles, fairies and elves and I. Who, or what was I? No idea; I could feel a pair of body parts, and somehow they propelled me.
Time was endless, and there was much singing, silliness and laughter. The air tasted sweet, and the breeze was caressing me.
A bubbly creek had carved its way through the meadows, its banks lined with thin white trees and long stemmed flowers. Just above the waterline, one could find hidden burrows where the dwarfs and goblins lived. When we teased them, they pretended to be angry, but soon we all burst out into laughter.
How did I know, what all this looked like? I am not aware of having seen such things at this young age.
No Matter what
A blade of grass grows, soft and pointy, turns joyfully towards the sun, yielding to wind and rain. A big war had just ended. It grows as if it never happened. The world is included in its life, the way it is. And when you fall into it, it is soft, and it tickles you. The full fragrance touches you. I know and will never forget.
At my age of five, we lived in Karlstraße, one of the main streets in Karlsruhe, Germany. Most of the length of this street was lined with five storey high buildings and in its middle where two tram tracks. Suspension wires, which were attached to the houses, held the overhead electrical wires.
Flying, lifting off the ground was initiated when I tensed a particular muscle, central, inside my body. I had no wings, nor had I to move any body parts. I lifted off gradually, hovering for a moment. Moving up cautiously, I was mindful of the suspension wires. Once above them, I would assume a diving posture and accelerate. (That was long before Superman had arrived.)
Upwards, along the reddish corridor of houses with their regular pattern of windows, passed the gutters and red-tiled slanted roofs, the world abruptly opened up to the far horizon and the endless sky, above.
Like a horse released from the corral I bolted and leapt and shot off like a rocket. All for sheer fun, being able to do it, like stretching muscles.
Below I could see the layout of my city Karlsruhe, the river Rhine and the mountains of the Black Forest. What happened on the ground was of no interest to me. Exploring and honing my flying skills exhilarated and occupied me, entirely.
During my ordinary time, I often asked myself why people did not look surprised when I took off the ground. Never had I observed anyone else flying.
Turning eight, other things in life occupied me so much, I forgot flying.
Today, I wonder, how I could have known what the bird’s eye view of my city and the landscape would look like. I remember distinctly that I never talked with anyone about flying. I did not want to confuse them. I have learned that we often don’t see what we don’t expect. People in the street would not have expected anyone to lift off.
On the Roof
Spending time up in high places was one of my most valuable past times in this physical world. I would climb through the hatch window in the roof of the five-storey house where we lived and lay on the roof. Still, very absorbed in watching what was going on in the air, with no concern about anything below.
Birds were curious finding me in their territory, some investigate me, daringly picking on my hair and clothes, some expressed their annoyance in their individual ways.
Clouds, the way they formed and moved and what caused them, fascinated me and they became one of my early fields of study. The tiny shiny silver stars silently gliding across the sky, the aeroplanes kept me occupied, when they produced crisscrossing streaks.
Later, when I was about ten, we moved into a brand-new block of units with a small open forest, nearby. At this new place, I could not climb onto the roof, and trees became my ladders to the sky. Of half a dozen of favourite trees, I soon knew every important branch. Still, I always paid attention.
In the crown, I would find a comfortable fork in the branches and would spend hours up there. Summer and winter, sun, wind and rain. Swaying with the trees, I could feel their life, I felt trust and cared for.
Jumping was no problem, but I had learned that the height for take-off was limited by the way I landed. I practised landing when I jumped from safe heights of three meters and crouched as deeply as I could, to soften the landing. I was very flexible those days, and my knees would touch my chest.
I remember turning very confident. What height I had jumped off one day, I cannot recall, but the way of landing remained solidly in my mind. My knees knocked on my chest so hard that it took my breath away and I felt dizzy for some time. I realised then, the take-off height had been a bit above my limit.
In short: Jumping requires no courage, the time of flying (falling) can be enjoyable, it’s the landing, which needs attention; is it on hard ground, grass or water? If there is no ground, the fall is endless? Then there is no reason for fear at all.
The highest building nearby was the steeple of the church, the Markuskirche. It was about two storeys higher than the surrounding five-storey blocks of units. I befriended the caretaker… (another story), and one day he took me up right to the top of the belfry. The staircase was steep. Made from rough timber, it clung to the inner walls of the tower. At the top, we puffed to catch our breath.
There the bells hung on a massive wooden support frame. The caretaker had brought two pairs of earmuffs. After he had assured that I had put them on correctly, he started the bells ringing.
Their sound still penetrated through the protection of the earmuffs. Being exposed to such intense sound vibration parts of my body resonated with the bells’ ringing, mainly my belly, but more exciting was that the whole massive tower was swinging. What a thrill was that?
Above the Pool
I guess, balancing on high walls or along the edge of buildings and cliffs can be considered as almost flying or perhaps, not being afraid of falling. After jumping off tall things, the time of falling definitely comes close to flying.
When I was in my early teens, the new swimming pool opened in town, and I discovered the diving tower. It had a board at three, five and ten meters. The ladder up to the ten-meter board was generally locked. One was only allowed to jump under supervision when no swimmers were in the pool.
My time came, I climbed up there and getting ready to jump off. Standing on the ledge, the swimming pool looked so small, and I was worried that I would land on the ground on the other side of the pool. I just did a short hop. The fall was brief, and too soon I landed safely in the water.
On the Roof again
During my studies, I worked as roof tiler. I felt great up there. My tiling skills improved quickly, and I earned good money, even as a casual worker. There was the temptation to leave university behind, but something urged me to continue.
You know how it goes, overconfidence sneaked in, and I walked on roofs like other people on the ground. One morning, the roof slats were saturated with due, and I slipped. Sliding down the roof, I broke several slats, ripped the gutter off and fell.
There are guardian angels, definitely. In Germany, all houses have cellars. The earth, which had been dug out, was piled up next to the house; therefore, I dropped only a few meters and rolled down the mount.
Amongst roof tilers, it was traditional, that after such an event, all would go off the roof. All the luck for one day was used up for this one instance, no one would dare going up there for remains of the day. And since we celebrated my luck; I paid for the crate of beer.
For the next few decades, my life was occupied with living and caring for my family. Jumping or flying drifted out of focus; going inside too, unfortunately. In the comfort of married life, I put on some extra weight, which would have limited jumping considerably, anyhow.
In the mid-eighties, my awakening started; I was forty then, a good time for that. I was reminded of my ability to go inside, and I rediscovered the joy of my youth, flying. I lost weight, got fit and I started jumping again, in a very different way.
By then, I lived in Sydney, Australia, in Lane Cove and I had a very active work and social life including squash and volleyball. At weekends I liked to be on my own out in nature. A right place nearby was the Ku-Rin-Gai-Chase national park on the southern side of and near the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.
Bordering on the river, the park ends with high cliffs, from which large boulders had dropped into the river. I discovered an effortless descent and loved finding my way on top of the boulders towards the mouth of the river.
Soon I got confident, and my climbing and crawling turned into balanced walking and shortly after, running.
Running? More flying than running. I bounced off the rocks. There was no time for looking and sometimes I felt a boulder toggle. Still, the rebound would supply enough impact to move me along.
The exhilaration was the same as when I had been flying in my youth.
Dragons entered my life in my late forties. Mostly, they were the Chinese type, incredibly huge with unrealistically small wings. I could never keep them apart, they were so big.
One or another would visit me and tease me to chase him. I followed (under my own power) up in the sky and out into space, it was a high-speed affair. They were very kind. They would fly slow enough for me to keep up with them. Often they would look back to make sure they had not lost me. They really had to slow down for me.
Sometimes we would have a head on (pretend) race. Flying next to the enormous head, with wildly flopping tentacles, one big eye looking at me… I was extremely excited.
Amongst the stars, speed disappears, and any difference in size turn irrelevant. Distances are just beyond imagination, therefore, why bother? There we would play, and then we would be quiet, and the vastness would warmly hold us in cupped hands and hum to us.
Another type, which appeared more rarely, looked more like a rainbow coloured gryphon. They were twice-a-horse size with more substantial (more realistic size) wings. They were suitable for riding on within the atmosphere of Earth.
They were wilder and needed to be controlled. Without it, they would only bolt around. They were right for getting somewhere quickly. Unfortunately, they would not wait but fly off as soon I dismounted.
When I wanted to go back, most of the time I had to fly myself.
Being with Chinese dragons, it was so different. I was well aware of their superiority, in more than size. It felt as if I cared for by a kind teacher.
On the Ledge
In 1990, I moved to Brisbane. My desire for nature led me to the valleys and mountains around Springbrook, their waterfalls in particular. The Purling Brook Falls inspired me to write two poems about them.
One day, I found myself on the edge of an outcrop on the way to the Goomoolahra Falls. The drop is unrestricted to the ground of the valley, and one can see the ocean on the horizon. I stood there for some time, my toes at the edge.
Here is my internal conversation:
“For how much longer do you want to continue flying on the inside where it felt so incredibly real? For how much longer do you want to keep on speculating so close to knowing, that you can fly in this world? If you never jump, you will never know.”
The desire grew: “Even if you can’t, it is worth taking the risk. At the end of such a drop, you would be dead, instantly.”
I stood there, for how long, I don’t know, mostly with closed eyes. I may have swayed. Sometimes, my eyes rested on the horizon. I felt weightless and stable.
“You have nothing to prove, not even to yourself,” said a voice inside. After a while longer, I walked back. There was a sense of strength and confidence.
This experience remained present, ever since. During my fifties, I argued with myself, as young people do. Did I chicken out? Then I had the experience of fire-walking.
After that, walking on water occupied me for some time. Here, I realised the importance of role models. I had seen someone walk on fire but not on water and so far, I have not seen anyone fly.
Perhaps, I would not need to jump off a cliff in order to prove that I can fly. Why not just lifting myself off the ground like in my boyhood, before taking off into the sky. During extended sittings in quietness, I felt lighter but still connected to the ground.
I realised, something powerful needed to be involved, like a kind of danger to cause fear break the barrier of doubt set up by my mind. As long as it believes I can’t, I can’t.
Recently, I found out how Peter Pan discovered his flying skills. The first time was pushed into an abyss. The arrival on the ground would have killed him; just in time to catch his fall, he began to fly. (…it is not the fall that kills you, it’s the landing.)
After, he tried to fly by his own will. No success. Even when he was forced to demonstrate when the of his friends was threatened, he could not. Finally, it worked again, when I rescued a dear friend from falling to death.
I have not been in either of such situations. Is flying, too dangerous a job to challenge destiny? Indeed, existing world order would be tested, significantly.
Early in 2014, I found the Form Reality Practice, or did it discover me? One of the mental exercises was walking up to an edge and jump off. No challenge, however, what a great reminder of what had been such a regular, enjoyable part of my life.
The best thing was having companions, encouragement and validation. Inner ventures are stronger when I am in a group. Then my senses open more and are honed towards expansion.
Since then, the impressions have become more substantial, therefore, found words to be expressed. It seems, impression and expression stimulate each other and grow in intensity, simultaneously.
Having arrived here and now, the question about my purpose of life arises more often. Is it flying, in this world? Have I known of flying so early in my life because this unfulfilled task existed in prior lives? We repeat what we never tried, thus not learned.
Once out of this world again, I will sit on a cloud, asking: “How often will you need to return to a life in this world before you, once and for all, finally will fly?”
Another purpose of life, which I am in the process of grasping, is kindness. As I increase the time for being kind to myself, I also learn not to apply my interpretation of kindness when directed towards others but to follow an inner guidance from a place of knowing, not my knowing, but from the love beyond the heart.
Applying kindness to my flying challenge in this world, I choose now, not to jump off the edge but aim for a gentler way of testing.
I said it before: “How about lifting myself only a few centimetres.” If I am meant to fly, then it will work. And if it doesn’t, then, there is my answer.
In the early 90th, Grandmother Kitty from Seneca Wolf Clan, a tribe of the North American Indians trained us in the ancient wisdom of her people. In my totem circle, amongst several others, is the most mysterious of all flying animals, the dragonfly. It is located at the place for exiting this world.
(Images are from the internet, except Markuskirche and dragonfly)
5 January 2016