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Vol. 15 - December 2000 / January 2001 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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Skydiving Is A Spiritual Experience
by Aaron Peapell -

There is nothing to describe your first jump. I tried to imagine the most scared I'd ever been, the most excited, the most elated and exhilarated all at once. It didn't even come close. The only way to explain it is as a spiritual experience. You enter a new state of awareness. A new plane of existence.
There is an Indian philosopher Krishnamerti who believes that enlightenment comes from living in the moment. Most people seek pleasure from goal-based attainment. The problem with this is that we work towards something. As as soon as we have it, it vanishes again. We can't hold on to the moment. It is gone and me must find new goals to work towards. The moment of attaining your goal is infinitesimally small. For example, people live their lives saying, "I'll be happy when I graduate", "I'll be happy when I get a great job", "I'll be happy when I'm financially secure", "I'll be happy when I retire",....and on and on. As you can see, they never get to their final destination....happiness. Once the goal is achieved, it has vanished. People living their lives this way are never happy because they reach a stable point or plateau.
An analogy of this is a time line with the 'significant' moments in our lives dotted along it. These points represent the moments of happiness they enjoy in their life. As you can see, there is a lot of empty space in between the dots. For these people, most of their lives are spent in the pursuit of happiness instead of experiencing happiness.
Krishnamerti believes that instead of deriving happiness by achieving goals, we should live in the moment and achieve happiness continually. We should try to take a single moment with us instead of chasing fleeting moments. This is very eastern philosophy where, by the meaning of life is life itself, it is the journey and not the destination.
The analogy of this is, again, a time line, but this time there is only a single dot, a single moment. But this time the single dot moves along the time line with us as time passes. That way at every moment we are at the height of our experience, the height of awareness. Happiness follows by enjoying life as a single moment of happiness that never leaves us, it follows us. Or rather we follow it through time experiencing every moment on a higher level.
Now this is a good theory. But it is very difficult to achieve. I'm happy until some idiot cuts me off on the freeway. I find it hard to remain in the moment on a day to day, hour to hour basis. Lets face it. There are a lot of tools out there with the express purpose of making life difficult.
This is where skydiving comes in. On my first jump, time stood still. I lost my sense of self awareness and succumbed to the experience. In the first 10 seconds of freefall there was no fear, no sound, no wind, no height, no ground, no self, no rent, no girlfriend, no job, no plane and no ground. I was so completely immersed in the experience that all the non-essential things in life disappeared. The only thing I was aware of was the moment and the experience. This is a higher plane of existence. When you can quiet your mind and absorb completely the HERE and NOW. This is what Krishnamerti is talking about (and possibly the Jedis!).
Tibetan monks (and Jedi knights) have achieved this enlightenment. People chasing goals in their life feel this enlightenment for a millisecond before it vanishes again. Skydiving allowed me to let go of the self, let go of the situation and immerse myself in the moment. That single moment lasted seconds instead of milliseconds. For seconds (eternity for the observer) I experienced happiness, and true enlightenment.
Skydiving is a spiritual experience. It is where life and the self stops and experience begins. The meaning of life is life itself!

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