Mastering your thoughts and near-death experiences.
The teaching of the day came in the form of an Instagram story video from @combat_learjet. Here it is-
Paraglider coming as close to death as I have ever seen
I paraglide so this was particularly scary to watch.
I am a paraglider myself and practiced the security procedures above a lake in case something much simpler than this happens (it was very scary but water doesn’t kill). Fortunately it never happened to me in a previous flight and I hope it never happens.
Here is what this video inspires me: never give up.
I also tell this story on my Apple Podcast, Spotify and today posted it as a video on Instagram and Youtube too, to experiment (if the video isn’t there it’s uploading now).
You can tell this is a very skilled paraglider with lots of training and it saved him but this was the minimum he needed.
What really saved him is to keep fighting until the end, keep trying different things and most importantly, keep his calm and maintain consciousness in an extreme life threatening situation.
Had he given-up and had a single thought that it was over and not worth trying, he would be dead for sure.
I came close to death a few times in my life, material or spiritual life.
Life brings all kinds of surprises and like you I am sure near-death or frightening situations happened. When I was in my twenties I had a very frightening car accident, as a pilot I had engine failures twice on the plane (on 2,000 flying hours experience as a pilot) and other stories. I also witnessed the death of my father sitting next to him until his last breath.
When it takes you it takes you, but until it does the only way is to keep fighting.
What is the hardest anyone can go through?
When I was in the forest with close to no food and it was so hard, I decided to read Man’s Search for Meaning from Viktor E. Frankl telling his story surviving the Holocaust.
You have probably read this incredible book. If you have not you can read it in a few hours and I highly recommend it.
It changed my perspective of what “hard” or “suffering” means.
I had very little food in the forest and fainted a few times falling down on the floor, it was really hard. Reading this book helped me to keep going without quitting which I could have done anytime but stayed three months very weak fighting hard instead.
I want to say that nothing that I went through comes in any way close to what Viktor E. Frankl lived, of course. I have the highest respect for both what he lived, his book and the numerous families involved in this human tragedy. I hope nobody feels insulted from me even talking about it here. I am not comparing it in any way to my own life and understand how fortunate I am.
Many indigenous went also through a similar genocide tragedy. According to Wikipedia their population went down from 80 to 98% depending on the region in the “Americas” alone. A high number of those practicing ancient rituals were also killed in Europe but it is not so much documented.
“To reach real joy you need to experiment suffering and even extreme dolor. If not it is not real joy, it is fake joy” in this instagram sorry in French. François Cheng is an author who was the first asian person elected at the Académie Française.
“Learning to die”
This makes me think of the other near death experience I am going through every year called the “Sundance”. When I find the courage I will write a full post about it. It is a native Indian ritual where we do not eat and do not drink water for 4 days, dance under a very hot sun and at the end give offerings of our own body (piercings of skin). It is very intense and kept secret (no photos or videos allowed obviously but there are some online) this is why I have not really written about it yet.
We use some humor in a spiritual setting (humor keeps coming back to my mind see my post about Discipline) the last day of the Sundance when we go dance with the tree with days of no food and no water we all say “today is a good day to die”. It’s really about experimenting suffering and getting really close to death, without dying…
My Sundance teachers taught me “to appreciate life really, you need to learn how to die”. Very similar to the instagram story of François Cheng I linked-to above.
When life throws challenges at us we have no choice than dealing with them. In the case or the Sundance or my work in the Amazon, it is self-imposed and a personal choice. I participate in these rituals to get stronger and learn to master my thoughts and my emotions. It feels right to me, I am not saying anyone should do the same.
It is very difficult to “see” what it really does but it obviously already helped me master my emotions.
Did I notice any improvements in me?
Two days ago a car suddenly backed-up into my car in the middle of a street. In the past I know I would have come out of my car, got upset and possibly insulted the driver. Instead I did not move at all, did nothing, came out of the car, saw that everyone was safe. I saw my car had nothing (just the bumper a little scratched) and his car got quite a bit damaged. I told him I was sorry his car was damaged even though I had done nothing to cause this. I was very nice to him and we both continued our way. It is a small incident, I noticed how I dealt with it with calm and was nice to that person and it made me happy to notice a very positive change in me. I am far from perfect still but I can see major improvements and I believe this is directly connected to my consciousness work. Daily meditation helped too for sure.
Our thoughts are fundamental to our lives, I am practicing being always positive, even though it is sometimes hard. Find the positive in anything that happens.
I trust these “ancestral containers” of ancient methods of learning self-mastery even if the changes in me are only visible after years.
Back to the paraglider who almost died story. Again: never give-up. Decide you can do it (I am telling myself).
If it’s not on life threatening situations it feels like this applies to everything we decide to do with our heart, no matter how hard it becomes or life throws at us.
Suffering is part of life, so is death, and I am learning to appreciate every minute of it by staying always positive. I still fail a lot but less and focusing on the progress is what feels right.