by Nick Andrea
I used to take flying lessons when I was younger. Though I never got to finish my pilot’s license I have been fascinated by it ever since. I never understood why, however, until the other day.
I was on my way back from a trip, via Delta Airlines. Approaching the airport, I could see the mountains beneath me, the houses, the cars, like little ants moving along the forest floor. The world, with all its cares, concerns, and ambitions, appearing in micro. My feelings about various issues in my life were clear from this place.
As soon as we landed, however, my perspective narrowed as I got into the thick of life on the ground. It was all too easy to forget about what the world looks like from way up there and that’s when I realized why I loved flying so much.
I don’t take flight lessons anymore, now. I never finished my license and it’s too expensive for me to do it right now. Instead, I turn to meditation to find what I seek. Through it I can get the same perspective, the same expansive view, the same clarity about life. I can lift myself out of the buzz of daily life and see it from an expanded view.
There really isn’t much to it, just basically sitting quietly and breathing deeply and intentionally for fifteen minutes or so. When I do it it’s not a hard thing, not forced, but gentle; more of a relaxation than a discipline. Then, the boundaries of “me” expand, and I feel like I can reach up and touch the clouds, and I look at houses and they seem like pieces on a gameboard. I am the airplane.