The Art of Flight

The human dream is structured and restrictive. Our physical bodies are by nature restrictive. Being a part of a social group, with its many rules and accepted standards,  limits us. Thinking and acting the way everyone else thinks and acts can be stifling. Yet we struggle to be happy within the margins of this human dream. We practice and we practice, until it seems we’re almost good at it.

As a teenager, I remember working through much of my emotional confusion by writing poetry. It was comforting, clarifying, to turn difficult issues into well-chosen words and rhymes. Poems that demanded the strictest structure– like sonnets– gave my imagination the safety to fly. Within their structure, I dared to explore the truth.

We are eternal life, pulsing within the framework of these human bodies. Humans have a finite number of ideas and a limited amount of time to say what they need to say. Physical existence is a challenge, sure, but it’s also a platform for infinite creativity. The truth is our only destination, so why not think of our reality as a jumping off point? Why not use the ‘structure’ of human existence to explore life’s mysteries, freely and safely?

Within the boundaries of any situation, let your imagination fly. You can be authentic (yes, you can) even under society’s harsh scrutiny. You can be any kind of artist you want. You can be an architect, obeying the laws of physics while seeming to defy gravity. You can be the poet, putting impossible ideas into simple words. You can be the actor, taking pleasure in the roles you play…and discovering the truth behind every mask.

“Fly as high as you can,” don Miguel used to say every time his apprentices sat down to dream. In those days, I wasn’t really sure what he meant, or if flying high was even such a good idea. Fly how, why? Go where, exactly? Sure, I understood the concept of flying as a release from thought. We could, theoretically, free ourselves from the mind’s noise and delusions. Having done it once, we could do it again and again until it became effortless...right? Well, as he never stopped saying, “Practice makes the master!”

Evidently, he knew what he was talking about. Mastery means putting ideas into practice. It means using your imagination to achieve something in the physical world. These days, dreaming is effortless for me. I can sit quietly anywhere, and fly high. I can stand, walk around, and experience all sorts of ‘earthly things’ while seeming lighter than air. We can all meet the hard challenges of being human while experiencing them from the point of view of eternity. We can enjoy an infinite perspective within the margins of physical existence. We can be here, even while we’re everywhere.

For the time being, you’re in human form...but you’re also able to know yourself as the force that creates humans. You can actually practice breaking free from your own worrisome thoughts. You can practice plumbing the depths of human feeling and coming back with a godly wisdom. You are made of matter, but you’re also life’s pure energy. So, lighten up while you live. Allow yourself to master the impeccable art of flight...and, by all means, go as high as you can!

I’ll see you there,

Barbara Emrys