Monday, November 04, 2013
46) Flight School.
On many nights of his early life Arthur had flying dreams, he bravely soared aloft and then most days forgot that he did so. Asleep, while delving deep into the Unconscious, he even dreamed he attended an ethereal flight-school, endeavoring to perfect the art of flying to the Underworlds under the guidance of wise instructors. He practiced at running along dreamscape roads until, from sheer willpower, he lifted off, realizing his immaterial dream body was indeed weightless. He would fly jerkily for a bit, until he became unsure of his ability, and then he would find himself plonked back on the ground, into the dust, as if gravity still had a hold of him, but maybe it was just his ignorance dragging him down.
When he could stay aloft for greater lengths, he would soar about, ascend to giddy heights then plummet breathlessly, to pull out of the fall with a long swoop and then land with graceful poise. He got to practicing somersaults and other aerial circus tricks, for flying blissed him out, and he imagined he had an audience of peers and Masters appraising him from some lofty mountain pinnacle. When he flew great distances into the Dark Continent he tricked his rational mind by pretending he was in a glass-bottomed plane, watching the worlds below slide by, a safe, easy ride. Or he was seated out on the wings of the plane, precarious and scary, for the driving wind could blow him to kingdom come and, on take-off, the plane seemed to just scrape past onrushing skyscrapers and the snarling branches of giant trees. Yet he always made it into the astral sky and onwards to ‘other’ visionary realms of the Mind.
Thus in his childish heart he felt the whole world was open to him, he could go where he willed, become what he wanted, with a life of renown, as a great world-shaking artist he hoped, even a movie star, for that was his fondest dream.
In the early “70s, when he was studying Yoga in the Himalayas, he met a strange fellow, an inquirer into the avowed dream-flights of his fellow homo sapiens. Arthur was hanging around the classes of Vedanta philosophy at the Sivananda Jungle University when he met this tall, fifty-ish American dude in a business suit who was going around with a tape recorder interviewing any and all Babas who avowed they could astral travel. He was compiling a survey of “Out of the Body Experiences” worldwide for publication and he assured Arthur it was a widespread phenomena, many trustworthy people having attested to the validity of lucid flying in their dreams. Arthur confessed that he’d long dreamed of flying, nearly every night taking off, only mostly it was directionless, blind, like a mote in a solar storm. Whenever he felt he was consciously lifting out of his body, fear would jolt him back, fear of the Other, of being demon Possessed, of Death, and of not being able to make it back into his body.
The Astral Researcher smiled benignly and told him that he need not fear it, all manner of people daily experienced astral flight. All he had to do was relax, think of the smiling face of someone he trusted then imagine lifting his astral arms straight out in front of him and looking at his hands. This technique, concentrated upon, would allow him to slip out of his body without any serious trauma. Arthur thanked him and went on his way, pondering on the curious nature of this strange man’s expertise.
That night in his concrete cell at the Ashram, before he fell asleep, Arthur tried the meditation for lift-off, thinking of his dear friend, Compassion, and fantasizing that he stretched his arms out before him, concentrating on his imaginary hands pulling forth from his heavy flesh. Lo and behold, before he knew it, he was floating out of his body. He drifted up to the ceiling and looked down upon himself. Then he longed to explore this great, curious, New World, and he willed himself to fly out of the building, up into the cool night air, floating high above the Ashram. He could see all the details of the Hindu Monastery below that he knew so well and the environs of Shangri-la beyond, the winding, green river of the Ganges, with the blue foothills and the snow-capped Himalayan ranges as backdrop.
He wondered if there was another world beyond the mountains and if he could fly there at his first attempt. But then the thought hit him, “What if I got lost, how would I make it back to my body? My precious body! Where is my precious body?” He looked back down to the Ashram and with these apprehensions he suddenly found himself in his body, heavy and solid, breathing fast, wide awake, his eyes snapped open, reassured he was back in reality, at a loss that his first lucid lift-off had been aborted. He tried not to worry about it as he had the rest of his life to perfect his talents.
The following morning at Satsang, the Ashram’s requisite spiritual congregation, the Head Honcho Swami gave the daily lecture on the subject of Siddhis, powers one may acquire whilst practicing the Yogas. He spoke of powers like dream flight or mental telepathy, levitation or telekinesis, prophecy and hypnotism, claiming they were mere distractions on the Path to Enlightenment, and, like hot coals, not to be frittered with. Arthur was astounded that the Swami had picked up on his latest mind-game, the old mug must have seen him flying above the ashram during the night, breaking the ten o’clock curfew. Still Arthur dreamed. What if he could fly anywhere at will? With courage, intelligence and good heart he could explore every level of the multiverse of the Mind, lose his fears and gain deep insights, unlock mysteries and maybe find his reason for existing. Samadhi would always be there, waiting for him, at the end of Time.
It was all probably just a trick of the Mind, that mysterious phenomena that had created the universe wherein humanity dwelt, but even so, if one could fly about through all the levels of the Mind, it would be interesting fun and worth exploring.
But three tired old cliches dragged him down into forgetting his inherent Budhahood and Eagle-nature, the Holy Trinity of “sex and drugs and rock’n’roll”. Sex mania with all the wet dreams, frustrated desires and fantasies of fulfillment, like phantasmal lost lovers followed into the mists who were ever ready to induce lead-weight erections, distracting pleasures and mind-numbing orgasms. Drugs that took him up high into the clouds like LSD, Ecstasy, Marijuana and Hashish, imbibed as the elixir of false knowledge, bliss and tranquility, to really get him spinning in his head, flat on his arse and wandering lost on his feet. And Rock’n’Roll restlessness, for hard and fast adventures, extreme sports and situationist stunts, all with accompanying electrifying music, his blood pumped, his mind thrilled, his body exhausted and heart jaded.
These three old sores relaxed his inhibitions too well, making him sink into a morass of excitation and satiation, become heavy, mindless and flightless, like a Dodo bird. For most of his life, when he tried to fly, he crash-landed, thankfully on his feet, a bit cut-up but eager to try again.
Later in life his repetitive dreams of getting on top of things changed tack, he slowed down, got more sedentary and meek, as if he truly did devolve into the flightless Dodo. As always, when he dreamed, he was high up above the world, so very high atop a vertiginous tower, upon a narrow parapet just big enough to hold his sleeping form, if he didn’t hold tight he could fall away into infinite depths, into oblivion, for the tower tilted in the wind and he could slip, go over the edge if he lost his grip.
Other souls had leaped and flew above and below him, joyously; para-gliders, skydivers, brave and hardy, adventurous, taking risks, they had marvelous lives, of achievement and success. Not him, he played it cautious, a wimp and a flake who gripped tight his narrow platform, but at least he survived to have an old age, ordinary though it was.
At the end of the dream he slid down a precipitous ramp, down, down, down to the bottom of his skyscraper, to where the losers shout their sorry wares with no one listening, and he hurried away, to try to climb back to the heights, hopefully to get the guts and heart to leap, and fly, truly fly, regardless of the dangers and pitfalls, to fly away into the blue, let go of the dross, spread his arms and embrace it all, maybe achieve something fabulous. A nice dream if he can make it.
If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.