A couple of days ago I challenged myself to face one of my biggest fears, and I jumped out of a plane. Two miles above the ground, I was dangled by the edge of the open door with the wind hammering at my face and not even daring to think about what I was about to do, yet at the same time feeling a real sense of exhilaration at the thought. I was struck with how calm I felt in that moment, and how focused I was on exactly what I needed to do. I assumed the correct position, pushed my head back into my instructor’s shoulder and within seconds I was plummeting to earth at 125mph!
The initial somersault sent me into panic, as my body tried to make sense of my experience and gain some sense of stability in the air, and I was frantically trying to choreograph myself into the right positions at the right times, completely missing the tap on the shoulder from my instructor in my panic. The tap was a green light to assume my classic skydive position with arms and legs stretched out, and I figured that it made sense to just do it anyway, sooner rather than later! Luckily things stabilised, and with my arms outstretched we were flying above earth and embracing the elements, life and the human experience.
With 60 seconds of free fall ahead of me my face was getting pounded by the wind, it was hard to catch my breath, my ears were hurting more and more and the wind noise was extreme, but I found myself in a wildly contrasted inner mental state of pure calm, peace and awe. The biggest thing which struck me at this point was that there was no fear. I almost felt disappointed, I wanted that rush of adrenaline but I wasn’t getting it. I even thought, ‘is that it?!’ The build up beforehand, the exhilaration at the plane door and the initial panic of the jump, and then here I was plummeting 2 miles to the ground at 125mph and I was not afraid.
I decided at that moment that all I needed was to enjoy my experience. No judgment, no thinking, no expectations. I wasn’t willing to waste a second of this experience. Perhaps this was the most exhilarating feeling I had ever had, to feel no fear whilst flying in the face of real danger, but I had no reference for this in my catalogue of experiences. What I was later to discover was that I was experiencing proof of the most profound piece of wisdom I could ever know. It was something I knew, but didn’t KNOW. Something I believed but had never experienced. It taught me that there is no such thing as fear.