H. Rick Goff
I have been skydiving several times over the past few years, and I have found it to be an experience like no other. My jumps have been tandem jumps i.e. I had an instructor strapped to my back to make sure the chute actually opened. Admittedly, as a former Air Force Officer and wanna be pilot, I do find it counter-intuitive to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. But skydiving is a sensory rush!
My favorite part of a skydiving adventure is the free fall. From eight thousand feet, I free fall through the sky for twenty seconds at one hundred twenty miles per hour. I feel the sensation of speed as the wind rushes pass my ears, and my body feels totally free as it presses against the air. After the parachute successfully deploys, the adventure becomes somewhat tame. I watch the ground get closer as I float down to earth for a smooth, uneventful landing.
But for twenty seconds, I let it all go and experience the freedom of free falling. It's a true freedom, with no physical or mental boundaries. I look around and all I see is endless; the sky above, and the ground below go on forever. My body and mind merge, and all my senses become one. I see, hear, touch, taste, and smell the air at the same time. For a few seconds, I feel a strange completeness I never feel on the ground. No limits, no barriers, no pressure; just a strong sense of self awareness. In these few seconds of free fall, I find a moment of total peace.
The sudden jolt of the parachute opening, and pulling me skyward, reflects the elusiveness of total peace. For a brief moment, it was right there, teasing my senses, and giving me a glimpse of perfection. But, as so often is the case, total peace is interrupted by the imperfection of reality. I'm free falling at one hundred twenty miles per hour with someone strapped on my back, hoping my parachute opens. Thankfully, the chute opens, and I greet the ground with joy.
But for twenty seconds, I let go and experience the perfection of total peace. For twenty seconds, I let go and free fall. But for twenty seconds, maybe, I let go to fall free!