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Zen Zone of a skydiver.

I had an honour to participate in an interactive documentary about basejumping, skydiving and wingsuit flying. This university project by Lucia van der Ven takes a dive into the psyche of the athlete and analyses the sport from a few interesting perspectives.

I'll let Lucia's documentary speak for itself (in Dutch and English) since its very nicely done but I will say this. Statistically (and realistically) speaking these sports can be dangerous, even very dangerous at times but with patience and training the risks can be tolerable and to the point even manageable. Equipment and knowledge is now there, we did the pioneering job and there are few surprises left. What will remain the biggest challenge forever, is the human-mind and -nature. Unless the performer is rooted into reality, works in cool and calculating manner, emotions can get better of him and misjudgements are more likely to happen.

However there is that zen zone, where things happen naturally, flowing, effortlessly and the athlete can do no wrong. Its very hard to describe and a very beautiful place to be. A dream-like state between past and future, where all the dots connect and the performer can be in the center of things and observe them at the same time. It's a mix of deja-vu and an infinite void. It's a harmony of spheres and music to my ears. Fear, shame, guilt, hunger, wants, needs nor greeds don't exist there as it is a perfect place in a perfect world.

The untrained go there accidentally, unless they freeze. For example, you are crossing the street and a car almost hits you, you jump to safety even before you have time to think! Its almost like somebody else was awake within you and ordering your body for you. After the event you go back to sleep. An insight can work the same way, you get a glimpse of a solution to your question from somewhere. Now the question is, how to keep that connection open and keep it flowing?

By practise. Modern lifestyle has tendency to cut our attention-spans to small tiny short little fragments. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Instant mindfulness is the word on the street, 50 € a pop. Neon lights yell Buy now! but seldom they tell you the real distance to the stars. As Seneca wrote:

“Non est ad astra mollis e terris via" - "There is no easy way from the earth to the stars”.

I dont claim to be a zen master nor I ever known one except for my cat Gandalf. But I do know that with dedication, perseverance and challenge one can find the zone when needed. All you need to do is to become conscious of who you are. Easier said than done.

Gandalf Kullervo Diopus - The Zen master

Until next time.


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