In the confined parameters that determine air travel, as I whirl back on this particular occasion from Africa to home, the experiences learnt on last week’s work trip (comprising an intense training course on Safety and Security) seep through into my consciousness as stone traced markings through paper.
The sharp seam of learning from this particular course was about coping. Coping with confrontation, dilemma, trauma, danger, but mainly, coping with having one’s freedom stolen from underneath your nose.
Since I boarded at the sleepy port of Zanzibar (where 24 hours of “RnR” were spent, and were, for once, an essential bookend to the training course itself) the all too familiar rituals deployed to keep oneself either awake or entertained were running on auto pilot: movie watching; email triage; a few chapters of a novel; social media; face-timing; eating; drinking; freshening up.
With each slice of indulgent escapism, as we are prone to seeking out the most special film to watch, or song to absorb, the constant hunt for ego inflating ‘likes’ and ‘mentions’, that buzz of booze from miniature bottles, all such things, in the end and inevitably, skim the surface of satisfaction, treading the waters high above that particular ocean of Self, rather than dropping lower, as a pearl diver would, in search of deeper treasures: the Soul, and the spirit of being, fathoms below.
This, or, in round terms, just taking things (but mainly, one’s freedom) for granted.
Ironic then that it is only when these freedoms are removed that we get the chance to sink that bit lower and nearer to this Self of ours and, beyond that, to our own truths.
What I mainly reflect on, now that the adrenaline from last week has receded, is how adaptive we all are to crisis situations.
How the unthinkable very quickly can be rationalised and dealt with. Deprived of the freedom to move, see, talk, choose, organise we, in fact, thrive. A bodily revolution of senses takes charge, a new paradigm of prioritising, thinking and imagining rises up, the respective captains, colonels and generals of Being.
We are forced to find new ways to take back control, to inch forward in spite of our inability to behave and feel as free as we are used to and, in that brief chapter of time, we transform, we resolve, and we experience resilience.
Stripped down in that raw state, devoid of our regular freedoms (and in some cases, addictions) we allow ourselves the space and conditions to more profoundly understand.
For that momentary eclipse of the ordinary, arming me with a wholeness and with peace, I will be indebted for a long while yet.