Mindfulness of Breath at 18,000 ft

If someone told me last year that I would be calm jumping out of an airplane at 18,000 feet, I would have called that person cray cray. But when my friend Phillip invited me for a free skydive on my day off, I knew that I had to try it.

Having a fear of heights throughout my childhood, I wasn’t sure how to go through with the jump. Should I try to overcome my fear of death altogether? Research the safety of skydiving? Repeat some mantras in my head? Pretend like I’m a bird?

Finally, after much trepidation and thought, I realized that my primary meditation practice would be of great benefit: mindfulness of breathing.

Feeling the sensations of breath in my body, primarily in my belly, helped to ground me and get me out of my stories, my fears of something going wrong with the parachute. Gaining elevation in the plane ride up, I also gained perspective with each calm breath, allowing me to be with each sensation of fear in real time.

I wasn’t fanning the flames of worry. I was simply being in each moment, breathing and relaxing the body.

When it was time to fall out of the plane, I was able to do so very calmly, without any resistance.

And then, falling at 100mph, the real fun began. 🙂

(A story of how others found mindfulness through skydiving: http://thecalmmonkey.com/2012/01/24/how-my-friends-and-i-discovered-mindfulness/)

Author: Sean Fargo
About Sean Fargo At the peak of his career as Director of Asian Operations for AsiaEXP, Sean Fargo traded in his worldly aspirations to explore the inner life by ordaining as a Buddhist monk for two years in the Thai Theravada tradition. Since disrobing in 2010, he has supported thousands of meditation practitioners at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, facilitated mindfulness classes in San Quentin and Solano State Prisons, and has lead several workshops at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education teen retreats. A dedicated student of spirituality and mindfulness, he has studied with Jack Kornfield, Analayo Bhikkhu, Phillip Moffitt, and many other teachers in the US and Asia. His teaching path is guided by Guy Armstrong, Senior Teachers Council member for both Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. Founder of MindfulnessExercises.com, he offers secular mindfulness e-courses with certifications available for personal and professional skill sets. Enrolled in New Ventures West's Coaching Certification Program, Sean expects to certify as an Integral Life Coach in November 2014. He graduated with honors from University of California at Santa Barbara’s Global Studies Department in 2000. Sean offers private instruction to adults, teens, companies, and organizations. Contact Sean Fargo for more info.


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