How Practicing Consciousness Eased My Fear of Flying
Generally speaking, fears of flying signal issues with control. Unless you’re the pilot, there is nothing you can do except sit in your seat and wait, allowing yourself to be taken to a different place.
With control-freak like tendencies, I found flying a terrifying experience as I got older. Interestingly, all the way through high school, I loved jumping on a plane. I got to relax, be taken care of and go somewhere else. Gradually, fear and years of coping mechanisms grew into crippling anxiety. I started choosing bad relationships, worrying about everything I couldn’t control and punished myself for anything I could think of.
One of my biggest triggers for this anxiety was, you guessed it, flying.
Air travel represented the very thing that scared me the most: the unknown. Any sign of turbulence I felt deep in my body, hot tears would burn down my face while I gripped the seat. My mind immediately flashed through the image of never seeing my family again or achieving my dreams. Gut-level terror would overtake me entirely.
Over the past few months, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to awakening my consciousness and living a peaceful life. When I went on my trip to Miami this spring, I had recently read “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn and implemented the book’s teachings about staying present into my life. When my trip to Miami drew near, I worried a little as usual. But, the vacation turned out to be a chance to see how far I had come on my spiritual path.
Travel itself used to throw me wildly off balance; without my routine, my nerves were shot and my usual coping mechanisms would fail to calm me to down. This trip was different.
I meditated in the morning, finally got outside after five months of Wisconsin winter and enjoyed the sun. I floated in the ocean and let the waves cleanse my sacral chakra, my most contentious energy center. I saw my friends, embraced the change in scenery and most importantly, didn’t have a sip of alcohol. Little did I know, the trip was a debut for the new practice I had taken up: non-attachment. Travel no longer sent me into panic-mode because I had learned to move through discomfort by simply observing it rather than giving it energy.
When it was time to go home, I boarded the plane relaxed, clear and grateful to have such a wonderful vacation. When turbulence hit, I noticed my body tense, but then a new feeling washed over me. I had an overwhelming sense of safety; I knew that no matter what bumps the plane hit, I was still going to get to where I needed to and would arrive safely, on time.
A microcosm of the consciousness I had been working towards, this experience opened my eyes. No matter what my mind told me and no matter how my body reacted, I was on a path inherently supported by the universe. I trusted from the depths of my soul and I allowed this energy to settle through me. My body relaxed and I noticed the turbulence while avoiding interaction with the energy of panic, letting it fade into the background. I didn’t need to get my spirit involved with my thoughts.
After I got off the plane, I felt a shift. I had listened to an Elevate the Globe podcast with Rob Mack and I didn’t realize the impact it made until I got home. At one point during the episode, Rob said: “the universe loves non-attachment.” This trip made me realize I was okay wherever I was, whatever I was doing and whoever I was with because the part of me that is divine never changes. My soul is the only constant I will ever need.
Once I truly let go, the universe could take care of me without my anxious thoughts getting in the way. All I had to do was enjoy the ride.
Think about this feeling next time your mind goes into overdrive. No thought you have, no emotion you feel and no rationalization you come up with is constant. The only thing that stays true in the face of thoughts, emotions and life events is your soul. Living from this place is the ultimate peace because the soul is inherently peace itself. Spending time uncovering truths from my soul led me to something I had never truly experienced: freedom.