Skydiving is a good analogy for diligent preparation. Meditation like skydiving requires preparation. In fact, preparation is important for many spiritual practices.
An analogy is a tool to help you remember important things. We don’t normally think of spiritual practices and skydiving as being similar. However, it shows the parallels of preparation that are important in both. That is exactly what makes this analogy an excellent memory device. The preparation for skydiving is of utmost importance. Your life depends on good preparation, and we can say the same for many spiritual practices.
Skydiving is a Good Analogy for Meditation
You wouldn’t jump out of an airplane … and then try to put on your parachute. Trying to put your parachute after you have jumped out of an airplane would definitely be exciting, but the outcome may not be desirable. Also, you’d want to know how to put on and use your parachute before jumping. Good preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable experience. This is how meditation is like skydiving.
So, the best way to get the best experience in meditation to learn how to do it first. Don’t jump out of the airplane and try to learn as you are falling. In fact, preparation is essential to the success of many spiritual practices. For instance, it is important to learn the theory behind the process. Learn what to expect and common troubleshooting techniques. You need to learn about the equipment, and how to use it (when to put it on). Most times this means learning about how the mind works.
Preparing for spiritual practice will involve exercises to help you anticipate the experience. For example, skydiving teaches you what it feels like to jump out of an airplane, what parachute opening feels like, and how to land and roll. Some jumping schools have antigravity updraft fans. Here you can learn to control your body in a situation similar to free-falling.
How is meditation is like skydiving? It’s all about preparation. Good preparation and training results in a positive experience. The skydiving analogy reminds us why we need to prepare properly before we engage in the practice. This is especially true for learning any new methods.
Good Preparation is the Key
All effective spiritual technologies have preparatory, learning, and post-learning checkpoints. These checkpoints are one way to tell if the learning curriculum is sound. For example, we teach Japa Meditation, this is the generic name for the meditation technique known as Transcendental Meditation (TM). There checkpoints throughout the learning process to ensure proper learning. To ensure the best learning outcomes, one should always follow all preparatory steps. So it is just like skydiving.
Both TM and Japa meditation are identical. They have the same preparation, learning format, and post-learning checkpoints. This process is a quality check. This ensures the best learning outcomes.
The key to the best outcomes with this process is preparation. You learn the best times to do it. You learn how to do it. There are routine checks during and after the learning process to ensure the best learning outcomes. They reinforce the fundamentals that return the best outcomes. This is how meditation is like skydiving.
Skydiving is a Good Analogy for Other Practices
Many forms of mediation have built-in checkpoints. Like Japa meditation or Thay Kek, moving meditation similar to Tai Chi. These are awareness-changing processes. They can be just as exciting as skydiving. They depend upon the right foundation which comes from prepration.
They developed many ancient traditions over eons using trial and error. They developed a learning process that incorporated steps and guidelines to ensure the prospect is ready to learn, able to learn. Then, as they learn, they exchange feedback. Afterward, they meet to discuss post-experience. The result is the best learning outcomes.
Unfortunately, some cannot see the value in all the cultural preparatory activities, and they view them as nonessential ritual dressing. This is an error. When you take a technique out of its proper cultural context, you can lose important elements that ensure safety and effectiveness. Those who don’t understand the process don’t know how they are degrading and changing the process. All they care about is making it more marketable.
>When ancient processes are re-named, re-branded, and re-packaged, much is lost. If you don’t understand the tradition and culture, it is easy to remove or change important aspects of the tradition. Sometimes these activities are essential for proper learning and execution of the technique. So, the result is like jumping out of an airplane and trying to put on your parachute as you fall.
If you want to learn any of the following spiritual technologies, find qualified instruction. Look for someone who knows and cares about the cultural context. Remember skydiving is a good analogy for preparing to learn any spiritual technology. When there is doubt about the preparation, don’t do it.
Spiritual technologies are what we call the tools for developing and exploring consciousness. They are processes that can alter, change or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our own blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers prove these partitions of awareness differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. They don’t require belief, all you have to do is follow a process. We like to think of it like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes of spiritual exploration are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods, we divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. This is because their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions. This helps us avoid many of the common obstacles of deception in our culture. The primary tools in this group are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods are very helpful for anyone seeking truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphone to review these tools every month. This keeps them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become useful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes basic use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies, this module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. We incorporate the use of emotional checks with this process in order to maintain our emotional equilibrium. This helps us think more clearly by reducing interference from our emotions.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a tool of cognitive science that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easy understand language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. This makes it a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others was and remains a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate profile of our personality. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will lead you to an understanding of the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. The practice of meditation is now common knowledge. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of many spiritual practices. Meditation is a range of mental tools for exploring consciousness. It has everything from Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). And also includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is action together with a heightened level of awareness, this includes a range of activities involving the mind-body connection. Using these modalities helps improve mind and body connection, which has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing. techniques for grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This is a category with a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group of processes starts with the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation. It also includes lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory.
Another important tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. This is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first spiritual technology. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures. It serves as evidence to the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but all use essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
This is one of the ancient technologies that people have tried to rename or rebrand. They do this to make the Shamanic Journey more marketable. So, some people know it as guided meditation or creative visualization.
Modalities for Healing
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet, which comes from Indonesia, and Reiki and Shiatsu come from Japan. Vedic medicine is also available, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
The practice of any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They were not initially interested in learning or practicing the healing arts, but once they learn, they find it is an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
Many of these methods share the same preparatory methods. Good preparation is the key to many other processes. For instance, if someone is ready for Japa meditation, they will easily be able to learn a moving meditation like forest bathing. This is because they share the same steps for preparation.
Meditation is Like Skydiving
We will hammer this point. This way you will remember this analogy, and hopefully, you will take the time to prepare before you meditate. The skydiving analogy is a good way to remember the proper steps for learning any new skill.
Use it as a background script to determine the correct order of things. Then add the elements to this script. If you don’t know the exact steps, look them up. Use this process as a memory device to memorize the steps of any other process.
Sky dividing is a good analogy for many spiritual practices. If you prepare correctly, you will have a positive experience. Both meditation and skydiving are life-changing benchmarks. You will remember both your experience of skydiving and the first time you transcend awareness. And you can also tell them the analogy reinforces the principle, good preparation is the key.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia