Monday, May 31, 2010

The Art of Soaring

The Art of Soaring is a book by Dolokov & Gurangov. It is translated from Russian. And the way my daughter described it as she gave it to me was it was about enlightenment through laughter which appears to be a very ancient point of view in Russian stories and mythology. When she talked about it it reminded me of Drukpa Kunley, who though my friend Thubten in Dharmsala, India when I was there in 1985 told me many funny stories that were so funny I had to almost fall down with laughter some times, at the time I believed Drukpa Kunley to be fictitious until I looked him up on Wikipedia and found he was an enlightened master sometimes called, "The Divine Madman of the Dragon Lineage" or another title of his was, "The Saint of 5000 women".

So, when my daughter inscribed the book to me with "Happy Birthday Dad" I knew this was one she really needed me to read, and so I am.

Here is a quote from page 2 after the Translator's preface and Introduction: begin quote

Suddenly it dawned on him:
"Wait! That was flying! We were flying!
The Hermit nodded.
"The truth is simpler than you can imagine."

originally from Victor Pelevin- - -Hermit and Six-Toes

My daughter has been studying Russian lately since her interest in the "Anastasia" book series that have now sold over 10 million books worldwide. And many of the forest preschools starting up in the U.S. Europe, Australia, Europe and around the world are a part of this back to nature, back to roots back to the land movement taking hold among younger people (mostly under 35) all around the world now.

Though  "The Art of Soaring" is not a part of the "Anastasia" Series, it is a part of the spiritual revitalizing movement that is growing stronger by the day for around the last 20 years inside of Russia and around the world.

The first two paragraphs of the book remind me a lot of Richard Bach's works like "Illusions". I still think "Illusions" in the way it worked its magic on me was probably the most spiritual book (for me at least) that I have ever read. That book touched me because I always wanted to be an airplane pilot growing up. However, because my father's brother died in 1942 in a crash of his private plane, he asked me to please for his sake not to get my pilot's license until after he died. So when Dad died in 1985 I soloed in 1987 when I was 39.

Anyway, here are the first couple of paragraphs of the "Soaring" Book. begin quote.

"Have you ever watched how a bird soars on the wind? How it spreads it wings and glides easily through the air? Nothing hinders its flight. Mergin with all the elements, it becomes one with them. it flies effortlessly, sailing endlessly through the blue sky.

SOARING is one of the principal concepts of the system for practical magic described in this book.  It is exceedingly difficult to describe the state of soaring in words because it is a subjective inner experience for each person. While soaring, it never even enters your mind to attempt to name or define what you are feeling, and the circumstances which enable a person to soar may mean nothing to another. Only through metaphor is it possible to express this feeling. end quote.

Then paraphrased the author speaks of trying to learn to ride a bicycle for the very first time and the struggle of the bike falling down again and again before he mastered both the bike and his balance with the thing. Then I will begin the quote on page 3 begin quote part way down:

"The entire world around me-- the gray pavement of the street and the long shadows of the setting sun, the lilac bushes and the hollow old pear tree, the chirping of the birds and the gentle summer breeze--everything took on an altered and elusive meaning. I can't explain this feeling, but in this new world my every wish was granted. Each moment was unique and obsorbed me entirely." end quote.

My personal experience at age 5 years old when I was given a 24 inch bicycle that I had to stand on a block of wood to mount because it really was too big for me freed me in this way too. Even to this day it is why I still ride a bicycle for exercise and a motorcycle at times to just still know I'm alive at age 62. Of course, I also ski some every year to remind me that I'm still alive and often take long trips with my family one or more times a year that also give me this amazing feeling that the bicycle gave me at age 5.

In the era I grew up I was allowed to ride for miles and miles by the time I was 7 or 8 alone or with friends. And by the time I was 10 I had a newspaper route and so this also was a way of using my bicycle for making money too. Then I also rode my bike with my friends to the latest movie in town several miles by age 8 or 9. So the freedom the author speaks of to embrace the whole world first came to me through a bicycle too.

Though I haven't read more than the translator's preface and the Introduction and these two pages, I've enjoyed sharing this much of the book with you and am looking forward to reading my daughter's recommendation.

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