August 5, 2012

Having witnessed the spectacle of the Blue Angels this weekend, I used them for inspiration for this week's reading asking what can they teach us. They cut cleanly through the element of air, maneuvered effortlessly as one and harnessed the power of an ethereal element to great effect. It's not easy giving structure to an element that doesn't want to be pinned down. Try keeping a tent affixed to the ground when a gale whips up. Try not thinking about something when someone specifically says, "don't think about that." The Blue Angels show us how to be at peace even when the sky swirls around you and the horizon dips and fades and upends itself. The patterns the planes demonstrated were awe-inspiring. Wing tips just moments from touching each other as they performed impossible formations in perfect geometric alignment. And it all seemed to be worked out with such ease, flair and grace. 

This kind of magical display couldn't be done without suspending all anxieties and delving head long into the deepest of themselves. It's not that they don't acknowledge what is possible as they go through their exhibition, they don't ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist. Denial is what creates anxiety. Builds it up into a hulking, looming beast that breathes its hot breath on your neck at every moment. It's the fact that they know all too well what can happen as they fly through the air at great speed executing their routines. Each pilot visiting with each of their fears and setting each one up on display like a trophy in itself. They know what each cup is filled with. Have to know. Through their knowledge, great peace is achieved. The solid, steady grip that handles the controls. The strong, calm mind that slices cleanly through the steps of the exercises. I witnessed a deep grounding of self that enabled lofty flight as each pilot let themselves be guided by a more profound wisdom. 

The patterns created that day, taken by themselves, might not be all that intricate, an arrow of 5 planes is simple, not a fractal or anything more complicated, something easily drawn even on paper. But then they did away with any dogmatic structure and turned that arrow of 5 planes on its end so that it wasn't gliding horizontal to the horizon, no it was rocketing straight towards the ground. And still, the pattern was unwavering. Air as an element made to conform for a brief moment as the planes seemed to be engaged in the gap between an inhale and exhale. Our own breath as spectators stilled as we all collectively exhaled an ahhhhhhhhhh. Then when each plane peeled off the formation heartbeats from the earth, we felt the power of their engines charge up and were fueled with the adrenaline of their swift spiraling and turning as they cut through sky setting up for the next pattern that would turn our grasping of reality upside down. By gaining a thorough knowledge of the structure that could keep you held down, those Blue Angels had found the loopholes. The exits. The ways to obliterate structure altogether. They had found a certainty that came from achieving perfect clarity of all the variables they were working with that then made it possible to simply act, respond, do and be.

The cards above all have to do with structure in their way. Patterns. Cycles. We can resist captive-making structure by allowing ourselves to be held captivated by our own mysteries. Wisdom can be found in our own patterns and cycles. Some can be done away with entirely, some can still serve us if we tweak them a bit, let them live again by turning them this way and that. Our routines can be refreshed if we allow a bit of air to come in and breathe new life into them. Our minds can find peace and calm if we do not deny when this has become necessary to do. Allow for more possibilities. Take a different perspective. Your routines, cycles, patterns, habits can hold the answers you seek, can be your guide, in moving beyond limiting doctrine. 
Lay down and exhale ahhhhhhhhhh. Go inside and delve. Find your un-upendable grounding and let it act as your artificial horizon display on your dashboard. You'll always know where you stand in the topsy turvy world we move through.  You'll always find your way to be right side up when things threaten to turn upside down. 

Finally, we have seen that 6 people were able to be so successful at this individually and then could come together and be victorious as a team. We see how individuals who work to be their best can then link up with other individuals who work to be their best culminating into a force to be reckoned with. A force that does away with shortchanging dogmatic structure. That is a lesson in action I hope we all take to heart. Doing the work for our own evolution can mean leaps and bounds growth on that larger scale when we mix and mingle in concerted effort.

Actual Blue Angels show starts at 1:10