A fellow in Russia directly asked me that after we discussed flying a bit–he’s found parachuting to be quite spiritual and wanted to know more about paragliding, hence the context of my reply:
Russians might be the best aviators, like English are arguably the best sailors, historically (Portugese the best navigators in the past). The French seem to make the best paragliders.
Russia is mostly flat so paraglider pilots rely on winches for this, there. If one can get even a few hundred meters into the air one is likely to find thermal lift to stay aloft, after that. It’s easier to find when we’re closer to cloud base. I don’t know where you live but I suspect that you could find paraglider instruction without traveling far. This might be more popular in Russia than here. There are ten times more of these pilots in France than in the US. Americans lately became afraid of personal flying, which to me represents freedom. Not long ago, the skies were fairly crowded with sport pilots. The weird fear seems to coincide with the genocidal, fascist (federal/feral) political agenda since the mid-1990s, even though most Americans are rather apathetic about that (thank God).
I built a tow winch and use it where we live on a grass airstrip–in a very large, triangular area next to my hangar. It’s on a trailer and I take it to other places, too. I built it last summer after buying my wife’s old 125cc Yamaha motorscooter for the winch component. I’ll soon master my new tracking drone at home with the winch before I take it to a mountain. The snow has just melted, last week 😉
I watch a lot of YouTube videos to learn more about paragliding & also seek more training at every opportunity. Now I’m focusing on learning how to stay aloft and I think my longest flight was two hours. Our teachers are birds in that case and birds often closely share thermals and ridge lift with us.
My new French wing is very light (also has a high performance rating) but easy to launch and land and the flying harness reverses into a pack for carrying both up mountains comfortably–very important to me since I’m approaching 70 yrs. I want to still be doing this when I’m 100. I used to feel that way about sailing and I still love to do that but free flight seems exponentially more ‘spiritual’ to me. Ten years ago it would have killed me to hike up a mountain, due to heart damage on account of the FBI poisoning us with beryllium in 2004. Our doctor buddies repaired all that, fortunately.
Most of us carry at least one reserve parachute (we learn to repack them) and there are some versions, now, which are steerable.
You asked me how I communicate with my soul, which is an interesting question that a Russian is more likely to discuss than an American, I think. To me, paragliding represents this dynamic, which is certainly beyond words and is more about feeling and liberation. Your and our modern histories are rather materialistic but that phase seems to be passing, now.
Carol has done some related work with her aura camera and it’s given us the opportunity to directly see that the people who seem to be most in touch with their own souls (white auras in the moment) are typically people who are at peace with themselves and with life; it seems to have nothing to do with ideological conditioning and we’ve seen that more in old people than with the young. Paragliding obviously doesn’t cause someone to be that way but it can be very restorative if one is inclined in that direction.
She and I spent a long day at a lecture by Danion Brinkley in 2001 which rather brought some focus for me to that subject. He had been struck by lightning and died, I think three separate times. You can find him easily on YouTube. Before that, he was a CIA assassin who loved his job and was generally despised by the people in the town where he grew up. After his spiritual transformation the people he grew up among were unwilling to forgive him, which I think shows how degraded he had become. Now, he’s one of those rare people who make you feel happy in his presence. At the time, he was working as a psychic spook against the CIA, employed as a civilian by perhaps the last remaining patriotic admiral at the Pentagon. This meeting we attended was right after the feds blew up the World Trade Center.
Before that day, I couldn’t see a distinction between the soul and the spirit but then it suddenly became more clear to me. According to Danion, the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ which people who have been through death typically witness, is one’s own soul. It’s often mistaken for ‘God,’ ‘Jesus,’ ‘Muhammad,’ ‘Buddha,’ etc., according to one’s personal spiritual conditioning. He believes that the soul, itself, is vast, complex and incorruptible. He personally feels that the Creator of souls is unspeakably farther beyond our finite comprehension. Most of the audience were theosophy drones who presumably believed that they were God 😉 but he’s a unique fellow who seems to touch every soul, regardless of dogmatic conditioning/shackles.
The human spirit, rather, seems to be more finite and subject to conditioning and rather seems to ‘contain’ the conscious self and is eminently corruptible. The spirit of a kind-hearted person is stronger, more balanced and healthier than the spirit of a self-seeking or predatory one, for instance. I gained a deeper appreciation of this distinction from reading Max Freedom Long’s 1920s book about Hawaiian Huna magic, also from having worked in East Africa where some rather impressive technology of the spirit is part of the social fabric.
Religions teach that the soul’s progress is mainly dependent on the refinement of one’s spirit during the physical phase of life. I don’t know how one can find that commonality without going beyond the accretion of various religious dogmas, though I believe it’s well worth the effort to do so in terms of refining our own spirits.
Soaring on air currents, just like a bird, is most easily done with a paraglider and every stage of technological development in the sport seems to make that easier to achieve; it’s a nice allegory, to me, for the ancient marriage of science and spirituality.
One of my flying buddies in Montana is a smoke jumper. He told me that he lives for paragliding and just does the parachuting for a living because it gives him more time (between forest fires, which typically only happen in late summer) for paragliding.