Night Flights

When I was five, I knew I had a remarkable power. I could fly. Sometimes I’d sit on top of the stairs leading down to the basement, cross my legs (right over left), and float down without touching a single step.

The key was always to have complete faith in my ability; even the tiniest bit of doubt would keep me from flying. But I know I could do it. Flying was effortless.

Other flights took place during my dreams. I would take a few running steps, jump into the air and dive toward the ground, as if I had a diving board and a deep pool before me. A few inches before impact, I’d start skimming along the grass, arms outstretched (“Like Peter Pan,” I’d say, “not like Superman”), then once I had sufficient momentum I’d vault into the sky, skimming the treetops, swooping and doing aerial tricks, playing like an otter in no less fluid a medium.

Kids on the ground would see me and be delighted, and I was able to teach a few of them how to fly, too. Most couldn’t do it, because they couldn’t summon up enough blind faith.

I would wake from these dreams with my heart pounding and my cheeks cold and flushed, even when the dreadful heat and humidity of summer would choke our AC-less home.

I told my friends of my ability. One or two thought they remembered seeing me fly in their dreams. The rest never seemed to think the idea was outlandish, though childhood does engender a certain blanket acceptance of strange ideas.

When I was six I went to the top of the stairs, sat and crossed my legs (right over left), and was suddenly filled with doubt. Could all those previous stairway flights have been dreams too? No, it happened too many times, it was too real. But willing oneself to believe, and believing wholeheartedly, are two different things, and it was no great surprise when I tumbled down the stairs and hurt myself pretty badly.

When my mother came to help me, my first words were, “I forgot how to believe.”

I never flew again.

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Categories: Dreams, Psychology, Spirituality | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Night Flights

  1. Fascinating.

    This evening I picked up a book by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., called Dr. Quantum’s Little Book Of Big Ideas: Where Science Meets Spirit. It’s a compilation of snippets from his earlier books, which I have devoured (I particularly liked The Eagle’s Quest: A Physicist Finds the Scientific Truth at the Heart of the Shamanic World).

    The first passage I turned to was this one:

    “I remember a particular day when I was playing in the front hallway of my apartment building. I was barely eight years old. I stood at the top of the stairwell and looked down, wondering if I could fly the nineteen or twenty stairs reaching to the ground floor from our first-floor apartment. Without thinking, I skidded down the stairwell with my feet only barely touching the leading edges of each step. I was on the ground floor in a flash, and I had not slid down the banister, nor had I placed my feet on any of the steps.

    “When I grew older and remembered what I had done that day, I realized it was impossible. My feet just were not long enough to go from one step edge to the next without falling flat on my face. Was this just a dream of super powers, or had I actually skidded down those stairs?”

  2. Nanu

    I LOVE Fred Alan Wolf.

    Nuff said. 🙂

  3. indigo bunting

    I imagine I have forgotten how to believe.

    But do I believe that?

  4. Someone left a comment on my blog recently referencing Robert Monroe, stating he also had a memory or at least said he had flown down a flight of stairs as a child. What’s going on here? 🙂

    Love seeing that quote from Fred Alan Wolf . . . he is someone whom I highly respect.
    The Eagle’s Quest is, though occasionally a bit dry, overall a great book. Have you read The Dreaming Universe? That’s my favorite book by him. Wonderful stuff, it gave me a lot to think about, even if I didn’t understand it all.

    BTW tonight I’ve stumbled upon your blog from a link at Spiritual Blog Reviews. You are a great writer and I really dig what you’re doing.

  5. Thanks for your kind words, Ben. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’d say if Fred Alan Wolf and Robert Monroe have done it, I’m in very good company indeed. And yes, I loved The Dreaming Universe.

    Please feel free to poke all round the place. I love comments, even if you’re not in total agreement—open and enthusiastic discussions are the lifeblood of important ideas!

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