Recently I was traveling on an aircraft thinking about the training I was to deliver the next day, when we suddenly hit some turbulence. It soon turned into some more and then even more turbulence. The plane lifted and dropped very suddenly, and the pilot came on the PA saying that iit would continue for the next 30 minutes. Instantly I felt myself panic as my thinking changed: I concluded that the plane was going to break apart and I was going to die! I could see see the wing of the plane flexing dramatically as the turbulence hit again.
Then I was struck by another thought, an insight.
Planes are actually designed to deal with turbulence. The engineers add huge amounts of redundancy to the design so they stay in the air. Well-maintained planes almost never fall from the sky. In fact, air transportation is one of the safest modes of travel. That thinking put me into a different place, and I felt my thinking calm and my body relax and my reality changed even though the turbulence was just ass bad.
I looked over and noticed the woman next to me white knuckling the armrests, she had her head pushed back as if she was going through some pain. She was obviously having a lot of vivid thoughts and it occurred to me that I should try to start a conversation with her. It was a little awkward at first, but we quickly had an interesting conversation going and she began to relax. Her tone changed, her face tone relaxed and her body became less tense. Even while the turbulence was going on.
The turbulence lasted another 30 minutes until we landed safely, but our mutual experience of the final 30 minutes of the flight was very different from the first five minutes when the turbulence started…..
David Bohm, the father of quantum physics said: “Thought creates the world and then says: I didn’t do it!’ and he might have been on to something here…