Do you remember, as a child (or even later), dreaming of flying? I’m sure so many of us do. The most amazing thing is that the power of the mind, and the intricacies of the neuronal connections in the brain and their powers of influencing the various sensory systems of the body actually do allow some children to fly.
At least – in their minds. Some children will find themselves in physical situations that not one of us should have to contemplate, let alone experience, and from which escape is not possible. And, the resulting feelings, their power and intensity of distress can be far, far too great for the young mind to comprehend and manage.
It’s almost like a ‘trick’ that some can learn as if by accident, combined with utmost necessity: the ability to in fact leave the body and the physical situation it finds itself in and literally fly away from what is far, far too horrific and painful for a young mind to manage. This ‘trick’ has often been described in other situations as well: the car accident victim who suddenly sees their body, injured and trapped in the car as if from above, and watches the unfolding
events of their rescue with no actual awareness of the pain and feelings the body is experiencing, there has even been a documented example from an athlete who, having struggled and fought so desperately to win a match for so long suddenly, at the start of the 5th set, as if found himself on the sidelines, watching his body suddenly play to perfection – winning what appeared to be an unwinable match for his country!
Generally though, the literature in many different disciplines now appears to agree that this ‘trick’, known as dissociation (which is not really a ‘trick’ – it is a survival mechanism), is one that can only be learnt at a very young age, when the human infant and their brain are as yet very undeveloped.
The human being is born so young. Apparently up to 5/6ths of the formation and development of the brain is still to take place after birth. It is the shaping and forming of these neuronal pathways that is the most defining thing in the formation of our personalities and our ability to manage and control our affects (emotions). Our ability to control and ‘hold’ our emotions, and at times of need to defer to the emotional needs of another, is the enormous difference between us and most other animals. The power of empathy. And, the infant mind needs older, more mature minds (brains) already capable of empathy around him/her, to literally hold him/her safe throughout this period of development.
If the environment is not safe, the only escape can sometimes be through ‘flight’ – away from reality, the moment, the body and the growing self. If this ‘escape’ is necessary, there is then no ‘self’ left to grow.
But this ‘flight’, this ‘escape’ can take the child to places as beautiful and wonderful as the imagination is capable of conjuring. To places as peaceful and wonderful, as bright and happy as any mind can possibly imagine.
“Flight”, in the mind is, of itself, utterly beautiful.