Solar Impulse

A few months ago, I read a book written by Bertrand Piccard, the pilot of Solar Impulse, about better living. As an aside, he is also a well-known psychiatrist who happens to use hypnosis both in his practice as well as for himself… But I am getting distracted. Beyond the fact that it was a fascinating read, are you aware of the Solar Impulse project? The idea of flying around the world in a solar-powered aircraft is now already a reality thanks to a few people who decided to create a machine which could rely simply on the power of the sun. It is a huge leap into 21st century science: they are even tracking their Round-The-World trip in real time and you can follow what’s happening, read about the pilots, the challenges, etc. It is really cool.

However, the plane is not what I really want to talk about here. To me, this project is a metaphor for us, human beings, and what we crucially need to thrive and be happy. We have designed and built a machine at our own image.

As I was walking home today after a good workout, I was hit by the stunning sunshine (which is, you will admit, a fairly rare sight in the area of London) and a really amazing temperature for the end of September. So I decided to stop, right there, in the street, and take a minute to really enjoy the moment, absorb the sun, the light, the heat. A few bystanders may have thought I was some kind of weird illuminated eccentric; it makes me laugh to imagine their faces. What I can tell you is that even though I did this for just a minute or two, I felt a wonderful sense of warm, peaceful bliss. I did not think about my day. I did not sigh about my chores. I did not reflect upon my future and I did not remember my past. I was absolutely in the Here and Now. Pure awareness.

When I came back from this instant recharge I felt really great: content, motivated, blessed (yes blessed! It was such a perfect moment, eyes closed, staring at the sun, focusing only on letting the warmth sink in…). It is not necessary to go on a holiday halfway across the world or lie on a beach in a swimsuit in order to enjoy this experience. It is available anytime, anywhere provided there is a bit of sunshine now and again…

As human beings, we all need a certain amount of sunlight to function properly, and by this I mean simply to increase the happiness in our lives. This moment walking home, today, was my own solar impulse.

The sceptics out there will say that their lives are too busy, that they have so many things to do and are always in a rush from one place to the next that they don’t have time for this kind of stuff. They just don’t have the TIME to enjoy that… Well, some people out there may think that, but I think you are not one of them, because you understand the value of looking after yourself. Which is why the next time the sun comes out, I KNOW you will stop for one minute and do exactly what I did. And if you are one of these incredibly busy people, so busy that you cannot deviate one iota from your trajectory for the day, well then I DARE YOU to STOP what you are doing, wherever you are, go and stand in the sun and close your eyes just for ONE MINUTE. Focus on the Here and Now. Let the comforting light sink in. Enjoy this moment with yourself, and notice what you notice…

Take this moment to nurture your own mind. The rest will still be there when you come back. This one minute of bliss, this solar impulse, won’t be.

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