I’m afraid of flying. Not because I think the plane will crash on take-off or landing, blow-up in mid-air or be hijacked (God forbid), but because of how it so starkly portrays death. I’m heading from Point A to Point B. Things there are different. The climate, the currency and even the language is not exactly the same. The inhabitants there have (very) different values from the ones here.

I know it might sound corny, but even some of the details bring me some death awareness. When I pack, I try to figure out what I need to take and not take anything that’s worthless or can be left behind. I have to make sure that I have my passport and ticket with me so I can get on the flight and through passport control upon arrival. My fellow travelers and I share a common destination, but have different final destinations.

So, all of this brings to mind my upcoming death. (I’m not expecting to be deleted in the near future, mind you, but, hey—you never know.) It should motivate me, but it actually makes me nauseous. But once I get on that plane, I feel better. I think it’s the already “being on the road” commitment, the settled state: done is done.

So, I try, when I can, to remind myself that I’m already “on board” and “on the road.” I’ll get to my final destination, prepared and able to enjoy it (see Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #191).

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  1. Have a nice trip! My Rosh Kollel is very nervous on the plane because the rambam uses “sfinah tzafa b’avir” a ship floating in the air, as an example of a “dimyon”- imaginary impossible thing. But I hear it’s the safest way to travel. 🙂

  2. Just as you mentioned that you have the fear of flying but don’t really, I find that most of the time, fear of flying is really claustrophobia, fear of death, fear of not being in control, fear of separation, fear of the unknown and so much more. It’s the panic of being in crowded airports with possible delays and hassles as well.

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Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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