We are somewhere behind them, our vantage point two hundred meters above and to their right. We are hiding within a small grove of fir trees with tired branches all droopy with their burdens of snow. The Instructor has his back to a sheer cliff face and is quietly talking to about five others, his arms gesturing this way and that, with around a thousand metres of bounce and screaming plummet below them. We had come up the mountain to check out reports of strange activity by a group of extreme sports enthusiasts and hadn’t expected to hit the jackpot such as we had.
The Instructor was elusive and notorious and cloaked in an alluring mysticism. He was classically handsome, tall with dark hair and the kind of charisma which history has proven can either work miracles or create a shit-storm of imbalance and suffering. He had recently come back from India and Tibet where he had studied with several renowned masters for a decade or more. There was mention of wild, esoteric practices which culminated at death in ‘Rainbow Bodies’-a rare feat attesting to the practitioner's high, enlightened state. Second to this, but still indicative of a an advanced Yogi, was when the corpse shrunk to the size of a small child, or even to the extent only hair and teeth remained to testify to a once corporeal existence. Some sources invoked Milarepa, saying the instructor had been invited into the elite ranks of his current lineage.
Milarepa was a tenth century Tibetan Mystic who, after renouncing a life as a Black Magician, achieved such a level of otherworldly enlightenment he was commonly seen by villagers flying around the snow capped mountains, sometimes in tandem with his beautiful and equally adept consort, ‘The Sky Dancer.’ When the instructor returned he opened a meditation centre and imparted a teaching he called ‘Falling Upwards.’
The gist of it from what I can tell, is that the only thing which stops us from ‘flying’ metaphorically and, in the advanced stages literally, is our erroneous beliefs regarding the nature of our ‘True Being.’ Who we really are-Eternal, Weightless, Omniscient Spirit-both composes the substance of matter whilst remaining ever free and independent from it. Falling upwards is the recognition of this and, according to The Instructor, a process of Deep Surrender which blesses every moment with Presence and a Yielding, Openness of Heart.
I am a simple, easy going cop and one blessed with a beautiful wife and two great kids. I am old school which means I can eat five donuts at a time and drink you under the table and take orders without questions and, yeah, I’d willingly take a bullet for my chief, or any one of my brothers or sisters on the force.
I know...a bit cliche'd, right? But true enough, anyway. I guess what I am saying is this guy impressed me.
In almost twenty years as a cop I have seen more death and destruction than I care to remember; gruesome accidents and domestic shootings and stabbings and terrible fires and the like and most of it gets pushed deep down and covered over by regular card nights spent tipping the whisky…and to be honest I don’t need that excuse anymore and for sometime I am carrying a flask of vodka and lime juice around to keep things nice and jolly with the odd nip or two.
So when this guy came along I took an interest-watching him on community t.v. speaking to halls packed with wide-eyed people and he lit me up with his words and the calm and gentle way about him. If that’s all he ever did and he hadn’t ventured into all this ‘falling upwards’ stuff with the weird spheres, I wouldn’t have been placed in this situation knowing I might have to arrest the guy-with due force if it came to that. And something inside me felt sick and repulsed by the idea.
Like, who wants to shoot Jesus?
But I am a career cop, first and foremost and The Instructor was breaking any number of health and safety regulations as he enticed his followers into these fleshy bubble contraptions and rolled them off steep inclines and precipices. He had attracted some attention from the law-including the F.B.I-but to date he remained free as a bird with no conclusive evidence to convict him of any serious crimes.
At first it was novel and the only notoriety he received was from appearances on the local news slotted in after the weather and near the end where the cute animal stories usually appeared. Then, during its trial days, the sphere’s were intriguing and were filmed rolling gently down grassy slopes as well as the odd, beginners ski range.
In the talks I heard him give he never mentioned the 'Falloons' or ‘Light Spheres’ as he called them. At first he only spoke about Love and Peace and the usual stuff these guys roll out as they herd up a congregation of suckers and poor, suffering fools. Later he spoke about the human nervous system and how to release traumatic contractions in the muscles and body in general. When a steady inward focus lit up areas of dark tension within the mind and body, energies trapped for eons came home into the light and were freed leaving a more refined physical and auric body. It was an alchemic process, he said, where presence contacts the dross of matter, transmuting it back into the pure, golden light of consciousness.
There was always something enigmatic about The Instructor and rumours abounded of him disappearing from view and suddenly reappearing again within locked rooms; or levitating with a softly lit hum within full view of a room full of people. Although he was said to have an inner circle of elite students, he went to pains to instruct whoever felt drawn to him and was hiring increasingly larger halls to accomodate this need. He was gentle, peaceful, charming and yet so powerful if you looked too long into his eyes you felt like a big semi was rumbling towards you on a tight, dark road with the big, bright lights and waves of earth shaking energy.
Or so I've been told!
These were the things which, as we were about to run out into the open and possibly shoot the guy, crossed my mind in slow, frowning disapproval. I look across at my chief, his face a mask of relaxed concentration, deep in the zone like an athlete awaiting the gun’s sharp report.
‘Chief’ I whisper, ‘let’s go!’
‘Wait’, murmurs the chief, wait…’
I look for that little tell the chief has when he is about to order us into action; the faintest trace of a smile comes across his face and his eyes flip up and out like a horse whipped into a lurching stride. He was older than me, in his late forties, and given to outbreaks of tubbiness. He hated this sort of field work and as I regarded him I couldn’t help smiling with a great, brotherly affection.
‘Goooo!!’ he yells and the two of us begin to run in cartoon slowness towards the instructor and his group; despite wearing snowshoes our feet and ankles disappear into the soft, heavy powder. We'd talked about this and the chief said if he or others got into a Falloon we were to shoot, but only at the instructor and wide to his right so as to avoid hitting him or those clumped to his left. The chief hoped this would spook them long enough so we could stumble forward and get to them in time.
‘Stop’ I yelled, ‘police.’
The instructor looked up at us and said something to the group. It came out later he said casually, ‘okay, there are four Falloons and six of us. One is mine and so may I suggest…’ at this point we could see him pointing at the group, ‘Brad, Linda and Kim perhaps?’
What we saw was, with one hundred metres to go, Brad, Linda and Kim getting into their Falloons as the remaining two ran away to the left where the mountain sloped gently down to a thicket of pine trees. The instructor, poised to enter the unusual craft, calmly watched us approaching like we were part of a children’s game of hide and seek or tag the rabbit.
‘Stop Police’, yelled the chief, ‘or we will fire!’
Three more laborious steps and the chief let a whizzing bullet go just to the left of The Instructor.
‘To the right, chief’ I yelled, ‘remember?’
‘Shit’ muttered the chief as he puffed and heaved his way forward. We were now only fifty metres away from the instructor and his Falloon. The others were within theirs and adhered to their seats presumably awaiting The Instructor to do the same. The Instructor leant against his Falloon and casually gazed up with a beaming smile towards the blue sky as if in appreciative measure of its endless possibilities.
We were close now and I could see the spheres in some detail; they throbbed and sweated and glowed in the sun like living things; they seemed to breath and tremble slightly with a hard to describe vibrancy. The crafts-if you could call them that-were designed to withstand the extreme violence of very high drops and descents. They literally bounced down mountains, ping-ponging off huge rock walls and cliff faces and flying high through the air as they bounced and rebounded this way and that.
I have seen footage of The Instructor ride one down a steep, dry river bed from about fifteen hundred metres up. He was laughing and slapping his thigh like he were riding a huge bull in a rodeo. I watched amazed as the central 'cockpit' sphere remained suspended in a motionless freeze while the two outer balls rolled in a smooth ballet of synchronic, alternating rotations.
We discovered later during an autopsy of a Falloon, that they were made of hi-tech, state of the art material which The Instructor designed and produced with the help of two of his friends-one a scientist specialising in nano-technology, and the other a famous engineer.
The material was soft, skin like and yet virtually puncture proof when inflated. The Instructor outsourced the construction of the Falloons via tech savvy geniuses he found on the web. The Falloons were based on the concept of ‘Chinese dolls’ and consisted of three balls of descending size with the smallest in the centre housing a clear, see through chair which held the occupant firmly to it with three interlocking straps of the same material. The seat was seamlessly joined to the floor of the inner bubble which was designed to remain still while the outer two moved in opposite directions as the force of impact was absorbed and nullified. The sphere’s entrance was sealed from the inside by the press of the second remote button-imagine if a flap of translucent skin could be welded shut-but silently and minus all the heat and sparks, that’s what it looks like. The outer ball then lifted to its optimal expansion and gave a small, quivering jolt when the process was completed.
We were close now-around thirty metres or so-when the instructor gave a small gesture of his hand and the three Falloons began to roll slowly forward towards the precipice. A wind had picked up and snow dust swirled around the spheres as, one by one, they sort of floated like hovercrafts buoyed by light towards the mountains edge.
‘Stop’ we yelled together, ‘or we WILL SHOOT!’
As the three spheres rolled casually down towards the plunging drop, I got a good look at the occupants and they were grinning like they were at the inching, clattering beginnings of a wild roller coaster ride. Then, as the spheres disappeared quietly over the edge, The Instructor gave his Falloon a slight nudge with the back of his heal, sending it into a slow, powdery spin in the same, terminal direction. He then performed a slick, backwards moon-dance before saluting, about facing and running towards the vast horizon of cold, blue sky into which he joyfully soared before dissapearing down, down into the stark abyss of emptiness and bright, snow reflected light.
As he began to run the chief raised his gun but I put my hand across his arm and lowered it towards the ground. The chief gave me a look but I placed my hand on the middle of his back and just shook my head, my eyes damp with exertion and emotion. The strange thought occurred to me that all these guys were doing was just having a little fun.
When He reappeared seconds later, hovering in full lotus and gifting us with a look of such Unconditional Love…the chief, never a man given to piety, collapsed to his knees in the wet snow and prayed like falling upwards was the most holy and blessed thing one could ever aspire to do.