Flight of Icarus

The flight of Icarus is such an inspiring story to me, and like any good story there are many meanings, interpretations, and truth that can be derived from it, id like to share with you some of the truths that the story illustrates to me.

 

For those unfamiliar with the story of Icarus here it is-

 

 

The Fall of Icarus as told by Thomas Bulfinch:
“Daedalus built the labyrinth for 
King Minos, but afterwards lost the favour of the king, and was shut up in a tower. He contrived to make his escape from his prison, but could not leave the island by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all the vessels, and permitted none to sail without being carefully searched. “Minos may control the land and sea,” said Daedalus, “but not the regions of the air. I will try that way.” So he set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He wrought feathers together, beginning with the smallest and adding larger, so as to form an increasing surface. The larger ones he secured with thread and the smaller with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird. Icarus, the boy, stood and looked on, sometimes running to gather up the feathers which the wind had blown away, and then handling the wax and working it over with his fingers, by his play impeding his father in his labours. When at last the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found himself buoyed upward, and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner and taught him how to fly, as a bird tempts her young ones from the lofty nest into the air. When all was prepared for flight he said, “Icarus, my son, I charge you to keep at a moderate height, for if you fly too low the damp will clog your wings, and if too high the heat will melt them. Keep near me and you will be safe.” While he gave him these instructions and fitted the wings to his shoulders, the face of the father was wet with tears, and his hands trembled. He kissed the boy, not knowing that it was for the last time. Then rising on his wings, he flew off, encouraging him to follow, and looked back from his own flight to see how his son managed his wings. As they flew the ploughman stopped his work to gaze, and the shepherd leaned on his staff and watched them, astonished at the sight, and thinking they were gods who could thus cleave the air.
They passed Samos and 
Delos on the left and Lebynthos on the right, when the boy, exulting in his career, began to leave the guidance of his companion and soar upward as if to reach heaven. The nearness of the blazing sun softened the wax which held the feathers together, and they came off. He fluttered with his arms, but no feathers remained to hold the air. While his mouth uttered cries to his father it was submerged in the blue waters of the sea which thenceforth was called by his name. His father cried, “Icarus, Icarus, where are you?” At last he saw the feathers floating on the water, and bitterly lamenting his own arts, he buried the body and called the land Icaria in memory of his child. Daedalus arrived safe in Sicily, where he built a temple to Apollo, and hung up his wings, an offering to the god.”

 

The first truth this story reveals to me is something I’ve spoken much about on this blog already, and that is , staying in the moment and being present. We all have goals, dreams and ambitions, and when these are born from something deeper than you, i believe we should follow them with all our passion, all our love, all our spirit. But the ego can also take over, it can begin to define itself and seek salvation by the achievement of any goal or manifestation of a material possession, it seeks its happiness there and there only, the present moment is reduced to a means to an end at best, and therefor losses all of its magic and beauty. When you are identified with the ego, you believe it to be you, you become someone who is going to ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ sometime in the future and cant be happy now, in the present moment. If you are seeking happiness in some future time, or future event, if you are seeking happiness outside this present moment, you will always be seeking, you may achieve what you want only to feel disillusion and again start seeking again. And there is nothing that you can ever achieve on the material plane that can come even close to defining what you truly are. When you are happy right here , right now, for no reason other than just being, it is here you can see the true beauty of this moment, the true adventure of life. And it is here that your goals and dreams will be born not of this world but of something much deeper, they do not stem form ego needing or wanting, you don’t need them to feel a sense of completeness, you are complete, now that something deeper is expressing through you!

 

As Eckhart Tolle states in his awesome book, A New Earth- Inspiration means- in spirit

 

and enthusiasm comes from the ancient Greek word, enthousiazein, which means ‘ to be possessed by god’

 

Let your dreams flow from inspiration and from intuition.

 

Maybe if Icarus could have kept present kept in the moment and enjoyed the beauty of the flight, he wouldn’t have flew to close to the sun.

 

My next point is maybe at first a seeming paradox, like all truths, but when you feel it, instead of think about it, it is apparent they are one and the same. And that is, living a half life. Never recognising your dreams and going for them no matter what the cost, never willing to say ‘fuck it’ and giving something everything you have got, bound by fear of failure and death, if you never give something your whole effort then its OK if you fail because you weren’t trying your hardest anyway, its a defense mechanism, the good old ego rearing its ugly head once more, terrified of annihilation, and the result is- this life, this adventure is only half lived

 

If you fear failure, if you fear death, then you will never begin to live. If you are following your dreams you will probably at some point meet failure, and you will certainly meet death ( or our misinterpretation there of) so you might as well see that as an adventure anyway. If you can look to failure as a stepping stone, as a way to teach you how to succeed, you will realise the illusion of failure. You must simply hold the faith that everything that happens is leading on the best route, refuse to judge any situation, see the perfection.

 

Whatever it is that is trying to express through you, allow it completely , let it guide you and move you, let it burn within you, let your passion become a raging fire inside, let it take form and take shape through you, have no fear, there is nothing bad that ever happen to. No matter how many times you may fall down on your quest, let your passion pick you back up, just one more time, and proceed- this is warrior spirit!

 

Despite his fathers warning and probably his own knowledge of his death Icarus was still moved to fly higher, to soar, and maybe for that moment however brief of flying to close to the sun, it was worth it all.

 

‘ In a sky full of people only some want to fly isn’t that crazy’- Seal

 

Click on this link to watch the Cirque du Soleil amazing version of The Flight of Icarus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6wGRCFGYF4

 

The artist is Anton Chelnokov

 

The Adventure Awaits……….

 

**This is a republished post from my old blog Brutal Training – Europe**

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