Flying an airplane can be dangerous, especially for a new pilot. Thousands of feet in the air, all kinds of things can happen, including encountering vertigo and becoming disoriented.
Our own journey is like that, and navigating life can be difficult at times. Things can get confusing, and we can lose track of where we are going.
To stay on course, in flying and life, we have to be careful. Because we can’t trust our senses.
When We Can’t Trust Our Senses
My pastor, Bob Flayhart, spoke about vertigo last Sunday. I often have a hard time not writing about things that Bob says (is that plagiarism?), but this week I couldn’t resist.
He referenced information from Studentpilot.com, which I will use as well:
“Disorientation, or vertigo, is a state of confusion resulting from misleading information sent to the brain. The most difficult adjustment that you must make as you acquire flying skill is a willingness to believe that, under certain conditions, your senses can be wrong. You can overcome the effects of vertigo by relying upon your aircraft’s instruments. Read your instruments! They are the best insurance you will ever have.” (Studentpilot.com)
In my early twenties, one of my best friends got his pilot’s license, and he asked me if I wanted to go flying with him. “Sure,” I said. “Why not, should be fun!” After all, with 360-degree visibility and nothing to run into, what could go wrong?
Luckily, nothing did go wrong. But as the plane banked and turned, climbed and dove, I realized how easy it was to become disoriented. I decided right then that I never wanted to fly an airplane. It seemed much harder–more dangerous–than I had envisioned.
But my friend remained calm even as I got more and more worried. When I asked him how he was dealing with navigating in three dimensions, he explained his secret. He watched his instruments, and that is what helped him stay on course.
Trusting Our Instruments
Pilots suffer from vertigo, and so can we. As we travel through life, it’s easier to become disoriented than we think. Sometimes, we may be suffering from a form of vertigo and not even know it.
It happens when our brain is presented with misleading information.
Our culture sends us bad information all the time through television, movies, and the internet, and our sense of right and wrong can become distorted. Other people may give us the wrong advice, or serve as a bad example. Even our own emotions and instincts can mislead us, directing us toward selfishness, or tricking us with messages that our bad habits are really not so bad.
A simple lesson, but one that can help us travel through life. Whether we use these instruments often now, or not so much, we can all benefit from using them more.
Because vertigo is real, and it can happen to us. And we need to learn to trust our instruments when we can’t trust our senses. They are the best insurance we have.
Question: Do you believe you can trust your senses, or the input from the world around you?
Action: For a month, use prayer and meditation each day to calibrate your sense of direction.