Do you have no fear at all while parachuting?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If one has understood the emptiness of mind, one becomes fearless. Emptiness and fearlessness are inseparable. My parachuting accident benefitted me a lot because it gave me the chance to confirm that I really have no fear. It affirmed that I don’t just talk about something and stay superficial. I have checked it out and it is true.

Once one has had such an experience, one gets some distance from many things that simply don’t matter. Many beliefs and concepts become obsolete—one just doesn’t need them anymore. This is the most important part of becoming fearless.

If we go beyond our limits while, for example, riding a motorcycle, can’t we also confuse this with carelessness?

Lama Ole’s answer:

It’s like this: if you fly out of the curve, you were too fast, and if you don’t fly out, you were too slow. There is a fine line in between, depending on what you like and the quality of your tires. When the motorcycle, the road, and the driver come together as a natural totality, then everything works by itself.

But you should steer clear of such a situation if you’re not resting in your center. Don’t try to prove something hotheadedly—that always goes wrong and is really reckless.

Is it true that we gain more power if we go beyond our limits again and again?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If you only do the number of chin-ups you can do easily, then you keep the muscles you already have. But to let your muscles grow, you have to do the couple of extra chin-ups at the end of the workout that hurt and are difficult.

Wherever we go beyond our limits, new space and freedom arises. Life can be compared to a rubber band: if it is never used, then one day it simply gets weak and breaks. But if one uses it again and again, then it stays pliable and useful. This means that it is good to give up one’s old habits and time and again go a little bit further than before. We should do this by trusting in space and in our own possibilities—never as an escapist reaction. This way we expand our potential—our life always stays fresh and new things can appear.

Going beyond our limits from time to time is clearly meaningful, but how do we make sure we don’t go too far?

Lama Ole’s answer:

My advice is to use common sense. Step by step one can go further and at the same time do more for others. Occasionally, we should go beyond our limits, because this creates more space in our mind and is very joyful. But one should still be cautious when doing so.

Once your motivation is pure—meaning, as soon as you work solely for others—then the buddhas think of you and you are protected. You do everything for others and the others do everything for you. I don’t even think about whether something is dangerous anymore. If one just works in open space and does what the moment requires, then everything glistens, everything is full of joy and happens here and now.

I have had a lot of fun in physically risky activities, but after several accidents I am not sure whether I should continue or rather hold myself back a bit.

Lama Ole’s answer:

In Buddhism, there is the expression, “precious human body.” Our body is precious because it enables us to develop, learn, and experience things. I advise you to remain within your limits at the beginning. Then, when there’s a clear blue sky, you might enjoy a tandem skydive jump, where you have an instructor on your back who pulls the cord for you so nothing dangerous can happen. From time to time, you might allow yourself such an adrenaline rush. All things considered, we should be careful about what we do, because it is better to be able to jump around happily than to meditate in a wheelchair.

My advice is actually a bit more conservative than my behavior, I have to admit. A few days per year, I get on a fast motorcycle and go riding with some friends. Or sometimes, I go skydiving or bungee jumping. Although I am always convinced that I’m in control of the motorcycle or the situation, there are moments when I go into a skid, which is quite dangerous.

Once I went into a serious high-speed skid on a wet street with a heavy, four-cylinder BMW. Then suddenly, I felt as if I were being held by a thousand arms and I was back on track again. Alone I never would have been able to hold that heavy machine. In that case, the buddhas controlled the bike better than I could. I always know things will work out and I trust in space. I am happy when something like that happens, but at the same time it is a bit embarrassing.