Just watched Felix Baumgartner’s fall from the edge of outer space at the speed of sound into a perfect landing in New Mexico. I didn’t get it. Until I listened to Dr. Michael Gervais, the psychologist specializing in extreme and high-performance sports that Red Bull had pulled in so this could happen.

Michael was there because Felix was freaking out—not from fear of jumping, but from claustrophobia. To jump from such a height and fall at such a speed, Felix needed a pressurized space suit. But stunt artists build their art on their ability to move freely, to retain control of their bodies. The suit wasn’t allowing Felix to do that in any way he’d experienced before. For the first time he could remember, Felix was suffering multiple panic attacks.

Michael looked at Felix and figured he’d become too focused on the suit, not the goal he hoped to reach by wearing it. As Michael said later, in an interview with CBC:

…he had to have a vision. Once there’s a vision in place, for all of us, whether we’re jumping from space, or we want to be a great parent, or whatever it might be, we need to really become very clear with the vision. Once the vision is very clear, it’s difficult to get knocked off balance.

Like the Baal Shem Tov would say, from everything you see or hear, there’s got to be a take-away that shows you how to connect to your Creator. In this case, the take-away was sitting in the open to grab.

You see, I also fell from heaven in a spacesuit.

You see, I also fell from heaven in a pressurized suit. You did, too. We all did. We stood at the cusp of heaven and earth, gazing down upon the entirety of the physical world, perceiving ourselves as a speck in the great vastness of being. And then we jumped.

For our dive, we needed a spacesuit. Felix’s suit prevented his body liquids from becoming gases, moderated his decompression, and protected him from extreme cold and heat. Ours provides our souls a hardware interface to deal with physical reality. It’s called a body.

But we become focused on the spacesuit. Yes, it’s an ingenious spacesuit, custom design for its mission, with its own built-in intelligence, mirrors, and a wide range of flexibility. But it’s clumsy, nonetheless. The body says, “I want this. I need that. I can’t do this. I must do that.” Our entire reality becomes exlusively that of the body and its demands, while the person within, the divine soul that fell from above starts to panic, to lose control, and eventually to fall into comatose.

Take your focus off the spacesuit and direct it to one place only: your inner vision.

So the mentor appears, and he says, “You need a vision. You need to take your focus off the spacesuit and focus on one thing alone. Nothing else exists other than that vision. Hold tight to that vision and you won’t lose your balance. Keep it always before your eyes, and you can accomplish miracles.”

The inner vision, that’s called chochmah, or emunah. They translate that as wisdom and faith, but that says nothing. It’s an innate vision of the soul, a memory of how it stood above, as though it is still standing there, a memory of its mission to bring that heavenly vision down to earth, to discover and reveal the divinity hiding within each thing.

Once awakened, through focused learning, meditation and mindfulness of the miracles around you, that inner vision can harmonize all your emotions, thoughts, words and behavior. In his classic work the Tanya,Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi describes it as a vision, that “in the heavens above and on the earth below, there is nothing else but the Infinite Light.” He tells us to go about life as though this vision is…

…the only mitzvah you have on your shoulders, and that this alone is the whole purpose of your creation, and the creation of all worlds. Then with the power of your soul in your tremendous joy in this belief, you will rise far above all obstacles, those from outside of you, and those from within you.

With enough faith in your vision, you could look down at planet earth before you and jump out of your capsule to embrace it. Sure, you have a team of scientists monitoring your dive, seven years of preparation beforehand, and you better stay aware of what that spacesuit is telling you. You need intelligent vision. But all the intelligence, all the training and all the technology is futile without the vision.

A while back, I wrote a KabbalaToon about sky diving. I used the term “staying calm.” But the calm and the vision, they’re really one thing. As I had Rabbi Infinity say there:

…with skydiving I am calm because there is a parachute. With life, there is a parachute because I stayed calm.

If I would rewrite that KToon today, I would say that the vision itself creates its own parachute. If you have a vision, and you can hold on to that vision, you have power. Because then, every moment of your day, every fiber of your body, every thought, speech and action is conducted in harmony by that vision.

Michael continued:

When he did get knocked off balance, well, we had trained very specifically to take control of his mind by becoming aware of his thoughts. Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can guide them to very powerful places.

That’s what most of Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s Tanya is about: controlling your mind, so that it lifts you up and guides you to powerful places. Especially to the place you originally set out to reach. The place where heaven and earth become one.

Where is that? It’s here, now, waiting for you to see it.