In the winter of 1989, on a windy cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it hit him. Michael was miserably depressed and had been for nearly his entire 38 years. Looking down at the churning sea, he considered ending his life right there. His only other option was to change it, completely.
Falling into Freedom is the story of the crazy adventures that began after he stepped back from the cliff and set out in search of the wisdom that would set him free.
His first act after he chose life over death was to throw away his old life. Downsized out of his job, he quit looking for a new one; sold his home; and lived for a time in his car. Freed from physical distractions, he reflected on his strict upbringing by salt-of-the-earth parents; his flirtation with academic disaster in high school; and his impulsive decision to escape his perceived worthless life by joining the Army. Adding to this was his devastation after killing human beings in Vietnam; his fall into drug addiction to numb his pain, and the agony of going cold-turkey in a little hut assisted by a wise old woman.
His search began by participating in and leading personal growth seminars testing his relationship to fear. One exercise was a hands-free escape after being pinned down by a five-foot bamboo pole pressed across his neck by two strong men. Witnessing and embracing his will to live, he journeyed into an obscure bookstore and found books that taught him about how to look inwards for more answers.
With this gained wisdom and a daily meditation practice, he learned how to forgive himself for killing others along with his many other misdeeds. He also realized that by not identifying with "self," as a set of physical and mental attributes, he could better understand his relationship to his possessions and personal identifiers like a job title. By letting go of his attachments and aversions to everything, he was able to begin to accept life as it is, not as he interpreted it to be.
The journey leads to an old monastery in England. There, three months of sitting in silence allowed him to lift the veil of illusion and see the world, and life, as it is.