from Richard Bach "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Livingston-Seagull-Richard-Bach/dp/0380012863
"To fly as fast as thought to anywhere that is now - you begin by knowing that you have already arrived..."
This is the quote that had me pick up the book and threw me into a nonstop reading throughout a two-hour train ride. (Yes, I commute that far twice a week this year!) The book was published more than four decades ago, but has never gone obsolete. After two years since its first publication in 1970, the book reached the top of New York Times Best Seller List for 38 weeks. Here is a part of the book review by Gail Hudson appeared on Amazon.com. "Ultimately this is a fable about the importance of seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe, or neighborhood finds your ambition threatening … By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan gets the ultimate payoff: transcendence. Ultimately, he learns the meaning of love and kindness … this is spirituality classic and an especially engaging parable for adolescents."
According to our reliable as well as economical English language learning tutor that is always available whenever in need with a couple of clicks, Merriam-Webster Online, 'transcendence' is defined as "the quality or state of being transcendent". Well, well, that happens all the time when searching a word in E-E dictionary. Why not go checking ‘transcendent’..... OK, here it goes, folks. "Definition of transcendent"- 1a): exceeding usual limits: SURPASSING 1b): extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience 1c): in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge 2): being beyond comprehension 3): transcending the universe or material existence 4): universally applicable or significant. The above review states that Jonathan obtained something related to definitions in 1b) and 3), or in other words, freedom to be himself, to be the true self anytime anywhere without obstruction or limitation, which is nothing more than my shallow understanding though.
The last words that Jonathan is given by his teacher Chiang after he's mastered how to fly as he wishes are "Keep working on love". Through Chiang's teaching, Jonathan realizes that the spirit cannot be really free without the ability to forgive what seems unforgivable, and this enlightenment leads Jonathan to become a teacher to instruct other seagulls who also want to fly as they wish. Jonathan teaches six young seagulls, and one of whom, Fletcher Seagull, becomes a new teacher eventually. When Jonathan is about to vanish in the air, he gives Fletcher these words, which almost made me burst into tears on train with all the passengers around me. "Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see the way to fly." Isn’t it something to those who are engaged in whatever is called 'education'? I do think so.