Practice as a Journey: The Mountain Metaphor

Posted on June 29, 2013 by

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Mountain MetphorOur experience in life is like climbing a mountain range. At some points, we’re at basecamp, at some points we’re on the road, and at some points we’re on the peak. Most of the time, we’re in the middle — sitting on the side of the mountain somewhere.

It is so easy to look below us and see where we’ve been — celebrate it, laugh at it, mock it, notice it, learn from it, wish for it — whatever it is… It is so easy to just focus on that place where we were. Similarly, it is so easy to focus on climbing the mountain and getting to the peak — “I will only be when I have gotten to .”

But life isn’t really like that. You get to the peak, you look around and you realize how beautiful it is. And then you realize there’s another mountain. Do you stay on the peak? No way. You move on and climb another in the range, or maybe move on to the different mountain range altogether.

Yet when you’re on the mountain looking up at the peak, it is sooooo easy to just focus on, “I need to get there.”

In my experience, when we focus on either the bottom of the mountain — where we’ve been, the past — and the top of the mountain — where we’re going, the future — we miss out on the fullness of our experience.

I believe life’s journey is about being with the fullness of the experience by concurrently holding all of ‘where we have been’ and all of ‘where we want to go’ while fully enjoying this moment of travelling from one to the other. It is about flowing through all the sensations that arise when we think of the past and future and being in the sensations those thoughts generate now. It is about owning what we have been and what we want to be and recognizing the actuality of the now. It is about containing within us all of the mystery and majesty of the unknown while also recognizing what is known.

Originally published by March, 2009. 

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