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Thoughtful Thursday#7: Climbing, Meditation, & Contemplation

Posted Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thoughtful TH#7: Just back from some time in retreat.

I hesitated to post this, as A) announcing you meditate has a kind of air of pompousness to it and B) it could be seen as having nothing to do with climbing. But, I decided that both of those hesitations were all the more reason to post.

Regarding A: I admittedly post all the time about climbing things I do. It's because I want to get people motivated to get out there, to stay active, to challenge themselves, to help them believe they can do it to, to get after it. I believe that is one of the positive aspects of social media that doesn't get heralded much: What often gets derided as FOMO can have a positive effect, motivating people to decide they don't want to miss out—or framed more positively, that they want to live life more fully. Why should I feel any different about posting about meditation? If nobody posts about meditation, it maintains a kind of pompous air to it. If people post, it becomes more a part of the common conversation, more everyday, more accessible, more ordinary. Meditation should be all of that. I hope this post helps to make it so.

Regarding B: I climb for many reasons: I love the logistics of the planning, the butterflies of anticipation, the thrill of the actual climb, the feeling of accomplishment and relaxation that follows. As with any thrill, it can have an addictive aspect to it. It becomes easy to allot any spare moment to climbing and to devote any spare thought to thinking about the next fix. This can come at the expense of the present. Ultimately, though, the present is all we've got. So, just as I train to climb, I feel it worthwhile to train to be present. The empires we create in climbing, magnificent though they are, will crumble. Someday, my rack will gather dust, the crampons will rust, and the cord I'm tied into life with will we running short. The more present I was throughout the climb, the more present I'll be for the summit.


TTH is meant as a counterweight (but not a criticism of) the oh-so-popular climbing Tech Tuesday posts. See my Sept 5th post for background.