Climbing a mountain is not just a physical challenge, it is also a mental and emotional one. Often times when I find myself going uphill on a long stretch, I have the words that Robert M Pirsig wrote in “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” echo in my head:
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.
Those few sentences to me are the essence of doing something hard outdoors. That balance between the impatience to get “there” and our physical limitations has always been exciting, a line to play with all the time. So many times the urge to just go for it is overwhelming and if physically possible, very tempting – but it should be avoided. Equilibrium in nature is a necessity: between risk taking and safety, between fun and dull sluggish moments, between hot and cold, we should always aim to find our equilibrium.
Next time you climb a mountain, I hope that Robert Pirsig’s words will help you get to the top in the best way that balances your restlessness and your ability.
Do you have any inspiring words when climbing a mountain? Leave me a comment on how you climb a mountain.