Advice on Climbing Mountains

From  Altai Fellowship Trekker Alline:

Good Morning All,

When a very sweet young friend heard about my trip to Altai, she gave me a copy of this poem. She’s seen it every day of her life as it’s hanging in her family’s bathroom. She thought it might be good for me too.

And I thought I’d pass it along to you.
with love,
Alline

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 winded, slow down. If you become restless, speed up. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end, but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible even though closer. These are the things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

But of course without the top you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides. So on we go . . .

Robert Pirsig,
from Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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