By Chris Thomson, Faculty Member with the BodyMind Institute
Mountains are a wonderful metaphor for the challenges we encounter in life, and for the way we meet them. They are also a metaphor for the many opportunities and possibilities that come our way, and for the way we take advantage of them. When we climb mountains, we sometimes have to face our deepest fears and find ways of overcoming them. In doing so, we get to know ourselves better, but we also learn more about our potential – what we could do, if we really put our mind to it.
On mountains, we have to learn new skills and new knowledge, to be able to move safely and enjoyable. For example, we have to learn to “read the terrain”, just as we have to be able to understand what’s happening in the world around us. And we have to learn to cooperate with, and trust, others, because on the mountains our lives sometimes depend on it. On mountains, we see “new horizons” and new “summits”, and we are able to look at the world from “new viewpoints”, enabling to see completely new things or to understand things as we have never understood them before.
It’s fascinating, and it can be very useful, to compare progress in the mountaineering with progress in life
A Progress in Mountaineering
Walking the easy hills
Basic navigation and safety
Walking the bigger hills
Walking in winter
Simple rock climbing
Basic snow and ice climbing
Harder rock climbing
World’s biggest mountains
Leading major expeditions
A Progress in Life
Pleasure, curiosity and decision to continue with this activity
Learning the basic rules of life – good manners, what’s right and what’s wrong
Recognising that there could be much more to life than you had imagined
Your first exposure to a very different experience. You will go further only if you are serious
Learning how to use your time and energy economically and safely
You recognise the importance of maintaining your mental, emotional and physical health
More awareness of who you are and who others are. You now have enough knowledge and experience to teach a few things
Greater self-knowledge and self-confidence. You are preparing yourself for more challenging things ahead
Integrating all your skills and experience. You are now able to see things from higher viewpoints.
Greater risks, but greater rewards. You need all your skills and wisdom
You now lead and teach at a much deeper level. You are ready for major responsibility.