Mountains As Metaphor - BodyMind Institute

Mountains As Metaphor

By Chris Thomson | Spirituality

May 20

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

Leading others

Harder rock climbing

Alpine 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.

About the Author

Chris Thomson is a Scot with an unusual background and breadth of experience. In the early part of his life, he worked as an economist at the Bank of England, as a researcher in “scientific Chinese”, and as a lawyer in Scotland specializing in advocacy and human rights. In the mid-80s he was appointed Chair of the Natural Medicines Commission in the UK, and found himself immersed in the very different world of alternative and complementary medicine. From this, it was a fairly natural step to train as a psychotherapist in London, and to become fascinated by all aspects of personal development. Chris’ main focus these days is “conscious evolution”, which he defines as “working on yourself, to get as close as possible to your full potential.” He is particularly interested in the evolution of our consciousness, our character and our capacities. All his courses reflect this, as does his recent book “Full Spectrum Intelligence”.