Saturday, April 02, 2011

Climbing Mountains

To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one foot in front of the other. Both breathe in and out at the same rate. Both stop when tired. Both go forward when rested. But what a difference! The ego-climber is like an instrument that's out of adjustment. He puts his foot down an instant too soon or too late. He's likely to miss a beautiful passage of sunlight through the trees. He goes on when the sloppiness of his step shows he's tired. He rests at odd times. He looks up at the trail trying to see what's ahead even when he knows what's ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He's here but he's not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be further up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be "here". What he's looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn't want that because it is all around him. Every step's an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig


perl hacker said...

I really enjoyed that book. Might be time for a re-read... As with most books (but esp. that one) you walk away with something different to ponder every time you visit.

Jenn said...

Every line gives so much food for thought. Sometimes I just have to stop and breathe and try to assimilate some of this stuff.

It's my first reading, so there...