For most people, when we say “meditation”, we think of sitting very still, in a quiet place, cross legged, with some sort of intention in clearing our mind and observing our thoughts. Maybe we focus on the breath or chant OM or listen to some beautiful music. Although these are imperative and wonderful practices, it can be greatly challenging for many people to sit still and find any space between that seemingly never-ending stream of thoughts.
I have often experienced this frustration of “so many thoughts”… the monkey mind dancing all over the place. I sit to meditate and that little apelike creature starts doing all kinds of flips, and pulls out a bunch of other monkey friends from its barrel to play in my head creating all kinds of a mess. Before I know it, I have a whole family spinning thoughts through my meditation.
So what to do?
I say… “Take a breath and let this monkey mind do what monkeys do best….send it for a climb up a giant rock face!”
Climbing can be one of the greatest practices to experience the clarity of meditation. It can be a place where one lives in a powerful state of presence, thoughtlessness, and focus. When a person is hundreds of feet up in the air, gripping the rock, unsure where to go or what comes next…. thinking about anything but that moment is simply not an option. Emotions or fear may attempt to creep through, but the awareness watches, learns, and allows it pass with the next move, the next breath, ascending a little bit higher on the rock, and within oneself.
Rock climbing as Yoga
Rock climbing can be a powerfully transformational form of Yoga. Yoga literally means union. It is not about the physical postures, but about moving within and experiencing oneness between the physical, mental, and spiritual. It is finding the flow that pulsates within us, and all of creation. In climbing, one may quickly experience this unity of mind, body, breath – allowing all aspects to work together in a perfect harmony. If one does not experience this at first, climbing puts each of our obstacles in front of us in a very raw, real way so that we may see them, clear them, and move through them. We have the chance to get outside in nature and experience the beauty of the earth.
In life it is trust and positive intention that allows us to move forth, take risks, evolve, and live in our strength and purpose. As we climb we must learn to trust- trust in the gear, trust in our climbing partner, trust the rock, and most importantly, trust in ourselves. If we doubt any of these aspects, we can clearly see these shadows of doubt in our own minds and discover another hidden part of ourselves. We must sometimes put all of our positive intention into holding on a little longer, or holding on to something we didn’t think possible, or that WE ARE strong enough to do what others may think humanly impossible. We hold that vision of strength and trust for ourselves, because as soon as that “I CAN’T” creeps in, we fall. But with that fall, we may learn, grow and get a little higher next time. We see the world from a new perspective, outside of our normal comfort zone. We see a view that most other people on earth will never see. This also helps us to see our own lives from a “higher perspective”. We may begin to see things differently and create positive changes that are more in alignment with our true selves.
As we experience these lessons of meditation, yoga, trust, intention and new perspective through climbing, we may notice things begin to shift in our daily lives. If we can overcome the challenges of clinging to a rock face with mental equanimity, the difficulties of daily life are more easily dealt with through clarity and presence. If we can experience union of body mind and breath in climbing, we may experience this same union through our daily life, or even more fully in our seated meditations. As we practice this trust, intention and strength up on the rock wall, we may also experience this same focus as we start new projects and move forth in living in our purpose. Rock Climbing can be a powerful catalyst for change in all parts of our lives. So next time that monkey mind begins to climb all around in your head…. Why not head out for a meditation in motion on the Rock wall?
Wanna add some travel too? Check out our Spain Rock Climbing and Yoga Retreat