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Zen and the art of climbing
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sharpend


May 17, 2006, 8:07 AM
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Zen and the art of climbing
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There are many activities where the ultimate goal is to loose the goal itself and in the process lose ego, letting the goal and activity become purposeless. This is the idea of Zen. One activity that I know of that uses this approach is archery. I am not an expert on Zen and art of archery but I know the basic idea. The archer has to loose himself to his bow and arrow and in a sense let the arrow shoot the archer.

I have always had a goal when I climb. Either it has been to get to the top or it has been to challenge myself with harder routes. So it boggles my mind to think of how I could loose my ego when climbing. This idea brought out many questions on the way I climb. How could climbing become purposeless? Could I somehow find an endless wall? But then would I not still have ego and consciousness in wanting to continue to finding my path upward? How could I release myself to the rock? Maybe I have to let the rock climb me.

The last statement was the one that struck me the most. “Maybe I have to let the rock climb me.” Could I in some way release myself to the rock? Could I let the rock control my movements? Is this the way to climbing nirvana?


gogo


May 17, 2006, 8:29 AM
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Re: Zen and the art of climbing [In reply to]
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"How could climbing become purposeless?" - Since when did climbing truly have a purpose?

Zen is an interesting subject and very difficult to really comprehend, because one is not trying to become purposeless, but to reach an enlightened state of mind. The ego should dissolve in this state, with the understanding that everything is interconnected, and there is nothing inherently cut off from the rest of existence. In Zen, a moment of reaching a higher understanding is called satori.

If you are looking for the spiritual meaning of the act of climbing itself, I think its possible to lose ones sense of propriety over ego in hard movement. Its that moment where all focus is aimed at making that one move where you can really lose yourself in the climb.

However, this is only one interpretation. There are many different schools that will interpret things differently. I would suggest you look at the Mountain Monk sect of esoteric Buddhism, who believe one can become a living Buddha through physical ritual (their task involves walking thousands of miles around trails through a mountain, fasting, and upon completion, they are viewed as living Buddhas).



oldrnotboldr


May 17, 2006, 8:33 AM
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Have you read the Warrior's Way yet? Check out the forum for it. There is much discussion on letting go of the ego, not focusing on topping out, and a great learning process. I've been using it now for almost one year and have improved my climbing significantly and smoother movement. I even have my kids working some of the techniques.


shiggetyshiva


May 17, 2006, 8:38 AM
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ditto on the Warrior's Way forum.

i guess recently i've been thinking of climbing in relation to the pushing hands exercise in tai chi, which is all about flow


jv


May 17, 2006, 9:14 AM
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You must read The Climber as Visionary by Doug Robinson, first published in Ascent, the Sierra Club Mountaineering Journal, Vol. 1, Number 3, May 1969. This issue is the one with Waddington on the cover, and Roper's Eleven Domes article about Tuolumne. The Robinson article has probably been reprinted in a couple of anthologies.


Partner hosh


May 17, 2006, 9:39 AM
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In reply to:
Maybe I have to let the rock climb me.

Is this the way to climbing nirvana?

I must be operating on a COMPLETELY different level of consciousness...

hosh.


Partner phaedrus


May 19, 2006, 6:29 AM
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phaedrus moved this thread from General to Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way.


arnoilgner


May 22, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Hello Sharpend
Your questions: How could climbing become purposeless? Could I somehow find an endless wall? But then would I not still have ego and consciousness in wanting to continue to finding my path upward? How could I release myself to the rock? Maybe I have to let the rock climb me.
---------------
Words cannot be used to explain Zen. They are all misleading. Consider what meaning you have for purposeless and ego and consciousness. Also consider the meanings behind "endless wall" and "path upward" and "release myself." These are all tied to specific conceptions you've created in your mind.

Zen is an experience, not and explanation. I'm no expert on it either but what I've been able to grasp so far is that it consists of plenty of zazen to attain enlightenment, which seems to be nothing more than knowing oneself and living more presently with whatever occurs in one's life. Plus, plenty of meditation. Ego separates one from enlightenment and the present moment. Releasing oneself from the ego is probably a step in the Zen direction.

There are two types of goals: end-result and process (learning). You don't need an endless wall if you have process goals. What is your purpose in climbing? Is it getting to the top? Without playing word games, could something purposeless be focusing in the moment, each step of the climb, instead of having attention distracted to the end (the top)? If one is grounded in valuing the learning process everything falls closer into alignment and understanding.

Just some thoughts to consider.
arno


saxfiend


May 24, 2006, 11:30 AM
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In reply to:
Words cannot be used to explain Zen. They are all misleading. [snip] Zen is an experience, not and explanation.
Very true. Most people who haven't been involved in actual Zen practice, even those who've read about it extensively, have concepts about what Zen is that partially or completely miss the target. Having exotic, hip ideas about it is easy and fun; Zen practice is a lot of hard work.

So before trying to figure out what "Zen and the art of climbing" might be, try finding a teacher and practicing zazen (sitting meditation) for a while. It might not make a difference in your climbing, but it couldn't hurt. Or better yet -- forget about Zen, stop thinking so much and climb! :)

JL


dirtineye


May 25, 2006, 7:59 AM
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If you listen to the rock, it will tell you things.

Arno is very, very good at listening to the rock.



If you want to learn, this is a good place to start.


saxfiend


May 25, 2006, 8:44 AM
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In reply to:
If you listen to the rock, it will tell you things.
ROCK: Hey, kid.
DIRTINEYE: Huh?
ROCK: C'mere.
DIRTINEYE: Who, me?
ROCK: Yeah, you. Who else would I be talkin to? C'mover here. I got somethin to tell ya.
DIRTINEYE: Who are you? What do you want?
ROCK: Shaddap and listen.
DIRTINEYE: Okay, sorry.
ROCK: Ya need to pare down yer rack. Get rid of dem big bros. Ya never use em anyway.
DIRTINEYE: But I like my big bros!
ROCK: And the forged friends. I hate dem things!
DIRTINEYE: Well, what do you like?
ROCK: Figure it out! And stop pickin on people who use grigris.
DIRTINEYE: Sheesh . . .
ROCK: And another thing . . .
DIRTINEYE: What?
ROCK: Dat Arno guy?
DIRTINEYE: Yeah?
ROCK: He didn't invent no Rock Warrior's Way. I DID! And I want some damn book royalties!
DIRTINEYE: Well . . . okay . . .
ROCK: Awright, you can go ahead and climb now.
DIRTINEYE: Can you give me any beta for the roof section?
ROCK: STFU, n00b!

:D

JL


dirtineye


May 25, 2006, 11:27 AM
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LOL, JOhn, I'll bet you fart in church too!


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