Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Climb

The Climb.
The path keeps snaking upwards. As one throws a glance to the tower at the top, it looks daunting. It fills the mind with doubts, anxiety and apprehension at the thought of the arduous climb. Then, the eyes shift focus to the next step. That's really the only action i can take. The next step. One step follows another, and I quickly decide it's the best policy. Keep the destination at the back of your mind but don't fret by looking at it every now and then. I have trekked the Himalayas in the past and its common experience to feel intimidated by the gradients, the distances and the heights. I inch upwards and my breathing gets harsher and more laborious. After about 15 minutes, i take a halt for a reprieve and turn around. I'm pleasantly surprised at the height and distance I've gained.  Its then that i restrain myself from throwing a glance to the tower. I tell myself I'm  not giving in to that temptation. All i need to focus on is the next step. The crucial next step - the only way to get to where i want to. As the Sun ascends over the horizon, the landscape takes on a golden hue. I quickly realise that my obsession with the tower and the top make me oblivious of the absolutely beautiful crimson,  orange, golden shades. Why should i let thoughts about reaching the top vitiate the present moment that's  generously splurging  with such  picturesque, breathtaking views? I decide to savour the beauty of the moment. I feel rather sad that i might have lost out on the poignancy of so many priceless moments in the past, merely because of my obsession to reach an undefined destination. So pathetic. I'm back on the job and joy of taking the next step and as I'm contemplating and admiring the bounties that abound, another trekker goes past rather effortlessly. I feel stressed. Am i not as capable and efficient?
The comparison rankles. How many moments of my life have i wasted in being harsh and judgemental about myself in light of another mortal who harbours similar anxieties, fears and insecurities? Such a tragic waste of time and effort. I realise that i will take the next step only when i want and not because someone is striding ahead. The objective of my effort is a very personal journey into nature as also to discover myself.  I run out of breath again but this time, I'm on more solid ground with a new found realisation. I take a few lungfulls of deep breaths and back to the grind of the next step. And then just as i look upwards to see the march of the sun, i realize I'm within striking distance of the top.
As i approach the summit, i realise that i should never waste any energy in thinking about the summit. The destination should never intimidate, but merely beckon. The destination is what i decide. It might as well be the next step. Then the final destination will become merely a consequence and not the objective of the next step.  I just need to focus on taking the next step, but simultaneously never forget to absorb the beauty of the journey and the landscape. The next step is as much if not more important than the destination. The objective is to enjoy the journey. The destination is just consequential.

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