Mountain Ascent

To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. 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 patch of sunlight through the trees. He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even though he knows what’s ahead because he just looked there a few seconds before.

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 want, 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 external and distant.

Robert M. Pirsig ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856 – 1925), Simplon Pass, 1911, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Bequest of James Parmelee) 2014.79.31

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