When we are grasping, clutching, or clinging, whether to an idea, person, situation, political stance, or belief, we may find that our focus becomes very small, limited, and rigid. In this state, we may not be able to see clearly in order to find our way. Instead we may become frustrated and ineffectual.
In college, I spent many days rock climbing and rappelling. I loved it! We were out on the cliffs at least once a week. I remember doing some crazy stunts like hooking into the rope backwards and going down the cliff headfirst. We had no fear most of the time.
I remember the first time I climbed a particularly exposed cliff wall. The cliff looked out over the valley and the Tennessee River. It wasn’t a difficult climb but it felt harder and trickier because it was quite exposed. I felt like I was hanging out there and I was scared. My reaction was to cling to the wall—pressing my body into the rock. The problem was that in grasping and clinging, I could no longer see nor negotiate my next move. I was stuck there.
I was stuck until I relaxed my grip and stopped clinging. I was stuck until I pushed out from the rock a bit so that I could survey my situation more broadly. I was stuck until I realized that the expansiveness was glorious and beautiful, and nothing to be afraid of. At that point, I could see my next handhold. I was able to move beyond the limited perspective of fear and see that there was a way to safely navigate the climb after all.
There was nothing to fear. I was safely tied to the rope. The climb was actually easy. All I had to do was push out enough to see what was before me and make the move that was immediately available to me.
Life is no different. When we stop clinging to stressful thoughts, beliefs, or perspectives, our mind returns to its natural state of clarity. We remember that we are tied safely to the rope of life and we are able to find our next handhold.
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