Several people over the years have asked me if I meditate (as training for hard and bold climbing). I always used to say ‘no, I don’t think so’. I certainly didn’t sit down in a field and deliberately try to meditate. But more recently when I was asked again I knew the answer. Yes, I do. But I do not meditate, and then go climbing. The climbing is the meditation. I didn’t realise it for a long time.
A lot of people will squirm at the sight of the word meditation. It carries a lot of hippy connotations and seems pretty far from most peoples every day lives, including their sport. But, like other words I commonly deal with like ‘training’ or ‘risk’, it’s the baggage that we’ve attached to the word that seems weird or uncomfortable. The activity itself is quite simply to focus the mind.
It takes a lot of effort to get a true meditative experience, whether it’s by finding the time to sit still and managing the shrug off all the noise that modern life throws at us, or having a really pure, highly concentrated effort on a climb. I really think that you get what you put in here.
I think that sports in general could be a lot more rewarding as activities and especially as therapy to recover from the shit we have to go through in ‘real life’ if this coupling of meditation and sport was better recognised, and people were better at tapping into it.
Note to self: think about this more for coaching climbing...