CHALLENGE THE MIND
“Imagine that someone is putting a wide board on the floor and asking you to walk across the room on the board balancing.
Do you stop to think about it? Probably not. The task is not so difficult.
Then she asks you to take that same board and place it on a ravine 50 meters deep, and to cross it in the same way as before.
How do you react now? You probably refuse.
What is the difference between the two situations? The difference is that your expectations about what will happen have changed. In the first case you will think: “How easy!” And in the second: “It is very dangerous! I’m going to fall! ”
Although the table remains the same, you now consider it as a problem. Your negative expectations overshadow the positive ones. If in the end you dare to try it, the risk that you run of falling is infinitely greater if the board is located on a ravine 50 meters deep than on the ground. ” – Taken from the Mental Training book by Lars-Erich Unestahl and Maria Paijkull.
Thinking about this topic and validating it with experience, I can conclude that we have not only conscious but also unconscious expectations. While the physical and mental ability to traverse the board is there, external conditions influence more than those abilities when we risk crossing it.
For the past summer solstice, my husband and I were on a hike in the mountains and we planned to do a ferrata that day. We decided on a medium-level one, since I hadn’t done one in a long time. When I first did one of these ferratas, yes, it was a mental and physical challenge, but it was a basic level ferrata and I quickly learned how to ride the carbines. This time, we were at a higher altitude and I was aware of how safe I was with the equipment and with the place we chose. However my unconscious mind decided otherwise. For my mind there was only the precipice, the height, the risk and the danger. I consciously repeated to myself that I was secure, and that was how I managed to win battles and enjoy the moment. Until I couldn’t take a step. The point I had to step on was very high, my legs did not reach it and I was stuck looking for a solution. My unconscious mind then took power to see itself winning with its warnings and there my body no longer responded to my instructions. Its power was such that even though my husband was helping me to take the step, I could not even lift my leg. I panicked. He consciously knew what was going on. I had allowed fear to take hold of me and my body even though I was aware that there was no danger. And now I don’t remember exactly what my husband said to me at that moment, something like waiting at that point until I calmed down, but at that moment seeing myself hanging from the carbines the only idea of waiting, even with a dreamy landscape, filled me with anger . I took the step with the help of my husband and continued the climb amid screaming, tears and anger. I heard my husband speak to me but I was in my own internal struggle and I didn’t know what he was saying to me. Finally I arrived at one of the rest points and I relaxed, I cried, I hugged the first tree that I found and already calmer I observed the landscape and everything that had climbed up to that moment. My husband arrived after me to the resting point and hug me and when I asked him what he was saying, he just answered me: “You are doing very well, that’s right.”
I continued the ferrata until the end, happy for having achieved it, happy for the lived experience and happy surrounded by an indescribable landscape. I was left with the task of reflecting on that moment and I just came across the mental training book. Yes, it doesn’t matter if I am capable or not. Of course I am capable. What matters is how much I allow myself to be influenced by preconceived ideas and by ill-founded or obsolete beliefs. What matters is recognizing that in that moment of fear, it is just that: fear. It does not mean that it is real. And there to make the decision to continue advancing. And there in that moment of reflection I was able to say, yes, it was easier than expected, because I recognized each moment consciously and consciously I was making decisions. I decided to focus on the external conditions that I had in my favor and not those that my mind supposedly told me I had against.
Thus, they gained not only the certainty that I was wearing safe equipment but the confidence in my abilities and in love, manifested in my husband’s patience.
I am left with the desire to make more ferratas, not only for the mental training it involves, but for the pleasure of feeling nature in a totally different way.
May this solar eclipse of July 2 show us through the darkness our potential for enlightenment in order to continue illuminating what corresponds and exceeding limits.
So it is and it is done.