Transcending the Trail

Class Was in Session During a Hike that Became a Teaching Moment for my Family.

Recently I went on a hike with my family through a beautiful and hilly stretch of woods, up a small mountain leading to a cliff overlooking the valley below. The view from the top is gratifying after a difficult trek through the woodlands, but that’s only the cherry on top for me. The real reward is the journey. Nature has a way of teaching us about our own humanity and the relationships between us, the created order, and the God who created it all. And I love when class is in session!

Being the only experienced hiker in my tribe, I had to push and encourage my family to press on when they felt too tired or uninterested to go on. A good teacher can also be a tough master (am I talking about myself or nature?). But the experience presented a valuable opportunity to teach my children a few things about hiking and—unbeknownst to them—about spirituality and metaphysics.

Mind over matter

Most of the pain associated with physical exertion is in our own heads, not our bodies. If you don’t mind, the pain doesn’t matter. Pain and strain cause the mind to panic, and out of self-preservation, survival, and sheer laziness and slobbery, the panicked mind prompts the will—and the body—to stop the activity that’s causing the panic. It’s often the mind and will that are hurting more than the body. Unless there’s a real physical impediment or disability, the only thing making you stop is yourself—your will and your choice to act against your good intentions. It isn’t your body that fails. The body can usually go on exerting itself long beyond the point at which the mind says, “We have to stop now!”

Enduring physical or spiritual exertion is more about disciplining the mind than conditioning the body and the will… (Continue Reading for Free on Substack)