We tend to think we should split up the world to become more spiritual, like living in a cave in the Himalayas. Let’s go somewhere far from the ordinary world to find our spirit. The same can occur with mental training. We think we should split up the normal climbing we do and start climbing in free-solo, a type of rock climbing that requires an extreme amount of mental focus.
The best training for our spirit or our mind, is to apply to recurring situations that we experience. We become more spiritual dealing with day to day situations; We became stronger mentally dealing with the recurring situations in climbing. Do not create illusions of how situations should be; We practice in the way they are.
For example, I was recently climbing in El Arrayán, near Santiago, Chile with our Spanish coach David Villegas. We were climbing several ways to define which use to teach the workshops. Next to us was a climbing team in a sport of moderate difficulty route. The Guide clipou the first three plates and then climbed by 20 metres to the top without any other clip, while the assegurador gave her rope like the climber was still on security. David and I were curious to know the reason of the climber had done that. Then David asked why there was no climber assegurador protected more. “He’s doing mental training”.
This climber was allowing your mind used a trick of being tied to a rope to lower the stress on free-solo climbing. He also gave the option to clip on a taller if he had really frightened or tired. His mind was motivated to seek the comfort of being tied to a rope and escape the realistic situation of free-solo for he can achieve the goal of being mentally in shape.
This kind of motivation is dangerous and goes against the learning process. The motivation must move toward compromise with the stress and sue us through it. We are motivated to be in stress; We are not motivated by comfort, or escape the stress.
The practice and the reality need to be as similar as possible. What kind of climbing we normally do? Sports or free-solo climb? If sports climbing, then found ways to practice regular situations of this modality. If free-solo climb, then find ways to practice in situations like this. Our motivation in moves within the stress of the experience, and not tricks that keep us comfortable and escaping him.
Sports climbers protect themselves in the plates and are aware of your motivation. Instead of using tricks to circumvent the stress of fall, as speed metal plate, they decrease the speed, allowing the mind to deal with the possibility of falling. They are intentional with how they choose to focus your attention. They practice in realistic areas of sim-fall.
They realize that the mind distracted your attention to hurry the stress and remain committed to decrease the speed. They focus the attention on the breath and relax to be present in the stress, facing your fears and stress. They also engage in the fall because she’s a realistic fact that can occur in rock climbing-drop zones.
Climbers of free-solo climb without rope and are aware of your motivation. Instead of using tricks to circumvent the stress, such as the climber in El Arrayán was doing, they don’t use a rope, allowing the mind to deal with the stress of being far above the ground, facing the possibility of death.
They are intentional in how they choose to focus your attention. They practice in non-realistic drop zones. They notice when the mind distracted attention toward tricks, how to use a rope to escape the stress and undertake to face reality of death. They focus your attention to be in life-threatening situations facing your fears and stress of dies. Doing this helps to clarify your motivation to climb in free-solo. They also practice the necessary de-escalation, because down is a realistic option for climbing in non-fall zones.
In the book Solo Faces, James Salter, two climbers are talking about climbing the Eiger in Switzerland. A climber speaks: “I thought everyone wanted to climb it.” The other responds “they don’t want to climb it, they want to have it scaled”. Want to climb the Eiger ‘ points in the direction of a motivation to engage in stressful experience of climbing a realistic face and dangerous. Want to have climbed the Eiger ‘ points towards the comfort attained once the situation stressful, dangerous experience is over.
If we remove the consequences of our decisions, our motivation changes to achieve goals and be in comfort. Is the total impact of consequence, including death for climbers in free-solo, which clarifies our motivation and realigns for the direction of engaging us on stress and focus on learning. Are we willing to die climbing the Eiger or do free-solo? If Yes, how can we process these stressful experiences in small steps and realistic that we engaged in the stress of actual experience?
One day, when before, our motivation for accomplishing goals will lead to a situation where we have to face reality. We’re taking a shock back to reality, we will be pumped on top of an escalation on the ground, facing death. This situation will provide the opportunity to realign our motivation, to achieve goals and be comfortable to engage the stress and focus on learning, if we survive.
That way, we don’t have to live in a cave in the Himalayas to become more spiritual. We need to practice our spirituality in everyday life situations, like paying attention to how we act in realistic interactions with others and with the ‘ estressadores ‘ of common life. If we don’t do sports climbers free-solo to improve our mental power.
Practice in common situations of sports climbing. Pay attention to the way our minds distracted attention because of the possibility of falling. If we are free-solo climbers, we don’t use a rope. Practice in common situations. Pay attention to the way the mind uses tricks to circumvent the stress of dies.
Being motivated in this way allows us to do a mental training is established in reality. Our motivation is aligned in the direction of live and learn, because we are closer to the reality and consequence of dying. Do not create illusions of how situations should be; We practice in the way they are.
Practice tip: common mental training
What kind of climbing you do normally: traditional sports, boulder or free-solo? What are the typical distractions of attention the sport?
Change your motivation to pursue goals and be comfortable, to engage in a stressful learning. Identify small steps and actions you can take to minimize the distraction of attention.
Doing this will help you to live the experiences that you chose to live.