top of page
  • Writer's pictureJesse Mahan

Mount Consciousness

From the mountaintop we often find ourselves reflecting on our journeys in the state of clairvoyance created by the thinner air at the top. Our heads lighter, our feet resting, the weight of our packs on the grass beneath us; despite the difficulty of the journey that brought us here we have trouble resurfacing the traumas and tribulations along the way with the same intensity that we felt them in the moment. It’s undeniable, everything is better at the top.

I have gone the majority of my life anxiously awaiting my moments at the top so that I could look back and cast a shadow on the pain that got me there. Like the lines on a cardiograph, I needed those frequent peaks to feel alive. I held on tightly to the idea that life was going to get better someday, that at some point if I had put in enough time on the trail my journey would end at the top of a mountain so grand that I would never have to come down.

Then, one day, at the base of a mountain, I met a young man whose backpack strap had broken. He was smiling and laughing. Curiously, I walked up and asked him what was going on. The young man replied with a smile that in overcoming an obstacle on the trail, his pack had broken. Confused, I asked what about the situation could cause such joy and laughter, to which he replied,

“This will make the moment sweeter once I get to the top.”

Suffering is inevitable in life, but we are left to our own devices in how we process and live with that suffering. I am brought back to the teachings of the Tao Te Ching on the duality of life, that we cannot have the ups without downs, the highs without lows, or light without dark. It is the ugliness in life that defines the beauty. Mindfulness and presence on the trail allow us to feel with intensity the life that we are living at all stages—the ups, downs, and the obstacles along the way—and allows us to find the beauty in each. From this mindfulness, I have come to cherish the obstacles in life that make up my journey; from the sleepless nights with my son to the longest of days at work, I can appreciate that these are all parts of a greater sum that must be earned. A life worth living.

Now, at the base of each mountain, I reflect on each of the journeys and the mountains before, and in the most difficult of times I cherish my presence in the moment and the blessing that I am able to still move forward.

66 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page