September 28

The Bottom of the Mountain

September 28, 2015

Personal Growth

A great many people begin the journey of Real Love. They find that the principles make sense. What they learn is intriguing, offering solutions never before contemplated to problems that have smothered any potential joy for decades. It’s like they open their eyes for the first time, seeing beautiful landscapes they’d never before seen—mountains, valleys, rivers, skies, and more.

And then they begin to climb from the lowest valley up the side of the nearest foothills, toward the snow-capped peaks far beyond. The first few steps are exhilarating, offering exertions and views they’ve never known.

But then so many people stop and slide back down the hill, resting firmly—often permanently—on the valley floor, often covered in the mud resting there. Why does this happen?

Most people have only experienced slogging through the mud of the valley, moving forward at times, but never upward. They move, but they make no real progress. Those first few steps upward are exciting, but they’re also frightening. In emotional terms, they’re taking in the first few breaths of joy, and while that’s fulfilling beyond description, it’s also frightening.

Frightening? How could joy be frightening? Because the only thing worse than never knowing joy is to find it and lose it. Better to stay crawling in the mud, we might reason, than to risk the climb and then to fall down the mountain and break bones along the way. Better boring than bloody, so to speak. Better safe than considering the possibility of having your heart torn from your chest.

Moreover, people are accustomed to the mud. The higher they climb, the less familiar they are with the heights, which can seem dizzying even in the first few steps. So the heights alone can be frightening, even without a fall.

What’s the solution to these fears? We have to make a decision. Are we content to simply survive, crawling in the muddy ravine at the bottom of the mountain, or do we really want to live? We have to answer that question before we can move on.

If we want to live—to thrive, to suck in entire lungs full of joy—then risk is the only way to achieve that. We have to choose the risks, which means facing all our fears, and keep taking the next single step forward—without knowing what will happen.

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