Master Shi Heng Yi tells an ancient Shaolin story of a man who lived close to a mountain and every day he thought about what it would be like to climb that mountain and what would he see on its peak. The day finally came in which the man would set out on his journey to reach the top of the mountain. He arrived at the foot of the mountain to meet a traveler who was descending from the top of the mountain and asked, “How did you get to the top of the mountain and what did you see from the top?” So the traveler shared his path and also the view he saw. However, the man thought the path that the traveler took was too difficult and exhausting, so he decided to find another path to take to get to the top of the mountain. He continued to walk on the foot of the mountain until he found another traveler to ask what path they took and what did they see and once again he asked, “How did you get to the top of the mountain and what did you see?” Again, the traveler shared his path up the mountain and what he saw standing on the peak. Confused about which path to take and how to go, the man decided to ask 30 more travelers and got 30 more answers to his questions. After talking to all the travelers, the man finally decided… “now that I have heard all of the stories on which path to take and hat I will see, I no longer feel the need to go up the mountain myself.”
Since completing a 30-mile run, my next goal was to run 50 miles. However, I didn’t know where to start. So, I being to investigate how others have accomplished such amazing feats of endurance. I researched how professional runners trained, what they ate, and incorporated their running regimen into my routine. Along the way, I discovered many roadblocks that hindered my success. I was beginning to be overtaken by my desire for more rest days which was veering me off course. I encountered many aversions, like running in rainstorms, which made me dislike running so much that I wanted to quit running altogether. My attitude towards running turned into a dull and heavy burden rather than a releasing activity. My monkey mind kept focusing on the end goal rather than the journey I was on. All of these hindrances ultimately lead me to be skeptical about whether or not I even liked running anymore because I wasn’t feeling the positive emotions I once did. So, I quit what I was doing because I no longer was able to see clearly anymore.
There is no correct path in life. Copying the path of others didn’t allow me to see more clearly, it created more mental strain. I needed to learn to travel down my own path when accomplishing my goals. This isn’t to say I didn’t learn from my mistakes along the way, I did. However, I took what was working to reformulate a new plan. Lo and behold, the mountain top views were amazing. But don’t take my word for it, take your own path, and see for yourself while you travel on your path of self-mastery, climbing towards high peaks, to see even higher peaks, and ultimately to the highest peaks of clarity.