We are not wired for the unknown – at least not sufficiently well. We are, though, perfectly conditioned for comfort-zoning, predictability-seeking, and stability-securing.
Many will still claim that it is better to stick with what we know than to take a chance on the Unknown. The “Known” is as familiar as the sound of the slippers shuffling the floor. The Known does not require mental effort and only mere will to follow. It’s your befriended enemy that knows each and every step of yours and although it might be boring at times, it’s predictability calmly lullaby you to sleep. This Silent killer of aliveness and excitement still wins the popularity contests and scores the top billboard rewards.
There are many reasons why you summit at night; from the frozen ground for more stable walking, to have enough time to descend afterwards to minimizing the likelihood of an avalanche – but most importantly – to DECEIVE THE MIND – our brilliant brain in action.
If you have seen exactly every detail of what are you about to undertake or commit; you would never start – Your mind would hijack all of your body functions by making you glued to the ground. The doubt whispering “you cannot possibly do it” and laziness nodding with approval “it’s too much effort!”
What the eye does not see, the mind does not grieve over……
So the night deceits the mind. The night dims the perception of reality, shapes, structures, depths, heights and distance. It hides potential obstacles, challenges, turns and twists which are inseparable parts of the journey anyway. Mutes excuses and justification, quiets the reason and gives a voice to the intuitive and unstoppable inner being, curious and brave to explore the unknown. The dark eliminates the questions of doability. It cancels all arguments against the idea but since you cannot see anything to define obstacles you cannot either find excuses against them. And if you don’t quit all together before you even start, it is most likely you will pursue it.
Each time this phenomenon amazes me. The darkness of the night, shroudiness of the fog and glow of the moon are your allies. Your headlamp provides enough light to just follow literally one foot after the other. The heavy breathing reminds you of your mortality and physicality and immense ability to conquer the mind over body.
It is enchanting and inspiring to see the chain of headlamps blinking in the distance. Creating invisible connection led by faith and will power to overcome human conditioning.
On the way back, I always ask this same question “Have we walked this way to the top?” The answer is always “Yes”. I stop now and then in admiration and appreciation for this phenomenon, as it never fails and always delivers the most amazing views and experiences but more importantly to trust and to follow regardless of feeling-lost in the dark alleys of life. And to remember that we are always on our path….