Hiking & Stoicism

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”

– Seneca

For anyone who endures the pain of climbing mountains, I highly suggest reading any books from the Stoics. The Stoics were ancient Greek philosophers whom we can take a lot of value from. Whether it’s through the perseverance of our suffering, reaching the peak and the hidden dangers of nature itself. I’ll break down my favorite rules within stoicism and how they could help your endurance to keep pushing forward during your trek.

Memento Mori

I’m certain that this saying you’ve most likely heard before. The translation for this rule is that “you could die at any given moment”. This isn’t technically morbid as it means to fulfill your life as much as possible and realize inherent risks to your existence. When it comes to hiking, we should think of the beauty within the journey before reaching the summit. I’ve met an abundance of ego climbers which is quite a sad occurrence. Enjoy the adventure to the best of your ability. It’s necessary to keep in mind that you also could die at any moment during these climbs. I think this holds true for any outdoor activity that you pursue. Nature doesn’t care about who you are which makes it ironic that it’s called “Mother Nature”. Be aware that every time you head onto a trail that anything could arise whether it’s an animal or nature itself.

Premeditatio Malorum

A bit similar to Memento Mori, this highlights the “premeditation of any sort of evil or circumstances” that could appear on your path. Hence why, most climbers bring survival gear along with them during their treks. I’ve had instances where a two mile hike turns into a much longer journey. There were moments where I’ve been pelted by rain and knocked over by heavy winds. Always prepare for challenges and face the malevolence of such things. This is the beauty and danger of such endeavors, is that we cannot control the power of nature.

“To be evenminded is the greatest virtue”

– Heraclitus

Drown Your Ego

The last thing I want to take note on is how to drown out your ego. There’s a massive difference between this and confidence. Reaching the summit of a mountain doesn’t mean you’re done, there’s still a half of your journey remaining. More than anything, don’t act as if you’re in a race against time. There’s a quote on this ordeal that’s important to keep in mind. It comes from Hermann Buhl which he says, “mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence”. If you are under prepared due to your ignorance, there’s no reason for nature to stay on course. Being in higher elevations is posed to more risk so always be prepared for anything. The mountains become a humbling place for anyone as there’s always a representation of struggle or suffering. The best thing you can do is to never get over your head and find peace in the struggle.

To my Mountain Climbers

I just wanted to lay out a few teachings that could be applied when you’re on the trail. Obviously, these can be utilized towards anything in life situations as well. I’m hoping you might enjoy the couple of lessons that I’ve learned and find them of use. If there’s any blog suggestions, feel free to email me at travelersandhikers@gmail.com. Until next time, go hit that trail and find some solitude.

-Alex

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s