/ ARTICLE: Mindfulness in Climbing

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UKC Articles - on 07 Sep 2017
Focusing on the present is often easier in the outdoors. , 3 kbWhat exactly is mindfulness? I started asking myself this question when my Instagram feed was seemingly obsessed with it, as were most magazines I came across and cool hipster cafés I liked visiting. They all shared the same message: 'Be more mindful!', 'Calm down and enjoy the moment.' 'Focus on yourself, on the present!'

Austrian sports psychologist and climber Madeleine Eppensteiner explains the ubiquitous social media obsession with 'mindfulness.' What is it, and how can it be applied to climbing?



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C Witter on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

None of this sounds particularly new; just the usual sports psych with an orientalist gloss. I wonder what Buddhists make of this clumsy borrowing and malforming of their religious tradition...

Many will be becoming familiar with 'mindfulness' at work: it's an interesting application. The basic injunction is: don't think about how we've made your working conditions worse and offer no support and little organisational leadership; instead think about how YOU need to REFOCUS your mind! Gumpf, in other words.

As for the Instagram pack... the less said the better...
Robert Durran - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I had to do a mindfulness "workshop" at work. It was all about avoiding getting run over by "thought buses" and other such stuff. I thought it was bollocks and just wished I could have been out climbing instead of wasting my time with it. I go climbing in order to live in the moment; I don't think I need any mumbo jumbo to do so. Sorry to be cynical.
Greasy Prusiks on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I found that really confusing. Surely it's just part of being human to look at routes and make judgements about them? I like aretes so when I see a route up an arete I feel happy and excited, in contrast I don't like offwidths so if the next pitch is an offwidth I'm thinking "oh God, this looks unpleasant". Isn't that range of emotion integral to the experience of climbing?

The example with the cup of tea also confused me. I can't imagine getting more out of observing how a cuppa tastes than just enjoying it or letting my mind wander off to think about something nice.

Maybe I've misunderstood (I'd like to hear if someone in the know can explain it) but it sounds really soulless to me.
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

It's an awareness of how you're feeling and understanding how that can affect your approach to things and your performance. Madeleine's not saying it's wrong or unnatural to feel emotions or make judgements, but rather that by understanding how and why you're feeling these emotions and how you can process them, you can use them to your advantage or manage them to help you achieve tasks/climbs. I guess it's just clearing your mind of emotional clutter momentarily to feel a sort of neutrality; you acknowledge your emotions but don't let them get the better of you.
ripper - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> I guess it's just clearing your mind of emotional clutter momentarily to feel a sort of neutrality.

yep, that's exactly what going climbing does for me
guy127917 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
I don't think it's about judging your thoughts/observations/feelings as good or bad, but simply noticing them as opposed to being ruled by them. In the case of a position emotion like happy and excited, it's not necessarily something you want to change (which is fine), but a lot of people behave according to more negative thoughts and feelings (ie fear, anxiety) without having the ability to notice and change it. A mindful approach may be able to help with this.

A nice analogy I heard the other day is of a fish in a river. A fish may not know that it lives in water, constantly being swept downstream, it is simply presented with opportunities and challenges as time progresses (which may be good or bad). If the fish were to cling to the bank or to a rock, it would suddenly see the true nature of it's existence- that it is constantly being pulled along by an invisible medium in which it lives. Our thoughts are like this. They sweep us along , and most of the time we don't even notice, or realise that we can escape the constant stream of them.

If you want a concrete example- just sit and wait for your next thought to come along (other than "this is a stupid exercise"). What is it? Once that passes, what is the next one? A very common result is to forget what you are even trying to do in this exercise- because you got lost in the next thought. Mindfulness is really just a technique for anchoring attention to what the brain is doing and avoiding getting lost/swept up.
Post edited at 13:48
CragRat11 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
Ohh man.
I've done quite a bit of mindfulness, which was very beneficial for my mental health and happiness, and my partner is a mindfulness teacher so I have a pretty good understanding of it.

I'm not going to be the one to explain it all here but what I would say is......don't form your opinions about what mindfulness is purely based on this article. It doesn't explain it very well.

Mindfulness can be a great thing. Read about it elsewhere too to get a better idea of how it may benefit you.
Post edited at 13:53
Jon Stewart - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm not sure how mindfulness is different to actual meditation.

Actual meditation - the little I know of it but I've done a fair bit of yoga and read a book - is incredibly difficult and takes a lot of dedication. I don't think one can just short-cut straight to "observing one's thoughts" without an awful lot of hard work. Even understanding what the observer perspective *is* is a battle, let alone actually changing your consciousness to experience it.

Maybe there is something called mindfulness that's a kind of quick and useful meditation-lite, but I'm not sure I can make use of it. But then my personality tends to go for *really* doing something, rather than being half-arsed.
C Witter on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> by understanding how and why you're feeling these emotions and how you can process them

I prefer Freud and Marx... Feeling blue? Kill your father and storm the Winter Palace...
fotoVUE - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

mindfulness = paying attention
Robert Durran - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to guy127917:

> A nice analogy I heard the other day is of a fish in a river.........

Sorry, but I'm not at all clear whether I'm meant to be desperately clinging to the bank or allowing myself to be swept down the rapids to my death.
Hat Dude on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Every time I go climbing my better half says "mind how how you go!"

Does that count?
Hat Dude on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Okay, I'll give it a shot

"You are a restaurant, the feelings are your guests."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E83PSa-QHOo

No its not helping ;-(
guy127917 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

The point is that if you realise you are in the river then at least you have the choice. Sooner or later we will all reach the same end point
Shani - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to C Witter:
I can't help but agree with you about 'mindfulness' - it is dangerously close to 'bollocks reified'. How do such concepts even become a 'thing'.

Hopefully it will go the same way as 'thigh gaps' and beard-oil.
Post edited at 15:14
Mi|es on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Like others have said, I think I'm at my most 'mindful' when I'm climbing - I don't think about anything other than the route I'm on, the position of my body etc.

Interesting that pro climbers need help with this, perhaps when you're doing it for a living it's easier for external concerns to creep in?
Bulls Crack - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

What I won't be doing is sitting down and observing a boulder problem and writing stuff down about it. Does that me unmindful I wonder?
pasbury on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've tried it at home but it's pretty difficult trying to 'calm down and enjoy the moment' when a small boy is asking me to find a piece of lego or running around shouting 'I need a poo'.
Paulos - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
Meditation and mindfulness is surely a positive and worthwhile practice. 'Mindfulness' does however seem over-hyped at the moment and the science seems to have run ahead of itself and become a bit un-scientific. There was always going to be a climbing article on it but I think it has little to do with climbing, especially hard climbing. Meditation involves non-striving, which is at odds with climbing which always involves some amount of pushing yourself.
petecallaghan - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

You're leading a route that is on the edge of your limit, well above gear you don't trust, aware of the strain of just holding your position. Negative thoughts crowd in. Maybe they were with you before you left the ground. How do you push back the negatives, gain control of your emotions and make the moves you know are necessary to overcome the crux?

Are the techniques to do this part of the 'mindfulness' that the author describes?

Personally, I'm really bad at this. My successes come only when the negative thoughts never arrive. Once they come I rarely shake them and failure almost always follows.

sheelba - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Paulos:

Speaking as a someone who has published academic work on mindfulness, this is exactly right climbing is not a very mindful activity. Climbing, especially competition climbing or any competitive sport for that matter, involve intense drive, stress and competitiveness. Climbing involves putting yourself in high stress situations which are decidedly un-mindful. It's probably true that their are some parallels in that both involve states of intense concentration but this is where the similarity ends.

As for the hijacking of Buddhist conceptions of mindfulness into a vacuous, narcissistic self-help tool...Some Buddhists see it as this. Others such as Jon Kabat-Zinn whose definition of mindfulness this author is using see it as a kind of 'stealth Buddhism', a way to promoting a Buddhist conception of mind without needing to be openly honest about where it has come from. However I think even people like Kabat-Zinn feel that the craze is currently running away from them. Whether it is just a fad or something more time will tell.

Maybe these techniques will help some people to climb a bit better but the're unlikely to do much more than that. Especially in competition climbing someone whose truly mindful wouldn't compete in first place.
Michael Gordon - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to petecallaghan:

> You're leading a route that is on the edge of your limit, well above gear you don't trust, aware of the strain of just holding your position. Negative thoughts crowd in. Maybe they were with you before you left the ground. How do you push back the negatives, gain control of your emotions and make the moves you know are necessary to overcome the crux?
>

I think 'keeping a cool head' in a stressful situation isn't down to 'mindfulness' or meditation, but simply borne out of experience of dealing with many, many similar situations. Over time, the mind adapts to control the emotions. I don't think there is much advice here other than put yourself in lots of situations where either you're on the verge of coming off above good gear, or you have to keep steady above crap/no gear. You could combine the two, but that might well cut short your climbing career!
slab_happy on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

> Climbing, especially competition climbing or any competitive sport for that matter, involve intense drive, stress and competitiveness. Climbing involves putting yourself in high stress situations which are decidedly un-mindful.

I'm not sure why you see mindfulness as incompatible with trying hard at things or putting yourself in stressful situations.

It might be incompatible with getting fixated on having to achieve particular goals, but that's different. And why can't someone choose to put themselves in a situation which is going to involve some stress, and try to deal with the stress as mindfully as possible?

I know some of the media marketing seems to smush mindfulness and relaxation together (into one big bundle of Instagrams of yoga on the beach in front of a sunrise ...), but, as you're presumably well aware, they're not the same thing.

> Others such as Jon Kabat-Zinn whose definition of mindfulness this author is using see it as a kind of 'stealth Buddhism', a way to promoting a Buddhist conception of mind without needing to be openly honest about where it has come from.

I'd be interested in a citation for that. As far as I'm aware, Kabat-Zinn's always been honest and open about where the mindfulness tradition comes from; he's just pointed out that you don't need to be a Buddhist to practice it or benefit from it.

Note: I'm not a mindfulness practitioner, as (ironically) I found certain mindfulness practices were bad for my mental health. But I think there's a lot in it that can be very useful for some people.
Mbowell - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
Mindfulness always strikes me as Disnified buddism (all pretty pictures but no substance). Climbing is often (not always) about calm focus (which IS difficult when your kids are running round the crag shouting I need a poo!) and clearing your mind. I wouldnt class Seb Grieves famous 'on top rope, on top rope' mantra, or Noel Craine reportedly repeating 'I'm weightless, I have no mass' whilst aiding on Mt Asguard as 'mindfull'. I cant see that a mindfull examination mid crux would be helpful: what these holds feel like?: small and painful, how do my arms feel?: hot and hurty, what is that emotion that is knocking on the door?: terror, what does the ground look like?: hard and far away. In that situation a Johnny Dawes 3 second holiday (go somewhere else in your mind and come back focussed) might be more helpful.
Michael Gordon - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

> I wouldnt class Seb Grieve's famous 'on top rope, on top rope' mantra,

Pete Whittaker? Wouldn't surprise me if Seb hadn't said that as well though!

clochette - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

This is an incredibly patronising article, telling you what to think whilst climbing and reckoning to know how to resolve the problem of being fearful of falling in just a few meaningless sentences. We learn from experience, we also use experience to anticipate. We can't just go around in some numb naive vacant state. We are the product of our years of living and the way each person climbs is unique to them. There are good climbing days when it just flows and you climb well because of this, and there are disappointing days when you climb badly from the start. That's how it is. And whilst being scared of falling off is a hindrance to climbing at your potential, it's wrong to say you should just ignore all this and accept that you can fall and not hurt yourself. Falling can hurt and often does - even sport climbing.
Mindfulness is just a trendy fashionable concept and people like this are jumping on the band wagon to make money out of gullible people who think they will find a quick fix to climb better - they won't. The only way to climb better is to go climbing and reap the benefits of those rare great days when it all falls perfectly into place.
Mbowell - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I was thinking of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YGePHW5wG8

Seb on Parthian Shot from Hard Grit
1poundSOCKS - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to clochette:

> The only way to climb better is to go climbing and reap the benefits of those rare great days when it all falls perfectly into place.

Didn't Jerry Moffatt struggle with comps until he read a book about how to deal the mental side? I've even made improvements myself (not in comps) through mental tricks and tips, which I learned through reading books and articles and speaking to other climbers.
jonnie3430 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Written for the empaths out there, not much green in me, red, blue, yellow last time I tested.
Dave the Rave on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to guy127917:

What would happen if the fish realised it was in a flowing river, on a lump of rock spinning around a sun in a flat universe?
Would it's brain explode?
Michael Gordon - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

Ah yes, had forgotten that bit! Quality.
sheelba - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to slab_happy:
Using mindfulness in it's Buddhist sense the only reason you would knowingly put yourself in a stressful situation is if it for the right moral reasons, climbing certainly doesn't come under this. Samadhi practice, which is the foundation of mindfulness practice is about calming the mind, in order to achieve this voluntarily putting yourself in stressful situations is not helpful. Mindfulness might be helpful in a stressful situation but it would be pretty stupid of someone to put themselves in a stressful situation to practice mindfulness.

That is essentially why secular mindfulness is vacuous, because it ignores the ethical framework in which mindfulness exists. Yes mindfulness is very beneficial, Buddhist monks test off the scale in terms of happiness, but it is most beneficial from within a framework of teaching and ethics. Traditionally practice of Sila (virtue) is a prerequisite to practicing mindfulness in Buddhist tradition.

Kabat-Zinn and others essentially exhibit frontage, backstage behavior about mindfulness. He says different things to different audiences. Others are more brash and open about it which is especially galling given than proselytising is forbidden in Buddhism. Research into mindfulness is also often carried out by a cabal of his followers who very much have 'skin in the game'. The key point is that K-Z and others essentially view the Buddhist conception of mind as something which is true and that this truth is knowable by direct experience. Secular mindfulness programs promote this conception of the mind and present it as innate truth. Now I think it is true, however I don't think it's truth is an open and shut case and I certainly don't think that it should be taught as innate truth out of context. It clashes with a conception of mind and suffering from the Abrahamic faiths and it also clashes with some secular liberal ideas about suffering and other secular philosophies of mind. To practice mindfulness you do have to accept certain truths which may be counter to your own personal beliefs about the mind and suffering.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011) ‘Some reflections on the origins of MBSR, skillful means, and the trouble with maps’, Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), pp. 281–306.
Makes for pretty interesting reading

Brown, C. G. (2016) ‘Can “secular” Mindfulness Be Seperated from Religion?’, in Purser, R. E., Burke, A., and Forbes, D. (eds) Hanbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context, and Social Engagement. Springer Switzerland, pp. 75–94.
As does this, which is where references to stealth Buddhism come from.

Dr Miguel Farias has written interesting stuff on the clinical bias in mindfulness

Bodhi, B. (2011) ‘What Does Mindfulness Really Mean? A Canonical Perspective’, Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), pp. 19–39.
Is a very good account of Buddhist mindfulness

Sobczak, L. R. and West, L. M. (2013) ‘Clinical Considerations in Using Mindfulness- and Acceptance-Based Approaches With Diverse Populations: Addressing Challenges in Service Delivery in Diverse Community Settings’, Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. Elsevier B.V., 20(1), pp. 13–22.
Give a good account of some of the tensions amongst those of different beliefs when using Mindfulness in the clinic
Post edited at 10:13
Graham Booth on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Bloody Cobblers pseudo babble....just go bloody climbing and have a pint afterwards
sheavi07 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Defining mindfulness is a tricky thing it would seem. I favour Shinzen Youngs' approach. He defines it basically as the cultivation of three skills working together, namely:

Concentration
Clarity (sensory clarity, includes the thinking mind & emotions)
Equanimity

bull2010face - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm sorry but bullshit has to be called on this article and the creeping onset of 'mindfulness' in climbing and the wider world in general.

My main beef with 'mindfulness' is that it is a technique originally invented by HR in large corporations to undermine the collective power of employees. The company I worked for, for example, would host 'seminars' and 'thought leaders' would speak for hours on 'how to be in the moment'.

The aim of this horseshit in the corporate world is to isolate employees and make them believe that they have no power together as one united front. This manifests itself when, for example, an employee has an issue with working conditions or a problem like being overworked. Because the company has put the employee through many hours of listening to 'thought leaders' on how to 'manage the work/life balance', he or she is then told that they shouldn't have any grievance/working issue because the requisite seminars on 'mindfulness' were provided. The answer is: ''but how can you feel overworked? Obviously you aren't following the ten steps to the perfect work/life balance as laid out by Dr. Insta-Star-Horseshit-Live-in-the-Moment-4530''.

In this way the large tech companies are increasingly undermining Unions and driving down working standards. But they are also squirreling their way into people's psyche and general lives. Several tech companies are now even discussing providing accommodation for their employees on the company grounds - in this way they say ''why would you ever want to leave?''. The logical step on from that, one assumes, is that if an employee were then late to arrive at their desk, they would be immediately fired and evicted.

The fact that this trend has worked its way into climbing is not surprising given climbing's close link to Instagram and Yoga.

I am not saying that we should not climb / live in the moment. There is a lot to be said for that. However, articles like this advance the corporate notion that everything is on the individual. If you're not having fun what the hell is wrong with you is the attitude. As one commenter has said, this outlook is extremely grating and condescending and in reality if you hate offwidths and find yourself crapping your pants 30 meters up this tripe is not going to help much.
sheavi07 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

Some sweeping statements here. What's your actual experience of mindfulness meditation beyond academic work?
Dave Garnett - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to clochette:
> This is an incredibly patronising article, telling you what to think whilst climbing and reckoning to know how to resolve the problem of being fearful of falling in just a few meaningless sentences. We learn from experience, we also use experience to anticipate. We can't just go around in some numb naive vacant state. We are the product of our years of living and the way each person climbs is unique to them.

I agree. The last thing I need is to spend more time thinking about why I am or am not climbing well, I tend to be too introspective anyway.

The version of mindfulness I come across seems to advocate thinking about doing something as the preferable alternative to actually doing it, but that's probably just down to bad HR departments.
Post edited at 10:26
sheavi07 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to bull2010face:

Mindfulness comes from the Pali word sati. It may get highjacked by corporations as you say but that is not its origin and essentially is nothing to do with this age-old practice.
Dell on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to pasbury:

> ...asking me to find a piece of lego or running around shouting 'I need a poo'.

Those two things can often be related.
Tip: mash it with a fork.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:
Interesting post, thanks making the effort.

Sam harris has what looks to me like a very workable, consistent position in which meditation, and what you can learn about the mind this way, fits very neatly into a secular/scientific philosophy of mind. As far as I can see, he doesn't assume anything that isn't part of a scientific understanding of the brain and mind. Do you have a view on his take on it?

Sorry if I'm conflating meditation and mindfulness. As I said, I think I understand what meditation is, but I struggle with the idea of mindfulness as it sounds suspiciously like pretending to meditate here and there in the middle of doing other things. I guess that might be helpful...?
Post edited at 10:37
French Erick - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheavi07:

> It may get highjacked by corporations as you say but that is not its origin and essentially is nothing to do with this age-old practice.

May? Might? It has been stolen, pillaged and raped you mean... it is now the latest snake-oil in institutions to sort out all problems on the cheap (someone mentioned it very early on on here).
The new panacea for managers (good and bad) facing a slow disintegration of the quality of the service they provide. As always, you can be beyond all of that if you have the means- but that's a thread of its own!
Dave Garnett - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to guy127917:

> A nice analogy I heard the other day is of a fish in a river. A fish may not know that it lives in water, constantly being swept downstream,

You see, the point about mindfulness is noticing things like that fish are not constantly being swept downstream unless they are already dead.

Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I agree. The last thing I need is to spend more time thinking about why I am or am not climbing well, I tend to be too introspective anyway.

I agree that mindfulness sounds pretty useless in climbing, if indeed it really is a proper thing. However I think there is loads of potentially useful mental training for climbing, particularly if you're prone to dithering rather than committing, or back off stuff you could do, or get pumped because you place too much gear...
1poundSOCKS - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I agree that mindfulness sounds pretty useless in climbing

I think my biggest failings when climbing are down to not being mindful enough.
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> if indeed it really is a proper thing.

If it is a proper thing then presumably Sheelba is wrong in claiming that secular mindfulness is vacuous. If there is anything in it, it must be real neuroscience rather than anything to do with fairy tales.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Do you mean on a redpoint? I can maybe see that. Trying to onsight, especially trad? Sounds like a bizarre/impossible approach approach when you're engaged in problem solving.
sheavi07 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
I think this is where a definition of mindfulness is required before stating that it is useless to climbing. Bringing concentration, clarity and equanimity while climbing, in all its guises, is to my mind not useless. After doing a route/ boulder problem etc. I can feel very calm, at peace, have a quiet mind - a deep contented feeling. Could this have come from the state of mind I was in while climbing. Sometimes yes. It's not something that has to be cultivated, much less thought about. Just my view.
Post edited at 11:09
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:
> If it is a proper thing then presumably Sheelba is wrong in claiming that secular mindfulness is vacuous.

Yes, I disagree that the sam harris position is vacuous. Meditation is an altered state of consciousness, analogous to taking psychedelic drugs. The drugs state is obviously due to neurophysiology, and so is the meditation state.

My point is that mindfulness to me sounds rather like pretending to go into this altered state (or more generously, going into it just a tiny little bit, analogous to a low dose of a drug perhaps).
Post edited at 11:15
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheavi07:

> I think this is where a definition of mindfulness is required before stating that it is useless to climbing.

Indeed. We've all just read the same article, yet we don't know what we're talking about. Not looking good!

> After doing a route/ boulder problem etc. I can feel very calm, at peace, have a quiet mind - a deep contented feeling.

When I've just done a trad route onsight at my limit, my brain will be boiling over with the sympathetic nervous system set to 11. If I'm soloing my favourite routes at stanage, I'll be quite mindful, appreciating the texture of the rock and the smell of the air and how the moves feel. We don't even have a useful definition of climbing!
slab_happy on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

IIRC, though, Seb Grieve said somewhere that the famous babbling is a way of externalizing all the crap that goes through your mind on a bold lead -- say it out loud and thus get it out of your head, sort of thing.

Which, it could be argued, is a a quite mindful tactic in a bonkers way. Say the thought and let go of it! *g*

"It's all in the mind ..."
sheavi07 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Yep stuck on a slimy Stanage route on a humid evening terrified will certainly trigger a sympathetic response ;). Cruising around on a lovely winters day will trigger a parasympathetic response ;). Anyway mindfulness the label and what gets touted as it, does not encapsulate it. It is a style of meditation that has been used across all cultures not just from the east and buddhism. Perhaps this video will help explain where my understanding of the terms comes from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J9LQbImU1c
Post edited at 11:47
PeakDJ on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think I am probably drawn to climbing, in many of its forms, because it encourages me to be mindful and focused on one activity/move/route.

While I agree there is a tonne of bullshit spouted in commercial and other institutions regarding mindfulness, I think highlighting the beauty and benefits of being focused 100% on one activity/climb/move or whatever, may have its uses sometimes in today's society. I work and socialise with a lot of people of all ages who spend most of their time with their attention divided between a computer, their phone and a whole host of other things.

Climbing is just one of the activities that encourages a very focused sort of attention for me. A whole host of other things (including academic writing - sad I know) and downhill mountain biking, do the same. Call it mindfulness if you want, but it's just good to get outdoors, be active and forget about all the other bullshit.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to PeakDJ:
I agree with what you're saying, but you've also just introduced a *third* definition of mindfulness into this thread!

So far we have:

1. The bollocks in the article and the corporate lunchtime sessions (I don't think this is actually a thing)
2. The hardcore meditation stuff that takes years of practice and is an absolute mindf*ck of the highest order to attempt to understand, since it involves peeling back layers of the subjective experience of being itself
3. What you're describing, which is what I understand to be 'flow' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
Post edited at 12:12
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheavi07:

Thanks for posting the video. I'm fairly clear now that when you're talking about mindfulness, you're talking about (2) in my post above, and that this is distinct from (1).
petecallaghan - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I think 'keeping a cool head' in a stressful situation isn't down to 'mindfulness' or meditation, but simply borne out of experience of dealing with many, many similar situations. Over time, the mind adapts to control the emotions.

Each success helps, that's true. I find reminding myself of previous successes essential in preparing for a hard route and ensuring I start in a positive frame of mind. This is just one emotional / mental technique. Experience isn't an unmitigated asset though - I've had some sketchy falls on lead so some of my negativity is learned.

This article hints that there are techniques to regain control once the negative thoughts start, but it doesn't provide anything concrete.

Reading these discussions reminded me that I have a book that tackles these issues: Eric Horst's "Training For Climbing" (follow on to "How to climb 5.12") has a chapter on Mental Training. He has a particularly interesting discussion on "controlling your emotions".

I'll re-read it, follow the exercises, and see if I can apply it to my current challenge (seeing as I pathetically wimped out leading a crux I know I can climb).


Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheavi07:

When I say that "mindfulness is useless in climbing" what I'm saying is that if you're going to learn to meditate, then you might be best lying down on the floor in silence, rather than while you're trying to fiddle in an RP as your forearms start to explode with lactic acid. It's just a little bit easier without the distractions, you know...
PeakDJ on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> I agree with what you're saying, but you've also just introduced a *third* definition of mindfulness into this thread!

I didn't set out to try and "define" anything and, as far as I am aware, didn't suggest that anything in my post constitutes a definition. But yes, "mindfulness" could mean many different things to many different people, depending on context and their own understanding/interpretation. As do words like "climbing".
Post edited at 12:25
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to PeakDJ:

> I didn't set out to try and "define" anything and, as far as I am aware, didn't suggest that anything in my post constitutes a definition.

I think you gave a definition of 'flow'. I'm not deliberately trying to be an arsehole (for a change), but these concepts are so slippery, so oft-misused etc that I think it's useful to try to get a bit of clarity about what the hell it is that is the topic of conversation. Hence my 3 definitions that have been implied so far. The idea is just to try to avoid talking at cross purposes (and to be a little bit mean about the article and the corporate crap, so perhaps I am deliberately being an arsehole as usual).
PeakDJ on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> I think you gave a definition of 'flow'. I'm not deliberately trying to be an arsehole (for a change), but these concepts are so slippery, so oft-misused etc that I think it's useful to try to get a bit of clarity about what the hell it is that is the topic of conversation.

I think when it comes to mindfulness there actually are several different meanings/definitions. The term (I think) was probably originally used in Buddhist culture, but in recent times it seems to have been taken up by secular groups trying to encourage more focus, flow, living in the moment and a whole host of other things. Nowt wrong or particularly confusing with that in my view and it happens with lots of other terms too...

Anyway, being totally mindful and focused now, the article was a particularly crap one.

> Hence my 3 definitions that have been implied so far. The idea is just to try to avoid talking at cross purposes (and to be a little bit mean about the article and the corporate crap, so perhaps I am deliberately being an arsehole as usual).

And there was me thinking that talking at cross purposes was one of the principal joys of the UKC forums...
Post edited at 12:49
sheelba - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
Ah forums, rarely a place for constructive conversation. Here is a less opinionated (than my previous posts) overview.

There is good evidence from a variety of scientific disciples and thousands of years of practice that Buddhist and 'secular' mindfulness is beneficial to health and well-being. The secular mindfulness movement began with Jon Kabat-Zinn and others in the late seventies. The clinical programmes he devised have become very popular and spawned a lot of corporate and self-help programmes which have differing degrees of authenticity in terms how closely they follow the original clinical interventions. There are legitimate concerns, Christopher Titmuss being one of the most prominent, that these programmes are ways to create docile, compliant minds of those working in toxic working environments. People are also worried about the medicalisation of everyday life, that promoting mindfulness in it's form as a clinical intervention to healthy minds is labeling everyday thoughts as diseased. There are also concerns of a mindful-bias within clinical research on mindfulness. There are also concerns about how 'secular' you can really make these interventions and about some of the beliefs and conduct of those who promote them. However the idea of something as 'secular' is increasingly questionable and not one which really makes any sense in the East. Areas of Western psychology are increasingly embracing Buddhist scholarship on the nature of the mind. The Buddhist psychological traditions have traditionally been far more developed than those in the West which have had a rather dodgy history. Some aspects of Buddhism fit with our Christian idea of what a religion is, others more with what we would consider a psychological or philosophical system of thought and it's possible to practice Buddhism without metaphysical commitments to traditional Buddhist cosmology (reincarnation etc.), as I do, it's still Buddhism though.

Jon Kabat-Zinns definition of mindfulness has it's origins in 19th century Burmese thought. It is:
"paying attention to experience in a way which is purposeful, present centred and non-judgemental"
For many Buddhists this is incomplete or even incorrect. The most pressing criticism is that many see it as judgmental in that it has an ethical and moral element because thoughts, for example hate, are not conducive to a calmer mind. Mindfulness can be practiced, and is most fruitfully practiced, whilst meditating. It can also be integrated into everyday life and may be helpful to cope with stressful situations.

If I remember rightly this article from the Mahayana tradition gives a pretty good overview of some of these ideas and is available online; Miles, N. (2011) McMindfulness and Frozen Yoga: Rediscovering the Essential Teachings of Ethics and Wisdom (it won't let me include a link for some reason). My article is on mindfulness in education however a lot of what is said is more general, I have uploaded it to my blog here isitanexpedition.wordpress.

What does it have to do with Climbing, not a lot, but if it's helpful to you fair enough. For me Buddhist teaching has helped me to have a better, less obsessive relationship with climbing, it may also have made me more relaxed and so climb better, but ultimately if I truly wanted to seriously cultivate mindfulness that would involve giving up climbing entirely.
Post edited at 13:36
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:
Interesting stuff, thanks.

> However the idea of something as 'secular' is increasingly questionable and not one which really makes any sense in the East. Areas of Western psychology are increasingly embracing Buddhist scholarship on the nature of the mind.

Just a little question for you. Do you believe that that mind is the result of the physical processes occurring in the brain? Or do you have some completely different conception of what exists and how the mind is primary to physical reality (which I just can't agree with at all, it's solipsism with knobs on)?

Strikes me that psychology is going to improve the more we know about neuroscience. The conscious experience, whether that's examined through mediatation, or whether it just 'is' without any self-reflection (the type of conscious experience a dog probably has) is a result of evolution. It's something that biological organisms have developed because it helps them do their stuff (social stuff, that is). You can throw as much Eastern thought as you like at this, and that will, I imagine, be tremendously illuminating about the *content* of consciousness. But if you want to really understand psychology, then you won't be getting very far unless you understand what the human brain *is*. And it's a kilo of tangled neurons that do stuff for a purpose, a purpose defined for us by evolution.
Post edited at 14:10
sg - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Strikes me that psychology is going to improve the more we know about neuroscience. The conscious experience, whether that's examined through mediatation, or whether it just 'is' without any self-reflection (the type of conscious experience a dog probably has) is a result of evolution. It's something that biological organisms have developed because it helps them do their stuff (social stuff, that is). You can throw as much Eastern thought as you like at this, and that will, I imagine, be tremendously illuminating about the *content* of consciousness. But if you want to really understand psychology, then you won't be getting very far unless you understand what the human brain *is*. And it's a kilo of tangled neurons that do stuff for a purpose, a purpose defined for us by evolution.

I shouldn't get drawn to this thread because I haven't even read the article. But my 2p is: 1. as other have said, climbing really does seem to be one of the least mindful things there is - one of the things we like about it is the 'thought emptying' that accompanies it without any conscious focus switching. Mindfulness is surely all about conscious focus switching.
2. I'm intrigued by your para above about knowing more about the brain and what neuroscience will tell us. No doubt we'll continue to push back the frontiers about how the tangle of neurons generates memory, thought and consciousness but even when we understand that, it won't stop us being what we are. As you say, evolution has shaped us. And our physical bodies are more than just our brain; consciousness is surely just the brain's trick for helping us make sense of the world around us in a more coherent way but other parts of our body and the 'older' parts of the brain still drive us. When we understand how we work we'll still behave in the same ways - still feel love, still get angry, still get hungry, still get stressed. As such, I think mindfulness, meditation will still be valuable for some people. Remember, we're no different to the beasts - we are beasts.
3. Best bit on this thread - the link to the Fawlty Towers clip. Basil and Mindfulness, don't really go together, do they!
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sg:

> No doubt we'll continue to push back the frontiers about how the tangle of neurons generates memory, thought and consciousness but even when we understand that, it won't stop us being what we are. As you say, evolution has shaped us. And our physical bodies are more than just our brain; consciousness is surely just the brain's trick for helping us make sense of the world around us in a more coherent way but other parts of our body and the 'older' parts of the brain still drive us. When we understand how we work we'll still behave in the same ways - still feel love, still get angry, still get hungry, still get stressed. As such, I think mindfulness, meditation will still be valuable for some people. Remember, we're no different to the beasts - we are beasts.

We're on the same page here. But if you know exactly what the neurons are up to when you get angry, or depressed, or can't motivate yourself to go outside and sit posting on the internet about philosophy all day instead, then you can develop much more effective tools to make the neurons do something else. The fact that mindfulness (under definition 2 in my post upthread, not definition 1) might be a good tool does not mean that you can't make better tools by coming from a neurobiological perspective. I suspect you need to come from both angles at once, as Sam Harris does (pity about some of the other stuff he says...).
sg - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> We're on the same page here.
Yes, I'm sure you're right. I was just interested in the whole evolution, consciousness thing.

But if you know exactly what the neurons are up to when you get angry, or depressed, or can't motivate yourself to go outside and sit posting on the internet about philosophy all day instead, then you can develop much more effective tools to make the neurons do something else. The fact that mindfulness (under definition 2 in my post upthread, not definition 1) might be a good tool does not mean that you can't make better tools by coming from a neurobiological perspective. I suspect you need to come from both angles at once, as Sam Harris does (pity about some of the other stuff he says...).

I had a look at a bit of Sam Harris stuff briefly the other day after you or someone else mentioned him one of the other threads. It is interesting.

Understand what you're saying about making tools with better insight, agree. I confess, I didn't actually go through the thread properly as there seemed to be a certain amount of repetition! I suppose my one further comment would be that I think the old brain neurons are just as important as the mindfulness ones (horrible generalisations) in terms of we feel; they're probably less tweakable though. I tend to like the idea that the veil of consciousness is a really thin one. I need to think more about the neurons which have got me posting on the internet more recently; in truth, it's mostly because I've been stuck in bed after a minor op last week!
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to sg:
> I tend to like the idea that the veil of consciousness is a really thin one.

That sounds a bit like Dan Dennett - a dreadfully dark direction. I'm not into pan-psychism, but David Chalmers is IMO much, much better on philsophy of mind. Even better than him though is John Searle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_OPQgPIdKg

and perhaps making more progress is this physicist, who makes some tremendously interesting points IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCvlFRISIM
Post edited at 15:31
Michael Gordon - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to petecallaghan:

Even failures can be helpful in dealing with stressful situations. For example, a fall where the gear holds and you don't get hurt I find is actually confidence boosting (helps you relax and you now know the gear/fall is OK). Or if you fail on a hard route you still get the experience of being on the sharp end on something hard, which can only be a good thing.
Mbowell - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to slab_happy:

Thanks, I like that. Open the front door and let the thoughts in but keep the back door open so they can go straight through! Still think that is more of a focus tecnique than mindfull awareness.
Wayne S - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

This is all very interesting, and caused much debate between me and my mindfull yoga teaching wife.

So firstly I thought the article was a whole lot of fluffy nothingness to be honest.

I certainly can identify with those who see one of the big draws of climbing is that it focuses the mind on a task, and therefore excludes much of the day to day crap. So in part I think the route assessment, reading and gear placement and strategy is all very mindful. However to move well in a high stakes position, you work best without your conscious mind getting in the way of your learnt movement patterns. i.e. you operate in a flow state. For me then neither state is the whole picture. I think you move between the two, mindfull considered and focused assessment and then a switch into action.

Maybe this is why neither polar camp seems to completely fit.
1poundSOCKS - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Do you mean on a redpoint?

Partly, but onsighting too. I guess opinions vary on what mindfulness means, but in climbing terms, being focused and not letting your own thoughts distract you from the job in hand is what I think of it as.
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

> Open the front door and let the thoughts in but keep the back door open so they can go straight through!

Is that the same as standing at the bus stop and letting the thought buses go by without getting on one?

> Still think that is more of a focus technique than mindfull awareness.

Neither, it's just bollocks.

Greasy Prusiks on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to guy127917:

OK I think I understand that a little more, thanks.

I can definitely see benefit in being able to think rationally about feelings ect.
Greasy Prusiks on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

OK thanks Natalie.

It sounds quite complicated and multifaceted, I'll do some Googleing.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Partly, but onsighting too. I guess opinions vary on what mindfulness means, but in climbing terms, being focused and not letting your own thoughts distract you from the job in hand is what I think of it as.

That's what I think psychologists call 'flow'. Mindfulness, I reckon, is much more about the meditation practice of taking the observer perspective and mastering control of one's attention (as opposed to having very strong sensory input that *forces* attention to be focused - 'flow'). Although as we have seen, a crucial part of the whole mindfulness concept seems to be to keep it wishy-washy so no one actually knows whether they're being mindful or not.
1poundSOCKS - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Mindfulness, I reckon, is much more about the meditation practice of taking the observer perspective and mastering control of one's attention

That's what I mean.

Not sure about the meditation bit.

> a crucial part of the whole mindfulness concept seems to be to keep it wishy-washy so no one actually knows whether they're being mindful or not.

Not sure about that. Maybe it's just not well understood, including by myself.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
I went out on the fells this evening and tried a bit of mindfulness. I tried to deliberately control my attention, stop it from getting wrapped up in the ongoing narrative babble, by focusing on a simple sensory stimulus. I managed it for about 3s at a time. As far as I can see, it's not something you can just do; it takes years, if not decades, of dedicated practice.

Or maybe it's dead easy, it's just me that's incredibly shit at. Hardly impossible!
Post edited at 22:09
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:
> Is that the same as standing at the bus stop and letting the thought buses go by without getting on one?

> Neither, it's just bollocks.

While it might not be something you're interested in, something you will never do nor understand, a cursory glance at what's been written about meditation, even just to get a tiny idea of the volume and vague nature of it, would convince you that it's not "just bollocks".

Which is not to say that a lot of things said about mindfulness are not "just bollocks", they most certainly are. But it would be utterly wrong and ridiculous to dismiss the whole of meditation as that.
Post edited at 22:33
1poundSOCKS - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Or maybe it's dead easy

I think it's really hard. Maybe I'm not a natural climber in the mental sense, certainly not when it comes to redpointing anyway. The mental challenge, how to perform well consistently, is something I find really interesting.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Maybe I'm not a natural climber in the mental sense

Maybe even Ondra isn't. He probably has days when he f*cks everything up, at his level.

1poundSOCKS - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Maybe even Ondra isn't.

I get the impression he's brilliant at dealing with the mental side, from comps to super hard projects. And look at the Dawn Wall when he must have felt the whole climbing world was watching in expectation.
Robert Durran - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> While it might not be something you're interested in, something you will never do nor understand, a cursory glance at what's been written about meditation, even just to get a tiny idea of the volume and vague nature of it, would convince you that it's not "just bollocks".

I'm sure that meditation is a serious and worthwhile thing. I just can't take ideas like thought buses and opening doors for thoughts seriously.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Course is, I was just questioning whether it was "natural"...
Big Lee - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

I really struggled to read this article and started skimming halfway through. I didn't find it very concise or scientific. The wiki page on Mindfulness was much more readable. The conclusion I keep coming to is that it's nothing new. It's just a western rebrand of old eastern ideas.
1poundSOCKS - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I was just questioning whether it was "natural"...

If you're going to find natural ability anywhere I suppose you're more likely to find it in the best. Given the guy's so driven and ambitious, it's likely he covers all aspects when he trains and prepares also.
slab_happy on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'm sure that meditation is a serious and worthwhile thing. I just can't take ideas like thought buses and opening doors for thoughts seriously.

Fair enough! But they're just metaphorical ways of saying "don't get swept away in your passing thoughts, recognize that they're just thoughts and practice being able to step back from them."

And as so often with these things, the metaphor that works for one person is going to be cringe-inducingly ghastly for another ...

Your absolutely bog-standard mindfulness meditation practice is going to be something like "focus on something (e.g. your breathing), notice each time you get distracted and start thinking about something else and return your attention back to your breathing again."

And the point isn't that you should magically be able to empty your brain and never get distracted. You *will* get distracted; thoughts *will* come up. The point is the practice in noticing that you've started thinking about something else, disengaging from the thoughts and returning your attention to your focal point again.

One of the psychological theories about why mindfulness can be helpful for some (not all) people with anxiety or depression is that it develops "meta-cognition", which basically means you get better at recognizing that (for example) you've become caught up in worrying about something terrible that might happen, or ruminating about something that's depressing you, and disengaging yourself from the thoughts, recognizing that they're just thoughts and not reality.
slab_happy on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I went out on the fells this evening and tried a bit of mindfulness. I tried to deliberately control my attention, stop it from getting wrapped up in the ongoing narrative babble, by focusing on a simple sensory stimulus. I managed it for about 3s at a time. As far as I can see, it's not something you can just do; it takes years, if not decades, of dedicated practice.

> Or maybe it's dead easy, it's just me that's incredibly shit at.

Nah, that sounds totally normal (3 whole seconds at a time? you rock star!).

As I said in my other reply, the point is not (as a newbie meditator at least) that you should be able to cut off the narrative babble and never get distracted; it's the practice in *noticing* that you've got wrapped up in the narrative babble and returning your attention to your chosen focal point, again and again and again.

And yes, obviously people put decades of practice into this. But that doesn't mean that you have to be a Zen monk before you get any benefit out of it.

As I said, I don't personally do a sit-down mindfulness meditation practice because my brain reacts badly to that (long, tedious, unpleasant story). But there's stuff I got from it that I still find useful. And there is a very wide range of different mindfulness/meditation/mental training practices that different people might (or might not) find useful as tools.
Mbowell - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Is that the same as standing at the bus stop and letting the thought buses go by without getting on on?

Yes, although in the context of the analagy, all the buses are heading direct to Failuresville.
Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

> Yes, although in the context of the analagy, all the buses are heading direct to Failuresville.

So shouldn't the idea to only get on a bus if it's going to Successville.

Also, someone said that if you practice mindfulness properly you would give up climbing. But does that mean you should give up everything else as well and just turn into a flower or something? What activities are compatible with being properly mindful?
Goucho on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

What a load of twaddle!
Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
I found this an excellent introduction to mindfulness: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ladybird-Book-Mindfulness-Ladybirds-Grown-Ups-ebook/dp/B015QQ10FQ

Post edited at 14:27
Bulls Crack - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

To quote a sample: 'One of the good things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down'

Good for redpointing then
Bulls Crack - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Alternatively just read Chapter 1: 'Becoming Conscious', of the Rock Warriors Way!
Mbowell - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So shouldn't the idea to only get on a bus if it's going to Successville.

Yep, that was my point in the first place, good focusing techniques are possibly the oposite being aware of all your thoughts (if that is what mindfulness actually is)

> ...What activities are compatible with being properly mindful?
Gardening?
Mbowell - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

I seem to recall there is a very tongue-in-cheek story about meditation in 'The Games Climbers Play'. (I have lost my copy so can't check)
Jon Stewart - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> But does that mean you should give up everything else as well and just turn into a flower or something? What activities are compatible with being properly mindful?

Very good question. The people who *really* master it are Buddhist monks, and while I'm sure their lives are great, it's just not what I aspire to be.

My understanding of it is that you use meditation (done separately as thing in itself, I don't buy the integrated-into-normal life business sold under the 'mindfulness' brand) to get some big insights into the nature of consciousness and the self, and you use those insights to help you do normal stuff such as: doing your job well, not being an arsehole to loved ones, not being an arsehole to yourself. You then have a better life.

I would do it if I wasn't so f*cking lazy.
Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I would do it if I wasn't so f*cking lazy.

Or maybe you'd just rather go climbing?

Robert Durran - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Mbowell:

> Gardening?

Well that's definitely me out then!

Lusk - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think this from the original article is the biggest giveaway for me

"my Instagram feed was seemingly obsessed with it, as were most magazines I came across and cool hipster cafés"
Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or maybe you'd just rather go climbing?

A better bet would be to keep the climbing, but ditch the posting on UKC and spend *that* time peeling back the layers of the conscious experience, deconstructing the self, and gaining deep insights into what is important in life and how to use my time on the planet to good effect.

Nah, I think I'll just pick a fight with some Tories and spend all day on that. Much more instant gratification, especially if I can get a little dopamine hit from those "like" clicks.
Paulos - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Lusk:

It's good to see that most people posting here recognise that this article is bs blog-filler non-sense and that while mindfulness/meditation is likely a very beneficial thing, that we climb for fun and so let's not kid ourselves into thinking that it will make us a Zen master.
mark s - on 12 Sep 2017
When I recently signed up to Instagram and posted some old climbing pics. I was getting likes and follows off American pages. To my absolute horror they all seemed to link climbing and yoga and that other pastime of Prana trouser wearers....slacklining,why? . all the beads and other zen bull shit being at one with nature turned me off straight away.
I go out and climb when I can be bothered because it's a hobby I enjoy or used to until social media took over.


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