Santosha, and Resistance and Acceptance

Talk about weird cosmic timing. I made a short video about Santosha a couple days ago, and today in my inbox, I received the latest blog post from Arnold Ilgner, the author of The Rock Warrior’s Way: Mental Training for Climbers about Resistance and Acceptance.

I absolutely enjoyed reading what Arnold had to say. He said what I wanted to convey in the idea of Santosha, but much more concise. I want to share it with you guys here. I also took the liberty to bold some texts.

We all tend to resist stress. To begin overcoming this tendency, admit that stress is a normal and desirable part of climbing. Accept this not just philosophically but in practice. When you encounter a stressful situation, accept the stress and explore its details. Accepting stress will help you see a situation as it is and avoid the distracting tricks your mind plays to satisfy its desire for comfort.

Acceptance does not equal resignation. It means simply that you avoid wishful thinking and illusions, and focus on gathering useful information about the challenge before you. Saying, “I wish these holds were bigger,” is an expression of resistance. It will not make the holds grow or help you use them. Saying, “I hope there’s a hold up there,” will not create a hold or help you respond if there isn’t one. Saying, “If only I wasn’t so pumped,” will not re-energize your forearms or help you find the least strenuous path through the crux.

Juliet is not a good spotter at all.

Juliet is not a good spotter at all.