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Lessons from Nansen Summit

By Ashan Jay | Updated on August 10, 2020

Nansen Summit is the summit of Mount Sylvalia that is close to where I live, with an elevation of just shy of 1000ft. Only after living here 2 years, I realized that I should ride up there. So for the past 2 months I have been riding up there (5 times total so far)

The Ride up (The struggle)

My bike ride start at 328ft and its a grueling ride when starting out to reach 973ft in just 2-3 miles with some parts of the ride incline at 13-20%. When I first started I was stopping at least 6 times to catch my breath after topping my heart rate to 180bpm+. Today I only stopped twice on my way up there.

The Amazing View (The Reward)

Up on the top the view is amazing and there are 2 benches to rest my beating heart back to rest. Sometimes its overcast, sometimes its an amazing sunrise and the view of the valley down below is unbelievable.

I can see where I live down in the valley along with constant buzzing noise of cars down below on the highway. Its almost like I leave behind my daily life and rise up above into the heaven or the sky to look at the life I am living in the down below. Such an amazing awareness to see from up there.

What am I doing down below in the valley? this life we live, created with moment to moment. Small moments that we can make as big as we want only to realize that it was only a small moment in the realm of all moments.

The daily routines and the things we do like working to make money, building houses, paying bills, grocery shopping, buying things online etc – that we in our minds have justified as important things we must do as part humans. Why? because that is what our parents told us we should do, that is what other humans do. In a way – an illusion created in our minds to keep us in the illusion forever not to be awaken from it.

Struggle for reward

Ride up to Nansen summit is hard and grueling at times. Its the struggles in our lives – the struggles that we must endure to reap the rewards – the peaceful summit. Struggles we must go through to realize that we need the struggle to fully embrace the rewards.

I think humans have created shortcuts for the struggles – i could have driven my car up to the summit. Would the views up there be as equally transcendent as it is from a hard ride up? May be not as rewarding. May be it is, but the effects will die out much sooner. The shortcuts we humans have created that we call science, technological developments – gives us the rewards super fast without the struggle. We think that is amazing we can reap the rewards thanks to science without going through all struggles our ancestors did. Soon to realize that the summit arrived from a car is only another summit that can be topped by going to a better summit easily from a car. Or may be to never realize that and go on about life as unconscious as we were on the drive up to summit.

Struggle is (dukha) pain, suffering and it is part of life, a part of life that we must not skip to arrive at the summit awaken and be rewarded with amazing views that will change the soul of who we are.

The Ride Down (Awakening)

Everything that goes up must come down. Just like that the 973ft climbed up must be climbed down to get back 🙂 You thought the amazing view up in the summit was it. The adrenaline filled fast ride down is the last part. I love speeding down hill, specially on this straight road after a curve that I can shot at 36-38mph – just exhilarating!

I dont think any motorbikes or cars drove up to summit coming down can replace the sheer feelings and the joy I feel paddling down the hills, that I know that I paddled harder to get up to.

So we must question the shortcuts we take to skip struggles. How many of us go on about our lives taking shortcuts and never realizing the meaningful long struggling ways just because we never struggled and are used to taking shortcuts. Struggle is part of life, let it be, embrace it as it is. Struggle well!