Stairway to Heaven


“Halfway down the stairs, is a stair, where I sit. There isn’t any, other stair, quite like, it. I’m not at the bottom, I’m not at the top; so this is the stair, where, I always, stop. Halfway up the stairs, isn’t up, and isn’t down. It isn’t in the nursery, it isn’t in the town. And all sorts of funny thoughts, run round my head: It isn’t really anywhere! It’s somewhere else instead!” A.A. Milne

There is a place at the beach where I often go to think; a sort of stairway to nowhere you might say, the stairs having been carved into the rock so long ago that the upper portion has fallen in and disappeared.

Perhaps that is why I like it so much – the start of the ascent is clearly defined, but the remainder of the path to the top of the cliff does not appear to exist. A defeatist personality would view the way as impassible, but not I.

I view the jagged cliff face as a puzzle not yet solved. There are pieces and possibilities; possible footholds and slippery slopes. There is a way up (many probably) – the question is which way will be the best?

It is always tempting to leap and stretch and try to climb in the fewest steps; but the chances of falling are also the greatest. One might employ ropes and gear and ascend straight from the beach and navigate the overhang at the top – a route not for the physically weak or faint of heart. Or one might stand calmly at the base of the rock and visualize a route to the top; one that can be accomplished using mind and body in unison and a series of small measured steps.

There is nothing wrong in principle with any of these approaches, the trick is to employ the one most suited to your own true temperament, (which is not necessarily the same as the one you would normally choose).

In my heaven, the best approach is always the path of visualization. I am not interested in how fast I arrive; I am interested in making steady progress and enjoying the view because the quality of the experience has become far more important than simply reaching the goal.


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