To be mentally tough

October 24, 2016 | 23 comments

Last September, Kathy and I visited Yosemite Park in California. Wow, what an impressive park to visit. To drive and walk through the valley and look up thousands of feet to the high towering canyon walls on both sides inspires awe incomparable. Or to hike up the peaks and see Half Dome, El Capitan and other landmarks from on high gives one breath-taking pause and undeniable proof that God’s creation is grand and worthy of honor and praise.

I was particularly inspired by a Park Ranger who guided a tour we took one morning through the valley. She was young, petite, in her twenties, mentally sharp and articulate, and in love with Yosemite Park. When we stopped in front of El Capitan, the largest monolith of granite in the world shooting 3000 feet straight up into the sky high above our heads, she dropped a bombshell on our group. “I’ve climbed that rock seven times,” she declared. I was impressed. It takes typically 2 to 3 days for a climber to go up and back down the face of El Capitan. A climber has to sleep in a sling dangling in space high above the canyon floor on the side of the rock as part of the climb.


During a break, I cornered her and asked if the climb was brutal on her fingers. “Do you need iron-tough fingers to make this climb?” I was curious. “Not really,” she said. “It’s how you use your feet. But more importantly, success is about mental toughness. You have to be mentally tough to not give up and quit when part way up.”

I pondered the metaphysical significance of her statement.

We all have our El Capitan cliffs to climb. They are not typically rock formations, but challenges we need to meet, dire predictions lobbed at us, maybe financial calamity or bad health news. From the bottom of the cliff, the climb may look extremely difficult, if not impossible. But we know we have to make the climb. So we start. We may make it part way and then start to doubt whether we can make it all the way. This is where the mental toughness has to kick in and keep us on mission.

To succeed, we can’t give into the weakness of the human mind which would cause us to abort reaching a worthy goal. We can’t look down and become afraid. We can’t look up and think we’ll never get there. We can’t let mortal mind list all the reasons why we’re going to fail and allow them to over shadow all the reasons why we can succeed. We must not forget that God is there to help us get to where we need to be.

Mental toughness in Christian Science is more than strong human will or blind human mind determination. It’s understanding the absolute power of God to back us up and bring every right idea to fruition.

When you climb with God, you’ll have the mental toughness you need. God never gives up. He keeps you going up until you get to the top where you have a right to be.

“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.”

1 Cor. 16:13, NRSV


23 thoughts on “To be mentally tough”

  1. Love the analogy here. The view from “up there” is worth the climb! And every time we climb up our individual mountains, our own challenges, and leave the earth weights behind, we too see a whole new vista, a whole new view of God and man.And we are never again the same. Love this, Evan!

  2. Good one, Evan! Thanks. Mental toughness (and focus) is the goal today. No distractions of mortal mind….or suggestions of a.m. that we’re not mentally tough and focused.

  3. Thank you Evan! Having visited Yosemite I totally agree with you assessment of the experience. My husband and I too stood on the floor of the valley and looked up at the 4,000plus sheer face of El Capitan. When we realized that the tiny specks we could barely make out on the face of the the cliff were climbers, the only word that came to me was mind- boggling! Later that night in my warm bed I thought, right now there is a climber sleeping, yes! actually sleeping in a sling held up by only two spikes driven into the rock face. And I marveled at the faith and trust they had to be able to do this. I must say I thought this would be impossible for me but your spiritual analogy is wonderful and now gives me confidence to make my climb. No, not up El Capitan but my spiritual climb. Thanks for the memories and the lesson!

  4. Beautiful photos! I’ve never been to Yosemite, but felt like I was with you as you responded with awe. I appreciate the basis on which our mental toughness must rest… firm faith in God and His law. I also thought I’d share a time when I felt in a mental pit as a young woman. It was really no big deal, just a disappointment I couldn’t let go of. I called a practitioner, who once gave a lecture with lots of laughs. Thought I needed that. This man on hearing I was stuck in this pit… with no motivation to lift myself out, laughed! He said something to the effect, “you’ve got it backwards. You’re not at the bottom, you’re at the top.”

    I realized I was not in a pit, but seemed to be looking down into a pit. Knowing I was always on top did the trick, broke the mesmerism, in CS lingo and bingo, I was free to be my happy self again and move on, focused on present opportunities and responsibilities.

    I appreciate visiting SpiritView often. (What a perfect name for what you share, Evan)

  5. Thank you, Evan for this Spirit View which I really needed this morning, as I just found out that a very dear friend has passed on beyond our mortal view. It was very comforting to read and see the beautiful pictures and I appreciate the insight of yours and the other commenters for helping to lift my thought to higher places of peace.

  6. Love this, Evan! I wonder how many of those climbers of El Capitan have Faith in a Power Greater than Themselves…..or if they just relied on their own mortal mind strength and toughness…….??? Hopefully, sometime during the climb, they may have been forced to reach out and make contact with the One Power and then discovered that a Power not their own is with them always!

  7. Packing up my gear for what appears to be the climb of my life,
    mentally, emotionally, spiritually…and quite frankly, seemingly terrified.
    What if I don’t take some essential item? The What Ifs are many
    and various? What if I’m not supposed to embark on this journey,
    but an entirely different one?
    Without God’s sweet guidance and encouragement, I would sure be in a pickle!

    However, thankfully, it is absolutely true that God’s idea, man,
    (me! you! all of us!) are ever in Her loving arms,
    cared for, watched over, loved, protected, wherever we are or go.
    If I do take this journey, I will certainly pack these assurances.

    I so very much appreciate SpiritView, Evan, ever-amazed at how each
    fine Article and the Comments seem to perfectly fit my current life situation.
    I know, though, that this is exactly how infinite divine Mind works…
    always there to meet our human need.

    Thank you, God!

  8. Thank you Evan! What a triumph when you make it to the top and conquer the mental obstacles. Great conversation to have with your guide and thank you for the spiritual inspiration. I have done a nine pitch climb in Yosemite (nine rope lengths) where the people below were the size of ants. I would add to your guides “mental toughness”, fearlessness, perseverance, the humility and willingness to listen very carefully as you go. More about keeping your hips to the wall and foot work ((:

  9. Wonderful observations Evan.. Thank you so much. A practitioner once told me that when climbing a mountain, every boulder may seem like an obstacle, but once we overcome it, it acts as an anchor and keeps us from falling back down to the bottom. So every healing we have acts as a support for the next demonstration. We don’t have to start at the bottom and work our way up all over again.

  10. Thank you, Evan!! On my inspiring, yet daunting journey right now, I needed and appreciate this hand up!! I walked Bridal Veil at Yosemite and found it challenging because of a physical thing but I held on to God’s love which I knew was with and blessing me and made it through and was healed! The walk was wonderful!! Thank you, always!, for all you do!

    Much love,

  11. So grateful for your today`s inspiring and awakening SpiritView – needed it very badly this morning. Have watched films on TV about most of Americas huge preserved parks, about the Canyons etc. – thank you for the needed inspiration!

  12. Didn’t get to read this in the morning, as I had some “mountains” to climb, but I loved reading it tonight. Years ago my husband and I went camping in Yosemite and did several hikes, the longest and toughest being the hike from the valley floor to Glacier Point where we could see the whole valley. It was four-and-a-half miles of switchbacks all the way up, but reaching to the top was worth it. And—believe it or not, when we got to the top we heard someone call our names and it was a student friend from India! We hiked down as it was beginning to get dark. That, too, was an adventure and a time to feel Love’s arms about us, protecting and guiding our every step. Thanks to all!

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