As a kid, I loved to climb. I scaled trees, shimmied up into our house’s rafters and tugged myself onto horses ten times my size. So it was natural that one day I would become a sport climber. The process of climbing a rock wall is similar to the spiritual journey—both epic quests toward the heavenly sky.

“The true path was imprinted within each soul’s consciousness before any outer path was even created,” says my teacher Sri Gary Olsen. That path manifests in each of our bodies. Through lifetimes we ascend up power centers, called chakras. We begin with the base chakra, in which we learn to procure our survival, and from there make our way up to the top of the body. Throughout many lifetimes, we redirect all the energy in each chakra toward our Divine self.

Once you understand this process, life’s challenges become pure sport. You move into the “zone,” a place of concentration in which your focus centers to such a point that you stop thinking and move with the grace of your higher, more knowing self. You become like a spider climbing a rock, free of fear and full of strength and buoyancy, as though floating up toward the sky.

Of course you’re really clinging to a vertical face from which you could fall ten, twenty, eighty feet to the ground!

To keep from falling, I maintain three points of contact on the rock. So maybe both feet and one hand are on holds, while the other hand reaches to the next feature. I make my way up, always supported by the power of three.

It’s the same with climbing up through the chakras to the third eye. Here’s the “beta” (information) on holds:

Get On Belay

Stay On Belay

Be the Belayer

1. Get on Belay  Sport climbing pitches are so steep, you cannot climb them alone. You will fall, and that’s why your buddy holds you on belay. Basically your harness is attached to a rope that runs up to a carabiner (pulley) anchored to the rock. With a belay device, your belayer secures the opposite end of the rope. As you move up the pitch, you keep hooking the carabiner into hardware above you. When you fall, you are caught by the pulley and your belayer.

It’s the same with climbing up through the body to the third eye. The pitch is so treacherous that we cannot do it alone. And so we have the Divine belayer, who is ready to catch us whenever we fall. Each day as we begin our climb, we have to connect up. For me this happens during my reading contemplation, when I release my will to the Divine.

I felt the full force of this a number of years ago, when climbing through the navel chakra. This power center has to do with sustenance, with what we think keeps us alive. Since I have such a passion for sports, I manifested my dream job—to travel all over the Southwestern US hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking and skiing, in order to write a guidebook. It was both fun and challenging, but at the end of it I lost all my physical strength to an illness.

Throughout my painful bed rest, I continued to do my spiritual exercises each day. And even though I faced the possible loss of all income, I made it through. By the time I had scaled this experience, I had seen the positive pole and the negative pole of my physical body’s ability to sustain me. I gladly turned that job over to the Divine.

2. Stay on Belay  The fun of climbing is in the risk. Once you master a pitch, you move onto a more “heinous” one, up a crack, say, or under an overhang. Because you’re constantly challenging yourself, on those first times at a new level, you fall, sometimes a lot. You even have moments when you assume you will never get up the route.

But you don’t bail, you persevere, through sewing-machine leg—when tension makes your muscles twitch—through torn knuckles and “flappers” (detached skin). You make that next move, and a sudden exhilaration fills you.

It’s the same with negotiating a new level of consciousness. When you move from one chakra up to the next, you encounter a whole new world. Where once you felt comfortable in life, suddenly your mind races all day trying to figure out the new territory. It wants to avoid mistakes, to stave off falls.

What keeps me safe is my mantra. Over the years, I have developed it so that whenever I feel my attention slip—a spark of anger or impatience, the downward pull of sadness or loneliness—I say it silently. Immediately, the power of its higher vibration fills me. If you don’t have a mantra, try singing the universal word for God, which is Hu, drawing out the uuuu.

When I negotiated the heart chakra, I “cratered” (fell hard) in love. I found my perfect mate. He was spiritual, attractive and wanted to be with me, a combination I had never realized before. But of course, the Divine showed me the flip side of our relationship—we fought often. We loved each other and hated each other, as the dual forces would require.

Throughout this process I kept my mantra always on the edge of my lips. It helped ease the pain as the illusion of romantic love died, but more importantly it kept me awake so I could act from my highest self. By the time my mate and I parted, we were neutral toward each other, and I knew that I had to direct my power of love toward God.

Once I admit that falling is part of climbing, I relax and can move more easily. On a wall there are no mistakes because I’m just trying different things. A finger in a crack doesn’t hold, so I try a fist jam. My toe won’t stay on a feature, I use the side of my foot.

3. Be the Belayer  When you have made it to the top of a climb, you rappel down and harness yourself onto something solid such as a rock or tree to belay your buddy. This is the third point of contact: Doing everything in the name of the Divine.

The moment your buddy is on belay, you have to be awake. His life is in your hands, literally, and so you stand with both feet firmly planted, your brake hand ready and you watch, while paying out rope, responding to his needs moment to moment.

It’s the same in climbing through the chakras. Though we are negotiating our journey, we are also practicing owning our Divine power. That means that whenever we are with someone, they are on belay with us. We are here to love. When I hold God’s hand and stay awake in every encounter, I am being the Divine power.

When I reached the throat chakra, which deals with reason and creativity, I manifested my greatest dream—my first book was published. I reveled in the idea of a book tour and all the attention it would bring. But when it happened, I was miserable because I was afraid to speak in public. After worrying myself sick, I realized that the tour was not about me. It was about the audience. Before each event, I began saying to myself, “Nothing to get, only to give.” As I turned my creative energy toward the Divine, most of the fear left.

There’s a beautiful feeling when you climb, of hugging up against a great rock face warmed by the sun. It is solid, and, with its undulating folds, as welcoming and intimate as a lover. It is your teacher and even with its hardness and challenges, it is love, just as all experience, from our illnesses to our lost dreams, are the Divine’s sweetest lessons leading us toward our most elevated viewpoint.

After climbing up to the top of the physical body, I still work at a job, have relationships and write books, but I do all of those things for God. As you climb your way up, remember, wherever you are is the perfect place to be.

Once you have made it through the physical body, you begin again, scaling through the astral and then the mental realms. After each epic adventure, you stand on top of a towering mountain and revel in your newfound freedom.

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