The Lesson of the Goat

In a movie I once saw many years ago, there was a scene where a man was running across a bridge that was collapsing. Every time the man took a step, the stone beneath his feet would give way, so he had to quickly step onto the next stone, which also would fall away. And so he ran across the bridge, getting just enough weight on the stone to allow him to reach for the next, before the solid object dissolved under his foot. I was mesmerized by how lightly he ran, and suddenly felt that I was being given an important lesson. The stone bridge was the world, that begins to dissolve as soon as it’s created, so there is no sense in putting too much weight or importance on any given experience, for it will surely pass. The man in the movie represented my essential being, intuitively guiding my every step, reminding me to experience and release each moment in time. Don’t hang on to the last minute and don’t put the weight of expectation onto the next, for only consciousness is stable in my otherwise unstable existence.

As I walked home from the movie, thinking about that scene, it reminded me of another image — that of a mountain goat, nimbly climbing up a vertical rock face, it’s hooves using the tiniest hold to stand on. What would appear to the human eye to be a thin crack in the rock would be a ledge for the goat’s hoof to put its weight on. Goats do not have a very impressive appearance, but their movements up a rock face are amazingly elegant, graceful, and fluid. A rock climber, using special equipment, would take hours to reach the same point a goat would reach in minutes, but for the goat, the climb would be almost effortless. Thinking of these two images – the man skipping over the falling bridge, and the goat’s effortless climb – led me to an understanding about how I had been living my life.

I would set a goal for myself, and then exert a great deal of personal effort to reach it, not recognizing that the stress of personal effort was almost completely unnecessary. I eventually learned that it was possible to simply relax and watch events unfold through and around me. Sometimes I noticed that I seemed to be moving more slowly, and at other times even seemed to be inactive, but that was because I was acting more from intuition, simply waiting and watching until I could see the opportunities that my busier personality would probably have missed.

In Truth, you are an Ineffable Being, submitting Yourself to a human experience defined by the limitations of time and space. If you recognize that the previous statement is true, you have the opportunity to relax, and release the stress of trying to do something, and instead experience the lightness of being in flow.

As you grow in awareness of who You really are, the personal drive to accomplish by “doing”, or “trying” is supplanted by the preference to express the genius of your essence in your actions, and rely on your intuition to guide those actions, rather than your more laborious and inefficient thought processes. Remember that goals do not last. It is great to reach the top of a mountain, but it is not your final destination. When you realize that there is more to experience beyond that mountain top, goals become less important to you, and experiencing the effortless flow of the journey takes on greater meaning.

May the steps you take through your life be as nimble and effortless as a mountain goat’s, as light as a feather, and constantly filled with wonder and surprise.