Family Peace Association incorporates outdoor adventures like hiking into youth programs to provide unique and powerful opportunities for young people to discover spiritual lessons that can apply to their everyday life.
Asami from Japan described her experience on an FPA outdoor adventure program where youth were challenged to climb a mountain.
“Climbing is not just a fun hobby,” Asami reflected. “It takes physical and mental training to achieve our goal; climbing is sometimes used as a symbol of achieving our vision.”
Asami explained that she and her fellow climbers set out to tackle the mountain not as a general activity, but with the determination that reaching the top of the mountain symbolized accomplishing a shared vision to build a world of peace where all people are viewed as part of one family. “That is why everyone was serious!” Asami chuckled.
The physical challenge to summit a mountain is oftentimes painful, however, as many experienced outdoorsmen and women can testify, it is above all a mental, emotional, and even spiritual challenge.
“I asked myself, ‘Why do I climb when it is so painful?’ In my heart I was screaming that it was to make God’s dream a reality,” Asami shared, remembering the anxiety she experienced while on the mountain, “I was worried about whether I could continue climbing.”
Mental preparation is just as important as physical training before undertaking any demanding challenge like mountain climbing. Part of being prepared for the challenges ahead is acknowledging that there may be times when you are faced with surprising obstacles and thinking about the kind of attitude will help you overcome the mental hurdles first.
“I had to ask myself again, ‘Why do I climb?’ Despite the pain, I felt more joy with every step moving towards the top. I felt that I was approaching a dream.” Asami described the moment she safely ascended saying she was “healed by the birds singing” and “touching the mountain trees to gain the power of life.”
“Through these adventures, I’ve come to believe that in any situation I will never give up,” Asami said confidently, “I will keep my eyes on my dreams and goals and believe that I will succeed if I proceed with my own strength.”