Keep your eye fixed on the way to the top, but don’t forget to look right in front of you. The last step depends on the first. Don’t think you’re there just because you see the summit. Watch your footing, be sure of the next step, but don’t let that distract you from the highest goal. The first step depends on the last.René Daumal, Mount Analogue
As Joseph comments, the last step depends on the first – we have to take the first steps… maybe we’re doing that today… Starting the year off with meditation and reflection!
That first step also depends upon the last. Joseph says, “The direction of our journey, the direction of our first steps depends on our understanding of what the last step is. It’s helpful to have that comprehensive view of the direction that we’re going in.”
If you’re familiar with the many lists in Buddhism, you’ll notice that equanimity (one translation of upekkha, also translated as equipoise or balance) tends to show up at the end of the lists – the fourth of the brahma viharas, the seventh of the factors of awakening, the tenth parami, and a characteristic of a higher level of concentration. As such, equanimity might be seen a “last step” that can inform our first steps.
Reflection: What is your understanding of the last step for you? What does balance and ease feel like? How can you use this understanding to guide your practice this month?
Guided meditation: Tanya Wiser offered a 18 minute guided meditation on intention setting, if you would find that helpful:
Feel free to share your reflections, intentions, or comments below or by email.
With warm wishes,