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In previous posts I touched on numerous aspects of mindfulness in the hope that it would help us navigate with ease our prolonged exposure to negative stressors associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  In the last post I suggested that if we want to remain physically and mentally healthy during this period of rapid change, we need to preserve our own personal equilibrium and that we could do this by acting mindfully and practicing mindfulness both formally and informally.  In that post I explored ways in which we could act mindfully and today I specifically want to pause at one of numerous formal mindfulness practices.

My offering to further enhance our inner stability is mindful meditation and I am specifically leaning towards the Mountain Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn the founder of the Mindfulness Stress Based Reduction (MBSR) programme. For me, this meditation practice sits beautifully in the centre of all I have advocated for in sharing my thoughts about how we can maintain our inner balance.  The image of a mountain and identifying with this image brings to my mind notions of strength, solidity, resoluteness and rootedness, more importantly I see it as my centre and at the heart of my being.

In the Mountain Meditation script by Jon Kabat-Zinn he suggests that when it comes to meditation, mountains have a lot to teach us by holding the mountain image in our minds eye as a symbol of steadfast presence and stillness.

In this meditation we are invited to bring to mind an image of a mountain that resonates with us. As we sit, we are guided to take in forms and shapes of the mountain and breathe with and observe the image of the mountain, seeing all its qualities. We are then invited to bring the mountain into our own body so that our body becomes one with the mountain, a breathing mountain, unwavering in our stillness, centered and rooted.

Throughout this guided meditation, whilst the mountain just sits being itself, we embark on a journey of observing day turn to night, light and shadow, colours, fauna, flora, the seasons flowing into one another, changing weather patterns, temperatures, calmness descending into storms. We get a sense of freshness, dullness, vibrance, fog and clarity, whilst all the while the mountain just sits unmoved by the changes around it.

Kabat-Zinn suggests that as we sit holding this image in our mind, we can embody the same unwavering stillness and rootedness in the face of everything that changes in our own lives over seconds, hours, and years. As in meditation practice, in life we experience the continual changing nature of our own internal and external worlds.

He proposes that by becoming the mountain in our meditation, we can link up with its strength and stability. We can also draw parallels between the things that happen to us and the weather on the mountain. Lastly, he reminds us that the mountain meditation is only a device to point us in a direction, it is up to us to see and respond keeping in mind that although the mountain image is useful from a stability perspective we are human and as much as we can be rock solid we can also be soft and gentle and continue to grow and transform.

I have included this link to a meditation script https://palousemindfulness.com/docs/mountain%20meditation.pdf which is an adapted version of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s absolutely beautiful Mountain Meditation. I know that if you take the time to read it you will find something in there that will deeply resonate with you too.  Make the time – it is worth it. I have also included this link to Jon Kabat-Zinn Mountain Meditation: https://youtu.be/Yx2iOYusYeE

It is not the complete meditation but gives you a taste of connecting with your mountain. There are numerous other versions of the mountain meditation on youtube so go ahead, explore and find your mountain.

Reference: Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion Books, 199457

Go with strength, balance and heart!