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Mountain Meditation


Adapted from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mountain Meditation


Make your way to a comfortable seated position focusing on stability and alignment. Feel your body connected with the ground, or whatever you are sitting on. Straighten and lengthen your spine. Take a moment to ground yourself. Bring your attention to your body as a whole, noticing the stability in your connection to the earth.


When you feel ready, you can close your eyes if that feels good. Bring your awareness to how your breath feels as it enters and exits your body. Pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breath, but do not try to alter it. Allow the rest of your body to still, and relax.


Now picture in your mind’s eye a beautiful mountain. What does it look like? Trees, softly swaying in the wind, waterfalls cascading down the mountain’s edge, sun catching on a fine mist? Is it rough rock? Or green and grassy? Are there lakes? Is there snow on the mountain peak? Are there clouds or mist covering part of the mountain? Imagine it in all the detail that comes to your mind’s eye. Notice most of all how unmoving, how unwavering the mountain is.


Observe the mountain as it is, and then bring it into your body. Be the mountain, sharing in its stillness, wholeness, groundedness, and majesty. Your head becomes the peak, reaching into the sky, completely supported by the rest of your body. Your arms and shoulders become the sides of the mountain, sloping downwards, and your pelvis and legs are the mountain’s base, rooted into ground and stable. As you breathe, allow your breath to transform you more and more into the mountain.


As you sit here over time, the mountain witnesses change. Seasons and weather come and go. Snow melts and falls again. Flowers bloom and die and bloom again, and the trees change colors. Some days may be rainy, foggy, or dark, but this does not concern the mountain. Despite any changes, the mountain remains itself.


As we sit in meditation we can learn to be like the mountain. We can adopt the mountain’s groundedness, stillness, and unchanging nature, even as our life changes. Through everything, we can call on the mountain’s strength and stability whenever we need it.


You can remain in silence for as long as you need. When you are ready, slowly return your attention to your body, your posture, and wiggle your fingers and toes. Slowly open your eyes and bring your awareness back to the room you're in. Remember that the mountain is always there within you when you need it.


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