MBSR Mountain Meditation

MBSR Mountain Meditation


This meditation is normally done in
a sitting position, either on the floor or a chair. It begins by sensing into
the support you have from the chair or the cushion… Paying attention to the
actual sensations of contact… Finding a position of stability and poise…
Upper body balanced over your hips and shoulders in a comfortable but
alert posture… Hands in your lap or your knees…arms hanging by their own weight
like heavy curtains, stable and relaxed… Actually sensing into your body, feeling your feet… Your legs… Hips… Lower and upper body…
Arms… Shoulders… Neck and head… And when you’re ready, allowing your eyes to close…
Bring your awareness to breath… The actual physical sensations…
Feeling each breath as it comes in and goes out… Letting the breath be just as it is, without trying to change or
regulate it in any way… Allowing it to flow easily and naturally
with its own rhythm and pace… Knowing that you’re breathing perfectly well
right now and nothing for you to do… And allowing the body to be still,
and sitting with a sense of dignity, a sense of resolve…
A sense of being complete, whole, in this very moment with your posture
reflecting this sense of wholeness… As you sit here, letting an image form in
your mind’s eye of the most magnificent or beautiful mountain you know, or
have seen, or can imagine… Letting it come into greater focus… And
even if it doesn’t come as a visual image, allowing the sense of this mountain and
feeling of its overall shape… Its lofty peak or peaks high in the sky…
The large base rooted in bedrock of the Earth’s crust…its steeper,
gently sloping sides… Noticing how massive it is…how
solid…how unmoving…how beautiful, whether from afar or from up close… Perhaps your mountain has snow blanketing its top…and trees reaching
down to the base… Or rugged granite sides… There may be streams and
waterfalls cascading down the slopes… There may be one peak or a series of
peaks… Or with meadows and high lakes… Observing it, noting its qualities, and when you feel ready, seeing if you can
bring the mountain into your own body, so that your body and the mountain
in your mind’s eye become one… So that as you sit here, you share in
the massiveness and the stillness and majesty of the mountain.
You become the mountain… Grounded in the sitting posture,
your head becomes the lofty peak, supported by the rest of the body,
and affording a panoramic view. Your shoulders and arms, the sides of
the mountain… Your buttocks and legs, the solid base… Rooted to your cushion
or your chair, experiencing in your body, a sense of uplift from deep within your
pelvis and spine… With each breath, as you continue sitting, becoming a little
more a breathing mountain, alive and vital, yet unwavering in your inner
stillness… Completely what you are, beyond words and thought…a centered,
grounded, unmoving presence… As you sit here, becoming aware of
the fact that, as the sun travels across the sky, the light and shadows and colors
are changing virtually moment by moment in the mountain stillness…
While the surface teems with life and activity…streams, melting snow,
waterfalls, plants and wildlife… As the mountain sits, seeing and
feeling how night follows day and day follows night… The bright, warming
sun, followed by the cool night sky, studded with stars, and
the gradual dawning of a new day… And through it all, the mountain
just sits… Experiencing change in each moment, constantly
changing…yet always being itself. It remains still as the seasons
flow into one another, and as the weather changes moment by moment, and
day by day, calmness abiding all change. In summer there’s no snow on the mountain
except, perhaps, where varied peaks and crags shield it from the direct sunlight. In the fall, the mountain may wear
a coat of brilliant fire colors. And in winter a blanket of snow and
ice… In any season, it may find itself at times
enshrouded in clouds or fog or pelted by freezing rain.
People may come and see the mountain, and comment on how beautiful it is, or how
it’s not a good day to see the mountain, that it’s too cloudy or
rainy or foggy or dark. None of this matters to
the mountain…which remains at all times its essential self.
Clouds may come and clouds may go. Tourists may like it or not.
The mountain’s magnificence and beauty are not changed one bit by whether
they see it or not. And seen or unseen, in sun or clouds… Broiling or
frigid, day or night… It just sits, being itself. At times visited by
violent storms, buffeted by snow and rain and winds of unthinkable magnitude,
and through it all the mountain sits… Spring comes…trees leaf out… Flowers
bloom in the high meadows and slopes… Birds sing in the trees once again, and
streams overflow with the waters of melting snow. And through it all,
the mountain continues to sit, unmoved by the weather, by what happens
on its surface, by the world of appearances… Remaining its
essential self through the seasons, the changing weather, the activity
ebbing and flowing on its surface… And in the same way,
as we sit in meditation, we can learn to experience the mountain.
We can embody the same central, unwavering stillness and groundedness
in the face of everything that changes in our own lives, over seconds,
over hours, over years… In our lives and in our meditation practice, we experience
constantly the changing nature of mind and body, and of the outer world.
And we have our own periods of light and darkness, activity and inactivity…
Our moments of color and our moments of drabness…
It’s true that we experience storms of varying intensity and
violence in the outer world… And in our own minds and bodies,
buffeted by high winds, by cold and rain, we endure periods of darkness and pain,
as well as the moments of joy and uplift. Even our appearance changes constantly,
experiencing a weather of its own… By becoming the mountain in our meditation
practice, we can link up with its strength and stability, and adopt them for our own.
We can use its energies to support our energy to encounter each moment
with mindfulness, in equanimity, and clarity. It may help us to
see that our thoughts and feelings, our preoccupations,
our emotional storms and crises, even the things that happen to us are very
much like the weather on the mountain. We tend to take it all personally, but its
strongest characteristic is impersonal. The weather of our own
lives is not be ignored or denied, it is to be
encountered…honored…felt…known for what it is and held in awareness.
And in holding it in this way, we come to know a deeper silence and
stillness and wisdom. Mountains have this to teach us and
much more if we can let it in. So if you find you resonate in
some way with the strength and stability of the mountain in your sitting,
it may be helpful to use it from time to time in your meditation practice…
To remind you of what it means to sit mindfully, with resolve, and
with wakefulness in true stillness… So in the time that remains, continuing
to sustain the mountain meditation on your own, in silence, moment by moment,
until you hear the sound of the bells… [BELL] [BELL] [BELL]

2 thoughts on “MBSR Mountain Meditation

  1. Today's meditation was great… I like how quickly you speak us through the process and then let us drop into the silent portion… I had the fewest "mental thought" interruptions – so, that is a hint that I am making progress with the practice… I am pleased… I also did Yoga #2 this morning, before Mountain… I am on Week 2 of MBSR… : ) Thank you Palouse…

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