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My Meditative Moments

Exercise- Mountain Meditation

by meditative - April 19th, 2010.
Filed under: Attending Meditation Exercises.

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A mountain remains still with calmness abiding all change…

When it comes to meditation- mountains have a lot to teach having archetypal significance in all cultures. Rising above all else on our planet, they beckon and overwhelm with their sheer presence. Their nature is elemental… rock…. rock hard, rock solid. In meditation practice, it can be helpful sometimes to borrow from these wonderful archetypal qualities of mountains and use them to bolster our intentionality and resolve to hold the moment with an elemental purity and simplicity.

The mountain meditation can be practiced in the following way or modified to resonate with your personal vision of the mountain and its meaning. It can be done in any posture, but many find a sitting (i.e. cross-legged) position to be most powerful- where the body looks and feels most mountain-like inside and out- although, it is the inner image of the mountain that is most significant in this practice. Picture the most beautiful mountain you know or know of- or can imagine- one whose form speaks personally to you. As you focus the image or the feeling of the mountain in your mind’s eye, notice its overall shape- the lofty peak- the base rooted in the rock of the earth’s crust- the steep or gently sloping sides. Also, note how massive it is- how unmoving- how beautiful whether seen from afar or up close- a beauty emanating from its unique signature of shape and form- and at the same time embodying the universal qualities of “mountain-ness”- transcending particular shape and form.

However your mountain appears to you, just sit and breathe with the image of this mountain- observing it, and noticing its qualities. When you feel ready, see if you can bring the mountain into your own body so that your body sitting here and the mountain of the mind’s eye become one. Your head becomes the lofty peak- your shoulders and arms the sides of the mountain. Your buttocks and legs the solid base rooted to your cushion on the floor or to your chair.

Experience in your body the sense of uplift, the axial, elevated quality of the mountain deep in your own spine. Invite yourself to become a breathing mountain unwavering in your stillness, completely what you are… beyond words and thought- a centered, rooted, unmoving presence.

The mountain just sits being itself as it is at times visited by violent storms, buffeted by snow and rain and winds of unthinkable magnitude- through it all the mountain sits- unmoved by the weather- by what happens on the surface- by the world of appearances. 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. By becoming the mountain in our meditation, we can link up with its strength and stability and adopt them for our own.

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 much like the weather on the mountain. We tend to take it personally but its strongest characteristic is impersonal. The weather of our own lives is not to be ignored or denied. It is to be encountered, felt and honored. Mountains have this to teach us and much more if we can come to listen.

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