A VISUALISATION MEDITATION INSPIRED BY JON KABAT-ZINN
There are metaphors everywhere for mindfulness – clouds coming and going, actors in a play, sitting at the bus stop but not catching the bus. And perhaps one of the most famous is The Mountain by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
I love this one because it’s just so easy to imagine we are, in fact, a mountain! And once settled into the meditation, embodying all the qualities that the mountain possesses – solid, unflappable, beautiful – those qualities seem to transfer to the experience of the meditation itself. In other words, a grounded, peaceful, clear-thinking meditation.
This is my adaptation of The Mountain.
This mediation is a take on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s metaphor of a mountain.
Before we begin, spend some time adjusting your body.
Relaxing the shoulders, sitting up nice and straight, supporting your own posture, and relaxing your belly.
Bringing awareness to your face and head. Relaxing the jaw. Relaxing the neck and throat. Relaxing the temples. Relaxing the forehead.
Taking a deep breath – in through the nose – and out through the mouth.
And resting our hands naturally in our laps.
If you can, try to bring to mind an image of a magnificent mountain. Or if that doesn’t come easily, try and get a sense or feeling for what a mountain embodies.
Solid and unmoving. Triangular in shape.
A sturdy, wide foundation, rooted in the earth.
Angling up high towards its pointed peak in the sky.
And noticing the finer details of all that this mountain is.
Perhaps: a dense landscape of trees. Narrow winding roads. Houses dotted in and around. Animals and birdlife.
An impressive home to life and creation.
Now imagine what your mountain might look like as the seasons change.
Snow-capped peaks in winter.
Lush and dewy in spring.
Bright and dry in summer.
A blazing-red canopy in autumn.
And just as the mountain stays a mountain – with its trees and roads and wildlife – no matter what the changing seasons bring, so too, do we.
For no matter if we’re experiencing sunny thoughts or gloomy ones, frosty or balmy conditions, underneath our mental weather patterns, our true nature sits solid and unwavering.
And with that understanding it can be useful to imagine we are that mountain.
Grounded here firmly to the chair, stool or cushion.
Sitting upright towards the sky.
Experiencing whatever conditions are presented to us, just as they are, without any judgement.
Just sitting and accepting. Still and composed.
Allowing thoughts to come and go. Allowing sounds and sensations to pass us by.
Just sitting as a mountain does.
In peaceful equanimity.
For the remainder of the meditation, if you’re connecting with this metaphor, continue feeling the breath and visualising yourself as the mountain.
Observing thoughts as they come and go; observing sounds, sensations and smells.
Knowing that you are not your thoughts. Just as the mountain is not the weather.
Taking solace in this realisation.
Breathing in and breathing out.
Sitting centred and upright, moment by moment.
Simply, being the mountain.