In his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn (founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) shares his insights into the practice of meditation as a means to reduce stress. Discussing the different philosophies behind meditation and different techniques for practice, Kabat-Zinn focuses on the principles of practicing mindfulness- a state of active, open attention on the present. He also describes different meditation techniques, including two visualization techniques, The Mountain Meditation and The Lake Meditation, and gives further insights into mindfulness, including the concept of karma.
According to Kabat-Zinn, being mindful focuses on three aspects; being honest with yourself, being non-judgmental and living fully present in each moment, not basing your thoughts on the past or future. Kabat-Zinn explains that mindfulness requires honesty with ourselves, and believes that to be mindful, an individual must be honest about what is occurring to them- both on the inside and externally, mentally and physically, at that precise moment in time.
As humans, we come up with different ways to lie to ourselves, whether to justify our anger, cushion our emotions or make ourselves feel better about a hurtful experience or situation. Sometimes the lies that we tell ourselves help to shape our self-identity. According to Kabat-Zinn, the lies or statements we tell ourselves are judgments about ourselves, which he feels get in the way of being mindful and honest. For example, if our feelings are hurt because of someone’s actions, by being mindful and looking honestly at our hurt feelings, we can see that our hurt feelings don’t stem from this one person’s actions, and that the feelings are not caused by external factors, but occur within us.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the best way to achieve mindfulness is through meditation- specifically through the two visual meditation techniques, the Mountain Meditation and the Lake Meditation. Through these meditations can focus on these two things: honesty and being fully present in the moment. Below you will find instructions for the Mountain Meditation.
The Mountain Meditation
Adapted from Skillful Means Wiki
The purpose of the mountain meditation is to become grounded and access our inner strength and stability when faced with stressful and challenging circumstances, both internal and external.
Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches us that Mindfulness is being awake, in touch with, and curious -but not judgmental- about your daily existence. Meditation techniques, like the Mountain Meditation and The Lake Meditation, can help an individual to apply mindfulness to the daily life, which can bring about positive change in reactions, emotion and behavior, leading to a more satisfying and fuller life.
For more information on mindfulness, meditation, and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book “Wherever You Go, There You Are”, click here.