One of my favorite meditations is "The Mountain Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It encourages us to seek inner stability and peace, even in the face unpredictable change and chaos.
Here is an adaptation of Kabat-Zinn's classic guided meditation, followed by the adapted script below.
"Be the Mountain" Guided Meditation Script:
Continue to breathe deeply.
Bring your awareness to the sensations of your breath, and the gentle rhythm it is creating within you. “Letting it be, just as it is.” Each inhale and exhale announcing the next.
Expand your awareness to the sensations of your body. Sitting upright and with dignity – bring your attention to the surface beneath you and the support it provides. Root your body into its strength and become aware of your connection to it – Complete, whole, and in this moment, you are grounded by its unwavering resolve.
As you sit there, visualize a grand mountain, whose peaks pierce smoky clouds and continue upward where the air is clear and the view is endless. A mountain with slopes that are both jagged and gentle; supported by a vast foundation, rooted deep in the bedrock of the earth. This mountain is a monument to all that is solid, grand, unmoving, and beautiful.
Are there trees? Does snow blanket it lofty heights? Perhaps waterfalls cascading as mist into an open sky?
However it is – let it be as it is: a perfect of creation.
Be this mountain, and share in its stillness.
Grounded in your posture, your head its skyward peak, supported by the rest of your form, granting you an awe-inspiring perspective of the landscape before you, behind you, and about you, which flows from your center into the distance horizon.
Be this mountain.
And take on its stability as your own. From the top of your crown, down your neck, and into the balance of your shoulders, like cliffs, descending into your arms and forearms, and coming to rest in the valley of your hands.
Be the mountain.
Your feet, legs, and hips its base – solid and rooted beneath you – a foundation, extending up your spine and abdomen: A core of stability.
The rhythm of your breath is all that moves you. A living mountain: alive and aware, “yet unwavering in inner stillness: completely what you are, beyond words and thought: a centered, grounded, unmovable presence.”
A mountain, which witnesses the sun travel across the sky, casting light and shadows and colors across its consistent composure. Moment by moment, in the mountain’s stillness, the surface teems with life and activity: Snows melt, streams run down its face, trees and flowers bloom and die and bloom again as the wildlife returns and departs with the seasons.
Be the mountain, who will be called beautiful and inspiring, and dark and ominous, and knows that it is all of those things and less.
Be the mountain – which sits and sees how night follows day and back again. Which knows the sun by the warmth it brings on rising, and the stars by the way they show in a darkened sky.
Through it all, the mountain sits. Aware of the changes that each moment brings, around it and to it. Yet it remains itself. Still, as the seasons flow one into the other, and the air swirls from hot and cold, and the weather turns from tame to turbulent. Some so treacherous as to tear at its surface.
Still - none of this concerns the mountain, whose serenity is housed within, and cannot disturbed by fleeting furor.
“In the same way, as you sit in meditation, you can learn to experience the mountain as a means to embody the same centered, unwavering stillness and groundedness in the face of all that changes in your life – over seconds, and hours, and years.”
Like the mountain you will experience the changing nature of your mind and body, and of the world around you. You will have periods varying in intensity – of darkness and light, of activity and inactively, and moments that fill your life with color.
Through it all, be the mountain, and call on its patient strength and stability within you. Let it empower you to encounter each moment with mindful composure and compassionate clarity.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion.