This is another article in a series for those who are beginning to meditate. It’s important to know what meditation is and what it isn’t, so please read the other articles first Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice and Meditation Practice: Preparation for Beginners.
Meditation is a relaxed state of heightened awareness. It is not a zoned out state bordering on sleepiness; nor is a state of cogitation. Mediators do experience thoughts passing through the mind like fluffy clouds passing through the sky, but they do not follow, nor attempt to forcefully drive any arising thoughts from their mind; they pay them no mind.
The principle of meditation is you are what you think, and when you choose to learn to meditate the door to your consciousness opens. When we are fully present in the moment we are grounded.
The mountain sat upon the plain
In his eternal chair,
His observation omnifold,
His inquest everywhere.
The seasons prayed around his knees,
Like children round a sire:
Grandfather of the days is he,
Of dawn the ancestor.
1. Choose a meditation time when you can sit for half an hour without interruption.
Some experts say that the early morning is the best time to choose; others recommend choosing to meditate twice daily morning and night. Neither recommendation is written in stone.
2. Choose a clean and quiet meditation environment, preferably one outdoors.
Once again this not written in stone but most find it easier to focus outdoors than they do indoors. Make the choice that’s best for you.
3. Choose a comfortable erect position.
Choose a comfortable position to be in that allows your spine and head to be erect. Try a straightbacked chair but other positions can be chosen if the chair does not suit you. The aim is to have an erect and straight back and head, with the chin slightly tucked in towards the chest, both feet flat on the floor, and hands quietly resting on your thighs.
4. Choose to commence with a relaxation exercise.
Begin to progressively tense and release the muscles from your toes to your head until they become relaxed and peaceful, as you learned in Meditation Practice: Preparation for Beginners. Notice where there is tension and smooth and calm those muscles in your imagination.
5. Choose to commence following your breath and to continue following it until your meditation is complete.
Begin observing your breath as you learned in Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice. Follow your breath in and out without changing the inhalation – pause – exhalation – pause cycle any way. Remain in tune with feeling air pass in and out of your nostrils as you inhale and exhale.
6. Visualize a mountain and then become that mountain.
Imagine yourself as being that majestic mountain with your summit in the clouds. Imagine how solid and strong and how connected to the earth you are, for you, the mountain, have stood for thousands of years.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain
Breathing out, I feel solid and strong.
The weather has always been in a state of flux around you. The views change from blue sky views with gentle breezes and showers to mighty banks of storm clouds, dispensing heavy downpours, to sleet and snow. Yet, you have stood firm and immovable, and the winds of change have whirled for centuries around you without any noticeable effects.
Breathing in makes me calm.
Breathing out helps me settle.
Just like changes in weather for you the mountain are whirling about outside of you provoking no angst, the emotions, activities and situations that whirl around you in your every day life shall not disturb you when your meditation ends. You shall remain tall and strong and connected.
Breathing in, I see feel secure.
Breathing out, I feel grounded.
You shall remain upright, firmly grounded and connected to the earth, regardless of the weather whirling around you. So now just sit and continue to follow your breath as you sink deeply into your majestic mountain base without collasping your spine. Become one with the feelings of solidity, strength and connection.
Breathing in, I feel still and connected.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.
End your meditation when you feel it’s time to do so.
As Mountain Meditation Practice leads to a calm, strong and grounded state of mind, the benefit is being able to use it to cope with stress arising in every day life, and to improve relationships through conscious living.