Mountain Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn



When it comes to meditation, mountains have a lot to teach.

Having archetypal significance in all cultures.

Mountains are sacred places.

People have always sought spiritual guidance and renewal in them and among them.


The mountain is the symbol of the prime axis of the world.

Mount Neru.

The dwelling place of the Gods.

Mount Olympus.

And the place the spiritual leader encounters God and receives his commandments and covenant.

Mount Sinai.


Mountains are held sacred

Embodying dread and harmony, hardness and majesty

Rising above all else on our planet.

They beckon and overwhelm with their sheer presence


Their nature is elemental.

Rock. Rock hard. Rock solid.

Mountains are the place of visions.

Where one can touch the panoramic scale of the world and its intersection of life’s fragile but tenacious rootings.


Mountains have played key roles in our history and our pre-history.

To traditional peoples, mountains were and are still mother, father, guardian, protector, ally.


In meditation practice it can be helpful sometimes to borrow these wonderful archetypal qualities of mountains.

And use them to boot our intentionality and resolve.

To hold the moment with the elemental purity and simplicity.

The mountain image held in the minds eye and body can freshen our memory of why we are sitting here in the first place.

And what it truly means each time to take our seat and dwell in the realm of non-doing.

Mountains are quintessentially emblematic of abiding presence and stillness.


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 I find it most powerful when I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor.

So that mybody looks and feels most mountain like.

Inside and outside.

Being in the mountain  but not at all necessary.

It is the inner image which is the source of power here.


Picture the most beautiful mountain you know of

One that speaks personally to you.

As you …in the mind’s eye.

notice the mountain’s shape.

The steep or gently sloping sides.

Notice how massive it is.

A beauty emanating from its unique signature or form.


Transcending particular shape or form.


Perhaps your mountain has snow at the top and trees on the lower slope.

Perhaps it has one prominent peak.

Perhaps a series of peaks and a plateau.

However it appears, just sit and breathe with the image of this mountain.

Observing it…noting its qualities.


When you feel ready.

See if you can bring the mountain into your own body.

Become one.

Your head becomes the lofty peak.

Your buttocks become.

Or to your chair.


Experience in your body.

Invite yourself to become a breathing mountain.

Completely what you are.

Beyond words and thought.



Now as we all know, throughout the day.

As the sun travels through the sky.

moment to moment in the mountain’s granite stilness.

Even the untrained eye can see changes within the hour.

And paint the life of his inanimate subject.

Transformed cathedral, river or mountain.

And therefore wake up the viewer’s eye.

The mountain just sits.

Simply being itself.

It remains still.

And as the weather changes moment by moment..

Calmness abiding by all change.