Mountain Meditation Guided Imagery by Miller (Military Meditation Coach Podcast)

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[music]
[Dr. Julie Kinn] Welcome back to the “Military Meditation Coach,” your source for meditation,
mindfulness, and relaxation exercises, made for the military but good for everyone. I’m Dr. Julie Kinn with the Defense Health
Agency, and today is the fourth part in our four-part series on guided imagery. This time Mr. Michael Miller is joining us. He’s going to be leading out a 22-minute,
guided imagery exercise. He calls it a mountain meditation. [Michael Miller] Hello. My name is Michael Miller, and I teach mind-body
medicine in the TBI Clinic. This is a mountain meditation. [silence, followed by two strikes of a gong]
[Miller] This meditation is normally done in a sitting position, either on the floor
or a chair, and begins by sensing into the support you have from the chair or the cushion,
paying attention to the actual sensations of contact, finding a position of stability
and poise. Upper body balanced over your hips, and shoulders
in a comfortable, but alert posture. Hands on your lap or your knees. Arms hanging by their own weight like heavy
curtains stable and relaxed. Actually sensing into your body, feeling your
feet, legs, hips, lower and upper body, arms, shoulders, neck, head. And when you are ready, allowing your eyes
to close, bringing awareness to breath, the actual physical sensations, feeling each breath
as it comes in and goes out. Letting the breath be just as it is without
trying to change or regulate it in any way, allowing it to flow easily, and naturally,
with its own rhythm and pace, knowing you are breathing perfectly well right now. Nothing for you to do. Allowing the body to be still and sitting
with a sense of dignity, a sense of resolve, a sense of being complete, whole in this very
moment, with your posture reflecting this sense of wholeness. [Miller] As you sit here, letting an image
form in your mind’s eye of the most magnificent or beautiful mountain you know or have seen
or can imagine, letting it gradually come into greater focus. And even if it doesn’t come as a visual image,
allowing the sense of this greater focus of the mountain, and feeling its overall shape,
its lofty peak or peaks high in the sky, the large base rooted in the bedrock of the Earth’s
crust, its steep or gently sloping sides. Noticing how massive it is, how solid, how
unmoving, how beautiful, whether from afar or up close. Perhaps your mountain has snow covering its
top and trees reaching down the base, or rugged granite sides. There may be streams and waterfalls cascading
down the slopes. There may be one peak or a series of peaks,
or with meadows and high lakes. Observing it, noting its qualities, and when
you feel ready, seeing if you can bring the mountain into your own body sitting here,
so that your body and the mountain in your mind’s eye become one, so that as you sit
here, you share in the massiveness, and stillness, and majesty of the mountain. You become the mountain, grounded in the sitting
posture. Your head becomes the lofty peak supported
by the rest of your body and affording a panoramic view. Your shoulders and arms, the sides of the
mountain. Your buttocks and legs, the solid base rooted
to your cushion or your chair. Experiencing in your body a sense of uplift
from deep within your pelvis and spine. [Miller] With each breath, as you continue
sitting, becoming a little more a breathing mountain, alive and vital, yet unwavering
in your inner stillness, completely what you are, beyond words and the thoughts, a centered,
rounded, unmoving presence. As you sit here, becoming aware of the fact
that as the sun travels across the sky, the light and shadows and colors are changing,
virtually moment by moment in the mountain’s stillness. And the surface teems with life and activity
— streams, melting snow, waterfalls, plants, and wildlife. As the mountain sits, seeing and feeling how
night follows day, and day follows night, the bright warming sun, followed by the cool
night sky studded with stars, and the gradual dawning of a new day. Through it all, the mountain just sits, experiencing
change in each moment, constantly changing, yet always just being itself. It remains still as the seasons flow into
one another, as the weather changes, moment by moment, and day by day. Calmness, abiding all change. In the summer, there is no snow on the mountain,
except perhaps for the very peaks or crags shielded from direct sunlight. In the fall, the mountain may wear a coat
of brilliant fire colors. In the winter, a blanket of snow and ice. In any season, it may find itself at times
enshrouded in clouds, or fog, or pelted by freezing rain. [Miller] People may come to see the mountain,
and comment how beautiful it is, or how it’s not a good day to see the mountain, that it’s
too cloudy, or rainy, or foggy, or dark. None of these matters to the mountain, which
remains, at all times, its essential self. Clouds may come, and clouds may go. Tourists may like it or not. The mountain’s magnificence and beauty are
not changed one bit by whether people see it or not, seen or unseen, in sun or clouds,
broiling or frigid, day or night. It just sits being itself. At times, visited by violent storms, buffeted
by snow, and rain, and winds of unthinkable magnitude. Through it all, the mountain sits. Spring comes. Trees leaf out. Flowers bloom in the high meadows and slopes. Birds sing in the trees once again. Streams overflow with the waters of melting
snow. Through it all, the mountain continues to
sit, unmoved by weather, by what happens on its surface, by the world of appearances,
remaining its essential self through the seasons, the changing weather, the activity ebbing
and flowing on its surface. [Miller] In the same way, as we sit in meditation,
we can learn to experience the mountain. We can embody the same central, unwavering
stillness and groundedness in the face of everything that changes in our lives. Over seconds, hours, over years. In our lives, and in our meditation practice,
we experience constantly the changing nature of mind and body in the outer world. We have our own periods of light and darkness,
activity and inactivity, our moments of color and our moments of drabness. It’s true that we experience storms of varying
intensity and violence in our outer world, and in our own minds and bodies, buffeted
by high winds, by cold, and rain. We endure periods of darkness and pain, as
well as the moments of joy and uplift. Even our appearance changes constantly, experiencing
a weather of its own. By becoming the mountain in our meditation
practice, we can link up with its strength and stability, and adopt them for our own. We can use its energies to support our energy,
to encounter each moment with mindfulness, and equanimity, and clarity. [Miller] It may help us to see that our thoughts,
and feelings, our preoccupations, our emotional storms, and crises, even the things that happen
to us, are very much like the weather on the mountain. We tend to take it all personally, but its
strongest characteristic is impersonal. The weather of our own lives is not to be
ignored or denied. It is to be encountered, honored, felt, and
known for what it is, and held in awareness. And in holding it in this way, we come to
know a deeper silence, and stillness, and wisdom. Mountains have this to teach us, and much
more, if we can let it in. So if you find you resonate in some way with
the strength and stability of the mountain, in your sitting, it may be helpful to use
it from time to time in your meditation practice, to remind you what it means to sit mindfully
with resolve, and wakefulness, in true stillness. So, in the time that remains, continuing to
sustain the mountain meditation on your own, in silence, moment, by moment, until you hear
the sound of the bells. [silence, then the sound of a gong, then another]
[music] [Kinn] Thank you for joining us today, and
thank you to those listeners who’ve reached out to let us know that you want more guided
imagery. We’ll get right on that. You can let us know what kinds of meditation
you’re interested in by getting in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter @MilitaryHealth. The “Military Meditation Coach” podcast
is produced by the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control and by the
Defense Health Agency. Thank you for rating us and subscribing on
iTunes or wherever you get podcasts. The views expressed here are those of the
presenters and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Defense or the
United States Government. [music]

 

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