(Read Psalm 30)
Life is not just falling in love. It is also falling out of love. Life is not just landing a job. It is also leaving a job. Life is not always feeling happy. It is also feeling sad.
Most of us would prefer that this isn’t so, but it is the reality of human existence.
Part of what we must do on our spiritual journeys then is learn to embrace that which plagues us. By embrace I don’t mean that we have to like our trials and tribulations, but we must learn to accept them as a part of our life, we must learn to love ourselves though them, otherwise, we will end up bitter and angry.
Part of the reason that embracing is so important is because what you resist persists. If you resist the ongoing argument you are having with someone in your life, the argument persists. In fact, resistance fuels the flame and makes the problem bigger. If you resist and deny your declining health, the problem won’t go away, it will persist. The best way to help yourself is to embrace what you are going through, to look at it through the eyes of compassion and learn to work with it instead of fighting against it.
There is something called a mountain meditation. And in this meditation you are the mountain, and no matter what happens on the mountain, you stand firm and at peace. The sun may be scorching the earth, the wind may be blowing fiercely, the rain or snow may be pouring down, but the mountain is unaffected by all the turmoil going on around it.
The elements of sun, wind, rain and snow are like the changing circumstances of our lives. The important thing to remember is that we are not the elements, we are the mountain. The elements swirl around us and sometimes they make life pleasant and good, while at other times, they make life miserable and bad. Through all of this, you, the mountain remain calm.
The things we have to endure - breakups, work stress, disagreements, destructive attitudes and behaviors, poor health - if we don’t get caught up in these storms of life, we can truly make it through them and be better off than before. But this will take time. Years even. What we should learn to do is harness our energy so that we can make skillful choices that will lead to healing, reconciliation and wellness.
So right now, we are going to take a few minutes to imagine ourselves as the mountain. After I finish speaking, music will begin to play and some images will be displayed on the screen if you would like to look at them. This will be a time for reflection in which you can think about the circumstances of your life and the best ways to respond to them.
To sum it up simply, the road to health and happiness starts with us being strong and still, unaffected and firm like the mountain, and we move further down the road as we respond to life with insight and wisdom.
I invite you to sit up straight or stand in the mountain pose if you like. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain
Breathing out, I feel solid and strong.
Imagine yourself as a majestic mountain with your summit in the clouds. Imagine how solid and strong you are, how connected to the earth you are, for you, the mountain, have stood for thousands of years.
The weather has always been in a state of flux around you. Some days, the sun shines brightly overhead, and you feel its warmth and bask in its light. Other days, the sun is too hot, and it scorches the earth and rock. No matter what the weather, you, the mountain are solid and strong.
Some days, the sun is hidden by the clouds, and it feels so cold on the mountain that you shiver. On these days, the wind is like a whip against your skin. Debris blows across the mountain, but you are not harmed. You are solid and strong.
Other days, the heavens open up and rain falls gently to the earth providing it with much needed water. Or snow falls from heaven and covers you in a gentle blanket of white, and even though it is cold, there is no harm to you for you feel as though you are covered by a down comforter. No matter the weather, you stand firm and immovable.
The winds of change have whirled for centuries around you without any noticeable effects. And as this meditation ends, you shall remain still, firmly grounded and connected to the earth regardless of the circumstances of your life. So now just sit and continue to follow your breath as you sink deeply into your majestic mountain base. Become one with the feelings of solidity, strength and connection.
Breathing in, I feel calm.
Breathing out, I am centered.
Breathing in, I feel secure.
Breathing out, I am strong.
Breathing in, I feel still and connected.
Breathing out, I reflect on things as they are
And I am at peace.