October 21, 2020

Meditation Analogy of Walking on a Mountain Ridge

Have you ever set out for a hill walk knowing that the weather forecast isn’t ideal and that as you climb higher you will be challenged by the elements? Of course you have we live in the UK! I always smile when I see the language which is sometimes used on MWIS (Mountain Weather Information Service) “Walking will be treacherous!” but of course if we only went out on fine weather days then we wouldn’t really manage many mountain days at all, that is why it’s important to spend some time improving navigation skills and investing in good quality outdoor kit.

There is something about feeling resistance and exposure on a mountain enhanced by the weather, that really allows you to connect to greater sense of space in the mind, a different perspective and a feeling of wonder and interest. The last time I went out in the Scottish Highlands I could really feel the change in the season. We had cooler temperatures, a dusting of snow, wind speeds of about 35 miles per hour (which brought wind chill down to about -5) and very changeable visibility. However it was one of my favourites days of 2020 and while I was up there I thought of a useful analogy that could be applied to meditation…

Sometimes when we meditate we feel the need to push away thoughts that arise and this year in particular, I know many people have felt this sense of disturbance when taking their seat and literally spend the whole time being caught up in the thinking mind. However we know that meditation and yoga is not about the complete absence of thought but more about the process of finding a place of stillness where the thoughts are still there but they do not concern or require our full attention. When walking up the ridge leading to the summit of the mountain, I felt my motivation drop, knowing that we were about to be on higher ground with a little more exposure. We put more layers on and tightened up our waterproofs and braced ourselves for a day spent with hoods down and minimal conversation! However sometimes mountain weather can surprise you and the strongest winds were actually experienced just before the ridge. The shape of the terrain can sometimes cause the wind to funnel upwards so that when you step onto the ridge itself, it feels like the most sheltered part of the mountain. This made me think about the meditation practice. Sometimes we can worry about how much we get distracted by unhelpful thoughts or a distorted reality, but if we develop and keep building the skills which we acquire in meditation, we can learn to observe the thoughts funnel up and over us without the need to feel their challenge or resistance and from that we can find a greater place of space.

Join us for our FREE Finding Space SOS: 3 Day meditation challenge on 24th Oct-26th October. We are hosting live meditations through a private facebook page every day at 8.15am. To sign up please click here and make sure your follow all of the steps.