Mountain Solid: A stabilising tool for when you are feeling vulnerable or agitated
-Thich Nhat Hanh-

I’ve created a vivid mountain scene inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s wonderful meditation tool.

Wouldn’t it be nice if nothing could rattle you? That’s definitely not me! I’m most definitely ‘rattleable’ ; just ask my children. But I am realising that very simple tools can have powerful effects if they are integrated into a daily practice. I’ve only just started using Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘Mountain Solid’, but I’m amazed by its capacity to quickly ground me. I only wish I had discovered it sooner, which is why I would like to share it here. I use it on-the-go, as well as doing it as a seated meditation, and I find it extremely powerful. I’ll give the suggested instruction here and you may like to adapt it to your needs too. If calling it a meditation puts you off don’t worry, this doesn’t have to take long. I prefer to think of it as a mindfulness tool. Use this tool when you feel agitated, vulnerable or fragile. It will help you to feel stable again.

1. Take a stable seated position. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests the lotus position or half lotus position. The stability of the body will help to bring about the stability of the mind.

2. Practise breathing in and out. Think:

Breathing in I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out I feel solid.

(You can shorten this to suit yourself. You may say just ‘mountain’ and ‘solid’.)

3. Simply repeat until you feel more solid. I visualise a stunning, snow-capped mountain with an enormous base. I try to feel how absolutely unmovable it is and how that feels within me. Practise it daily and you will feel a stabilising effect. When you feel overwhelmed it will be there to ground you.

Thich Nhat Hanh explains that when we are overwhelmed by a strong emotion we feel we are very vulnerable, but we are actually more solid than we think. He uses a beautiful analogy of a tree to illustrate his meaning:

“When you look at a tree during a storm, you see that the top of the tree is not solid. You can only see the tiny branches and a number of leaves on the top of the tree swing back and forth. You have the impression that the tree is very vulnerable, very fragile; but if you see the tree is firmly rooted in the ground the impression that the tree is vulnerable will vanish. You will see that the tree is much more solid than it looked at the top.”

He goes on to explain that we are like that too. We can connect with our stability by breathing in and out deeply into our ‘trunk’ (concentrate on the abdomen just under the navel) and repeating the Mountain Solid meditation.

I like this tool for its simplicity and the ease with which I can use it on the go. Sometimes just a mindful ‘mountain, solid’ is enough to remind me of my strength, but I need to practise it daily for it to come to me in those moments when I truly need it.

This is just one tool of several from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Art of Mindful Living”. Another favourite of mine is ‘Flower Fresh’. I highly recommend this resource, not just for the tools offered but for the general spiritual wisdom. Extremely beautiful.

The Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hanh
(Available on audible at the time of this posting)

Update on my weight loss program: I am posting my progress publicly to keep myself accountable! I’m doing well at 52.6 kg. I’ve lost 2.9 kg since January 12th. If you are interested in how I am doing it – using Tony Robbins’ 5 steps to change – click through to the original post.

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