Mountain Question Assignment


Assignment: How does the trigram describe a situation; a cause (origin, root); a person?  How does it tell you what to do? What does it tell about how to do something?



Trigram Mountain by Adele Aldridge

When I am in a situation that is mountain, it will be characterized by stillness and inaction. The situation calls for stopping and consideration of the present surroundings. It represents a limit or boundary. It calls for thoughts to not go beyond the present. When there is a mountain in the situation, it is impossible to see through or past the mountain. It is possible to look back and consider the path up to the mountain and the steps already taken. If I face a situation that feels like a mountain, it might be that I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge. I may feel that it is in the way of what I want to do. I can’t just start hiking up a mountain without considering resources, time, purpose, etc. I may feel it is impossible, or I may feel like turning back. By stopping I can bring more awareness to present conditions. There may be something I have not considered, and it will only come to me with rest in mind, body, and spirit. It will only come with keen awareness of the present conditions. The situation is recognizing the limitation or boundary.


Mountain as a cause might be a challenge that is inherent in the chosen path. The mountain was already there. It may be that I had not planned for this situation that was bound to happen. The limitations are a natural part of the terrain. The cause is that I am being inactive or still in the chosen path and decisions. Since mountain is also about looking back, it could be that looking back has taken the focus off of looking ahead to the inherent challenges in the path. A mountain would be immobile, sturdy, un-moving. These are characteristics that might be considered causes for a situation to occur. The cause is looking at things as if it is limitation or an ending. A boundary marks the end of one kind of terrain and the beginning of another. A mountain range is a natural boundary between two things or places that are different. It feels like there is a spiritual aspect to mountain, because when you climb up you can see all around. There is greater perspective. Mountaintops and hilltops are associated with sacrifice, graves, and communing with heaven.

A person described by mountain might be facing an obstacle, or a challenge to be overcome. It might also be a person characterized by stillness and meditation. It makes me think of the Buddah. I think of a person who allows the present to tell them how to act or not to act. Maybe it could be a person who is an obstacle or challenge and is resolute or not easily moved.DSCN4909 I watched this documentary about a woman Apache Indian who was known for her perceptive abilities. It was said she could tell from which direction the enemy was coming and how close they were. She would stand o
n the peak of a mountain with her hands out stretched and palms up. She would slowly turn in every direction. Her hands would tingle if she felt the enemy. A stronger tingle meant the enemy
was closer. A person who grows up living in a land and being so in touch with every aspect of it can likely detect interruptions, sounds, smells, that have become a natural part of their knowing. She reminds me of being still and in tune with all the details of the present moment.

“It can also be a person who is conservative by nature, thinks in limitations, is introspective and introvert, the silent type who doesn’t speak his mind yet has a lot to offer when he is approached, a librarian, etc.”  -Harmen Mesker

What to do

Be still. Stop. Meditate. Consider the steps that got me here. Consider the present situation. I re-focus thoughts by considering the beauty around me. I might think of my own body. I can adjust my position, by sitting up straight and lengthening my spine. I might relax my shoulders and pay attention to my breath. I allow my breath to fill in my diaphragm and then empty it. I can close my eyes. I let thoughts that resemble worries or habitual thinking float by like clouds. I notice the temperature, maybe the feel of a breeze. I listen for the sounds which might be birds or crickets or the wind or my dog softly breathing. I can think how it feels good to sit and contemplate things in this way. I am not focusing on how to get over the mountain, but rather noticing present conditions.


I can be still, but I think it is also about being OK with that. Life seems so often about movement, action, and repetitive thinking. There are challenges or obstacles that we come across, and it is common to feel like figuring it out, finding a solution, or pulling out an ax or a blow torch to get through the mountain. It can be a relief to realize that the best way to approach an obstacle is just to stop the approach, the movements and the thoughts. It’s a release from the worries about the problem. I think of people traveling in an unknown wilderness. They come in their travels to the mountain. It’s a natural indication that it is time to set up camp. That means rest, and considering the travels so far. The mountain is there, and it must be crossed, but not just now.

“To me this sounds more about what to do than about how to do it. With how I expect more adjectives. For instance: Turn inward and do it

  • silently
  • with confidence
  • conservatively
  • with awareness of your limitations
  • by making use of the space that you carry within you” –Harmen Mesker