One of my favorite authors of all time is Thich Nhat Hanh, an elderly Vietnamese Monk. He is a practical Zen teacher who has written many books on how to apply mindfulness to our daily life. Two of his books that are always on my night stand are called, “Anger” and “Fear.” But if I had to recommend one of his books to you right now, I’d have to recommend, “At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk’s Life.” You will only need to read 2 – 3 pages of this book per day to get a glimpse into Nanh’s transformational thought process.
However, I was inspired to write this post after coming across one of Nanh’s mindfulness meditations called “The Pebble” in his 1975 book, “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” This book is a bit scattered, since it’s a compilation of letters Hanh wrote in Vietnamese to a staff member at the School of Youth for Social Services in South Vietnam. I would assume many of his ideas were lost in translation but nevertheless it presents a wonderful introduction to the practice of mindfulness. If you would like to read this book for free online, here is the link.
What I loved about the meditation called, “The Pebble” is how it immediately suspended my mind and created a sense of peace. I was outdoors at a park in San Francisco when I read it, so no need to create the perfect setting to practice this meditation.
There were several other mediations from this book that inspired me, but I will start by writing out “The Pebble.” I recommend that you read through the meditation once to get familiar with it. Then practice the meditation by sitting down and reading it slowly to yourself. Try to visualize yourself becoming the pebble. The beauty of this meditation is that you can practice it anywhere. Just read it wherever you are and concentrate on becoming the pebble. You might practice this meditation once or twice per day and see how it affects your state of mind.
“While sitting still and breathing slowly, think of yourself as a pebble which is falling through a clear stream. While sinking, there is no intention to guide your movement. Sink toward the spot of total rest on the gentle sand of the riverbed. Continue meditating on the pebble until your mind and body are at complete rest: a pebble resting on the sand. Maintain this peace and joy a half hour while watching your breath. No thought about the past or future can pull you away from your present peace and joy. The universe exists in this present moment. No desire can pull you away from this present peace, not even the desire to save all beings. Know that to save all beings can only be realized on the foundation of the pure peace of the present moment.”
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