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My Meditative Moments

Exercise- Four Pebble Meditation

by meditative - April 26th, 2010.
Filed under: Attending Meditation Exercises, Mindfulness for Parents & Children.

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Adapted fromThich Nhat Hanh’s “LivingWithout Stress or Fear”

Prior to beginning this meditation practice, you will need to gather four different pebbles each representing distinct aspects of your true nature to live in happiness and free of fear and suffering. The first pebble shall represent a flower; the second a mountain; the third, still water; and the fourth, space. This is a practice you can easily do along with your children.

Let’s sit for this joyful, mindful meditation in a posture that is both comfortable and stable. Place your four pebbles to the left of you. Again,we will begin by just tuning into the breath for a moment or two and the body as a whole, and dropping into silence- giving it full care & attention moment by moment- just feeling the whole body sitting here breathing… dropping into the breath with the entirety of your attention… riding on the waves of the breath.

When ready, breathing in and out three times, then picking up the first pebble, looking at it and visualizing it with the “mind’s eye” as a flower– placing it on the palm of the left hand breathing in I see myself as a flower, breathing out I feel fresh. This is done three times. Mentally, one says flower… fresh. The point here in breathing with this visualization is to transform yourself into a real flower- fresh, beautiful & light. Not that you want to be something else, but the human body, the human being is like a flower in the garden of humanity. As adults,many of us don’t know how to maintain our freshness, our flowerness that is very apparent and inherent to us as children, but as we grow older,many of us lose some of this. The matter here is how to recover your flowerness… to become fully a flower again. So, breathing in, you see yourself as a flower. You are a flower & nothing less. You have confidence that you have the nature of this flowerness within you… and you can recuperate or recover this essence. You relax & you smile. You help the flower within you to manifest fully. Breathing in I see myself as a flower, breathing out I feel fresh. And then mentally, you repeat flower (in breath), fresh (out breath) three times. Then, do the same in the palm of the right hand.

When you are ready, pick up the second pebble- looking at it and visualizing it with the “mind’s eye” as a mountain– placing it on the palm of the left hand- breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out I feel solid. Again, this is done three times. Mentally, one says mountain… solid. There’s a mountain inside us all. We can be solid. We can be stable & steadfast regardless of the blowing intensity of our mental or emotional winds. With solidity, one stands confident, steady & unmovable like the mountain. Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out I feel solid.Mentally, repeat mountain (in breath), solid (out breath) three times. Then, do the same in the palm of the right hand.

When you are ready, pick up the third pebble- looking at it and visualizing it with the “mind’s eye” as a water, still water– placing it on the palm of the left hand- breathing in I see myself as still water, breathing out I reflect things as they truly are. This is a practice of “calming”. When one is not calm, one cannot see things clearly. For e.g. anger, jealousy & fear bring our inner waters turbulence. Peace of mind comes through the cultivation of being calm. Breathing in I see myself as still water, breathing out I reflect things as they are. Repeat mentally, still water (in breath), reflecting (out breath) three times. Then, do the same in the palm of the right hand.

When you are ready, pick up the fourth pebble- looking at it and visualizing it with the “mind’s eye” as space– placing it on the palm of the left hand- breathing in I see myself as space, breathing out I feel free. This is a practice of being less occupied, freeing up space & emptiness. One can only fill where there is space. With freedom and space, there is plenty of room for happiness. Breathing in I see myself as space, breathing out I feel free. Repeat mentally, space (in breath), free (out breath) three times. Then, do the same in the palm of the right hand.

In closing this exercise, let us just sit in stillness for a few moments, with our breath “in” and “out”, and with a sense of having recovered our inherent and “natural” essences of being alive. Let us rejoice in our gifts in the here and now…

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