Mindfulness is an ancient practice that simply requires us to attend non-judgmentally to the present moment (rather than bouncing around between past, present and future .. the open space-land of non attention).

When we rest our focus in the present moment .. everything seems to slow down, we really ‘see’ what is happening in our life, we can be more open in heart and mind. Mindfulness practices teach us how to simply focus on being present .. to the breath, the movement of our body as we walk, the wind in our hair, the sun on our face .. the sounds around us.

In this mindfulness practice Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen Buddhist monk, suggests that we go for a walk and find a pebble that we like, and then sit quietly for a while with the pebble in our hand:

“Dear Buddha,

Here is my pebble. I am going to practice with it when things go wrong during the day. Whenever I am angry or upset, I will take the pebble in my hand and breathe deeply. I will do this until I calm down.”

(of course you don’t have to include the Buddha or anyone else if you don’t wish to .. trust in what feels right for you.)

We place our pebble in our pocket and it travels with us wherever we go. At any time during the day, if we find ourselves stressed, angry or upset, we put our hand in our pocket, take hold of the pebble, and remind ourselves to just breathe .. “Breathing in, I notice that I feel stress. Breathing out, I release all stress and holding and invite in ease and calmness”.

This YouTube meditation from Thich Nhat Hahn includes four pebbles :

#1 : reminds us to be ‘fresh like a flower’ : breathing in ‘fresh’ and breathing out ‘I am a flower’

#2 : reminds us that we can choose to be stable and solid in mind, emotions, thoughts and love : breathing in ‘solid’ and breathing out ‘like a mountain’

#3 : reminds us of the power of still water, that our mind are like a still lake reflecting all our actions, thoughts and anxieties. It is when we are still of mind and body that we are able to see what is really happening within us: breathing in ‘water/stillness’ and breathing out ‘reflecting’

#4 : reminds us of spaciousness, a quality that we can rest within and offer to others : breathing in ‘spaciousness’ within and around us and breathing out ‘I am free’.

I really like the inclusion of touch awareness in meditation .. carrying your pebbles (each carrying an intention .. a reminder) so that you have something solid and ‘at hand’ for your journey.