She stepped up to the front of the room for her presentation, touched the smooth stone tucked into her pocket and smiled confidently.
She had just learned the stone meditation when I presented mindfulness techniques to her group — and she emailed me to say how “surprised and delighted” she was that something as simple as a stone could help calm her nerves.
Welcome to week nine of 10 Weeks of Mindfulness at Work, where you’ll discover simple tips and techniques to enrich your day with mindfulness.
– Cultivating Present Moment Awareness
When I offer in-person mindfulness programs, I typically bring a basket of stones. (For virtual programs, I recommend folks have a stone or other small object handy.) The purpose of the stone is to give people a tangible focal point, since focusing on one’s breath can be challenging.
If you’re curious about meditating with a stone, here are some simple instructions. Practice for a few seconds or for as long as you’d like!
Place a small stone in the palm of your hand. Gently rest your attention on it, noticing its various characteristics, including the weight of the stone, its temperature, shape, texture and size. Any time your attention wanders, gently bring it back to your stone, even if it’s every second or two.
– Cultivating Strength
You can also use the stone to help cultivate the quality of strength. To practice, rest your attention on the solidity and strength of stone — either the stone in your hand or by imagining another form of stone, such as a mountain. Whenever your attention wanders, gently bring it back to the stone and its quality of strength.
Imagining this strength in your mind and body will help cultivate this quality within you. You can also keep the stone in your pocket as a reminder of your inner strength, just as I described at the beginning of this post.
– Adding Space
Here’s a third way to practice with your stone. This technique is designed to add space to your STUFF — the Stories, Thoughts, Urges, Frustrations and Feelings that typically cycle in the mind.
Imagine your mind is like the surface of a lake. Now imagine skipping your stone over the surface. Watch as the spaces between the waves of your STUFF become wider and wider, just as the rings of water become wider when you skip a stone on a lake’s surface.
WEEK NINE PRACTICE SUGGESTION: Find a smooth stone to hold in your hand. Try any (or all!) of the three techniques described.
Be on the lookout for a 99¢ Kindle promotion from July 20 – July 25 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind,” a step-by-step book for beginning meditators. Also available in paperback and audiobook.