“Only in stillness can you discover the hidden depths of your spiritual nature.”
— Joseph Cornell

To Practice

Find a tranquil pool of water in a stream or pond. The pool should ideally be small enough to give you a feeling of intimacy and serenity.

The pool of water should be at least eight inches deep. Collect six stones each about the size of a duck’s egg. If the pool is tiny, gather proportionally smaller stones.

A lake’s surface—like the human mind—is always changing. Sometimes the lake is calm and serene; other times a breeze, falling leaf, or splashing fish might ruffle its surface. In every case, the lake’s placidity is disturbed by something external to itself. The mind is strengthened by meditation so that passing phenomena don’t disturb it, just as the lake’s deeper water remains unruffled no matter what happens on its surface.

To begin the exercise, find a comfortable place to sit that overlooks the water. Place your six stones beside you and gaze at the water, letting its placidity calm you. Do your best to stay in the present moment.

Every time you notice you’ve become distracted and are no longer grounded in the here and now, cast a stone in the water. Carefully observe each stone’s splash and the ensuing ripples spreading outward—how the water (representing your mind) is disturbed and no longer mirror-like. Note the impact inattentive thoughts have on one’s awareness.

It is normal to have thoughts during meditation. The trick is to let the thoughts pass by without seizing and embellishing them. When the stone’s ripples start to dissipate, feel yourself letting go of all thoughts, and delight in the joyful serenity that comes with living in the present.

Keep gazing at the water until you have thrown all the stones.

Peace and awareness require stillness of mind, just as the surface of a lake must be completely calm to perfectly reflect the sky. Only in stillness can you discover the hidden depths of your spiritual nature.


From "The Sky and Earth Touched Me Online Resources" - Available at sky-earth.org

Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Bharat Cornell • All Rights Reserved