Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pebble Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Pebble Meditation
by Thich Nhat Hanh

I would like to ask you to sing the song of the practice, in which there is a flower, there is a mountain, there is still water, and there is space. Let us sing together:
Breathing in, breathing out.
Breathing in, breathing out.
I am blooming as a flower.
I am fresh as a dew.
I am solid as a mountain.
I am firm as the earth.
I am free.
Breathing in, breathing out.
Breathing in, breathing out,.
I am water reflecting.
What is real, what is true.
And I feel there is space.
Deep inside of me.
I am free; I am free; I am free.

Children can practice sitting meditation together in a circle. You bring your pebbles in, and after having breathed in and out with the bell, you pick out four pebbles, and you put them on your left. One of you will be the leader of sitting meditation. You invite the bell one time for people to breathe in and out, allow themselves the time to breathe in and out three times. And after having practiced three sounds of the bell, you begin your pebble meditation. I would like you to draw four things for me.

The first thing is a flower, any kind of flower, just draw a flower; and I want you to draw the flower while breathing in and breathing out. A flower represents freshness. The flower is within you because you are able to be fresh. All of us have the capacity of being fresh, if we have lost our freshness then we can practice breathing in and out and restore our freshness. So flower has flowerness within it. You also are a flower, and you have your flowerness. We are beautiful every time we restore our flowerness. With two fingers, you pick up one of the pebbles and you look at it. This is the flower. And you put the first pebble on the palm of your left hand. And you put the left hand above your right hand and you begin to practice the first pebble. “Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh.” Three times. And while you practice, “Flower, fresh.” You recuperate, you restore the flowerness in you, you become fresh. And after three breathings like that, you use your two fingers, pick up the first pebble, look at it, smile to it, and you put it on your right.

The second thing I would like you to draw is a mountain. You draw a mountain. Maybe you need only two lines in order to make a mountain. Also, breathing in and breathing out, smile when you draw the mountain. Mountain represents solidity, stability. There is a mountain within yourself because when you practice sitting and walking, you can develop the capacity of being solid, stable. Solidity and stability is very important for our happiness. And we know that we have the capacity to be stable, to be solid. And if we know how to practice walking mindfully or sitting mindfully, we cultivate our solidity, our stability. So that is the mountain within us. Now you pick up the second one. Look at it. This represents a mountain. You put it on your left hand, your left hand on your right hand, and you begin to practice Mountain. “Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.” You have a mountain within. And you practice three times: “Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain. Breathing out, I feel solid.” You put it on your right. It is a lot of fun practicing meditation.

The third thing I’d like you to draw is water. You draw water, a lake or something like that with water, still water, because still water can reflect the sky, the clouds, the mountains, and so on. Still water is wonderful. When the water is still, it can reflect things as they are; it does not distort things. We don’t have wrong views, misunderstanding about things inside and outside of us. That is why to learn how to breathe in and breathe out mindfully, we can still ourselves, we can calm ourselves. We make the still water apparent within us. So still water is within you.

The third pebble represents still water. You look at it. Still water is within you. When the water in you is still, you are calm, you are serene. You see things clearly as they are. You do not distort things. You do not have wrong perceptions. It is wonderful. “Breathing in, I see myself as still water.” Still water is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. Still water reflects the sky as it exactly is. It reflects the clouds, the mountains exactly as they are - no distortion at all. “Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they truly are.” Three times, and then you pick it up, and you put it on your right.

The fourth thing I would like you to draw is space. How can you draw space? Maybe you would like to draw the sky, representing space. Space is within you. The people who do not have space inside are not happy people. That is why you have to practice in such a way that you bring a lot of space within. It is very important. You look at the table. You think that the table is made of wood; but in fact there is a lot of space within the table. Matter is just a little bit; most of the table is space. Our body, our consciousness are also like that. That is why you have to breathe in and out and recognize that there is a lot of space within. And touching the space within, you become free; and you become happy.

Now, the fourth pebble. You look at it. You smile to it. This represents space. Remember, people without space within cannot be happy. People without space around them cannot be happy. Be like the moon traveling in the beautiful sky. It has a lot of space. Freedom is what we want, and space is inside. We have to touch the space inside to be free. Without freedom, no one can be truly happy. “Breathing in, I see myself as space. Breathing out, I feel free.” Three times, and then you pick it up, and you put it on your right. And now you have finished your pebble meditation.

Now, you only have to wait for three sounds of the bell to conclude your sitting meditation.

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