perfect rest

The great Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says that it helps to meditate on the image of a pebble thrown into a river. How is one helped by the image of a pebble? Sit down in whatever position suits you best, the Half Lotus or Lotus, or even in a straight-backed chair, and keep a half-smile on your face.

Breathe slowly and deeply, following each breath. Then let go of everything. Imagine yourself as a pebble that has been thrown into a river. The pebble sinks through the water effortlessly; detached from everything, it falls by the shortest distance possible, finally sinking to the bottom, the point of perfect rest. You are like a pebble that has let itself fall into the river, letting go of everything. At the centre of your being is your breath. You don’t need to know the length of time it takes to reach the point of complete rest on the bed of fine sand beneath the water. But when you feel yourself resting like a pebble that has settled on the riverbed, that is the point when you begin to find your own rest, your own peace. In that peace you are no longer pushed or pulled by anything.

—Mark Forstater, from Yoga Masters


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