The last post discussed how stones can assist your meditation practice, and provided a walk-through of how to choose one and prepare to use it. Now for the fun part – meditating with your stone!
Remember that the idea of meditating with a stone is to supplement your meditation with the energetic vibration the stone has (as all matter is energy), in the same way that adding vitamins and minerals to your eating can supplement your nutrition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you need a stone to meditate. It’s a tool like any other, and you should find what works for you.
This post will walk through how to use the stone in a breathwork meditation, a concentrative form of meditation. The post will also share thoughts on using the stone in contemplative meditation, and will include some troubleshooting advice. I have noted in the previous post where I learned about meditating with stones.
How to meditate with a stone
Step 1: Prepare your stone
- Make sure you’ve cleaned the stone as mentioned in the previous post (either with water or palo santo, depending on whether your stone can be soaked in water or if it will dissolve).
- You can also look up other ways online of cleansing it if neither of those appeals to you, but those are the quickest methods.
Step 2: Prepare yourself
- Before you pick up the stone, get into your meditation posture, whichever is most comfortable for you.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths, imagining you’re breathing down into the base of pelvis.
- Take a moment to notice how you’re feeling.
Step 3: Use the stone
- Pick up the stone and place it in the palm your non-dominant hand.
- Take a moment and look at the stone as it sits in your hand.
- Notice its details, its texture, its colour, its weight, its temperature.
- Now close your hand so the stone is secure, and place your hand anywhere that is comfortable Perhaps your knee if you’re sitting cross-legged, or you lap if you’re kneeling or seated in a chair.
- Close your eyes and check in which how you’re feeling. Notice how you feel.
- Now imagine that for every breath in, you’re breathing in through your non-dominant hand into your chest. You can imagine the breath looks like a happy-to-you colour, if it’s easier to imagine that way.
- Continue with alternating between breathing in “through” your non-dominant hand for a few breaths, and taking a moment to check in with how you feel.
Step 4: Bring closure to your meditation
- With your eyes still closed, put the stone down, away from you
- On the floor is fine if you’re seated on the floor, or nearby on a table or couch if you’re on a chair/sofa – just so it’s not touching you.
- Gently and quickly rub your hands together, then breathe in, stretching your arms up (like you’re doing a nice big yawning stretch), and bringing your hands back to a comfortable resting position.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths, again imagining that you’re bringing your breath down into the base of your pelvis
Troubleshooting + Contemplative Meditation with a Stone
If you’re not feeling anything.
- Don’t dismiss any changes in how you feel.
- You might notice tension or tightness in areas, or you might notice relaxation.
- You might notice emotions.
- You might notice thought patterns.
- You might notice heat in your palm.
- There is a breadth of feelings and sensations you might experience, and no one else can tell you how you should feel when you’re using the stone. While there may be common properties of each kind of stone, how you personally experience those properties will be your own experience.
- The only way you’ll get to know how this tool works for you is to use the same tool regularly for awhile, so that you give yourself the opportunity to notice patterns.
- I encourage you to stick with this meditation using just one stone for a week (or longer!), using it for a few minutes every day.
If you’re feeling too much
- Just go with the feelings. Your head is not actually going to implode.
- As I’ve shared in my post on supporting your growth, I have learned that instead of trying to ignore and restrain emotions that arise, I could throw myself into them, just as surfers dive into the base of a breaking wave, coming out the other side without being impacted by the velocity of the surface of the oncoming wave. This allows surfers to reach the distance from shore needed to catch the waves they want to ride.
- I encourage you to use that imagery to help yourself if you find that feelings are starting to bubble up. Imagine the feelings are the waves, and that you’re throwing yourself into these waves. The amazing thing is that you can breathe in these waves. They look like water, but you can breathe in them and swim into their depths.
- Sit with that imagery until the magnitude of the emotions begins to dissipate.
- Then continue with Step 4 to conclude your meditation (don’t skip that step!).
- I suggest following this with some train-of-consciousness journaling, or any other reflective journaling you prefer, to help yourself process what arose. And don’t forget to access additional supports if you need them.
If you think you’re only able to meditate with the stone.
- As I’ve mentioned before, the stone is simply a tool. Even if it’s a sacred object to you (and that’s great if it is), I encourage you to maintain perspective and remember that you yourself are responsible for your own spiritual and/or personal development.
- Whether you believe that we’re all individuals, or that individuality is an illusion and we’re all one, in this physical world, each of us is solely responsible for our own decisions, and we’re each responsible for our growth.
- It’s not another person’s or object’s place to be responsible for our progress.
- Dependency on another person or object for our progress is a disempowered position that does not serve progress.
- There is nothing wrong with making use of objects, tools, or service providers that can assist us or facilitate our own work. But at the end each day, we as individuals alone are responsible for our healing and development.
If you’re either ready for the next step, OR if you’re feeling dependent on the stone (Contemplative Version)
I suggest doing the following contemplative version of the meditation for a week. This previous post walks through the difference between concentrative (e.g. breathwork) and contemplative (e.g. visualization) meditation approaches.
- Prepare for your meditation with the slow, deep breathing as if you were going to use the stone.
- Instead of picking up the stone or looking at it or putting it in your hand, visualize the stone in your hand.
- Close your eyes and imagine what it feels like when the stone is in your hand. Visualize what it looks like, and how your hand feels, as if it is in your hand.
- Without picking up the stone, do Step 3, breathing in through your non-dominant hand, and seeing how you feel, all while envisioning the stone in your hand.
- Conclude your meditation with Step 4 as usual.
Have fun with your meditation and let me know in the comments how it goes!