Day 193: Polished stones

In my office, where I do individual and group therapy, I have a basket of polished stones.


(These are also called “tumbled stones.”)

Whenever I am registering and orienting a new person to the groups I do, I use these stones to show how I do mindfulness exercises.

I tell the person to choose a stone. I choose one, too.

I say that the stone will be the focus of the mindfulness exercise. I invite the person to be as present as possible with that stone, to engage with the stone with the senses “sight, touch … eyes open, eyes closed … as you choose.”

I say, “Other thoughts will come up … your mind will go into the past, the future, outside the room. That’s how our minds are built, so this is not about focusing perfectly. It’s about the re-commitment, in the moment, of re-focusing on the stone.”

I say that I will signal the beginning and the end of the exercise with my chime.


I say, “Whatever happens between the two chimes, you are doing this correctly.”

Then, I tap the chime.

During the exercise, I focus on the stone that I have chosen, gently letting go of thoughts that come up for me, which often include “I wonder what this experience is like for this person?”

Then, after a few minutes have gone by, I tap the chime again.


I say, “You don’t need to tell me, but I am always eager to hear what that experience was like for you.”

And the person almost always responds, often mentioning a memory inspired by this stone. Or surprise about how easy (or difficult) it was to focus.

Sometimes people say that the stone they chose was a lot like them. They note imperfections in the mostly perfect stone. They use words like “strong,” “hard,” “smooth,” “chipped,” “scratched,” “rough,” “beautiful.”

I am often moved by what people say about their experience of the mindfulness exercise.

When they are finished speaking, I say that the orientation for the group is done, and that they can participate in the group, as they choose, from now on.

And, finally, I tell them that the stone is theirs to keep.

It never ceases to affect me, how people respond to that.

Almost always, it’s as if I have given them an important and precious gift.

A simple, imperfect stone.

Thanks for the gift of your presence, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Day 193: Polished stones

  1. Very interesting. The POwer of Suggestion.

  2. findingmyinnercourage

    I for one have always been intrigued by the power of suggestion. Extremely interesting Blog!

  3. Gene Phillips

    I appreciate the simple thingness of things but also the sense of their existence across time.

  4. Pingback: Day 1891: Stones | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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