Pebble Meditation

Various colors of smooth pebbles.
Photo credit: iStock

One of my favorite meditations is one that Thich Nhat Hanh teaches. It is a meditation that is taught to children in Plum Village in France. Even though it is designed for children, I find it to be a very helpful structure for myself and for people of any age. I especially like that he selects four items in nature—a flower, a mountain, a lake and the sky—to symbolize the qualities of equanimity he teaches.

Beginning meditators may find it to be helpful as well.

Here is how it goes.

Gather four pebbles. If you don’t have pebbles available, you can use other items but if you like the meditation, I encourage you to find some pebbles to use.

Sit in a comfortable position and place four pebbles next to you on the ground or chair. Pick up the first pebble and say:

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Repeat: “Flower, fresh” for three breaths.

Say silently to yourself “flower, fresh” and breathe quietly for three in and out breaths. Focus on really being a flower and becoming fresh.

Pick up the next pebble and say:

Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out, I feel solid.

Repeat silently to yourself, “Mountain, solid” for three breaths.

Picking up the next pebble, say, “Breathing in I see myself as still, clear water, breathing out, I reflect things as they really are.”

Repeat silently, “Clear water, reflecting” for three breaths.

Picking up the fourth and final pebble, say “Breathing in I see myself as space, breathing out, I feel free.” Then repeat silently, “Space, free” for three breaths.

If you try this meditation, feel free to share your experiences below.


..when our mind is calm, we can see reality more clearly, like still water reflecting the trees, the clouds, and the blue sky. Stillness is the foundation of understanding and insight. Stillness is strength.
Thich Nhat Hanh


  1. Amy Gann says:

    This is the meditation my daughter and I practice together every day. I love it so much. The still water line: “I reflect things as they truly are” is the most helpful for me personally, especially when I feel overwhelmed or anxious.

    Sending you love, friend.

    • melaniethornton says:

      Thank you so much for sharing that. That’s so great that you are teaching her such skills so early. I’m not surprised though. You are an amazing mom. I gravitate toward that too. I think of it when I start adding information that isn’t really there to a situation that just makes it worse in my mind. I think about the distortion of the choppy water. So helpful to me.
      Thank you for popping in!

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