This is a beginners exercise, for those attempting the 24/7 practice. (More info on the different kinds of Mindfulness can be found in the next entry, number 4).
Find a little smooth pebble, about the same size to your hand as the one in the picture. Carry it in your left hand, if you are right handed, (or, vice versa etc). Use your little finger to hold it against your palm, as in the picture. You will get quite skilled, quite quickly, at hiding it from people. If people see it and ask, tell them the truth, or, tell them “It’s my lucky stone” and offer no more explanation. Only tell people if they see it. For the duration of this exercise, avoid long explanations or justifications if you can.
Carry your pebble ALL THE TIME.
When I say, all the time, that is what I mean. Carry it every minute of every day. If you are forced to put it down, pick it up as soon as possible. Carry it in the bath, or shower. At night, get a silk scarf and tie it into your hand. When not engaged in some activity, look at it as much as possible. Every time you become conscious of the stone, every time your become aware of your Constancy practice, every time you re-join that practice having drifted away, watch very carefully what is happening inside. Don’t hold on to what’s happening; just watch it, as clearly as you can.
You will need to hold it for 2 months or so, not longer.
Do not worry at this stage what kind of feelings you are having.
Whenever possible during the day, and, first thing before sleep and first thing on waking, stare at the stone. Stare at the stone but try and see what you are feeling. Stare at your feelings but try and resist the urge to interpret them or analyse them. If you do see yourself analysing or interpreting, just notice this and let it fall away. Concentrate on the staring. Do this staring as often as you can during the day. If you feel nothing, stare at this nothing.
When this exercise is over, put the stone somewhere special. Give it to someone else when it feels right.
The aim of this exercise is to intensify Constancy.
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