A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles
By Thich Nhat Hanh
Plum Blossom Books 2012; 64 pp., $14.95 (cloth)
For many years, Thich Nhat Hanh has been teaching pebble practice to give children and their families a tangible way to return to their breath and connect with the world around them. A Handful of Quiet is a lovingly illustrated book that brings this meditation to life. All you’ll need to practice it is a quiet spot and four ordinary pebbles. Each represents a different image embodying a particular quality. You can certainly choose your own images and qualities, but in Nhat Hanh’s classic version pebble one represents the freshness and beauty of a flower, while pebble two represents the solidity of a mountain. Pebble three represents the reflectivity of calm water and pebble four, the freedom of space. Breathing in and out, you pick up each pebble in turn and in your mind’s eye see yourself as the respective image. If you’re holding the flower pebble, for instance, you see yourself as a flower in the garden of humanity. Connecting with your inner flower, you know that you are fresh, pleasant, and loveable.
For more from Thich Nhat Hanh, see the Shambhala Sun’s Thich Nhat Hanh Spotlight page. To read more current Books in Brief as well as other material from the May 2013 Shambhala Sun magazine, click here.