The Mindful Art of Rock Balancing
Welcome to Healing From Within with host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit Answers for Healing and Infinite Love which shares stories of spiritual awakening spiritual communication healing energies miracles and ways to discover and use intuition for creating healthier happier more productive life experiences and today welcomes Travis Ruskus author of The Rock Balancers Guide which demonstrates a new form of mindfulness through art nature and creation to create a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you.
As listeners of “Healing From Within” have come to expect over the years Sheryl and her guests explore the metaphysical concepts of life suggesting we are spiritual beings of energy having a physical life and therefore the world we create with our thoughts and actions can be balanced refined and help humanity evolve through all challenges for a more cooperative way of helping ourselves and communities to live with love and compassion.
In today’s episode of Healing From Within Travis Ruskus who is a professional rock balancer artist and meditation instructor who lives in San Francisco will show us how through the techniques of rock-balancing skills, breathing properly, at each moment, facing fears, and going beyond previous limits you can develop pristine ways of living in balance.
Travis when asked to think back to an earlier time in life his childhood and perhaps remember a person place or event that may have shown him or others the life path he would follow and the adult lifestyle he might embrace remembers when he was in kindergarten at about five years of age and made a picture of a bright sun set. The teacher took the picture away and he felt like he had lost a part of himself. Later he discovered his teacher had put the picture in a district art show and he won the blue ribbon award. So from being unable to let go of his work he learned that from something unpleasant at the moment something grand can happen.
Travis tells us how he discovered rock balancing and how this art form opened him up to the many paths to enlightenment, peace contentment and self-realization. Rock balancing is an art form in which stones are balanced naturally on top of each other to create beautiful formations without the aid of any artificial props, adhesives or supports. It is also a metaphor for life and the circle of creation –of beginnings and endings. As with any new skill the deeper you go, the more you will discover Travis’ intention with his book is to give you the technical knowledge that will allow you to balance rocks, along with the wisdom that goes with this practice.
The art of rock balancing has been around for thousands of years and this guide is part of a reawakening of a lost ancient wisdom. Through rock balancing you can learn how to let go of your creations freeing yourself into the next moment and you will be easier to let go of other things in life.
My rock balancing experience began in Boulder Colorado in 2013. I was standing in a river thinking how a recent chain of events had left me feeling almost completely numb inside. I didn’t know how to continue. I would never end my own life, but I didn’t know how to move forward. It was difficult just to breathe.
Life as I knew it had collapsed. I’d quit my career in the culinary industry having invested thousands of dollars in going to school to become a chef. Had moved from Portland Oregon and at the same time broken up with my girlfriend—my first time true love. I had no money and most of my friends had forgotten about me. It was the lowest point of my life. There in the water under the surface where rocks! These stones were completely still against the chaos of the rushing water. My vulnerability in the moment led me to see a wall of ancient faces looking back at me. I had no power to judge the stones. All I could do was see the rocks for what they truly were. I picked up one rock and saw sparkles of gold, silver and deep purple in it….a thought came into my head, how old is this rock?
The more I tried to guess, the more I had no idea….thousands of years old? Millions? Billions? I looked inwardly at myself and quietly said, “There is no way that you would be here on Earth by accident. There has to be a reason you are alive right now. In that moment words cannot describe how connected I felt to the universe.
I took the rock and decided to balance it on a larger rock nearby..I wanted to balance this rock in the most difficult way possible to prove to myself and to the spirit that gave me life that I still had a purpose in the world.
Sheryl says It sounds like an epiphany or awakening in the dark moment of your soul. In my book The Living Spirit I address this moment of awakening in this way, “As I began to step outside my comfort zone, I realized that there were thousands of people just like me, who had been thrust into a new state of awareness of life beyond the physical plane. Once this happened it was impossible to go back to that three-dimensional way of thinking. Suddenly the concerns of everyday living like worrying about paying the rent and managing our family and careers was no longer enough. We were seeking something greater, were seeking the truth of why we are all here and our connection to what is beyond us.”
Travis tells us about the seven keystones of rock balancing which are actually the basis for all practices and skills you will hope to refine.
- Breathe We experience how the breath connects us with the energy of each moment helping us discover our true power, one breath at a time.
- As new doors open we discover how a mindful practice of rock balancing can help us face our fears and overcome them to unlock our potential.
- Believe In my experience of teaching others how to balance rocks, 95 percent of people say, “I can’t” before they even pick up a rock and try. We discover the art of rock balancing is a tool for creating belief and confidence moving past fear and self-doubt.
- Balance Balance is a state of mind as well as a physical condition. A balanced rock creates a balanced mind which encourages equilibrium and focus.
- Limits Rock balancing teaches us to reconsider the limits we set ourselves and exceed our own expectations, setting us on the path toward realizing the infinite potential within ourselves.
- Release In this circle of life everything that is created will eventually be destroyed. Letting go is one of the hardest things to do, but we must learn to do it. There is no other choice.
- Evolve Rock balancing my help change the way we see the world. Through its principles we can discover how to evolve into our true selves and follow our dreams.
The seven keystones of rock balancing are designed to shift your perspective on what is possible within yourself and these principles will give you the tools you need to succeed at this art form as well as experience its wider impact on your life.
There are many the places in the world where rock balancing has been found.
Since prehistory people all over the globe have set stones upright and piled up rocks in cairs for a range of purposes from marking routes, burial monuments and buried items to highlighting astronomical events to providing shelter for hunters herders and livestock.
In North America for some 12,000 years indigenous trail guides have used rock balancing on their buffalo hunts and in the Arctic stone structures known as inukshuk as navigational aids. Today the Canadian Government frequently uses rock balances as nautical channel markers and landmarks.
In South America cairns have been used to mark trails since pre-Columbian times throughout what is now Latin America. In the Andes mountains cairns were built as shrines to the Incan earth goddess Pachamama.
In Europe surviving prehistoric stone structures from dolmens to standing stones to burial cairns were raised from the Neolithic era. Stonehenge is known for its iconic trilithons formed of massive stone uprights with a third block placed as a lintel across the top. For example between Iceland and mainland Europe lie the Faroe Islands where cliff top cairns warned navigators of the dangerous offshore rocks that were often concealed by fog.
In Africa the stone structures range from simple shelters to protect against the sun to Egypt’s magnificent pyramids and burial mounds that conceal incredible treasures. From afar these stone edifices have an imposing presence. As we get closer we become aware that each
In Asia in South Korea rock balances are common on mountain hiking trails. They are also found next to Buddhist Temples where the tradition is to add another rock on top of the existing balance to generate good luck. This ancient custom is in honor of Sanshin the Mountain Spirit. In Nepal and other places influenced by Tibetan Buddhism it is common to see many stones carved with mantras or symbols piled up in chairs by the roadside.
Travis thinks about the energy it takes for life to exist on this planet and Travis wrote, “Looking back, I realize it was in that moment that I discovered the abundant energy of our universe. I cut through the industrial illusion that plagues our modern society. We are all taught energy is available at three dollars a gallon. That you can be abundant only with a big house and a fancy car is a huge lie and one rock allowed me to see through this illusion.
Think about the energy it takes to power every single ocean wave. The energy that has kept the Earth spinning for almost a billion years or the energy that powers the sun. Abundant forces surround us and we can feel this abundance in one breath if we fully open ourselves to it.
Sheryl says So beautifully and poetically with a vision that shows us that energy is all around us within us and we are part of the eternal energy of Universal life.
An understanding of the power of breath is intrinsic for good health and any spiritual practice or creative journey. v Bringing your attention to the breath helps you become less reactive in stressful situations and make enjoyable situations even more pleasurable. Connecting with the breath also happens to be one of the keystones in rock balancing. Whether stuck in traffic enjoying a meal with loved ones or folding laundry just breathe. Listening to someone complaining about your shortcomings just breathe. This too shall pass.
In rock balancing as in life every fall, every failure leads to learning about what went wrong. We can rise from our failures to achieve the greatest victories in life—but only if we keep our attention on our breathe.
Travis shares his discovery of the golden ticket and the world’s greatest gift. Every person on Earth has this gift and will also eventually lose it. I am talking about the gift of life as a human. Out of the dark void of space came your heartbeat. From that heartbeat came breathe and consciousness—and unfurling like the leaves of a plant, the ability to think feel and create.
As humans we can create fire with flints and take a pile of rocks and balance them in a way that doesn’t seem possible. We can create technology that has a positive impact as well as design bombs that kill millions of people. The mind is a powerful tool so it’s important to use it positively
Although we have all been born lucky Travis journey has led him to discover that people view their life as either a blessing or a curse as either hard or miraculous. He has encountered people whose positive energy fills us with joy in an instant of meeting them. We also meet people who are deeply suffering.
For those who discover life truly is a gift a golden ticked to unlocking abundance and love is the path to true happiness. The choice about what to do with your golden ticket is entirely you. We suggest you use the breath to move yourself forward on your individual quest connecting to greater energy and possibilities for achieving your soul needs.
Rock balancing helps us honor the environment and express gratitude and guides us to love ourselves and life more. In order to make the most amazing and connected rock balances we must honor the environment and express gratitude on a daily basis therefore raising the collective positive energy of the world so we can achieve great things. In my experience those who have trouble giving themselves gratitude frequently overextend themselves and are inclined to try to make others happy before they make themselves happy.
The breathe keys that helped Travis select his very first stone at the bottom of that river bed are listed here.
The Breathe Keys are:
Life is a gift—embrace it with every breath. Breathe mindfully for clarity and connection. Remember how you feel during meditation. Describe that feeling in one word. Allow this word to become your mantra during times of peacefulness and also during times of chaos.
As you connect with this first rock, use it as a shield of gratitude behind which you can turn and face your fears.
Travis would like readers to remember to explore the idea of being alone together. Think about how everyone has their own unique personality and yet despite these differences we are all united. You and I are all one and everything in the universe is connected. We are all connected because we share the same earth, breathe the same air, and see the same moon and sun in the sky. Therefore know that you are not alone.
I want to thank Travis Ruskus for writing a beautifully artful and poetic view of how to engage with life through a practice of rock balancing meditation being in nature and living life to its fullest. Along with the beautiful photos and insightful quotes the reader is able to gain a clearer way to appreciating themselves and others without fear.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” I must say that in my travels I have seen these beautiful rock sculptures and always took note of them in my heart and mind and today have seen that the reason they spoke to me as they did to Travis is because it was another beautiful connection to Spirit and the divine and harmony peace and balance and a help along the journey of the soul finding itself once again in this physical world where sometimes pain sorrow or trauma may surface but helping us find ways to move past it all for once again aligning to the best of the energy within and around us. It is in finding tools gratitude mantras and like minded people that we find greater love for Self others and life in all its wonderment.
Travis and I would have you begin to feel and know that along your journey of life there will be a moment when you can feel that spark of divinity within your heart and soul and breathe in life in its infinite potential and love and then together, we may begin to change the world as Travis did one rock at a time.