A Powerful Symbol of Spiritual Awakening
The simple act of balancing stones can have transformative effects on your body, mind, and soul. Each rock holds the ancient wisdom of the Earth, so balance these little pieces of the Earth’s crust to discover how to let go of limiting beliefs and rise into your true potential.
Use rock balancing as a tool in your meditation practice to further experience the depths of the present moment, much like lighting a candle or burning incense does. How you engage with the rocks acts as a mirror for how your spirit engages with the world.
The Rock Balancer’s Guide
My name is Travis Ruskus, and a 30 year old professional rock balance artist based in San Francisco, California. I’m a published author of The Rock Balancer’s Guide, a fine artist, and workshop host. This path has been a risky one, but definitely one that rewards my soul every day. Ultimately, I want my rock balancing to help you find peace.
Without going into too much detail, I first discovered rock balancing many years ago during a very low period in my life. As I was broken, this practice slowly began to heal me. I began to believe in my true strength.
As I started teaching others how to balance and engage in this art form, I noticed something interesting. Regardless of age, race, religion, or political views, the stone treats us all the same.
When You Hold the Stone, Can You Feel the Mountain?
At first, most people who engage with rock balancing are skeptical. We are filled with the daily scripts we tell ourselves about “who we are.”
Students will usually start workshops with common phrases like “that’s cool but I could never do that” or “that’s impossible.” That’s why I’m here. If I can do it, you can too. I want you to explore the edge of what is possible.
Prove to me that you can’t, but you need to try first. Most of the time when you actually try, things start growing. Use this article to help you push past the illusion of fear and unlock your true potential.
Start With Peace and Grow From There
When I get others to balance a rock in the most difficult way possible (see exercise below), they all look at me with the same spark in their eye.
When I first saw this same spark in 10 different people, I knew I had to dedicate my life to sharing the world the healing benefits of rock balancing.
Please note I’m not a certified doctor and you should not use rock balancing as a replacement for any medical treatment you are receiving, but I have balanced a lot of rocks. And I’ve taught a lot of people how to rock balance.
Let Go of Fear and Embrace Abundance
I notice striking similarities as this practice provides relief from negative energies surrounding us. As I think back, I haven’t had a single student feel absolutely nothing the first time they balanced a rock. Whether it’s minor or major, this art form will have an effect on you.
My experience has shown me how balancing rocks can help with relief from fear, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADD (attention deficit disorder), and other common symptoms.
I have also seen this practice bring up a lot of skeletons in the closet that you may be hiding from, similar to how a psychedelic experience works. If you want to free your soul from the ego, try rock balancing instead of ayahuasca.
Common Problems and Solutions
When you start rock balancing, you might find you act out a particular script that limits your thinking. If this is the case for you, replace the problem script with one that is more constructive. Switch from the negative into the positive and keep repeating the new mantra until every cell in your body believes it.
Problem: “Just one more.”
Cause: Never satisfied.
Solution: “One is enough.”
Problem: “I can’t.”
Cause: Self-doubt is too strong.
Solution: “I will.”
Problem: “Am I doing this right?”
Cause: Overthinking and lack of trust.
Solution: “The answer will reveal itself to me.”
How to Rock Balance: The Triangle Method
This exercise is an easy way of balancing one rock on top of another.
1. Select Two Rocks to Balance
Select your first two rocks, trying not to think about it too much. You’ll need a rock in your hand to get to the next step.
2. Find the Triangle
At the point where the two rocks touch, there needs to be a tiny triangle of balance, making three points of contact. To balance the first rock, roll it around in a triangular shape until you feel those three points of contact. These are the foundations of the balance. A triangle is the strongest shape, because any added force is distributed evenly along its three sides.
3. Let It “Click” Into Place
When the rock is fully balanced, you will feel it physically “click” into place, like a handshake with the great spirit. Hello old friend!
4. Apply Pressure
A great trick when building is to press down on top of the last rock. Tap gently to feel where the balance is the strongest. The strongest point will easily be able to withstand moderate pressure.
5. Add More Rocks
Now start balancing more rocks on the first one. Place the next rock exactly where you pressed your finger down.
6. Keep Going
Keep building upward with this method until you feel like you have accurately expressed yourself in the moment.
7. Stop at the Golden Moment
Maybe it takes 15 rocks until you are satisfied — or maybe placing just one rock will be enough for you. When do you know if you have enough rocks? That is entirely up to you. The last rock at the top of a balance is the one that makes you say, “I am happy with this. This is enough.” That is the golden moment.
Pro Tip: You can also balance crystals instead of rocks to make your own indoor crystal zen garden for daily balancing at home.
Rock Balance Responsibly
This world is ours only for a few moments before we must pass it along to the next generation, just as our ancestors have passed it along to us. You aren’t the first person to rock balance, and you won’t be the last.
Just as there were many generations before us, so there will be many generations after this one. Each new generation will discover the simple joy of putting one rock on top of another rock.
Like those cairns guiding ships passing along the Faroe Islands in the fog, each one of us can act as a guide for others to rise toward the positive energy that connects us all. It is up to each of us to take care of our planet just as she has taken care of us.
Leave No Trace
I can’t stop you from rock balancing. You can’t stop me from rock balancing. However, we need to rock balance responsibly so we won’t disturb the environment while we engage in this practice.
Many environmental opponents to rock balancing have shared their grievances with me. I have listened to their concerns in order to come up with a solution that is not only respectful of the environment, but which means we can continue the positive and spiritually rewarding act of rock balancing as well.
If you are using rock balances as trail markers, for example, instead of purely as art, here is a best practice guide to creating them in the wild, which is the result of many conversations with wilderness experts:
• = Trail Marker / Rock Balance
• • • • • •
As you can see, the best long-term strategy is to have no trail markers or rock balances. If you are an experienced guide, you will know where you are going. There is no reason to leave a mark other than the footpath itself.
What about in the short term? What if you momentarily need a trail marker to point you in the right direction, either mentally or physically, much like the act of looking at a compass? In this case, the trail marker becomes a temporary gesture and one that I feel symbolizes the art of rock balancing.
Every time I make a new rock balance, I am pulling my inner compass out to find direction on where to go next. Every balance starts with questions, and when I step back to witness the golden moments of balance I am filled with answers.
Release the Past
I knock over all of my balances before I leave the landscape and always put the rocks back where I found them. As a result, you wouldn’t even know that I was there. The rocks help my spirit work through what I need to discover, and I return the rocks to their original state as a sign of respect.
This process of destroying the balance also helps free me from attachment. Learn how to knock over a balance you just spent hours creating, and you will learn how to let go of other things as the flow of change carries you with it.
The History of Rock Balancing
Wherever rock balancing takes you, you might be interested to know that this ancient art has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Since prehistory, people all over the globe have set stones upright and piled up rocks in cairns for a wide range of purposes, from marking routes, burial monuments and buried items, to highlighting astronomical events, to providing shelter for hunters, herders and livestock. Around the world today, rock structures continue to be used as markers of different kinds.
For some 12,000 years, rock balancing has been used by indigenous trail guides on their buffalo hunts, while indigenous peoples of the Arctic used stone structures known as inukshuk as navigational aids.
Today, the Canadian government frequently uses rock balances as nautical channel markers, and inukshuk are still created as art forms and landmarks.
Cairns have been used to mark trails since pre-Columbian times throughout what is now Latin America. They also had a spiritual use; in the Andes mountains, for example, cairns were built as shrines to the Inca earth goddess Pachamama.
Europe is known for its surviving prehistoric stone structures, from dolmens to standing stones to burial cairns, which were raised from the Neolithic era. Stonehenge, for example, is known for its iconic trilithons, formed of two massive stone uprights with a third block placed as a lintel across the top.
As elsewhere in the world, cairns have been used in Europe through history in different ways as landmarks. For example, between Iceland and mainland Europe lie the Faroe Islands, where clifftop cairns warned navigators of the dangerous offshore rocks that were often concealed by fog .
The stone structures of Africa range from simple shelters to protect against the sun to the magnificent pyramids of Egypt, burial mounds where incredible treasures have been found.
Viewed from afar, these stone edifices have an imposing presence. As we get closer, we become aware that each pyramid has been made from rocks balanced on top of each other. The Great Pyramid of Giza, for example, has a mass of 6.5 million tons and is built out of 2,300,000 million stones weighing nearly 3 tons each. Now that is one powerful rock balance.
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 mani stones carved with mantras or symbols piled up in cairns by the roadside.
In both the East and the West, hikers often like to add stones to cairns, trying to get just one more on top of the pile to bring good luck and as a sign they have passed that way.
Thanks for reading! Peace to you.
Share your thoughts with me in the comments. For more deeper insights like these, check out my book The Rock Balancer’s Guide.