Jetwing Kaduruketha’s Rock Balancing Meditation
by Juliet Coombe, the ultimate rock chick
I am often described as an unstoppable force of nature, and like all those that run with the wind while juggling more things than they have hands to catch, I am told firmly, for the sake of my health, to stop and recharge my batteries before it is too late. This means a recipe of early nights, yoga, healthy eating, vegan snacks, daily breathing exercises and meditation. Now, for all those yoga aficionados this is easy and a way of life for some, but for a passionate mission driven person like me, this has been possibly my single greatest challenge, until I went to Jetwing Kaduruketha and was presented with a pile of rocks and asked how good my rock-balancing skills were. From a distance, sitting in the open-air pavilion of Kaduruketha’s dining-room, it all looked so easy and yet, as you get closer to the rocks and see how many shapes and funny bumps they have, you realise this is something that requires real skill and a hundred per cent concentration, or mindfulness, as they now call it.
As rice was being harvested in the paddy fields and my lunch was being hand-picked from the Kaduruketha garden and cooked, I delicately put one rock on top of another but less than five rocks up they would fall in all directions, making me laugh like a small child playing with Lego blocks. Only this was with Mother Nature and in the wilds of Kaduruketha, where you can see fishing cats at night and flying squirrels. Of course, if I wanted to eat my delicious lunch wrapped in banana leaves, I was going to have to meditate on the best building method or spend my day contemplating being caught between fallen rocks and hard places. The deep concentration on the activity, with a single focus, helped my head clear and provided me with the space for uncluttered thinking and deep breathing. The quest to build the highest rock formation for others to meditate on, was a brilliant way to get me to focus on something simple yet challenging. The general manager of the hotel joined me and, like a magician, made it look easy, as if he was bending spoons – the rocks seemed to obey his every command.
Not to be defeated, I tried again and almost did it on the third attempt, to be rewarded with a walk to the butterfly garden, where I was shown some leaves that can be used as an alternative to soap. I learnt from the highly knowledgeable staff that the area is famous for its rocks and even caves with rock paintings in, hence making rock meditation part of their guests’ daily ritual. Time vanishes in Jetwing Kaduruketha while taking dips in a pool, inspired from the Great Queen’s bathing area, going on nature walks to learn what can cure and kill you, and exciting night safaris that start at 10 pm. The only thing is, no matter how often you look and whatever time of day it is, you will not see the jackals, which call out from time to time. I am told this is a warning or omen of something bad. Perhaps, now I understand why the film was named The Day of The Jackal a nocturnal warning that someone is about to die or something is about to change in your life. Luckily for me the wild dogs were quiet and my experience of rock balancing has inspired me to take this up at home with my kids, as a way of clearing my mind with something that is really fun to concentrate on doing.