Cairns help reflect about balance, simplicity, spirituality, peace, prayer, patience, direction, priority, and play

Cairns are simple rock formations, created by stacking stones on top of one another. From the arctic territories of the Inuit to temples in Korea, cairns can be found all over the world.

Built for thousands of years, they’ve been used to mark sacred spaces, to guide travelers along paths, or to notify others of danger.

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A cairn is an impermanent human-made pile of stones. The word “cairn” comes from a Gaelic term meaning “heap of stones.” A search on the Internet reveals that cairns have also been referred to as “trail ducks”; in Hawaii they are called “ahu” and by Native Americans, “Wa-wa-na-quas-sick” (place of many good stones).

Through their sheer simplicity, cairns offer so much wisdom. Read on to see what these beautifully symbolic towers can teach us.

Cairns History

Cairns date back to ancient times as mentioned in the Bible. Rocks and piles of rock are mentioned in the Bible as well. Genesis 31:45-52 describes how a rock pile was used as a boundary. “And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made a heap….And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shall not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm.”

Historically, cairns were built by one person or by many people who contributed by adding a rock as they passed by the site. Other times, perhaps more recently rocks have been carefully balanced one on another.

Be Solid, Not Rigid

A cairn’s rock-solid elements are what keep it steady. But that doesn’t make it stiff or unyielding. If need be, a cairn be disassembled and moved to another location. Be like a cairn: be strong, but not immutable.

Stand Tall 

Regardless of its size, a cairn always seems to tower majestically above the ground. Be proud and reach towards the sky like a cairn. Stand tall, no matter your height.

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Find Your Balance

The key to a cairn’s miraculous formation is its ability to maintain balance. Even as it defies gravity, it holds its own. You too can defy the odds as long you maintain balance in your life.

Read more How Breathing Brings Us To The Present-Zen Inspirations 

Be Centered 

What’s the key to the cairn’s balance? All its elements are stacked along the same reference point. In other words, it’s properly centered. You needn’t worry about falling as long as you have a reference point to center yourself around.

Get Grounded 

A cairn would never be able to support itself if it wasn’t secure in the ground. Similarly, you can’t grow and ascend if you don’t have a firm foundation. Find stability where you are: get grounded.

Stay Aligned 

A cairn is able to stay grounded because all its elements are aligned. We can take a lesson from the cairn’s configuration. Like the cairn, we find stability when all different aspects of our lives line up: when our actions support our goals and vice versa!

Read more Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation Technique

Guide Others

Cairns have been used throughout history as landmarks. Many were built and left behind as direction markers for other travelers. Be a signpost: take what you’ve learned and use it to guide others on their journeys.

Leave Your Mark

Standing out amidst the landscape, cairns are literal markers. Be like a cairn: whether through your actions or in your relationships, leave your mark on the landscape of others lives.

If You Fall, Rebuild

What happens if a cairn falls? Easy: we simply put it back together again. Like a cairn, your life isn’t over if you take a tumble. You just have to start again. Remember that it’s never too late to rebuild.

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Written by

Inspired With Life

Meditation and yoga have been a subject matter which I have been practicing on a daily basis for several years now.

I came about this through a life changing accident in New Zealand in 2010 this changed my way of thinking and has led me on the spiritual path.

You can read about my personal experience here >

Anyone can learn to connect with their soul if they put some time into the practice. This is something you can do in your own meditations but just be aware that it gets easier with practice and you will get better at it with meditative practice, so don’t be discouraged if you are not successful in the beginning of doing this. I wasn’t very effective in the beginning either. You start by getting in a good quiet state of meditation where you feel internally connected with your inner being.

Once you understand that your life at this moment is part of a much larger continuum than the few decades you will inhabit this body, you open yourself to the high calling and noble journey of cooperatively joining with your soul in its evolution.