Zen 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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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.