Brick Wall

Ajahn Brahm wrote “… fear is staring at the brick wall of our future and seeing only what might go wrong.”

He tells a story about building a brick wall with mortar and trowel. When it was done, all he could see out of the thousand bricks he laid were the two that he got wrong. He felt they spoiled the whole wall. But when a visitor casually admired the wall, he found he could see the whole thing and not just the bricks he got wrong. I used his brick wall story to make a meditation about the worry I couldn’t seem to shake.

How to Practice

Imagine that your future is represented by a brick wall. Now think about your worry. What does it look like as a brick in that wall? It may be enormous or broken or the wrong colour. (Mine was so big it blocked my view of any other bricks.) Let it be what it is. It has a right to be there.

To help restore a sense of balance in the wall we need to offer balance. And that is done through love. Pour love into the brick, as much as you can. Imagine it absorbing that love and changing as a result. (I imagined it as a burst of brilliant light. And as it lit up, I saw it get smaller and smaller until it sat comfortably alongside all the other bricks in the wall. No bigger. No smaller. It was welcome in the wall, just not welcome to dominate it in an imbalanced way.)


Ajahn Brahm uses this analogy through the whole book and we can too. It can be a brick wall of accomplishment, a brick wall of the past, or any other brick wall we need.