Michael Grab doesn’t grab and go. This rabid consumer culture just whizzes around him as he stands, often in the middle of a flowing stream, carefully picking up and feeling the microscopic surfaces of two rocks while placing and balancing them, via his very body’s own instinctive attunement with the force of gravity, one atop another, and another, and another, large and small. And, last week, he almost got arrested for doing so.
Boulder Cops Declare ‘Rock Stacking’ a Jailable Offense to Stop Local Artist Who Spent 7 Years Creating Sculptures
Why does he do it? Well, why do we do anything? To “get ahead”? To “make ends meet”? To fulfill parental expectations? To be good girls and boys? To “look good”? To “beat the competition”? To “take it to the next level”?
There are some things worth doing — just because. Just because we personally, uniquely, weirdly even, are drawn to do them, against all odds. With no “logic” or “argument.’ Foolishly. Bravely. Over and over again. For reasons, often, of which we dare not show and tell, lest we be, ahem, arrested!
Here’s what Mr. “Gravity Glue” says about his art, and his being:
ARTIST: Michael Grab
Gravity Glue exists to share my (Michael Grab’s) experience in the art of stone balance… All Gravity Glue images and videos exhibit real rocks that I’ve balanced and photographed myself… The process boils down to contemplative stone arrangement; involving patience, adaptation, slow-breathing, steady hands, and a plethora of other practiced skills…
I began balancing rocks through somewhat of a whim in the Summer of 2008 while exploring Boulder Creek in Boulder, CO, USA. Since then, simple curiosity has evolved into a prolific creative passion, and daily meditative practice. I quickly noticed the unique effect that my creations had on myself and others, often inspiring a sense of magic and peace; a sense that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
I am constantly in awe at the stillness, let alone possibility, of such precarious formations, amidst sometimes very turbulent conditions. For me this reflects our own potential to maintain a still-point amidst the variety of challenges we each face throughout our lives. Further, I wish to highlight the idea that WE ARE creators of our own reality, rather than mere recipients. Consciousness affects reality. This practice allows one to freely create, manifesting their own particular vibration into a 3D world.
Balance requires a minimum of THREE contact points. Luckily, every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a NATURAL TRIPOD for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the vibrations of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest “clicks” as the notches of the rocks are moving over one another. In the finest “point-balances”, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters, and in rare cases can even go undetected, in which case intuition and experience become quite useful. Some point-balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. But if you look very close, you may be able to see the tiny notches in which the rocks rest.
Woven through the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is likened to meditation; finding a zero point or silence within myself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on the rational mind and patience. One of the great challenges is to overcome any doubt that may arise. To consider that seemingly impossible things may just be possible. Sometimes I don’t even feel the vertices of the finest “tripods” or balance points until i’ve spent enough time slowing down to the related threshold of vibrations.
“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try” – Yoda
Achieving a challenging balance requires contemplation of both mental and physical elements in real time; the NOW. You must “get to know” the rocks you are working with. Some rock characters will coordinate better with others, vice versa, back, forth, right, left, up, or down. The trick I’ve found is to PLAY and experiment. Another tip I would suggest is to use rocks that are heavier but still safely manageable. Using larger rocks (within your capacity) will magnify the feeling of the clicks. Also, more weight will usually have more stability in wind or other erosive forces. THIS is partly why I prefer to balance large rocks on top.
Bottom Line… it’s a fun way to relax, release stress, play, create… learn… all while challenging my skills and dabbling with countless possibilities
To go a little bit deeper…
It is a fairly involved meditative practice, which seems to reveal very personal, and sometimes profound insights to the seasoned practitioner. Stone Balance for me is, in a sense, my Yoga, perhaps in the most literal way i can imagine. It is about dissolving the duality of my self and environment. I must BEcome the balance! There is nothing easy about it. It can frustrate me to my limits, and then i learn. Or it can reveal magic beyond words, and I learn.
Put simply, I feel something divine when I practice. Immune to a complete explanation. Often times I feel as if I’m glimpsing some kind of truth as I dance among an orchestra of vibration and poetic form; a sense of transcendental beauty; brilliant expressions of zen. Need I mention Wabi Sabi? <3
“There would be no chance at all of getting to know death if it happened only once. But fortunately, life is nothing but a continuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change. Every time I hear the rush of a mountain stream, or the waves crashing on the shore, or my own heartbeat, I hear the sound of impermanence. These changes, these small deaths, are our living links with death. They are death’s pulses, death’s heartbeat, prompting us to let go of all the things we cling to.” – Sogyal Rinpoche