Monday, January 14, 2013


(L to R) Fossicking at Lightning Ridge---Aerial View of White Cliffs

My wife and I have just returned from a couple of weeks’ touring and exploring outback New South Wales. This was not the first time we have toured and explored this part of New South Wales but it was the first time we had been to the opal mining towns of Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs. Sadly, the only opals we brought back with us were the ones we bought in shops, but the truth is we had little time for fossicking. We did, however, learn a few things about opals---for example, an opal can be cut and made into a solid, a doublet, or a triplet.

A solid, as its name suggests, is a fully natural stone, which is then cut and polished. A doublet consists of two pieces of opal cemented together. For example, a layer of high-grade opal may be bonded to a black back. Then there is a triplet, which is a doublet made from a wafer thin layer of opal with a clear domed glass or quartz cap glued on its face.

This got me thinking---something I don’t do all that often. When it comes to the practice of mindfulness, there are solids, doublets and triplets. A solid is one who is regular in their practice of mindfulness, seldom lapsing into mindless thinking and living. A doublet is half-hearted at best when it comes to the practice of mindfulness. Yes, there is a certain commitment to mindful living, but this commitment waxes and wanes. Then there’s the triplet, who sees the value in mindful living but is far too wedded to either material things or traditional religious beliefs to make any real progress in the practice of mindfulness.

Each one of us is an opal---a gem---in need of daily cutting and polishing.

I ask you this---are you a solid, a doublet, or a triplet?

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