Getting to Plumb

Plumb Bob

Plumb: adjective: At right angles to the horizon or to level ground: perpendicular, upright, vertical.

So many things in life can knock you out of plumb. As you roll on, focused on your life, along comes some crazy thing that slams you – and suddenly you find yourself askew.

Many traditions of meditative practice use the term “centered” to describe the state of presence, peace, and stillness. Another that I have found useful is that of being plumb. When something is plumb, it’s in perfect alignment – inline, perpendicular to the ground. It’s easy to imagine ourselves as plumb, standing up straight, when we’re at peace and in flow. When we’re stressed, we tend to slouch, and there’s a general feeling of being “crooked.”

When I begin feeling out of plumb, I picture a slowly swaying plumb bob. As it begins to slow down and stop, I feel more at peace and aligned:

  1. Take a deep breath and let it out.
  2. If convenient, close your eyes.
  3. Imagine a plumb bob, gently swinging back and forth.
  4. Next, picture the plumb bob, slowly coming to a rest.
  5. Finally, see the plumb bob, stopped in perfect alignment, straight and still.

When I first began using this technique, I would close my eyes and imagine the plumb bob, while moving my eyes back and forth. It was like watching a pendulum, and the gentle swaying and final resting at plumb would bring me back to the present moment. As I began to use it more often, I found that just picturing the plumb bob would calm me down in most situations. But I find that I still use the full technique in really stressful circumstances.


Anything is more stable and structurally sound when it’s plumb. Finding a way to bring ourselves back to that place of stillness and presence will ensure that we too, remain structurally sound.

Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest focuses on helping parents who want to do meaningful work from home and have more time for their families. His weekly podcast The Creative Venture is designed to bridge the gap between creativity and practical business knowledge, helping creative people turn their talents into a thriving business.

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