In this fast-paced, modern world of ours, oftentimes it is hard to find a minute to ourselves, and when we finally do have some alone time we tend to spend it getting lost in thought (usually unconsciously), be they thoughts about family, friends, work, health, food, until those precious few moments that we had are all but gone, and we are right back in the game of life again – going, doing, talking, watching, cooking, eating, sleeping.
Because we lead such busy lifestyles (there is always something to do), plus with the nature of thought, it can be very easy to think that we don’t have time to just sit around “doing nothing”. However, doing nothing is very different from doing something that is unproductive. In fact, they are worlds apart. Doing nothing is the act of meditation (alt: zazen) and its benefits are unequivocal.
I often found it difficult to just sit with an empty mind in the one spot for even just a few minutes. I realised that one of the problems was that I never knew how long I had been sitting there for, so the thoughts would enter my mind “how long has it been, one minute, five? ten?”. When sitting in meditation, time disappears. So I created this set of meditation timers which not only allow me to know how long I have been sitting, they also allow me to exit and return to the material world in a harmonic fashion.
How to use the timers
As I said earlier, it is not always easy to just sit there and do nothing, and the longer the sitting, the harder it may seem to complete. Like everything, starting off small and adding to it in incremental steps is the key to success. If you are new to meditation, I would recommend starting with five minute sessions for the first week and working up from there.
The important thing with meditation is to sit with a straight spine. Seating position is secondary, but the most common practice is with a cushion on the floor with legs crossed comfortably. Just remember to keep your body propped up, spine straight, head slightly tucked in and shoulders relaxed. You can choose to keep your eyes open or closed (whatever feels more comfortable for you). If your eyes are open, focus your gaze to one object or point. If your eyes are closed, bring your focus either to the point between your eyebrows or your heart/chest. For the beginner, it is enough to just observe and become aware of how the mind operates. Realise that it will continue to spur out thoughts even without your will. From this, we can acknowledge that we are not in fact the thinker of thoughts, and they are not us. Disassociate yourself with them, let them drift away like clouds against a clear, bright blue sky, and, in their place, cultivate new and inspiring thoughts. Encourage your mind to drop its old habits and replace them with calm, peaceful ones instead.
When the session is finished, I like to put my hands in the prayer position (namaskar) in front of the heart/chest region and say “namaste“, as a sign of respect for the moment, before slowly opening my eyes and readjusting to the external world.
The sound of the bell is designed to relax the body,
bestill the mind, and awaken the soul.
May it be of some comfort to you as you enter
into a meditative state of being.
Mobile user?: Tap the links above to download the meditation timers to you mobile device.