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I know what you’re thinking: ”It’s meditation, a time to relax, why do I need a timer?” The answer is: You don’t absolutely need a timer. But there are several reasons why you might consider using one, especially if you’re just starting your meditation practice and want to make sure the experience is a positive one.
Why use a meditation timer
The main reason to use a timer is so you can forget about time and just focus on meditation. A timer is especially helpful if you’re a beginner, so you don’t misjudge the time you’ve allotted. A timer will also keep you from continually opening your eyes to check your watch or the clock during your session.
A timer for every taste
Meditation timers come in a variety of styles and prices — everything from handmade wooden timers to computer downloadable e-timers. The meditation clock you choose should not have a harsh, electronic buzz or beep like that of a traditional alarm clock. Instead, your meditation timer should incorporate gentle, balanced tones that are in keeping with the peaceful atmosphere of meditation. Being blasted out of a meditative state may well undo all the stress relief you've accomplished during your session. It's much more pleasing to be coaxed out of a trancelike state considerately by the soothing sounds of chimes or a soft gong. Here are some options:
- A gong clock brings you out of your meditative state with a rich gong sound.
- Mindfulness bells are a pleasant way to start and close a meditation session. They can also be set to give a gentle countdown to the end of a session.
- Beautiful acoustic chimes can be programmed to sound at the start and finish of a session, or to chime every minute or fifth minute to aid with mindfulness during meditation.
- Instead of a sound or noise, some meditators light a stick of incense and time their session to coincide with its burning. When the incense is done, the session is done.
- Meditation beads are another unique choice. They invite you to time a session as you meditate by touching each of the 108 beads on the string.
Meditate on the go
For all of you travelers, there’s now a downloadable meditation timer for the iPhone and one for the Blackberry. That means you can meditate even while you’re on the go. Take a meditative time out on a plane, riding the bus, in the woods — wherever life takes you!