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Archive for the 'Truth' Category

Silence, Listening Can Be the Best Medicine – Choose a Soothing Chime Alarm Clock

Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Kiyonaga Torii, Beauties Listening to Bonsai Vendor Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print

Kiyonaga Torii, Beauties Listening to Bonsai Vendor Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print

How can we save the world from growing intolerance, how can we stop the spiral of violence? ‘ Silence is often the best answer,’ says the Dalai Lama.  More and more experts are admitting he is right.  This is not the time for analyses, reports and threats.  We now need to stop and take the time to really listen to one another.  Of course, listening is not always easy, but a growing number of initiatives are aiming to help people master this difficult art. The International Listening Association declared March to be International Awareness Month.

As part of their campaign they gave tips on how to listen.  ‘Count to three when the person you are speaking with has finished talking.  That person will often take this to be a signal to go on talking. You will be surprised at how much extra information you get.  If you are interrupted, do not get irritated, do not attack and do not lecture, but simply say: “Please listen for a moment, I am not finished yet.”

The American psychologist Michael Kahn wrote a book that includes the topic of  listening:  The Tao of Conversation (Rainbow Pockets, 1998).  He describes people entering a conversation with the intention of winning, people that only feel better if the other person feels worse.  ‘We so badly want to be heard and confirmed that we think it is worth having an argument. ‘ The listener is the one who is catching his breath after having presented his view.

Peonies, c. 1900 unknown

Peonies, c. 1900 unknown

Kahn explains what a relief it was when he discovered a conversation does not have to be a contest.  Like the Tao, it can flow calmly and peacefully and still be very powerful.  Kahn’s tip: ‘Engage in a conversation as if you were making love to someone.  Your good mood depends on how good the other feels.  Or is your idea of a conversation a jam session, where musicians listen to each other and are inspired by each other?  Ask yourself:  Do I want to learn or do I want to win?’

Listening, true listening, heals. This was beautifully described years ago in Michael Ende’s classic Momo and the time savers.  Because she is the only one in a hurried world who has time to really listen, the little vagabond girl Momo steals the hearts of all.  Even children – taking after their parents – have less and less time for stories and games. In the end, Momo saves the city from the gloomy oppression of the grey men who are stealing everybody’s time. Listening as the solution to the world’s problems seems so simple, but in practice turns out to an enormous challenge.  It is time we learned that history only repeats itself because nobody was listening the first time.

One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience.  The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.

The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.

Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple

Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple

adapted from Ode Magazine, April 2003 by Tijn Touber

Now & Zen’s Soothing Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Goodness, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Natural Awakening, Progressive Awakening, Truth, Well-being, mindfulness practice


Your Astonishing Light – Poetry From The Zen Alarm Clock Store

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

koi

koi

“I wish I could show you

When you are lonely

Or in darkness,

The astonishing light

Of your own being.”

-Hafiz

Honey Japanese Maple Leaves Zen Alarm Clock, calming alarm clock

Honey Japanese Maple Leaves Zen Alarm Clock, calming alarm clock

Now & Zen – The Zen Alarm Clock Shop

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth


Zen Garden Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, Japan – Gongs & Chime Meditation Clocks

Sunday, August 12th, 2012
Ryoanji Zen Garden, Kyoto, Japan

Ryoanji Zen Garden, Kyoto, Japan

Steve McIntosh, Inventor of the Zen Clocks and Tehya (his wife) were most fortunate to visit the Ryoanji Zen Temple in Kyoto, Japan before their son, Peter McIntosh was born.  It was a most peaceful and memorable trip.  Below is a description of the ancient site:

Ryōan-ji is a Zen Temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan.  The garden consists of raked gravel and fifteen moss-covered boulders, which are placed so that, when looking at the garden from any angle (other than from above) only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time. It is traditionally said that only through attaining enlightenment would one be able to view the fifteenth boulder.

Ryōan-ji

Ryōan-ji

Japanese gardens are a living work of art in which the plants and trees are ever changing with the seasons.  As they grow and mature, they are constantly sculpted to maintain and enhance the overall experience; hence, a Japanese garden is never the same and never really finished. The underlying structure of a Japanese garden is determined by the architecture; that is, the framework of enduring elements such as buildings, verandas and terraces, paths, tsukiyama (artificial hills), and stone compositions. Over time, it is only as good as the careful maintenance that it receives by those skilled in the art of training and pruning. Part of the art is to keep the garden almost static, like a painting.

Ryōan-ji Temple Bell

Ryōan-ji Temple Bell

Now & Zen Headquarter Store
1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO  80302

Zen Timepiece Inspired by Ryoanji Temple Bell
Zen Timepiece Inspired by Ryōan-ji Temple Bell

The Zen Timepiece – a Gong Meditation Timer is the result of ten years of product evolution at Now & Zen, and we trust that you will find it a delight and a pleasure.  The Zen Timepiece’s greatest beauty is in its sound.

Once you take a moment to adjust the strike force and position of the bowl/gong to your liking, your ears will be treated to the lovely tones of the bowl’s long-resonating ring. We recommend you set the clock so that the bowl is sounded in the lower end of its range, because this is where it sounds the sweetest.

Gong & Chimes

Gong & Chimes

Now & Zen’s Gong and Chime Store
1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO  80302
(800) 779-6383

Posted in Beauty, Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Zen Gardens, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers, zen monks


Practice Mindfulness Meditation at an Onsen – Bring Your Bowl Gong Meditation Timer

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Takaragawa Onsen in Japan

Takaragawa Onsen in Japan

Practice Mindfulness at an Onsen

Practice Mindfulness at an Onsen

An onsen is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs.  As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth.

Onsen come in many types and shapes, including outdoor and indoor baths. Baths may be either public run by a municipality or private often run as part of a hotel, ryokan or Bed and Breakfast.

Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe, NM

Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe, NM

Onsen are a central feature of Japanese tourism often found out in the countryside but there are a number of popular establishments still found within major cities.  They are a major tourist attraction drawing Japanese couples, families or company groups who want to get away from the hectic life of the city to relax. Japanese often talk of the virtues of “naked communion”  for breaking down barriers and getting to know people in the relaxed homey atmosphere of a ryokan with an attached onsen.

The presence of an onsen is often indicated on signs and maps by a kanji,  (yu, meaning “hot water”).

One of Now & Zen’s favorite Japanese onsen is called Ten Thousand Waves, located in the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Taking Time to View the Koi at Ten Thousand Waves Onsen

Taking time to view the Koi fish at Ten Thousand Waves Onsen

In the larger scheme of things, our days on this planet are few and precious, so it seems fitting that we should begin each day with grace and beauty.  Used as an alarm clock, your Zen Clock thus serves as a useful reminder that each day is a new and sacred opportunity to live life to its fullest.  But in addition to its use as an alarm clock, your Zen Timepiece is also an aesthetically-sophisticated timer that enhances practice activities and social gatherings. It can also serve as a “mindfulness bell” that periodically calls you to stillness.

We often bring our Digital Zen Timer with us as a ’Travel Alarm Clock’ when we go on a journey so that we can use it to meditate in a lovely hot spring like Ten Thousand Waves.

Meditation Timer with Singing Bowl

Meditation Timer with Singing Bowl

However, our Zen Timepiece’s acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”

Now & Zen’s Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Timer in Bamboo by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Timer in Bamboo by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Hot Springs, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Zen Timers


The Zen Timepiece Can Help Build a Mindfulness Practice

Monday, July 30th, 2012
Flower of Life

Flower of Life

The Zen Timepiece can also be more actively incorporated into your meditation practice as a form of “mantra” or “yantra.”  Mantra is a sanskrit word which means “mental protection.”  In Eastern meditation traditions, a mantra takes the form of a word or sound which is chanted to occupy the mind and keep disturbing thoughts from distracting the meditator.  A yantra is used in Eastern meditation traditions as an image upon which the meditator concentrates until it “disappears.”

Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

The Zen Timepiece’s bowl strikes can be used as a sort of external mantra or sonic yantra.  The clock’s countdown mode repeat function (the interval timer) allows the bowl to be struck repeatedly at any set period, so that as the strikes repeat, they serve to bring you back to the focal point of concentration.

Now & Zen's Meditation Timers and Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen's Meditation Timers and Alarm Clocks

Now & Zen’ s Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers


Mindfulness Practice for Stopping Stress – Use Your Acoustic Chime Alarm & Timer

Sunday, March 11th, 2012
Use Mindfulness Practices to Stop Stress

Use Mindfulness Practices to Stop Stress

You’re cut off while driving. Your children erupt into a screaming fight. Or you’re five minutes away from an interview for the job of your dreams and your composure evaporates in a rush of anxiety. When life delivers adversity, stress is the common response. Your body kicks into action, preparing for a fight. The adrenal glands pump out adrenaline and noradrenaline — hormones that increase the heart rate, quicken breathing, raise blood pressure, and tense muscles. You’re ready to take on the perceived threat to your safety or well-being.

Of course, in reality we rarely run from foes or physically challenge them. As a result, we don’t burn off these powerful hormones, leaving them to “course through our bloodstream,” explains Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in stress research at Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute. In the short term, a pounding heart and sweaty palms can exacerbate the stressful emotions you’re already feeling. Left unchecked, this chemical mix sets you up for an array of physical and emotional problems, says Benson, including anxiety, depression, and intensified PMS and menopause symptoms.

The next time you are facing a stressful situation, stop yourself from spiraling out of control and bring yourself back to center.

Our Zen Timepiece’s acoustic 6-inch brass bowl-gong clock & timer is the world’s ultimate alarm clock, practice timer, and “mindfulness bell.”
Acoustic Chime Timer and Alarm Clocks from Now & Zen - Boulder, CO

Acoustic Chime Timer and Alarm Clocks from Now & Zen - Boulder, CO

It fills your environment with beautifully complex tones whenever it strikes. In the morning, its exquisite sounds summon your consciousness into awakening with a series of subtle gongs that provide an elegant beginning to your day. Once you experience the Zen Timepiece’s progressive awakening, you’ll never want to wake up any other way. It also serves as the perfect meditation timer and ‘mindfulness practice clock’.
Mindfulness Practice Timer with Singing Bowl

Mindfulness Practice Timer with Singing Bowl

Adapted from Body + Soul, text by Erin O’Donnell

Now & Zen Meditation Timer Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Well-being, intention, mindfulness practice


Using Mediation Chime Timers

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
The Meditative State

The Practice of Mediation- Communing with Divinity

The Practice of Meditation: Using the Chime Clock to End Your Meditation

In the practice of meditation, there are many forms and theories of meditation, two basic approaches emerge.  These two basic types of meditation can be characterized as “meditation with form” and “meditation without form.”  In meditation with form, the practitioner focuses on contacting his or her Higher Self, or communing with Divinity.  Meditation with form can also involve creative imagery and visualization.  Meditation without form concerns going beyond thought into emptiness––transcending the ego-self.

But no matter which type of meditation you choose to practice, meditation is more than simply entering into a dream-like or alpha state.  In the practice of meditation you will inevitably progress through a series of developmental stages as you become more adept at journeying deeper within yourself.

Japanese Leaves Dial Face in Burgundy Finish by Now & Zen

The Practice of Mediation- Japanese Leaves Dial Face in Burgundy Finish by Now & Zen

The first and most basic use of the Zen Alarm Clock (a chime clock) in your meditation practice is as a signal of the end of your allotted meditation time.  If you want to meditate for 20 minutes, simply set the alarm 20 minutes into the future and begin your meditation.  When the first chime strikes you can choose to end there or continue your meditation for about three and a half minutes until the next chime, or even longer.  Many meditators find that a “three and a half minute warning” is a perfect interval in which to gradually conclude their longer meditations.  The first chime signals the final phase of the meditation and the second chime its conclusion.

Stillness

The Practice of Mediation- Stillness

The beauty of the chime is that it compliments rather than disturbs the meditative state while acting as an effective timer.  No matter how you use it, the sonic clarity of the chime provides an appropriate conclusion to your stillness.

Please visit us in Boulder, CO:

Now & Zen Headquarter Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383 or (303) 530-9028

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Zen Timers


Bell and Chime Meditation Clocks – The Gradual Alarm Clock by Now & Zen

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Chartres Cathedral, France

Eastern and Western Meditation Traditions:  Both Cultures Use Bells and Chimes
Bells and chimes are used in both Eastern and Western meditation traditions.  In the Christian monastic tradition, the ringing of the bell during meditation reminds the practitioners to return to the object of worship.
Zen Monks

Zen Monks

Similarly, Zen monks have used gongs and “mindfulness chimes” to begin their meditations and during meditation to bring them out of their mental processes back to the stillpoint of tranquility.

The use of metal alloy bowls for devotional purposes can be traced back to the beginnings of metallurgy in China prior to 1,000 B.C.  The bowl that comes with our Zen Timepiece is modeled after a Japanese “rin gong,” or Keisu, that is periodically struck with a stick to punctuate sutra-reading in Buddhist temples.

The Himalayan peoples have been using metal bowls in their rituals and as offerings to Deities since at least 560 B.C.  These hand-hammered Himalayan alloy bowls have come to be known as “Tibetan Singing Bowls” because of the unique way they are sounded by rubbing a mallet over the rim so as to produce harmonic resonances and overtones.  Although the bowl that comes with our Zen Timepiece is not technically a Tibetan Singing Bowl, it will produce harmonic effects if a mallet or striking stick is rubbed around its edge in a circular motion.
Bowl-gong Clock has a long-resonating chime sound

Bowl-gong Clock has a long-resonating chime sound

The bowl that comes with the Zen Timepiece is made from the following five metals: copper, zinc, lead, iron, and tin.  It has been formed using the same forging techniques that have been used in Asia for two thousand years.  Unlike hand-hammered Himalayan-style bowls, our Zen Timepiece’s rin gong bowl is made using methods which first appeared in Japan in the first century.  Following these traditions, our bowl’s long-resonating tone has been carefully selected to bring beauty and harmony to your environment.

Now & Zen – The Gradual Alarm Clock Store

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, Truth, Zen Timepiece by Now & Zen, Zen Timers, zen monks


How to Take Back Your Time

Friday, January 21st, 2011
Take back your time

Take back your time

Based in Seattle, the Take Back Your Time (TBYT) organization advocates an examination of America’s time deficit. Developed four years ago as an initiative of The Simplicity Forum (an alliance committed to achieving simple, sustainable ways of life), the group encourages people to consider their time as significant, to spend it well, and to take a stand against institutional forms of time deprivation.

As part of the initiative, the organization designated October 24 as the annual Take Back Your Time Day to bring large-scale attention to the time famine. The event helps participants in the United States, Canada, and Europe address their stress with various ideas for enjoying life — rather than rushing through it. TBYT invites you to celebrate on October 24 in the following ways.

Sleep late
Cancel something
Celebrate your spiritual tradition
Ask an older person about his or her life
Set aside one night a week for a family dinner
Enjoy some poetry
Listen carefully to children’s ideas
Reflect on the balance of labor, leisure, and consumption in your life

adapted from Body + Soul, October 2006 by Jodie Jordan

Bowl Gong Timer and Alarm Clock for a Gentle Wake UP

Bowl Gong Timer and Alarm Clock for a Gentle Wake UP

Now & Zen

1638 Pearl Street

Boulder, CO  80302

(800) 779-6383

 

Posted in Truth, intention, sleep, wake up alarm clock