Isoda Koryusai, Japanese (active c. 1764–1788), Courtesan Playing the Samisen
Home is a container of soul health. The roof and walls shelter and nurture the spark of life that animates our modes of dwelling. They define the setting where soul health is transformed from raw energy into the myriad experiences of living. Furniture, clothing, and other objects foster the inner work of the psyche. The bed encourages the soul to dream and make love. Each element of home plays its role in bringing forth the latent possibilities of soul.
The headlines of spiritual experience are often grabbed by dramatic tales of angelic light and celestial encounters, but soulfulness mainly grows within the realms of everyday life. A cozy moment in bed that warms a deep place within us, a conversation at the kitchen table that connects parent and child, and other common experiences sustain and enrich the depths of who we are.
The needs of soul health are satisfied through the archetypal actions of human dwelling —cooking, eating, gathering with others, sleeping, dreaming, lovemaking, bathing, managing finances, and solitude. Cooking, for example, is a practical activity that creates edible meals; it also cares for the souls health creative urge to transform the raw stuff of life into digestible and appetizing forms. Eating satisfies the hunger in our bellies, but also satisfies the soul’s desire for fulfillment.
Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple
The rooms and furniture of your home are more than a mere collection of isolated objects. They are tangible nurturers of soul health. A home for the soul sparks our imagination. Its architecture and furnishings offer more than mechanical functions and urge us to explore the essence of who we truly are. Colors, textures, and shapes act as bridges that lead our attention from the material world of isolated objects into the interconnected realm of he spirit.
A home for the soul offers more than one level of experience at a time. It simultaneously addresses all levels of mind, body, and environment—our myths, emotions, thoughts, senses, actions, bodily functions, and the ecological processes of nature. The bathtub of such a home might honor Venus’s desire for beauty, ease the conflict of a hectic day, warm and soothe the body, cleanse the skin’s pores, and connect us to the sprinkling of rain and the flowing of streams.
Kitagawa Utamaro, Komuraski of the Tamaya, House After a Bath, 1795
A home for the soul is not a material goal to be acquired, but a setting for inquiring into the processes of living. Within its walls we can discover how the germ of consciousness within us grows to become the events and circumstances that define our existence. We can discern the links between our personal needs and dreams and the universal forces that shape the cosmos. In a home for the soul health, common objects and actions become symbols that at once hide and reveal the deeper powers that animate our lives.
A home for the soul has character and personality. It contains rich textures and colors that invite the hand and delight the eye. It reflects subtle gradations of light that range from murky shadows to shimmering points of illumination. Forms are imaginative and reveal how they support activity. There is care and attention to detail. Natural materials such as wood, stone, wool, silk, and cotton are used to create an environment that opens to the vitality of sunlight and fresh air. A home for the souls health is a sensuous dwelling place that urges us to savor the mingling of spirit and matter.
Boulder, Colorado—an innovative company has taken one of life’s most unpleasant experiences (being startled awake by your alarm clock early Monday morning), and transformed it into something to actually look forward to. “The Zen Alarm Clock,” uses soothing acoustic chimes that awaken users gently and gradually, making waking up a real pleasure. Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime. When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong. Then, as the ring tone gradually fades away, the clock remains silent until it automatically strikes again three minutes later. The frequency of the chime strikes gradually increase over ten-minutes, eventually striking every five seconds, so they are guaranteed to wake up even the heaviest sleeper. This gentle, ten-minute “progressive awakening” leaves users feeling less groggy, and even helps with dream recall.
Zen Chime Clock with Japanese Maple Leaves in Honey Finish, an alarm clock for your body, mind and spirit
Now & Zen – The Gentle, Soothing Alarm Clock Store
1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
adapted from Natural Home, July/August 1999
Reprinted from Home for the Soul by Anthony Lawlor. Copyright © 1997, Anthony Lawlor. Reprinted with permission of Clarkson N. Potter, a division of Crown Publishers.
Posted in Chime Alarm Clocks, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, mindfulness practice, Natural Awakening, Progressive Awakening, Sleep Habits