Meditation Timers & Clocks - Utgawa
I’m not exactly clear on how they did it. Something about taking Group No. 1 over here, hooking them up to a nifty array of happyfun electrodes and letting them begin their deep and experienced meditation practice, and then, at some point, suddenly blasting the sound of a woman screaming in distress right into their prefrontal lobes like a swell little ice pick of terror.
And then the researchers observed which parts of the meditators’ brains lit up and noted that it was the hunks related to empathy and compassion and also the parts that say, “Hey, that screaming can’t be good, and I think I’ll get up and go help that poor woman.”
Then they did a similar thing with Group No. 2, only minus most of the experienced meditation part. And when this group heard the same woman screaming in distress, their brains also lit up, only this time it was those parts that said, “Huh, chick screaming in distress, let us now reach for the remote control and turn up the volume on this delightful episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ to drown out that obnoxious sound, because, you know, how annoying, and, by the way, I could really use a Bud Light and some guns right about now.”
It’s not exactly news
I might be oversimplifying. Or exaggerating. No matter, because the fact remains it is was one of those nice studies that deigns to reveal a helpful factoid that millions of people, and thousands of teachers and gurus and healers, have known for roughly a billion years.
It is this: Deep meditation, the act of stilling yourself and calming the mind and working with the breath and maybe reciting a mantra or clearing your chakras or running a nice bolt of golden energy up and down your spine, can have a positive effect on your worldview, can inject some divine love juice into your core and make you more sympathetic, kinder, more apt to feel a natural inclination toward generosity and compassion and helping people who might be, you know, screaming.
I know. Totally shocking.
It’s a small study that goes handily with the umpteen similar bits of research recently, all of which seem to indicate some other famously healthful aspect of meditation: stress relief, illness prevention, life extension, emotional stability, improved sleep, increased productivity, better orgasms, fewer ingrown hairs, brighter sunshine, better gas mileage and also merely learning to sit still and shut up once in a while, which I can promise you will make your wife and your siblings and your kids and your dog and even your own squealing manic ego very happy indeed.
Meditation Timers and Alarm Clocks with Soothing Chimes
Did you already know of such benefits? I’m guessing you did. Here in NorCal, meditation is so widespread and normalized it’s available in the Whole Foods bulk aisle. I do believe over in Berkeley and parts of Marin County you are actually required by law to meditate at least twice a week atop your handmade zazen cushion in your Zen rock garden next to your carefully restored BMW 2002 as you listen to very cheesy wind chime music on an iPod-enabled Bang & Olufsen 5.1 home theater system just before you pour yourself a nice glass of Sonoma Chard, or the police come and politely take away your Tibetan Nag Champa incense holder for a month.
Just a froufrou thing
Ah, but I suppose this is not the case nationwide. I imagine the practice is still widely considered, even after all these millennia and all these studies and teachers and perky New Age bookstores and all the obvious proof that meditating has little, really, to do with religious belief, to be some sort of hippie cultish pagan anti-Christian satanic froufrou thing more aligned with monks and bells and Hindu wackiness than with everyday gul-dang gun-smokin’ ‘Merkin life.
And hence I guess we still need studies like this to lend validation to a timeless wisdom that, if disseminated more widely, could improve the health of the nation. Hey, every little bit helps, right? Enough studies and enough serious medical journals bring alternative ideas like meditation to the fore and maybe, just maybe, we could nudge the culture away from mania and obsession and road rage and a zillion Prozac prescriptions as the only means of coping with the trudging maelstrom of daily existence.
It can’t hurt. Because the problem is that we as a culture are still very much trained, beaten, shaped from birth to never, ever, no matter what you do, calm down and breathe more consciously and try to live more fully in the moment you are in. Present-time awareness? Breathwork? Cultivating a sense of loving kindness? Save it for the New Age Expo, hippie. Real men live in some neurotic-psychotic state of need and regret and wishful thinking, all undercut with a constant shiver of never-ending dread. Isn’t that right, Mr. President?
But meditation, well, it abides none of that noise. It brings you into the here and now and plops you into the lap of stillness and reminds you that there is more to it all, that you have incredible power to change your own habits and tendencies and daily love quotients, that God often speaks in whispers and flutters and quiet little licks on your heart and only when you dial down your raging internal dialogue can you actually hear what she’s trying to say. What’s not to like?
Of course, you need no scientific study to learn any of this for yourself. But who knows, maybe there will come a day when you can stroll into just about any doctor’s office and she will say, what’s that? You say you’re getting weird rashes and heart palpitations and you feel overwhelmed? You have rage issues? Melodrama? Warmongering and pain and fear of the Other? Have a glass of wine. Eat better. Exercise. More sex, less whining, better books.
And oh yes, also this: Once a day, just for a few minutes, go sit very still, close your eyes, shut up and breathe.
Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga & Meditation Timer. It features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings your meditation or yoga session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal. Our Yoga Timer & Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation or yoga session or periodically throughout the session as a kind of sonic yantra. The beauty and functionality of the Zen Clock/Timer makes it a meditation tool that can actually help you “make time” for meditation in your life. Bring yourself back to balance.
Meditation Timers and Clocks -- From Now & Zen
adapted from SFgate.com by Mark Morford columns with inset links to related material can be found at sfgate.com/columnists/morford.
Now & Zen – The Zen Timer and Alarm Clock Store
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Posted in Bamboo Chime Clocks, Meditation Timers, Meditation Tools, mindfulness practice, Yoga Timer, Zen Timers