Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop...meditation time!

I just recently purchased a meditation timer. Until now I have been peeking over my shoulder at the clock--a real bad habit. Ten minutes into a 25-minute sit and I'm starting to wonder what time it is: Have the laws of physics failed or what? Why is this taking so loooong!

So I glance at the clock every ten minutes or so. Suffice it say, my meditation was both disrupted and agitated. I had a hard time "settling in," to use meditative parlance (or medi-speak as I like to call it). Meditation felt like--although I wouldn't have used this word then--a duty or chore to be performed. So I finally broke down and decided to buy a timer.

Little did I know what I was getting myself into! Meditation timers range from $6.99 to $125. Now if you're anything like me, you're thinking, "$125 for a meditation timer! What, does it meditate for me? Cook me dinner?"

I won't go into any of the specifics or name any brands, but I couldn't fathom for the life of me how a timer could be worth that price. Eventually I settled on a cheaper model and my meditation thanks me.

The first time I used it I felt like I was lost at sea. Every few minutes I had to fight back the temptation to check the clock, or worse, check the timer! Old habits die hard--This piece of junk must be broken! There's no way 25 minutes takes this loooong. You get what you pay for; I knew I should have bought the $125 timer!

After an excruciatingly long time--my brow lathered in sweat and fists clenched--the timer finally chimed. It's about time! I thought.

It took a while for me to adjust. As silly as it may sound, it was an exercise in surrender; I needed to train myself to let go and allow the timer to do its job. What was interesting is that the transition really highlighted my control issues. I never realized how much I was holding back from the meditative experience until I asked myself to truly let go.

Now I'm free (or freer, I should say) to settle into the moment and dedicate myself to sitting. Just be one with the moment and try not to worry about when the timer is going to chime. Let it do its thing and I'll do mine.

Now if only that damn dog across the street would stop barking...
Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: jakeliefer.

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