During my free time today at work, I did some Google searches on the various accoutrements involved in meditation at the zendo. Mainly, I was looking for places to purchase a zafu and zabuton, plus a bell to signify the beginning and ending of zazen.
Yes, I realize that meditation can happen anywhere, and that all the trappings are not necessary. Still, I was curious about how much these sort of things might cost; were they inexpensive enough, they would be classy and unique items to have around, and would perhaps help me get in the zen zone.
Or maybe not.
Zafu appear to be prohibitively expensive for a simple pleated cushion, often costing around $40 (not including the flat zabuton that goes beneath). Zen bells and gongs are less so; I got to thinking, though, that I would rather have a timer that sounded a bell or gong for me, instead of me acting as proctor for myself as I try to meditate at home.
I’d read about zen alarm clocks — I’d love to have one, except that I’m afraid it would wake Aaron, too, just like having the blinds open would. (Either or both of which would be ideal ways for me to wake, were we not on opposite schedules… but I digress.) So, off I went to find a smaller, less expensive zen timer.
What I found was the Meditation Timer. It has multiple timer settings, plays a digital recording of a zen gong at the beginning and end of the given time, and has a bunch of other cool features. However… it costs $65, and that’s with free shipping.
Finally, I decided that I need to start meditating at home without all the fancy zen accessories. I found a shareware timer program that can play a sound file of your choice when the timer hits zero; then I hit Google and found the zen bell sound I wanted to use. I set up the timer program, grabbed a throw pillow off the couch, lit some incense, found an appropriate piece of wall to stare at, and was good to go for my first successful home meditation session. (I say “successful” because I’ve tried it before and given up after only two minutes, being timerless.)
After an hour of a yoga DVD and ten minutes of zazen, I’m feeling pretty mellow. Not particularly productive, granted, but mellow and peaceful.
Maybe I’m on the right track for keeping a positive mindset and getting in touch with my inner self.