Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's Up With the Bell?

Several times, I have been asked how come I don't use 'a bell' in my mindfulness work with clients.

The bell, or rather the sound of the bell, is such a part of the traditional meditative experience. As essential as cushion and timer, and noble silence. The bell invites us to step into a sacred space, where habitual ways of being dissolve, leaving room instead for awareness and experiencing of the now.  At the other end, the bell means returning to the habitual world of daily life. Such a lovely ritual . . . 

and also, something else, maybe not so useful.

I see the bell as yet another man made creation to separate practice from the rest of one's life. Another gadget to please our senses. Another potential source for trouble down the line, when there is no bell, and we are left with just ourselves.

This is why I like to encourage the ones I work with, to practice with no bell, no fancy cushion. Only oneself, and an ordinary place to sit. The main impetus for practice becomes one's intention, and sometimes the sitting together.

Practicing to practice any time, anywhere. No 'equipment' necessary. 

How is your relationship to the 'bell'?

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