I’ve been focusing on the theme of self-care over the last few weeks in my writing because my friend and teacher, Bhante Dhammawansha will be visiting the Lehigh Valley area in a week to offer some meditation events.
Meditation is one of my primary self-care activities because it clears my mind and allows me to move through the day with a feeling of peace. I started meditating at the age of 19, and it was challenging to begin a regular meditation practice. For the first 20 years I believed that I could only meditate if I were with a group of people, so meditation classes were a part of my weekly schedule. When I started living alone for the first time in my life I found that I was able to meditate alone, but I still love to meditate with others, too.
About nine months ago I discovered an app that helps with my daily meditation. That sounds like a contradiction: how can technology, help with meditation? I was originally looking for an app that I previously had downloaded to my phone that sent Himalayan Singing Bowl sounds at pre-planned times. I used those sounds as a reminder to meditate at various points in the day. What I found was the Insight Timer app that allows me to time myself while meditating, to awaken to the sound of a singing bowl, and the use of a guided meditation, if I want to choose one.
Insight Timer is a free app that can be downloaded onto Apple or Android devices that offers something for everyone from beginners to those who have been “sitting” for years with a dedicated practice. Meditation means different things to different people. Some people see it as a sacred, quiet, and solitary experience. Others believe sharing their meditation experience enhances it. For some, that changes day by day and Insight Timer offers a community for all of those people.
The app offers “members” the ability to select the time and duration of their meditation, a variety of ambient sounds and bells for alerts or to use during meditation, hundreds of guided meditations, and a log of personal statistics and milestones for tracking progress (if that’s something you want to do). Insight Timer also offers over 2500 discussion groups and local meet-ups with the central focus of meditation and it’s benefits.
The app also lets you know the number of people meditating (using the app) while you’re meditating. I mostly use the timer and the ambient sounds, but I love that I can see that people all over the world are meditating “with me” at the same time.
One of my favorite meditations is the “Loving Kindness Meditation.” Here’s one version:
May I be peaceful.
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I be free from suffering.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be free from suffering.
The Insight Timer slogan is “peace in our timer” and the creators believe that meditation can change the world for the better and that their goal is to offer the opportunity for “a free and meaningful daily practice for all, regardless of financial means.” You can download the app and get more information at https://insighttimer.com .
I know my meditation practice has enhanced my life in many ways. It helps bring focus, peace, and balance to my daily life. It calms me in times of stress. It brings me joy to know that I’m a conduit for positive energy and love in the world through meditation. If you already have a meditation practice, this app might be a tool to enhance it. If you’ve wanted to begin a meditation practice, but don’t know how or just haven’t been able to make time for it, Insight Timer could help. It’s another way to take time for yourself in the midst of the busy-ness of life. If we don’t make time to care for ourselves, how can we ask others to do it?