Using an alarm to meditate can have its benefits, but there are a few things you should know to ensure it supports you and doesn’t hinder you.
In this post I’d like to share a few thoughts that will help you to understand when you might want to use an alarm and why it’s important to choose an appropriate one.
I’ll also let you know what I think is one of the best timers for meditation.
Guided vs Self Led Meditation?
Guided meditations are great, and can be useful at many levels of experience, but at some point, it’s important to develop the capacity to meditate on your own.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop guided meditations all together, it just means developing your own personal relationship to your practice.
Just you and your mind.
It brings a different level of self knowledge and skill to navigate your mind and emotions.
Meditating consistently is one of the most important keys to feeling progress in your practice, but I always recommend adding some self led meditations to your schedule. Even if it’s only once a week, it helps you develop your own inner capacity to quiet your mind.
Some people prefer guided meditations, and some people prefer self led, and sometimes people go through phases where they do more of one than the other.
A guided meditation by a teacher can be powerful because it helps you get in touch with different states of consciousness, but when you can access those state by yourself it demonstrates a deeper level of personal ownership.
When Should You Use An Alarm?
Of course, if you’re following a guided meditation, it’s not necessary, but when you choose to do a self led practice, here are a couple of reasons why using a timer is a good idea.
To establish consistency.
Consistency is not only about committing to regular practice, but also a regular length of time. It’s helpful, especially at the beginning of your meditation journey, to be consistent with the length of your meditation. It’s better to be consistent with 10 minutes a day, than to do five minutes one day, 20 minutes the next, and 10 the next… fluctuating with the day or your mood doesn’t help you build an effective practice.
Our body responds to rhythms, so committing to a consistent length of meditation can help build this rhythm. When you feel comfortable with it, you can always increase your time and commit to a new rhythm.
Dropping some of the games your mind plays
Using a timer for consistency of time is also helpful because it helps you let go into your meditation. Some days your meditation will feel like it just passed by, while other days it will feel like it’s taking forever. This is natural. But setting your timer will help you to not get caught in some of the games that your mind will play as it tries to convince you that your time is up so you can end your meditation– you’re sure it’s been 10 minutes already but when you open your eyes it’s only been 4.
The timer allows you to just keep following the process of your meditation until it alerts you that it’s time to finish.
When you only have a set amount of time.
If you only have a certain amount of time to meditate, then setting a timer also helps you to let go into your meditation, because you won’t have to worry about weather you might be late for something.
You’ll always be challenged by thoughts coming and going in meditation but setting a timer will help you to remove this particular worry from your mind.
Does the Type of Alarm Matter?
If you’re new to meditation you might not think the type of alarm makes a big difference. But the more you practice and the deeper your meditations become, the more important the quality of your alarm is.
Because as your meditations become deeper, if your alarm is too intense or too loud, it can be a very jarring experience to pull you out of your meditation.
You might be meditating for 5, 10, 20 or maybe 30 minutes (the length of time is not always the factor), and you’re in a very peaceful state, and then suddenly you’re jolted out by your alarm…
Now, instead of peacefulness, your body feels like it’s had a fright.
I don’t mean to make you paranoid about these things, and an inappropriate alarm may not always have this effect on you, but when it does, it’s very unpleasant.
It’s not only unpleasant, but this can also harm the progress of your meditation practice.
Being jolted out of your meditation hurts.
When you’re deeper in meditation, and you’re jolted out by your alarm it can hurt… and if it happens too often, it can create resistance inside you to going deeper. Because at some level you know what can happen if you go deeper. So, you’ll unconsciously keep yourself at a more superficial level.
When I say deeper in meditation, this is relative to where you’re at. Don’t compare your depth to someone else’s.
It’s also important to remember, we often don’t realize how deep we are until we start to return, or an alarm goes off. It’s the contrast of coming back that can help you understand how deep you were.
If you are currently using an alarm, the important thing to notice is: Did it feel like you were shocked out of your meditation. Did the alarm startle you?
If yes, then it could be too intense.
The ideal alarm, if you’re using one, is one that is soft and simple.
And also, one that doesn’t require you to turn off. The return from meditation is an important phase and shouldn’t be rushed, and if you have to respond physical too quickly after your meditation you can lose some of the subtle benefits from your meditation.
My Favourite Meditation Timer
When I do use a timer for meditation, I like Insight Timer. Insight Timer is an app you can install on your smart phone.
What I like about it is that I wouldn’t really call it an alarm, it’s more a non-intrusive gong sound to signal the end of your meditation. It’s just enough to let me know it’s time to return from my meditation.
So, if you’re looking for the perfect timer for your self led meditations, I highly recommend giving Insight Timer a try. There are a variety of settings and different gongs you can choose, so you can see what feels best for you.
It’s more than just a timer!
The other great thing about Insight Timer is that it also has a huge library of teachers offering guided meditations and talks, many of which are free.
And… I’m very happy to let you know that you can find me on there too!
At the time of writing this post I have two meditations and one talk on there. But I’ll be adding more very soon.
If you’d like to be notified when I release new talks and meditations be sure to follow me within the app.
If you find the talks or meditations helpful and you know someone who might benefit, then please share. A simple share can lift other up by receiving the same benefits as you.
The Peacekeeper Project offers training and education to help you quiet your busy mind, so you can live from your heart.
To get started with meditation and learn the Peacekeeper Project’s Heart Space Meditation, you can gain access to a Free Course here.
If you’re ready to dive in and live from your heart, then Finding Stillness is a comprehensive 21 Day Meditation and Mindfulness Online Course that will teach you how to quiet your busy mind so you can live from the heart.
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