The bell is a wonderful mindfulness tool. It is also known as a “bell of mindfulness.” Its sound reminds me to be in the present moment, or come home to the present when I am in deep thought or conversation.
As taught to us by our zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, aka Thay, when the bell is invited, I stop whatever I am doing, relax my whole body and become aware of my breath. I stay still and silent until the sound goes away. By pausing to breathe and restore my calm and peace I feel so nourished with a sense of freshness and freedom as I restore my mindfulness energy.
The sound of the bell gives me an opportunity to come back to my breath and dwell in the present moment. On hearing the sound of the bell, I focus on my breath for at least three breaths. Sometimes, I follow a gatha, or a short verse, to help me:
Listen, listen, this wonderful sound
Brings me back to my true self/home.
For our daily work on our laptops, Hang and I installed a digital bell of mindfulness app. It can be set to be invited every 15, 30, 60 minutes. It's a wonderful reminder for us to come back to our breath, to bring our mind home to our body, and find peaceful moments while we're writing emails.
As well as the sound of a bell, any sound can be a bell of mindfulness, a pleasant sound like birds signing or rain falling, or an unpleasant sound like a car alarm or dog barking at night. An object can also be a bell of mindfulness, like the sunset or sunrise, a tree in your garden, a flowers in a vase, or a smile from a loved one. All of these sounds and objects can help remind us to come home to our breath and body, to the here and now.
We'd love to hear your favourite bells of mindfulness. Feel free to comment below.
Enjoy finding moments of calm throughout your day.
With a peaceful smile,