February 26, 2009

The Big Sit, Day 3

Day 3: No mailmen interrupting us today! The sit felt a bit long for me personally. We used a mediatation timer we all loved (until we found out how expensive it was!) There's so much discussion over this, we plan to have a feature on how people time their sits over on the Big Sit site -- free online ones, ones on your iPhone if you're lucky enough to have one, using an incense stick of a certain length, a kitchen timer...

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Zane's picture

I use the following mp3 files on my cell from The Insight Meditation Center website:


They are available in
* 15 minutes
* 20 minutes
* 30 minutes
* 40 minutes
* 45 minutes
* 60 minutes

They only have a bell, no music.

mary's picture

I have a little digital kitchen timer that I use for portability, but my favorite is the Washington Mindfulness Community's bell also http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/bell/index.html I like that I can set the bells to ring at whatever intervals work for me.

Johara's picture

I use the whitenoise app on my iphone - usually ocean sounds as the irregular sound of the waves helps me come back when I'm off in thought. When the sound stops the session is over.

Peggy DuFon's picture

I recently switched to my internal clock

Alma's picture

I'm using my cell phone alarm clock.

lauriemckinnon's picture

i used the kitchen timer for years, then discovered a meditation cd in the catalog Dharma Crafts. the cd has SILENT :) tracks of 10, 20, all the way to 70 minute intervals each ending in 3 beautiful gongs. it makes for a truly lovely experience. of course, when i asked my son to download the cd on my computer he said, "that's the most worthless cd. all it is is silence!" that's the point!!!

Philip Ryan's picture

lacinda: Thanks -- Someone else suggested this one as well -- it looks good.

lacinda's picture

I like the (free, OSX only) Meditation Timer. You can set a specific time to sit for, the tone to use, and a delay.

Meditation in Movement's picture

I sometimes use the Mindful Clock. It isn't the most versatile program, but I find the 15 minute mindfulness bell to be very useful to keep me mindful throughout the day. You can set up a sitting session relatively easily for any period, including the possibility of adding a walking or resting period following the sitting (though you can't set it on a cycle if you want to repeat a 20-minute sit, 10-minute walk, 20-minute sit, etc., though you can just click the "Start" button again), so it fulfills that function too. Best of all: it is free!


Kevin's picture

I used an open source program called Audacity to create a sound file that contains an hour of silence and ends with a simple gong tone. I play it through my cell phone. If I don't want to sit for a full hour, I start the file playing and then advance it until what remains is the length of time I want. It's simple, quiet, and travels with me when I'm away from home.

Marcus's picture


I did the very same! I got someone to help me as I'd never downloaded anything before and now have a CD with the ten minute, twenty minute, and thirty minute timings on it.

I don't mind the music so much, but, yes, like you jmcleod76, love the gongs!

And now I'm joinging in the Big Sit everyday using the CD.

Thanks to all,


jmcleod76's picture

I've used the timer function on my microwave for years, but the whole thing was a bit cumbersome ... running into the kitchen, setting it a few minutes longer than I planned to sit so I could get settled into my seat, etc. In honor of the Big Sit, I upgraded to one of the mp3 timers offered over at Jundo Cohen's Treeleaf Zendo. I'm nopt crazy about the canned uber-Asian shakuhatchi that plays at the beginning and end of those, so I chopped them off in a music editing program (sorry, Jundo!). Still, it's super convenient to just tap the remote for my iPod stero when I'm ready to start, and the sound of the gongs sets a much better tone, just like I'm really at the zendo. Overall, definitely worth the minute or two it took to download.