A meditation timer is an electronic device that signals the beginning and end of a meditation session. This device is used by people who have a specific or limited amount of time to meditate. It can be quite difficult to have a good meditation session while keeping an eye on the clock. Therefore, a meditation timer can be used to signal when it is time to bring the session to a close.
It is common, in meditation, for bells or gongs to be used to signal the beginning or end of meditation. For this reason, many meditation timers use the sounds of bells or gongs. These sounds are often preferable to the harsh sound of an alarm clock because they much quieter and gentler. The sounds that are used to indicate that the meditation time has ended sometimes softly escalate in volume.
These devices are programmable and can be set for different lengths of time depending on how long the user plans to meditate. The time setting options generally range from five minutes to sixty minutes, while some devices allow for even longer time periods. Most of them are battery-operated and small enough to travel with.
It is possible to find meditation timers from stores that sell other meditation supplies as well as from a number of online retailers. Some of the timers are quite simple while others are designed to look like small statues or pieces of art with the dial and battery opening on the bottom. A yoga timer, which is used to time the duration of yoga sessions and to mark the beginnings and ends of certain poses, can also be used as meditation timer.
Instead of purchasing a meditation timer, some people prefer to use a meditation application on a piece of technology that they already own. There are a number of such applications that can be used with PCs, Macs, and a myriad of PDAs. These applications simply use a standard timing device and, just like a meditation timer, release a sound to indicate the beginning and end of a meditation period.
There are also CDs and MP3s that can be played instead of using a meditation timer. Instead of playing songs, they simply play the beginning and closing bells or gongs, separated by varying lengths of silence. Some may play very soft, peaceful sounds instead of silence. The sounds may be the sounds of water in a stream, ocean waves, or other recordings of nature.