I recently started sitting with a sangha in Victoria. It is a wonderful experience and brings me great joy, to find like-minded people to practice with.
The sangha follows the tradition of well known Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. The other day, while reading up about the community he founded, I stumbled on a link to some software he endorses called Stillness Buddy. I installed the free trial and am really loving the experience.
I am usually pretty skeptical when I hear mention of meditation software; it is not something that needs software, indeed needs anything other than discipline, to practice. This is slightly different.
Once installed, there are 4 simple settings: start and finish time of work day, lunch break time, spacing and duration of Moments of Stillness an Mindfulness Pauses. Once you have set those values, that’s it – the software runs in the background, and at the appointed times pops up a small window, accompanied by a very pleasant sound, which urgese you to take a moment and consider your breathing, or some other mindfulness enhancing step. The “Moments” can be of any duration you choose – I have set mine to the suggested initial values of 30 second breaks every 30 minutes. Similarly, I have the longer Pauses set to 2 minute breaks every hour and a half.
What a difference it makes. It is far to easy for me to get absorbed, either in a single task or flitting between a dozen tasks, and on top of that, it does feel like sitting at a computer can actually effect your regular breathing. This simple app, which I would say was perfectly appropriate for non-meditators and non-Buddhists, goes a long way to the simple act of bring me back into my body and connecting with my breathing, a small but major part of being mindful. I hope you find it helpful too. – SWL