Question – Mindfulness Meditation
“I went to a therapist and she taught me a format of meditation that she called “mindfulness meditation.” It started with a gong that looked like a bowl. She played it and allowed it to ring out until the guided meditation began. She spoke throughout the meditation, which was pretty much a focus on my breath and the sensations having to do with my breath.
I didn’t know really what the gongs were for. Could you tell me a little bit about that?”
Yes. They were not gongs; they’re called singing bowls. If they were made out of metal, which they probably were, they are various alloys and are made in Tibet or India and sold to Western countries. The tricky thing is: We do not know if anyone used those singing bowls prior to your teacher using them. Also, singing bowls are customarily used to begin and end Buddhist meditation. Since the Torah prohibits following the customs of other religious practices, we are not permitted to begin and end a meditation with those singing bowls. As matter of fact, we are not allowed to begin and end a meditation with any similar Eastern instrument such as chimes, gongs, or cymbals either, since it is a Buddhist monastic custom to use such instruments to begin and end the meditation.
What should a Jew (or any monotheist) do? Use a timer, a clock on your phone, an alarm, etc. Set a soft alarm to bring you back in five or six minutes. Or you’re welcome to use my “Beginner’s Meditation on the Breath.™” Feel free to listen to the introduction before trying the meditation, which is, of course, free of any Eastern elements.