Thich Nhat Hanh even suggests meditating while driving. En route, when we focus only on arriving at our destination, red lights can cause anxiety and frustration. Instead, he suggests using a red light as a bell of mindfulness, which reminds us to return to the present moment. Instead of muttering curses or flooring the accelerator, next time you see a red light, smile at it, and go back to your conscious breathing. It is easy to transform a feeling of irritation into one of pleasure. This same red light becomes a reminder that it is only in the present moment that we can live our lives.
from Plum Village
On your arrival you might hear a bell sound and suddenly people around you have stopped still, stopped talking, and stopped moving. It might be the telephone ringing or the clock chiming, or the monastery bell sounding. These are our bells of mindfulness. When we hear the sound of the bell we relax our body and become aware of our breathing. We do that naturally, with enjoyment, and without solemnity or being stiffed.
When we hear one of these mindfulness bells ring, we stop all of our conversations and whatever we are doing and bring our awareness to our breathing.
Idea: design a software application that rings a virtual mp3 bell every 15-90 minutes, or maybe every 30-90 minutes? This could be a web page (see clock) which would be the most universal application as any computer OS could use it. In order to use the Mindfulness Bell page, one would only have to leave that page of the browser open. A Mac OS Tiger Widget would be cool, of course, and a Palm app would be nice, but that is not nearly as universal. I imagine one would sit down at one’s computer to start some work. Normally time can really fly by and hours later the eyes can’t quite focus, and our shoulders are hunched over… but if we begin by opening the Mindfulness Bell web page before we start work, we will get reminded to take a deep breath, relax our back, look into the distance… I can supply a nice bell mp3, if somebody else can code a web page to ring it at random intervals between 15 and 90 minutes – or maybe we slider that allows the user to select a range of time intervals… just a thought