Bells: A Meditation for Teachers

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“The bell invites me.”
—William Shakespeare

Telephone bells, doorbells, school bells, and fire alarms all alert us and prepare us to go into action. Our modern use of bells is totally different than one hundred years ago. Church bells rang the hour of the day and told of a death. The evening bells announced the end of the day, and people left the fields and retired home for food and rest. In some meditation practices, bells remind the practitioners to return to the meditative state if their minds have wandered into the world of details and duties. In our busy world, what signals tell us to stop our work and rest? Some days it is the last school bell of the day, but in most cases this is a signal to check our calendars to see what meetings we need to attend or what appointments we must keep. What sound would be a signal for you to stop your busy workday and relax? Could it be the echo of the door clicking shut when you return home, the tea kettle whistling, or a wind chime outside in your garden? Be alert for a sound that can be your special signal so that you know when the day’s work is finished, and you can enter a time that is just for you.

“The temple bell
stops ringing
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.”

—Basho

This appeared in A Moment of Peace and Quiet: Meditations for Teachers by Gail G. Mesplay.

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