The sound of the word tingsha resonates with me. Try saying it over and over again. Perhaps it’s just me.
Beyond enjoying the word that rolls around in my mouth so nicely, I enjoyed the use of tingsha for mindfulness meditation. When I was taking my classes at Toronto Rehab, the occupational therapist would announce that we were going to start the class off with a ritual. Being a habit of routine, I was intrigued. She held the small cymbals with her elbows bent and turned her face to the side and lightly struck the two together. This became a prompt for me to close my eyes, and focus on my breath for three minutes.
It was a lovely way to start the mindfulness meditation class as it took me away from the loud Dixie Chicks tunes that I was listening to in my van. It stopped me from chattering with my friends in class. And it sent a strong message to my mind to begin to be quiet. To stop listening to the nattering going on in my head. The grocery list was tossed aside, the worries of my young daughter were left in the hands of a capable sitter and the squeak under the hood of my car became less of a concern. I relaxed and breathed for three minutes.
Time passed quickly as I breathed the air deep into the bottom of my lungs, and breathed out through my nose, dropping the tension in my shoulders. Occasionally I could hear construction going on outside, or a bird chirping and my mind would wander and then I would become aware that I needed to bring my focus back to my breath. This took years of practice and continues to be a challenge.
By the time the tingsha rang out its chime to signal the end of the three minutes, I was breathing at an easy pace, I felt more comfortable in my skin, and I became accustomed to my surroundings.
The tingsha prepared me for the present and what I was to focus on that day to learn how to cope with my chronic pain. This ritual played every day allowed me to have a moment to myself before the hard work of learning to manage my chronic pain would commence.
I miss the tingsha, yet I hear the chime in my head from time to time when I need a moment to breathe, and relax and meditate. I carry them with me in my mind and my ears still remember them well.
It was hard at first to sit still for three minutes to meditate, yet now it feels like a breeze because it is such a small amount of time to meditate. But never underestimate the small size of the tingsha and the small amount of time to meditate. It forever changed my entire world and all of my time twenty-four seven. The mini cymbals are a symbol of relaxation for me.