In my articles on meditation, I have been very careful not to mention specific products because I don’t want to give the impression that my posts are advertisements. But while I was discussing preferences with some friends the other day I realized that I do have specific suggestions about why I might recommend certain products. This post is a review of some of the products I’ve come to enjoy and a description of their benefits and disadvantages. I’m not going to start doing comparative reviews of meditation resources on a regular basis, but I hope that this comes across more like a useful review than an ad. I receive no compensation of any kind for mentioning or using these items.
Incense: I tend to rely on MorningStar incense, which is one of many brands made by Nippon Kodo. It’s widely available in Pagan stores and health food stores. I like it because the sticks produce relatively little smoke but still give enough scent for me to enjoy. They don’t cause me any difficulty breathing, even though I have a lot of respiratory sensitivities. Their scents tend to smell natural or somewhat earthy, and don’t linger long after the stick has burned down. The ash they produce is light and fluffy, so it can blow around a lot, but it doesn’t leave gray smears and is easy to clean up. Each pack comes with a tiny incense holder – just put it on a small saucer or in a candle holder and you’re ready to go. They’re especially good for me because each stick burns for about twenty minutes, so I can use them as an unobtrusive timer to measure the length of my meditation sessions.
Timer: I use the free Meditation Timer widget for Mac OS made by Meditation Resources. It has a pleasant chime that sounds like a singing bowl or mid-toned bell, not too startling and not too screechy. Lots of similar apps and widgets exist, obviously, but this one is simple and easy to use, so I’ve stuck with it.
Sounds: When I started meditating, I really liked to have innocuous nature sounds playing in the background. I still use these as a kind of “white noise” that covers the sounds of the city and helps me sleep at night. Fantastic high-quality recordings of a variety of natural sounds can be bought from Nature Sounds.ca. They produce some shorter tracks, ten to thirty minutes long, but what’s really amazing is their full tracks, which run up to two hours long. These are continuous recordings, not short loops that become annoying after ten or fifteen minutes. You can preview individual tracks and buy just the ones you want; the prices are very reasonable and much less expensive than most meditation or relaxation recordings I’ve encountered.
I hope these descriptions are helpful!