‘Listen, listen, this wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.’
This week I gave my students homework; find a bell with a sound that gives you pleasure, and ring it. In his book ‘Peace Is Every Step’, Thich Nhat Hanh explains the importance of the sound of the temple bells in the Buddhist tradition. ‘Every time we hear the bell, we stop talking, stop our thinking, and return to ourselves, breathing in and out and smiling.’
Since he moved to the west, Thich Nhat Hanh has learned to enjoy the sound of church bells for the same reason. He says the sound of a bell serves to remind us of the wonderful world around us, and it invites us to pause and experience the present moment.
I have a little porcelain bell that I brought back from Japan many years ago. It is a beautiful thing and now I am trying to sound it whenever my mind is overwhelmed by the soup of anxiety that we all carry around in our heads. Pause, breathe, smile, and be here now.