Watch the mind... don't mind the watch


About the Timer

In a zendo, someone else often watches the time, leaving you free to focus on your meditation. This is what the PrannaTimer is designed to do. Once the incense is lit, all else can be set aside until one hears the bell. And the reward for sitting until the bell rings is quite nice -- a beautiful tone that lingers in the air.

Incense has been used to time meditations for centuries. In group settings and zendos, singing bowls are often used to signal the beginning and ending of sitting periods. For those who have an individual practice, the PrannaTimer combines these two elements into a simple and graceful solution to the problem of tracking time during meditation.

Our Philosophy

Nothing extra is ever a requirement for practicing mindfulness or developing awareness.

During my earlier periods of meditation, I became aware of the mind’s need to check the time after a while. I would often keep a watch in front of me, so that I could ‘peek’ in order to estimate my sitting time -- clearly a distraction from my practice.

Our slogan, 'Watch the mind...don't mind the watch' will probably ring a bell for many meditators who hear it. Glancing at a watch or a clock during meditation is commonplace, and there is nothing really wrong with it. The distraction happens in the mind: thinking about the time, thinking about looking at the watch, interpreting the image of the watch, subtracting the current time from the start time, deciding if it has been 'long enough', etc, etc. Using the timer encourages a clear commitment to a sitting period.

We believe a timer should be made available to anyone who wants to use it -- at little to no cost. I offer the plans and kits to those who wish to make their own PrannaTimer. We also believe in responsible resource management, so PrannaTimer makes rainforest donations for all imported wood.

History of the PrannaTimer

Not finding an appropriate meditation timer in 1997, I began working on one that uses no electricity. I developed a timer that uses incense to measure the time and gravity to ring a bell.

Using basic woodworking techinques and trial and error experiments, several designs were tested. Below are some of the different design phases the timer went through.

We make timers by hand, with care, and most of all, we're happy knowing they will be used to support your sitting practice.

Nepali PrannaTimers

In 2007, PrannaTimer explored Nepal as a source for the woodworking involved in making the timer. The singing bowls come from Nepal, they have fantastic woodworkers, and the meditation tradition runs deep there. We offered Nepali timers for years. Should we bring them back again? Feel free to tweet your thoughts @pranna

The Guest Artist program through

We have been having a great time featuring Michael Lanning and we look forward to offering more timers from Guest Artists on the site.

Do you know any woodworkers who'd like to make a timer? We also have Kits and Plans available in the Workshop section.

Artists who choose to sell timers through the site set their own prices and pay a share to PrannaTimer for selling them through the site or through their own networks.