The Bell of Mindfulness

The first day Seth rang the Bell of Mindfulness and I was taken aback to believe that such a minor thing, such as a sound, could have any impact in how we act, how we feel, or how it connected to our daily lives. After the first few classes, the bell actually became soothing to me. It became a few seconds of the day where I can just exhale, listen to the reverberations, and relax all of the muscles in my body. I would have never realized that focusing on a ringing of a bell could calm me down so much. It allowed me to collect my thoughts, discard those I did not need and just be in the moment. The writing “Better than Fixing Things” by Elmo Stoll tells us to do this exact thing. Being able to just pick up something that is a basic technology, doesn’t run on electricity and provides a few seconds of pure tranquility is such a meaningful power. I would have never thought that the bell meant anything to me the first few classes but the idea really caught up with me. In Stoll’s story, a man moves to the country with all of his electrical appliances and a local, who doesn’t use electricity, explains to the newcomer that once all of those fancy things break he can teach him to live perfectly without them.


Having electronics is very convenient but to some degree it separates us from another. There is definitely less personal communication happening thus more people are relying on their phone or computer to have a good time.  If you look at the picture I posted with this you can see how people really ostracize themselves by using their phone and not communicating with anyone in person. What are the social effects we will see in the next 50 years from this crazy way of “hanging out” with others? I know I do this occasionally when out with a group of friends and probably the rest of you also do it.



If we would all take the time to put down electronics for ourselves and others we might find that we become more sociable and less likely to need to check your phone every 20 seconds. It is hard for me to put down my phone during the school year but for 2 weeks out of the year I go to a fly-in fishing camp in Ontario, Canada.  This camp is 12 miles to the nearest road and 50 miles from the nearest cite. We have to take a float plane to get into and out of the camp. (My icon for this blog is a picture of that float plane.) This is my favorite place in the world because there is nothing you can do about your phone not having service. It is a time where I can just lay in my hammock, read a good book, and care nothing about what is happening in the world around me.  In relation to Seth’s bell, this is my soothing place to be. There are no worries, no Twitter, no School, no drama.  The only things present are my family, an ice cold Canadian beer, my fishing rod and the sound of the wind. Just writing about it is making me less stressed about how much is going on in my life.  

Although I cannot just take the camp with me, I can use Seth’s method of choosing a relaxing tone and just zoning out to it. It really helps me out throughout the day when I am bombarded with all of the tasks I need to complete. 



  1. I don’t often come across people with experiences so similar to mine. I have taken exactly one fishing trip to Canada and it was to a lake 250 miles north of the Minnesota border in northern Ontario. It was one of the most influential experiences of my like. For 6 days, I was out of service for my cellphone. If the united states had been devastated by another hurricane, I wouldn’t know until I got back to the states. It was me, my father, and 5 other guys. All I did was fish, nap, and explore the remote wilderness around the cabin. Being so far removed from society felt strangely… right. It felt like that’s how it was supposed to be.

    Despite only having taken one trip to Canada, I have another place like this. My grand parents live on the lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I have been going there for a week a year or more every year since I was about 2. When I go there, I remove myself from everything except my family and my hobbies, particularly bass and crappie fishing, and shooting pool in the basement. I use my phone maybe once or twice all week, and just cherish the undisturbed time with my family.

  2. I’m the same way. At first, I didn’t think the bell was all that great but now I love it. Sometimes it’s hard to completely clear your mind and just focus on your breathing, but once you get it, it’s very soothing. Yoga is another great way to do this, as usually the last part is a quiet meditation period where you lay in the most comfortable position for about 5 minutes and let your mind wander free. I recommend it if you have never been.

  3. At first I thought the bell was silly. Now I agree with you. Over time I have grown to really appreciate the Bell of Mindfulness. As the ringing slowly fades, it allows us to focus on us and our breathing, posture, feelings, etc. Find small techniques like ringing a bell can really help us relax and focus on what we need.

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