Where did the idea for Inner Twitter come from?I was rereading David Brazier's excellent book The Feeling Buddha and in it he tells a wonderful story about a community where everyone stopped on the 15 minute chime of a town clock to engage in a brief meditation. I thought what a perfect application for Twitter! And here it is. We don't all live in the same village and we don't all hear the same clock, but through the modern miracle of technology we can virtually all pause and truly appreciate our lives, for just a moment.
Here are a few of David's very moving passages:
At the Vietnamese Buddhist center called Plum Village in south-west France there are clocks which chime every 15 minutes. Residents have adopted the practice of stopping every time the clock chimes. The practice may at first seem quite artificial but, simple as it is, it does have a profound effect over the course of a day. The build up of tension which can occur when we rush from one task to another is interrupted every 15 minutes.
...In our house we are fortunate to have a very nice old chiming clock which may wife inherited from her grandfather. The chime of the bell is attractive in itself. When it chimes, we listen. Whatever the task in hand, we stop and pay attention to our breathing and to whatever is immediately before us. In my case, while I am sitting here writing what is in front of me is the grain of the wood of my desk or the pile of books I have been referring to. When I look at these things caringly, I don not just see utilitarian objects. I also sense the love and care that have gone into their making. In the desk is craftsmanship and family history. It was actually made by my father. There is also the tree which once grew in a forest on the other side of the world and whose life came to an end in order for this desk to be made. In the books there is a whole history of civilization - and, again, trees. ...Stopping grounds us...When I stop and appreciate my breath for a moment, or really look at the way the sunshine is catching the wall of the building across the street, I am, for a moment at least, no longer 'a writer' nor 'a psychotherapist', nor any of the other identities that require so much maintenance. I am simply whatever it is that registers beauty, stillness and peace. Whatever that is, it is nameless. It is the unconditioned. It is not something to which categories like good and bad, profit and loss, beginning and ending appy. It is not born and it does not die. It is not trying to achieve something, nor get anywhere. It is. That is all. What does it feel like? Such a relief! Bliss comes when we can protect the silence.
If you would like to make a comment or suggestion about InnerTwitter please go here.
How do I sign up?
Sign up for Inner Twitter in three steps:
Step 1: Become a Twitter user.
To use Inner Twitter you must first become a user of either Twitter. If you are already a user then you are set. If not,
please register for one of these services before proceeding.
Step 2: Become a follower of a user with your desired chime schedule.By becoming a follower you see that users public posts in your message display. That's how Inner Twitter rings its chimes. Inner Twitter has several users that send out chime messages on different time schedules. As a follower of a user with a particular chime schedule you'll see those chimes too. And once you receive the chime you can choose how to respond to the chime.
There are three different chime schedules:
- mindful15 - Sends a chime every 15 minutes. Just like Plum Village in France! Are you up to this much awareness? Only for the hard core. Twitter.
- mindful1PerHour - Sends a chime at a random time every hour. Twitter.
- mindful1PerDay - Sends a chime at a random time every day. Twitter.
Let me know if you would like another chime schedule. These are just the ones I thought would be most useful.
Step 3: Become a follower of user mindful.To become a follower of mindful please click on the appropriate service:
- mindful - Inner Twitter's main user. Twitter.
More importantly for Twitter users is that by becoming a follower of mindful you can send replies
to mindful and have these replies show up in mindful's replies tab. We make use of that feature
to collect everyone's chime responses in one place. For more information on how this works go
A few examples:
I asked Dharamvidya (David Brazier) his thoughts on how one might respond to a chime.
He graciously answered with the following:
The @username syntax is new to Twitter. It's called a reply. If your tweet is "@mindful chime response" and you've
made user mindful a friend, then your message will show in mindful's replies tab. These reply messages
are shown in the upper right hand corner of this page.
The mindful user will only have Inner Twitter related posts so don't worry about becoming overloaded with messages.
It should have a very very low message activity.
How might I respond to a chime?
One way to respond to a chime message is:
Step 1: Stop
When you recieve a chime it's time to take a break. You can take a break. You know you can.
Work will still be there when
you get back. Look at it this way, if you take a break you'll be happier
and more productive over the long run. Can you really afford not
to take a break?
Step 2: Let any tension you are carrying drain away.
Take a deep breath from your belly, not your chest. As you breathe in, allow your belly to move out. As you breathe
out, let your belly move in. Let all the tension fall away.
Let it drain out of you. Feel your head, shoulders, arms, hands, back, legs, and feet becoming
soft and relaxed.
Step 3: Meditate on your breathing.
Here's a simple mediation I adapted from the Feeling Buddha:
Step 4: Notice whatever is immediately before you.
The idea here is to reconnect with the world around you. So just notice what is around
you. You don't need to think any deep insightful thoughts. Don't put that pressure on yourself.
As an ice breaker ask yourself this question: What is in front of me?
Grey.. but not just grey remains when
Playing grey blue clouds relieve the
Swaying grey green eucalyptus leaves
Praying to the summer rains.
Step 5: Potentially share your observations.
If you look in the upper right hand corner of this page you will see some recent chimes. If you want,
you can choose to share your chime with others.
Sharing Chimes Using Twitter
To share chimes on Twitter reply to user mindful as your response name. For example:
How do I see other people's responses to chimes?
There are two ways to see how people are responding to chimes:
Another Possible Question to Ask: What I am thankful for?
If you need a little change from asking "what is in front of you," you might consider another
question: What I am thankful for? Then respond with I am thankful for.... Happiness researchers
have shown you can make yourself happier by taking the time to appreciate the good things you already
have. Concentrating on all the things you want and all the things that aren't going perfect leads
to a constante state of regret dissatisfaction. Remembering
the good things in your life can take you back to a better place.
@mindful I am thankful for the love of my wife and family. They keep
me sane in an insane world. I don't know what I'd do without them.
How often are chimes sent?
It depends on which user you decide to follow. For a list of users and how often
chimes are sent please take a look How do I sign up?.
A few examples:
I asked Dharamvidya (David Brazier) his thoughts on how one might respond to a chime. He graciously answered with the following:
The @username syntax is new to Twitter. It's called a reply. If your tweet is "@mindful chime response" and you've made user mindful a friend, then your message will show in mindful's replies tab. These reply messages are shown in the upper right hand corner of this page.
The mindful user will only have Inner Twitter related posts so don't worry about becoming overloaded with messages. It should have a very very low message activity.
Why does the text message say *chime*?It's patterned after a clock that chimed every 15 minutes at a Vietnamese Buddhist center called Plum Village in south-west France. On the chime people would stop and briefly meditate. The chime message you recieve is simulating the clock chime to remind you to stop and smell the roses.
Do I have to wait for a chime to post?Absolutely not! Anytime you've had a chimeable experience then share it! Don't wait. Write it down before time takes the experience away.
Are platforms other than Twitter are available?Not yet. If there's demand I will certainly add them. Please let me know what other platforms you would like added.
Why is the chime time off a little bit?You may notice the chimes don't match your clock. There are a few possible reasons for this:
- The clock Inner Twitter runs by isn't in your sync with your clock. They may be ahead or behind each other.
- Chimes can take a little while before they are posted. That delay may cause the times to be off.
- The Inner Twitter service is stopped and restarted on occasion so the 15 minute and 1 hour intevals won't always match up over time.
Why are my chimes sometimes delivered in bunches?It seems Twitter doesn't always deliver chimes through SMS and IM in near real-time. They can bunch and be delivered all at once instead of at the correct intervals. If you find this happening to you consider moving to the mindful1PerHour service.
How do I receive chimes?Use the normal mechanisms provided by Twitter. Here are a few sources:
- Twitter Fan Wik - Has a number of different programs for accessing chimes from wherever you are.
Do my chimes need to be all deep and insightful?Not at all. That's a mistake I made at first. I tried to respond to chimes with haiku inspired verse, which is great when inspiration hits, but misses the point somewhat. I think the idea is to see what's in front of you no matter where you are and what you are doing. There doesn't have to be anything special. Stopping and noticing is the point, not going for something insightful. That's hard for me to get used to. So don't try for anything special. Just be where you are at.
Please let me know your thoughts on the best way to do this. I am trying to figure it out too.