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The Online Meditation Room

I was curious how others designed an online meditation room, and I was a bit disappointed. 

I looked at the first 20 results from Google. Not all the pages were designed to be a meditation room, but some of them were. But the disappointing part was that the “room” was usually a simple page with a list of audio files you could play. 

Maybe there is a good reason for this. After all, once you choose your meditation and click play, you close your eyes and focus inwardly, and it no longer matters what the page looks like.

But let’s think about a physical meditation room or a temple. In that case, you have a distinct visual experience as well, not only an auditory one. Space and sometimes beauty remind your brain that this room is a sacred place. It invites your mind to relax and slow down. It is an anchor and a reminder that you are about to enter a meditative state. Sometimes you can feel the smell of incense or hear the bells ring, or soft music, or running water. 

Perhaps an experienced meditator does not need all these cues, but for beginners, it may help, and they could make the entry to meditation so much more enjoyable. 

How can we bring this online? 

We can’t generate smell from a webpage (yet), but we control the visuals and the sounds. 

What if, instead of a static page, we generate an experience of entering the meditation room

It could start with a white page, where your choices are softly faded in with smooth transitions, with great care to always have enough space between the elements on the screen to create the feeling of openness. 

It could play some gentle music in the background or nature sounds, or the crackling of a fireplace. And once you choose your audio meditation, everything fades to black, inviting you to close your eyes and enter the meditation. 

We could take this further and make it a group experience where more people join the same room, and the meditation would start at the same time for everyone, helping to keep everyone in sync and enhancing the experience. And we could configure the room experience to be a “Nature Room,” a “Void Room,” a “White Room,” a “Crystal Room.” Each one would have a different set of visual and audio cues that would make it unique.

I wonder if anyone would find such an experience valuable and wonderful.

Chopping wood and building websites

One day I went to visit my old grandfather. When I got there, he asked me if I could help him chop down a tree in the backyard. 

I said “yes,” so he gave me his ax, and off I went to do the job. 

At the time, I was practicing Aikido for a little over one year. Part of that practice was to learn how to correctly hold and swing a sword, have the correct stance, and put maxim power into your cut!

What better time to show off my new skill than to chop down this tree? Sure, the ax was no katana, but the same principles would apply. 

I got into the correct stance, grabbed the ax as if it was a sword, and swung hard at the tree!

Thirty minutes later, my grandpa came to check on my progress, worried that it was taking so long. 

He found me standing next to the tree, struggling to remove the ax that was now stuck into the tree. I looked nothing like a martial artist.

He got close. With one hand, he removed the ax, swung at the tree, and with that single cut, the tree was down. As it should now be obvious, this was a very small tree. 

I was puzzled by this question for a long time: how did he do it so easily at 80+ years old, and why did I fail so miserably despite my confidence in the cutting technique I had just learned? Was Aikido a scam? 

The answer is pretty simple: he had been using an ax to chop down trees for 70 something years. He did not have to think about it; every fiber in his old body knew how to grab the ax, where to hit the tree at what angle, and with how much force. On the other hand, I held an ax for the first time and had zero practice experience. Looking back, I am happy I hit the tree and not my legs.

The same goes with hiring someone to build a website for you. Everyone can learn how to do it from a YouTube video, but it takes time and practice to see all the nuances and get it right from the first try. And what do you value more? Someone who is chopping for days at your site working “very hard?” Or someone who gets it done from the first swing?