As you try to meditate, your mind is bubbling with thoughts, plans, and memories. While it’s normal, it can also be frustrating.
During one meditation, a teacher began noted that thoughts tend to be about the future or past. If they’re about the future they might be fears or hopes or just plans. If they’re about past, they might be things you regret and an experience you’re still longing after. When he said this, I began to see the thoughts scatter plotted across time. The fears and hopes were hours or days or years ahead. The past was the same way, and as new thoughts came into mind, I imagined where they would land on this graph.
Later that day I drew the graph as a wooden ruler to make the idea more concrete. During later meditations I would imagine the ruler and where the thoughts would fall in time. What became very clear that despite the range of endless of thoughts, they all still fit onto this simple ruler.
Prototypes were made of bamboo and maple using a laser
Playing with the ruler was fun and metaphorical. You could place your finger under the NOW on the ruler and balance it. Was that meditation? Inevitably the ruler would tip to the right, the future, and fall. You would pick up, place it on your finger in balance, begin again. Was that meditation?
Using the simple wood ruler made talking about ideas more clear. In other cases it provoked unexpected questions. It was a little teacher.
About 50 rulers were made. The two variation were changes to the center text. First it was simply NOW, and in the second batch it was BEGIN AGAIN. In the second case, the text was almost an instruction, and made the ruler of a self-contained game or meditation trainer.