Beginners often assume that timing how long they are meditating for will be very distracting. They sometimes wonder if they should use an alarm clock, or some other mechanical method.
Actually, an alarm clock or beeper might be rather jarring and unpleasant. Most meditators just have a clock or watch sitting in front of them. They’ll open their eyes from time to time and see how long they’ve been sitting.
It really isn’t a great distraction. Just make sure to place your clock or watch somewhere that you can see it without having to change the angle of your head or move your eyes. Also choose a clock or watch that doesn’t tick, and that has a face large enough for you to see without straining.
There are also some specialist timers available that make it even easier to keep track of the time without having even to open your eyes.
For example there is the Invisible Clock timer, which can be set to gently vibrate and which can mark off stages or simply the start and end of your meditation practice. This is an excellent product, although a little tricky to get the hang of.
There’s also an attractive Pyramid Meditation Timer that simply sounds a gong at the end of a preset period.