Setting up Your Meditation Space
Early morning before the world is awake, or late evening after it has gone to bed, are both good times to meditate. Regular meditation is mental house cleaning. It is like clearing off your desk or workspace before going home when your shift is done. It is setting your mental space in order before you begin work.
It is easier to meditate regularly when you have a space set aside for your contemplation. If you have a small house, young children, pets or even a spouse, sometimes this can be difficult. Your meditation space does not need to be large. It can even be portable, if leaving your special things out would place them in harm’s way or upset the in-laws. Meditation does not require equipment, but sometimes having a few things to set the mood can make it easier.
Your physical abilities and the style of meditation you select will make a difference in the things that you want to use. If you practice yoga, for example, you will want a mat. If you are a person who has difficulty kneeling or sitting on the floor, you might want to place your meditation aids on a shelf or a table where you can face them while looking away from the rest of the world. This will help you turn your attention inward, and help shut out distractions.
If no corner or wall is available to you for setting up your space, a simple, folding presentation board set on a desk, a coffee table or even on the floor can create a backdrop for your meditation space. The presentation board will create a way to visually block out busy decorations or other things that might be in the room.
Use the board to pin one or two items on which you want to focus. For example, if you are having difficulty with a certain chakra, you might pin up a mandala that represents that chakra. Or, if you are learning to balance your chakras, you might hang a chart that reminds you of what they are, where they are located and the order in which they need to be balanced. Alternatively, you might display a favorite picture from your religion – one that means something special to you.
In front of your display board, you might add a spray or two of seasonal flowers or branches to make your space beautiful. You could display a religious symbol or a symbol that is special to you.
A soft light – one that is bright enough to allow you to see the object or objects that you are using as a focus – might be needed. You can use a taper if you plan to use the candlelight as your primary focus. If you plan to use the object or picture on the board, then a lower light, such as a votive candle or a tea light would be a better choice. A particularly nice selection is a Himalayan salt candle holder. The light will filter through the crystalline sides of the holder, creating a gentle glow. Alternatively, if you are in a situation where open flames are discouraged, you can use a salt lamp.
Add a little aroma therapy to your relaxing time by using a scented candle in your salt lamp. If that is not an option, you could use a simple air freshener that has a scent that appeals to you. Lavender or vanilla are both soothing, gentle scents that can help you become calm and focused.
Soft music in a major key – some proponents of sound therapy suggest that it be in the key of A, but any major key will work – can give your mind another sense to use to let you relax and still yourself. It can also help mask intrusive outside noises such as sirens or people walking by on the street. A timer with a soft chime is also a useful prop. It is difficult to judge time when you are meditating. It will either seem as if a short time is very long, or a long time was all too brief.
With your little meditation shrine set up, sit comfortably in front of it. It will help if the items you have assembled are at about eye level when you are seated. If you are a beginner, set your chime/alarm for about three minutes. Give yourself a suggestion to return to the real world feeling refreshed when the chime goes off. Begin with your feet and legs, relaxing the muscles. Think of the way you are sitting as creating a base that balances the rest of your figure. Imagine that you are stacking up your spine, like building blocks so that it is in a comfortable, natural alignment. Let your hands rest lightly on your knees, and allow your hands to relax.
Focus your eyes on the display you have created. Breath in the soft scent you have selected, and tune in the music. Let thought flow away from you gently, leaving your mind still. At first, new thoughts will dash in – even thoughts of how you are not supposed to be thinking. That is all right. It is normal, and natural. Think of them as little fish that are investigating something new. Gently brush them aside and let them swim away. Focus on your breath. Let the scent and sound flow around you. Let your eyes take in your focus. Let your inner self become still.
When your soft chime goes off, walk yourself back to the surface of consciousness. Tidy up your little shrine, and place it somewhere that it will be safe until you are again ready to use it. A special box or bag in which to keep your things can become part of your meditation, and help you begin focusing from the moment when you set it up.
If you have a space where you can leave your things set up, be sure to put the candle out and cap any liquid scent dispensers, making it ready for the day.
Now, with your mind in order and your personal space tidied up for next time, you are ready to face the day or to get a restful night’s sleep. You can even use meditation or order and organize your morning so that you are prepared for the afternoon. Meditation does not require a special place, time or any objects; a space and objects simply make it easier to focus and relax – and possibly to make a special place that is all your own.