To see our post on meditation posture, click here. The importance of creating a dedicated space for meditation cannot be overstated. A dedicated meditation space inspires us, focuses the mind, and is an important part of making meditation a habit. This habit of consistent meditation practice is how we reap the transformative benefits meditation has to offer.
Here are four steps for setting up a great meditation space that will help you look forward to your meditation practice each day.
Choose your meditation space.
Choose a place where you are least likely to encounter distractions from pets, other people in your house, televisions, and other noise-makers. It is usually not possible to create a “perfect” isolated place in our life, but we can just try to do the best we can.
Some meditators choose a corner of their bedroom for their meditation space, while others use an office, spare bedroom, garage, or even a walk-in closet.
Before you meditate, clean.
As Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains in Joyful Path of Good Fortune: “The success of our meditation depends upon our making six preparations. Just as we need to prepare carefully for an examination or dinner party if it is to be a success, so we need to prepare carefully for meditation if we are to experience good results” (p.41).
Cleaning is the first of these preparations. It is common that when we feel stressed-out and over-busy, our living space begins to get messy. Cleaning often has the positive side-effect of making our mind feel more uplifted or peaceful.
We also clean if we are expecting someone special visit us. If we are Buddhist, we can think that we are preparing our space for some very special guests — an assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas! Even if we are not Buddhist, we can understand the positive effect having a clean, organized space has on our mind.
If you wish, set up a Buddhist shrine.
The purpose of creating a shrine is to inspire our mind and remind us of the good qualities we are trying to develop within our mind. The basic elements of creating a Buddhist shrine is to set out a representation of Buddha’s body, speech, and mind as well as some offerings.
Facing our meditation seat directly in front and slightly above, we can place an image or a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. This image represents Buddha’s body. To the right of Buddha we can place a stupa, or a picture of one, which represents Buddha’s mind, and to his left we can place a Dharma text, representing his speech.
In front of these images, we can place fresh or artificial flowers, candles, tea, and/or the traditional seven water bowls. The purpose of making these offerings is to create a positive energy in the mind and to become familiar with the practice of giving purely.
Start your meditation practice!
With our meditation space set up, we have created a daily source of inspiration and a reminder of our meditation practice. Just walking by our shrine, we are reminded of the good qualities we are striving to develop.
This post is part of a series on meditation, future posts will include details on meditation posture and what Buddhist meditation is.
We Want to See Your Shrine!
Do you have a meditation space complete with a Buddhist shrine? We would love to see your pictures, and with your permission, we will post them here and on Facebook.