Advanced yogis may be able to meditate in the midst of chaos and turmoil but we beginners need an environment that is peaceful and conducive to meditation. In this post I want to show you some cheap and easy ways to make your place a perfect venue for introspection, calmness and quiet practice.
9 Cheap ways to make your place peaceful and conducive to meditation
1. Use candle light
Candles are a traditional offering that originated in India. Candles were the main representation of light which is an offering that is made to your teacher or the Buddha as a symbol of the light of the teachings. When you offer a candle on your altar you make the aspiration that the light of peace and happiness spreads throughout the universe and that the light of compassion vanquishes the darkness of anger and hatred. They are a very nice way to calm your senses and the room.
2. Create more space
The great masters of the past recommended that beginners meditate in a place with lots of space. This could mean a hill, mountain or a valley where you can look out over a big view. In occurred to me recently that many people live in apartments with a view of the city or neighborhood. Sitting by your window would be an ideal place to meditate. Failing that, at least create some space in your room by removing clutter and mess.
3. Clean up
An old Buddhist teacher once told me that it was important to clean your room before every session of meditation. As I grow older I see the importance of this – the mind settles a lot easier in a neat and tidy room. Your eyes have less material to wander on to and you feel less anxious because you know you have done a small part of the house chores.
4. Get natural light
I really don’t like meditating in a room with fluorescent lights flickering away. It is much better to have some sun or the natural light of a candle. Again, I think this type of light is “warmer” and much more natural. A strong fluoro light will be distracting and harsh on the old eyes.
5. Open a window
Fresh air is marvelous for meditation. It allows you to breath in deeply and feel like you are not trapped in a little cell like a monk on a three year retreat. I love opening my window when I meditate. This also has the bonus advantage of keeping you a bit cooler which is good for concentration. If you are too warm you are likely to drift off to sleep.
6. Get a Buddha statue
The Buddha was a truly inspirational figure. He wasn’t a god or a superhuman being. He was an ordinary guy like you and me. I find the statues of the Buddha extremely inspiring because they symbolize the work and hardship that he went through. Most importantly, however, they communicate the very true fact that you can do it to. Sitting down in front of a statue of someone who has completed the path is very, very inspiring. You can get some nice Buddha statues here.
7. Buy some flowers
Many ancient Tibetan and Indian texts speak of the value of having flowers in a room where you meditate. It is thought that flowers have a very good effect on the mind because they are always associated with happiness, good harvest and other positive things. The texts say that any place that has fresh flowers will be very peaceful. I tend to agree. My mother always had several bunches of flowers around our house and it always made it feel lighter and more homely. Try it in your meditation place.
8. Play some chanting music during the day
The monks from the monastery of Sherab Ling in the Indian Himalayas won a Grammy Award a few years ago for their traditional chants. I have visited this monastery many times on my trips to India and always found it a very peaceful and special place. You can purchase their CD and play the chants in your home before your meditation session. I find this really gets the ambiance right and makes your mind ready to go.
9. Burn some incense
If you find the right stuff incense can be really useful to your health and your meditation. In Tibet there was a great medical tantra that was passed down from a great master to his students. In that tantra it explained how to make incense that would heal serious illnesses and clear away blockages of the internal energy. It explained that many diseases can be caused by such blockages and burning incense is a good way to remove them. But of course you have to get the right stuff. Some seriously good incense can be bought here.
It doesn’t take much
It really doesn’t take much to make a room a little bit more peaceful. If anyone has any other tips they would like to share that would be great!