A Guide to Creating your own Personal Meditation Space
Photography: Tim Wright
CONSIDER: A DESIGNATED SPACE FOR PAUSE
One of the most helpful things you can do to deepen your practice is set up an area in your home that is exclusively for meditating. If you're starting out maybe you'll use this space a few times a week and more experienced meditators will use it almost every day. It's important to have a space just for meditation for a few reasons: it will give you a consistent setup so you'll always have a comfortable place to sit, it will give you a calm and peaceful space for just your practice, and it will make it easier and encouraging to take the time to sit. Ours is setup in a small area between our bedroom and living room so we can get out of bed and are reminded to practice, or can sit before sleeping for the night. Friends love to check it out too.
WORKING ON AMBIENCE
The first thing you'll need is a cleared space. There aren't any huge requirements — facing a wall or in a corner are all fine as you'll have your eyes closed most of the time anyway. It's about clearing distractions and giving yourself the physical and mental space to focus on what you want from your meditation. It's best to try to choose a space that you'll be aware of several times a day but also somewhere that people won't be walking through all the time. Make sure to remove any clutter or distractions from the space. If it's a bit noisy there you can even keep some ear plugs handy (I found this essential when there was construction across the street for several weeks).
DON'T FORGET COMFORT
You'll of course also need a cushion or something to sit on. Any cushion or surface will do as long as your back is straight and you can sit comfortably for 5 minutes to 1 hour (depending on where you are in your practice). We obviously recommend our meditation cushions but hey, they used to meditate in caves so feel free to try sitting on anything you like.
THE RESULT: A SPACE THAT REFLECTS THE STATE OF CALM, WITHIN
The really fun part about having your own space is creating an environment to inspire and support you. Traditionally, monks would put pictures and statues of sacred beings (buddhas) as well as books or scrolls on a shelf in this area. You can choose anything you want and it's helpful to use objects that are of great meaning to you, that will bring you peace and comfort even before you begin. Whoever you want to bring into your meditation environment is up to you — maybe you bring in a photo of a beloved family member or someone who lives in a way that you really admire. It's great to include plants in this area and I even once saw someone who had a miniature koi pond. You could bring in that blanket that a family member gave to you, or a special book that has helped you see the world in a new way.
Be creative, have fun, and take care in choosing items that will inspire you in your practice every day.