I live way out in the country in western, northern Virginia on 6 acres where it’s so quiet and still. On the one hand, I love it for myself. But since my children have arrived, I would like closer neighbors so they can run out and hang out easily. Still, during this lockdown I feel so grateful for all our space for them to run around in the sun.
I’ve been sure to keep my meditation practice consistent, despite the rare times when I don’t feel like it. I’m currently on a 70+ day consecutive meditation stretch. It’s a priority right now, to help me center myself and reconnect with Divine everyday. I get grounded and I’m a better human, partner, parent, and mentor to my clients.
Some days when my kids wake up extra early, they find me at the tail end of my mediation session. My son has lately taken to lying down with me in my lap (they’re 5 years old) and it’s clear he enjoys the stillness and the quiet time too.
Today, while I writing this, long after my morning meditation time, he asked to come in and rest on my meditation mat. I lit the candles for him to enjoy but he’s 5 and he blew them out after playing with his breath on them after a bit. But then he laid down and snuggled in and just rested in the silence. I love seeing him recharge in the quiet, just being still. Makes this mama’s heart explode with joy that he’s taking the time to be.
So I wanted to share with you my thoughts on creating a meditation space and some lessons learned.
First is that we have a large house and I actually created what I call my zen room. It’s my space and no one gets to hang out in here except with my permission. I love to have that space.
I know that’s not practical for many people so I recommend trying to find even a corner of a room that you can set up with some sort of altar and candles and other artifacts that bring you joy. For me, in addition to my Buddha and candles on my altar, all of my favorite pieces from my travels are here.
It brings me such joy to see them and I love them after all these years. Near my altar, I have my green and yellow batik from Zimbabwe, my apsara from Cambodia, a framed picture from my walking trip to Ireland, a replica of a window from one of my trips to Nepal, and two antelope statues, chiwaras, from a trip to Mali.
What I’ve put behind me on the opposite wall also supports my joy. I have a framed picture from Haiti, a peacock from India, some pieces like carved tusks of twins from my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, some pieces of blanket from Niger, a martini pitcher from my maternal grandparents that was passed to me upon my Mom’s death, a canister from another trip to Nepal, and another bust of the Buddha- again from my trip to Cambodia.
I also have a desk and a computer in here. I do use the desk for journaling and working on this business. Originally when we moved here, I used to work in this room (back when I was still at a J O B) but I found the more job work I did here, the less sacred this room became. I found other places in the house to work and that really boosted my sense of the sacred every time I enter this room.
In fact, I no longer wear any shoes in this room because it just feels wrong. And I ask everyone to take their shoes off before entering as well. It just feels too special for me to have anyone, including me, to treat it as anything else.
My How-To Ideas on Setting up a Meditation Space
Choose the Space
Set up a space that is solely devoted to your meditation, journaling and other activities that are devoted to establishing and maintaining your connection with the Divine, to centering, and to grounding you.
If you have young children like I do, you’ll have to enforce the notion that this space is just for you hundreds of time. But soon enough, with you setting consistent boundaries, they will be respected.
Set up the Altar and Choose Items that Help You Connect
I ordered a two-tiered altar on Etsy. On the top tier, I have a small statue of the Buddha, that I also got on Etsy. I have two candles with beautiful candles holder plates. On the bottom tier, I have an incense box that I used to light incense in during my meditation sessions. Since returning from Bali a few months ago, I can’t burn the incense because it bothers my lungs. I also have a prayer wheel from a trip to Nepal and looking at it gives me a zing of a connection to the Divine.
I likely will be getting a devotional candle of some sort of Christian theme soon because my issues with the Church seem to have resolved and I’m getting back to a deep love and devotion to the Christ.
You can also put items from your vision board or other inspirational items, like a picture of a child if you’re trying to get pregnant or something that represents abundance to you, like money, pictures of money, a waterfall or anything that really speaks to you. Other ideas include pictures to help you be peaceful, such as the ocean, open vistas, or whatever speaks to you.
Keep the Room In Use for Just Your Meditation and other Soulful Activities
As I mentioned, in using this room for work for a short time, the energy of the room shifted and it no longer felt inviting or sacred. Once I noticed the feeling and correctly diagnosed the issue, I keep the room solely for my soul work. (see what I did there?)
Of course, you should use it and keep coming back to your meditation practice no matter the stories your mind is telling you about whether or not you “feel” like it or that it’s not fun or maybe that meditation isn’t working for you. It is. Trust the process and get still and silent and allow whatever is arise and fall away and arise and fall away. I like the app Insight Timer to track my meditation sessions both in terms of being a timer as well as number of sessions and other stats. But there are many out there so you may find something else works for you.
What does your meditation room look like? What’s on your altar? I’d love to see pictures for inspiration!