How do you choose just the right place or room in your home or apartment for your meditation space? What do you need to consider in that choice? By now you probably have an understanding that this adventure of creating your own meditation space can change your life, so why treat the selection of where to place that space as anything less than important?
The first thing to know about making this choice is to understand that space holds energy and it’s best if that energy helps to support, or even enhance, your meditation experience. It’s also important to understand that this energy can move, and circulate depending on the traffic, air, doors, windows, walls and ceilings. And last, it’s good to know that any of these things may be altered with practice, and with techniques, some of which I’ll share on this site.
A room with a lot of activity or noise can make it impossible to meditate. For instance, if it’s your dinning room and you are in middle of practice, a teenage son cruising in to grab a quick bit will definitely take you away from the present peace of the moment.
Energy and a Dedicated Space
It’s been talked by many that it’s a fact that those of us who are sensitive find left over energies easy to pickup, distracting us from meditation or quiet contemplation. Different activities can create different kinds of energy – some bright and noisy, others quiet and calm. These energies tend to hang in a room and are easy to sense if you are quiet and perceptive: especially if you are meditating. Old energy can eventually dissipate, but if the same activity is engaged in over and over, the room can carry that energy for a long time. And don’t worry, there are ways to remove negative or inappropriate energies, which we will cover coming up.
For instance, if you have a breakfast room where the family gathers and has energetic conversations, and food is being prepared, dishes washed, all this is activity and thought generates energy that makes the room feel happy and busy. This would not be a good place to have a meditation space. Even if you love the space because it’s bright and sunny, and has happy memories for you, it would still be the wrong place for quiet, or ‘empty’ – a Vajrayana Buddhist practice – meditation or practice. In truth, in a space like that you would have trouble quieting your mind; you’d find all kinds of distractive thoughts coming up, disturbing the quiet you’re seeking. Even if there wasn’t one other person in the room, still the energies left behind will disturb the quiet.
So what is the ideal meditation room or space for you? Well, it should be a place with out a lot of distraction, quiet and out of the way. It is best if it’s a space with subtle light that has balance and comfort. It should be accessible whenever you want to use it, and filled with just the right supports that make you feel well and comfortable: carpeting, a cushion, chair, altar, plants, a water feature, incense holder, whatever brings harmony and peace to your senses. For you that might mean nothing but a cushion, for others it might be all those things and more. The beauty of it is… you get to choose!
Make sure that everyone in the household understands that the space is sacred, and should not be used or entered unless it’s with quiet and calm intention, and little activity. Some people can meditate anywhere, with any amount of noise or distractions, but when you are first starting it’s important to give your practice as much help as possible.
This means animals, children, and electronic devices. No phones (unless needed for possible emergencies) no TV’s, no iPods, clocks or musical devices. ACCEPT if these are used to support your meditation, such as timing your session, playing quiet background noise (covered in another chapter) or to light the room. The reason for this is because electronic devices are not only distracting, can interrupt a session, but can also create a humming noise that can be subtle but also stressful, that can raise the energy level without you even realizing. Be honest with yourself when using something like your phone or mobile device to time your sessions: if you find yourself often being distracted by taking calls, sending texts or surfing the web, get them out of the room and buy a small simple timer from the store.