a place to meditate

gwloloFebruary 14, 2013

I want to create a physical space that is good for meditating. We do not have a big house and I cannot spare a dedicated room. It will have to be a space in our master bedroom or family room. I do not have a regular meditation practice but I am hoping to change that over the next two years.

What do I need. Does it need to have natural light or is a darker area better. Is floor better or a raised area like windowseat OK? Are meditation cushions helpful to sit longer? Any pictures to share?

I am hoping trailrunner or others who have a regular meditation practice will share some ideas.

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Annie Deighnaugh

That's interesting...I am hoping to change that over the next two years...is there a reason why 2 years? Why not today? This week? Just curious where the 2 years came from.

Considering that meditation is sitting or lying quietly with eyes closed, it can be accomplished anywhere. Typically for beginners a quiet place is better than a noisy one. If you want to listen to guided meditations or soft music while meditating (check out ambient music stations on itunes radio...some are designed for meditation or spas) then some kind of technology would be helpful. I use my imac which is portable and can take it anywhere I want to go....I've meditated on the deck, the patio, the bedroom the family room, the exercise room and even out in the woods. I've meditated in an exam room waiting for the doctor to come. I've done walking meditations. I've done standing meditations.

So what you are looking for is some place you can go where you will be undisturbed. (I've told DH that when I'm meditating, pretend I'm not home...don't bring me mail or expect me to answer the phone.) Softer better than harder as you will be sitting/lying still for awhile...perhaps all you need is a soft meditation cushion to sit on. And you want to be comfortable, so if the room is chilly, have an afghan nearby to use.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:37PM
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An afghan is a great idea. When I have sat for more than 20 minutes, I do find myself becoming cold.

2 years because I think I need that time to make it a regular habit of at least an hour each day but with ability to sit longer. I plan to sit and meditate as I fall asleep when I try to meditate lying down. I am not planning to use music as it really distracts me. My mind tends to get involved with and follow the music, look for patterns remember other music etc. So far I have found most success just trying to sit still and just notice my breath.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:28PM
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If you can, it's nice to have an area that's a dedicated space. A place that's special for your use and that everyone comes to respect too, a portion of a room that's only for meditation. Of course the main thing is the meditation, but a special place that you can place objects sacred or special to you is wonderful too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Creating a space for meditation

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I do mine in a hot tub every night.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:46PM
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My DH and I follow Vipassana meditation. It is based on following the breath with no outside stimulation at all. No music,incense,walking or focus on items. Only following the breath. Also one should be upright..never lying down and very alert. It requires intentional concentration and as Goenka says you will work hard.

A comfortable straight chair , you should sit upright not touch the back. Actually the less cushioning the better..more support is actually way more comfortable than less when sitting on a chair or cushion as it keeps everything in alignment .

I will link below. In the second paragraph are a couple of links. One to a video that Goenka made and then one to some FAQ etc.

The one thing that one should not expect to do is use meditation as a way to relax to fall asleep. Goenka stresses the alert state of mind needed to meditate and to be able to pay close attention to the breath and sensations in the body. The very best time is first thing in the AM before the mind gets busy :) He calls it monkey mind...jumping around from thought to thought.

I know that there are many ideas about meditation and many reasons that one wants to learn. This is what we do. If you will start with only 10 minutes then that is good. At the retreat for 10 days one begins as one means to go on...45 minutes each session with breaks and a total of approx 10 hrs per day for the 10 days. It is an immersion process .

Pema Chodron has a number of short you tube videos that are quite good. It might be very good for you to look in to a local place that has meditation classes and support. That is very helpful for getting your practice going.

You note that I say practice. That is what it is called. it is work and it takes practice and the time spent on the cushion is the only way that you will learn...in the end. No amount of reading or studying will make up for the time you sit and follow the breath.

If you would like to email me I would be more than happy to answer more questions. We leave Wed for our annual 10 day retreat in GA. c

Here is a link that might be useful: Vipassana meditation link

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Clueless - that article was helpful. I thought a couple things of meaning to me that I can use - my late father's meditation shawl and prayer beads. I will likely not use the beads but they have personal meaning. I think I am going to find space in our master bedroom. I am still not sure if floor is better of a raised area. I will have to try and see.

Trailrunner- I. Terms of physical space, d you have a dedicated room or place? Do you sit on the floor, a cushion or a chair?

Enjoy your meditation retreat. I have been looking at the kelseyville or north fork retreat for later in the year when I can take the time off from work. Thanks for the link and to the Pema chodron videos. I will explore those.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:41AM
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We removed most of the furniture from our attic space great room and made it our meditation area. We have folks come over every Wed. evening at 4:30 ( used to be 6 PM ) and have held 2 retreats there in the past 2 months. We don't use the space for anything else except our meditations each day and to sit and read etc. We do believe that the space has "good " vibes , if you will, from the activities held in the area.

Most people will not have a separate area like we do. It isn't important except to have a time and spot that is yours. A chair or cushion off to the side is fine. It is the mental space that is important . I have a friend who meditates with us and she gets out of bed early each AM and simply sits on her cushion on the floor at the end of the bed facing her dresser. Simple...nothing fancy.

After one is used to following the breath it is indeed fine to practice while thinking of one thing...concentration practice. It is harder and I sometimes do try it but am not as good at is as DH.

It is wonderful that you have your Dad's shawl...so important to surround oneself with good thoughts and memories . What a gift. A wrap of some kind is important you do get chilled when sitting still. It makes no difference if you sit on a cushion on the floor or on a chair. I use both as my left hip gives me fits periodically. The important thing is to be alert throughout the meditation.

This is not a relaxation exercise there is a difference. The result of meditation is indeed feeling more centered and relaxed and better able to cope and think clearly. But the actual period of meditation is not one of trying to relax but instead to be alert and aware of sensations in the body.

It will all come clear at the retreat.

I am sorry I forgot that you and I had already talked about North Fork or Kelseyville. It is definitely an immersion course but it is the best thing we have done for ourselves and those around us. I look forward to hearing about your experience. The Vipassana folks do ask if you are practicing another version of meditation and will it affect the practice of Vipassana. If you are planning on attending the retreat then I wouldn't try another group such as Shambala but just practice following the breath till you go to the retreat.

Please do let me know how it is going. c

2 pictures of the space.The chairs/sofa are gone, replaced with 2 antique Morris chairs. We kept the TV armoire and have a computer screen in there when we watch Dharma talks. We don't have a TV in our home. We use the drawers for our shawls etc. Cushions are stacked to the side. I have a straight chair that was my grandfather's that I bring over from the office area when I need it. We are lucky to have this space. Like being in a tree house and we have the sunsets out those windows.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:30AM
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