To sit still you need at minimum a couple of things: time and space. We recommend you take time for your meditation practice, and also that you think a little about the space. Do you have a dedicated meditation space? A little sanctuary you can retire to when you need it? How about a clear corner of your bedroom floor?
Your Meditation Space
Some of you may have a dedicated room or part of a room for your meditation spot. Or maybe you pull the zabuton and zafu from a closet to create a temporary sanctuary. The nice thing about a zabuton is that it defines a kind of sacred space for the moment, and cues you to settle down for the next few minutes. This is true whether you have it sitting out all the time or bring it out just when you meditate.
Many people enjoy incorporating an altar or some symbolic statues or other meaningful items in their meditation space. This could be as simple as a small Buddha statue or precious stone or as elaborate as a large altar or framed image.
There are other ways to create a meditation space by using incense, lighting a candle or ringing a bell to signify and sort of announce the intention of the space.
Where to Sit
The good news is you can make any space work. When sitting it does help to have a fairly clean place. There’s a reason Zen halls are kept clean. It’s also helpful to have it relatively quiet, especially when it comes to human voices. Other noise, be it birds or traffic, can more easily become part of your meditation. Whatever your situation, we urge you not to let your available space stop you.
Tips to Enhance your Meditation Space:
- Keep your meditation spot as clean and clear of clutter as you can. This is true whether it is a dedicated room or a temporary spot on the floor.
- If you are storing your cushions and creating a temporary space, keep your zabuton and zafu in an easy to access place.
- Choose a quiet space, away from people and possible distraction. If noise is a problem for you, try a sound machine, or app on your phone to help mask outside voices. Find some kind of white noise you find soothing and put it on low.
- Create a ritual to mark the meditation time and space, such as lighting a candle or incense. This can help connect you to the space and create a transition between meditation and daily life.
- If you can create a dedicated space for meditation, definitely do so. An entire room is, of course, wonderful. And we have found that even a corner or small part of a room can also work very well. An altar or small table for your incense and bell is great to have.
- If you do not have a dedicated space, still keep that area clear when not in use. This way it will not a big chore to bring out your cushions and transform your space.