“Real meditation is not about mastering a technique; it’s about letting go of control.” Adyashanti
In cooking, it is called “mise en place”, meaning “everything in its place” or “set up and ready to go”. This describes all the preparation that goes into cooking before you fire up the stove. Everything from putting on your apron to washing, peeling, dicing and measuring your ingredients falls into this process. Interestingly enough, it is also considered a state of mind for chefs and home cooks alike.
Similarly, you need a “meditation mise en place” to get set up and ready to meditate. Things such as location, duration, and position are all elements of this mise en place. I like to think of preparing for meditation as creating my own personal Meditation Sanctuary. Here’s how to find your meditation sanctuary in support of a sustainable and enjoyable meditation practice.
Your Meditation Sanctuary
Location – Set the Mood
Choose a quiet space where you feel safe and won’t be interrupted. For example, you might choose your bedroom, patio, garden, or a cozy corner of your home. Just be sure it is a place where you can minimize distractions such as the television, cell phone, washer, dryer, and dishwasher.
To set the mood, you may want to dim the lights or pull the curtains closed. Many find that using a salt lamp, burning incense, or diffusing essential oils helps create a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Likewise, you may want to play soft meditative music or nature sounds for added tranquility. On the other hand, full sunshine and blissful silence might be your preference. This is completely up to you. It is your sacred space and you get to decide what that means to you.
Position – Find What is Natural
The most recommended posture is sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and hands palm up, either resting on your knees or crossed in your lap. This can be uncomfortable for some, so sitting straight up in a chair is a good alternative. If this still isn’t comfortable, try sitting in an elevated but reclined position, either in bed or in a recliner.
Bottom line, any comfortable position in which you won’t fall asleep is fine. Your intent and attitude when meditating is far more important than posture. If you are uncomfortable or in pain, you will be too focused on physical discomfort to get the benefits of meditation.
Now, what about your eyes? Should they be open or closed? Well, that is entirely up to you. Whatever feels natural is fine. Are you starting to sense a theme? Honestly dear friend, this is your practice and you don’t have to force yourself into any strict meditation mold. Except for a walking meditation, in which your eyes should always be open, you are free to choose what is right for you.
Finally, when it comes to your breath, “most meditation experts recommend that you allow your body to breath naturally” (mindworks.org). So, don’t get all fussed about whether you are breathing correctly or not. Just relax and breath as you normally would.
Duration – You Deserve This Time
The most important thing to remember in scheduling meditation into your day is consistency. Aim for meditating at least some small amount of time each day. This is preferable to doing none through the week and “binge” meditating once on the weekend. Thus, if you can only meditate 5 minutes each morning, then go with it. Beginners may prefer a shorter time frame anyway. You can gradually work up to longer sessions such as 15 – 20 minutes, if that appeals to you. Feel free to experiment with different lengths of time and choose whichever duration feels natural.
Your Meditation Sanctuary will be unique to you and may evolve as your practice grows. Remember, there is no right way to meditate, so don’t worry about goofing it up. Now that you have built your meditation sanctuary, check out our post on “5 Easy Yet Powerful Meditation Styles”.
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