Friday, October 30, 2009

How to pick the right meditation spot?

If you share a small apartment with a partner or friend, or your family has usurped every square foot of usable space at your house, by all means choose the only vacant corner and make it your own. If you have more leeway, here are a few guidelines for picking your spot. And remember, even a modest patch of floor that meets these criteria is better than a sumptuous suite that doesn’t:
  • Off the beaten track: You know the heavily trafficked highways in your house, so be sure to avoid them. And if you don’t want someone inadvertently barging in on you just when you’re starting to settle, tell your housemates you’re going off to meditate — they’ll understand. And if they don’t . . . well, that’s another issue you may eventually have to face. _ Away from work: If you work at home or have a desk devoted to personal business, keep it out of sight — and mind — when you’re meditating. And if possible, remember to shut off your phone; there’s nothing quite as distracting to your mind as wondering who’s trying to reach you now!
  • Relatively quiet: Especially if you live in the city, you probably won’t be able to eliminate the usual background noises — the drone of traffic, the shouts and laughter of kids on the street, the hum of the refrigerator. But you should, if at all possible, avoid audible conversations, especially among people you know, and the sounds of TV, radio, popular music, and other familiar distractions. These are the kinds of recognizable noises that can pull your mind away from its appointed task, especially when you’re just starting out.
  • Not too dark or too light: Sitting in a bright, sunny spot may be too energizing and distracting, just as sitting in the dark can put you to sleep. Be sure to modulate the lighting with your attention level in mind: If you’re sleepy, open the blinds or turn on an extra light; if you’re wired, tone down the illumination accordingly.
  • Fresh air: Because we’re talking breath here, it’s great to have a supply of fresh air where you meditate. Avoid musty basements and windowless closets; besides being bad for your health, they tend to lower your energy (along with your O2 level) and lull you to sleep. Close to nature: If you don’t have a tree or a garden outside the window near where you meditate, you may want to have a plant or a vase full of flowers or a few stones nearby. Not that you’ll be gazing at them while you sit, but natural objects radiate a certain special energy of their own that lends support to your practice. Besides, you can pick up a few pointers by watching how rocks and trees meditate — they’ve been doing it a lot longer than we have.

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