Setting Up a Quiet Zone
Setting Up the Room
What to add to your meditation room depends on your personal tastes and meditation goals. Every person will want and need different tools to concentrate and relax. "Put symbols of things important to you around, so each time you look at the imagery and you go into your silence you tap into that imagery," suggests Hutchens, who adds, "you want things that delight you but do not distract you." For Hutchens, senses are very important, so she includes candles and incense in her meditation room. Candles can add an element of ritual, of a sense of setting aside a special time.
Some people like to bring in elements of nature, which can be as simple as a pebble or a feather, or as elaborate as a tabletop water fountain. Others like to listen to tapes or CDs with music, natural sounds (ocean, rain, the woods), hymns, or chants, so a stereo system is a welcome addition for any meditation space. A journal, book of daily devotions, and holy writings also can have a home here.
The key to a great meditation space is creating a spot that allows you to relax and focus. Most meditation experts say that sitting is the most desired position. "You want a comfortable chair," says Salzberg. "Your back should be erect without being strained, so your breath will be normal." Depending on what feels best for you, a good chair, floor, exercise mat, or bench can all work. Cushions and pillows are also very helpful, and the goal is to feel free and open. "Being comfortable is very important," adds Hutchens. "It's not about sitting in a pretzel position or anything like that. You want to be upright and comfortable."