So at the risk of sounding a bit whacko, I have decided to tell you about my new meditation space, which I call "my altar". For those who are into spiritual practices, you may have heard of creating a special space in your home for meditation, or other similar activities
However for those who perhaps aren't that way inclined, it may sound like quite a strange concept.
Basically it was born out of the fact that I was really struggling to meditate. I would try every morning when I woke, but just got completely distracted, and to be honest stopped doing it for a while.
Then I saw a great clip on creating an altar by one of my favourite teachers Gabrielle Bernstein, who practices Kundalini Yoga and Meditation techniques. I realized that where I was meditating was the same place I normally ate, watched films, chatted on the phone and sometimes worked. So no wonder this environment was distracting.
Now I have heard of people actually creating meditation rooms. And if you have the space that is a great luxury, but I think finding a small area in your home is perfectly suitable. I have chosen a window sill and have brought over a straight-backed dining chair to sit before it. It gets beautiful light in the morning and evenings, which is an added bonus.
On it I have placed some angel pictures, crystals, I have a few little positive sayings, native Iroquois carved dolls, a budda statue, a Japanese bell and a beautiful crystal glass with a candle. However you can really put anything you like there that has meaning for you. You might want to have a little blackboard with affirmations, some incense, a poem that has some symbolic meaning, feathers, chiming bowls and the list goes on.
No matter what you put on it, the idea is to create a sacred space where you can go for spiritual practice. And spiritual practice can mean completely different things for different people.
For me it means when I get up each morning, before I check my email, exercise, eat breakfast, I go and sit at my little altar. I do a minute or so of Kundalini breathing to oxygenate the blood stream and increase the body’s energy flow. Then I place my hands open faced on my lap to receive the positive energy that I am invoking through mediation. For me who struggles to keep my mind silent, I often find it helpful to do some peaceful affirmations such as "All is well" over and over to keep things calm and still.
I might finish off with a little chat to the man upstairs about what I would like to happen, and do some positive visualizations. I also like to ask the universe as to "what exciting things could happen today?”
All in all it takes around 15 mins.
It has actually made a remarkable change for me. I get up in the morning and can't wait to sit there, because I really want to be in the space. I might even sit there again in the evening without the time pressure of the morning rush.
I have noticed a difference in being able to stay more present with my daily life, and in general have felt more buoyantly happy than I have in a long time.
Just the effect of taking this time to connect and think positively for 15 minutes before I get on with the day, sets up a beneficial platform on which to live.
If you want to try it and 15 minutes seems like an eternity. I encourage you to start with even 3 - 5 minutes and working up, as breathing and being present is a daily gift to yourself.
Check out Gabrielle Bernstein's tips on creating an altar.