Meditate - but where?

dreamstime_2770153-01.jpgThe mention of meditation often conjures images of a tranquil setting somewhere out in nature where a blissful looking person sits in the lotus position, undisturbed and fully absorbed.

Yet the fact that many of us are busy working people with only occasional access to the ideal location doesn’t mean that the benefits of meditation are beyond our reach.

Meditation is a state of mind, and that state of mind can happen anywhere. At home, at the office, on a train, in a plane - anywhere. If we wait for ideal circumstances or to find the perfect location most of us we would miss out on the benefits of a few minutes spent in daily meditation. Over the last 20 years most of my meditation sessions have taken place in my home, there have been times where I’ve found myself in beautiful natural settings, but they have been exceptions not the norm.

Setting the Scene

Making a spot for meditating at home can be as simple as choosing a cushion or rug to sit on, and lighting some incense or scented candles. In the summer I like to meditate outside in the early morning hours as the sun comes up, in the winter, when the early morning hours are dark, I sometimes light candles rather than turn the lights on, I prefer their warm glow to starting the day in harsh artificial light. I like to burn some incense too and sometimes set the mood by listening to some ragas while practising some pranayama to settle myself into an attentive and focused state.

One useful tool in setting the scene and withdrawing from distractions is to use an iPod or MP3 player to listen to guided meditation sessions, you could record your own, or you could browse the internet and select one that appeals to you. You can also find recordings of natural sounds, a dawn chorus, ocean surf, or a gentle stream, to take a few minutes break from sounds of traffic etc. Or you might prefer some gentle meditation music, perhaps the soothing sounds of the shacuhachi flute, or tibetan prayer bowls, or some gentle baroque classical music?

Making Time for Tranquility

While you can’t always pick the place, you can have more choice over when to meditate. Ayurveda recommends the peaceful hours just before dawn, or later in the evening before settling down to rest.

The time just before the birds start singing is an especially beneficial time to meditate, it’s very peaceful and has the energy of sattva, or goodness, it’s the idea time for contemplation and stillness before everyone gets up and starts rushing about for the day.

With a little practice you can find your stress levels dropping and your mood rising as you begin to enjoy regular sessions of peace and relaxation, and before you know it, you’ll be able to meditate anywhere.