▼emmacat — 4 years ago — permalinkA corner of my bedroom is designated for practicing. The main object is, rather obviously, my mat and cushions. Other objects are a framed sacred image with candles and incense that help create the environment for meditation. The main aspect of this space is that it's stable, I don't have to set it up every time I sit which helps keep a regular practice. When I skip a meditation session, I can go over to that space and take a moment to acknowledge the fact that I'm skipping that session. It's a way to connect to my practice and bring it into my life in a concrete way.
▼davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalinkI definitely agree about the value of a space that's all set to go. (Mine's also just a part of my bedroom.) Preparing your practice area, even if it only takes a few seconds can sometimes be enough to prevent you from doing it.
I think the idea of acknowledging your space when you don't sit is really interesting. Is it mostly the sacred images you acknowledge, or the space itself? Do you think that helps keep you honest, or more likely to maintain your practice? I'd be interested to hear more about that if there's anything you'd be willing to share.
▼emmacat — 4 years ago — permalinkI don't worship the sacred image (it's more of a reminder of our innate enlightened nature, not some kind of saint) so I acknowledge the space as a whole. it is a way to be honest with myself and to keep track of my patterns (when I usually sit, when I don't, why I don't and so on).
Sometimes it works as a little 'trick': once I'm facing my cushion, I might change my mind and sit, even if for 10 minutes instead of the 30 I regularly sit, which is better than nothing. Other times the acknowledgement gives me the thrust to plan my next session better and make sure I don't skip it. And then there are times when I just feel plain silly about having an intimate relationship with an inanimate object. Whatever comes up, it's a way to get in touch with my practice.
▼davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalinkThanks so much for sharing.
I'd never considered the idea that your meditation space could be engaged with in a way that it encouraged you to practice. Now that you've said it I can think of similar examples from other areas of life---I feel like I've heard people talk about leaving their running shoes by the door, for example---but I'd never thought of it with respect to helping with regular meditation.
I also really like the "Whatever comes up" phrase. Isn't that what life is, a continuous experience of "whatever comes up"?
And I don't know that it matters to you one bit, but I feel like there's a lot to justify your relationship to the space. People have always and rightfully venerated sacred spaces---those that make them feel safe, a part of something greater, more connected---and I think of the place I meditate as such a place.