Since meditation is usually done in dim lighting, you may wish to have a candle and matches on your altar, as well as incense, a smudge stick, or scented oils or dried herbs with a calming scent, such as lavender. Any crystals or stones that you use during meditation can also be kept on your altar. You might also wish to keep a meditation CD on it. Any item that helps you to relax and clear your mind can be placed on your altar.
Usually there is an item on the altar that is used as a focal point upon which to rest your eyes when entering a meditative state. For example, a stone or crystal, a stone totem, a crystal ball, a flower or plant, a seashell, a feather, a pinecone, etc. You could also use items that are already on the altar, such as candle flame or incense smoke, for a focal point.
You may wish to place something that is special or meaningful to you upon your altar. This is perfectly fine; however, it is recommended that it not be an item carrying a lot of emotional significance. Emotions, even good ones, which come with such items, would likely hinder you in achieving a meditative state.
Prayer Beads are an effective tool to use for focus, counting, following the breath in meditation. These can be placed on your altar, in a silk or velvet bag to keep them protected. Read How to Use Prayer Beads for more information.
You may use a pre-existing altar as a meditation altar, in which case you would add items needed for meditation, and/or remove items that are not needed.
When not in use, a meditation altar is not typically left out in the open (unless you have a room that is used only for meditating). So for storage, you can:
- Keep the altar set up where it is and cover it with a cloth (of natural fibers, of course).
- Keep the altar set up and covered but stored in a different place, such as a closet.
- Dismantle the altar and store all of the items together in a safe place.
Setting up a meditation altar is very easy. Just remember to keep it simple.
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