Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes. Whether they’re located in the city, suburbs or countryside, our homes serve as both shelter and sanctuary. Home should be a safe, comfortable place to rest, nourish, celebrate and conduct our daily routines.
Our homes reflect our entire lives. The way our house looks is the way our life looks. At the same time, no one is perfect and each household typically goes through an endless cycle of being clean, neat and tidy; gradually filling up with clutter and messiness; reaching a point of major disarray; eventually getting cleaned and organized again; and so on.
While our spiritual practice may begin at the fitness center or in a yoga or meditation studio space, if we are to become authentic practitioners, we will eventually begin to practice within the comfort and security of our living space, our home. Merely burning nicely scented candles, hanging prayer flags and buying a Buddha statue isn’t going to cut it. Read on to learn how to make your whole home into an ideal relaxing and meditative space.
Feng Shui 101: Clearing Space
Visualize the front door of your home. Imagine walking up to it for the first time. Notice its color, shape and size. Does the energy of your home make you and others feel invited? According to feng shui (the ancient Chinese art of orienting buildings and designing rooms in an auspicious way), the foyer of your home signifies the way energy enters your home and life. This makes the entrance a perfect place to start in the process of improving the feng shui in your home.
Begin by decluttering and taking out any trash. If it feels overwhelming, begin with a small, manageable space such as a drawer, section of the refrigerator or closet and let go of the things that are no longer necessary. When you let something go, you create open space to invite new possibilities.
Then, sweep out the area. Wipe down the door, clean the windows and shake the dust out of the door mat. To make the space more inviting, consider adding a potted houseplant and hanging a favorite piece of art on the wall. In feng shui, plants embody life energy. Living green house plants connect us to nature and bring vibrancy into our homes. Green plants provide freshness and vitality; fake plastic or silk plants do not.
Try this simple space clearing technique. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize bright white light filling and cleansing each room of your home. Then imagine the whole house is bathed in white light, inside and out.
When you clear your home, remember to infuse your actions with positive intentions. Concentrate on what you wish to cultivate and manifest in your life. Offer gratitude to your home. Speak to your home as if it were a beloved friend or pet and say thank you.
Expanding the Meditative Vibe throughout the House
Repeat the clearing process for the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, patio and other parts of the house. In this way, you can create a beautiful place for the energy that enters and flows through your sacred living space.
In the kitchen, go through the drawers, cabinets and pantry. Get rid of excess dishware and cutlery. How much do you really need? If you keep a lot around for entertaining, consider storing it in a separate place and bringing it out when preparing to throw a party. Clear out old food from the fridge. Consider donating canned and boxed foods from your pantry to the local food bank.
If you have a special meditation room or corner of the house, having everything nicely set up will entice you to sit more frequently. Beautify the space with meaningful items that help you to connect to your inner self and lift your spirits. Any surface, whether an actual “altar” or a bedside or coffee table, can serve as a place to set objects like fresh flowers, candles, wisdom quotes and spiritual images that keep you centered during a meditation session. Visit your altar each time you meditate formally to develop a strong practice habit.
Keep a comfortable bolster or pillow in front of your altar, along with a shawl if you tend to get cold. Mindfully placing crystals and other stones on your altar can help diffuse the peaceful, mindful energy generated by meditation practice throughout your entire home.
Make your bedroom a warm, welcoming personal sanctuary. Choose linens that are 100% cotton, rather than polyester or other synthetic fabrics. Surround yourself with your favorite colors and belongings. If possible, turn your room into a device-free zone and consider placing crystals and stones like amazonite, flint, green aventurine, smoky quartz and pyrite around the bedroom (and elsewhere in the house), as these help protect your space from damaging electromagnetic waves generated by appliances, computers and phones.
Engage the Senses of Smell and Hearing
According to aromatherapy experts, the most effective scents for mental concentration and relaxation include:
- Lavender (thanks to its calming properties),
- Sage (for its potent cleansing abilities) and
- Mint (as it assists with mental focus).
Of course, you can use any scent that resonates with you.
Perhaps smudge the space with fragrant incense, such as white sage. Although palo santo is also popular for smudging, due to the fact that cultivation of palo santo trees is promoting deforestation in the Amazon jungle of South America, it is better to avoid purchasing palo santo.
Music affects us both both emotionally and physically. Its therapeutic properties are strongly linked to happiness and relaxation. Each song can help us feel more energetic or more tranquil, depending on its frequency.
If possible, get yourself a Tibetan singing bowl, a small gong, wind chimes or bells to keep in your home. The resonant vibrations from these sacred instruments will instantly raise the vibes in your living space each time they are played.
Whether you have actual instruments or not, you have a voice! The process of incorporating humming, chanting and song into meditation helps realign our body’s chakra energy centers. To try this out, sit comfortably in an upright position and close your eyes. Start to chant “OM” in a deep, monotone voice. Feel the energy reverberate throughout your body.
While practicing with a teacher and a community can be helpful at times, it’s certainly not necessary to visit a special retreat center, studio or temple to meditate. With motivation and some basic knowledge, you can practice meditation every day, throughout the day, right at home.
Meditation is ideally done either outside in the fresh air, or in a room with cool and neutral tones like light blue, green, gray, beige and purple (as opposed to bright or overbearing colors). If possible, let natural light flow in through the windows. In rooms without much natural light, the next best option is to use candles and/or lamps with indirect, soft lighting.
Home is where the heart is and it is also the primary personal sanctuary for a mindful, meditative lifestyle. May these guidelines be of benefit to your home, practice and life!