I always wanted to have space where I could retreat myself, surrounded by clear reminders of purposeful living, and that would allow me to connect with a higher self, to help me to gain insight, and develop a more profound understanding of life.
Back in 2012, when I was living in Brazil, on the back of my house I designed a little room where I could go and meditate. It was a small 20 x 10 room, with a hay mat on the floor, an altar facing north, and a string of colored LED lights that I could control surrounding the perimeter of the room. There was a shelf that held a couple of notebooks and a place for an incense burner. An array of pillows thrown in a corner — and that completed the space.
It was a simple setup that fulfilled the needs and wants I desired for a spiritual space of my own. I could work with color therapy, energy healing, meditation, mediumship, and more – with the least amount of interference of the outside world.
That didn’t last long, just a year after the time I first used my meditation room in Brazil, I was moving to the US.
My wife and I were renting a quaint cottage with 2 bedrooms, that worked well enough for a while, and allowed me to create a different meditation room. I was sharing space with someone else, so the meditation room was also a crafts room. Shelves full of yarn, books, and craft supplies were now part of a different spiritual space.
A very cozy setup to read a book with dim light. However, it could be a little claustrophobic for laying on the floor meditating. It wasn’t a surprise when I realized that I was using the porch and the living room for my meditation practices more than that space.
A couple of years later we moved into a different residence, in this house, we have a lovely Florida room – or what some people call a sunroom. A hammock and a beautiful colorful rug, a chaise against a wall and a little altar on another. Picture perfect and deeply inducing to my studies and meditations… Until our son was born, about a year after. Now the crystals and stones are unique tools of a child, toy instruments among my drums and rain sticks, coloring books on the shelves with guides on herbs and healing.
I don’t mind the changes. Meditation is messy. Meditation, in theory, is a very consistent practice of discipline and awareness. So what if in my life – part of that practice is that constant change and rearranging?
We tend to create stigmas around what meditation is. The picture of a monk on the top of the mountain, or the yogi in a cave. A peaceful room where you sit cross-legged in a pillow and let your thoughts stop. Meditation is more than that, is more than an awe-inspiring but cheesy stock photo.
The rooms that I set up, the inviting and mystical environments were always more of theater for my mind than anything else. They served its purpose of allowing me to relax, to reflect, to re-energize. And as time passed and I adapt, I learned that the consistent space that needs to be clear, neat, and sacred is my own mind.
When realizing that the best space to retreat myself is my mind, anywhere and everywhere became a place of clear reminders of purposeful living. I can connect with a higher self at any time and any place. All things now can help me to get insight and a more profound understanding of life.
The changes, the mess, the things out of my control I learned that could be more liberating than restraining.
Don’t get me wrong messiness is stressful. I still struggle with the idea of how we share space as a family and how to deal with consistency among change. However, embracing this mess around me as a reminder of what to work and as moments to be more aware helped me with spiritual growth and a better understanding of meditation practice.
My surroundings now represent a life that is not isolated or secluded, and that fulfills me with gratitude for the beings around me and all that they teach me.
Sometimes I try to redecorate the space. I relocated my altar, changed some books or crystals to different places. Those are more interior design decisions at this point more than spiritual-related ones.
I learned to let go, and my practice became better. Now I’m not doing something based on trying to set or achieve a goal with meditation. I focus on being and living what is present to me at that moment.
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