The following is an excerpt from Abbot George’s book Soham Yoga: The Yoga of the Self from the chapter “Points For Successful Meditation and Its Purpose and Philosophy”
It will be most helpful to your practice if you have a special place exclusively for meditation. Your mind will begin to associate that place with meditation and will more easily enter a quiet and peaceful state when you sit there. If you can set aside an entire room for practicing meditation, or even a large well-ventilated closet, that is good, but just an area in a room is adequate. The important thing is that the area be devoted exclusively to your meditation.
The room should be moderate in temperature and free from drafts, both cold and hot. It is also important that it be well ventilated so you do not get sleepy from lack of oxygen in the air.
Your meditation place should be as quiet as possible. Do not play music or other kinds of sounds during your meditation, as that definitely interferes with your entering the Silence and perceiving the subtle forms of Soham. As a rule earplugs are not recommended for the practice of meditation since you can become distracted by the sensation of pressure in the ears, or the chirping, cricket-like noises that go on all the time in the ears, or the sound of your heartbeat. But if you need them, use them. Your place of meditation should ideally be a place where you can most easily forget outer distractions, but if it is not, you can still manage to practice meditation successfully.
Lights and Aroma
It should be softly or dimly lighted. (Full darkness might tend to make you go to sleep.) It is also good to turn off any electric lights, as their pulsation, even though not perceived by the eyes, affects the brain waves and subtly influences the mind, holding it to the level that corresponds to the rate of pulsation. If you like having a candle or wick lamp burning when you meditate, they should be a kind that does not flicker.
Some yogis like to burn incense when they meditate. This is a good practice if the smoke does not irritate their lungs or noses. Unfortunately, much incense, including that from India, contains artificial, toxic ingredients that are unhealthy. Two brands made in India of only natural and organic ingredients are Nandita and Surya. Fred Soll’s Resin On A Stick incense is made in New Mexico of all pure natural ingredients. All three brands can be ordered from Amazon.com.
It is good to keep some sacred symbols or imagery in your meditation place–whatever reminds you that God is present. (We offer a new line of Fine Sacred Art Reproductions for your home, office, for gifts, and for your personal place of worship. Visit Sacred Visions [SacredVisionsArt.com] for more information.)
To find out more your place of meditation, listen to Abbot George’s “Yoga Life podcast”: Tips for Successful Meditation
In this the seventh podcast on the Yoga Life, Abbot George gives tips for success in meditation.
You will hear about:
- how to deal with inner negativity
- “getting rid of the ego”?
- the importance of keeping your spiritual life inside
- advice about your place of meditation
- the use of holy imagery in your home and meditation place.
Listen to more podcasts on leading a spiritual life on our Podcasts Page.