Outer Aids to Meditation


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Meditation is an inner activity. When we meditate we make an inner connection with our inner pilot, our inner self. To attain the highest meditative consciousness we do not need any outer aids. However, if we are a beginner then there are several things that can help us in our meditation. Although they may only add a little benefit to our meditation, it is definitely worth taking the help of these outer aids.

1. Flowers

Having flowers on our shrine help our meditation. The fragrance and beauty of a flower help to create an inspiring atmosphere. When we look at a beautiful flower, we momentarily gain happiness and this helps us to enter into a good meditation.

2. Candle.

A candle is a symbol of our inner flame of aspiration. When we see a candle flame, we are reminded of this inner aspiration. A candle flame embodies great simplicity; it is simply a flame of one pointed aspiration up to the highest. The second aspect of a candle is light; the outer light is again symbolic of the inner light we seek to discover in our meditation. Thus, a candle is a very useful addition to our meditation shrine.

“You can concentrate anywhere: on the heart, on a candle or on any object. But if you are concentrating on a candle flame, please feel that nothing exists between you and the flame. Feel that nothing exists in your aspiring world but the flame; and while concentrating, feel that the inner flame is climbing high, higher, highest. The candle flame means aspiration. When you look at the flame, try to feel that you are aspiring, that there is no thought, nothing, in you or around you.”

Sri Chinmoy [1]

3. Incense.

Good quality incense helps to purify the air and create a spiritual vibration. Burning incense helps to create a meditative vibration, and over time we will associate the smell of incense with meditation. Thus, when we burn incense we will feel ready for meditation.

4. Meditation Cushion.

If we can learn to sit on the floor in the correct way, we will find our meditation improves. If we can sit on the floor with our back straight, meditation can become more fruitful than sitting in a chair. Sitting on the floor, we are less likely to fall asleep and will have a posture more conducive to meditation. However, when we sit on the floor we need to make sure that we are balanced. If we just sit cross legged, we will have a tendency to lean forward. To compensate for this we will strain our muscles, making it difficult to forget the body. However, if we use a meditation cushion or meditation stool we raise ourselves off the floor and enable our knees to be parallel to our thighs. In this position we will be comfortable and can sit in perfect balance for a long time.

5. Clean light Clothes.

A significant aspect of meditation is purity. When we meditate powerfully we will feel tremendous purity in our inner system. This purity will give tremendous joy. To gain inner purity we should give importance to outer cleanliness. If we have a shower and wear clean and light clothes it will expedite our meditation.

It possible to meditate well without using any of these objects, but, if you do use some of these outer aids you will help create an inspiring place and vibration to meditate. Also by preparing a meditation shrine we give our meditation greater importance and focus.

 

[1] Excerpt from The Silent Mind by Sri Chinmoy.


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