Improving your meditation by cleansing your environment, purging technology, and de-cluttering your space and mind

One of the greatest things about meditation, aside from the well-studied health benefits, is that you can practice anywhere or at any time.

But even though that is true, there are some conditions that are more suitable for meditation — especially for anyone new to the practice.

So, if you’re struggling to master relaxation or want to improve your focus while meditating, you may benefit from cleansing your environment.

Special feature from Trevor McDonald

[Biography below]

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Meditation outdoors is a helpful way to purge all negativity during a meditation session.

Start from within

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As you may have guessed, much of meditation begins within the mind, body and spirit. If your body isn’t handling stress well or if your mind is clouded from an overabundance of toxins, you’re going to have trouble meditating.

Cleansing your body is the best thing you can do to improve your meditation environment. After all, the body is a mere vehicle for our mind-stream’s progression.

Consider doing a juice cleanse, committing to raw foods or just cleaning up your diet to remove processed foods. Any positive changes you can make will improve your future meditations. [Always consult with your medical professional for any diet or health changes.]

Purge technology — for at least an hour before meditation

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Today, even monks can be distracted by technology. Purging technology for an hour before meditation is helpful for stilling the busy mind.

Next, consider purging technology from your life — for at least an hour before you meditate. We can’t always give up our ties to the modern world, but we can all benefit from limiting exposure before meditation. By removing the distraction of tech like your phone and laptop, you’ll be more relaxed and better situated for a prolific mediation session.

Another thing you can do to cleanse your mind is to keep a journal next to the spot where you meditate. Some of us have trouble letting go of thoughts before we meditate, and journaling them can help. When you write those thoughts down, you can release them from your mind. And it’s easier to do when you know you can pick them back up immediately after meditation (if you so desire).

Consider meditating outside

If you can sit in a quiet spot near the water or in the woods, that’s ideal. Energy gets trapped indoors, and oftentimes, it’s negative energy. But when you sit outdoors, all energy flows freely.

 

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A Buddhist monk performing formal walking meditation on a forest path. Walking meditation outdoors has always been an important practice for monks and nuns and Buddhist practitioners.

 

If you’re skeptical, try alternating. Meditate indoors one day and outdoors the next. You’ll likely notice a feeling of peace that washes over you as you sit outdoors.

While you’re outside meditating, you can also experience some level of grounding, which can boost your meditation efforts. When we meditate, we reconnect with our higher self.  And when you ground yourself outside, you’re creating a direct connection with that same source energy.

 

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Guru Rinpoche stresses the importance of alone time. Even if you can’t get away to a handy “meditation cave” a close door and a turned-off cell phone makes sense.

Consider it as a fast track to a clean, meditation-positive environment.

In fact, it’s a good idea to ground yourself daily, whether you meditate or not. And if you can meditate outside every day, that’s even better.

Use essential oils

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Essential oils and aromatherapy can be helpful for inducing the right environment for indoor meditation. Essential oil diffusers generally have no smoke.

Essential oils have so many benefits to the body and mind, but they can also benefit your environment. When you diffuse certain oils into the air, they actually help purify it by removing toxins.

Try diffusing any of the following essential oils in the room while you meditate (starting about 15 minutes before).

  • Lemon — This essential oil is extremely purifying, which is why it’s often used in cleaning products. But it’s also energizing, so you may want to diffuse this one before you meditate as opposed to during meditation.
  • Eucalyptus — Eucalyptus is another purifying essential oil you can diffuse in your meditation room. This one also acts as a nasal decongestant, so it’s helpful for those winter meditations when a stuffy nose is interfering with your breath work.
  • Tea tree oil — If you’re worried about mold in your environment, tea tree oil is the best oil for purification.

If you’re more of a traditionalist, incense has been aiding meditation for generations. Aromatic scents of sandalwood or calming whiffs of frankincense produce a much more spiritual environment for meditating.

Not only do they help with improving meditation, incense has been connected with brain health benefits in studies.

[For example, see this in-depth feature on incense and brain health studies>>]

Add plants

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Beautiful purple crysanthemum are not only the best plant for environment — according to NASA, mums top out the list of air purifying plants — andthey look beautiful on Buddhist altars. Uncut potted plants are desirable for the environmental benefits.

If you can’t get outdoors to meditate, bring the outdoors inside with you. Plants are amazing purifiers and can help cleanse your environment to help you get the most out of your meditation.

Any plant will do, but some are more purifying than others. If you’re in the market for new plants, consider any or all of the following:

  • Aloe vera — We all know that aloe vera is a powerful healing plant, especially for cuts and burns, but did you know that it’s also great for removing formaldehyde from the air? Formaldehyde is an environmental toxin that’s difficult to remove from the air. Even commercial air purifiers have trouble removing formaldehyde. So, if it’s a concern, you may be better off with a few aloe vera plants.
  • Ferns — Ferns are easy-care plants that are powerful purifiers. They are best for removing xylene from the air. Xylene is a liquid, but it can leak into the environment as it evaporates into the air. It’s extremely toxic in large quantities, but most areas have minute amounts of xylene if any. Still, it’s not something you want to inhale.
  • Spider plant — If you’re looking to purify your air without the fuss of caring for a plant, the spider plant may strike the perfect balance. These purifying plants are extremely low-maintenance and powerful air cleansers.
  • ChrysanthemumsAccording to NASA, mums top out the list of air purifying plants, so if you want to get the best bang for your buck, fill your meditation room with chrysanthemums. NOTE: Keep these away from cats and dogs — potentially toxic if ingested. For all plants, always check online for known toxicity, since pets tend to eat plants.

Practice Feng Shui

If you must meditate indoors, there are some things you can do to improve energy flow. First and foremost, position furniture in a way so that there aren’t any corners facing towards your meditation spot.

Also, you’re going to want to keep your entire room clutter free. When you have a cluttered space, you’re likely to have a cluttered mind. And a cluttered mind makes a terrible canvas for meditation.

 

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The ultimate “de-cluttered” meditation space is the simple “face the wall” meditation session in a pristinely clean Zen temple. Zazen, silent sitting meditation — clasically, facing a blank wall — is, to some people synonymous with Zen.

 

If at all possible, the room should not be positioned above or below a kitchen or bathroom. This will help energy flow freely into and out of the meditation room.

Although you can practice meditation anywhere or at any time, it’s a good idea to practice with a clean mind, body and space. Outdoor meditations are best, but there are many steps you can take to cleanse the air indoors and keep the energy moving freely. Free-flowing energy helps ensure you won’t be sitting in a pocket of negative energy while you meditate.

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Trevor McDonald | Guest Contributor

Author | Buddha Weekly

Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer, avid yogi and writes extensively about recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. He has been in recovery and sober for over five years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness and general health knowledge.

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