Creating a Sacred Space
Creating a sacred space is a powerful part of the mindfulness experience, meditation or any other spiritual practice or ceremony.
We use the term “sacred” not from a religious point of view but from a perspective of intention and respect. A sacred space will invite your mind, body and spirit to relax and be present. By doing that, when we step into that space we release the stresses and tensions of the world outside and we embrace clarity, unity, alignment and awareness.
Your sacred space should be respected by everybody in the family or living with you in your home. This can be quite challenging with children around but we can also make it fun by making them part of the process and allow them to use the space when they need some “me time” alone. By doing that it becomes everybody’s responsibility.
1) Find a Quiet Place
A sacred space needs to be quiet. It also needs to be distraction-free and to resonate with you.
Your practice can be done anywhere: in the house, in a garden nearby, in the car contemplating a beautiful view, etc… you can even find peace in a very busy place surrounded by people and noise – with practise the quiet may be found inside yourself.
That’s important to know when we are travelling or far from our usual environment. Ultimately your sacred space is within you but for the purpose of this guide we will focus on your home while giving you some suggestions and ideas for when you are away.
A small dedicated area in the living room, bedroom, hall, or even the garden (if weather allows!) or a shed is a good choice. Unless, of course, you have a spare room that could be dedicated to this purpose!.
When we talk about a “small area” it might be a just a couple of cushions with a candle or small altar (if that’s your preference) set up with a small coffee table or low window sill.
When space is very limited, having a small rug and cushion that we can put away when we finish practice is an easy and effective solution.
All we need to ensure is that when practising, we will not be interrupted or disrupting the flow of usual activities in the house. This might also require you to establish specific times for use of the area. No matter what though, the sacred space should only be dedicated for practice when we are at home.
Here are some ideas for when we are away:
- Conference room in the office
- A park or cul de sac with a view
- A closet or walk in wardrobe
- Bathroom in a hotel if you are sharing room
- Your car
- Public transport while commuting
- A place in nature or outdoors
Whichever spot feels like the best spot for you, trust your gut, start there, and see what happens!
2) Clearing the Space
Clearing the space is very important. In a way it is like creating a blank canvas that we can use to create the new identity and purpose of the area mentally and energetically.
There are many ways to clear a space but I would like to share the one I personally like the most.
For that we will need: salt, white sage or Palo Santo (Holy Wood).
I always like to start with salt. Normal cooking salt will do for this exercise. For this purpose we will clear the whole room even if we plan to only use a small corner, but this can also be done for the whole house.
- First of all we'll set the intention: to remove any negative energy from the space. It is very important that we do this from an unconditional love point of view not as a struggle, fight or aggressive mode.
- We will hold that intention while we spread salt along the corners of the room while we open windows and doors. Corners and behind doors, or furniture are important spots to clear. If an area is not accessible (e.g. behind furniture that we can’t move easily) just set the intention to remove any negativity from behind and underneath while spreading salt as close as possible.
- Ideally it would be good to leave the salt overnight.
- Next day we will hoover and remove any salt. Make sure you dispose of it in a bag and get rid of it in your bin outside the house straight away.
This process can also be done by smudging the room with sage or Palo Santo. Personally I prefer to do both!. First salt on day one and smudging on the second day repeating the same process. We can also draw symbols to raise the energy and protect the space if you wish to do so.
TIP: when lighting the Palo Santo or Sage make sure you stop the flame quickly. You only need the ember to create the smoke. If there is any flame it will burn the leaves and wood really quickly defeating the purpose. Same applies to incense!.
Note: clearing a space energetically can be done as often as necessary. Regular maintenance by smudging on a weekly basis is recommended.
3) Make It Yours
We want our sacred space to feel warm, safe and welcoming so that inspires us to relax and be present.
Candles, an inspiring picture, crystals, totems, flowers, rug, a salt lamp or just the simplicity of a view are small touches that not only create the identity of the space but also helps us associate the area with practice.
When you are away, bring something with you that reminds you of your sacred space. This will help you to settle into the experience easier and quicker:
- Meditation cushion
- Prayer Shawl
- Mala beads
- Special blanket
- Small singing bowl
- Guided meditation
4) Define Boundaries
Defining boundaries is essential in creating a sacred space. Boundaries are physical and energetic. Boundaries help our mind to be at ease as we don't need to be alert or worrying about what’s outside our space.
By drawing boundaries, you restrict where your concentration lives, reducing distractions and interruptions. These boundaries can be set up with physical objects or just your mind. If you have a blanket or prayer shawl, they can provide a physical boundary that others can see and respect.
Creating a circle of crystals or salt around us is also a common practice especially if we are using a space we are not familiar with.
5) Create an Intention
Once your space has been cleared and set up we will then set the intention.
Claiming the space:
We claim the space through intention as sacred ground for our personal use (and/or others, but remember to define for whom!) and practice. It is important that within this intention we demand for the space to be “safe” and protected from any negative energy.
We will ask the space to bring peace, acceptance, happiness and harmony, allowing your mind, body and spirit to rest and connect in peace.
Thank the space and be grateful for the opportunity you are creating for yourself (and others…) to nurture, explore, learn and grow in a safe and positive environment.
Through this process I would suggest burning incense and/or sage. You can also use a singing bowl to raise the vibration of the space.
You can use this intention or create one of your own:
“I’m thankful for this sacred space and opportunity. May it facilitate and support me to continuously look deeper into my mind, my heart, my body and soul. May I see things and meet things AS THEY ARE and may this clear and sustained knowing free me FOR THE SAKE OF ALL BEINGS with no strings attached.”
6) Light & Music
Light and music help us set the ambience and have the ability to help us connect to our senses in a powerful way. A salt lamp and candles will simply create an atmosphere conducive to relaxing and unwinding.
On the other hand soothing music or sounds of nature are simply a great way to bring us into a calmer state and help us focus during practice.
Personally, I prefer to use the sound of the sea, rain, wind, running water, birds singing, etc…. without any music added to it. The main reason for this is that we will encounter these sounds on a regular basis and that will help us to connect and trigger the calmness, attention, etc… that we embrace and create during practice. The sounds then can become a trigger to an emotional and mental state.
When practising mindfulness, meditating or just taking some “me time” to reflect there is vital component that sometimes we underestimate or we don’t pay attention to - our anchor to the present moment.
In formal practice our breathing is the core anchor to the present moment and the base of meditation. However, in our journey and personal development we can use formal and informal practices and within that there are unlimited number of anchors we can use.
We have already talked and mentioned some in this article but here are some more examples: mala beads, a singing bowl, music, a cup of tea, a prayer shawl, a flower, candle, journal, crystals, etc…
TIP: Starting and Closing Practice
I personally like to clear my energy field with sage before and after practice and to finish with a a small grounding exercise. But it is also very important that we acknowledge and thank the experience and time that we have dedicated even if we only spent 3 or 4 minutes on it.
Here is a suggestion:
“I’m thankful for this practice today. May I continue to look deeply into my mind, my heart, body and soul. May I see things and meet things AS THEY ARE and may this clear and sustained knowing free me FOR THE SAKE OF ALL BEINGS with no strings attached”
I hope you enjoyed this quick guide, suggestions & tips!. If you have any questions or suggestions, comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
PS: Thank Carl for the proof reading! Forever grateful :)