Creating A Peaceful Space


“I Stop For Suffering” recently shared a marvelous post, which offered a few simple steps on how to create a peaceful life.  Having read her post, I was inspired this morning to write a complementary piece which offers a few simple steps to creating a peaceful living space.  A peaceful environment can really help to reduce stress and make your home a sanctuary of rejuvenation. Let’s start by focusing on just one room in your house–a room that you would like to transform into a haven into which you can retreat for a few minutes of quietude, journal-writing, meditation, yoga, or some other means of self-centering.

1. Designate this room as sacred space.  Decide that from this moment forth, it will be treated by you and everyone who enters it with respect, mindfulness, and care. (Note: the comment of vpitts231 below has a really great point: perhaps it is unfair to ask others to treat the space as sacred; if doing seems unethical or unrealistic, designating it as sacred to you alone is an excellent option).

2. Care for it as if it were as dear to you as your own eyes. This advice (taken from Thich Nhat Hanh) is the key to generating Mindfulness.  Treasure everything you touch, do, and practice in this room.

3. Clean it daily. Keep it free of clutter. Sweep it (even if it doesn’t appear to need a sweeping).  Dust it (even if it doesn’t appear to need a dusting).  Imagine that as you sweep and dust, you are sweeping away the clutter, debris, and webs of thought in your own mind.  As you clean the room, you clean you.

4. Place a plant in the room and care for it daily.  Be careful to acknowledge and provide its light, watering, and feeding requirements.  Talk to it gently. Play music for it. Love it and care for it as if it were as dear to you as your own eyes.  It will help to purify the air in your sacred room, so give it lots of love.  Just a little attention every day goes a long way to making a plant flourish.

5.Create a focal point for your self-centering practices.I have a little altar with a statue of Buddha in my sacred space.  I meditate daily here, and spend a little time each day tending to my altar.  As I tend to my altar, I engage in Mindfulness practice.  I place a bowl of freshly cut flower-buds in water on it every few days.  I light a Reiki-charged candle before the Buddha every morning just prior to my meditation, and I let it burn all day long.  When I see the candle later in the day, I am reminded of the moment of quiet and stillness that I offered to myself that morning, and am often rejuvenated just by the remembrance of it.  My partner just placed a list of wonderful affirmations before the base of the statue.  I read these affirmations and take their wonderful energy into my meditations.

6. Open the windows. For a little time each day, open the windows and allow a little bit of fresh air to circulate.  This will help to sweep away any stagnant energy.

7. Smudge the Room. Every once in a while–perhaps once a week–smudge your room with sage and/or sweetgrass. I take a few leaves of sage and place them in a seashell that I picked up from the beach on a very special day with my stepdad, Roger.  I light them and let the smoke waft up from the seashell as I walk through the room. I allow the smoke to clear any residual negative energy, concentrating particularly on corners, doors, and windows.  I like to smudge myself, to0, as part of my Mindfulness practice; it feels like a warm energy bath, cleansing away toxic thoughts and residue from interacting with the world outside my sanctuary.

Photo Credit and lovely article on smudging, by “Way of the Wild Rose”.

8. Place a crystal somewhere in the room and cleanse it once a month or more. Crystals come from deep within the earth, and they emit high energetic vibrations.  Having a crystal in your room will help to keep your room energetically clean.  For more on crystals, see a really nice series of posts by Cauldrons and Cupcakes.

9.  Play classical or tranquil music in your room, even when you are not in it!  Sound vibrations also help to clear out rooms of stagnant energy.  Your plant will love it, and your crystal(s) will amplify the positive vibrations of the music.  You’ll be amazed at how wonderful your room feels when you enter it, even if your music has finished playing.  Two of my favorites:

10. Just Be. Enjoy your sanctuary.  You will feel good in it. And, when you feel good, when you feel centered, when you feel relaxed, when you feel Mindful, you will be much better equipped to deal with the world outside it.

Peace, Everyone!!

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17 Comments

Filed under Meditation, Mindfulness, Sacred spaces

17 responses to “Creating A Peaceful Space

  1. The Buddhist version of a room of one’s own. As much as I would like to hang out in your meditation room, I have some serious problems with this idea as a general principle. Who can have a room like that in one’s house? (only people of certain means relative to their responsibilities). Who can make such demands on others one lives with? (only those unencumbered in this way – it is a monastic model). Who has the right to take up such space in that way (and who doesn’t?) How could a mother or father with babies ask this for their own home? People with not enough space simply to live, or sleep – which is most of those living on the planet? Those caring for vulnerable others for whom such rules would be difficult? Perhaps the obvious answer is: everyone should have more space, more means, more autonomy. But maybe instead there is something wrong with the idea that inner stillness depends upon regulating physical space.

    Let me offer 3 alternatives: 1. take numbers 1-10 and apply to your own body, when (and only when) it is ethical to do so and 2. create communal spaces for prayer and meditation that can draw from all the resources of the community. 3. focus on creating peace in spaces that need it most – which are likely to be populated by others.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions and critiques. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that the body takes in energy from three sources-(1.) the Jing, or energy which we are born with, (2.) energy from the food we eat, and (3.) energy from the environment. The healthier the food we eat, the fewer toxins our body has to process. Same thing with environmental energy–the more stressful the environment, the more stress the body has to process. Creating a place to de-stress in one’s environment can have a positive impact on the body’s energy. The real ideal is, of course, to generate peace from within so that no matter what we face in our environment, it does not deplete. Communal space can be sacred space–that’s a really great point!! And, creating peace in spaces that need it most is a wonderful goal, too. But, even if others share one’s sacred space–however small- and do not view it or treat it as you do (is there really harm in asking them to?), one can still tend to it and make it sacred for one’s self. I really believe that everyone in the household will benefit from one’s own self-care 🙂 Of course, I totally appreciate that it may be easier for some people than for others.

  2. erranttranscendentalist

    AND, I love your alternatives!!

  3. erranttranscendentalist

    Your comments gave me a lot to think about, too!! I really appreciate them!! I look forward to carrying on this conversation (or any conversation!) in person, sista!! xoxo

  4. Reblogged this on istopforsuffering and commented:
    Don’t miss this wonderful blog post, which is a complimentary piece to my post “How to create a peaceful life”.

  5. Reblogged which massive thanks! 🙂 🙂 ♥

  6. I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger award! Please go to http://the-morning.org/2012/03/31/the-sunshine-award-my-first-nomination/ to see how to accept. 🙂

  7. First, congratulations to, Zen Being for your blogging award. I enjoy reading your thoughtful and inspiring posts. Keep up the great work! I would like to add something in response to the comments above. I think by asking others to honor “sacred space” in a communal environment, it plants a seed of mindfulness. This does not have to be done by making big changes or even by taking up big space. Perhaps asking others to remove their shoes upon entering the home to “honor” the space? Perhaps designating a single shelf on which you keep an icon or vigil candle and asking others not to rest their drink on it? Giving others the opportunity to simply honor the space you deem sacred allows for them to practice mindfulness. It is as though you are asking others who share your space not to “DO” something, rather to “DO NOT” in a way of honoring sacred space. “Please ‘do not’ track mud through the house.” “Please ‘do not’ use my icon as a drink coaster.” “Please ‘do not’ disrespect this space.” By excersizing this sense of communal mindfulness whether by “DOING” or “NOT DOING”, I believe the seeds of mindfulness will grow into an environment of peace and mutual respect.

  8. Beautifully articulated, Katie!! I really appreciate your point about “not doing”. AND, asking others in the household to respect a space that you deem as sacred is a way of spreading mindfulness and deep mutual respect among all who live in a home.

  9. Re: Katie’s comment. This is helpful. And maybe to crank it up a notch (or rather, down a notch): what about thinking of removing shoes etc as a do rather than a don’t? Let’s walk with clean feet!

    • “Let’s walk with clean feet!”…. I love it! I think that it is possible to plant just as many seeds by “doing” as you can by “not doing” and is often a matter of perspective. Sometimes when we are tired and run down, “not doing” often seems like the easier option. When we are filled with bursts of creative energy, perhaps “doing” is right for us in that moment. Personally, I find it helpful to keep in mind that I can cultivate peace and respect in realistic ways. This is 2012 and we live in a very busy time, with busy jobs, busy family and most of us are acutely aware of how thinly spread our resorces can be. And what about selfcare? Where does one find extra time for that without stressing further about having it/ not having it in the first place? Whether I am full of energy or could use a break, being mindful can be done with as little or as much effort as is appropriate for me at any given time. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  10. Helpful advice. May it take root in many places and produce many flowers and fruits.

  11. These are beautiful suggestions for creating a peaceful space. A few come naturally to me—like nurturing a few plants—but I must confess that I have a real challenge with clutter. I seem to surround myself with lots of books that I’m reluctant to shelve for fear of forgetting about them. Your framework renews my desire to clean up those piles and make it a truly nurturing, peaceful space. Thank you!
    Eleanor

    • i know what you mean about the books, being an avid reader, myself! One strategy I have found helpful is to designate a special place on my bookshelf for books I don’t want to forget to read, review, or share. Good luck!! And, thanks for reading!

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