Learn about themes, ceremonies, and rituals. These familiar practices can help keep us coming back often. The more we learn, the better our practice.
Crystals, tarot cards, numerology, colours, and candles add dimension. Astrological elements, time, and directions help us define or change our course. Scents, music, colours, and our senses help guide us to enliven our sensations. Incorporating nature is so important to help keep us grounded and to appreciate what is there for us on this beautiful planet. Whether it is symbology or our senses, incorporating different aspects can help us make life changes.
Use Defining Your Space to help you discover and enjoy many different ways to transform your practice. It is the difference between a simple and a more enhanced practice. Even simplicity can be enhanced.
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Read an Excerpt
Meditation, Defining your Space
By Elizabeth Banfalvi
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Elizabeth Banfalvi
All rights reserved.
One of the focus points you can use in your meditation is incorporating a theme. It could be personal, a new direction or a global theme. There are many global organizations which set up meditation circles. It does settle the world and lessens turmoil when millions of people are concentrating on the same positive theme at the same time. Search them out and see what you can get involved in. You can also form a global theme yourself when there are natural or unnatural incidents or disasters going on.
The best way to incorporate a theme is to pinpoint and focus on an issue that is relevant to you. Think about it and write it down. Hold it, hang it at eye level or keep it close by while meditating so that your focus stays on the theme. Surround yourself with objects which represent the theme and incorporate some colors, crystals or sayings. Below are some themes which can be used over and over again and a suggested affirmation. Journal at each step as you change your life no matter how small it is. Pay attention to changes.
Some pointers to incorporate are:
1. Incorporate a theme (keep it simple and then adjust)
2. Keep it positive
3. Assume a positive outcome
4. Use helpers to keep the focus
5. Give it a timeline if possible
6. Be patient
Health: health is a big issue in our lives because there are times when our health isn't the optimum it can be. Use an affirmation which states that you are in great health already rather than focusing on the sickness. If you are focusing on someone else's health, then you must start with yourself and then when feeling the best send the healing energy to others. At the end come back to yourself and help yourself.
Affirmation: I am healthy.
Prosperity: this isn't about money or being rich because that is a perception of wealth. To be prosperous means to be able to afford where you are at the present time. Then as you progress, you will feel the prosperity at every higher level. You have to love where you are so that you can love where you will eventually be. Prosperity isn't about owning but enjoying what you do own now.
Affirmation: I am prosperous in every way.
Changes: we all need changes in our lives and they happen constantly. We must embrace changes and welcome them because they are a natural part of who we are. They happen even when we don't want them to. You can focus on change or incorporate the changes that are already happening so that you can understand it better. Changes can sometimes seem as roadblocks but see them as lessons along the way. Roadblocks can help us change direction and then open our lives up to possibilities.
Affirmation: I change easily and go in the best direction in my life.
Relationships: our relationships are always changing and that is how it should be. We are all unique and we come into each other's lives to help motivate and/or strengthen who we are. When asking about relationships, know who you are so that you bring what serves you better. We tend to draw a level of who we are to our lives, so learn from that. Look at the people who surround you and see them as a mirror.
Affirmation: I have amazing relationships and they enhance my life.
Global: global issues can be either healing a war zone, a natural disaster or some other global chaos. If there is an event in a certain country or something that affects an ethnic population, focus on the event and send a peaceful healing energy. Pick a positive energy to transmit and feel it going forward. You can light a candle to send light forward to the event. At times, it might be useful to have a group which is like-minded to help you. Get as much information as possible and set up the event as a ceremony that you can all contribute to. Ask the members to contribute other issues you can help on a go-forward basis. Always remember to acknowledge your own community or country.
Affirmation: I send positive energy to the world to help it heal.
New career path/direction: at times, there needs to be a change in your life which will fulfill a different direction for you. List the positive aspects of the new direction that you want to have. List the aspects, location, prosperity level, creativity, and all aspects that need to be considered. Keep the list updated and change anything that doesn't appeal to you as you go forward in your meditations. Keep your focus active. Also what is good is to release what you are presently active in. You have to release the old to replace it with the new.
Affirmation: I have a great career and direction in my life. I improve my life constantly.
Endings/Beginnings: in life at times, there has to be an end to have a beginning. At times, we can choose the endings but not always. A death can and does happen and eventually it will be someone we know. A job can end or a time of your life or relationships ends. There are many wonderful ceremonies you can incorporate to celebrate/honor the endings. I did say to celebrate/honor. When we accept an end, we can appreciate what we had so that we can begin again. We can never truly recapture what has ended but we can build on it as a foundation. Burning a candle and writing the ending down on a piece of a paper is very liberating. Thank the ending and what it has brought you whether it was positive or negative. Then honor it by burning it in the candle flame and watching it burn. Watch the paper become burnt ashes and then imagine the newness rise out of the ashes.
Affirmation: I easily accept endings and welcome new beginnings.
As you can see there are traditional themes you can use but there are many more. When you go for a theme, if you want, you can pull a tarot, angel or other type of cards to help you create energy around the theme. Use times of the day, moon cycles or seasons to help create the theme. Be aware of the cycles in your life because you do change naturally. Create a picture around the theme you have chosen. Then enjoy the results of your meditations.CHAPTER 2
Ceremonies are used to highlight or recognize special accomplishments and goal attainment. They are for celebrations, themes, endings, beginnings and all types of different events. Use them in your meditations when you need to mark a time of your life that is important either as a celebration or an ending. Always give importance to these times.
Ceremonies can be used:
To convey a message or lesson.
To inspire you to reach greater heights in your personal growth.
To convey that "you" and "this moment" are special.
Organize your celebration in this manner:
Introduction: Pick a theme and keep focus on your theme or purpose throughout the ceremony.
Body: Be aware of the development of your theme and how to progress with it. Use different props within the meditation to help the theme along e.g. pictures, sayings, affirmations, cards, poetry, etc.
Climax or Summary: Project forward to what you want and the timeframe, if there is an achievement with it. At the last, be grateful and include highlights of the developments. The more you honor the process, the more it will give you fulfilment.
To achieve these goals, a ceremony must be more than a ritual; it must be a communication of thoughts and feelings. The ceremony must say something that matters.
Theme: A concept or idea around which the ceremony is built. It is most effective when they can be linked to something current or to an issue that will relate to you.
Focus: A center of focus is a must in creating a meaningful ceremony. The center of activity should contain a symbolic feature or simple object to catch and hold your attention. Actions performed during the ceremony should be simple and occur around the focal point.
Setting: The nature of the occasion will help to determine the place and atmosphere that is best suited for the particular ceremony. Take advantage of the area where the ceremony is held. Be creative!
Dramatic Effects: Use of dramatic effects can be a real asset to any ceremony. Swelling the music, lowering the lights, lighting candles, starting a campfire, getting the flag to ripple in the breeze of a fan, uncovering an object on a table, building a model, and many other simple, easy gestures can catch the attention.
Ending: The ending is just as important as the beginning. Design it to compliment the whole program and help reinforce the message in your mind and heart. When the ending begins, it should be obvious that the special moment is complete. Use an effect to end the ceremony. For example, if candles are used, extinguish them at the close of the ceremony.
Ceremonies can be wonderful to implement in your life. It can also heighten the effect of your meditations and the times of your life. Use ceremonies to celebrate relevant times, solstices, or even moon phases. Celebrate your life.CHAPTER 3
A ritual is described as "a detailed method of procedure that is faithfully or regularly followed". Rituals are used in a multitude of ways. For this writing, we will talk about the use of rituals in the meditative process.
It isn't essential to make a ritual for your meditations but it helps when you are beginning to learn to meditate. Rituals make meditation a process rather than just an exercise. There are many aspects you can bring in as a ritual which will prompt you.
Rituals can help commit you to your meditations and make it more consistent. In a ritual, there is a setting up which uses time, place, surroundings and a form of Relaxation Response. In a ritual, you would have a beginning, middle and end very much like an unfolding and a refolding. Find a way of saluting the start and also the closing/finishing of your meditation.
You could have a favorite place or set-up an altar with personal meaningful articles. You can use a special rug, cushion or yoga mat. There could be a time that is favorable and can be adhered to on a regular basis, a time that is convenient for you. You can have a special covering that you use only in your meditations or a special sweater or robe. You can also incorporate a theme to your ritual. If you are having health related problems, make the ritual about bringing good health into your meditation. If you are seeking a career change, the ritual could be about bringing a new career direction and the feelings you want surrounding your new career. Use colors which enhance your theme.
Rituals are followed very closely in religion. Prayers are very powerful and religious symbols like crosses or prayer beads can be part of what you use.
The North American Native Indians use wonderful blessings to honor the earth and nature. They thank the earth and Mother Nature for supplying them with their needs. These blessings bring you more in contact with nature. Practice different methods and find what works for you. There are many sites you can access to find the different variations of prayers and blessings that can be used.
What is very useful is to also include gratitude in your meditative practice. Acknowledge what you are grateful for in your daily life no matter how small. A sense of gratitude will help you realize how blessed your life is. Journaling can also be an integral part of your meditations. Bring cherished items into your space and make it sacred to you and acknowledge them. Find items that relate to how you feel and change them whenever you feel like you need a change in them or a new energy. A picture of yourself when you were a child is very important to inspire innocence in your practice. If religion is important to you, keep religious items in your space. Find items, writings, or affirmations which add to your feelings of happiness or any emotions you are striving for in your meditation. Add items which are personal to you and incorporate nature which coincides to the season you are in. Bring nature into your space.
Eventually you will have your own rituals you will be comfortable with. They will help make you comfortable within your meditation practice. You will be able to meditate any place, time and for any reason and be very comfortable. Make your rituals comforting, safe, nurturing, protecting and personal.CHAPTER 4
When you walk into a church or a religious place, usually you see front and center an altar which contains objects referring to the place and the practice which is being held in that location. An altar is used to display a place of sacredness. Nobody is usually allowed to touch it or remove the objects displayed.
An altar although it is used in churches and for religious ceremonies can be easily adapted to our meditative practice. It can be based on our religious or spiritual beliefs or can be totally different. It can be very elaborate or simple. Look around your place and see what your tokens of life are. Mine are flowers and plants and pictures of my grandchildren laughing or smiling broadly. I also have candles and knick knacks which are memory driven. So my altar would contain samples of this. I would also have, because I enjoy them, crystals, colorful items and probably a rosary although I'm not catholic. So what would you have on your altar?
Your altar might be very simple with maybe a simple cloth, a candle, a crystal which represents how you are feeling or want to feel and that would be it. Good for you. If this is what you want, then it is perfect. Some others might want so much more and that will be perfect for them. If it makes you feel good, then it is what you should have.
Your altar might also be on a small simple table which is low and close to the level you sit – perfect. You should easily see your altar because that is what it is there for. My advice is to make it symbolize who you are, how you want to be and how you want to see yourself. It should symbolize all of these things. Also remember that things and times change and so will your altar. Sometimes it will have more relevance and sometimes it won't.
Bring nature into it with all the seasons. Make it seasonal by adding things of nature. Bamboo shoots are easy to add and symbolize many things.
Check the other sections of this book for other ideas on what to add.
When you want to make your altar, use these steps.
Pick a place and locate it near where you meditate
1. Use some personal articles
2. Add nature
3. Incorporate your senses – touch (crystals), hear (cd), smell (scents), sight (color), feel (texture)
4. Add positive energy by imagining a white light surrounding your altar or add positive sayings
5. Make rituals around your altar – start and end by saying a prayer or a positive quotation, light a candle, add a reason or theme to your meditation, and incorporate some global wishes
6. Make it meaningful to you and your present situation
7. Keep it simple
8. Keep it consistent and timelyCHAPTER 5
The four elements earth, water, fire and air are what we are discussing here. There is a fifth Chinese element, metal, which is in the Chinese tradition. These four represent the astrological signs and have symbolic traits. Earth is symbolic of being physical and of earthly pursuits. Water is symbolic of being able to flow with life and being more emotional. Fire is symbolic of being passionate and burning with emotions. Air is symbolic of freedom and being mentally active. Each has its own specific symbolic characterizations and can help you change the energy you feel. Use these elements and their traits within your meditations.
Earth is about being down to earth; on solid ground; shifting sands, etc. It teaches us that even if things shift in our lives there is still something solid beneath it. Earth is also about being solid but being soft, gentle and full of life. It is about not holding on too hard because it will trickle through your fingers like sand so loosen the hold. It is about burying the dead and planting new seeds. When you need to bring your world to a solid footing or you need to end something and then begin again, include earth, sand or a potted plant in your meditation area.
Water is about flowing with what is happening to you. It is one of the most valuable elements we have on this earth. Our oceans, rivers, streams, lakes and brooks are part of this. The rains and snow which fall on us from above keep our earth moist and encourages new growth. It is about our showers and baths which cleanse us. It is our tears cleansing our eyes and reflecting our sorrow and/or happiness. It is part of the flow of our body cleaning and sustaining it. When you need to flow with life, use the sound of water, a bottle of water or a picture of an ocean or lake.
Fire is all about passion and burning brightly. It is about being emotional and rising from the ashes after the burning away. It is about lighting the darkness, an eternal flame within us and the heat that warms us. When the fire is all over, we are left with ashes and like the Phoenix, we rise from the ashes. When you need to cleanse and start over again, or to promote passion in your life, use a candle, incense, a fire place or a picture of a flame to start again.
Excerpted from Meditation, Defining your Space by Elizabeth Banfalvi. Copyright © 2014 Elizabeth Banfalvi. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Higher Order, xiv,
Meditation Themes, 3,
Element Uses, 17,
Element Meditations, 19,
Astrology and the Elements, 21,
Astrology Meditations, 23,
Numbers and Their Meanings, 27,
Cards and Their Meanings, 29,
Lucky Bamboo Stalks, 32,
Time & Directions, 35,
Time Captured, 37,
Portions of Time, 38,
Directions and Belief Systems, 40,
Colors and Their Meanings, 47,
Candles and Ambiance, 50,
The Power of Scents, 53,
Music of the Soul, 57,
Crystals, Gems and Metals, 59,
Crystal Uses, 61,
Crystals Cleansing, 63,
Crystals, Gems and Metals, 66,
A New Direction, 73,
Celebrations – Time, 75,
Final Thoughts, 77,
Glossary of Meditations, 79,