"Making a Shrine"
- My children were 4 and 7 years old when I began teaching them to meditate. We got so much joy setting up a shrine and meditating together. The children helped select shrine cloths, choose candles and incense, and pick flowers. They took turns lighting the candle and incense using wooden kitchen matches under my supervision. The shrine was always changing when we put out a clean shrine cloth, fresh flowers, a different color or shaped candle, or a new incense scent.
Recently, I realized my shrine needed some newness; some new purity, some new inspiration. Following are excerpted suggestions Guru offered for making a shrine:
"When you meditate at home, you should have a corner of your room that is absolutely pure and sanctified a sacred place you use only for meditation. There you can make a shrine where you can keep a picture of your beloved spiritual Master, or the Christ, or some other beloved spiritual figure whom you regard as your Master.
It will also help if you burn incense and keep some fresh flowers on your shrine. When you smell the scent of incense, you get perhaps only an iota of inspiration and purification, but this iota can be added to your inner treasure. There are some people who say that it is not necessary to have flowers in front of you during meditation. They say, "The flower is inside; the thousand-petaled lotus is inside." But the physical flower on your shrine will remind you of the inner flower. Its colour, its fragrance and its pure consciousness will give you inspiration. From inspiration you get aspiration.
It is the same with using candles during meditation. The flame from a candle will not in itself give you aspiration, but when you see the outer flame immediately you feel that the flame of your inner being is also climbing high, higher, highest. If someone is on the verge of God-realisation or has actually realized God, then these outer things will have no value. But if you know that your God-realisation is still a far cry, then they will definitely increase your aspiration."
[unofficial] excerpts from "Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction" by Sri Chinmoy