by Ramdesh Kaur: The care you give your meditation environment is a sign and symbol to the mind of your intention…
A sacred altar can serve as a focal point for meditation or simply a sanctuary where you can go when you want that peace, serenity, and connection with the Divine.
Question to Yogi Bhajan: Do we need a special place for sadhana?
Yogiji’s Answer: “A special place or altar is ideal. The care you give the external environment is a sign and symbol to the mind of your intention. The outer reflects the inner, if the place of meditation is sloppy, it usually means you do not value relating to that Infinite Self, or you value it, but do not believe in it or yourself. When traveling, you do your best to bring a sense of specialness with you to wherever you meditate.”
Excerpts from a Spirit Voyage blog, Creating an Altar by Ramdesh Kaur
A sacred altar in your home can serve as a focal point for meditation or simply a refuge where you return when you need a spiritual boost. It provides the space to lay down the burdens of your everyday life and just BE. By dedicating space in your home to spirit, you coach your mind—and your loved ones—to believe that peace, serenity, and connection with the Divine is an ever-increasing priority.
Here are tips to help you create an altar for meditation, prayer, and spiritual focus.
1. Clear a Space
The importance of this cannot be overstated. You have to create the space for the altar to exist. Clear and consecrate a dedicated area of your home such as a room, a corner, a table, or the shelf of a bookcase that will be solely used for this spiritual purpose. This is important because you are committing to allocating a percentage of space for Spirit. It helps you to create the time within your life for Spirit as well, because you are committing to the idea behind it.
2. Select Sacred Items
Choosing items for your altar should be done with great care and consideration. There are no wrong things to put on your altar. You might choose pictures of Yogi Bhajan, the Golden Temple, any or all of the ten Gurus; and/or crystals, candles, malas, statues of Gods and Goddess; even pinecones that you picked up on a walk with your grandkid, shells from the beach vacation you took with your beloved, or a photo that inspires you. Create and play. Have fun with this. Your altar is uniquely you.
3. Arrange your Altar
Your altar doesn’t have to please anyone but you, so make sure that you are choosing how to set up your altar based on what YOU like. Place everything with intention. Intend for each item to represent the spiritual realm and for the altar itself to be a powerful, sacred place for you.
4. Maintain your Altar
It’s important to keep your altar clean. Don’t allow it to become a catch-all. It’s not there to hold cups or your keys or spare pieces of paper. Don’t allow dust to cover it. Keep your items clean. Dedicating that space solely to spirit is a powerful tool to keep YOU reminded to keep your spirit clean too. If you are neglecting your altar, ask yourself if you are neglecting your spiritual life.
Once you’ve created your own personal altar, use it! You might meditate in front of it, bring flowers to brighten it up, or just look at it on your way out the door for an extra lift, smile and prayer before you start your workday.
Ramdesh Kaur, MA, is an IKYTA Certified Kundalini Yoga teacher trained by Gurmukh. She is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Spirit Voyage, edits Spirit Voyage’s blog, and writes extensively on yoga, spirituality and mantra. She hosts the show “Spirit Voyage Radio with Ramdesh” on Unity FM and leads Spirit Voyage’s 40 Day Global Sadhanas. Her first book “Yoga and Mantras for a Whole Heart” with Karan Khalsa is available on SpiritVoyage.com.