One of the best places to sit and focus your mind is at a meditation altar. These beautiful little furniture items give you the perfect place to set up your meditation shrine. You can decorate it as you please, and incorporate it into the design of your zen meditation room.
Of course, this is fairly similar to a traditional prayer table and you can decorate it in a similar way.
In a moment I will share with you the best meditation altars to buy online. But first, let’s discuss why you might like to buy one in the first place.
What Is A Meditation Altar?
A meditation altar is a piece of furniture that is turned sacred and used for sacred rituals. The word itself is derived from Latin and means, “High place.”
These sacred spots have existed for thousands of years in all different cultures from Christianity to Hinduism and Buddhism. They are a place to show devotion to God(s), which is why they usually include murtis (statues) of gods like Shiva and Ganesh.
Some religions use altars differently. For instance, Roman Catholic altars are at the front of the church and bread and wine are placed on them, they are used to celebrate the eucharist. Buddhist altars usually include statues of Buddha, other Buddhist figures like Quan Yin (Buddhist Goddess of compassion) and lotus flowers. Hindu altars usually offer prasad in the form of sweets or fruit to the Divine, yantras (visual representation of deities), and a space to sit for Sadhana. Then there are modern altars such as at yoga studios. Of course, most altars also have spiritual texts like the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, Pali Canon, and the Bible.
Ultimately the purpose of an altar is to use for prayer, meditation, japa, sadhana, and other spiritual practices.
Our meditation altar will be a space in our meditation room that is designed to create the feelings of inner peace and focus that we need to meditate.
Why Setup A Meditation Altar Table?
By creating or buying a meditation altar you give yourself a dedicated space in the home where you meditate. It’s your go-to place for sitting and meditating. And it is perhaps the most important of all the different sorts of furniture for meditating.
Over time it will become full of positive energy because of the amount of times you meditate there. It will become a safe haven when you need to retreat and restore your soul. It’s that restful, restorative plate where you heal.
Plus, the actual act of creating a meditation altar is something special in itself. You get to design a sacred space and fill it with your sacred items. Just like creating a garden meditation area, this is a special task.
BEST MEDITATION ALTAR TABLES TO BUY ONLINE
DharmaObjects Solid Mango Wood
This mango wood one has the design of a Yin Yang carved into the top with a floral pattern. It makes for a wonderful decorative piece. It’s solid enough to hold the items you need, such as a Buddha statue.
Note that it is only one foot tall so it is designed to meditate at when kneeling.
This Buddhist altar (Butsudan) is beautifully crafted and features a lovely, deep and wide drawer that you can put your spiritual objects in.
The butsudan is solidly built and well worth the slightly high price because it will last. The draws click shut so they won’t swing open. And there is even a beam that you can put a light on.
Additional items for a meditation shrine
Cloth: You might like to protect it with a nice tablecloth, hopefully, one with a beautiful pattern or some spiritual artwork. There are also cloths that have mantras on them, and ones with Buddha and other deities.
Buddha statue: If you are Buddhist, or you simply like Buddha statues (and very many people do), you might like to get a small Buddha figurine.
Desktop Zen garden: Desktop zen gardens are the small versions of Japanese rock gardens. Creating and maintaining these gardens is a wonderfully relaxing task, the sort of task that’s perfect to do at your table.
Statues of Hindu gods: Depending on your religious or spiritual beliefs, you might like to get a small statue of your deity for your shrine.
Meditation cushion to sit on to meditate
Anything else you need to create a meditative altar experience.
Creating Your Meditation Altar
Now that you have bought a meditation altar and gathered the various items you need for it, it’s time to put it all together.
This isn’t some five minute Ikea job, either. I recommend you take your time creating it and pour your love into it.
Here are five tips to make the most of the experience:
1: Set your intent first
To get the most out of creating your meditation altar, set your intention first. What is it going to be used for, spiritually speaking? Is it just a place to meditate? Is it somewhere you will connect to your inner peace? Is it a sacred haven to connect to your deity or god? What does it mean to you? And how will you reflect that in its design?
2: What type of energy do you want to create?
Meditation altars should be filled with positive energy. But what type of energy? Is it the energy of love? Perhaps it is the energy of hope and faith. Whatever it is, find ways to pour that energy into it. And at the same time, protect your meditation shrine from negative energy. You want to preserve the special energy of this space.
3: Be mindful
Have you ever created a Zen garden? When you create a Zen garden the actual purpose is in the making. The act of making a zen garden is a spiritual practice. This is the same. Making a meditation altar is a mindful practice in itself. Make sure you are mindful and conscious throughout the entire process.
How to meditate at an altar
Now you have created a meditation altar it is time to actually meditate in it.
Here’s how to do your first meditation.
- Sit for a few moments and just breathe. Relax.
- Set your intention in your mind. Tell yourself that this is a sacred space where you will achieve X. For instance, this is the space where you will reconnect with your inner peace any time you need to.
- Mindfully explore the space: Do a five-senses mindfulness exercise about your meditation altar (observe the visuals, the scents, the texture…)
- Consciously create the type of energy you want to feel in this space (for instance, if you want to feel love do a Loving Kindness meditation)
- Tell yourself you will love and cherish this space.
Hopefully, you now have a meditation altar to meditate in. And you’ve created it with love and pride.
How does it look? And what does it mean to you? Leave a comment.