Light and Your Meditation Space

JapaneseBuddhaThe sun comes up in the east, the morning often has sunlight even if the day has clouds. The sun will quietly peak between the horizon and clouds before rising too high to be seen, blocked by the clouds. But what happens when the sun directly streaks into a meditation space ?

If you have a window located on a wall where you get direct light when you meditate, two things can happen. The room can overheat quickly, and if you are someone who meditates with your eyes open, it can distract your concentration. If you meditate with your eyes closed it can still be bright and distract your mind from resting. Some skillful meditation students are able to keep their focus no matter their environment, but if you are not yet one of those students, just beware and take some precautions.

There are a couple of options before we explore window covers. You can choose to meditate after the sun moves away from the window, leaving filtered, indirect light. Or you can chose to place your meditation space in another place in your home.

miniblindsIf both of those choices aren’t possible, then explore window coverings, and which can work best for you. You can cut the sunlight with mini blinds and face the blinds up to the ceiling. It redirects the direct sun, softens the light and still leaves the room warm and well lit. Another beautiful, similar solution is installing wooden slat blinds, often called Cape Cod style blinds. They can be completely opened, or shut and the wooden slats faced, again, to the ceiling. Facing the blinds to the ceiling sends the light beams to bounce and reflect into the room creating a soft, beautiful light that won’t distract you from your meditation.

Another solution is using  a dark sheer curtain. This filters the sun, darkens the room just a little, but still allows the light to filter in. Heavy curtains will completely cut the light, which is less pleasing. Light is always a good asset if it’s subtle. But you could consider using half curtains where the sunlight is allowed to come in at the top, but not the bottom. This usually still allows strong light to heat up a room, and possibly distract a meditation session, but if you live in a cold area of the world this might be a great idea.

Traditional shogi screen
Traditional shogi screen

The final idea for controlling light successfully in your meditation space is using a room divider and when the sun is fully streaming into the room, simply expand the screen to cover the window. Some folding screens are transparent. While these might not be the best choice because a large amount of light will still filter in, they are beautiful. You might consider using a carved wooden screen which will leave some interesting and beautiful patterns sprinkling the room while blocking a lot of strong sunlight.

The sun slanting into a meditation space can be inspiring and so beautiful, and using some caution in placement of your cushion and other choices will help you embrace the event instead of being distracted.

Meditate on!



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