I don’t want to be one to fetishize where I meditate because it feels like one more excuse that gets in the way of practice. My friend, D., for example will only meditate in beautiful (outdoor) spaces. Because we live and work in a city, and getting to a park where one feels safe and private everyday is challenging, my friend only meditates once or twice a month. In the wintertime, it’s probably much less. When I first started sitting, I was determined to fit it in every day, often at home in the morning – but at other times in ugly little rooms at the university or work, facing a corner of my office, trying to find my zen on a pillow in a hotel room, sitting on the edge of a bathtub with the door locked because it was the only place separate from other people. And that really is the point, I think, to bring ourselves into present moment awareness wherever we happen to be – in transit, at home, in cities, or in nature – without waiting for the perfect circumstances that might never arise.
Having said all of that, this weekend I spent part of my time at the cabin building a special meditation place – pictured above! Just off the back of our property line (the property behind us is lightly forested on the property line and then logged the rest of the way up) – I built this little piece of flat ground out of a pallet and some scrap wood left on the site by our work crew, and rocks collected around the deer trail that it’s situated on.
As mentioned, it’s up in the trees, far off the road and out of sight from our cabin/outhouse/tent platforms – in a location that I am pretty confident no one ever walks – and it provides a level place to set up my bench or cushion in solitude. It’s a bit of a steep trek up, but once there I am free to practice open awareness to the sounds of birds, insects, and trees moving in the breeze – aware that enlightenment is easy on such mountaintops, but still grateful to carve out a dedicated practice place in the forest.