As part of an Introduction to Meditation class I co-taught with Peg Meyer for Valley Insight Meditation Society in Hanover, NH in the Winter of 2013, conversations arose about how important it is to have a designated place & time for daily practice. It doesn't need to be fancy, just: quiet, safe, inviting & maybe even beautiful. While "I should meditate" can be a bullying, unpleasant train of thought, "I have a date this morning to go sit in my lovely corner" is far more promising. Most of us are lucky enough to be familiar with the home-spaces of couch, kitchen & bathroom - but maybe not so much with the idea of having a home-space dedicated to prayer/meditation.

If you'd like a shrine-refresher-course or introduction: here is an amazing video made by my friend Ajahn Cittapala for the family camp at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, where she is a nun. It's called What is a Shrine? Her answers might surprise you & make your heart sing.

Valley Insight community members & students in the meditation class were invited to photograph their practice place, cushion, meditation shawl (aka security blanket), shrine, corner, nest, or view, and to write descriptions to go with the photographs. Soon after, a wider call went to people in other traditions and communities. The following pages are the generous responses to these invitations. I hope that encountering evidence of others' personal prayer/meditation places can help build a sense of community and shared intention, and can be an encouragement for all those who see it.

Dear Reader/Viewer: Thank you for all you do to cultivate a peaceful heart in this world. May you be well! Let there be old shrines, new shrines, messy shrines, outdoor shrines, shrines at work & shrines in shops. You and your sacred spaces are essential and irreplaceable! "The Holy Land is Everywhere" - Black Elk.

If you would like your own practice space included in this project, please email text AND image(s) to Julie: mustaphaputtgen [at] gmail [dot] com.


Shrine Menu:

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