Do you set out lit candles and incense before you do a meditation? Do you use crystal or bronze singing bowls when you hold healing circles? Did you ever wonder if all of that was necessary and why? The use of props for spiritual practices extends back into our ancient history. A 13,000-year-old cave painting located in “The Sanctuary” cave in France portrays a person wearing an animal head. Scholars believe this shows a shaman using an animal head for some type of ritual. The use of props in spiritual practice has been with us a very long time.
They Keep Our Attention
Having these items around you when you meditate or do healing ceremonies keeps your attention on the task at hand. Pick the quietest spot in your home in which to meditate and your mind will still wander to miscellaneous thoughts. Having these items around you focuses your attention and keeps it on what you’re doing.
If you’re a visual person, you’ll likely have a lot of items to look at. Tiny Buddha statues, colorful table coverings, and photos might adorn your altars. If you’re an auditory person, you’ll be interested in having the right music playing.
If you’re working with a client or a group of people, they will also respond to your choice of items for the session. It keeps them grounded in the work that’s happening within that space.
They Help Create A Sacred Space
When you bring out all of your props, you begin to create a sacred space within the mundane space of your everyday existence. Suddenly in your living room, you have a sacred space full of energy and spiritual helpers where last night it was full of friends and family watching football with their chips and dip. Your props are a way of telling your spiritual guides and helpers that you are now declaring this physical space as sacred and ready to be used for spiritual work.
How Much is Enough?
This depends on the individual. If it takes an hour for you to prepare your space at home to do a simple evening meditation before you go to bed, your use of props may be a little excessive. Try this exercise to determine what you need to have out in your space to have the best experience:
- Go where you usually meditate, dim the lights and take the position that is most comfortable (sitting, kneeling, etc.).
- Close your eyes and take a few breaths to relax.
- After a few moments, try to access your meditative state.
- If you find it difficult to focus, light one candle and place it in front of you.
- Try your meditative state again.
- Repeat this cycle adding only one more item each time until you find it easy to slip into that meditative space.
- Observe the items you’ve assembled around you and that is the minimum number of items you need to create the sacred space and work within it.
Use the props to create a space of unique energy in which to do your spiritual work. But don’t fall into the thinking that more is better. Continue to experiment till you find the most suitable set up that is just right for you.