simple meditationSince meditation has become popular in the west, there has been an explosion of meditation equipment and guides in the mainstream market. Whether they’re trying to flog you a cushion to sit on or a series of books detailing exactly how you’re supposed to breathe or specifically composed CDs designed to calm your inner being, it’s worth waiting a moment to make sure it’s something you actually want to spend money on.

Because it might be nice to have something soft to sit on when you’re meditating, but what’s wrong with the cushions and carpets you already have? They would do the job just as well as anything people are trying to sell you. A cushion is a cushion. If you want to get one that you keep aside only for your meditation purposes, then go ahead, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy something marketed as a ‘meditation only’ cushion at twice the price of a regular one.

The truth is, you don’t need to go and buy anything in order to meditate.

The people who think they do are the ones who will struggle most with breaking free of consumerism and materialism. They are the people who think that you can’t achieve without having things, those who, despite whatever enlightenment they may claim to have, put a lot of value on property. Their meditation is hollow as long as they hang onto this damaging mindset.

All you need to meditate is some space, some time and the right attitude.

It might be worth investing in headphones if you live by a busy high street or a motorway or with loud housemates, until you can block out external distractions of your own volition. It might be worth purchasing a cushion to sit on if you have trouble sitting on hard floors, but you could just as easily use the pillow you sleep on.

But that is about it. Most of the things you might want to help you or guide with your meditation, especially if you’re new to it, can be found for free online. Websites have indexes of soothing music for people who don’t like to concentrate without it that are accessible at no cost.

There are vast amounts of websites and blogs and forums online where you can learn everything you need to know about meditation – about how to regulate your breathing, about how to concentrate, about how to ease into a routine for regular meditation. They are likely going to be much better for you, as blog and site readerships far more often add their own individual opinions of how well it worked for them. You can discuss your meditation with others trying the same things as you and compare experiences, and your learning will progress a lot quicker and you’ll feel more like part of a community too.

If you’re considering a retreat or a holiday, then seriously consider whether it’s worth paying extra to have someone boss you around while you’re there. Tranquil places remain calm and peaceful without people there charging you to have them remind you of it. You will definitely want to do a lot of research into anyone who expects you to pay an hourly rate.

The fact is that there is nothing that is absolutely required to meditate but you. Acting like you need expensive help and equipment is the wrong way to approach it.

Everything you need to meditate, once you’ve chosen your space and set aside some time, can be found within you.

Everything else is a distraction.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.