A specific environment is not needed for meditation. An experienced practitioner can keep a calm mind and meditate anywhere. The true effectiveness of meditation is displayed when we go out into the world. It is shown in how we can keep composure when the odds are against us. That said, creating an environment for practice is a good idea for beginners and even the experienced. The proper environment optimises the meditation session and brings faster results. Many spiritual teachers have a holy place that they always return to.
When you meditate in the same place repeatedly your energy creates a peaceful atmosphere that others can feel. Upon entering a monastery or ashram you are greeted by a feeling of tranquility. Even when in the worst mood one may experience a change just by entering sacred places. With minimal effort you can create a sacred place of your own.
The closer you are to nature the better. A shady place outdoors is ideal. If you choose to create your sacred place indoors, you can decorate the walls with images you find meaningful. These could be images of family members or holy figures that mean something to you. A table, positioned at the top center of the room, may be used as the altar. Candles and sacred symbols may be placed on it.
A variety of sacred symbols exist including the ankh, cross, pentagram, eye of Horus, eye of Ra and alchemical symbols. Be sure that you resonate with the symbol and find out its meaning before using it.
All serious students of spirituality must dedicate time to meditating in darkness. Darkness is the way to higher consciousness. In total darkness it is easier to focus on pure awareness. When we are immersed in darkness there is nothing outside. It forces us to look deep within and activate our internal light.
It is darkness that creates melatonin, a hormone responsible for boosting the immune system, keeping the brain young and preventing a variety of illnesses including cancer. This hormone is released by the pineal gland. Using artificial lights and electronic equipment that emits light at night, not only stops the production of this hormone but also turns on other hormones that should only be active in the day.
Those interested in cultivating spirituality should go with the natural rhythm of the earth. This includes rising with the sun and going to sleep with the moon. Exposure to the two extremes is necessary for third eye or sixth chakra activation. Be sure to spend a significant amount of time in sunlight and the same in darkness. Make your bedroom as dark as possible and turn off all electronics because the slightest light can stop the production of melatonin.
In all ancient traditions people have practiced meditating in the dark. Since the earliest recorded ages Taoists and monks have gone into dark caves to meditate and fast for days or even weeks, each time emerging with new knowledge. Caves provide the perfect environment because they shut out sound and light.
The practice of cave meditation lives on to this day. Caves are still peaceful and private places of refuge for those seeking enlightenment. Unfortunately these caves are in the minority. The majority of caves are no longer respected as spiritual sanctuaries. Many are patrolled by loud tourists with flashy cameras. In some cases monks now have to deal with the issue of having their peace disturbed by sight seers asking questions. Others are foul smelling from being polluted with human waste. You will have to find a room and make it as dark and quiet as possible.