When learning to meditate for the purpose of gaining enlightenment, it is often helpful to use a ritual to prepare the mind for the meditation to come, and to close the session when finished. The ritual should have meaning to the meditator and is often unique to that individual.
The following is a general outline only. Each person should tailor it to their own needs and beliefs. It is not essential that any ritual be used. Meditation will still be beneficial, however I have found ritual helps to still my mind and make meditation easier.
If possible, a room or even a small corner of a room can be set up for this purpose. Ideally, it should include a small table or desk and a chair, as well as two candles, incense and a bowl of water, with or without a rose.
Anyone knowing me knows I travel my path with a light to illuminate the path at my feet and a mirror to reflect the truth that is within us all.
The candles symbolize the light which we seek; the mirror symbolizes looking for truth within our selves. The candles also symbolize fire, with incense representing air, with water represented by the bowl of water and earth by the burner that holds the incense. There is more represented by these objects, but each of us finds the meanings important to our selves.
To begin a session, one may light the candles and incense and offer up a short prayer or request for knowledge. Then sit comfortably and quietly, feet on the floor, hands resting in the lap and begin to meditate. When beginning this process for the first time, I recommend reciting a “mantra”, a word or phrase that has a positive meaning for you. Peace or Love would be quite suitable.
When your session is finished, sit quietly for a few minutes, then close your session with a short prayer, extinguish the candles and incense before returning to your daily activities. I prefer using a candle snuffer which represents to me that the light is not gone, only not visible for a time.