How to create a Zen retreat
When you need some space to meditate and be alone you don’t have to go to a Buddhist monastery to find it. As we all know, nowadays, when the stress is at a high-level, everyone needs a quiet place of his own. You don’t have to climb the top of the mountains to detach yourself from daily activities – create a Zen retreat at home.
As the interior designer Clodagh says, what Zen really means is comfort. It depends on each individual to create his intimate place at home: a bedroom, a garden or any other room in your house. Clodagh also suggests that Zen means to live intensely every minute of your life and avoid stagnation. Too many unnecessary things in your house create a stressful mood because they block your mind and thinking. Just throw away as many things as possible to improve your space. Shelley Beckes, interior designer, says that simplicity is the key.
Avoid strong colors because they can distract you; choose warm colors for your space. Neutral colors and tones such as beige, sand and soft green can give you a nice feeling. The only contrasts used in Japanto to create a Zen retreat are tones of black or dark brown wood. Use a single color for your walls or put some accent using natural colors and profound tones. Beckes also sustains that you need to remove everything that can distract you. Create a peaceful and beautiful place for yourself.
Werner Brandmaier, member of the Institute of Feng Shui & Geopathology inPortland,Maine, believes that Zen means surrounding yourself with elements from nature: water fountains, floors made of wood, a lot of plants and diffuse light. He also suggests achieving plants with round leaves and avoiding cactus and palm trees. To complete your room, place a water fountain or an aquarium, but take care to keep them clean. Otherwise, your chi will be badly influenced.
Clodagh suggests not to use light where it`s not necessary. He loves light with shadows that’s why he uses a halogen one. The elements we see create the base of a Zen retreat. But there are other elements needed to create the perfect peaceful place such as smells and sounds. Regarding the smells, Clodagh prefers cucumber and lavender scented candle, avoiding cedar odor. On the other hand, when it comes to sounds, Clodagh prefers to listen different types of music. For example, after a stressful day, he likes to listen some Spanish flamenco or a hot beat while cooking.
As Beckes says, Zen means also “ to feel” from any point of view. Try to make your garden a Zen retreat. Gather stones from a river as you used to do as a child, and place them in your yard, creating a winding path. Beckes prefers native rocks because they make the impression of being home. Water elements are also important to complete your space. It is not necessary to have a river or a stream nearby. Just create a little water fountain or a little pool if you have an adventurous spirit. Big stones or tree trunks can serve as benches for meditating.
Also, try to avoid planting many flowers. Don’t forget that less is more. Placed inside or outside, the perfect Zen retreat should always be simple and peaceful.