What's on Your Altar / in Front of Your Meditation Cushion?

Updated on November 11, 2011
D.S. asks from Cambridge, MA
14 answers

We have a place for meditation and looking inward in our house, with an altar of sorts. We would like to honour the diversity of beliefs and views, so have begun putting up various religuous/spritual symbols. For many traditions we do not know what would be a good thing to put up -- what do you have in front of your altar/place of spiritual contemplation/meditation? We are looking for symbols of beauty, symbols of judaism, christianism, atheism, taoism, islam, hinduism, buddhism, you name it.... Our wall would like to be a wall of love's diversity.

Thanks for helping!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so far, everyone!! Keep it coming! I love to hear it all. Thank you! --- As to not being able to serve two masters, i am doing my best to try to be true to one thing: love. I asked the question, because we would like to honour all beliefs. We aren't into serving any masters.

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answers from Houston on

you might try Ganesh , the Hindu deity (colorful elephant/man with lots of arms) Really cool looking and is supposed to help you resolve conflict and overcome struggle.

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answers from Dallas on

This reminds me of my favorite thing to tell people when they 'get on to me' for not following some religion...

"Call your gods what you will, their hearts are all the same."

What I mean by that is the teachings are all in essence the same thing... your just calling Him/Her by different names.

That is just my opinion mind you...

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answers from Providence on

We have a bookshelf in our living room that we have dedicated to all kinds of faiths and religious practicies. We have books on Buddism, Dali lama, Torah, Koran, The Bible, etc..My husband is Catholic, and I am Methodist, but we think we have something to learn and appreciate from all walks of faith. If it is symbols you are looking for, I would google them all and see where you can purchase them. I think it's a wonderful idea.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't have a specific place to meditate. I am Catholic. This may seem strange but what really draws my spirituality is the dove followed by Mary. At least as I see my faith both mean peace and nurturing. :)

The beauty of the dove is it carries from the old to the new testament.

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answers from Richmond on

I LOVE THIS IDEA, how beautiful!! Let me know what you end up doing, this sounds lovely...

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answers from San Antonio on

Hi D.
I love your idea! It sounds very beautiful!
It really bothers me that some people are so mean!!! OMG! How can anyone CLAIM to be christian of any sort and be so judgemental and mean?!?! I try so hard to be a good person and teach my kids to be good people. Some of these women blow me away with how mean and quick they are to point out how they think anyone that doesn't believe exaclty the way they do is WRONG!! wowowowowow!
I wish I could meditate! I tried for years. My inner child never stops talking!!
I hope you find the most beautiful things for your wall. I wish we could post pictures on here so we could all enjoy it too!
Good Luck and GOD BLESS!!

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answers from Norfolk on

I don't have a place like that but if I did, I'd have a mandala on the wall (poster form is probably easiest).
Google 'mandala', then select Images.
You will see so many that are so beautiful it's very difficult to choose just one.

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answers from Boston on

I can't help really with specific symbols, but I would suggest going to Google for each faith you want to represent and do some research. There's lots of info on the web if you dig for it. And by the way I've got to say I think yours is a wonderful idea. I'm all about the all inclusive idea of faith.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

I might do a Sun - it has long been a devine symbol of different religions.

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answers from Boston on

Hi D.,

I hope this finds you well and applaud you so much for even asking about and being respectful of others' beliefs, sadly unlike some here. I wish we could all celebrate the similarities among us all (b/c there are so many!) and respect the differences.

I'm Muslim and while in Islam we traditionally don't use symbols in our prayer areas, we often do have Quranic script/calligraphy or in our house we have a few things in the direction of prayer, a picture of the Kaa'ba and a small painting with the word "Allah" (God). If you go to Google Images and type in "Islamic Calligraphy", "Kaaba", or "Allah", you'll find some beautiful pictures, which you could then print out at Kinko's or somewhere on nice paper and hang them up?

You could also have an English Qur'an placed on a bookshelf or mantel, but ideally it should be high up, not on the floor.

Good luck and I hope it turns out well!

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answers from Dallas on

I find it easier to pray/meditate after reading something that provokes thought. So, I have a bookshelf with The Tibetan Book of The Dead, A Quran, The Holy Bible, books on the science of God and Gods hand in the universe and more. I have statues of Ganesh, Ornate Crucifixes, Catholic Rosaries, Buddha, etc, but they are just decorative. I buy them because they look cool and because I respect what they represent. They really don't play a role when I sit down to conversate with God. I concentrate on my family, and my gratitude, so at most, I might have pictures of my kids near me.

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answers from Springfield on

Ya know, I think a home should be a place you live, eat, rest, and enjoy family... and a church or synagogue or temple should be the place to worship. I think separating the two is important for several reasons.. home is where everything happens... positive and negative, the noises of life are constantly inundating us and pulling at our attention. It makes sense to me to "get away" spiritually and honor our beliefs at a building where we can go anytime and be in peace. Without the distractions and noise of home. Decorating with spiritual symbols sounds fine to me.. but an "altar" is a bit much. After all, isn't really about our soul seeking quiet and in touch with the "me" of the enlightened place?

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answers from Santa Fe on

If I had an altar and meditation cushion I would not put religious symbols, I would put beautiful photos of nature or art that inspire me. Whatever makes you feel good and happy inside.

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answers from Portland on

How about the flower of life? It's a sacred geometric symbol which appears in many unconnected cultures around the world throughout history. It's often part of meditational mandalas, not specifically religious but speaks of the interconnectedness of us all. Ever notice the pattern of seeds in a sunflower head? That's the flower of life pattern :)

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