Aromatic plants have been an integral part of the spiritual practices of many religions and cultures throughout history.
Resins and Woods were commonly burnt for their aromatic smoke in places of worship.
The ingredients of incense vary but many of the essential oils I can recommend to aid meditation practice today have been used for centuries to create a spiritual space, relax the body and encourage a calm but open heart and mind.
The following classic woody and resinous essential oils can be used singularly or in combination to aid meditation:
Frankincense(Boswellia carterii) – fresh and uplifting; helps still the mind, deepen the breath and create calm focus
Sandalwood (Santalum album)* – brings deep peace
Myrrh (Comiphora molmol) – helps quell worry and mental distraction
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) – relaxing yet deeply strengthening, helps us find wisdom in adversity
A nice blend for a burner to aid meditation could be Frankincense (4 drops), Sandalwood (2 drops), Myrrh (1 drop), Cedarwood (1 drop)
Depending on your preference you may like to add a little or replace one or two of the woody oils with one or two of the following:
Jasmine (Jasmine grandiflorum) – brings confidence and allows creativity
Rose (Rosa damascena) – calms and opens the heart
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – deeply relaxing when you are tired and tense, good to foster intuition.
(DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT)
Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides) – very grounding. An excellent sedative when your mind is too busy to allow you to sit quietly.
Oils can be used in a ceramic burner before or during meditation.
Or add a few drops to a cotton wall ball and inale.
Alternatively you can add essential oils to a spritzer bottle of floral water or purified water, shake well and sprtitz around the space you will be meditating in.
If you feel the space needs cleansing or a change in atmosphere before you can sit and meditate its useful to spritz essential oils such as Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Spanish Sage (Salvia lavandulifolia) or Juniper (Juniperus communis) before you settle yourself.
If you find your mind wandering and yourself tense when meditating it can be helpful to look into the flame of a candle in order to help you achieve stillness. You can buy or make aromatherapy soy candles if you wish to combine the calming qualities of the flame and the meditative aid of natural scent. My website: www.aromatherapysoycandles.co.uk
Try to be receptive to the oils and use those that you are drawn to. If the same oils are used regularly your smell memory will allow you to recognize that blend as your meditation blend.
* = Santalum album is the Indian Sandalwood that is traditionally used. However this Sandalwood is becoming very rare and it is hard to find sustainable resources of it. It is possible to use a similar Sandalwood – Santalum Austrocaledonicum that has a slightly lighter odour and consistency but similar properties. Check the label before you buy.