If you are new to meditating, I suggest buy herbal incense that you read my post Beginners Guide To Basic Meditation for some useful information on what you need to get started with the wonderful practice of meditation. If you have read that and want something more once you feel some mastery of your thoughts, then you might want to read Nude Meditation and You for additional challenges in your quest to understand your mind, body and spirit. However, if nude meditation is not for you and you were wondering why you should use incense when you meditate, then this is the post for you.
The practice of meditation is to gain control of your thoughts and to learn to focus your concentration on the subject you are meditating on. Whether that is an issue you are having with your personal life, a Zen saying or story or some other matter that would benefit from your complete focus and concentration. Meditation with incense can either be a means of itself, or as an aid to unlock some part of your consciousness in order to help you understand some matter a bit more clearly.
If you are using incense to meditate on and not as an aid, then it is a simple matter to find a scent that is pleasing to you and concentrate on it. The process that I follow is to light a stick of perhaps nag champa then settle into my preferred position for meditation and clear my mind by concentrating on my breathing. Then when I feel focused I will turn my attention to the smell of the incense and meditate on the various subtle scents that comprise a good, well crafted stick of incense. There are a surprising number and each one can be discerned with focus and concentration. I find that by the time the stick burns out I am completely refreshed and relaxed and whatever was troubling me before I began is just a hazy memory. I hope that everyone gives it a try. If you are new to meditation it will be difficult at first but as with all things worth mastering, practice makes perfect. Although there is no “perfect” way to meditate or even a “perfect” meditation session. It is not a performance art. It is deeply personal and subjective and meant only to help you gain mastery of your thoughts.
If you are using incense as an aid in meditation to help you unlock a thought or feeling then do as I suggested above, but try to use the scent of the stick not as something to concentrate on, but rather as something that helps triggers thoughts and feelings. Scent is the most powerful of the human senses. Something you smelled when you were five and then smelled again twenty years later can snap you right back in time to the moment you first smelled it. You can remember where you were, what you wearing, thinking and feeling and more just by the powerful associations that scent creates in memory. You may have to try several different types of incense and each one will trigger different thoughts and feelings. Go with them and meditate on them and try to understand them. Perhaps lavender reminds you of your grandmother, or frankincense reminds you of Sunday school. The possibilities are nearly limitless as to what you can explore in your own mind with a gentle reminder from a stick or cone of incense. With understanding comes freedom from things that might trouble or worry you.
And that, is the whole point. To understand your thoughts and feelings. To master them in order to keep those stray and unwanted thoughts from mastering your emotional and spiritual life. To be able to focus clearly on the issues at hand rather than being confused by a swirl of conflicting thoughts and feelings that you find hard to control.
Good luck to you as you learn and grow and Peace, Love and Happiness always.