Piece of Quiet

Vineyarders find refuge in meditation rooms of all shapes and sizes.

Wood, metal, plastic, glass: these are the raw materials that by the actions of mind and hand become transformed into a room. By driving nails and raising walls, we build with the intention that a room will protect us, comfort us, and shelter us from the elements. In a few of these rooms, some of us sit and meditate. These places may be large, public, and dedicated to meditation – or a particular room in a home, an alcove in a hallway, perhaps even just a cushion on the floor by a fireplace.

Bodhi Path in West Tisbury is open to the public year-round. Anyone can come learn how to integrate meditation into his or her belief system, or simply sit and meditate. On Sundays, discussions follow hour-long group meditations (for which no training is required). Breathing is an important part of the practice of meditation. Says Lama Yeshe, a Buddhist nun who is in residence about half the year, “Breath takes place in the present – this is where life takes place.”

Kimberly Cartwright has a Japanese-inspired shrine in an alcove next to the bedroom of her Oak Bluffs home. Cartwright says, “I feel like it’s a lion at my door. It protects me.” It wasn’t designed to be a place for meditation – it’s a random space left over after renovations. But because it’s in a hallway, she constantly feels its presence, and so do her children. Whenever they pass by, they chant a greeting out of respect. For her, the vibrating tones of chanting summon the protective guide and spiritual essence that is part of her practice.

“This space is not separate from who I am,” says MJ Bindu Delekta of the meditation and yoga room in her Vineyard Haven house. “I hold it in reverence.” Taking up the entire middle floor, the specially designed space literally and spiritually holds MJ in place. She also holds classes and works with individual clients in her Sacred Circle of Yoga. Downstairs she paints and makes jewelry. “The room above it is where I sleep,” says MJ, “and below it is where I make my art.”