Meditation Perfume

Meditation Perfume – Otherwise known as what I like to smell when I’m trying to shut my mind off for ten minutes.

Meditation PerfumeWith the new year, I decided to do the 30-day meditation challenge. It’s pretty simple, you just take 10 minutes every day to sit with yourself. I’m sure many of you do meditate or have tried it or at least are familiar with why/how you do it.

Given my proclivity to be a flibbertygibbet, meditation is a challenge, but I’ve got three days under my belt. The first day was torture, the second day was more torture because I remembered how much I hated the first day.  Yesterday, I sorta looked forward to my torture, which wasn’t all that tortured.  I expect that to vary from day to day, but I’m fully committed to doing this because someone like me really needs something like this.  I don’t even want to talk about my latest OCD that involved a lot of vegan cookbooks, a pressure cooker and — well, it won’t be pretty, I do know that.

As I sat om mani padme om’ing in my head last night, my hand went up to brush my hair back, and I caught a whiff of something spectacular and comforting. I had complete forgotten I had put on Soivohle’s Meerschaum on my hand.  Then I spent the remainder of my ten long minutes thinking about what a great tobacco scent it is, and it reminded me of my dad and some of my best memories of late nights and the scent of burning tobacco when I was happy, content, protected, loved in that kid way that just can’t happen to you gain after the age of 13.  This isn’t the more sweet version like Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, nor is it as way in your face as Kilian’s Back to Black.  It’s rich, pungent, but wears close to the skin so you don’t walk around screaming “I’m a Tobacco shop!!!” with your sillage.  It’s got an exquisite little cinnamon note that floats around in the tobacco leaves and the burnt matches.  I don’t know what memory she is working off of, but is the ideal of tobacco for me.  And it is a great Meditation Perfume.

Clear, not overpowering, and deeply meditative in the most comforting way.  Now, I don’t know that it helped my meditation at all. Meditation doesn’t have a goal except to just do it and keep working it out, but it did get me to thinking about good Meditation Perfume. So I’m adding to my 30-day meditation challenge by taking a different scent with me each night and seeing if that impacts my fidgeting or not.  Ideas?  Incense scents are a natural, so I’ll be trying all of the CdG incense series, and I’ve got some Cire Trudon scent bombs that I’ll try. I’m thinking some PdNs would work well here, like D’une Fete.

If you do meditate, do you take scent with you?  Is it distracting?  Not?  What scents work best?

  • Anya says:

    Patty, scent and meditation have been tied together for centuries. The resins of the churches can calm the attendees. Buddhist monks have used agarwood smoke to enhance deep meditation, and Oud can totally zonk some folks out. Aromatherapists brought the idea of single-note oil meditation into their practices, starting in the 70’s – rose, sandalwood, vetiver, lavender – all used to help quiet and center the user. For a pretty funny story, here’s Trygve’s recount of her going “deep inside” with the help of frankincense.

  • Tamara*J says:

    10CC or Etro Sandalo are awesome soothing scents when I feel unwell or am doing yoga. It’s the sandalwood, it’s like medicine when I don’t feel good, calms my tummy and eases my aches.
    I usually wear such heavy hitters but when I’m not in the mood whether from illness or exercise , these hit the spot every time.

  • lemonprint says:

    Ava Luxe’s No. 23. I find the sandalwood so relaxing. I wear it when I’m having trouble falling asleep. But it has plenty of interest to it, in a very abstract way, so I could totally see wearing it for meditation too.

  • gina thompson says:

    original commes de garcon or mecca balsam?

  • Onyxode says:

    Thanks for all the tips, as I need to get back to structured mediation also. My question (playing the devil’s advocate here), is wouldn’t it be more efficient to have only one ‘meditation’ associated fragrance, well one, two, three than use ones from your regular rotation? Just asking.

    • Kym says:

      I would agree with this. As I said above, it’s best to get that “signal” from the scent that you are now sitting down to meditate. Not to be a know-it-all, but I see many people mentioning relaxing scents. Meditation is not really about relaxation – it’s about focusing your mind on one thing (I use the breath) and quieting the endless chatter that goes on there. Your body should be relaxed and yet stable and alert, which why you sit during meditation instead of laying down. Being distracted by thoughts like, “what’s that yummy scent?” takes you away from the purpose. Smelling the same scent over and over during each session acts more like a wallpaper.

  • Shelley says:

    Busy brain…monkey mind…they can both be issues for me. But I’m fortunate in that I enjoy and even crave the opposite. In season, gardening is my mediation…I get lost in process and non-thought…my kids have had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention.

    When I’m out there, perfume is NOT good, as it is a distraction from the smells (dirt, leaf, whatever is coming in on the breeze) that set my waves to calm. But in other situations, including formal meditation…anything that seems to depress the overactive impulse without making me think about it too much. Woods, sure, maybe a tea, or a good quality simple rose. Which is different from Nina Z’s approach up there, which seems like it would have merits, too. Thinking about that.

  • Kym says:

    Patty – I used to meditate every night before bed and it really helped me, not only fall asleep and stay that way, but to exercise a sense of equanimity in my life. I’ve telling myself that I must start up again…

    I found that candles really help to put me in the right place. I had a favorite, which I can’t find anywhere anymore, but I only used it to meditate. So when the scent started wafting up, the only cognitive history the scent brings up is that of meditation. It was extremely helpful.

    Good luck!

  • FragrantWitch says:

    It too have a tendency to flibbertigibbet ( much to my husband’s, shall we say, dismay) so I think I will join you in the 30 day meditation challenge, Patty. I think Chaos would be wonderful for meditation , it evokes such a feeling of warm stillness with nature ticking away just as it should. Also Samsara for the sandalwood element and Messe de Minuit (night meditation by candlelight). I also think Costume National Homme would be gorgeous- all old mystical wooden chest filled with spices in an ancient space. Hmmm… Feeling pretty chilled just thinking about these! :-)

  • lulllull says:

    I meditate everyday. I also take half an hour each night before I fall asleep to do a breathing excersise which is so relaxing. I use 10 corso como, costes, kiki, tam dao, jubilation xxv, kyoto, timbuktu and black afgano.
    If I dont use perfume I usually have a scented candle lit like baies by diptyque or serengeti plains by baobab.

  • maggiecat says:

    Sandalwood is supposed to assist with meditation and clarity of thought, and there are so many good sandalwood scents: Bois des Iles, Tam Dao, Pacifica’s Sandalwood (which comes in candle form as well – and Tibetan Mountain temple! Oooh!) I’ve been relaxing with VP’s Kiki lately – lovely lavender but not boring.

  • Natalie says:

    I have no problem sitting and doing nothing; the challenge is turning my mind off! In my own somewhat half-assed form of meditation, I find it helpful to count backwards mentally while focusing on my breathing — at least it keeps my mind from wandering too far. Along with the CdG incenses, I think a cold, crisp scent like de Bachmakov would be great for meditation. For some reason Philosykos comes to mind as well; its cool, sweet greenness is so calming.

  • pam says:

    Great post! I have meditated off and on for years. Am currently off, and this inspires me to take it up again. Will join you in a 30-day challenge. I agree, the first few days are the toughest.

  • Olfacta says:

    Sounds like Liz Zorn has a hit! I just ordered a sample of it yesterday.

    I have a small collection of the Tigerflag attars. They don’t smell like conventional perfumes at all — especially the ones that are made from dried mud from the Ganges riverbed — and I’ve used them for meditation and worn them to yoga/stretch classes (just a little though, they’re strong!)

    Perfume is comforting. I’ve found that smelling it on my wrist or hand has the power to calm me when I’m upset about something. I’ll shift my thoughts to the scent, try to analyze the notes in it; that can stop what I call the “static” of negative thoughts and interrupt the process of being mad. Most of the time anyway.

    • Masha says:

      Yes, the attars are really wonderful, they have very rich base notes and stay in the background, but are quite interesting. Gulab (rose) attar is really calming, I think. That’s probably why rose is the main ingredient of the Samadhi powder!

    • Nina Z says:

      Yes! That’s exactly what I mean by using scent as an object of meditation. This practice of mindfulness literally switches your nervous system from stress mode to relaxation mode, which is why it is so effective. That being said, I’ve found it takes at least seven or eight minutes for the switch to take place (I can feel it happen now).

  • Ines says:

    I don’t meditate but I caught myself more than once, lying down in the afternoon and relaxing while I let go of my thoughts (and I don’t fall asleep). It is a bit meditating.
    One scent that instantly transfers me into a contemplative frame of mind is Timbuktu.

  • Millicent says:

    Great idea, Patty! I was doing a 20 – 30 minute “Quiet Time” every day for a few months, and it’s a really good practice to just be for some part of each day. While I was doing it (note the past tense), that time was a nice way to start the day UNLESS I got stuck brooding about something/someone that bothered me. When that happened, I had to spend my get-ready-for-work time putting aside the pettiness, and then that felt like a net negative for the day. But the real reason I stopped was that I got too lazy and disorganized to keep getting up early enough in the morning. Your starting has re-inspired me to try again :)

    That early, I didn’t have perfume on yet, but incenses seem so perfectly evocative. Good suggestions so far, and I bet you get more as more comments get posted.

  • hongkongmom says:

    mmm, vegan cookbooks..presssure cooker..i call it adhd > I am like that but once I am over it, another things comes along…my husband is still waiting for the perfume one to finish! I need to focus on visuals throughout the day>>.watching my steps as I walk, stopping a moment to just “be” , to hyperfocus on something because of the constant hectic movement of hong kong city!!!

  • Masha says:

    I’ve been meditating for about 20 years now (walking, sitting, and veg prep varieties). So the scent can be whatever I happen to be wearing, or nothing. But I have two things I use to help meditation. Scent of Samadhi (rose, holy basil, sandalwood) is a powdered perfume/deodorant that really helps calm me if I’m over-revved, and Zen powdered incense, which is worn on the wrists and hair (Shoyeido or Baieido are good brands) are wonderful if my mind needs a little clearing (they’re very spicy with a warm wood drydown). I like Liz Zorn’s work a lot, will have to try Meerschaum!

    • Marsha says:

      The Shoyeido and Baiedo incense powders are great. I also find meditation extremely helpful with my depression. I’ve been meditating off and on for over 20 years. Patty, when you get over the *hump* with meditation, you will think it is wonderful.

  • Daniela says:

    Great idea to do meditation every day. I think I’ll join you in this 30 day challenge. I’ve noticed my mind getting more and more distracted after I stopped doing yoga. Btw, this is a great track to listen to while meditating or doing yoga or just relaxing:

    A great meditation or relaxation scent for me is Passage d’Enfer by L’AdP. Beautiful light incense. I wear it sometimes before bed, it’s wonderfully comforting and non-aggressive.

    Here’s also a great site for keeping track of your 30-day challenge. You enter a habit that you would like to form and it emails you every day to ask if you had done that activity the day before, and then tracks your responses. The clock restarts if you miss doing the activity. Good nagging little tool!

  • Suzy Q says:

    I like to dab perfume on the back of my hands before a yoga class. Planks, down dogs, anytime my hands and face get close together…something positive happens for just a moment. I like Theorema for yoga.

    Meditation is a great idea. I wish you the best. Keep us posted. You can help the rest of us get motivated. I imagine myself meditating wearing Bois de Violette.

  • Tiara says:

    While I don’t do straight forward meditation, I do try to find a few minutes every day to just be. Trying to figure out a scent for those moments would just add stress so I don’t even think about it.

    However, I do find Dior Homme THE most relaxing scent I own. A bit before bed time and it’s as if something in me turns off and I drift happily off to sleep. Try not to do it every night as I worry that it will stop working and then what will I do?!

    Hope your mom is doing well.

    Happy New Year!

    A few months ago, I discovered that Liz Zorn is quite close to me and I’ve been wanting to visit her studio but life has been happening at full speed so haven’t as yet. One day. Soon. I hope.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! Tell her Gomer says hey!

      She is great! Smart – oh, gosh, is she smart! Well-read, interesting, scary-talented….and her husband is, too – the vaunted Mr Garlic Z.

      xo >-)

    • Carla says:

      Interesting that Dior Homme does that for you – Iris Silver Mist does the same for me, and both are soft iris florals.

  • Nina Z says:

    I see no reason why you can’t meditate on the perfume itself. You can meditate on a sound, an image, a sensation (the feeling of your breath), so why not a smell? What if you sat for 10 minutes just focusing on the smell of your perfume, and every time you notice your mind wandering from the smell, gently bring your mind back to the scent?