Modular Meditation Spaces Series
Brief Overview (TLDR):
The ‘Modular Meditation Spaces’ series is centered around two main concepts: One, the prioritization and utilization of efficient space concerning the designs of larger objects intended for use in dwelling areas; And two, the intentional shifting of living habits from a strictly chair-height based tradition into a more floor-based lifestyle; a lifestyle that we once knew so well.
The transformation and retransformation of living and working space has been a constant activity of my lifetime so far. What was originally conceived out of pragmatic necessity due to small living spaces, has now become more of an enjoyable way-of-lifestyle for me. I think it mainly stems not only from instinctively-learned skills of how to best use small space, but also from continually updated and remanifested mindsets of intentionally *keeping* spaces smaller *by* having less items rather than more. Ultimately I know that the always-present urge to slim down my possessions and my lifestyle is that of anti-capitalism and anti-consumerism/materialism sentiments. Hell, to me, is waking up in 20 years with closets and basements and attics overflowing with *things* that I haven’t seen or looked at or cared about for ages. It’s one thing to look in the face of our All-Wise-Mother-Earth and say, “ Listen, I need this thing. It’s plastic, it’s kind of niche, but I’m really gonna use it and love it a lot.” --- That’s one thing, and permissibility *could* be granted. It’s an entirely different thing to do that, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, and eventually have all these pearls of capitalist-consumerism pile up in dusty boxes with their only certainty of seeing daylight again by way of garbage-truck-to-city-landfill, and hopefully not the Ocean.
For the last two years, I have been living alone in a renovated 100 sq.ft. trailer in a small neighborhood in East Los Angeles, about 3 miles from Downtown LA. I was excited to move in here because of my interest in smaller living, and also the financial flexibility I am able to get from a situation like this in such an absurdly expensive city. Here, I worked on further slimming down my *necessary* objects that I need to function happily, and what that means for me in the long run. By having this small manageable space, I am able to treat every inch of it in a manner that I find aesthetically and functionally pleasing, which ultimately gives me a great sense of agency and control over my space. Many items in here can be or just *are* being used in multiple ways by necessity.
By having larger furniture objects, like daybeds for example, able to function as more than just a single-use object we can utilize our spaces in more efficient ways and limit that inevitable urge to always seek larger and larger dwellings to hold all of our belongings. The meditation cushions in this series are modular in that they can be connected and fit into their larger main-objects, be it a daybed, bench, or other larger seating piece. With the cushions removed, the main-objects surface are then able to be used as working surface, eating surface, etc. These types of modular arrangements open up many different possibilities of practical use from traditional soft laying surface, to cushions then removed and used for a meditation gathering, to cushions surrounding the main-object and using the object's surface for a small eating, working, or communal gathering.
The other main exploration of this series is object that can not only be used modularly and multi-functionally, but also as a way to prioritize and shift into a more floor-based living style. I’ve always felt more comfortable lying on the ground as opposed to formal furniture, even since childhood. I remember often falling asleep with my cheek against the scratchy texture of our 90s beige carpeting after school, probably in some post-snack sugar-induced coma of sorts. I don’t really know why that started, I think I just liked being low. Mindful energy-people might say it has something to do with what’s known as Grounding. Could be true, though I would have been completely unaware of what that meant in that young time of my life. Nowadays, I find that being closer to the floor means that I’m far more likely to stretch, practice other body movements, or enter into quick meditations without being physically constrained to the inherently small surface area of a chair or other limiting seating object. Floor-sitting is known as a facet of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and other cultures not typically associated with “Western” ideas of spatial living. It has also been researched as a way to promote sustained physical activity throughout life and even shown to elongate human life spans ~ “Improving posture and increase overall strength, flexibility, and mobility.” (www.bluezones.com/articles/why-the-okinawan…). The daily act of continually lifting and re-lifting yourself off of the bare ground to standing is thought to have inherent health benefits from frequent calisthenic body movements.