Creating a sacred space for your meditation helps you move into a different mode than your everyday reality. It lets your mind know you are leaving behind all your busyness and going to a quieter, still place.
This can be as simple as sitting on your favorite pillow or chair and lighting a candle.
You can also create a space for a group of meditators. I have various scarves or cloths I put in the center of where we will be sitting. ( You could also have this on one end of the room on a table.) I use fire-safe candles in sturdy containers, usually one large one in the middle and two smaller ones on either side. The colors I choose reflect the season, subject matter or my mood that day.
Have fun with it, make it beautiful! As your group goes on, each person could bring a stone, favorite crystal, flower, or totem meaningful to them to place on this altar.
It is sort of like sitting around the campfire, telling stories or doing ceremony. You are inviting Spirit in to participate. It denotes a reverence for life, a reverence for your journey and that of others' journeys as well.
I find I can't really go deep with any kind of melody playing. Instead, I use
recordings of Tibetan singing bowls or bells. You can find cds on the internet, such as Golden Bowls by Karma Moffett, Seven Metals by Benjamin Iobst, Liquid Bells, or Singing Bowls by Xumantra.
The sound of these bowls is very healing and puts you in an altered state pretty much right away if you listen.You can also download whole meditations with music from http://www.meditatewithfriends.com
I never eat anything at least on hour and a half before meditating. I don't offer food afterward either, except tea or chocolate, something small. It's really about feeding our souls, not the body, at this time.