This will probably be a very short chapter. After all, how much can you say about smelling. There are good smells, there are bad smells and a myriad in-between. Of course, all there really is in reality is smell, the good, bad or indifferent is definitely a matter of perspective.

There is a very large business being made out of aroma therapy. This is not something new. Aroma therapy has been around forever. If you look back into egyptian rites, buddhist ceremonies or any other ancient religion you will always find the use of incense. Even in the day of christ two of the gifts that the wisemen gave were myrrh and frankincense.

There is a multimillion dollar industry concerning perfumes and products that make anything from our house , to our car, sneakers.....etc. smell good. You get the point. Now you might ask what this all has to do with meditation? Smell is one of the five senses, and as such one that we can use to focus on while meditating.

For this type of meditation I would suggest that you find yourself a strong incense that you enjoy smelling. This is as varied as the person. I would strongly advise against real fruity smelling incense, such as strawberry or vanilla (which they sell in abundance at the grocery store) and go more for the earth smells. The fruity smells are very sweet and heavy and after a time of smelling them can literally make you feel nauseaus.

The best place to get good incense is either through a catalogue, or at your nearby metaphysical bookstore. Be careful to get a good firm stick (the sticks burn easier and you don't have to keep lighting them, if you buy a good brand) that is thick. The thicker the stick, the slower it will burn and the more aroma generally comes out. The skinny stick tend to break easily and burn too quickly.

This is all I am going to say about the type of incense, other than to advise you to experiment with different aromas to find which you like best. Also, when you are finding the aroma you like best, make sure it is one that puts you in a meditative mood. Depending on the smell it might get you motivated to run around the block, rather than rest and meditate.

The best smells are those that cause you to go into a restful state. We all know what kinds of smells those are. For instance, I love the smell of pumpkin pie. It makes me feel secure, because it reminds me of all the holidays that my mother baked a pumpkin pie. You might like the smell of apple pie, or a myriad of other smells. The important thing is to find a smell that you won't mind inhaling for about 20 minutes to an hour.

Personally, for meditation purposes I love the smell of Pachuli and Sandalwood. I don't particularly care for the smell of real flowery incense, as I find the odor distracting. Rather than concentrating on the smell itself, I find myself drifting into memories that the smell evokes.

For this first meditation you will get into your meditative position. Have the incense close by so that you will have a strong smell of the odor, rather than just having it be in the background. Light the incense, close your eyes and let your nose and lungs fill with the smell. Concentrate on the smell. Do not allow your mind to wander. If it does, gently bring it back to the smell. If you find the smell bringing up other memories, quickly dissolve them and return to the smelling. Keep your mind as clear as possible.

Concentrate on the smell, but don't allow yourself to form an opinion about it. When you start to formulate an opinion in words, stop yourself and go back to the clear state.


For this exercise you are going to do the same things, except with a smell you don't like. Pick a smell that is strong. Do not pick one that is going to make you sick, obviously. Pick one that your nose does not like. Do not pick something that is in any way going to harm you (for instance don't bring a can of gas in the room or a can of spray paint and start inhaling).

You might want to pick up a package of limburger cheese from the store. Perhaps you can't stand the smell of onions or garlic. You would be surprised at the common odors that we find distasteful.

The purpose of this meditation is once again to cause your mind to concentrate. It might be easier to concentrate on the distasteful smell, as it won't bring up as many pleasant memories. However, if you start to get bad memories while smelling, do the same as you did in the first exercise and bring your mind back to clear each time.

Do not get discouraged when you have to bring your thoughts under control. This in and of itself is an excellent exercise and will help you later on.

Sometimes these smells can help you work through old problems, because they remind you of things that bothered you and needed to be worked through.

For instance, when my father died he had graveside services. As immediate family I had to sit in the first row right in front of the coffin. It was late August and very hot in California. All the flowers were lined up in front of the coffin and there was a slight hot breeze which blew the smell of the flowers right into our faces. It was a very sweet smell that quickly sickened you until you felt like you couldn't breathe. Ever since then I don't care for the smell of flowers grouped together. It is alright if it is just roses or just carnations, but if there is a large group of flowers emitting that same sickening smell, I find it distasteful.

If there is a smell that you absolutely can't stands, perhaps you will be able to find a correlation to an event, which will help you work through the event.


For this exercise we are going to merely smell what is already around us, without adding to it or taking away from it. You see, as with all of our other senses there are fine aspects to what we experience that does not register with our conscious mind. Most of the time we are not thinking, but on autopilot, and miss some (ok let's face it for most it is a lot) of the finer aspects of life.

There are smells that surround us all the time that we don't even pay attention to simply because they are always there. We notice strong smells, but the softer more slight smells we miss. For instance I have always loved the smell of my mother's sheets. I use the same detergent and wash my clothes the same way, and my clothes have a very definite smell (which I find very pleasant), but they don't smell like my mothers' did. Even now that my mother is no longer living her sheets still have her smell. I can wash them and the smell lingers. I can't explain it any better than this, it is just one of those things that is.

What we are going to do with this exercise is start to really explore our environment. We are going to be doing this with all five senses, as I am sure you are beginning to see if you read chapter 1. I don't know if you ever saw land of the giants' or any of the other movies or television shows that showed people being about 2 inches tall. Imagine this concept for a moment and realize how much different your life would be in the very room you are at if you were only 2 inches tall. Think of all the things you would see that you aren't seeing now.

Enough of that for now, but I want you to get the idea and start expanding your mind along these lines. It will help when you are doing these exercises.

Get in your meditation position and simply start sniffing the air. Don't take too deep of breaths so that you don't hyperventiliate. Simply smell the air as you inhale it. You will find that there are smells that are layered on top of one another. Separate the layers, identify it and go on. Don't come to any conclusions or stop to think about what it is and why, just accept it for what it is and move on. Make sure your eyes are closed and that you are focusing all of your attention to the exercise.

Do not light incense or spray anything in the room you are going to be meditating in for this exercise. You want to just pick up what is already in the room. Many times you will find that the scents are layered. Take the layers apart, one at a time and identify each scent.


As a final scent meditation I would like for you to take your nose outside. Find a place in the woods, moutains, lake, stream, brook, or even your own backyard if you have many different trees and plants there. If not, go to a park that is full of plant life. The point is to get in as many smells as possible.

This is a great way to commune with nature and to learn about all the things you are missing.

There is a difference between walking and driving a car. When you drive you only see a general overview of life. When you are walking you notice many different aspects. Things are more up close and personal when walking. The same is true for truly looking at all the things around you, especially in nature.

Get comfortable wherever you end up. Close your eyes and start sniffing the air. Do this by first taking in three deep breaths and letting them out slowly. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now do the same thing you did in the other exercise. Start dissecting scents. They will definitely be layered in nature, especially if you are in the woods or by running water (I am not talking about a sink here, but a creek or river).

Remember not to draw conclusions or dwell on any one scent. Smell it, identify it and move on.