There are several things that you can do to enhance your meditation time, no matter what the nature of your spiritual practice.
One of them is to have an altar at which you sit. The second is to have a quiet preparation time of several minutes before the meditation actually begins, in which to make a transition from the energy of what you have been doing, into the present moment. The third is to regularly use music, candles, or other support that raises the vibration in the space in which you sit, so that this space maintains its energetic charge and focus. A space that contains a purer vibration will help you when you sit to meditate at any time. A fourth help is to sit with other people so that the combined energies of the group can assist you.
An altar may be considered to be a 'window' to the Divine. When used regularly and with heartfelt intent, it becomes an inter-dimensional doorway which concentrates higher energies within the physical space and brings the physical and spiritual worlds closer together. An altar is a sacred vehicle in two directions. It carries energies from the upper realms of light and God to you, and it carries your awareness to them.
Altars can be created in a very simple way using a shelf or small table and candle. The power of an altar lies in its purity. It is based on the use to which it is put and the relationship that you have with it. One may think of an altar as having a life of its own. When engaged with regularly and with sincere intent, it becomes a means for enhancing and stabilizing a sense of sacredness, peace, and light in your body and consciousness. When left unattended, its energetic life becomes diminished.
If your spiritual practice begins at a regular time of day, there tends to be a lead-up period prior to this time in which your body begins to prepare for the meditation. During this lead-up time, energies begin to sort themselves out within your body, letting you know that the time is at hand. The phenomenon of regularity produces this physical adaptation, and allows for a deeper connection with the spiritual universe, even before the meditation begins.
It also happens during this lead-up time, that beings of light with whom you are connected can begin to make themselves felt within your energy field as they prepare to assist you during the meditation as well. It is most useful to spend this preparation time of several minutes in silence, quietly breathing, noticing the preparations that are being made. Coming into a meditative space at the last minute does not allow for as much deepening in the beginning, and cuts short what might happen in the way of depth during the whole sitting.
An altar and a sacred space in which to sit that is only used for this activity is ideal, but not everyone has access to such an arrangement. Whether a dedicated space is available or not, it may help you to find a recording of sacred music or speaking that you resonate with and that uplifts you to play both before the meditation and during your days as well. Music, sacred words, lighting a candle, praying - all consecrate a space and when done regularly, change the vibration of that space into a holy one.
During the meditation time, a practice such as the Practice of Alignment may be used to focus consciousness on the presence of light, creating a heightened attunement to your own soul and to the souls of other beings as well. This practice can be used prior to the meditation or at its beginning, to help things get off to a good start.
The adage that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is true in relation to sitting with others in the light, and within sacred groups in general where a unified purpose draws people together to share in a common goal.
The combination of energies that are magnetically drawn to a sacred space in which several people sit, as well as the quantity of energy that rises up from the group to the higher realms, is always greater than mere numbers would suggest. This concentration of energy acts like a vortex which draws to itself what is being sought after, along the lines of the statement "where two or three are gathered in My name, there I Am."
Purity of intent is always important within a group, and the relative absence of competing energies and motivations. When a group of people come together with open hearts and the desire to connect with the Divine heart of life, a stream rises up to the heavens which makes this more possible.
In incorporating all of the above practices and supports into a spiritual practice, what is most helpful is commitment and regularity. In this way, one's everyday life and spiritual life begin to come closer together, until there is a separation no longer.
Julie Redstone is a teacher, writer, and founder of Light Omega.org, a center for spiritual teaching and healing in Western Massachusetts, and of One World Meditations, a global meditative effort to bring light and healing to the Earth.
For more about enhancing your meditation practice, see The Practice of Alignment.