Is 'atmosphere' essential for worship/prayer/meditation?


...always learning
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New Zealand
I've sometimes had this little debate with myself about how important the atmosphere of a place/ space is to encourage worship/prayer/meditation.

On one hand, because a sense of spiritual 'peace' is a very inward experience, I could be anywhere to have this sense of peace and connection with the universe, the Creator. I could be in the middle of a city, up a mountain or wherever to experience this.

On the other hand, some environments, just seem and feel more 'sacred' - some of the beautiful old cathedrals in Europe, the temples and gardens in Japan... and lighting, candles, incense can create an atmosphere of calm that perhaps makes it easier to have a 'spiritual' experience.

Does it have anything to do with the number/ kind of people around you? To be alone or to be in a crowd with people on the same 'wavelength'?

I'm just interested in other peoples experiences/ thoughts...
Personally, I think having an 'atmosphere' to encourage any form of prayer/meditation/etc. is not a bad thing. I would also like to include accompanying/background music (chanting, song, etc.) as well. As you mentioned, spiritual peace should ultimately originate from within, so I suppose it would be something we should try to achieve.
I don't see anything wrong in using the 'atmosphere' to help you develop that sense. However, there is always a danger of having to always rely on the 'atmosphere' to create that spiritual feeling, which by then, it would cease to originate from within.

The people around you would contribute to that I suppose, depending on whether you would feel affected by it. Some religions encourage worship/prayer/meditation in groups such as (plz correct me if I'm wrong) Zen Buddhism and Christianity.

Just some of me thoughts...
Whenever I meditate, I burn incense as an offering to the Buddhas. Because the incense is such a strong smell I now have a psychological association thing going on so that whenever I smell incense I feel calm and meditative.