Meditation can sometimes seem daunting, especially to newcomers who aren’t accustom to the spotlight it puts in your self-awareness. There are so many distractions in today’s world, it is easy to get lost among the constant bombardment. Meditation can be a valuable part of your Self-Care routine which will help you combat internal and external stresses.
Candle meditation, sometimes referred to as gazing, is the practice of focusing your sight and your attention on the flame of a candle for a dedicated amount of time. There is mystery in the flame of a candle. It dances, it arouses, it consumes, it gives warmth and illuminates, it changes colour and can create a beautiful incandescent halo. All of this draws you in and creates white noise for your mind to find relaxation. Candle meditation is a good way to improve your ability to focus during meditation and in your daily life. It can also ease your brain into a meditative state if you practice with the same scent(s) that will stimulate the memory of that peaceful state.
Before you light a candle for your meditation, take a minute to prepare the space in which you will meditate.
Remove unnecessary distractions. Turn your phone off, and it’s even better if remove it from your meditation space.
Turn down the lights or draw your window shades closed. You'll find this meditation much easier to do in a room that's not too bright and you'll avoid eyestrain too
Make the room a comfortable temperature, you may want to grab a blanket or shall, as the stillness can sometimes feel chilly.
Find a comfortable position. If you choose to sit, maintain a straight posture for better internal flow. A firm chair or sitting on the floor cross legged is recommended, as a soft seat will encourage the slouching we want to avoid.
You may also lay down in Shavasana, but again, avoid surfaces that are too soft that may cause you to lose awareness of your body.
Select your candle. While you can perform a meditative gaze with any candle, selecting candles with specific traits can influence your meditation. You may find that a specific colour, scent or stone increases the effectiveness of your medication on the part of your aura that requires special attention.
Now that you have nurtured a peaceful space for meditation, here are the steps to follow:
1) Light a candle
2) Dim the light in the room enough so that the flame of the candle will stand out, but not to full darkness
3) Place the candle in a safe spot about 50cm-20cm away from you, ideally on the same eye level as your eyes or slightly below, to avoid holding your neck in a stressful position.
4) Take care find a comfortable seat
5) Take a few slow deep breaths.
6) Bring awareness to your body, note where you feel any tension and then release it.
7) Now, focus your attention on the flame of the candle. Try to gaze with soft eyes, and blink whenever you feel the need to – this is not a staring contest!
8) Try to hold your sight and attention solely on the flame of the candle, without thinking of anything else or looking at anything else in the room.
9) Consider your experiences in the moment. Look at the light, the forms it takes, brightness it gives, and the colours within. Inhale the scent of the candle, what do you smell first? What scents lie beneath that? Note the warmth you may feel coming from the candle.
10) If intrusive thoughts arise, acknowledge them and then bring your mind back to the candle.
11) As you relax, you will find your peripheral vision start to fade. Your eyes are open, but you seem to see nothing but the small flame in front of you. It can feel like there is no distance between yourself and the flame, and you may feel at one with the flame.
Optional: You may want to journal your experience, it can be calming and informative.
Keep in mind, meditation is about self-awareness and relaxation. It may be difficult at first to keep your mind focused, but meditation is a continuous practice – not goal oriented. The improved concentration can help you in every area of your life.