General meditation has over the years gone from something associated with religion to a fad and now mainstream and scientifically accepted an essential part of personal care. Different studies have shown that regular meditation has profound effects on the health and wellbeing of an individual.
These benefits include psychological benefits, physical benefits, and spiritual benefits. Beyond the mind, body and soul benefits, candle meditation also helps in learning and coping with environmental pressures while improving workplace productivity.
There are different types of meditation based on props and techniques used. One of the most popular and effective types is candlelight meditation. It has proven to be quite useful especially for beginners to meditation.
What is Candle meditation?
Candle meditation originates from Hatha Yoga where it is known as Trataka and serves as one of the six techniques used for purification. Trataka is a Sanskrit word whose translation is “to gaze” or “to look” and explains the basis of candle meditation. A Hatha Yoga handbook describes it as focusing your sight on a small point until your eyes shed tears.
Therefore the meditation works by concentrating on a single point of focus which could be a tiny dot, a rising sun or moon, a mountain, an object of worship or a flame like that from a candle. The last option has been found to work best, and it offers a lot of flexibility and convenience.
Eventually, you become fully absorbed into the flame and attain total relaxation, and you can effectively meditate. Achieving this state allows you to examine and look at the past, present, and future with great clarity. It is believed that the practice of candle meditation will enable one to open their third eye also known as Ajna chakra which allows one to develop better intuition and gain wisdom. It is also believed that it can offer psychic abilities. Presently though, candle lighting meditation is popular for its ease and purification effect. It also helps better reflection due to increased concentration.
Benefits of candle meditation
Besides the general usefulness of meditation, Trataka offers several other advantages which include;
1. Improving your concentration and focus
The light and warmth coming from the candle flame make it easier for you to keep your attention on its tip for longer than you would have done in the absence of such a focal point. As a result, your concentration is higher and continuous practice develops your ability to stay focused on one single area or item. Such ability helps you have more meaningful and effective meditation but also carries on to other areas of your life. You can increase your productivity by staying focused on one thing and closing out all other distractions. Developing mono-focus can prove useful in your family and home life as well as in your professional life.
2. It cleans up your etheric body
It is not for nothing that this kind of meditation makes up one of the cleansing elements in Hatha Yoga. It provides cleansing for the eyes. The tears shed from the fixed gaze help remove any dirt or objects present in the eyes. Regular practice leads to further purification and even management of some eye conditions. Beyond the physical cleansing, trataka is also regarded as yoga for the eyes and the ethereal body which results in a more in-depth development of clarity and intuition making it easy to see issues in a new light and find solutions to them. (Further reading: Make More Effective Decisions by Using Your Intuition)
3. Revitalizes the body
4. It helps you achieve intense calmness and a more profound sense of inner peace
5. Helps improve your eyesight and vision
6. It helps develop your willpower and self-discipline
7. It helps you manage and overcome psychological, emotional and even behavioral challenges
Mental problems like depression, anxiety, and even insomnia can be relived and overcome through the calming influence of this meditation technique. Further emotional problems from anger to grief and disappointment can also be overcomed. The way the technique works is like a sieve in that, the longer and sharper your focus becomes the more the turmoil is moved to the periphery. All source of strife then falls off once you have new insights and calm in your mind and soul.
How it is done
The benefits of candle meditation mentioned are among the many you can enjoy but only if you do the technique correctly. Here are several tips and guidelines on the right way to do trataka correctly. The first step is determining the time you will be doing it. This kind of medication relies on the effectiveness of candlelight as a focal point so it will not be beneficial to do it when the sun is bright outside. It is, therefore, most effective when practiced first thing in the morning or the last one in the evening just before you sleep.
1. Choosing the candle for use
Once you know your time, the next step is picking the kind of candle you will use for meditation. First, you want to use a non-toxic type of candle so that you will not be inhaling poisonous fumes that will affect your concentration and focus and also cause several health risks. Avoid candles made with paraffin and similar chemicals instead use candles made from non-toxic substances like soy or bee wax.
Choosing a candle goes beyond toxicity.
- Green – fertility, forgiveness and compassion, healing, hope, and freedom
- White – purity, clarity, simplicity, wholeness or completion, innocence
- Gold – wealth, spirituality, abundance
- Blue – trust, creativity, communication
- Yellow – self-respect, esteem, and discipline, ambition, courage
- Red – vitality, love, courage, family bonds, strength
- Violet – reverence, commitment, higher power
- Turquoise – healing, protection, and independence
- Orange – sexual energy, sensuality, friendship, happiness, and optimism
- Pink – love, loyalty, and empathy
- Indigo – clarity, imagination, wisdom
2. Create a relaxing environment
3. The right position for the candle during meditation
4. Position yourself comfortably
5. Focus on the flame
6. Begin your meditation
7. Leaving the meditation
Candles can be quite dangerous when not attended to, and this attribute led to the National Candle Association developing some safety guidelines when using them even in meditation. These include;
- The candles should be physically near you when they are burning
- They should not be used near anything that may catch fire
- Keep pets and children away from burning candle
- They should not be used in areas with heavy air currents
- A candle snuffer should be used to put them out and before leaving the wick should not be glowing
- They should not be burnt all the way to their ends
- The room should have good ventilation
- Candles should be placed in a sturdy glass or metal candle holders
- A candle that burns too high or hot and flickers or smokes should be extinguished.
With all these tips and guidelines, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of candlelight. It is time you tried out this meditation technique.
♦Further reading: How to Focus on the Breath in Six Easy Steps
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