Week 14. Tantra and trance states: Tantric Candle Gazing Practice Copy

Candle meditation, commonly known as the practice of trataka, is an effective meditation technique. It is the simple act of focusing one’s attention on the flame of a candle. The soft flickering of the candlelight is naturally mesmerizing. In this hypnotic state, the mind completely dissolves, settles and opens up to experience profound insight and focus.

The goal of this practice is to raise the energy into the sixth chakra, which is located at the Third Eye. This center is associated with our vision, both physical sight and internal vision and intuition. When we rest the eyes softly, it’s said to induce higher activity in this region. 

You are invited to repeat this practice at least four times (four consecutive days, ideally). 

  • On day one, visualize the flame as a source of love and light. Feel it radiating outward, penetrating dark corners of the room. This is a great metaphor for divine love and light that can penetrate the dark corners of your thoughts. Allow the light and love of the flame fill the room, and fill every cell in your body.
  • On day two, visualize the flame burning away your impurities. thoughts of hate, fear, impatience, insecurity, greed, anger, anxiety, self-loathing, depression, jealousy, bitterness, guilt and resentment. Replace them with the love and light of the flame, and positive thoughts and emotions.
  • On day three, focus your gaze at the very tip of the flame, where the flame turns to smoke. Notice that the slightest air movement will affect the flame in some way, just as your thoughts affect your environment. Be aware of the movement of air in the room and the way the flame moves. Become aware of the smoke – sometimes it rises straight up into the air and sometimes it twirls around in spirals as it rises.
  • On day four, visualize the light and love of the flame and radiate it outward from your heart to everyone you know; to everyone you have ever met or will meet; and especially to everyone who has wronged you or whom you have wronged. Visualize the light and love from your candle lighting the candles of every other person on the planet. Cultivate a sense of being one with every being (not just human) in the Universe and keep focusing on the flame for as long as you can. You might access a trance-like state. 

HOW TO GET PREPARED FOR THE TRATAKA PRACTICE

The practice is very simple. In short, stare at the candle flame for however long you choose. I encourage you to dedicate to it at least 10-15 minutes. Focus on it and regulate your breath to make it low (into the abdomen) and steady.

You can sit in any way that is comfortable to you – your usual meditation pose, which can be anything from sitting in a chair to sitting in full lotus. To maintain a good upright posture, place the candle as close to eye level as possible to avoid neck strain or slouching – alternatively, the candle can be on the ground 3-6 feet away from you so that your gaze falls naturally on it.

Candle meditation is best done in a relatively dark or dimly lit room, so that it is easy to hold your focus on the flame and maintain a soothing ambience. 

Start by getting comfortable and taking a few long, deep breaths to relax; and then bring your attention to the flame. Soften your gaze and become fascinated with the dance of the flame.

If the mind wanders, keep redirecting your concentration to the flame. Eventually your thoughts will slow down, and then fade altogether and you will experience transcendence of thought where you are left with only awareness of the flame.

PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF TRATAKA MEDITATION 

The benefits of trataka meditation are based on the scientific understanding that the movement of your eyes can show your thinking process. When you concentrate, your attention narrows to a single object of focus.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of trataka meditation:

  1. Strengthen the muscles around the eyes and can alleviate nearsightedness
  2. Eliminates insomnia and improves the quality of sleep
  3. Clears the mind, removes distractions, and improved concentration
  4. Improves memory and mental clarity, and alleviates anxiety

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