Engaging Our Sense of Sight
One of the key ingredients of any meditation or mindfulness practice is what you pay attention too. This is where many practices vary. This point of focus can come through our various senses. For example if engaging sense of touch, you might use something tactile like a crystal or mala beads. If you are engaging sound, your focus might be on a mantra or chanting. If engaging sight, you might gaze at an object or candle.
Candle gazing is a practice called Trataka which means "to look or to gaze" in Sanskrit. It has been proven to help boost memory and enhance our ability to concentrate. It is also known to stimulate the "third eye" or sixth chakra which is about intuition, integration, insight and wisdom.
This can be a helpful technique to explore for those of us that are wanting a more tangible "focus." Below is a brief guided practice (written and audio) as well as our top candle picks. If you are not comfortable with a candle, you can still practice this meditation by simply imagining the candle in your mind's eye. Here are a few of our favorite candles.
- Little Market - We love everything from The Little Market which is a nonprofit fair trade shop featuring ethically sourced, artisan-made products. But their candles are especially amazing. They have an even burn, have a variety of lovely scents, and seem to last forever.
- KEYS Soul Care - Created with Alicia Keys and inspired by her own skincare journey and love of ancient beauty rituals, these candles are a ritual from the moment they arrive at your doorstep with beautiful packaging and inspiring words.
- Earths Elements - These intention themed candles are an ideal companion to your meditation or spiritual practice.
- Make Your Own Via Ana Lilia - We love this ritual of making a Full Moon Magic Candle that can be made with simple ingredients likely in your kitchen.
Now, let's get settled in a comfortable space and light up your favorite candle where it can be on a stable surface and ideally at eye level. Enjoy!
Candle Gaze Practice
- Keep eyes at a soft downward gaze
- Gently lift it to gaze at the candle
- When need to blink, close eyes and imagine in your minds eye
- Slowly open again, softly gaze at candle
- Again, when need to blink, close the eyes and imagine the candle in your minds eye
- Continue alternating gazing and closing
- If flicker is bothering you, keep eyes closed and imagine in your minds eye
- If thoughts arise or your attention drifts, bring your eyes back to the candle
- Not about studying the flame, but using the flame as a point of attention