When we purposefully focus our attention on a specific thing, our mind gradually quietens. Mindfully gazing at a single object of focus has been a practice in Buddhist and Yoga traditions for thousands of years.
If you are practising a single point of focus for the first time, you may find yourself easily distracted and uncomfortable. The best approach is one of gentleness, self-care and self-compassion.
Candle gazing (Trataka in Sanskrit)
Find a comfortable sitting position, using blankets, blocks and/or cushions if required. Place your candle at arm’s length and eye level before you. Begin to gaze softly at the lit candle, when you feel the need, close your eyes. Open and revisit the candle as often as you need and repeat the practice over the course of 10 minutes. Trataka is reported to strengthen vision and memory and to support sleep and concentration. Trataka is best avoided if you suffer from migraines or epilepsy.
In your practice, you may decide you’d like to consider the flame of your candle as Divine light and perhaps offer up a thank you at the end of the practice as the candle is extinguished, the choice is yours.
Single point of focus provides an opportunity for self-study – Svadhyaya in Sanskrit – where we learn to observe our thoughts, distractions and patterns as they arise. Candle gazing will help us to better understand what makes us tick and create a deeper connection with ourselves.
Yours in service