This simple technique is an excellent introduction to the Art and science of meditation. People of all ages and stress levels can immediately feel the benefits. Students can use this before studying to improve their concentration.
What is Tratac or candle Gazing Meditation?
It’s secret lies in that you gaze at an object that captures your attention. Perhaps you have had the experience of being totally absorbed , taken out side your self as it were by a magnificent sunset or a full moon, stopped and held in the moment by something of exquisite beauty and in a that moment you enter the timeless, catching a glimpse of eternity.This Candle Gazing technique if practised regularly can hone and develop your concentration to the ‘enth’ degree.As it brings the mind to a place of stillness,distractions dissolve away, mind becomes focused on the flame. The candle gazing Meditation also improves memory bringing the mind to supreme awareness.
Translating as to gase or look Trataka the concentrated technique of gazing at a candle is a firm favorite of my Yoga students who attend the night classes. I use it as one way to introduce Meditation into the classes. Remember if you are only doing Asana or the physical aspects of yoga you are not experiencing the full magic and richness of the science and Art of yoga.
This technique was used by the ancients priestesses in Egypt, gazing into a bowl of still-water. Other cultures gaze at the full moon.
Two divisions of Trataka are offered Bahiranga outer gazing and Antranga inward gaze.
The technique of outer gazing further develops your spiritual powers.
The physical side effects are an improvement or correction for short sightedness.
it has the wonderful effect of calming your mind, removing anxiety, by bringing a stilling of the mind so that a wondrous relaxation steals over your whole body.
Shanti Gowans in her book ”Calm the Mind ”tells us This training in one pointedness of the mind is the first step in learning not to cling. The goal of meditation is to free awareness from its identification with your senses and thoughts.So freed your awareness, permeates every thing but clings to nothing. Sooo… practice one-pointedness (Trataka gazing)and the exclusion of all other considerations, even when these considerations happen to be enticing.
Shanti also says The eyes are doorways to the mind,and intimately related to it. when the eyes are fixed and unmoving, th e mind also becomes the same and the thinking process automatically ceases as concentration increases and deepens.
How does it work?
Sit with a straight spine, position the candle close to you. ( If you are teaching in a class sit students in a circle around the candle level with their gaze.Students with contact lenses need to close their eyes after about 20 seconds. So a s not to burn the retina through the lens.)
As the candle flame stills so will your breath and mind. Gaze for a few minutes at the flame, at the golden glow above the wick.Rest your eyes on the golden white light,now blow out the flame, close your eyes and await the image that will appear on the inside of your eyelids. do not worry if nothing appears, sit with the no – image, the blank screen of your mind.
We are not all visual people, but practising this technique will improve that sense.After a while the image will fail.
To lift this technique to another level.
Take your mind back to the time when the candle was newly lit. See it again in your mind’s eye. The candle, the black wick, the brilliant golden white light surrounded by a subtle halo or aura. Picture this halo as expanding, your soft breathing is feeding the expansion so now your point of focus is the candle flame. Hold this until it fades. Slowly come back into the room. Calm and Blessed. Peace.