For the entirety of my life, I have looked into a blazing fire and found it so comforting. There is something about watching the flames bounce around the feels a little restrained and uninhibited simultaneously. Getting lost in the melodic movement calms my mind, which is no easy task for me.
Through my Yoga Teacher journey, I was introduced to Candle Gazing as a meditation tool, and it makes perfect sense to me! I had never considered this practice to be something more useful than me sitting still and quiet for a moment, but I feel enlightened by the discovery that concentrating on a flame has been used to meditate by millions of people for thousands of years!
If you are like me, and have difficulty practicing meditation, try candle gazing to see if it helps you steady your active brain. Here’s what I do:
- The candle you choose does not matter, except you should pick ones you love: scented, jars, tapers, votives…whatever you have on hand that brings you joy.
- Of course be safe when lighting and placing your candle; you don’t want an actual fire!
- Find a comfortable seat you can maintain for a few minutes.
- Set your candle a little above eye level so you can gaze slightly up at it.
- Set a timer (with a calm tone) for 3 – 5 minutes.
- After you have lit your candle(s), just be still. And gaze into the flame. And think about nothing. This is the time for you to think your favorite mantra if you want…or don’t. Just sit in the silence and focus on the flames.
- Don’t be hard on yourself if you have to build up to any length of time here. I first set a timer for three minutes but didn’t last two.
- Try this every day…maybe first thing in the morning or maybe at night. See what works for you.
Knowing this technique has been passed down by many learned Yogis has helped me be more deliberate in how I manage my stress. I have never been someone who meditates because I cannot still my mind. Candle gazing is a tool that has allowed me to conquer my “monkey mind,” if only for a few minutes every day.
I hope you give it a try and let me know if it works as well for you.