Candles have been lighting the way for thousands of years, being used by nearly all religions, cultures and individuals. They are symbols of celebration, mourning, calming, spirituality and the soul. Their power, combined with your own thoughts and desires can have a profound influence in your life and assist you in balancing and maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.
Candle meditation has been around since candles were invented; and before that, its origins date back to the first time a human being stared into a fire. A fire is hypnotic and can quickly create a state of trance – if you have a fireplace or wood stove at home, or if you have ever been camping, you know how mesmerizing a fire can be… or if you’ve ever sat in a room lit only by candles, you have experienced how peaceful and relaxing the warm glow of candlelight can be.
Fire is almost irresistible.
Candles also create a meditative and hypnotic mood. The candle flame offers a good focal point for reflection and meditation, as it sends out its own energies.Candle light meditation is open-eye mediation. As the name suggests, in this style of meditation, you are expected to stare at a candle flame while meditating. To many, it is easier to concentrate on a physical object than focusing on a mantra or imaginary objects as suggested in other forms of meditation. Candle color therapy can be used in many ways — meditation, Reiki, energy healing, chakra balancing and self-improvement. It can also be used cleansing, healing and strengthening the mind, body and spirit. In any way you choose to use them, the most important goal is to develop a higher awareness and consciousness.
It’s something all humans do – stare at the fire – and it’s difficult to keep from getting drawn into the dance of the flames. This is why candle meditation is very effective as a meditation technique or anytime you need to quiet your mind or focus your thoughts. In this hypnotic state, the mind settles, and you can focus your attention on one topic, or no topic at all and allow your mind to go completely quiet.
While the step is not compulsory many people find that they benefit from deciding what the flame of the candle represents to them. For example, the flickering flame might represent the light of knowledge. Or it may represent life and the universe. Others find that represent represents their awakened consciousness. Others believe that the lit flames represents kindness and peace in the world. Another representation is that the lit candle is welcoming and represents hospitality. Deciding what the flame will represent you can help to place you in a positive mindset before beginning your meditation.
It is most important however to keep in mind that meditation is nothing but concentration. It doesn’t matter what kind of meditation you do, concentration is what will get you results. It can be done anytime and anywhere. All it takes is a quiet place and time.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 ambiance. Use candles with a scent that is aligned with your intention: soothing, energizing, clarifying, etc. Beeswax candles are always a great option, for their delicate, natural honey scent.
Before you light a candle for your meditation, take a minute to prepare the space in which you will meditate. Turn down the lights or draw your window shades closed. You’ll find this meditation much easier to do in a room that’s not too bright and you’ll avoid eyestrain too, so make sure the room you are in is dimly lit and at a comfortable temperature.As you begin with the meditation process, you must first set up your place to suit the practice. Switch off bright lights, if there are any. Cover the windows. It is not necessary the room has to be dark. The idea is to create a set up that is dimly up, but is comfortable to sit in. Ensure the room is at a normal temperature or a temperature you are comfortable at.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… within a few seconds you will begin relaxing.
The space needs to be quiet, and darkened. Place the lit candle on a table, or something else where the candle will be at eye level. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, especially at the waist, hips, and chest. Make sure the room temperature is pleasant for you. A shawl or blanket draped around your shoulders will give you extra warmth. Turn off your mobile, and phone, and any other appliances that may disturb you.
Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, and slightly apart. Rest your hands in your lap, or place them palm downwards on your thighs. If you can, keep your back straight without resting it against the chair.
You can also sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor. Place the cushion underneath you so that it raises your buttocks. Place your hands in your lap, or hold them in the more traditional style with your palms resting upward on your thighs, and the thumbs and index fingers lightly touching. Keep your back straight throughout the practice. Bringing your chin a little toward your neck will help to straighten your back.
Now light a candle and position it at eye level, or slightly below. It’s OK to look down at the candle slightly, but make sure that your head is not tilted too far forward and that your body is not slumping.
Center yourself by gently moving your torso from side to side, and then forwards and backwards, until you feel a subtle alignment in your body.Sit with a straight spine, position the candle close to you.Make sure that the flame is at the level of your eyes. Also, make sure that you are facing the candle directly without having to turn the neck even slightly. It’s important that you are able to maintain a comfortable upright posture that feels natural to you. Take a seat in your favorite chair, or sit cross legged on the floor, and make sure that your candle is at least 50cm away from you, otherwise it may appear too bright.
Take a few deep breaths to relax. Close the eyes and watch your breath as you inhale and exhale for about five to seven breaths. This will allow the breath to settle down and bring you into the present moment.It is important that the flame remains steady during the concentration routine. So, make sure that there no breeze around of any kind to disturb the flame. If needed, turn off any fans or air conditioner in the room.
Sit at a distance of some 50 cm from the candle. The position of the candle should be at eye-level. Do not fall forward while gazing at the candle or do not slump. Remember, you have to be comfortable when looking at the candle flame. You can sit in a chair. Or you can choose to sit cross-legged, in front of the candle, whichever is convenient to you.The practice is very simple: in short, stare at the candle flame. 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.As you stare at the hypnotically-flickering flame, your mind will begin its usual wanderings. You might think about things you have to do, problems you are having, physical discomfort and so on. Just redirect your concentration to the flame anytime this happens. Eventually your thoughts will slow, and then fade altogether and you will experience transcendence of thought where you are left with only awareness of the flame.
Now simply stare at the candle and allow the image of the flame to occupy your mind.
Now take your attention to the candle flame…draw in a long, slow breath through your nose… as you slowly breathe out through your nose let the busyness of your day drop away. And take in another long, slow, deep breath through your nose… as you breathe out slowly through your nose, let go of all worries that may have been troubling you this day. And again, draw in a long, slow, deep breath…breathing all the way down into your belly… as you slowly breathe out through your nose sink comfortably into your posture, just being aware that your back is straight…your shoulders are sloping downwards…have a hint of a smile on your face…let your face be smooth, and serene.
Now just allow the breath to come, and to go as it will, letting it be natural… keeping your focus on the candle flame. Hear my words, and let them go… just being aware of the guidance, but not holding onto the words.
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. Start gazing at the flame. When you do so, the image of the candle should fill your mind. Initially, you may find it hard to concentrate, and your eyes might turn watery. But keep your gaze fixed till you achieve a state of calm. As you stare at the candle, breathe in and breathe out. As you keep at it, you slowly find yourself getting into a state of concentration and peace.
We are not all visual people, but practicing this technique will improve that sense.After a while the image will fail.
Gaze at the flame intently and keep your gaze on it without getting distracted towards outer disturbances and thoughts.Keep your vision focused and steady on the flame without blinking, for as long as it is comfortable to you. Try to avoid any kind of body movement during the entire practice.Keep your gaze anchored on some part of the flame, rather than the candle or wick. If thoughts come up in the mind, just become aware of them and then ignore them. Try to maintain your awareness and focus on the flame.Continue to gaze at the flame until you cannot keep your eyes open and tears start flowing. Once this happens, close your eyes.Gaze softly at the flame… as you continue to do so if you feel you are starting to stare at the light, ever so gently blink your eyes and refocus your eyes… gazing softly at the candle light once more… allowing your mind to quieten… allowing the thoughts that enter your mind to be there, but like these words just letting them drift by… As you softly gaze at the flame, you will notice that thoughts will come into your mind. Just allow them to be there, and allow them to float out of your mind like passing clouds…It takes time for the mind to quieten so if thoughts are there don’t try pushing them away… Never resist your thoughts, just pay them no attention, and they will pass… Never become discouraged if your mind is busy, or beat yourself up because you are finding it difficult to stay focused…When your mind influences you with thoughts, bring it gently but firmly back to the flame… This is your meditation practice, and it takes time and patience to change old habits… Continue to gaze gently at the flame… And keep your awareness on the flame, gently gazing at the flame, remaining aware, remaining focused, remaining concentrated, aware, focused, concentrated, gazing at the flame…
Remain aware, letting all thoughts pass through your mind like clouds in the sky…
And now when you are ready, gently withdraw your gaze from the flame… bring your consciousness back into the room. Give thanks for having been able to spend this time in meditation. Just slowly turn your head from side to side. Become aware of the temperature in the room. When you are ready, take a deep, and clearing breath.At first, your mind will probably wander about and your eyes will resist your efforts to keep them still. This is normal and it will gradually ease as the meditation progresses, so don’t be too concerned if this happens to you.You may also find that your eyes water a little. Again, this is normal and it usually dissipates quite quickly. If distractions like these arise, simply return your attention to the candle flame and let them go.A great way to deepen a candle meditation is to imagine that you are breathing the light of the candle in and out of yourself. You don’t need to perform a complex visualization exercise to do this, just keep your eyes fixed on the candle flame, and allow your natural breathing rhythm to fill your awareness.Casually sense that the light of the candle is flowing into you as you breathe in and out. Feel a sense of purity and clarity infusing with your body and mind as you absorb yourself in this meditation.
Something rather special happens whenever you go deep into a candle meditation. I’ll describe it so that you’ll recognize it, when it happens to you…The reason that you are able to see is because your brain processes the signals that are sent to it via the optic nerves in your eyes. What happens as this meditation progresses is that your brain begins to stop processing these signals. That might sound dramatic, but it’s actually perfectly natural, perfectly safe and a profoundly serene experience. Let me explain what this looks and feels like…Your eyes are firmly fixed on the image of the flame in front of you and because your eyes are not moving, they are not providing your brain with any new information to process. You then find that some areas of your peripheral vision start to fade from your vision completely…Gradually, more and more of your peripheral vision fades away until you have no visual awareness of anything but the candle flame.When you close the eyes, you may be able to visualize an after-image of the flame with closed eyes. Try to bring this image at the point between the eyebrows at the center of the forehead (the third eye location).The depth and level of your concentration will determine how clear the after-image is. If you cannot visualize the after-image of the flame with closed eyes, or it wavers constantly or looses clarity, then re-apply your concentration to restore the position of the after-image.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.When the image begins to fade out completely, bring your awareness back to your breathing and begin to watch the flow of breath at the tip of the nose for about 7 to 8 breaths.You can open your eyes at this point and repeat the full gazing routine as given above one more time.This is a profound experience. Your eyes are open, but you are actually not seeing anything but the small flame in front of you.
As a result it feels as though there is no distance between yourself and the flame. In essence, you have become one with the flame.To achieve this requires both mental stillness and the physical stillness of your eyes. As soon as you move your eyes around, your brain is flooded with new sensory input and you will instantly be able to see the room around you again. Remain still and focused on the candle, and you will slip back into this state of profoundly deep meditation quite quickly.
It may take some practice to really stabilize this experience, but it’s well worth it!Initially, a practitioner of candle light meditation may find it difficult to concentrate on the flame of the candle. Some distracting thoughts may dissuade him from continuous practice. However, bringing back the mind, gently, to concentrate on the flame is the easiest way to conquer distraction. As one tends to do this regularly, the power of concentration and mental alertness improve.
1. After your thoughts have quieted, 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.
2. Again, after your thoughts have quieted, visualize the flame burning away your impurities. Visualize it burning away 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/emotions.
3. Candle meditation is a present-awareness exercise. To further enhance your present-awareness, focus your gaze at the very tip of the flame, where flame turns to smoke. Notice that the color here is different than it is in the middle or the bottom of the flame. Notice that the slightest air movement will affect the flame in some way, just as your thoughts affect your environment. Be aware of the scent of the candle; the movement of air in the room; the way the flame becomes wider, thinner, quieter or more active as outside forces (like your breath and the air in the rooom) affect it. Become aware of the smoke – sometimes it rises straight up into the air and sometimes it twirls around in spirals as it rises.
4. To connect with your infinite Self, contemplate the infinite nature of a flame. When one flame lights another, and that flame lights another and so on, you can see that the flame is infinite. 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.
5. Use your favorite Om harmonics soundtrack as a background or complement to candle meditation. Close your eyes and visualize the flame, only this time the flame is dancing to the music.
6. Expand on this visualization exercise you just did; eyes open or eyes closed, visualize the flame lighting the way for people who need help emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually. Visualize the flame lighting the hearts of people consumed by fear and hate. Visualize the flame lighting YOUR way to your destiny. Visualize the flame guiding you toward your higher purpose. Let your imagination run with this! You can use light in so many different ways
Candle meditation can be used anytime to quiet your mind and de-stress. Simply light a candle and give yourself a chance to focus on it; in just a few minutes you will be enjoying a quiet mind and profound inner peace! Use this when your mind is too busy and you need to focus. Keep candles handy wherever they are appropriate and take a few minutes here and there to center yourself and bring your attention back to the present.
Candle light meditation helps to improve your mental stability; in turn giving you your must needed mental peace. And here’s how!
As your eyes are fixed on the candle flame, they don’t see anything beyond the flame. In such a situation, your brain receives no new information to process. It is the nerves of your eyes that send signals to your brain. But in this case, no signal is sent. As a result, images beside the candle begin to fade away from your vision. During the experience, while your eyes are open, you only see the flame and nothing else.
Interestingly, each candle color disperses different forms of energy during the meditation process. For instance, a white candle stick is meant for clarity in vision, indigo for wisdom, turquoise for healing, yellow for inner power and self-confidence, orange candle for the ability to survive a loss, red for courage and physical strength, pink for warmth and empathy etc.
So, when you practice candle light meditation, you can choose the color of the candle based on what you want to achieve during the meditation process.
Color choice is of the utmost importance when burning candles because different colors vibrate at varying frequencies. These vibrations converge with your own energies and can assist you in manifesting your desires, balancing your auras and chakras and protecting you from negative energies.
Listed in the chart below are candle colors and their corresponding therapeutic uses. It is advised to use a candle snuffer to put out the flame, because the energy of your breath conflicts with the energy of the flame, which can interrupt and affect the outcome of the candle burning session.
White represents all the colors in unity. It purifies the body, cleanses, protects, gives peace and comfort and enhances spirituality. The smoke from a white candle signifies the clearing of negativity. When it no longer is smoking, the negative energy is gone.
Black is the most powerful, it absorbs and disrupts negative energies and thoughts, used for deep meditation, brings peace and silence. Useful when going through difficult times in relationships and employment. It is even more powerful when burned along with a white candle. Use caution as it can also manifest depression. Offset this by burning a yellow candle.
Red brings about strength, love, passion, sexuality, grounding, psychic protection, healing, attaining ambitions and balances and cleanses the root chakra.
Yellow enhances communication, meditation, clairvoyance, learning, healing, improves memory, mental stimulation, promotes happiness and drives negative energies away and balances and cleanses the solar plexus chakra.
Green promotes healing, stimulates growth, attract money, luck, balancing, calming, protection, confidence, recalling past lives and ailments attached to them, abundance and balances and cleanses the heart chakra.
Orange represents friendship, success, enthusiasm, attraction, vitality and creativity. It soothes shattered nerves, is used for seeking out career or healing treatments and balances and cleanses the sacral, or navel chakra.
Blue brings about forgiveness, healing (especially in children), meditation, calming, centering, peace, resolving spiritual issues, can help with immediate financial needs and balances and cleanses the throat chakra.
Lavender brings about healing, soothing, divine freedom, burns off negative karma from past lives and helps with dream interpretation.
Purple takes away negativity, overcomes obstacles, heightens psychic awareness, helps in contacting the spirit world.
Pink brings about fulfillment, emotional love, affection, joy, sensual pleasure, soul mate attraction and forgiveness of self and others.
Indigo enhances spirituality, intuition, psychic abilities, spiritual healing, after-death communication when burned with a silver candle and balances and cleanses the third eye, or brow chakra.
Peach brings balance, truth, rejuvenation, kindness, sympathy and assists in making someone else’s wishes come true.
Magenta is a magic color, it brings intense spiritual awareness, spiritual healing, assists in making changes and getting fast results and balances and cleanses the crown chakra and helps connect the energy flow between the earth star and the soul star chakras.
Silver brings stability, peace, clear thoughts, persistence, develops psychic abilities, ESP, gets rid of evil. It enhances meditation, awakens intuition, neutralizes unwanted energies or vibrations and balances and cleanses the soul star chakra.
Gold brings unity, good fortune, luck and deep understanding.
Brown removes bad omens, brings about financial success, grounds you to the earth, meditate with it to locate lost items and balances and cleanses the earth star chakra.
Turquoise is good for meditation, creativity, self-awareness, ultimate healing, calming, peaceful and unblocks a cluttered mind.
Darker shaded candles bring in more of the protection powers that the black candle illuminates. Lighter shaded candles enhance the purification powers that the white candle illuminates and helps avoid dishonesty. You can also burn a black or white candle next to another colored candle to achieve the same effects.
You can also burn more than one candle at a time. There are various placement configurations when using multiple candles. Always light multiple candles in a clockwise direction so that the energy flow is uninterrupted and in a continuous pattern. Each configuration can bring about specific results and changes. Listed below are examples of some of the more common candle configurations.
Triangle – To overcome inner conflict, enhance creativity and good luck.
Square – Grounds and stabilizes and helps to enhance compassion, unconditional love and nonjudgmental behavior.
Circle – The ultimate protection, symbolizes the cycle of life, unity, infinity and deep friendships.
Cross – To align and balance chakra energies.
Diamond – Helpful in meditation, harmony in the family and home and can be used to manifest all desires.
Star – 5-point: Strengthens and heightens spiritual awareness.
6-point: Protects and balances, heals, reconnects the heart chakra to the mind.
7-point: Chakra alignment, healing, self-protection and creates energy, harmony and optimism.
In Yoga, candle light meditation is referred as Trataka. As a first step in the practice of candle light meditation, the eyes need to be washed with clean water. This meditation can be practiced in a group. The group of practitioners sit around a lit candle, preferably when the natural light is dim (evening time). The distance between the candle and the practitioner should be about two meters. It should be ensured that the candle is at the same level as the eye. As a part of practice, try and focus on the flame of the candle. Instead of looking directly at the flame, start from the base of the candle and slowly move up. Concentrate on the flame, all the while trying to do this without blinking the eyes. Do this for about 30 seconds. Now, gently close the eyes and cover them with your palms. Relax. After a few seconds, gentle open the eyes. Repeat this two more times. Let your breathing be normal and rhythmic. As you become comfortable with the practice, you may increase the duration.
One of the best types of meditation for improving focus is candle meditation. Candle meditation is a simple, but highly effective, form of invitation that uses a lit candle as an object of focus. Many people find that they enjoy candle meditation due to its slightly ethereal quality.As the eyes stay focused on the candle flame and do not blink, tears rush from the eyes. These clean the eyes and remove any kind of dirt and blockage on the eye’s surface. The tear glands are cleansed. Also, this kind of practice strengthens the nerves and muscles of the eye. The optic nerves become stronger. Errors of refraction get rectified. The strain caused to the eyes due to constant exposure to computer screens is removed by performing this meditation, regularly.In order to practice candle meditation you will need to set aside 20 to 30 minutes where you will not be distracted. If you are just beginning with candle meditation you may find that you can’t focus or a full half hour. In this case start with a five minute candle meditation. Each day add an additional five minutes to your meditation until by the end of the week you have worked up to a half hour session. Many people with families prefer to practice candle meditation early in the morning or late at night when their children are asleep. You should also meditate somewhere you feel safe and comfortable.
Many people suffer from insomnia or sleeplessness. Regular practice of candle light meditation, before retiring to bed, for a few minutes, can help them in resolving this problem. Not only the eyes but the entire nervous system gets relaxed by this practice. This, in turn, relaxes the performer and enables good and restful sleep. Perform this meditation one hour before retiring to bed.
Regular practice of this meditation makes the brain alert and balanced. The mind learns to become calm and unperturbed. This helps in improved levels of memory. Similarly, sticking to this practice regularly, day after day, enhances one’s will power.
One of the best benefits of candle light meditation is that it helps in erasing feelings of depression, anxiety, nervousness etc. This is because of the fact that the meditation soothes the mind and improves the supply of oxygen to the minute recesses of the brain.
Sincere practitioners of candle light meditation develop the ability to perceive and see things which are otherwise not perceivable to the five senses. They develop a keen sixth sense, an ability to foresee things and events, which in turn, can act to forewarn and take precautions against unpleasant future happenings.
It is best to perform this meditation, in a group, under the supervision of a teacher. Epileptics should not do this meditation. Persons who are prone to tension headaches should not try hard to focus on the candle light as this may aggravate the pain.
It is important that when you end your meditation that you gently re-enter the day-to-day world. After you finish your meditation allow for several minutes before you stand up. Allowing the space between the world of your meditation and your day-to-day reality is critical to enjoying the full benefits of your candle meditation.
If you practice candle meditation on a regular basis you will find that you are less distracted and more productive. Candle meditation is particularly useful for people that suffer from attention deficit disorders or obsessive-compulsive behaviour. However, candle meditation is useful to anyone who wants to destress, gain focus and awaken their higher consciousness.