Sometimes the most powerful meditation practices are also the most simple. This meditation practice is one of my favorites, and it works especially well for individuals whose most dominant sense is sight. The changing nature of a candle flame makes it alive—almost vibrant—so it’s an interesting point of focus. Its only downsides are that you have to do this meditation seated, and since candles involve fire risk, it’s not appropriate in all situations. One of my students, however, found an iphone candle flame app, so with advances in technology, perhaps even that isn’t an issue!
- Choose a candle you feel drawn to. Preferably choose one with a calming color (blue, purple, green, beige, white). Place it on a low table or on the ground about 3-6 feet in front of you. Light the flame and relax your body.
- Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up to the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
- Keep your eyes open, gazing quietly at the candle in front of you.
- Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. First notice the warmth and coolness of the breath at the tip of your nostrils. Notice the movement of your rib cage and belly. How does your spine move with each breath? What other sensations can you feel?
- When you feel ready, focus your mind by gazing steadily at the candle flame as it burns. Your eyes can be partially closed (at “half mast”) and it is fine to blink. Notice the colors, the changing patterns and shapes of the flame. Become aware of the scent of the burning wax, the warmth of the flame. The flame continually changes with every passing moment.
- If your attention wanders (and it will!) just notice it, and invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath at the tip of your nose. Then begin to focus on the changing nature of the candle flame again.
- Continue this meditation for 10 – 15 minutes
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!