Candles, in one form or another, have been used in magic, religious ceremony and rituals of all kinds for thousands of years. Candles have given us more than light to see with for a long time. It seems that the practice of lighting candles has become so common that the original intention of them being there at all has been lost.
Why we are going to use candles.
The candle flame is more than a symbol; it’s a good demonstration of the where definition between the physical world and the astral world becomes a bit vague. In the candle flame the wax and string that make up the candle become more astral in nature and start to manifest as light and heat. Apart from being a wonderful aid to meditation they are mystery in themselves.
As you will find out, part of this exercise will begin to introduce you to the concept of light in the mind. Much has been written about it i.e. “the light penetrates the veil of ignorance” or “the mind is filled with light”. With a little effort you can find lots of similar descriptions; you even may remember one yourself. However knowing words written in books does not mean you know “it”. Whatever “it” might be.
That is probably worth repeating. Knowing words written in books does not mean you know it yourself….. and that applies to just about everything including candle gazing meditation.
I “know” about golf, painting fine art, poetry and gardening. I’ve read the books, watched the videos and thought about them a lot. Funny, I’ve still not been able to actually demonstrate I know these things. My efforts say it all, to me and to anybody watching. In spite of my “knowledge” I don’t seem to know how to do this stuff.
Seems knowing and being able to do are not the same thing.
Back to the light. The strangest thing is, the part of you that witnesses the inner light will probably be new to you, or has only shown itself briefly on the edge of sleep and wakefulness.
This candle gazing mediation exercise will metaphorically massage, wake up and prepare, that part and you, and the everyday you for that matter, for wonderful experience.
For This Exercise You Will Need A Candle.
If you have a white one use that, as always simplicity is the key the strong dye in colored candles tend to reduce the purity of the flame and causes the flame to “dance”, very nice, however not what we need just now. The same can be said of candles that are too big in diameter.
A Cushion or Comfortable Chair.
With the candle (in its holder) sit in a comfortable place, use a chair, cushion, cross-legged or whatever, just remember that comfort is not a weakness and discomfort is definitely a distraction. In an ideal world the candle will be about three feet from you and slightly below your eye line. Make sure the candle is secure in its holder and safe, this is important, you’ll be taking your eyes off it later.
This is the same for all the exercises. You are practicing; you’re not expected to be “good”. You are practicing, accept that and enjoy learning something. Read what I’ve said about attitude and intention.
Fix your gaze directly on the flame and hold it there steadily for about two minutes, a timer is really helpful however try not to make the timer the point of focus. Both your gaze and your attention should remain firmly fixed on the flame, don’t let your mind kid you into believing that we can watch the flame and think about the shopping, washing the car or anything else. Your normal mind is going to learn of and appreciate a rest now and then.
Back to the candle gazing meditation instructions; fix both your gaze and attention on the flame for two minutes blinking as necessary.
When the two minutes have past close your eyes and place your palms over them, the candle remains lit.
Just relax and look for the after image, it is usually yellow, white or green however could be any color. If it moves try to centralize it. If the image moves your instinct will be to try to follow it, however like most things we try to chase, it moves away even faster.
You get it back in the centre simply by willing it back.
It is easy to say I know. However remember, you are not supposed to know how to do it. So stop trying and see if it happens.
Continue this exercise for three minutes perhaps five minutes as you get more comfortable.
When the image begins to fade have another go. However keep in mind that sometimes it comes back so don’t be too hasty to start again.
You will probably not be successful in the first session or the second or perhaps even the third. Don’t become discouraged the effects of all these exercises are cumulative i.e. nothing is ever lost, the positive effects stack-up on each other, when the change comes it will be startling.
Remember your lower, normal or everyday mind (whatever you chose to call it) feels it has absolutely nothing to gain from this and will discourage you from continuing. Please persevere; the rewards to be gained from this little exercise alone can be astonishing.
After a few sessions you will be able to centralize the light, it will start to grow in your vision, the first time this happens you will be alarmed, there is no point in me saying don’t be. You may even feel that you are losing control and you are somehow in danger of falling into the light. There is absolutely nothing to fear, relax and start again this new place will become very familiar to you eventually.