Candle Meditation

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Last Sunday morning I went to my Buddhist meditation group with my friend Frog.

We sat in a circle with the others to meditate, and then we all had a break for some herbal tea and a chat.

At the end of our normal meditation routines and tea break, the people that run the group put some candles on the floor in front of us. 

We were all shown how to do candle meditation in the correct way.

I have heard of the method before, but never tried it myself until that day.

The way to do this form of meditation is to light a candle and have it fairly close to you, at eye level at around three feet is best. Be in a comfortable and relaxed position.

You look into the flame, resting your eyes into it, until your eyes start to become uncomfortable. This can take about three minutes, although it varies, as everyone’s eyes differ to some degree. It is a bit like looking into the sun, or at a bright light bulb, although don't look into the sun, as you will go blind after a while!

Then you close your eyelids. A negative image of the candle and flame is temporarily burned into the back of the eye, and stored within the optical nerve.

Now your mind is still seeing the candle.

You watch the image of the candle contained within your mind, and see it changing colours, which for me were reds, yellows, and greens. Then you start to see the image fading as it disappears from the optical nerve.

As you do this technique, you think of the candle flame, then yourself, then the candle flame, then yourself, then just the candle flame, and then your mind slowly starts to stop wandering from your past, future, and of various sensations and feelings.

Your mind eventually merges with the candle, you and the candle become one, and then there is nothing.

When the candle image has gone from your mind, you open your eyes and repeat the process over again.

If you do not have a candle, then you can do the same thing with other bright objects, such as an electric light, looking at bright sky through a window, or a white piece of paper, anything that leaves an afterimage when your eyes are closed.

With some practice using this method, you can train your mind to go into a meditative state.

It is basically using an object as an anchor to fix the mind on. As the mind goes into meditative state, you let go of the anchor, and then your mind and body drops away.

"Out On A Limb" - Candle Meditation scene

It was quite funny, as after we did the candle meditation session, one of the meditation group members said she got quite attached looking at the candle flame and could not meditate, as she found the candle so pretty to look at. This prompted one of the people that run the group to say that maybe she should look at a glow in the dark plastic turd instead, to avoid attachment to the object of meditation. I found this a very amusing comment.

After you can do the candle method, you can try conjuring up an object in your mind, and use it an anchor to meditate with. Frog can meditate by using his mind. He thinks of an elephant walking around in a circle, whilst its connected to a rope, linked to pole in the centre of the circle. As the elephant walks round the circle, the rope tightens and gets shorter pulling the elephant towards the pole in the centre of the circle.

It is difficult to put meditation into words, its best to experience it for real by doing it, to understand the benefit of meditating.

"Candle Flame"

By Amethyst Breeze

As I gaze into the candle flame
I feel myself drifting away
Fading into another time
Going to another place
A place of peace and harmony
Of perfect love and perfect trust
Of meadows and streams
A midsummers night dream
As the sun sets
And the moon rises
I feel myself begin to dance
I sing and chant
raising power from my heart
As the Solstice come to an end
I feel myself drifting back
Coming out of my trance
Grounding the energy back into earth
As I still gaze into the candle flame

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