Many of us find it easier to meditate when we are focusing on a particular image or object. One particularly popular method is to focus on a candle flame.
To practice this candle meditation, follow the steps below:
1. Choose a cushion or blanket as your meditation cushion. If you choose a blanket, fold it up once or twice so that it is comfortable to sit on. Now pick a quiet spot where you will be undisturbed.
2. Sit with your legs crossed or in the Lotus position, where each thigh is placed on top of the opposite thigh rather than underneath.
3. Place a candle in an appropriate holder in a position where you can easily gaze at it. It is better to place it below eye level so that you are gazing down at it without having to tilt your head or chin in a strained manner.
4. Take a few moments to center yourself before lighting the candle.
5. Now sit up straight and allow your chin and shoulders to relax just as you did when you were breathing.
6. Bring your focus to the candle flame, trying not to stare too hard at it but rather to feel as if your gaze is melding with the flame.
7. Allow your breathing to slow to a rhythmic intake and exhalation but do not force it or concentrate too hard on it.
8. Continue to gaze at the candle flame as you slowly allow your mind to empty. If thoughts should pop into your head simply allow them to drift through and away.
9. Feel yourself becoming at one with the flame, allowing its energy to flow through you and your energy to flow through it.
10. If you become distracted, gently bring yourself back to your meditation. When you are ready, slowly bring your awareness back to your surroundings, blow out the candle and stretch, enjoying the sense of calm and focus that you can carry with you.