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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is that it, then?
Just stare at the flame for half an hour?
It can be, if you want. Candle meditation is a self-guided practice. Sometimes you will want a silent mind; other times, you may want to let your thoughts wander; or, you may want to do specific self-development exercises like thought control or visualization/affirmations.
You can try the following techniques:
1. 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. 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.
Use your favorite Omharmonics 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.
5. Expand on this visualization exercise
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.
If you want to become more compassionate and productive Emily Fletcher's Masterclass on Meditation for Super Performance is absolutely FREE and plays on Mindvalley.