“Totally Lit Meditation”
Today in the Meditation Lab I am working on something called One-Point Meditation. It’s simply the act of staring at an object with your eyes in a soft-gaze. The most common “object” is a candle flame. Who doesn’t get pulled into the flickering dance of flames when staring at a fireplace or campfire? Since we can’t run around lighting fires every day, a single flame from a candle will do just fine.
I can tell you all about the yogic origins of this practice if you would like, but I try and keep things simple in my teaching. For now, let’s just say that fire has been around a long freaking time and who can really lay claim to having been the first human to bliss out after staring at it.
Here’s what I’ve noticed about this practice. It is active. Your eyeballs are opened and you are engaged. This makes it an excellent meditation for those who tend toward depression or for those who have suffered from trauma.
Why, Ann, why? Well, because sometimes when my energy is low it’s hard for me to get motivated (shut off Netflix and get off of the couch). A passive meditation will lull me into a gorgeous state of bliss but leaves me sometimes wanting even “more” couch time. You might sweetly say, “Skip it all together, Boo!”. No can do.
I know that any type of meditation strengthens activity in the left side of the brain and creates lasting positive physical changes. Which is why it might be good for people who have suffered trauma to explore meditation. It’s understandably hard for trauma sufferers to get to a place where they feel safe enough to meditate. Closing eyes is not an option for some at first. This is a good way to feel comfortable and receive the benefits of meditate.
Enter gazing upon a candle flame with eyes open.
Here’s what I did:
1) Placed a tea light about a foot below my eye line. What we’re looking for is not having to strain our necks.
2) Light that candle. Lightly scented is fine but you don’t want to stimulate the smell sense too much. We are working on the vision here.
3) Sit in a comfortable position. This is something that I am emphatic about in my classes. If you’re not comfortable you aren’t going to want to do it again.
4) Set your timer on your iPhone. Turn the Timer Ring Tone to “Chimes”. For how long? If you have never done this practice before, try it for one minute. I haven’t done this one in years so I opted for five minutes. Start the timer.
5) Hold a soft gaze…which is fancy talk for don’t go all Elizabeth Holmes and stare so hard that you don’t blink. How does she do that anyway?
6) Look upon that flame. There is nothing else to do, but definitely blink.
Here was “my” experience. After it was done, I felt a strange combination of energized, yet deeply relaxed. I am going to teach this Thursday night in a private session and I am happy about it.
All the bliss,