“Each night now I light a candle and I begin by staring at the flame. A candle flame, you know, has three separate parts, the yellow at the top, the mauve lower down, and the black right inside. I place the candle sixteen inches away from my face. The flame is absolutely level with my eyes. It must be dead level because then I do not have to make even the tiniest little adjustment of the eye muscles by looking up or down. I settle myself comfortably and I begin to stare at the black part of the flame, right in the center. All this is merely to concentrate my conscious mind, to empty it of everything around me. So I stare at the black spot in the flame until everything around me has disappeared and I can see nothing else.” (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl)
Can an ancient form of meditation still be helpful in modern times? If life in the fast lane is stressing you out perhaps the art of candle flame meditation could help. If this conjures visions of cavemen staring at fires you aren’t that far off.
Its origins date back to the first time a human’s eyes were mesmerized by the dancing, flickering flames of a fire. Fire is hypnotic and many people find it easier to let go of wandering or intrusive thoughts by concentrating on a physical flame rather than an imaginary object or mantra.
Gazing at a candle flame while meditating can quickly focus the mind into a trance-like state that stills restlessness, awakens awareness, improves eyesight and is even believed to bring energy to the “third eye” promoting various psychic abilities such as creative visualization. It is probably the best and simplest introduction to the art and science of meditation.
To read more about candle meditation technique read this article.