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Photograph of a candle - version without refle...

Photograph of a candle – version without reflection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I was a little girl, my family went camping for vacations.  I was also a Brownie (girl scout), and in addition to selling cookies, we went camping.  One of the highlights of a camping trip was the campfire.  We’d roast hot dogs and marshmallows, tell the obligatory scary stories, and sing campfire songs.  But the fire itself was hypnotic.  I could just stare at the flames for what seemed like hours:  the blue at the base turning into white then orange; the flickering and swaying of the individual flames then the whole fire.

Sometimes I recreate that experience by using a candle to meditate.  Rather than closing my eyes, I sit comfortably in front of a table with a candle on it.  (Use common sense safety precautions!)  Light the candle and stare at the flame.  Focus narrowly on just the flame and allow everything else in sight to fade out of focus.  I allow the visual of the flame to fill my mind, and notice the colors inside the fire.  Breathe and focus for as long as is comfortable, then slowly allow my vision to widen and the rest of my surroundings to come back into focus.  Blow out the flame.

There many meditations that use candles as a tool.  Some meditations may use different colored candles to represent different emotions, like a pink candle for love.  Instead of focusing on just the flame, you move into a meditation on love with the pink color becoming your visual cue.  Other meditations use the candle as a starting place for physical and mental relaxation, moving into a deeper meditation after relaxation is achieved.

My candle meditations are fairly short, about 10 minutes, and I don’t close my eyes — ever.  I’ve got two cats and closing my eyes around fire they could knock over is the exact opposite of contemplative relaxation.  I prefer to do these meditations at the end of the day, when I need to just slow down and relax.  I also like to do candle meditations to change things up.  There are times when I resist sitting down and taking the time to meditate, or I just (insert whine here) don’t feel like it.  A candle meditation is a nice change of pace when the routine has become, well, routine.

More resources:

Candle meditation for beginners

Candle color meanings

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