We are on our spiritual journey from the moment we first consider that our experiences in life can be influenced by personal action. Moving from a passive effect to an active cause within our own mind, body and circumstances is the essence of yogic responsibility. It is only a matter of time and consistent, productive action that our deepest aspirations will fulfill our true needs; this is a surety.

Complexity can be a hindrance to inner power and the mind is an expert at generating unending extrapolations of thought. We, the self must buffer our own mind from it self. We must become our own sheep dog, returning stray considerations back to the reality of the moment.

In Yoga the ‘heat’, or tapas of concentration is considered essential to generating influential thoughts and feelings. This heat proves impossible so long as mental tension acts to diffuse our capacity for one-pointed attention. The process of recovering the power of concentration cannot be forced or rushed. It must be allowed to emerge naturally through simple meditation practices.

Candle Flame

One particularly effective method for the cultivation of mental empowerment is Trataka or single point gazing. The eyes are by far the most dominating of the senses. We can use this to our advantage by giving the eyes an object that is attractive, uplifting and absorbing. Mesmerize the eyes and the fragmented mind is soon to follow.

 

Trataka basic technique:

– Light a candle on a table in a room with no draft. The candle should be arms length away and eye level. The flame should be still.

– Close the eyes and relax the whole body, especially the eyes.

– Be aware of body steadiness for a few minutes. Keep the body absolutely still throughout the practice.

– Open the eyes and gaze steadily at the flame.

– Try not to blink or move the eyeballs in any way.

– Do not strain as this will cause tension and the eyes will flicker.

– The awareness should be so completely centered on the flame that body awareness is lost.

– If the mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to the practice.

– After a minute or two, when the eyes become tired or begin to water, close them gently.

– Gaze at the after-image of the flame in the space in front of the closed eyes. If the image moves up or  down, or from side to side, observe it and try to stabilize it.

– When the image can no longer be retained, gently open the eyes and gaze at the flame once more.

– Repeat the procedure for external gazing.

– Close the eyes once more and gaze at the inner image.

– Continue in this way 3 or 4 times.

 

*These instructions drawn from the work of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

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