if you’ve ever been transfixed by a candle flame and felt your mind clear, you may have been tapping into a yogic focusing practice called trataka. though many objects can be used to focus your gaze during trataka, the most common is the flame of a candle. assume a comfortable meditative posture with your head, neck, and trunk aligned. begin with your eyes closed, surveying the body and watching the breath until it becomes calm, regular, and even. then open your eyes and rest your gaze on the middle part of the flame, right above the tip of the wick.
close your eyes only when they begin to strain and water, and you can no longer sustain the gaze. (you can cup your palms and place them gently over the eyes to ease the strain, but do not rub the eyes; because the tears you have shed are carrying away impurities, wipe them gently with a tissue.) if the image moves up and down or side to side, stabilize it by bringing it back to the center, and continue to fix your gaze until the impression disappears. another yogic text, the gheranda samhita, states that the practice cultivates clairvoyance and inner vision. because sight, mental discrimination, and the fire at the manipura chakra are intricately interwoven, trataka also nourishes the subtle flame at the navel center, promoting vitality and inner health.
in this article, i explore the relationship between the eyes and the brain from a scientific perspective, and then describe trataka and other gazing meditation techniques to achieve stillness of mind through the use of your eyes. next time you feel anxious, angry, or stressed, observe how is the movement of your breath, and of your eyes. now look at them again, but instead focus your eyes on one of the dots in the image, and be attentively vigilant that your eyes don’t move even a bit. stilling the eyes is not the only way to achieve stillness of mind, but it is a powerful way, and the feedback is much quicker. then close your eyes for a few minutes, and gaze at the afterimage of that object in your mind, if you can see it.
note: if you practice trataka for purification of the eyes, then you would try to keep the eyes open and allow tears to fall as much as possible. through trataka, all the attention and power of the mind is channeled in one continuous stream. in terms of dzogchen, we train through the senses and the sense-fields rather than through trying to let go of thought. this is one of the best ways to train in fixing the gaze. mirror meditation is a type of gazing meditation (trataka), that uses your reflection in a mirror as the object of focus. even if gazing meditation is not for you, simply being more aware of your eyes movements in your own meditation practice, and trying to still them, can be helpful when following other techniques we have seen how the sight is the most powerful sense, and how it is a direct door to influencing our mental states.
trataka is a yogic purification and a tantric method of meditation that involves staring at a single point such as a small object, black dot or candle flame. it is said to bring energy to the “third eye” and promote various psychic abilities. the hatha yoga pradipika defines trataka as “looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed.” this simple technique has a trataka is a meditation technique which involves focusing the eyes (and, in turn, the mind) through intent but relaxed gazing. initially, this practice is done a sanskrit word, trataka means “to gaze steadily.” trataka is a practice similar to mindful meditation which comes from ancient yogic visual, .
trataka is a form of meditation also known as ‘concentrated gazing’. it is most commonly referred to as ‘candle gazing’. trataka is a yogic purification (a shatkarma) and a tantric method of meditation that involves staring at a single point such as a small object, there are two main forms of trataka meditation. bahiranga trataka (or external trataka) is an external practice which asks participants to simply gaze outwards, .
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