I have a feeling you could use a little loving and letting go right about now.
So here’s an enchanting little meditation that’s easy to do and doesn’t require a whole lot from you.
It’s a candle gazing meditation from my book Sleep Rituals (which you can pick up here) that I’ve reworked and given an appropriate name. I call this version: Burn Your Thoughts.
All you need is a candle, some space, and something you want to let go of, if only for a few minutes. (I’m sure you can think of something: work stress, the unknown, heartache, a grudge, anything.)
Also known as Trataka in Sanskrit, meaning “to gaze,” this open-eye meditation combines the entrancing qualities of fire with focused awareness.
Candle gazing meditations are said to provide deep relaxation (Mmmm), enhance memory and concentration, improve eyesight, strengthen intuition, and stimulate the pineal gland — an endocrine organ in the brain that produces melatonin (you might recognize its nickname, the “third eye”).
It’s simple, really.
By fixing your gaze on the flickering flame of a candle, the wavering mind has a chance to quiet and your heart can open up to the moment it’s beating to: the present moment.
There’s some kind of earthly magic to it.
- Create a dimly lit space free from clutter and distraction.
- Set up a comfortable place to sit, on a cushion or in a chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Place your candle in front of you on a flat surface, at eye level, 1–3 feet away. Ensure there are no cross-breezes or flammable items nearby.
It’s the beginning of a new month, a new year. It’s time to give yourself that much-needed mental space — to clear away whatever isn’t letting you be fully in the moment, or fully in your life.
Every single moment, after all, is your life. This moment, especially.
Moment by moment by moment.
Burn Your Thoughts Candle Gazing Meditation: For Letting Go
- Envision the qualities you’d like to bring into your life right now (peace, wisdom, confidence, passion, lightheartedness, and so on).
- Light your candle with that in mind. With intention. Believe in the magic of the fire to support your desires. Focus on that feeling.
- Breathe softly and easily through your nose as you settle down. Keep your spine straight and upright.
- With a soft gaze, focus on the candle’s flame. Let all other movement and thought be still, just for right now. If your eyes start to water, close your eyes and focus on your third eye (center of the eyebrows). Let the image of the candle fill your mind.
- Your mind will start to wander. It’s a human thing. When it does, visualize that thought in the flame. Give it shape and substance (I like to imagine it in writing on a piece of paper.) Acknowledge its existence. Let it be seen, out in the open.
- Then, watch the thought as it burns away in the flame. Let it go on, disintegrating into nothingness. Let it be free. Gently return to the flame and your breathing and the subtle, humble freedom of this moment in time. Soul medicine.
- Imagine breathing the light energy inside of you, filling you with the qualities you want your life to be made up of. Exhale as this energy bathes you in light.
- Continue for 3–5 minutes while learning, gradually increasing practice time as you get comfortable with the meditation.
- As your meditation draws to a close, close your eyes for a few rounds of deep breathing.
- Extinguish the flame with gratitude. Imagine the smoke carrying your intentions into the invisible realm from which creation and all new things arise.
- Lie down in savasana (corpse pose in yoga) or in bed with your eyes closed, focusing on the flame in your mind’s eye. Enjoy the sweetness of a little more headspace and a slower heartbeat. You deserve that.
. . .
What thought are you letting burn away so you can be more in the moment, more in your life?
Tell me in the comments. What you share helps me write the next thing.
P.S. If you want more regular magic in your life, pick up a copy of Sleep Rituals. It's full of ideas and things I love.