Meditation is very dear to me as it fuels my life and is the foundation of all I do. It is a deepening, ongoing process that continues to teach me the true value of life and love. In the speed of modern living, meditation helps me step out of my busyness into a bigger picture. I like to say that meditation is my medication: it’s my way of healing the neuroses of my mind.
Our minds wander. They want. We can feel spontaneously happy then suddenly unhappy. Yet enlightened teachers tell us that these ups and downs are not ultimate reality. As we evolve, we learn to go beyond the flux of the mind and rest in the eternal.
Meditation helps us tap into what is essential and timeless. It treats and heals our perception that we are separate from all that is. It helps us develop a new consciousness muscle in which our awareness is focused on the vastness of possibility, rather than on the temporal.
Learning to concentrate is the first step to meditating. People say they cannot get their mind to stop, so they can’t meditate. Yet it is the nature of the mind to be busy. In meditation, we learn to go beyond the mind, concentrating despite possible distractions from passing thoughts.
Meditation is the state of absorption upon which one concentrates. Eventually we move through the busy mind and touch the quiet, open, field of pure potentiality, where someday we all will permanently reside.
If you have been feeling unable to activate on a meditation practice, or you have been feeling at loose ends with meditation as your mind wanders, here is a concentration practice to help you refresh and strengthen your practice.
This is a classical Hatha yoga concentration practice called Trataka, which means “to look” or “to gaze”. It is also said to be of benefit to your eyesight.
1. Find a quiet and relaxed environment away from the busyness of your life. It could be a separate room, or it could be a quiet corner of a room. Choose a spot where you feel safe and relaxed, but where you will not be tempted to fall asleep (eg, your bed).
2. Sit upright, either on the floor or on a chair, free from any backrest such as the wall or the back of a chair. You can sit on a cushion and/or prop your legs with cushions as needed, so that your hips and spine feel relaxed and supported.
3. Light a tall candle or elevate a shorter candle (not a tea light) and place it on a bench, shelf or table so that the golden flame is at your eye level.
4. Look at the flame with a relaxed, focused gaze, without blinking. Keep your eyes open, even if they begin to tear.
5. When you feel the absolute need to close your eyes, do so and keep them closed. While your eyes are closed, you will still see the image of the flame. Keep your eyes closed and focus on this image for as long as you can, until it is no longer visible. As you focus on that golden flame, feel that you are one with it. Internalize its gold light.
6. Open your eyes again, and return your gaze to the flame as in step 4. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for about ten minutes.
7. After ten minutes, conclude the practice by keeping your eyes closed, taking three long breaths, and feeling the gold light energy in your spine and your whole being. Give thanks inwardly for this practice. See if you can retain the feeling of gold light within as you move through your day.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (“I Am Light”, “Electro Yog”, “Yoga In The Nightclub”), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (“The Grace Mindset”, “Aonani of Avalon”, “The Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness”) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS). More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.