For many hundreds of years, the candle was the main source of light in houses and places of work, as well as playing a significant role in religious ceremonies worldwide. Relatively safe and extremely portable, it liberated people to move freely around their homes in the hours of darkness, as opposed to being tied to the static light of the fire.
Despite the arrival of electric lighting, the candle still holds an alluring fascination. We light a candle in commemoration of loved ones, a candlelit dinner is still synonymous with love and romance and the appeal of the candle has received a significant boost with the resurgent interest in Aromatherapy, as well as the desire simply to have soft, atmospheric lighting suffused by a gorgeous scent.
At Mindfulness Leicester, we are fortunate enough to have dimmable lighting in our Meditation Hall (Kuti), but we revert solely to candlelight for our Trataka Meditation evenings.
Trataka is a Sanskrit word, which means "to look" or "to gaze" and is one of the six shatkarmas, (purification techniques) of Hatha yoga.
The practice consists of sitting in a physically relaxed, but mentally alert, posture and staring at the centre of the candle flame. As thoughts arise, they are simply allowed to go; we neither try to think, nor try not to think.
It is believed that the practice activates the ajna (third eye) chakra and promotes intuition and wisdom.
It clearly works, as we have the wisdom always to have a scented candle from First Light Candles placed on our Buddha table, adding its gentle glow and subtle aroma to the proceedings!