Tratak is a sanskrit word meaning fixed gazing and involves staring at an object to calm the mind. You may find yourself doing this when you “zone out” from time to time, but taking the time to actively focus and bring awareness to the gaze can be a meditative practice. As we know, meditation can reduce tension, stress and anxiety which can lead to all sorts of physical and mental benefits. The beauty of this form of meditation is that it is wonderfully inconspicuous and so you can practice it anywhere! You can gaze meditatively at something during a meeting, on a bus, or in a waiting room.
The guidelines are simple: find an object within your line of vision that you might want to fix your eyes on and take several belly breaths as you steady your eyes on the object. Let it capture your interest, as though it were the only object in the vicinity. Try not to judge what you are seeing, or have any thoughts about it all; see if you can have the experience of “just seeing.” When thoughts arise, note them and then return your focus to the object.
One way to practice this type of meditation is by staring at the flame of a candle, like the candles from our partner Contrail Candles. You can grab one of our exclusive collaboration with them on our website on its own or in our Love + Connection Experience Follow the instructions below to give it a try!
Place the burning candle at eye level, about two feet from where you are comfortably seated.
Fix your eyes upon the flame without blinking for about a minute, using the light to ground you if your mind starts to wander.
Then close your eyes and visualize the flame at your third eye (the point between your eyebrows), holding the image for as long as you can, while continuing to breath naturally.
When the image of the flame starts to fade, open your eyes and repeat the exercise.
End your practice by vigorously rubbing the palms together and then place them over the eyes to bathe them in warmth.
Try practicing this exercise with different types of objects. Here are a few suggestions:
Concrete objects – objects with a definite size and shape that are usually stationary.
Natural objects – such as clouds, sand, a pile of dry leaves, the ocean, a flame, and so on.
Vastness – any large, uniform surface such as a wall or a finely patterned rug.
Moving objects – a crowd of people, cars on a busy street, and so on. With objects of this nature, don’t follow individual shapes with your eyes. Instead fix your eyes on a point in space and let the movement pass in front of your field of vision.
Any simple activity can become a meditation when you try to continuously focus your attention on it.