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How to Calm Your Mind and Body Using Candle-light Meditation: Become More Centered by Simply Staring

One day I was driving to and from my office in between clients to grab a bite to eat. I am constantly reminded that if I don’t leave with enough time, I will become frustrated and stressed simply from the drive alone. This particular day where I was rushing and becoming somewhat flustered, I walked into my office with my lunch, sat down on my office floor to eat, and I looked up at my candle. I decided to light the candle and engage in two minutes of candle-light meditation. It turns out it was all I needed to calm my body and my mind and get back to being centered.

Candle-light meditation is not a new concept. Have you ever found yourself gazing into a fire in the fireplace, or when camping and roasting s'mores around the campfire, you become lost in the flames? This is the idea around candle-light meditation. Just 30-60 seconds can have a positive effect. So how does this work?

First, set the ambiance of the room to your liking, which usually includes no light or dim lighting and a quiet space. Place a candle at or near eye-level, and sit down in a comfortable position near the candle. Close your eyes and take two deep breaths, in through your nose and out with your mouth. Open your eyes and start gazing only at the candle light. Try to focus on freeing your mind and the thoughts that enter. This may take a moment as thoughts continue to enter your mind. That’s okay. Give yourself 30-60 seconds to adjust to the quiet, including the quiet in your mind. Stare at the flame while you take deep breaths. You may start to feel your body release and relax, which will also help with calming your mind. Continue staring at the flame, and see if you start to feel less tense and as if your stress and anxiety have melted away. This is candle-light meditation. This is meditation.

You can sit in this moment for as long as you need and want. Sometimes you may only need a couple of minutes. Other times, you may want to sit for at least fifteen minutes and enjoy the moment of tranquility. Once you have completed the meditation exercise, take a moment to reflect on how you feel at this moment versus how you felt before you started. What are you noticing in your body? Your heart rate, your breathe, and your muscles. What are you noticing in your mind? Any change in thought patterns? Any change in the tone of the voice in your head? If this form of meditation seems to be having a positive impact, think about how you can implement this each day. Sometimes all it takes is a lunch break and a candle to get back to feeling calm and centered!

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Photo taken by Monica Coulter in McKinney, Texas, 2016.

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