Tratak, the meditation of light
Tratak, also called candle gazing, is a method of concentrating on a point of light; serving as avisual reminder to use lighthearted attitudes in living.
In your meditation place, sit up straight facing a low table and light a candle. Fold your hands inyour lap.Take some moments to just look at the flame, letting your eyes almost shut. Begin to feel thewarmth of light emanating from the candle flame. It can be a reminder that even a little kindness,from lighthearted actions, makes another’s day warmer and brighte
If you do close your eyes you will probably see the reverse color of the candle flame in yourvision. Focus on that for a minute or as long as you can.Now, begin to breathe evenly: breathe in counts 1, 2; breathe out counts 3, 4; breathe in counts 5,6, and go on for another minute.Let go of counting but continue to breathe evenly. Reflect on how you could add one form of lighthearted activity to your life, such as: showing patience; being kind; allowing another toexpress themselves without interruption; adopting an attitude of seeing a glass half full ratherthan half empty; doing a volunteer activity; helping a person in need.Finish your meditation with a prayer or affirmations of well wishes for family, friends,community and world peace.Take a deep breath, stand and stretch.
The Technique of Tratak
The technique of tratak remains much the same, whatever the target of you gaze is, though naturally youwill have to adapt it slightly when meditating outdoors.1. Place the object at eye level, three feet (90 cm) away from you.2. First regulate your breathing, then start to gaze at the object without blinking.3. Don’t stare or gaze vacantly – just look steadily without straining.4. After about a minute, close your eyes, and keep your inner gaze steady, visualize the object.5. When the after-image vanishes, open your eyes and repeat.A candle flame is the most widely used object for Tratak, as it easy to hold an after-image of the brightflame when you close your eyes. You should place the candle at eye level in a darkened, draught-free room.
Tratak Meditation is a traditional basic exercise to acquire concentration and control themental waves. Tratak (fixed gazing) is an ancient yogic technique that concentrates themind, opens the psychic centers and awakens the force of kundalini (Divine energy) latentin the Muladhara chakra (first psychic center) at the base of the spine taking one deep intomeditation.With this meditation you stare steadily at a single point or object without blinking. Wherethe eyes go the mind follows. With your eyes you lead your mind into “One-PointedMeditation”. By staring steadily at an object, closing your eyes and then visualizing theobject alternately, you train the mind to focus its awareness.Any object maybe used as long as it remains still and is relatively small to the gaze. Acandle is the most recommended object as it is easy to evoke its image when you closeyour eyes. Stare at the object without blinking as long as you can then close your eyes tryto see the image. When it fades open your eyes and stare unblinkingly at the candle.Start with 5 min., then gradually increase the time to half an hour and then up to an hour.In Hatha yoga, tratak constitutes one of the six exercises of body purification (Kriyas:dhauti, basti, neti, nauli, kapalabhati and tratak)Tratak is an important exercise to control the mental.
Tratak on the external objects (a point, a flame of candle, anobject shining…- Tratak on a point on the external surface of the body
(end of thenose: nasagra drishti, third eye: bhrumadhya drishti).It is preferable to control the normal tratak before being exerted in Bhrumadhya Drishti or nasagra drishti.The object can be also an idol, master’s picture, waterfall, river flow, tree
; it can beanything of nature. But if it is a master’s picture or if possible the presence of the guru ismore than perfect.The Meditation technique of mirror gazing is also possible it is a very powerful methodfor encountering one’s unconsciousness. There is also the
antar tratak, which meansdirecting one’s attention within oneself , e.g., closing the eyes and keeping the consciousness on the space between the eyebrows i.e., seat of the third eye or on the heartcenter seat of the spiritual heartAt the beginning, practise this exercise only for short periods, and increase the duration of practice gradually.
Effects of tratak
: The objective of tratak is the control of the mental subconscious.One cannot immobilize the mental if the eyes are not motionless. This exercise acts on thecenters olfactive and optical, it stimulates the nervous system.It brings:- Controls of ciliary’s Reflex-Excitation of lachrymal glands-Stimulation of pineal glands- Relieving of body, interior peace- Improvement of the sight- Fortification of the will- Improvement of the memory and the concentration
It corrects defect of the eyes. The mind becomes steady. Improves eyesight. Rate of breathing is slowed down. Sufferers of insomnia and mental tension should do Tratak 15minutes before sleeping at night. Memory power and concentration increases. Eyes become powerful. The power to control one’s emotion and the decision making power increases. Itis one of the powerful methods of controlling our mind.Though Tratak is simple to perform, regular practice reaps results for the well-being of your eyes and mind. The exercise will sharpen your vision, and, according to Deshpande,even remove the elementary stages of short-sightedness. Besides that, it cleanses your eyesand strengthens your eye muscles. It will also reduce eye ailments, including conjunctivitis.If you blink excessively or have restless eyeballs, these too will be resolved.Because Tratak requires concentration, it is beneficial for your mind too. It encourages youto focus only on one thing, which means that your mind relaxes and becomes indifferent toother stimuli. Your mind becomes more stable and calm, and will be able to focus on thingsa lot better.
The first thing is to stare without any blinking, continuously for thirty minutes; and the wholeconsciousness must come to the eyes.
You must become the eyes. Forget everything – the whole body; just be eyes and continually stare without any blinking.The consciousness centered in the eyes leads you to the peak of being tense – the climax of being tense.The eyes are the most delicate. That is why they can be more tense than any other part, and with the eyes ina tension, the whole mind is tense.The eyes are just doors to the mind.When you BECOME eyes, the mind goes up and up to the climax, and from that climax to fall down, is tofall down into the abyss of relaxation.So Tratak is to create one of the most tense peaks in the consciousness through the eyes.
Thinking will stop automatically, and by and by, as you proceed further, the consciousness becomes morecentered in the eyes.You will just be aware. There will be no thinking, because eyes cannot think. No thinking is possible withthe eyes.When the whole consciousness is centered in the eyes, mind has no energy left for thinking.Mind just stops thinking; and the moments your eyes want to blink, these are the moments to be avoided, because the mind is trying to get energy back to think.That is why constant string, fixed staring, is needed.Even a movement of the eyes gives energy to the mind.So, do not move the eyes.FIXED STARING!When you are staring with no movement of the eyes, the mind is also fixed.The mind moves with the eyes, and the eyes are the outer parts of your face; the other extreme which goesout.Eyes are just part of the brain, the other extreme.Eyes are the doors – the doors that belong to the inside mind and also to the outside world.If the eyes are totally fixed, the mind really stops. It cannot move.The best time to perform Tratak, say masters, is in the early hours of 4.00 to 6.00 am, when the mind ismost receptive. If those times are inconvenient, you might want to perform it before going to bed. Try to perform Tratak alone and undisturbed, in a dark and silent room.