Updated: Jan 24
Meditation is an amazing approach to self care because it allows you to observe, without judgement, what you're feeling and thinking. As you practice observing without judgement, you begin to notice how habitual thoughts or emotions lead to a habitual reaction. In time, you can change your perception, you can change your habits, you can change the way you reaction to the world around you.
Many styles of meditation give you a variety of ways to observe yourself. Shamata is a Buddhist style of meditation that uses a single point of focus for the eyes to land on. That single pointed focus softens the mind's chatter and helps you land more comfortably in the rhythm of your breath.
Try this Shamata meditation practice using a candle light:
Find a quiet, comfortable space to sit. It could be in a chair, or on the floor, perhaps resting against a wall. Place a candle, like a tea light, in front of you. It should be on something (like a yoga block) so that the tea light is high enough for you to look at from the bottom of your gaze without tipping your chin down. Set a timer for yourself, start with 3 minutes (you could work up to 15 minutes if you have an established meditation practice).
With the candle lit, take a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel the rhythm and the ease of your breath as you allow it to flow in and out, in and out.
After a few moments, open your eyes a quarter of the way, and with a soft focus allow your gaze to land on the flame. Blink as you normally would, but keep your eyes focused softly on the flame. Let your mind land on the gentle flow of your breath as your eyes soften on the candlelight.
If your mind wanders, simply welcome your attention back to the soft flame and the flow of breath. When the timer goes off, close your eyes and allow for an easy calm breath in and out. Sit calmly for a few minutes and just notice.