We are all conditioned to be thinking constantly. This pulls us away from our 'Center'. This is something that we do from the moment we are awake to the moment we fall asleep, and sometimes right into our sleep as well. One of the first steps necessary in order to meditate, is to calm the mind, to stop the 'noise' our minds create that cloud and block our internal balance and our inner mind from connecting to spirit. This meditation is an exercise to help teach the mind to stop thinking, to achieve the silence, a calm state, to allow you to hear, sense, feel, connect ...
You need one candle. A silent and dark room. And 20-30 minutes with no interruption. You need to sit upright with a straight back. If you can sit in the traditional crossed-legged position, then do so. If this is too uncomfortable, then sit in a chair but with an upright back. A trick I use, is to sit crossed legged on the floor, but with my back against a chair or sofa. This way I can have a straight up and down back without the strain on my muscles to stay in this position. The idea is to not be straining, but to be comfortable in your posture.
Place the candle at eye level, and about 3 - 4 feet in front of you. Try to remove any clutter behind the candle that may distract your gaze. A clean background is important in keeping your eyes locked on the flame. Light the candle and stare into the flame, not the wick or the candle, just the flame itself. Keep your eyes focused, do not let your vision split the flame into two flames.
Now, this is the hard part. DO NOT THINK. Stop all thoughts. This will not be easy at first. Do not become discouraged, we are conditioned to be thinking all the time. This will take time. Remove all thoughts, just gaze into the flame. If you start thinking, remove the thought. Visualize taking the thought, wadding it into a ball and throwing it into a stream. Remove these thoughts as if they are coming from outside of yourself. Return to gazing at the flame. Try to keep your mind still, no thoughts, just the flame, for 5 seconds. Breathe slow and deep, gaze into the flame. No thoughts for 10 seconds. Throw the thoughts into the stream when you have them.
Continue to do this until you can keep your mind still and quiet for 30 seconds. Do not give up, this can be done. When you can do this for 60 seconds, one whole minute, you will start to feel a very deep calm. You will feel a relaxation that is very wonderful. You can build this up to 5 minutes and longer. You will reach a state of calmness and relaxation, that is only the beginning. From here, you can reach upwards to heights you never realized were there for you.
Just about all of our thoughts have to do with thinking ahead, 'forward time' such as: upcoming vacation, payday, what to have for dinner, pick up kids from school, schedules, appointments, deadlines etc. Or you may be one who is stuck to a 'past time'. If you are now living an unhappy life, you can be longing for happier times in our youth. Or the opposite, you may be having trouble releasing hurt and pain that happened to us earlier in life. This has the effect of 'removing' us from the present, and being stuck in either forward or past time.
Having no thoughts, teaches you to be Here, in the Present. This is the goal. Be Here Now. Exist in the moment. This will allow you to experience a Perfect Moment. Connection. Understanding. Peace....
Adapted from 'The Spiral Dance' by Starhawk
Art courtesy of desktopnexus.com