Is Staring At A Candle Bad For Eyes — A Primer To Candle Gazing And Meditation

A glowing dancing flame is a delight to watch. This visual ambiance is soothing for tired eyes and has a serene effect. Children find the swaying flame quite fascinating. But is it okay to stare at a naked flame like that? And you are stuck with the question – is staring at a candle bad for eyes? 

If you are looking around to get the answer to this question, then this article is for you.

What Separates A Candle Light From Others

Light symbolizes life in itself. Metaphorically it is about hope and positivity. Literally, it suggests illuminating the darkness around. When light is so essential and has positive attributes then why do people hold this notion that gazing at the bright yellow candle flame is detrimental for eyes? Do other forms of light also affect our eyes in the same way?

Staring at laser lights, welding sparks, and bright lighted bulbs is very damaging for the eyes. Benign as they are, even the lights at home could prove damaging to the eyes if one stares at them.

The sun is the biggest and a natural source of light on the earth. We all love to bask in its light and heat. But, can we stare at its bright light with naked eyes? It’s absolutely a big no because we cannot withstand the brightness and it is definitely a risk for the eyes. 

Yet, at precise moments, like during a rising sun or a setting sun, there is enough glow for us to look directly at it without immediate risk to the eyes.

When we talk of a candle flame the image that comes before us is the yellow bright light. This light is usually not harmful to the eyes but surprisingly can be a natural eye tonic.

Candle gazing with meditation

Why Is The Candle Flame Yellow?

The incomplete combustion of wax in the air imparts a yellow luminous flame to a candle. When we light a candle, the wax melts down and rises in the form of vapors. These wax vapors do not mix with oxygen instead, the vapors burn alone. This leads to the incomplete combustion of wax. As a result, unburnt carbon particles rise in the hot flame, leading to a hot yellow flame.

Candle Meditation Or Candle Gazing And How It Affects You

Generally speaking, staring at a candle is not bad for the eyes. The following points listed below will shed some light on how it all works:

Candle Gazing For A Better And Restful Sleep

There are times when we lie in bed after a long tiring day but end up tossing and turning. This is so frustrating as the next day you are low on energy and this hampers your work schedule. At this point, most people are willing to try anything, including pills to get some good shut-eye.

However, what if there was a natural and safe method to combat insomnia? Candle gazing before bed can be a great help. Staring at the center of the dim and warm flame can help release strain and create a relaxing sensation.

Here are some tips on what to do:

  • Create a distraction-free environment. Switch off the phone (or put it on do not disturb mode), TV, computer, draw the curtains, dim the lights, etc.
  • Place the burning candle on a flat surface at your eye level. 
  • Keep the optimum distance of around three to four feet. It’s best when you sit on the floor and keep the candle on a table.  
  • Bring your focus to the flame of the candle and your breathing. Avoid staring at the flame. Rather, gaze through it.
  • It is only natural that your focus will sometimes shift to other objects and thoughts. Gently bring it back to the flame and your breathing.
  • After some time, close your eyes and focus on the afterimage of the flame and your breathing. Repeat as necessary.

Ideally, the session should last 20 minutes. However, if you’re new to meditation, you may start with 5 minutes and work your way up in a few days.

Practicing this candle staring technique each night will gradually help you to overcome the problem of insomnia.

Gaining Better Focus And Concentration

Many times we come across situations when we are unable to focus on our work as other thoughts interfere with our mind. This prevents us from remaining focused on our work and may result in unnecessary delays in the compilation. Try candle gazing everyday for a few minutes as it controls a wandering mind and helps you to focus at work. 

It’s quite convenient as you need just a few minutes for the daily session and it’s best if you do it before bedtime as it will help you to have a restful sleep too. 

The Ancient Art Of Candle Meditation Or Trataka

Candle Meditation example

This practice of candle gazing for meditation purposes is known as trataka in the Sanskrit language, which is a classical language of India. Trataka is called yogic gazing in English.

Trataka is one of the six purification techniques of mind and soul. It is called Shatkarmas in Hath Yoga, which has its roots in Indian yoga practice. This meditation technique involves a fixed gaze at a single point of focus. This involves a candle flame specifically but it may involve other objects too like an object of worship, rising sun, or moon.

However, candle meditation works better than other objects. When we meditate this way, our third eye called Ajna opens up. This builds and maintains our intuition power to work well. 

Meditating this way purifies your mind of all the negative and vague thoughts of past and present. All the distractions dissolve away and you see the mind perceiving all the thoughts in alignment. This helps us to remain focused on our goals and plan our lives better. A clear, stable, and unwavering mind channels the mind’s abilities better towards a fruitful action. 

Now let’s see how to practice candle meditation or yogic gazing step by step:

  • Darken the room. Draw the curtains and blow off the lights.
  • Light a candle and keep it at a distance of around 3-4 feet away from you.
  • Keep the candle flame on a flat surface at your eye level.
  • Make sure the flame remains steady and there is no breeze around to sway it.
  • Take a few deep breaths to relax.
  • Now gaze at any part of the flame without blinking your eyes for as long as you can.
  • You will see thoughts coming into your mind and you may see them in the form of images too. Let it be.
  • Think of them and either acknowledge the images or discard them. This clears your thought process.
  • Keep focussing on the flame until your eyes water and you have to close your eyes.
  • When you close your eyes try to visualize the glowing flame between the eyebrows and in the center of your forehead.
  • If you cannot visualize the image, try again.
  • Stay in this meditative position until the afterimage of the candle fades away.
  • Practice this as your everyday routine and master the skill of meditation.

Other Benefits Of Candle Meditation

The benefits of candle meditation do not limit to benefitting your mind and increasing your concentration level. More than a purgation process it benefits you in other ways too that need a mention:

  • Improves your eyesight as it strengthens the eye muscles.
  • The water released through the eyes purifies the eyes.
  • A person who meditates has more emotional stability than others.
  • Candle meditation keeps depression at bay.
  • Nightmares no more disturb your sleep.

To the uninitiated, a lot of this can seem apocryphal. However, there is compelling scientific evidence on the benefits of meditation. While a candle isn’t always necessary, it provides an external focal point for the practice of meditation.

How Can You Make Your Candle Meditation Or Trataka Effective?

Now that you know the benefits of this whole natural process, I will suggest a few tips to make your session more effective and result-oriented.

Never try to strain your eyes by gazing at the candle when your eyes want to blink and close. When you practice staring at the candle, your eyes adjust to the gaze and color.

The wick of the candle should be of a decent size otherwise you will not get a clear afterimage of the flame.

While gazing at a candle to enhance your focus, improve vision, induce sleep, or meditation try using scented candles rather than traditional wax candles.

Scented CandIes: Invoke A Deeper Sense of Calm While Candle Gazing 

Scented Candles make your candle gazing act more serene and sometimes enjoyable too. 

Candle gazing is a natural way to overcome insomnia. However, it is possible to amp up the effect with the use of suitable essential oils. Lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, and peppermint are some of the oils that help with sleep.

When you stare at a candle flame to improve your focus and concentration, try using scented candles that have scents like peppermint, frankincense, lemongrass, and basil. These oils control a roving mind and help you to remain focused on important work schedules.

If you’re not all that comfortable with using scented candles, you could try incense or an essential oil diffuser.

Some Points To Ensure Care And Comfort While Candle Gazing

Candle gazing is beneficial for the eyes but that doesn’t sum up to be applicable for everyone. There are a few important points to keep in mind before you start this session without having in-depth knowledge. 

  • Human eyes are vulnerable to heat and light, therefore carefully maintain a safe distance from the flame.
  • When practicing candle meditation, don’t strain your eyes by forcing them to stay open. Blink when comfortable and let the eyes adjust naturally.
  • If you have previous medical issues, consult a doctor or an eye specialist first. 
  • Those who suffer from migraine or frequent headaches should avoid candle gazing.
  • Avoid scented candles if you are allergic to certain fragrances. In this situation, switch to natural candles.
  • Always make it a point to blow off the candles when you are done with the candle staring session.

Candle Gazing Is A Natural Way To Benefit Your Eyes And Well-Being

We have been lighting candles to illuminate the darkness or to enjoy our candlelight dinners. Then came the scented candles which add fragrance and decor to your home. Most people have a limited beneficial perspective on candles and if you’re one of them then you have more reasons to light a candle now.

Enjoy candle staring and reap its benefits without wondering if staring at a candle is bad for eyes. Properly managed candle meditation or candle gazing can have positive effects on your mind and well-being.