Trāṭaka for sanity’s sake…

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Some of you may be wondering why I asked you to do this meditation/concentration exercises. Well this Friday (21st June) is the Winter Solstice for the Southern Hemisphere. The longest night. The shortest day. Traditionally it is the day you light a candle and welcome the return of the light, the turning of our earth back towards the sun. Two days later, on the 23rd, the moon is full and it will be close to us and appear big and red. The moon’s pull on our tides, inner and outer (we are after all mostly composed of water) will be powerful.
The ambos and police recognise that the full moon is a time of accidents and misadventures. One of my greatest teachers said, ”If you want to live an extraordinary life do the opposite to the common man.”
During the full moon people are agitated and often make bad decisions, injuries sustained in the full moon period, three days before and three days after, often take longer to heal. So do the opposite to the reactive common man and calm down, do some yoga, meditation and don’t opt to take alcohol and or drugs. Stay centred.
Those who have already started the Trāṭaka are reporting a sense of well being and relaxed attitude. I’m asking you again to start this simple practice and start with bringing peace into this world by creating its possibility in yourself..

Trāṭaka
I am asking all my yoga students to do this practice every evening or early morning until the full moon on June 23rd, and after if you wish for three days

Trāṭaka (त्राटक trāṭaka, tratak, trataka: ‘to look, or to gaze’) is the practice of staring at some external object. This fixed gazing is a method of meditation which involves concentrating on a single point such as a small object, black dot or candle flame. It is used in yoga as a way of developing concentration, strengthening your eyes and stimulating your ājňā (brow) chakra.

Stage 1 Light a candle, about a meter away. Sit in front of it. The flame should be at the level of the eyes so that it can be seen straight without being uncomfortable. Begin with slow and rhythmic breathing. While breathing in this manner, keep a steady gaze on the flame. Keep the spine erect, decompressed up. Keep your gaze on the flame without being distracted with disturbances or thoughts. If thoughts arise, simply let them pass; do not struggle to remove them. It is important to be wakeful and aware.

Stage 2 The flame will seem to enter, even surround you, and illuminating your inner being. it is good to then to let your eyes close if they tear up or you feel tension. Now, try to imagine the same flame with closed eyes as you were seeing it with open eyes. Ignore the strong after image. If you are able to practice Trāṭaka without blinking your eye, it will be easy for you to see the flame with closed eyes. The exercise is to enable you to concentrate on what is real without distractions.

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